From Reading Room/8:

Rusted Lances
Juan Benet
Translated by Kathleen McGough Johnson

Back to the issue 8 page

The entire strategy of the Republicans, hastily put together in the previous few days, had turned on this one idea. On this occasion–in contrast to the previous ones–communication between the diverse leaders and groups had been efficient. Even in spite of the disorderly withdrawal of Timoner’s and Estanis’ forces (commanded in his absence by Ubaldo Orejón), the regrouping of troops around the bridge and the House of Forgiveness had been executed with order and secrecy, following the commands of Pou and the instructions of Ruán. It was Ruán who understood, from the first moment, that since the bridge was the place most coveted by the enemy, it could also be the most vulnerable point of its advance. With this in mind, he proposed a defense system–utilizing the House of Forgiveness and the higher terraces on both banks–to eliminate the possibility of rapid escape. In other words, instead of defending it, he transformed it into a trap. That night, with the consent of Comrade Sr Pou, he personally went to El Salvador via the road to Matalutero to confront Mazón and convince him, with the help of his hand-drawn sketch of the valley in the area of the Congosto, of the need to re-assign a contingent of his troops to the defense of the left flank. (Timoner still had not appeared; perhaps he was lost on a mountain path after straying from the highway above Cártago.) From that night’s deliberations, Ruán’s design of the defense plan against whoever would initiate an attack was developed.


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