We had voyaged, all thought, to Asia over an untrodden way. Every eye turned to land. Not haze, not dissolving cloud, not a magic nothing in the thought, but land, land, solid, palpable, like Palos strand! Had we seen a great port city, had we seen ships crowding harbor, had we seen a citadel on some height, armed and frowning, had we marked temples and palaces and banners afloat in this divine cool wind of morning, many aboard us would have had now no surprise, would have cried, “Of course, I really knew it, though for the fun of it I pretended otherwise!”
But others among us could not expect such as this after the quiet night; no light before us save that one so soon quenched, no stir of boat at all or large or small; an unearthly quiet, a low land still as a sleeping marsh under moon.
The light brightened. The water about us turned a blue that none there had ever seen, so turquoise, so cerulean, so penetrable by the eye! Before us gentle surf broke on a beach bone-white. The beach with little rise met woodland; thick it seemed and of a vivid greenness and fairly covering the island. It was island, masthead told us, who saw blue ribbon going around. Moreover, there were two others, no greater, upon the horizon. Nor, though the woodland seemed thick as pile of velvet, was it desolate isle. We made out in three places light plumes of smoke. Now some one uttered a cry, “Men!”
They were running out of the wood, down upon the white beach. There might be a hundred.
“Naked men! They are dark—They are negroes!”—”Or magicians!”
The Admiral lifted his great voice. “Mariners all! India and Cathay are fringed with islands, as are many parts of Europe. A dozen of you have sailed among the Greek islands. There may be as many here as those. This is a small island and its folk simple. They are not Negroes, but the skin of the Indian is darker than ours, and that of Cipango and Cathay is yellow. As for clothing, in all warm lands the simpler folk wear little. But as for magicians, there may be magicians among them as there are among all peoples, but it is falseness and absurdity to speak of all as magicians! Nonsense and cowardice! The man who cried that goes not ashore to-day!”
Not Great India before us nor Golden Cipango! But it was land—land—it was solid, there were folk! How long had flowed the sea around us, for this was the twelfth of October, five weeks since Gomera and above two months since Palos had sunk away and we had heard the last faint bell of La Rabida! And there had been strong doubt if ever we should see again a white beach, or a tree, or a kindly fire ashore, or any men but those of our three ships, or ever another woman or a child. But land—land! Here was land and green woods and crowds of strange folk. The mariners laughed, and the tears stood in their eyes and friends embraced. And they grew mightily respectful to the Admiral.
So many were to go ashore in the first boat, and so many in the second. The Pinta and the Nina were lowering their boats. Our hidalgos aboard, Diego de Arana, Roderigo Sanchez and the 佛山桑拿qq rest, had also fine apparel with them—seeing that the Grand Khan would have a court and our Sovereigns must be rightly represented—and this morning they suited themselves only less splendidly than did the Admiral. The great banner of Castile and Leon was ready for carrying. Trumpet, drum and fife should land. Fray Ignatio was ready—oh, ready! His liquid dark eyes had an unearthly look. Gifts were being sorted out. There were aboard rich things, valued in any land of ours, for gifts to the Grand Khan and his ministers, or the Emperor of Cipango and his. For Queens and Empresses and Ladies also. And there was a wondrous missal for Prester John did we find him! But this was evidently a little island afar, and these were naked, savage men. The expedition was provident. It had for all. The Portuguese, our great navigators, had taught 佛山桑拿哪里最好 what the naked African liked. A basket stood at hand filled with pieces of colored cloth, beads, caps, hawk bells, fishhooks, toys of sorts. For that we might have trouble, four harquebus men and four crossbows were going. The Santa Maria carried two cannon. Now at the Admiral’s signal, one of these was discharged. It was a voice not heard before in this world. If he wished to produce awe that should accompany him like the ancient pillars of cloud and fire, he had success. When the smoke cleared we saw the wild men prostrate upon the ivory beach as though a scythe had cut them down. They lay like fallen grain, then rose and made haste for the wood. We could thinly hear their shouting.
Christopherus Columbus descended into the boat of the Santa Maria, Fray Ignatio after him. Diego de Arana, Roderigo Sanchez, Escobedo, Gutierrez 佛山桑拿按摩上门服务 and Juan Lepe the physician followed. Juan de la Cosa stayed with the ship, it not being wise to take away all authority. Our armed men came after and the rowers. We drew off and the small boat filled. Boats of the Pinta and the Nina joined us. The great banner over us, the Admiral’s hand upon its standard, we rowed for Asia.
