1492 eBook

Mary Johnston
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 304 pages of information about 1492.
with only God and my purpose for friend!  I have touched at the court of Portugal and at the court of Spain, and, roundabout way, at the court of England, and at the houses of the Doges of Venice and of Genoa.  They all kept me swinging long at anchor, but they have never given me a furthering wind.  Eighteen years going to India!  But why do I say eighteen?  The Lord put me forth from landside the day I was born.  Before I was fourteen, at the school in Pavia, He said, `Go to sea.  Sail under thy cousin Colombo and learn through long years all the inches of salt water.’  Later He said, one day when we were swinging off Alexandria, `Study!  Teach thyself!  Buy books, not wine nor fine clothes nor favor of women.  Study on land and study at sea.  Look at every map that comes before you.  Learn to make maps.  When a world map comes before you, look at the western side of it and think how to fill it out knowingly.  Listen to seamen’s tales.  Learn to view the invisible and to feel under foot the roundness of my earth!’

“And He said that same year off Aleppo, `Learn to command ships.  Learn in King Reinier’s war and in what other war Genoa makes.  Learn to direct men and patiently to hear them, winding in and out of their counsels, keeping thyself always wiser than they.’  Well, I studied, and learned, and can command a ship or ships, and know navigation, and can make maps and charts with the best, and can rule seamen, loving them the while.  Long ago, I went to that school which He set, and came forth magister! Long after His first speaking, I was at Porto Santo, well named, and there He said, `Seek India, going westward.’ " He turned his face to the sun.  “I have been going to India fifty-six years.”

Juan Lepe asked, “Why, on yesterday, were you not content with the King and Queen’s terms?  They granted honor and competence.  It was the estate of a prince that you asked.”

Some moments passed before he answered.  The sun was shining, the road white and dusty, the mountains of Elvira purple to the tops and there splashed with silver.  When he spoke, his voice was changed.  Neither now nor hereafter did he discourse of money-gold and nobility flowing from earthly kings with that impersonal exaltation with which he talked of his errand from God to link together east and west.  But he drew them somehow in train from the last, hiding here I thought, an earthly weakness from himself, and the weakness so intertwined with strength that it was hard to divide parasite from oak.

“Did you see,” he asked, “a boy with me?  That was my son Diego whom I have left with a friend in Santa Fe.  Fernando, his half-brother, is but a child.  I shall see him in Cordova.  I have two brothers, dear to me both of them, Diego and Bartholomew.  My old father, Dominico Colombo, still lives in Genoa.  He lives in poverty, as I have lived in poverty these many years.  And there is Pedro Correo, to whom I owe much, husband of my wife’s sister.  My wife is dead.  The mother of Fernando is not my wife, but I love her, and she is poor though beautiful and good.  I would have her less poor; I would give her beautiful things.  I have love for my kindred,—­love and yearning and care and desire to do them good, alike those who trust me and those who think that I had failed them.  I do not fail them!”

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Project Gutenberg
1492 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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