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

The sun descended, the sea grew violet, all we on the Santa Maria gathered for vesper prayer and song.  Fray Ignatio’s robe and back-thrown cowl burned brown against the sea and the sail.  One last broad gold shaft lighted the tall Admiral, his thick white hair, his eagle nose, his strong mouth.  Diego de Arana was big, alert and soldierly; Roderigo Sanchez had the look of alcalde through half a lifetime.  I had seen Roderigo de Escobedo’s like in dark streets in France and Italy and Castile, and Pedro Gutierrez wherever was a court.  Juan de la Cosa, the master, stood a keen man, thin as a string.  Out of the crowd of mariners I pick Sancho and Beltran the cook, Ruiz the pilot, William the Irishman and Arthur the Englishman, and two or three others.  And Luis Torres.  The latter was a thinker, and a Jew in blood.  He carried it in his face, considerably more markedly than I carried my grandmother Judith.  But his family had been Christian for a hundred years.  Before I left forecastle for poop I had discovered that he was learned.  Why he had turned sailor I did not then know, but afterwards found that it was for disappointed love.  He knew Arabic and Hebrew, Aristotle and Averroes, and he had a dry curiosity and zest for life that made for him the wonder of this voyage far outweigh the danger.

There was a hymn that Fray Ignatio taught us and that we sang at times, beside the Latin chant.  He said that a brother of his convent had written it and set it to music.

 Thou that art above us,
 Around us, beneath us,
 Thou who art within us,
 Save us on this sea! 
 Out of danger,
 Teach us how we may
 Serve thee acceptably! 
 Teach us how we may
 Crown ourselves, crowning Thee!

Beltran the cook’s voice was the best, and after him Sancho, and then a sailor with a great bass, William the Irishman.  Fray Ignatio sang like a good monk, and Pedro Gutierrez like a troubadour of no great weight.  The Admiral sang with a powerful and what had once been a sweet voice.  Currents and eddies of sweetness marked it still.  All sang and it made together a great and pleasurable sound, rolling over the sea to the Pinta and the Nina, and so their singing, somewhat less in volume, came to us.  All grew dusk, the ships were bat wings sailing low; out sprang the star to which the needle no longer pointed.  The great star Venus hung in the west like the lantern of some ghostly air ship, very vast.

 Thou that art above us,
 Around us, beneath us,
 Thou that art within us,
 Save us on this sea!

CHAPTER XIV

WE were a long, long way from Spain.  A flight of birds went over us.  They were flying too high for distinguishing, but we did not hold them to be sea birds.  We sounded, but the lead touched no bottom.  West and west and west, pushed by that wind!  Late September, and we had left Palos the third of August.

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