1492 eBook

Mary Johnston
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 376 pages of information about 1492.

Guacanagari said that Caonabo had invited them to a feast.  It was spread in three houses, and they were divided so, and around each Spaniard was put a ring of Indians.  They were eating and drinking.  Caonabo entered the first house, and his coming made the signal.  Escobedo and Pedro Gutierrez were in this house.  They raised a shout, “Undone, Spaniards!” But though they were heard in the other houses—­these houses being nothing more than booths —­it was to no use.  There followed struggle and massacre; finally Gutierrez and Escobedo and eight men lay dead.  But certain Indians were also killed and among them a son of Caonabo.

It was July.  We began to long toward the Admiral’s return.  A man among us went melancholy mad, watching the sea, threatening the rain when it came down and hid the sea, and the Admiral might go by!  At last he threw himself into ocean and was drowned.  Another man was bitten by a serpent, and we could not save him.  We were twelve Spaniards in La Navidad.  We rested friends with Guarico, though now they held us to be nothing more than demigods.  And indeed by now we were ragged!

Then, in a night, it came.

Guacanagari again appeared.  It had reached him from up the river that Caonabo was making pact with the cacique of Marien and that the two meant to proceed against us.  Standing, he spoke at length and eloquently.  If he rested our friend, it might end in his having for foes Maguana and Marien.  There had been long peace, and Guarico did not desire war.  Moreover, Caonabo said that it was idle to dread Caribs and let in the mighty strangers!  He said that all pale men, afraid of themselves so that they covered themselves up, were filled with evil zemes and were worse than a thousand Caribs!  But Caonabo was a mocker and a hard-of-heart!  Different was Guacanagari.  He told us how different.  It all ended in great hope that Caonabo would think better of it.

We kept watch and ward.  Yet we could not be utterly cooped within La Navidad.  Errands must be done, food be gathered.  More than that, to seem to Guarico frightened, to cry that we must keep day and night behind wall with cannon trained, notwithstanding that Caonabo might be asleep in the mountains of Cibao, would be but to mine our own fame, we who, for all that had passed, still seemed to this folk mighty, each of us a host in himself!  And as nothing came out of the forest, and no more messengers of danger, they themselves had ceased to fear, being like children in this wise.  And we, too, at last; for now it was late August, and the weather was better, and surely, surely, any day we might see a white point rise from blue ocean, —­a white point and another and another, like stars after long clouded night skies!

So we watched the sea.  And also there was a man to watch the forest.  But we did not conceive that the dragon would come forth in the daytime, nor that he could come at any time without our hearing afar the dragging of his body and the whistling of his breath.

Project Gutenberg
1492 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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