Friday, June 27, 2014

the last book I ever read (Marie Arana's Bolívar: American Liberator, excerpt twelve)

from Bolívar: American Liberator by Marie Arana:

Everything happened quickly after that. The American diplomat William Henry Harrison was booted unceremoniously from Colombia for his scandalous attempts to meddle with internal affairs. The French delegation left in a huff, as did its English counterpart. When the Liberator entered the capital for the last time on January 15, 1830, hardly a voice was raised in welcome. The streets were hung in festive bunting and four thousand soldiers lined the way, but the people were eerily silent, as if something calamitous was afoot. There were rounds of cannon, choruses of music, and yet the air rang with anything but merriment. When Bolívar finally came into view, he was tiny, skeletal—a wasted specter with lackluster eyes whose voice was barely audible. It was apparent to everyone that the Liberator was not long for this earth. His grief was palpable. Lost in thought, reduced by fatigue, he made one last ride to the presidential palace.

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