1492 eBook

Mary Johnston
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 304 pages of information about 1492.

We padded on upon the dusty road.  I felt his inner warmth, divined his life.  But at last I said, “What the Queen and King promise would give rich care—­”

“I have friends too, for all that I ride out of Spain and seem so poor and desolate!  I would repay—­ay, ten times over—­their faith and their help.”

“Still—­”

“There are moreover the poor, and those who study and need books and maps that they cannot purchase.  There are convents—­one convent especially—­that befriended me when I was alone and nigh hopeless and furthered my cause.  I would give that convent great gifts.”  Turning in the saddle he looked southwest.  “Fray Juan Perez—­”

Palos shore spread about me, and rose La Rabida, white among vineyards and pines.  Doves flew over cloister.  But I did not say all I knew.

“There are other things that I would do.  I do not speak of them to many!  They would say that I was mad.  But great things that in this age none else seems inclined to do!”

“As what?” I asked.  “I have been called mad myself.  I am not apt to think you so.”

He began to speak of a mighty crusade to recover the
Holy Sepulchre.

The road to Cordova stretched sunny and dusty.  Above the mountains of Elvira the sky stood keen blue.  Juan Lepe said slowly, “Admiral of the Ocean-Sea and Viceroy and Governor of continents and islands in perpetuity, sons and sons’ sons after you, and gilded deep with a tenth of all the wealth that flows forever from Asia over Ocean-Sea to Spain, and you and all after you made nobles, grandees and wealthy from generation to generation!  Kings almost of the west, and donors to the east, arousers of crusades and freers of the Sepulchre!  You build a high tower!”

Carters and carts going by pushed us to the edge of road and covered all with dust.  He waited until the cloud sank, then he said, “Do you know—­but you cannot know what it is to be sent from pillar to post and wait in antechambers where the air stifles, and doff cap—­who have been captain of ships!—­to chamberlain, page and lackey?  To be called dreamer, adventurer, dicer!  To hear the laugh and catch the sneer!  To be the persuader, the beggar of good and bad, high and low—­to beg year in and year out, cold and warmth, summer and winter, sunrise, noon and sunset, calm and storm, beg of galleon and beg of carrack, yea, beg of cockboat!  To see your family go needy, to be doubted by wife and child and brethren and friends and acquaintance!  To have them say, `While you dream we go hungry!’ and `What good will it do us if there is India, while we famish in Spain?’ and `You love us not, or you would become a prosperous sea captain!’—­Not one year but eighteen, eighteen, since I saw in vision the sun set not behind water but behind vale and hill and mountain and cities rich beyond counting, and smelled the spice draught from the land!”

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Project Gutenberg
1492 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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