Christopher Columbus and the New World of His Discovery — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 71 pages of information about Christopher Columbus and the New World of His Discovery — Volume 1.
Genoa, and look out upon the great curving Gulf from Porto Fino to where the Cape of the western Riviera dips into the sea; you may walk along the coast to Savona, where Domenico had one of his many habitations, where he kept the tavern, and whither Christopher’s young feet must also have walked; and you may come back and search again in the harbour, from the old Mole and the Bank of St. George to where the port and quays stretch away to the medley of sailing-ships and steamers; but you will not find any sign or trace of Christopher.  No echo of the little voice that shrilled in the narrow street sounds in the Vico Dritto; the houses stand gaunt and straight, with a brilliant strip of blue sky between their roofs and the cool street beneath; but they give you nothing of what you seek.  If you see a little figure running towards you in a blue smock, the head fair-haired, the face blue-eyed and a little freckled with the strong sunshine, it is not a real figure; it is a child of your dreams and a ghost of the past.  You may chase him while he runs about the wharves and stumbles over the ropes, but you will never catch him.  He runs before you, zigzagging over the cobbles, up the sunny street, into the narrow house; out again, running now towards the Duomo, hiding in the porch of San Stefano, where the weavers held their meetings; back again along the wharves; surely he is hiding behind that mooring-post!  But you look, and he is not there—­nothing but the old harbour dust that the wind stirs into a little eddy while you look.  For he belongs not to you or me, this child; he is not yet enslaved to the great purpose, not yet caught up into the machinery of life.  His eye has not yet caught the fire of the sun setting on a western sea; he is still free and happy, and belongs only to those who love him.  Father and mother, brothers Bartolomeo and Giacomo, sister Biancinetta, aunts, uncles, and cousins possibly, and possibly for a little while an old grandmother at Quinto—­these were the people to whom that child belonged.  The little life of his first decade, unviolated by documents or history, lives happily in our dreams, as blank as sunshine.



Christopher was fourteen years old when he first went to sea.  That is his own statement, and it is one of the few of his autobiographical utterances that we need not doubt.  From it, and from a knowledge of certain other dates, we are able to construct some vague picture of his doings before he left Italy and settled in Portugal.  Already in his young heart he was feeling the influence that was to direct and shape his destiny; already, towards his home in Genoa, long ripples from the commotion of maritime adventure in the West were beginning to spread.  At the age of ten he was apprenticed to his father, who undertook, according to the indentures, to provide him with board and lodging, a blue gabardine and a pair of good shoes,

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Christopher Columbus and the New World of His Discovery — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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