Nearer and nearer. The water hung about us, plain marvel, not dark blue, but turquoise and clear as air. We could see the strange, bright-hued fish and the white bottom. The air breathed Maytime, and now we thought we could tell the spices. And so ivory-white it was, the long curved beach, and so gayly bright the emerald of the wood! There were many palms with other trees we knew not. It was low, the island, and it shone before us silver and green, and the trees moved gently in a wind more sweet, 佛山夜生活论坛邀请码 we thought, than any Andalusian zephyr. Pedro Gutierrez stared. “Paradise—Paradise!”
It was not what we had looked for, but it was good enough. It seemed divine, that morning!
Nearer we drew, nearer. The beach was now bare. We made out the dark, naked folk at edge of the wood, in tree shadows, watching us. Were they strange to us, be sure we were stranger to them!
The azure water, so marvelous, met that sand white like crushed bone, strewn with delicate shells. Never was wind so sweet as that which blew this morning! Green plumes, the palms brushed the sky; there seemed to us fruit trees also, with satin stems and wide-laden boughs. When we looked over shoulder the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Nina each rode double, mast and hull in sky, mast and hull in mirror sea. Something strange and divine was about us, over us. We 南海黄岐桑拿 wished to laugh, we wished to weep.
Boat head touched clean sand. The oars rested. Christopherus Columbus the Admiral stepped from boat first and alone, all waiting as was right. He took with him the banner of Spain. He walked a few yards, then struck the standard into the sand. There was air enough to open the folds, to make them float and fly. Kneeling, he bowed himself and kissed the earth. We heard his strong voice praying. “Domine Deus, aeterne et omnipotens, sacro tuo verbo coelum, et terra, et mare, creasti—”
We also bowed our heads. He rose and cried to Fray Ignatio. The Franciscan was the next to enter this new world. After him sprang out Diego de Arana and the others. The Pinzons, too, were now leaving their boats. All were at last gathered about the Admiral, between blue water and green wood. Fifty Spaniards, we gathered there, and we heard our fellows left upon the ships cheering us. We kneeled and Fray Ignatio thanked God for us.
We rose, drew long breath and looked about us, then turned to the Admiral with loud praise and gratulation. He was girded with a sword, cross-hilted. Drawing it, he set its point in the sand. Then with one hand upon the cross, and one lifted and wrapped in the banner folds, he, with a great voice, proclaimed Spain’s ownership. To the King and Queen of the Spains all lands unchristian and idolatrous that we might find and use and hold, all that were clearly away from the line of the King of Portugal, drawn for him by the Holy Father! In the name of God, in the name of Holy Church, in the name of Isabella, Queen of Castile, and Ferdinand, King of Aragon and their united Power, amen and amen! He motioned to the trumpeter who put trumpet to his lips and blew a blast to the north and the south and the east and the west. At the sound there seemed to come a cry from the fringing wood, a cry of terror.
The island was ours,—if all this could make it ours.
A piece of scarlet cloth spread upon the sand had heaped upon it necklaces of glass and three or four hawk bells with other toys. We placed it there, then stood back. At the Admiral’s command the harquebus and crossbow men laid their weapons down, though watchful eye was kept. But no arrow flights had come from the wood, and as far as could be seen some kind of lance, not formidable looking, was their only weapon. Next the Admiral
made our fifer to play a merry and peaceful air.
We had noted a clump of trees advanced into the sand and we thought that the bolder men were occupying this. Now a man started out alone, a young man by the looks of him, drawn as he was against the white sand, and a paladin, for he marched to meet alone he knew not what or whom. “Blackamoor!” exclaimed De Arana beside me, but as he came nearer we saw that the dead blackness was paint, laid in a fantastic pattern upon his face and body. Native hue of skin, as we came presently to find in the unpainted, was a pleasing red-brown. He advanced walking daintily and proudly, knowing that his people were watching him. Single Castilian, single Moor, had advanced so, many a time, between camps, or between camp and fortress.
Halting beside the red cloth he stooped and turned over the
trinkets. When he straightened himself he had in hand a string of great beads, rose and blue and green. He fingered these, seemed about to put the necklet on, then refrained as too daring. Laying it gently back upon the scarlet he next took up a hawk bell. These bells, as is known, ring very clear and sweet. I was afterwards told that the Portuguese had noted their welcome among the African people. There was no nail’s breadth of information that this man Columbus could not use! He had used this, and in a list for just possibly found savage Indians had put down, “good number of hawk bells.”
