chapter
29 Pages

LOS CHICQUETILLOS

THE CORPORAL CAME TO ME AND SAID THAT HE was damned if he was going to occupy the dangerous listening post with the support of only a set of kids-chicquetillos as he called them. I had a good look at the four raw recruits I had allotted to him that afternoon, and realized that he was right. Although they gave their ages as seventeen, they struck me as being nearer fifteen than sixteen. Usually at that age a Madrid boy is quite a man, but these were typical peasant lads with the faces and bodies of children. It almost looked as if they had borrowed their clumsy, gnarled, and weatherbeaten hands from their fathers, at the same time as their trousers, which, though turned up, were still too long.