Summary and Analysis Book 8: Chapter 1



Vaillant is called back to Santa Fe by Latour, but he does not know why. He is there three weeks when Latour tells him they are going for a ride. Vaillant is impatient to get back to his parish. They ride into the Sandia mountains and come upon a hill of golden rock, a hill that will furnish the cornerstone for the cathedral Latour plans to build in Santa Fe. The rock reminds both priests of the Popes' Palace at Avignon.

Latour dreams of his church built in the Midi Romanesque style. He will hire a builder from France who is the son of an old friend. Vaillant thinks his friend's plans are too extravagant. Latour justifies the expense as an investment in the future of the diocese. Vaillant feels uneasy and wonders why he has been called from Arizona. He wants a cathedral, but style does not seem important to him.

In this chapter, the reader learns that Dona Isabella has moved to New Orleans and that Padre Jesus of Isleta has died.


Vaillant is anxious to return to his work in Arizona and cannot understand why Latour has called him back to Santa Fe. Latour has brought him back for his companionship and to share his dream of building a cathedral in Santa Fe.

Cather further delineates the differences between the two priests. Latour wishes the new cathedral to be European in design, while Vaillant seems indifferent. This is a foreshadowing of the two distinct paths the priests will take in the following chapters.


jalousie a window, shade, or door formed of overlapping, horizontal slats, or louvers, of wood, metal, or glass, that can be adjusted to regulate the air or light coming between them.

Midi Romanesque designating or of a style of European architecture of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, based on the Roman and characterized by the use of the round arch and vault, thick, massive walls, interior bays, and so on.