The red man painted black, took up the hawk bell. It chimed as he moved it. He dropped it on the sand and gave back a step, then picked it up and set it tinkling. His face, the way in which he moved, said “Music from heaven!”
The Admiral motioned to Fray Ignatio to move toward him. That good man went gently forward. The youth gave back, but then braced himself, under the eyes of his nation. He stood. The Franciscan put out a gowned arm and a long, lean kindly hand. The youth, naked as the bronze of a god, hesitated, raised his own arm, let it drop upon the other’s. Fray Ignatio, speaking mild words, brought him across and to the Admiral. The latter, tallest of us all and greatly framed, lofty of port, dressed with magnificence, silver-haired, standing forth from his officers and men, the banner over him, would be taken by any for Great Captain, chief god of these gods, and certes, at the first they thought that we were gods! The Indian put his hands to his face, shrank like a girl and came slowly to his knees and lower yet until his forehead rested upon the earth. The Admiral lifted him, calling him “son.”
Those of his kind watching from the wood now sent forth a considerable deputation. There came to us a dozen naked men, fairly tall, well-shaped, skin of red copper, smeared often with paint in bars and disks and crescents. Their hair was not like the Negro’s, the only other naked man our time knew, but was straight, black, somewhat coarse, not bushy but abundant, cut short with the men below the ear. They are a beardless people. Our beards are an amazement to them, as are our clothes. A fiercely quarrelsome folk, a peace-keeping, gentle folk will sound their note very soon. These belonged to the latter kind. Their lances were not our huge knightly ones, nor the light, hard ones of the Moors. They were hardly more than stout canes, the head not iron—they had no iron—but flint or bone shaped by a flint knife. Where the paint was not splashed or patterned over them, their faces could be liked very well. Lips were not over full, the nose slightly beaked, the forehead fairly high, the eyes good. They did not jabber nor move idly but kept measure and a pleasant dignity. They seemed gentle and happy. So were they when we found them.
Their speech sounded of no tongue that we knew. Luis Torres and I alike had knowledge of Arabic. We had no Persian that might be nearer yet, but Arabia being immemorially caravan-knit with India, it was thought that it might be understood. But these bare folk had no notion of it, nor of the Hebrew which Luis tried next. The Latin did not do, the Greek of which I had a little did not do. But there is an old, old language called Gesture. If, wherever there is a common language there is one people, then in end and beginning surely we are one folk around the earth!
We were to be friends with these islanders. “Friends first and last!” believed the Admiral. Indeed, all felt it so, this bright day. If they were not all we had imaged, sailing to them, yet were they men, and unthreatening, novel, very interesting to us with their island and their marvelous blue water. All was heightened by sheer joy of landing, and of finding—finding something! And what we found was not horrible nor deathful, but bright, promising, scented like first fruits.
To them we found we were gods! They moved about us with a kind of ceremony of propitiation. Two youths came with a piece of bark carried like a salver, piled with fruits and with thin cakes of some scraped root. Another brought a parrot, a great green and rose bird that at once talked, though we could not understand his words. Two older men had balls, as large as melons, of some wound stuff that we presently found to be cotton loosely twisted into yarn. The Admiral’s eyes glowed. “Now if any bring spices or pepper—” But they did not, nor did they bring gold.
All these things they put down before us, in silence or with words that we thought were petitions, moving not confusedly but with a manner of ritual. The Admiral took a necklace and placed it round the throat of the young man who first had dared, and in his hand put a hawk bell. That was enough for himself to do, who was Viceroy. Three of us finished the distribution. They who had brought presents were given presents. All would have us go with them to their village, just behind the trees. A handful of men we left with the boats and the rest of us crossed sand. Harquebuses and crossbows went with us, but we had no need of them. The island apparently followed peace, and its folk greatly feared to give offense to gods from the sky. Above the ships held a range of pearly clouds, out of which indeed one might make strange lands and forms. The Indians—Christopherus Columbus called them “Indians”—pointed from ships to cloud. They spoke with movements of reverence. “You have come down—you have come down!” We understood them, though their words were not ours.
Now the greenwood rose close at hand. The trees differed, the woven thickness of it, the color and blossom, from any wood at home. A space opened before us, and here was the village of these folk,—round huts thatched with palm leaves, set on no streets, but at choice under trees. Earth around was trodden hard, but the green woods pressed close. Here and there showed garden patches with plants whose names and uses we knew not. Now we came upon women and children. Like the men the women were naked. Well-shaped and comely, with long, black, braided hair, they seemed to us gentle, pleasing and fearless. The children were a crew that any might love.
