the he Missa est and De Soto’s words:n”You live again as a Christian, Senor.nAmong Christians.” The apposition ofnthe heathen shriving and the Christiannone, the bitter black brew in the conchnshell and the silver chalice containingnChrist’s blood, though implicit, is unmistakable.nIn his novella The Bear, WilliamnFaulkner wrote that the land of thenAmerican South — Andrew Lytle’snland; the land that Hernando de Sotonwas the first Christian in history to layneyes on — had actually been cursed bynthe evil of slavery. In At the Moon’snInn, Lytle implies, through Tovar, thatnthis same land has been cursed by Godnlong before slavery. For Lytle, the NewnWorld as the conquistadores discoverednit, though it may indeed have been anparadise, was already a fallen one.n”Following de Soto,” Tovar reflects:n… the Christians had stumblednupon the world and before anynknew it, all were drawn fast bynits coils. The’world that wasnflesh was everywhere, its powerneach man knew in himself, itsntemptations and its triumphs.nBut this land was the very bodynof the world. Not through anynagent but through its proper selfnit worked its evil. Where but innone place could this happen?nWhere but . . .nHe put out his hand andngrasped the pole to steadynhimself Had they perchancenstumbled upon Eden,nabandoned of God, running itsnunpruned seasons, ignorant ofnthe generation of man, yetnthroughout all those generationsngrowing heavier with the bloomnthat cannot die, the decay thatncannot live, for the dry rot andnthe odor of that fruit whichnblooms and falls, falls andnblooms, at the garden’s pole?n”As I have done with this water,” thencacique Mocogo says after sprinklingnwater upon the hands of his Christiannguests, “so may you do with the bloodnof your enemies.” Yet for Hernando denSoto, la Florida is much simpler thannthat: “Did you ever think why it is thenIndies have been so long unknown tonChristians? … It is because Satan hasnmade of these worlds his private domain.”nClosed behind pride and his nearlynsuperhuman will, De Soto remains thendistant enigmatic fascination that hisnalienated second, Nuno de Tovar,nalone appears to understand. Lytle hasnrendered him wonderfully, while deliberatelynmaking Tovar and the guidenOrtiz the central intelligences of hisnnarrative. Ortiz is more than a guide,nand he is an interpreter in more thannthe restrictive sense of the word: he isn”one who had been lost that all mightnknow the way.” Ortiz and Tovar arenapparently the sole members of thenexpedition to have some comprehensionnof its meaning. Tovar — a believingnChristian filled with betraying carnalnappetite — grasps instinctively thensignificance of the tarnished cross henlifts from the fingers of the skeleton henfinds in the ravaged Indian village ofnTalimeco, and after taking an Indiannmistress in Cutifichqui he “marries”nher in an Indian ceremony that makesnhim a legitimate member of her familynof the Wind. Like Ortiz, Tovar has anfoot in each camp, and cannot benwholly caught up in the grim adventuringnfor fame and gold — and whatnelse? — that De Soto has inspired, butnthat ends in talk only of maize andnwomen. In both Tovar and Ortiz, thenchivalry and the poverty of the Marshal’snSpain live on in the wildernessnthat has become abruptly imperialnSpain.nIn the novel’s final chapter (ironicallyntided “Conquest”), with De Sotondead of fever in an Indian village onnthe bank of the Mississippi River andnwhat is left of his army lost in thenswamp around it, Tovar has a vision innwhich he beholds the Governor recliningnon the dirt floor of his quarters andnwearing his full suit of burnished armornwith the lid of the casque closed down.nHe hears De Soto speak:n”The will is not enough. It isnnot enough for one bent on hisnown destruction. Did I lead thenchivalry of Spain to the sacredngroves, the blessed land ofnJerusalem? No, I am thenalchemical captain, thenadventurer in gold. Gold thenwanderer. Pursuing, I found thenworid’s secret, the alkahest andnthe panacea. They are one andnthe same. The universalnmenstmum is this …” Slowlynnnfrom the ground the arm raisednup, the bony hand reachednforth, white and shining, andnthe voice thin and distant,n”Only the dead can prophesy.”nAndrew Lytic ends his novel with thenfollowing sentence. “Tovar moved forwardninto the light.”nChilton Williamson, ]r. is seniorneditor for books at Chronicles.nAn American Elegynby George GarrettnRabbit at Restnby John Updikenl^ew York: Alfred A. Knopf;n518 pp., $21.95nWhen a writer lives with andnwrites about a character in fournbooks and for more than thirty years, asnJohn Updike has done with Harryn(“Rabbit”) Angstrom — central characternof Rabbit at Rest and of the quartetnthat began with Rabbit, Run in 1960n— author and character get to knowneach other, strengths and weaknesses,ngood habits and bad, like an old marriedncouple. Like old feet easy andncomfortable in an old pair of shoes.nUpdike and Angstrom always sharednsome particular things — a Pennsylvanianhome and a feeling for it, a finetunednand alert sense of perception, anheightened sensitivity to persons, places,nand things that easily transcendednthe differences between their vocabularynand education and experience.nSome of these differences . . .nAngstrom was an outstanding highschoolnathlete, a basketball star some ofnwhose feats have been remembered forna generation. One reads, here andnthere, that Updike shoots a littie golfn(so does Angstrom, as it happens) andnboth in print and by the twitchingngrapevine one is told that Updike is ancountry fair golfer. But nobody that Inknow of has ever yet singled out andnidentified John Updike as a jock.nNevertheless it needs to be said thatnsome of the best writing in Rabbit atnRest, lively, energetic writing, concernsnAngstrom shooting golf and playingnbasketball (in memory and in the pres-nFEBRUARY 1991/33n