PUERTO CABELLO was so called because a single hair would suffice to moor a ship there in the Gulf of Triste, marvellously sheltered for such a mountainous coast. Long sandy beaches stretched beneath hills covered with giant cactus. The town was much prettier than La Guayra; the streets were wider, the houses better kept. There was a public garden in the midst of charming walks. Nothing was to be heard but the sound of a stream which ran down towards the sea, and whose noise in the end passed unnoticed, like the ticking of a clock.
Bolivar was not there for pleasure. The place was important and would command any future landings. The rank of garrison commandant has few thrills for an ardent young officer who is only happy when he is leading his troops to the attack. No matter, he was obliged to make up his mind to it. Miranda did not like Bolivar's way of conducting himself; he had made cutting remarks after a review because the latter had caracoled at the head of his division. Miranda was mixing the Old and the New Worlds. All the same you could not put shakos or plumed helmets onto the Venezuelans. The best stimulant for them was to show one's self fearless; to raise their enthusiasm, to lead them to battle as if it were a bull-fight.
Bolivar was bored. He had had a floor made upon a piece of level ground and practised sword-play with