Autumn 1942 • Vol. IV No. 3 Fiction |

Alchemy

We landed in Peru in ignorance. We had advanced in uncertainty. Our ignorance was the hope of the gambler; our uncertainty the Indian’s guile. We had advanced from our base, San Miguel, four days towards the mountains. Four days and we were still unsure of ourselves and the future. Nobody knew the state of Pizarro’s mind, not even his brothers. It was common knowledge that he was never ready with a decision, and yet when forced he always managed to reach what proved to be a wise course of action. Generally he watched the brew of circumstance like a witch and let its smell tell him what to do. This was no longer possible. The progress of the little army’s advance was such that all acts must be as quick and bold as the decision Pizarro, as Governor and General, had made at San Miguel, or all was lost. I said four days. My statement may mislead you. We were four marches from San Miguel up the valley of the Piura, and it was always up that we marched. We were traveling in those

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Fiction and Rhetoric

By David Daiches

We landed in Peru in ignorance. We had advanced in uncertainty. Our ignorance was the hope of the gambler; our uncertainty the Indian’s guile. We had advanced from our base, […]

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