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Title: Days of the Discoverers
Author: Lamprey, L., 1869-1951
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: "'I will tell you where there is plenty of





_Author of "In the Days of the Guild",
"Masters of the Guild", etc._




_Copyright, 1921, by_


_All rights reserved, including that of translation
into foreign languages_

_Made in the United States of America_


    Upon the road to Faerie,
    O there are many sights to see,--
    Small woodland folk may one discern
    Housekeeping under leaf and fern,
    And little tunnels in the grass
    Where caravans of goblins pass,
    And airy corsair-craft that float
    On wings transparent as a mote,--
    All sorts of curious things can be
    Upon the road to Faerie!

    Along the wharves of Faerie--
    There all the winds of Christendie
    Are musical with hawk-bell chimes,
    Carillons rung to minstrels' rimes,
    And silver trumpets bravely blown
    From argosies of lands unknown,
    And the great war-drum's wakening roll--
    The reveillé of heart and soul--
    For news of all the ageless sea
    Comes to the quays of Faerie!

    Across the fields to Faerie
    There is no lack of company,--
    The world is real, the world is wide,
    But there be many things beside.
    Who once has known that crystal spring
    Shall not lose heart for anything.
    The blessing of a faery wife
    Is love to sweeten all your life.
    To find the truth whatever it be--
    That is the luck of Faerie!

    _Above the gates of Faerie
    There bends a wild witch-hazel tree.
    The fairies know its elfin powers.
    They wove a garland of the flowers,
    And on a misty autumn day
    They crowned their queen--and ran away!
    And by that gift they made you free
    Of all the roads of Faerie!_


_To Foresta_                           v

ASGARD THE BEAUTIFUL (1348)            1
_The Viking's Secret_                  17

_The Navigators_ (1415-1460)           34

SEA OF DARKNESS (1475)                 35
_Sunset Song_                          48

PEDRO AND HIS ADMIRAL (1492)           50
_The Queen's Prayer_                   65

THE MAN WHO COULD NOT DIE (1493-1494)  66
_The Escape_                           80

LOCKED HARBORS (1497)                  81
_Gray Sails_                           93

LITTLE VENICE (1500)                   94
_The Gold Road_                        104

THE DOG WITH TWO MASTERS (1512)        105
_Cold o' the Moon_ (1519)              117

WAMPUM TOWN (1508-1524)                121
_The Drum_                             133

THE GODS OF TAXMAR (1512-1519)         134
_The Legend of Malinche_               148

THE THUNDER BIRDS (1519-1520)          150
_Moccasin Flower_                      165

GIFTS FROM NORUMBEGA (1533-1535)       167
_The Mustangs_                         181

THE WHITE MEDICINE MAN (1528-1536)     182
_Lone Bayou_ (1542)                    195

THE FACE OF THE TERROR (1564)          197
_The Destroyers_                       214

THE FLEECE OF GOLD (1561-1577)         215
_A Watch-dog of England_ (1583)        237

LORDS OF ROANOKE (1584)                238
_The Changelings_                      250

THE GARDENS OF HELÊNE (1607-1609)      252
_The Wooden Shoe_                      269

THE FIRES THAT TALKED (1610)           270
_Imperialism_                          282

ADMIRAL OF NEW ENGLAND (1600-1614)     284
_The Discoverers_                      299

BIBLIOGRAPHY                           300


"'I will tell you where there is plenty of it'" (in color)


"'And Freya came from Asgard in her chariot drawn by
two cats'" (in color)                                       4

"Nils marked out an inscription in Runic letters"           30

"The miniature globe took form as the children watched,
fascinated"                                                 44

"He proposed that Caonaba should put on the gift the
Spanish captain had brought"                                78

"A sapling, bent down, was attached to a noose ingeniously
hidden"                                                     86

"The natives seemed prepared to traffic in all peace and
friendliness" (in color)                                    132

"Cortes flung about his shoulders his own cloak"            146

"Moteczuma awaited them in the courtyard" (in color)        162

"Cartier read from his service-book"                        176

"The creatures darkened the plain almost as far as the eye
could see"                                                  190

"'Gentlemen, whence does this fleet come?'"                 204

"Drake was silent, fingering the slender Milanese poniard"  226

"If he had to wear her fetters, they should at least be
golden"                                                     244

"The Grand Master of the day entered the dining hall"       266




A red fox ran into the empty church. In the middle of the floor he sat
up and looked around. Nothing stirred--not the painted figures on the
wooden walls, nor the boy who now stood in the doorway. This boy was
gray-eyed and flaxen-haired, and might have been eleven or twelve years
old. He was looking for the good old priest, Father Ansgar, and the wild
shy animal eyeing him from the foot of the altar made it only too clear
that the church, like the village, was deserted.

