General Ortega: I am Largo Ortega, Provisional General of the Revolutionary Army and Minister of External Finances for the Republic of Mexico.
Paladin: That's a very imposing brace of titles.
General Ortega: I have more. But an Indian peon like me is proud of only one thing. That his back bends less than a burro's.
Paladin: There are things less worthy of pride in this world.
General Ortega: In the house there was a library with books against the ceiling. We burned everything, but not the books. The thought came to me that if a man like that dies well, maybe he has learned it from reading. So I kept the books and I read. I was only a soldier then. Afterwards, I became a colonel.
Paladin: When did you become a general? After another library?
Paladin: French Revolution--one of the deputies stood in line waiting for his turn at the guillotine. He is reputed to have said, "There was no revolution. There was only humanity turning over in its sleep."
General Ortega: Maybe like you say. It's only a little turn, in a long night.
Paladin: Largo Ortega. Provisional general, Revolutionary Army, Minister of External Finance for the Republic of Mexico. Count and Countess Armando del Casares.
General Ortega: It is a pleasure.
Count Casares: At one time it was an honor.
General Ortega: Please return the bonds to the Treasury.
Countess Casares: They are not ours. They belong to the Empress Carlota to be used when she is well enough again to return to power.
Paladin: The Empress will never be well enough to return to power. She will never be anything but a woman trying to piece together the bits of a broken dream behind the walls of an asylum.
Countess Casares: If one has lived by a dream, one should be strong enough to die by it.
Paladin: Or strong enough to find a new dream and live by that. Even you have to admit Ortega is a good man. There are too few of them in the world, peasant or aristocrat. If I kill him there's one less--and that's all that will change.
General Ortega: "Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe." Maybe Shelley was right.
Paladin: I think perhaps he was. Except that it was Milton.