You have no idea what the Tour de France is. But do you want to see how we keep going? Cocaine for the eyes; chloroform for the gums. You want to see the pills, too? Under the mud our flesh is as white as a sheet, our eyes are swimming, and every night we dance like St. Vitus instead of sleeping.
— Henri Pelissier, winner of the Tour in 1923
Already it is twilight down in Laredito. Bats fly forth from their roosting in courthouse and tower and circle the quarter. The air is full of the smell of burning charcoal. Children and dogs squat by the mud stoops and gamecocks flap and settle in the branches of the fruit trees. They go afoot, these comrades, down along a bare adobe wall. Band music carries dimly from the square. They pass a watercart in the street and they pass a hole in the wall where by the light of a small forgefire and old man beats shapes out of metal. They pass in a doorway a young girl whose beauty becomes the flowers about.
— Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy