Quarrels—quarrels at Isabella. Two main parties and all the lesser ones. Disease and scarcity. Fray Geronimo arrived from St. Thomas. He had stories. The Viceroy grew dark red, his eyes lightened. Yet he believed that what was told pertained to men of Margarite, not to that cavalier himself. He wrote to Margarite—I do not know what. But presently a plan arose in his mind and was announced. Don Alonso de Ojeda was to command St. Thomas. Don Pedro Margarite should have a moving force of several hundred Castilians, mainly for exploration, but at need for other things. Going here and there about the country, it might impress upon Caonabo that the Spaniard though gentle by nature, was dangerous when aroused.
Alonso de Ojeda, three hundred men behind him, went forth on his black horse, to trumpet and drum, very gay and ready to go. In a week he sent into Isabella six Indians in chains. These had set upon three of Margarite’s men coming with a letter to the Viceroy and had robbed them, though without doing them bodily injury. Alonso de Ojeda had cut off their ears and sent them all in heavily chained. The Viceroy condemned them to be beheaded, but when they were on their knees before the block reprieved them, one by one. He kept them chained for a time for all visiting Indians to see, then formally pardoned them and let them go.
Matters quieted. Sickness again sank, a flood retiring, leaving pools. Alonso de Ojeda and Pedro Margarite reported peace in Hispaniola. The Admiral came forth from his house one day and said quietly to this one and that one that now he meant again to take up Discovery.
He gave authority in Isabella to Don Diego, and made him a council where sat Father Buil, Caravajal, Coronel and Juan de Luxan. Then out of five ships we took the Cordera, the Santa Clara and the San Juan, and we set sail on April the twenty-fourth.
THE island, we learned, was named Jamaica. The Admiral called it Santiago, but it also rests Jamaica.
Of all these lands, outside of the low, small islands to which we came first, Cuba seemed to us the peaceable land. Jamaica gave us almost Carib welcome. Its folk had the largest canoes, the sharpest, toughest lances. Perhaps they had heard from some bold sea rover that we had come, but that we were not wholly gods!
Our crossbow men shot amongst them. The arrows failed to halt them, but when we sent a bloodhound the dog did our work. It was to them what griffon or fire-breathing dragon might be to a Seville throng. When the creature sprang among them they uttered a great cry and fled. Jamaica is most beautiful.