Father Ansgar was dead of the strange swift pestilence that was called
in 1348 the Black Death. So also were the sexton, the cooper, the
shoemaker, and almost all the people of the valley. A ship had come into
Bergen with the plague on board, and it spread through Norway like a
grass-fire. Only last week Thorolf Erlandsson[1] had had a father and
mother, a grandmother, two younger sisters and a brother. Now he was
alone. In the night the dairy woman and the plowmen at Ormgard farm had
run away. Other farms and houses were already closed and silent, or
plundered and burned. Ormgard being remote had at first escaped the

Thorolf turned away from the church door and began to climb the
mountain. At the lane leading to his home he did not stop, but kept on
into the woods. It was not so lonely there.

Up and up he climbed, the thrilling scent of fir-balsam in his nostrils,
the small friendly noises of the forest all about him. Only a few months
ago he had come down this very road with his father, driving the cattle
and goats home from the summer pasture. All the other farmers were doing
the same, and the clear notes of the lure, the long curving horn, used
for calling the cattle and signaling across valleys, soared from slope
to slope. There was laughter and shouting and joking all the way down.
Now the only persons abroad seemed to be thieving ruffians whose greed
for plunder was more than their fear of the plague.

A thought came to the boy. How could he leave his father's cattle unfed
and uncared for? What if he were to drive the cows himself to the saeter
and tend them through the summer? He faced about, resolutely, and began
to descend the hill.

Within sight of the familiar roofs he heard some one coming from the
village, on horseback. It proved to be Nils the son of Magnus the son of
Nils who was called the Bear-Slayer, with a sack of grain and a pair of
saddlebags on a sedate brown pony. Nils was lame of one foot and no
taller than a boy of nine, although he was thirteen this month and his
head was nearly as large as a man's. He had been an orphan from
baby-hood, and for the last three years had lived in the priest's house
learning to be a clerk.

"Hoh!" called Nils, "where are you going?"

"To the farm to get our cattle and take them to the saeter. There is no
one left to do it but me."

"Cattle?" queried the other interestedly, "She will be glad of that."

"She!" said Thorolf, "who?"

"The Wind-wife[2]--Mother Elle, who used to sell wind to the
sailors--the Finnish woman from Stavanger. She has gathered up a lot of
children who have no one to look after them and is leading them into the
mountains. She has Nikolina Sven's daughter Larsson, and Olof and Anders
Amundson, and half a score of younger ones from different villages. She
says that if it is God's will for the plague to come to the saeter it
will come, but it is not there now, and it is in the valleys and the
towns. She has gone on with the small ones who cannot walk fast, and
left Olof and Anders and me to bring along the ponies with the loads.
I'll help you drive your beasts."

Without trouble the lads got the animals out of the byres and headed
them up the road. Norway is so sharply divided by precipitous mountain
ranges and deeply-penetrating fiords, that it may be but a few miles
from a farm near sea level to the high grassy pastures three or four
thousand feet above it where the cattle are pastured in summer. The
saeter maidens live there in their cottages from June to September,
making butter and cheese, tending the herds and doing such other work as
they can. The saeter belonging to Ormgard and its neighbors was the one
chosen by Mother Elle as a refuge for her flock.

The forest of magnificent firs through which the road passed presently
grew less somber, beginning to be streaked with white birches whose
bright leaves twinkled in the sun. Then it reached the height at which
evergreens cease to grow. The birches were shorter and sparser, and
through the thinning woodland appeared glimpses of a treeless pasture
dotted with scrubby low bushes and clumps of rushes. A glint of clear
green water betrayed a small lake in a dip of the hills. And now were
heard sounds most unusual in that lonely place, the high sweet voices of

Birch trees, little trees, dwarfed by sharp winds and poor soil,
encircled a level space perhaps ten feet across, carpeted with new soft
grass, reindeer moss and cupped lichens. Here sat seven or eight
children eagerly listening to a story told by an older child as she
divided the ration of fladbrod,[3] wild strawberries from a small basket
of birchbark, and brown goat's-milk cheese.

"And Freya came from Asgard in her chariot drawn by two cats--"

Nikolina the daughter of Sven Larsson of the Trolle farm was known
through all the valley, not only as the sole child of its richest
farmer, but for the bright blonde hair that covered her shoulders with
its soft abundance and hung to her waist. Her father would not have it
cut or braided or even covered save by such a little embroidered cap as
she wore now. Her scarlet bodice, and blue-black skirt bordered with
bright woven bands, were of the finest wool; the full-sleeved white
linen under-dress had been spun and woven and embroidered by skilful and
loving fingers. Nikolina had lost the roof from over her head, and a
great deal more than that. Now she was giving her whole mind to the
little ones of all ages from four to eight, crowding close about her.

