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Turtledove, Harry - American Empire 02 - The Center Cannot Hold by Turtledove Harry

Turtledove, Harry - American Empire 02 - The Center Cannot Hold by Turtledove Harry

Author:Turtledove, Harry [Turtledove, Harry]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Alternate History, Fiction, Science Fiction
ISBN: 9780345444226
Google: w5YiAQAAIAAJ
Amazon: 0345444221
Goodreads: 101563
Publisher: Del Rey
Published: 2002-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


XI

Hipolito Rodriguez had never thought about what a stock-market crash could do to the town of Baroyeca, and to the silver mine in the hills on which the town depended for its existence. Just because he hadn’t thought about such things, though, didn’t mean they weren’t real. The mine shut down in September. A few days later, the railroad stopped coming into Baroyeca.

“A good thing we got the stove when we did,” his wife said when he brought that news home. “It would take a lot longer to come here now.”

“Sí, Magdalena,” he said. “Everything will take a lot longer to come here now. The town is liable to dry up and blow away, and then what will become of the farms all around it?”

“We go on and do as we always did,” Magdalena answered. “We stay on our land and mind our own business.”

“But we can’t make everything here,” Rodriguez said. “If the general store closes, life will get very hard.”

“How can the general store close?” Magdalena said. “Everyone around here goes to it. Señor Diaz is a rich man.”

“How rich will he be if he has to ship everything into Baroyeca by wagon or by truck?” Rodriguez asked. “I don’t know how much that costs, but I know it costs a lot more than the railroad.”

“Now you worry me,” Magdalena said. “I think you did that on purpose.”

“As a matter of fact, yes,” he replied. “I’m worried myself. I didn’t want to be the only one.”

“Oh.” She’d been making tortillas. After rubbing cornmeal off her hands and onto her apron, she gave Hipolito Rodriguez a hug. “Who would have thought it could be this bad?”

“Who, indeed?” he answered. “Up till now, we complained that things that happened in Richmond didn’t matter one way or the other here in Sonora, and that nobody back there cared about us.” His laugh rang bitter. “Now things that happened in Richmond and in New York City matter very much here, and Madre de Dios! but I wish they didn’t.”

Magdalena nodded. “How do these things work out like this? You go to the meetings of the Partido de la Libertad—what do they say there? Do they know? Can they make it better?”

“What can they do now?” he asked in return. “The president is a Whig. Most of the Senators and Congressmen are Whigs. The Freedom Party can only protest what the Whigs do, and the Whigs don’t do much. They don’t seem to know what to do. They are fools.” He’d always thought the Whigs were fools. Even before Sonora started electing men from the Freedom Party to Congress, the state had sent Radical Liberals off to Richmond.

“If the Freedom Party had power, what would it do?” Magdalena asked.

“Put people to work,” Rodriguez answered at once. “Make sure they stayed at work. Make the country strong again. Tell the United States to leave us alone, and be strong enough to make sure the United States did it. Take back the states the USA stole from us in the war.



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