1492 eBook

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

To mariners and adventurers he said at no time any word of despair.  He said, “A ship will come!  For if—­which the saints forfend—­Bartholomew Fiesco and Diego Mendez have not reached San Domingo, yet come at last will some craft to Jamaica!  From our island or from Spain.  How many times since ’92 has there been touching here?  Of need now it will be oftener and oftener!”

But still many pined with hope deferred.—­And then, out of the blue, arose first Diego de Escobar’s small ship, and later the two good ships sent by Don Nicholas de Ovando.

The Admiral of the Ocean-Sea lodged in the Governor’s house in San Domingo.  Who so courteous as Don Nicholas, saving only Don Cristoval?

Juan Lepe found certain ones and his own eyes to tell him of island fortunes.  Here was Sancho, a bearded man, and yet looked out the youth who had walked from Fishertown to Palos strand.  “Oh, aye!  San Domingo’s growing!  It’s to be as great as Seville, with cathedral and fortress and palace.  White men build fast, though not so fast as the Lord!”

“The Governor?”

“Oh, he makes things spin!  He’s hard on the Indians—­ but then they’ve surely given us trouble!”

He told of new forts and projected towns and an increasing stream of ships, from Spain to Spain again.  “We’re here to stay—­as long as there’s a rock of gold or anything that can be turned into gold!  The old bad times are over—­and that old, first simple joy, too, Doctor!—­ Maybe we’ll all ship for Ciguarre.”

But no.  The colony now was firm, with thousands of Spaniards where once had stood fivescore.  Luis Torres sat with me and he told me of Indian war,—­of Anacaona hanged and Cotubanama hanged, of eighty caciques burned or hanged, of peace at last.  Now the Indians worked the mines, and scraped the sands of every stream, and likewise planted cotton and maize for the conquerors.  They were gathered in repartimentios, encomiendas, parceled out, so many to every Spaniard with power.  The old word “gods” had gone out of use.  “Master” was now the plain and accurate term.

The Governor was a shrewd, political, strong man,—­not without his generosities to white men.  But no dreamer!  He put down faction, but there was now less faction to put down.  All had been united in mastering the Indian, and now with peace the getting of wealth was regularized.  He had absolutely the ear of King Ferdinand, and help from Spain whenever he called for it.  Yes, he was fairly liked by the generality.  And had I noticed the growth in cowls and processions?  Mother Church was moving in.

The next day I met again Bartolome de Las Casas.

September now—­and a ship from Spain, bringing the news that the Queen was ill.  There was another who was ill, and that was the Admiral of the Ocean-Sea: 

“I must go—­and we quarrel here, this Governor-in-my-place and I—­I must go, rest at La Rabida with you, Doctor, and Fray Juan Perez to help me.  Then I must go to court and see the Queen.”

Project Gutenberg
1492 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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