THE San Ildefonso was delayed for seven weeks in the port of Vera Cruz and Bolívar made the two-hundred-and-sixty-mile journey on horseback into the mountains to Mexico City, carrying letters to the archbishop and the viceroy. He learned of unrest in that Spanish colony too, and of the uprisings that had occurred there, affairs similar to those in his own country--abortive little attempts that had met the same quick defeat, that brought down the same terrible punishments. He was beginning to take considerable interest in these things now. He is said to have spoken out rather indiscreetly to the viceroy on political questions, but that is doubtful; not because of timidity, for that quality was completely absent in his makeup, but simply because he does not seem to have developed any strong, definite opinions or ambitions as yet. Out of the natural resentment of his class, the effects of his undisciplined early life and the teachings of Rodríguez, they were still fluxing and just beginning to take shape.
The next landfall was Cuba; and Bolívar visited the governor there and learned still more of Spain's treatment of her colonies--not from the governor, of course, but from creoles with whom he talked. Talking was one of his great addictions. He talked to everyone, always, everywhere, throughout his life.
He landed in Bilbao and for the first time in two and a half centuries a direct descendant of old Simón Bolívar returned to set foot on Vizcayan soil. He took the dili-