[Illustration: "'And Freya came from Asgard in her chariot drawn by two
cats'"--_Page_ 4]

"Hi!" called Nils, "where is Mother Elle? See what Thorolf and I have

The children scrambled to their feet and gazed with round eyes, their
small hungry teeth munching their morsels of hard bread. Nikolina
plucked a bunch of grass for Snow, the foremost cow, and patted her
as she ate it.

"The little ones were so tired and hungry," she said, "that Mother Elle
said they might have their supper now, while she and Olof and Anders
went on to the saeter. This is wonderful! She was saying only this
morning that she feared all the cattle were dead or stolen."

Within an hour they came in sight of the log huts with turf-covered
roofs that sloped almost to the ground in the rear. A broad plain
stretched away beyond, and the new grass was of that vivid green to be
found in places which deep snow makes pure. Hills enclosed it, and
beyond, a gleaming network of lake and stream ended in range above range
of blue and silver peaks. The clear invigorating air was like some
unearthly wine. The cows at the scent of fresh pasture moved more
briskly; the pony tossed his head and whinnied. Not far from the
cottages there came to meet them a little old woman, dark and wiry, with
bright searching eyes. Her face was wrinkled all over in fine soft
lines, but her hair was hardly gray at all. She wore a pointed hood and
girdled tunic of tanned reindeer hide, with leggings and shoes of the
same. A blanket about her shoulders was draped into a kind of pouch, in
which she carried on her back a tow-headed, solemn-eyed baby.

"Welcome to you, Thorolf Erlandsson," she said, just as if she had been
expecting him. "With this good milk we shall fare like the King."

No king, truly, could have supped on food more delicious than that
enjoyed by Nils and Thorolf on this first night in the saeter. It is
strange but true that the most exquisite delights are those that money
cannot buy. No man can taste cold spring water and barley bread in
absolute perfection who has not paid the poor man's price--hard work and
keen hunger.

When Nikolina, Karen and Lovisa came up with the smaller children the
place had already an inhabited, homelike look. There was even a wise old
raven, almost as large as a gander, whom Nils had christened Munin,
after Odin's bird. The little ones had all the new milk they could drink
from their wooden bowls, and were put to bed in the movable wooden
bed-places, on beds of hay covered with sheepskins and blankets. All
were asleep before dark, for at that season the night lasted only two or
three hours. The last thing that Thorolf heard was a happy little pipe
from the five-year-old Ellida,--

"Now we shall live in Asgard forever and ever."

For all it had to do with the experience of many of the children the
saeter might really have been Asgard, the Norse paradise. The youngest
had never before been outside the narrow valley where they were born.
Ellida and Margit, Didrik and little Peder, could not be convinced that
they were anywhere but in Asgard the Blest.

Norway had long since become Christian, but the old faith was not
forgotten. The legends, songs and customs of the people were full of it.
In the sagas Asgard was described as being on a mountain at the top of
the world. Around the base of this mountain lay Midgard, the abode of
mankind. Beyond the great seas, in Utgard, the giants lived. Hel was the
under-world, the home of evil ghosts and spirits. Tales were told in the
long winter evenings, of Baldur the god of spring, Loki the crafty, Odin
the old one-eyed beggar in a hooded cloak, with his two ravens and his
two tame wolves, Freya the lovely lady of flowers, Elle-folk dancing in
the moonlight, and little rascally Trolls.

The songs and legends repeated by the old people or chanted by minstrels
or skalds were more than idle stories--they were the history of a race.
Children heard over and over again the family records telling in rude
rhyme the story of centuries. In distant Iceland, Greenland, the
Shetlands, the Faroes or the Orkneys, a Norseman could tell exactly what
might be his udall right, or right of inheritance, in the land of his

On Nils and Thorolf, Anders, Olof, Nikolina, Karen and Lovisa, who were
all over ten years old, rested great responsibility. Mother Elle always
managed to solve her own problems and expected them to attend to theirs
without constant direction from her. She told them what there was to be
done and left them to attend to it.

