Summary and Analysis Book 7: Chapter 3



The following spring, Latour and Jacinto go to the Painted Desert and the Hopi villages. The bishop then heads south to visit the Navajo Eusabio. Eusabio calls Latour "friend," and offers him a quiet Hogan where he can reflect and watch the river. Latour meditates for three days in an attempt to decide whether he should bring Vaillant back from Arizona for his companionship.

Latour recalls how he met Vaillant. They had come from neighboring parishes but had not met until entering Seminary. Latour had noticed Vaillant, an ugly boy who had much personality. After a short conversation, Latour takes it upon himself to befriend and protect Vaillant. The cool, critical, sometimes depressed Latour needs the lively, vivacious, charming-but-ugly Vaillant.


Latour is the scholar, Vaillant the man of action. Latour is embarrassed by Vaillant's begging but realizes he only begs for the Church and never for himself. Vaillant easily endears himself to people, while Latour has difficulty making interpersonal connections. Vaillant's enthusiastic charm even impressed the pope, who blessed two valises full of objects for Vaillant rather than the customary one object. The Holy Father and the priest converse with such enthusiasm that they lose track of time, almost causing the pope to miss another appointment. As he departs, the pope salutes Vaillant, and says, "Courage, American."