Time lacks to say all that we did and heard and guessed this day upon this island! It was first love after long weeks at sea, and our cramped ships and all our great uncertainty! If it was not what we had expected, still here it was, tangible land that never had been known, wonderful to us, giving us already rich narrative for Palos and Huelva and Fishertown, for Cordova and the Queen and King. We were sure now that other land was to be met, so soon as we sailed a reasonable distance to meet it. Under the horizon would be land surely, and surely of an import that this small island lacked, like Paradise though it seemed to us this day! Any who looked at the Admiral saw that he would make no long tarrying here. He named this island San Salvador, but we would not wait in San Salvador.
This day in shifts, all our men were brought ashore, each division having three hours of blessed land. So good was earth under foot, so good were trees, so delectable the fruit, so lovely to move and run and watch every moving, running, walking thing! And these good, red-brown folk, naked it was true, but mannerly after their own fashion, who thought every seaman a god, and the ship boys sons of gods! And we also were good and mannerly, the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Nina. I look back and I see a strange, a boyish and a happy day.
The sun was westering. We felt the exhaustion of a long holiday with novelties so many that at last the senses did not answer. Perhaps the Indians felt it too. Often and often have I seen great wisdom guide the Admiral. An hour before approaching night might have said “Go!” he took us one and all back to the ships. “Salve Regina” was a sound that evening to hear, and afterwards it was to sleep, sleep,—tired as from the Fair at Seville!
AT first, the day before, we had not made out that the Indians had boats. Later, straying here and there, we had seen them drawn upon the shore and covered with boughs of trees. They called them “canoes”, made them, large and small, out of trunks of trees, hollowed by fire, and with their stone knives. We had seen one copper knife. Asked about that, they pointed to the south and seemed to say that yonder dwelled men who had all they wished of most things.
From dark the east grew pale, from pallor put on roses. This day no mariner grumbled at the call to awake. Here still lay our Fortunate Isle, our San Salvador; here our ivory beach, our green wood. Up went the little curls of smoke.
We had breakfast. So great was now the deference to him who three days ago had been “madman” and “black magician”, “dreaming fool” and “spinner without thread!” Now it was “Admiral”, “Excellency”, and “What shall we do next?” and “What is your opinion, sir?”
The immediate thing to do proved to be to come forth from cabin and mark the beach thronging with thrice the number of yesterday, and the canoes putting off to us. We counted eight. Only one was a long craft, holding twenty men; the others came in cockle boats, with one or two or three. Not only canoes, but they came swimming, men and boys, all a dark grace in the cerulean, lucid sea. They were so fearless—for we came from heaven and would not harm them. We were going to make them rich; we were going to “save” them.
A score perhaps were helped aboard the Santa Maria. The Pinta, the Nina, had others. They were like children, touching, staring, excitedly talking and gesturing among themselves, or gazing in a kind of fixed awe, asking of the least sailor with all reverence, bowing themselves before the Admiral, the over-god. The Admiral moved richly dressed, rapt and benignant, yet sparing a part of himself to keep all order, measure, rightness on the ship, and another part to find out with keen pains, “What of other lands? What of folk who must be your superiors?”
They had brought offerings. Half a dozen parrots perched around, very gorgeously colored, loquacious in a speech we did not know. We had stacks of the large round thin cakes baked on stones which afterwards we called cassava, and great gourds, “calabashes” filled with fruit, and balls of cotton in a rude thread. We gave beads, bits of cloth, little purses, and the small bells that caused extravagant delight. But ever the Admiral looked for signs of gold, for he must find for princes and nobles and merchants gold or silver, or precious stones or spice, or all together. If he found them not, half his fortunes fell; a half-wind only would henceforth fill his sails.
And at last came in a canoe with three a young Indian who wore in his ear a knob of gold. Roderigo Sanchez saw this first and brought him to the Admiral. The latter, taking up an armlet of green glass and a hawk bell, touched the gold in the ear. “Do you trade?” Glad enough was the Indian to trade. It lay in the Admiral’s palm, a piece of gold as great as a filbert.
Juan Lepe watched him make inquisition, Diego de Arana, Sanchez and Escobedo at his elbow. He did it to admiration, with look, gesture and tone ably translating his words. “Gold—gold?” The Indian said, or we put down in this wise what he said, “Harac.”
Was there more harac on the island? We would give heavenly things for harac. The Indian was doubtful; he thought proudly that he had the only harac. “Where did he get it?” He indicated the south.