On three sides of a broad, open court are the lonesome cloisters in which the Monks knelt in their ceaseless prayers.
The chapel floor is a little higher than the court and cloisters, and is paved with bricks.
It wuz at this very convent door that Columbus arrived heart-sore and weary after seven years’ fruitless labor in the cause he held so clost to his heart.
Seven long years that he had spent beggin’ and importunin’ for help to carry out his Heaven-sent visions.
A livin’ light shinin’ in his sad eyes, and he couldn’t git anybody else to see it.
The constant washin’ of new seas on new shores, and he couldn’t git anybody to hear ’em.
A constant glow, prophetic and ardent, longin’ to carry the religion of Christ into a new land that he knew wuz a-waitin’ him, but everybody else deaf and dumb to his heart-sick longin’s.
Oh, I thought to myself as I stood there, if that poor creeter could only had a few of the gorgeous banners that wuz waved out to the air, enough to clothe an army; if he could have only had enough of ’em to made him a hull shirt; if he could have had enough of the banquets spread to his memory, enough to feed all the armies of the earth; if he could have a slice of bread and a good cup of tea out of ’em, how glad I would be, and how glad he would have been!
But it wuzn’t to be, it wuzn’t to be.
Hungry and in rags, almost naked, foot-sore, heart-sore, he arrived at the convent gate, to ask food and shelter for himself and child.
[Illustration: Almost naked, foot-sore, heart-sore, he arrived at the convent gate.]
It wuz here that he found an asylum for a few years, carryin’ on his plans, makin’ out new arguments, stronger, mebby, than he had argued with for seven stiddy years, and I should a thought them old arguments must have been wore out.
It wuz in one of the rooms of the convent that he met the Monks in debate, and also argued back and forth with Garcia Fernandez and Alonzo Penzen, gettin’ the better of Alonzo every time, but makin’ it up to him afterwards by lettin’ him command one of the vessels of his fleet. It wuz from here the superior of the convent, won over by Columbuses eloquence, went for audience with the Queen, and from it Columbus wuz summoned to appear at court.
In this very convent he made his preparations for his voyage, and on the mornin’ he sailed from Palos he worshipped God in this little chapel. What visions riz up before his eyes as he knelt on the brick floor of that little chapel, jest ready to leave the certainty and sail out into the oncertainty, leavin’ the oncertainty and goin’ out into the certainty!
A curious prayer that must have been, and a riz up one.
In that prayer, in the confidence and aspiration of that one man, lay the hull new world. The hope, the freedom, the liberty, the enlightenment of a globe, jest riz up on the breath of that one prayer.