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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:03:33
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  After these agreeable courtesies, the little fleet raised its anchors andsailed west. Columbus sent one caravel to investigate the river. Findingthat he should not succeed in that direction, and that he had no availableway either north or south, he leaves by the same entrance by which he hadentered. The water is still very fresh, and he is satisfied, correctly as weknow, that these currents were caused by the entrance of the great river ofwater.

  In 1489, according to Ortiz de Zuniga, Columbus fought in battle in theking's army.

  The time at which he arrived was, in a certain sense, favorable for hisfuture plans, so far as he had formed any. On the other hand, the conditionof affairs was wholly changed from what it was when he began his greatdiscoveries, and the changes were in some degree unfavorable. Vasco daGama had succeeded in the great enterprise by which he had doubled theCape of Good Hope, had arrived at the Indies by the route of the Indianocean, and his squadron had successfully returned.

  "But God was good enough to save him. He caused the crew to draw lotsto send to Notre Dame de la Cintra, at the island of Huelva, a pilgrim whoshould come there in his shirt. The lot fell upon himself. All the crew, including the Admiral, vowed to fast on bread and water on the firstSaturday which should come after the arrival of the vessel. He hadproceeded sixty miles before the sails were torn; then they went undermasts and shrouds on account of the unusual strength of the wind, and theroughness of the sea, which pressed them almost on all sides. They sawindications of the nearness of the land; they were in fact, very nearLisbon."At Lisbon, after a reception which was at first cordial, the Portugueseofficers showed an inhospitality like that of Castaneda at the Azores. Butthe king himself showed more dignity and courtesy. He received thestorm-tossed Admiral with distinction, and permitted him to refit hisshattered vessel with all he needed. Columbus took this occasion to writeto his own sovereigns.

  At the moment when Columbus landed, there was an instant oftranquility. But the natives, whom he remembered only six years ago as sohappy and cheerful and hospitable, had fled as far as they could. Theyshowed in every way their distrust of those who were trying to becometheir masters. On the other hand, soldiers and emigrants were eager toleave the island if they could. They were near starvation, or if they did notstarve they were using food to which they were not accustomed. Theeagerness with which, in 1493, men had wished to rush to this land ofpromise, was succeeded by an equal eagerness, in 1498, to go home fromit.

  But I do not know them, which I greatly regret. And as I came here to thiscape there came such a good and sweet odor of flowers or trees from theland that it was the sweetest thing in the world."He heard that there was a king in the interior who wore clothes andmuch gold, and though, as he says, the Indians had so little gold thatwhatever small quantity of it the king wore it would appear large to them,he decided to visit him the next day. He did not do so, however, as hefound the water too shallow in his immediate neighborhood, and then hadnot enough wind to go on, except at night.

  Columbus, meanwhile, was on his way back to Palos, on his mule,alone. But at a bridge, still pointed out, a royal courier overtook him,bidding him return. The spot has been made the scene of more than onepicture, which represents the crisis, in which the despair of one momentchanged to the glad hope which was to lead to certainty.

  Ferdinand and Isabella, themselves, had never intended to give suchpowers to their favorite, that he should disgrace a man so much hissuperior.


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