1492 eBook

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

The Santa Maria was a good enough ship, though fifty men crowded it.  It was new and clean, a fair sailer, though not so swift as the Pinta.  We mariners settled ourselves in waist and forecastle.  The Admiral, Juan de la Cosa, the master, Roderigo Sanchez, Diego de Arana and Roderigo de Escobedo, Pedro Gutierrez, a private adventurer, the physician Bernardo Nunez and Fray Ignatio had great cabin and certain small sleeping cabins and poop deck.  In the forecastle almost all knew one another; all ran into kinships near or remote.  But the turn of character made the real grouping.  Pedro had his cluster and Sancho had his, and between swayed now to the one and now to the other a large group.  Fernando, I feel gladness in saying, had with him but two or three.  And aside stood variations, individuals.  Beltran the cook was such an one, a bold, mirthful, likable man.  We had several dry thinkers, and a braggart and two or three who proved miserably villainous.  We had weathercocks and men who faced forward, no matter what the wind that blew.

The Admiral knew well that he must have, if he could, a ship patient, contented and hopeful.  I bear him witness that he spared no pains.

We had aboard trumpet and drum and viol, and he would have frequent music.  Each day toward evening each man was given a cup of wine.  And before sunset all were gathered for vesper service, and we sang Salve Regina.  At night the great familiar stars shone out above us.

Second day passed much like first,—­light fickle wind, flapping sails, smooth sea, cloudless sky.  To-day beheld sea life after shore grown habitual.  We might have sailed from Marseilles or Genoa and been sailing for a month.  If this were all, then no more terror from the Sea of Darkness than from our own so well-known sea!  But Fernando said, “It is after the Canaries!  We know well enough it is not so bad this side of them.  Why do they call them Dog Islands?”

“Perhaps they found dogs there.”

“No, but that they give warning like watchdogs! `If you go any further it shall be to your woe!’ "

“Aye, aye!  Have you heard tell of the spouting mountain?”

This night the wind came up and by morning was blowing stiffly, urging us landward as though back to Spain.  The sky became leaden, with a great stormy aspect.  The waves mounted, the lookout cried that the Pinta was showing signals of distress.  By now all had shortened sail, but the Pinta was taking in everything and presently lay under bare poles.  The Santa Maria worked toward her until we were close by.  They shouted and we back to them.  It was her rudder that was unshipped and injured.  Captain Martin Pinzon shouted that he would overcome it, binding it somehow in place, and would overtake us, the Pinta being faster sailer than the Santa Maria or the Nina.  But the Admiral would not agree, and we took in all sail and lay tossed by a rough sea until afternoon

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1492 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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