BLTC Press Titles

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Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

Memoirs of General Miller

by John Miller


At midnight on the 25th, Colonel Miller pushed off in a jolly-boat, accompanied by an officer, three soldiers, and a bugleman. An officer and twenty-five men followed in the launch, with orders to put back in case of resistance to the landing of those in the jolly-boat. The surf broke furiously, and tracks of foam across the entrance whitened the foot of the rocks on each side of the mouth of the inlet, and formed eddies difficult to row through in the dark. The adventurous party, however, landed without opposition. The royalist detachment had fled to Camana. The patriots entered the village of Quilca at two A.M., and surprised in his bed the curate, a staunch royalist, who was till then uninformed of the sudden retreat of his friends. At daybreak a patriot advanced guard, posted on the road leading to Arequipa, made prisoner Don N. Aramburu, a native of Spain, who had been despatched by the merchants of Arequipa, to arrange with the commanding officer of the Aurora for the shipment of treasure. He was also the bearer of important despatches from the viceroy La Serna to the minister of war at Madrid, one of which, containing his excellency's resignation, we have given in the last chapter. The intercepted correspondence and other information were sent to General Alvarado on the 26th.

Soon after sunset, on that evening, the patriot party marched, and arrived at Camana by daybreak on the 27th. They were well received by the in- 1habitants, who stated that the sub-delegate Lieutenant-Colonel Pinera had, about three hours before, fled with eighty men across the river, which runs a mile north of the town, and that he had destroyed

the balsas to impede pursuit. The river flows in several streams through a very wide bed, the intervening banks being covered with tall shrubs; but although fords are always to be found, excepting during the season in which the snow melts upon the mountains, yet they are not easily hit upon; the height of the river being seldom the same for two days together; and the mode of ferrying across by balsas renders fordable places of less importance. Upon a reward being offered to any person who should discover one, some peasants galloped off. Their zeal was further stimulated by a promise that their cattle, carried off by the royalists, should be restored upon overtaking the runaways. At ten A.M. a peasant returned with the agreeable intelligence that he had been successful. Thirty soldiers and as many peasants, all well mounted, instantly went in pursuit. They found the royalists sleeping in a field eight leagues from Camana, on the road to Majes. Twentyfive of them were made prisoners, together with the sub-delegate, and the rest dispersed. Seventy head of oxen, some mules, horses, and arms were taken.

Colonel Miller re-entered Camana on a Sunday morning. Before going to the apartments prepared for him he attended mass. The inhabitants, upon his first arrival, were anxious to know what was his religion, and this little circumstance not only satisfied their curiosity, but stamped him throughout that line of country as "a good Christian," which important discovery spread rapidly through the district.

Camana is situated in a semicircular savannah, nearly two leagues in length from north to south, and about half that extent at its widest part from the sea-shore; the back ground being formed by the lomas or downs*. The town is half a league from the sea. There is a tremendous surf on the bar at the river's mouth, and no nearer place of embarkation than the caleta of Quilca.

Camana is a remarkable instance of what can be effected by the application of capital in the hands of an individual of talent and perseverance. Fiftysix years before, it contained only half a dozen huts, and about thirty inhabitants, who drew their chief support from ferrying travellers and goods across the river on balsas. A Spanish gentleman, named Flores, who had lived rather extravagantly, devoted twenty thousand dollars, being part of the remnant of a shattered fortune, to the digging of large azequias, or channels, which diverted from the river a quantity of water, sufficient to give fertility to ground that now supports a population of five thousand souls, and which might be made capable of supporting ten times that number. Whoever chose to build a house on this property received the unconditional present of a moderate portion of land.

Flores continued to live in an expensive style, and bequeathed ninety thousand dollars to each of his three children by a first marriage, and thirty thousand dollars to each of a numerous family by a second wife, who is still alive, and in the enjoyment of a very fine sugar estate. Another estate, equally valuable, is the property of the heir, Colonel Don. Jose- Maria

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