But the images of Gutierrez’s dreams seemed to him to be seated in Cathay and India. They bred in him belief that he was coming to happiness by that sea road that glistered before us. He and Roderigo de Escobedo began to talk with assurance of what they should find. Having small knowledge of travelers’ tales they made application to the Admiral who, nothing loth, answered them out of Marco Polo, Mandeville and Pedro de Aliaco.
But the ardor of his mind was such that he outwent his authors. Where the Venetian said “gold” the Genoese said “Much gold.” Where the one saw powerful peoples with their own customs, courts, armies, temples, ships and trade, the other gave to these an unearthly tinge of splendor. Often as he sat in cabin or on deck, or rising paced to and fro, we who listened to his account, listened to poet and enthusiast speaking of earths to come. Besides books like those of Marco Polo and John Mandeville and the Bishop of Cambrai he had studied philosophers and the ancients and Scripture and the Fathers. He spoke unwaveringly of prophecies, explicit and many, of his voyage, and the rounding out of earth by him, Christopherus Columbus. More than once or twice, in the great cabin, beneath the swinging lantern, he repeated to us such passages, his voice making great poetry of old words. “Averroes saith—Albertus Magnus saith—Aristotle saith—Seneca saith—Saint Augustine saith—Esdras in his fourth book saith—” Salt air sweeping through seemed to fall into a deep, musical beat and rhythm. “After the council at Salamanca when great churchmen cried Irreligion and even Heresy upon me, I searched all Scripture and drew testimony together. In fifty, yea, in a hundred places it is plain! King David saith —job saith—Moses saith—Thus it reads in Genesis—”
Diego de Arana smote the table with his hand. “I am yours, senor, to find for the Lord!” Fray Ignatio lifted dark eyes. “I well believe that nothing happens but what is chosen! I will tell you that in my cell at La Rabida I heard a cry, `Come over, Ignatio the Franciscan!’ "
And I, listening, thought, “Not perhaps that ancient spiritual singing of spiritual things! But in truth, yes, it is chosen. Did not the Whole of Me that I can so dimly feel set my foot upon this ship?” And going out on deck before I slept, I looked at the stars and thought that we were like the infant in the womb that knows not how nor where it is carried.
We might be four hundred leagues from Spain. Still the wind drove us, still we hardly shifted canvas, still the sky spread clear, of a vast blue depth, and the blue glass plain of the sea lay beneath. It was too smooth, the wind in our rigging too changeless of tune. At last, all would have had variety spring. There began a veritable hunger for some change, and it was possible to feel a faint horror. What if this is the horror—to go on forever and ever like this?