Days and days and days! We sought for gold in the Hayna country and found a fair amount. And all Hayti now, each Indian cacique and his country, must gather for us. Must, not may. We built the fortress of San Cristoval, and at last, to be nearer the gold than was Isabella, the Adelantado founded the city of San Domingo, at the mouth of the Ozema, in the Xaragua country. Spaniards in Hispaniola now lived, so many in Isabella, so many in San Domingo, and garrisons in the forts of St. Thomas, Concepcion, and San Cristoval.
Weeks—months. July, and Pedro Alonzo Nino with three caravels filled with strong new men and with provisions. How always we welcomed these incoming ships and the throng they brought that stood and listened and thought at first, after the sea tossing and crowding, that they were come to heaven! And Pedro Nino had left Cadiz in June, three days after the arrival there of the Nina and the Santa Cruz. “June! They had then a long voyage!” —“Long enough! They looked like skeletons! If the Admiral’s hair could get whiter, it was whiter.”
He had letters for the Adelantado from the great brother, having waited in Cadiz while they were written.
Juan Lepe had likewise a letter. “I was in the Nina, Don Juan de Aguado in the Santa Cruz. We met at once head winds that continued. At first I made east, but at last of necessity somewhat to the southward. We saw Marigalante again and Guadaloupe, and making for this last, anchored and went ashore, for the great relief of all, and for water and provision. Here we met Amazons, wearing plumes and handling mightily their bows and arrows. After them came a host of men. Our cannon and arquebuses put them to flight but three of our sailors were wounded. Certain prisoners we took and bound upon the ships. In the village that we entered we found honey and wax. They are Cannibals; they eat men. After four days we set sail, but met again tempest and head winds, checking us so that for weeks we but crept and crawled over ocean. At last we must give small doles of bread and water. There grew famine, sickness and misery. I and all may endure these when great things are about. But they blame me. O God, who wills that the Unknown become the Known, I betake myself to Thy court! Famine increased. There are those, but I will not name them, who cried that we must kill the Indians with us and eat them that we might live. I stood and said, `Let the Cannibals stand with the Cannibals!’ But no man budged.—I will not weary thee, best doctor, with our woes! At last St. Vincent rose out of sea, and we presently came to Cadiz. Many died upon the voyage, and among them Caonabo. In the harbor here we find Pedro Alonzo Nino who will bear my letters.
“In Cadiz I discover both friends and not friends. The sovereigns are at Burgos, and thither I travel. My fortunes are at ebb, yet will the flood come again!”