Her bare feet appeared under the ruffled petticoats, for they had made a promise to Christ to follow him barefoot during the procession. Wrinkled and wrinkled old women also passed by – as the “Widow of the Little Lantern” must have been – who released sighs and tears as they contemplated the back of the miraculous Lord. And scrambled with the women, the gauchos with tragic heads marched past, bearded, hairy, tanned by the sun and snow, with frayed poncho and torn boots. Many of these boots seemed to yawn, showing through the open mouth of their tips the toes, completely free.
Not a single one of these aquiline-profiled, ragged, fierce, and courteous horsemen failed to proudly wear large spurs. They would die of hunger rather than abandon their dignity as horsemen.
They all attended to the small flames that pulsed on their clenched fists, taking care that they did not go out. Some carried up to four lighted candles between the fingers of each hand, thus fulfilling the orders of the absent devotees. Rosalindo was among them, and a friend who was at his side was the bearer of the six remaining candles. Both of them, being young, sought to march among the best-looking devotees.
Sheepdog had not hesitated for a moment to faithfully fulfill the orders received. With the miraculous image there were no tricks. Only the smallest candles that his neighbors wanted were allowed to be bought, reserving the difference in price for what would come after the procession.
The Christ enthusiasts who had not been able to buy a candle needed to do something in honor of the image, and they put a shoulder under their litter to help the bearers. But there were so many who crowded together for this superfluous effort, and their movements so disorderly, that the Lord of the Miracle swayed, in danger of falling to the ground, and the police believed it necessary to intervene, driving away excessive devotees with sticks.
When the procession ended, Rosalindo blew out the fourteen candles, calculating what they could give him for the ends. Then, in the company of his friend, he set about running the different “houses of joy” existing in the city.
In all of them the zamacueca was danced, called in the country the Chilean girl. Around midnight, sweaty from so much dancing and from the numerous glasses of cane liquor — manufactured in the Tucumán sugar mills — that carried drinks, they entered a house of the same species, where several women danced to the sound of a harp with some riders of almost gigantic stature.