1492 eBook

Mary Johnston
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 376 pages of information about 1492.

The storm climbed and thickened and evidently was to become a fury.  Wind began to whistle, trees to bend, lightnings to play, thunder to sound.  It grew.  We stood in blazing light, thunder almost burst our ears, a tree was riven a bow-shot away.  Great warm rain began to fall.  We could hardly stand against the wind.  We were going under mountainside with a splashing stream below us.  Diego Colon shouted, as he must to get above wind and thunder.  “Hurry! hurry!  They know place.”  All began to run.  After a battle to make way at all, we came to a slope of loose, small stones and vine and fern.  This we climbed, passed behind a jagged mass of rock, and found a cavern.  A flash lit it for us, then another and another.  At mouth it might be twenty feet across, was deep and narrowed like a funnel.  Panting, we threw ourselves on the cave floor.

The storm prevailed through the rest of this day and far into the night. “Hurricane!” said the Cubans.  “Not great one, little one!” But we from Spain thought it a great enough hurricane.  The rain fell as though it would make another flood and in much less than forty days.  We must be silent, for wind and thunder allowed no other choice.  Streams of rain came into the cavern, but we found ledges curtained by rock.  We ate cassava cake and drank from a runlet of water.  The storm made almost night, then actual night arrived.  We curled ourselves up, hugging ourselves for warmth, and went to sleep.

The third day from the town we came to the sea and the ships.  All seemed well.  Our companions had felt the storm, had tales to tell of wrenched anchors and the Pinta’s boat beat almost to pieces, uprooted trees, wind, lightning, thunder and rain.  But they cut short their recital, wishing to know what we had found.

Luis and I made report to the Admiral.  He sat under a huge tree and around gathered the Pinzons, Fray Ignatio, Diego de Arana, Roderigo Sanchez and others.  We related; they questioned, we answered; there was discussion; the Admiral summed up.

But later I spoke to him alone.  We were now on ship, making ready for sailing.  We would go eastward, around this point of Asia, since from what all said it must be point, and see what was upon the other side.  “They all gesture south!  They say `Babeque—­Babeque!  Bohio!’ "

I asked him, “Why is it that these Indians here seem glad for us to go?”

He sighed impatiently, drawing one hand through the other, with him a recurring gesture.  “It is the women!  Certain of our men—­” I saw him look at Gutierrez who passed.

“Tomaso Passamonte, too,” I said.

“Yes.  And others.  It is the old woe!  Now they have only to kill a man!”

He arraigned short-sightedness.  I said, “But still we are from heaven?”

“Still.  But some of the gods—­just five or six, say—­ have fearful ways!” He laughed, sorrowfully and angrily.  “And you think there is little gold, and that we are very far from clothed and lettered Asia?”

Project Gutenberg
1492 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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