THE towns were rebuilding everywhere.
Miranda had appointed himself Dictator and Generalissimo of the land and sea forces of Venezuela. He returned to Caracas to call to arms every Venezuelan, whatever his rank in life or his colour. Slaves were to be restored to freedom as the price of ten years' military service. Recruits were taken by force, and men were brought in with handcuffs on their wrists; they were immediately drafted into barracks, where they were trained before they knew it. They often made excellent soldiers. They did not have very regular meals, they were paid in paper money and their outfit was not very uniform; but what did it matter? Men were needed.
With this army of rookies Miranda beat the Spaniards twice, and Monteverde had the greatest difficulty in escaping.
Miranda gave a dinner of a hundred covers to his officers.
His general staff was almost entirely composed of foreigners, Irish, Scotch, and above all, French.
While they were eating, the officers related their adventures: 'Before I came here to command the Venezuelan cavalry,' declared Serviez, 'I went through some bad times. I was a captain of dragoons under Napoleon and everybody spoke of the brilliant