“I mounted to the top of the ship crying out with a weak voice, weeping bitterly, to the commanders of your Majesties’ army, and calling again to the four winds to help; but they did not answer me. Tired out, I fell asleep and sighing I heard a voice very full of pity which spoke these words: O fool! and slow to believe and to serve Him, thy God and the God of all. What did He more for Moses? and for David His servant? Since thou wast born He had always so great care for thee. When He saw thee in an age with which He was content He made thy name sound marvellously through the world. The Indies, which are so rich apart of the world, He has given to thee as thine. Thou hast distributed them wherever it has pleased thee; He gave thee power so to do. Of the bonds of the ocean which were locked with so strong chains He gave thee the keys, and thou wast obeyed in all the land, and among the Christians thou hast acquired a good and honourable reputation. What did He more for the people of Israel when He brought them out of Egypt? or yet for David, whom from being a shepherd He made King of Judea? Turn to Him and recognise thine error, for His mercy is infinite. Thine old age will be no hindrance to all great things. Many very great inheritances are in His power. Abraham was more than one hundred years old when he begat Isaac and also Sarah was not young. Thou art calling for uncertain aid. Answer me, who has afflicted thee so much and so many times—God or the world? The privileges and promises which God makes He never breaks to any one; nor does He say after having received the service that His intention was not so and it is to be understood in another manner: nor imposes martyrdom to give proof of His power. He abides by the letter of His word. All that He promises He abundantly accomplishes. This is His way. I have told thee what the Creator hath done for thee and does for all. Now He shows me the reward and payment of thy suffering and which thou hast passed in the service of others. And thus half dead, I heard everything; but I could never find an answer to make to words so certain, and only I wept for my errors. He, who ever he might be, finished speaking, saying: Trust and fear not, for thy tribulations are written in marble and not without reason.”
Mere darkness of stupor; not much to be deciphered from it, nor any profitable comment to be made on it, except that it was our poor Christopher’s way of crying out his great suffering and misery. We must not notice it, much as we should like to hold out a hand of sympathy and comfort to him; must not pay much attention to this dark eloquent nonsense—merely words, in which the Admiral never does himself justice. Acts are his true conversation; and when he speaks in that language all men must listen.
HEROIC ADVENTURES BY LAND AND SEA