A SENTRY in front of Bolivar's tent died from the bite of a large blue spider. Fires were lit round the camp to keep off the tigers which prowled about at night.
There was now no question of raging war as Miranda had pictured it: Bolivar was a bandit chief collecting his soldiers no matter where, arming them with muskets captured from the enemy; marching to the attack as soon as the presence of Spaniards was signalled, employing all sorts of ruses, spies, and indirect manœuvres. It was a war of ambush, of surprise attack, and prisoners were only taken that they might be forced to speak. Cowards and the irresolute were executed. The men slept upon the ground without fear of the serpents or the spider-crabs. They ate what they could get. In the middle of the night they would leave their camp, ride through the dark, and fall upon a still sleeping enemy; the slaughter was merciless. Two or three times in a day they would fight, and the bravest won. Every minute brought its heroic deeds.
Young noblemen came to take service with Bolivar: 'If two men are needed to free the country, allow me to be the second.' And all these young people, brought up in refinement, adapted themselves joyfully to the guerrilla life.
The combats were man to man, fists, feet, throttlings, knives; guns went off by themselves. Not a