IN Jamaica, Bolívar has touched bottom. He is at the lowest point of his whole career. Fever and hunger and the hardships of nearly six years of constant struggle have reduced his slight body to skin and bones. His broad forehead is furrowed with deep lines, his long face is the face of a living corpse; but his sunken eyes are burning still. The Duke of Manchester, governor of the island, entertains him at dinner and says of him afterwards, "The flame has consumed the oil."
He is in a strange land, penniless, without even a change of clothes. He finds an English friend, Maxwell Hyslop, there, and writes him short notes, begging for loans--notes couched in words of ironic humor. "I haven't a single peso," he writes. "My laundress, patient soul, refuses to wash my only shirt." The loans are forthcoming--one hundred dollars one time, two hundred another.
He lives in a small hut with a floor of bare earth and a hammock for a bed. Night after night, sleepless with his streaming thoughts, he paces back and forth like a caged animal. By day he lies in his hammock, one foot dangling, swinging the hammock rapidly, rapidly. His eyes, fixed upon the eaves of the thatched ceiling, do not see the tiny lizards that scurry there. They still see only those great visions of glory.
There are other Venezuelan patriots in Kingston, too-- Santiago Mariño, the Carabaño brothers, Briceño Méndez. The Liberator talks with them constantly--endless discussions, futile scheming. He joins them occasionally in games
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Man of Glory: Simon Bolivar. Contributors: Thomas Rourke - Author. Publisher: William Morrow. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 144.