Bolivar the Liberator

By Michel Vaucaire; Margaret Reed | Go to book overview

III

BOLIVAR needed a change of air. He was pale; late nights, gambling, and excesses had made him thin. Rodriguez persuaded him to go with him to Italy.

They went on foot like a pair of friends, they would walk for hours, knapsack on back, and rest in the villages. It was the month of April, and it was pleasant on the roads of France. Bolivar could not keep himself from little adventures on which his tutor turned a blind eye. When they were very tired, they would ride in a peasant's cart. Simon admired this country so different from his own, and its painstaking farmers whom he saw for the first time at close quarters, who worked in the fields as long as it was light, and lived without much ambition, leaving a humble farm from father to son.

Rodriguez sometimes stopped at the side of the road to gather flowers or plants which he examined with a magnifying-glass, and whose family he expounded to his pupil.

This healthy life did them good. They were happy. One night they slept on straw, and Bolivar when he woke dipped his head into fresh water. He looked at his preceptor, who was sleeping peacefully, and could not help admiring this astonishing man, who eight years before had been at the head of a conspiracy to proclaim a republic and work out a constitution. Rodriguez had only escaped death by a miracle, and

-11-

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