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This is Jean-Baptiste Lamy, first Archbishop of Santa Fe.  It was on his life and work as a missionary in New Mexico that Willa Cather based her character Jean Marie Latour in her novel Death Comes for the Archbishop.

I thought you might be interested in seeing the original.

Doing a little additional historickal digging, I was delighted to find that the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi at Santa Fe is, in fact, exactly as Cather had described it in her novel, in terms of history, material and design.  A couple years ago I had a biznay matter out in Albuquerque.  I never wound up actually having to go there, but had I done so and knowing what I know now, I would most certainly have nipped up to Santa Fe to visit it.  What a handsome little Romanesque work!

As for the book, about which I know I have been going on a bit of alte, I have to confess that as much as I enjoyed it, I didn’t really appreciate it properly.  You see, the title made me expect something far, far darker, a tale of struggle and ultimate futility.  Indeed, as I read, I kept dreading that something awful was about to happen.  Now that I’ve gotten through without anything going bang, as it were, I’m going to have to go back and reread it, savoring the more contemplative aspects.

And speaking of reading, I’ve noticed of late that the name Kit Carson keeps appearing in the books I’m perusing.  Taking this as a lead, I’ve decided to clamp down on ol’ Carson (about whom all of my knowledge is second hand, as it were) and to that end recently bought and have started Blood and Thunder, The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides.

I’ll let you know what I think.

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