DEAR SIR: At your request, I send you the following extracts from my diary, and from notes taken on the day of the assault on San Juan. I kept in my pocket a small pad on which incidents were noted daily from the landing until the surrender.
Though he was a 'sportman, a gambler, a Don Juan, a duel list, nothing was ever said against his honour. "I remember one instance of his generosity in this respect; for it was much talked of at the time. One of your countrymen, who had never handled a fencing-foil nor fired a pistol, took offence at something M. de Mauleon had said in disparagement of the Duke of Wellington, and called him out.
Obviously the proper thing to do was to help them, and I got the men together and started them volley-firing against the Spaniards in the San Juan block-house and in the trenches around it. We could only see their heads; of course this was all we ever could see when we were firing at them in their trenches.
Kitchens, sheepfolds, vineyards, orchards, Juan Can's bedchamber, Ramona searched them all in vain. At last, standing at the foot of the veranda steps, and looking down the garden, she thought she saw figures moving under the willows by the washing-stones. "Can he be there?" she said. "What can he be doing there? Who is it with him?" And she walked down the path, calling, "Alessandro! Alessandro!"
Drake thenceforth considered Spanish property as fair game till he had made up his own losses. He waited quietly for four years till he had re-established himself, and then prepared to try fortune again in a more daring form. The ill-luck at San Juan de Ulloa had risen from loose tongues. There had been too much talk about it. Too many parties had been concerned.
But she had no more illusions, and she became, at heart, unknown to the world, a sort of female Don Juan, without debts and without conquests. Encouraged by success, she published the two volumes of plays which at once placed the name of Camille Maupin in the list of illustrious anonymas. Next, she related her betrayed and deluded love in a short novel, one of the masterpieces of that period.
The resources left at the disposition of the Junta for the defence of the capital were obviously insufficient. A body of 10,000 to 12,000 men, under the command of Benito San Juan, occupied the height Somo-Sierra, and on the 30th November Napoleon in person appeared before the small Spanish army.
Another, in the district of the cacique Guarionex, in the Royal Plain, was called the Conception, which was commanded by Juan de Ayala, who was afterwards succeeded by Michael Ballester. The caciques, who were much burdened by the gold tax, informed the admiral that there were good gold mines to the southward, and advised him to send a party of Christians to explore them.
When this had been done, he seized the hand of the wondering boy and kissing it respectfully, exclaimed, "Your Highness will be informed as to the meaning of my conduct by his Majesty, who is even now approaching." They had proceeded but a short distance before they encountered the royal hunting party, when both Quixada and young Juan dismounted, and bent the knee to their monarch.
I informed my associates of this, and all agreed to it, provided that the word "absolution" should not be used, because if it were, all of us would leave the room; moreover, we supposed that Don Juan de Vargas would be included in this act, for, as he had concurred with us, as our president, it would be very proper that he should do the same as we.
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