All were hardy, active youngsters who took to fending for themselves as
naturally as a day-old chick takes to scratching. In ordinary seasons
the work at the saeter was heavy, for the maidens must not only follow
the herds over miles of pasture land, but make butter and cheese for the
winter from their milking. The few cows that were here now could be
tethered near by; the milk, when the children had had all they wanted,
was mostly used in soups, pudding or gröt (porridge). A net or weir
stretched across the outlet of the lake would fill with fish overnight.
The streams were full of trout. Mother Elle knew how to make fish-hooks
of bone, bows and arrows, ropes, and baskets of bark, how to weave
osiers, how to cure bruises and cuts, how to trap the wild hares,
grouse and plover and cook them over an open fire. The children found
plover's eggs and the eggs of other wild fowl. They raised pulse, leeks,
onions and turnips in a little garden patch. They gathered strawberries,
cranberries, crowberries, wild currants, black and red, the cloudberry
and the delicious arctic raspberry which tastes of pineapple. Some
stores of salt and grain were already at the saeter and the grain-fields
had been sowed, before the pestilence appeared in the valley.

In the long summer days of these northern mountains, one has the feeling
that they will never end, that life must go on in an infinite succession
of still, sunshiny, fragrant hours, filled with the songs of birds, the
chirr of insects and the distant lowing of cattle. There is time for
everything. At night comes dreamless slumber, and the morning is like a
birth into new life.

There was a great deal of singing and story-telling at odd times. A
group of children making mats or baskets, gathering pease or going after
berries would beg Nils or Nikolina to tell a story, or Karen would lead
them in some old song with a familiar refrain. But some of the songs the
Wind-wife crooned to the baby were not like any the children had heard.
They were not even in Norwegian.

Thorolf was a silent lad, who would rather listen than talk, and hated
asking questions. But one day, when he and Nikolina were hunting wild
raspberries, he asked her if she thought Mother Elle meant to stay in
the mountains through the winter. Nikolina did not know.

    "'Tis well to be wise but not too wise,
    'Tis well that to-morrow is hid from our eyes,
    For in forward-looking forebodings rise,"

she added quaintly. "I have heard her say that it is colder in Greenland
than it is here."

"Has she been in Greenland?"

"Her father and mother were on the way there when she was little, and
the ship was wrecked somewhere on the coast. The Skroelings found her
and took her to live in their country. That is how she learned so much
about trees and herbs, and how to make bows and arrows and moccasins."


"The little shoes she made for Ellida. And she made a little boat for
Peder, like their skiffs."

This was interesting. For a private reason, Thorolf held Greenland to be
the most fascinating of all places.

"Can she speak their language?"

"Of course. I asked her to teach me, and she said that perhaps she would
some day. The songs that she sings to the little ones are some that the
Skroeling woman who adopted her used to sing to her when she cried for
her own mother. One of them begins like this:

    "'Piche Klooskap pechian
    Machieswi menikok.'"

"What does it mean?"

"'Long ago Klooskap came to the island of the partridges.' Klooskap was
like Odin, or Thor. The priests in Greenland told her he was a devil and
wouldn't let her talk about him, but the Skroelings had runes for
everything just like the people in the sagas,--runes for war, and
healing, and the sea."

"How did she ever get away?"

"Some men came from Westbyrg to cut wood in the forest, and when they
saw that she was not really a Skroeling they bought her for an iron pot
and one of them married her. But he was drowned a long time ago."

"I wish I knew the Skroelings' language. Some day I mean to go to

"Perhaps Mother Elle will teach you. I'll ask her."

The Wind-wife was rather chary of information about the country of the
Skroelings until Nikolina's coaxing and Thorolf's silent but intense
interest had taken effect. The country, she said, was rather like
Norway, with mountains and great forests, lakes and streams, but far
colder. There were no fiords, and no cities. The people lived in tents
made of poles covered with bark, or hides. They dressed in the hides of
wild animals and lived by hunting and fishing. They had no reindeer,
horses, cattle, sheep or goats, no fowls, no pigs. They could not work
iron, nor did they spin or weave. The man and woman who had adopted her
treated her just like their own child.

The stories she had learned from these people were intensely interesting
to her listeners. There was one about a battle between the wasps and the
squirrels, and another about the beaver who wanted wings. One was about
a girl who was married to the Spirit of the Mountain and had a son
beautiful and straight and like any other boy except that he had stone
eyebrows. Then there was the tale about Klooskap tying up the White
Eagle of the Wind so that he could not flap his wings. After a short
time everything was so dirty and ill-smelling and unhealthy that
Klooskap had to go back and untie one wing, and let the wind blow to
clear the air and make the earth once more wholesome.

Wild apples fell, grain ripened, nights lengthened. Long ago the
twin-flower, violet, wild pansy, forget-me-not and yellow anemone had
left their fairy haunts, and there remained only the curving fantastic
fronds of the fern,--the dragon-grass. Then had come brilliant spots and
splashes of color on the summer slopes--purple butterwort, golden
ragweed, aconite, buttercup, deep crimson mossy patches of saxifrage,
rosy heather, catchfly, wild geranium, cinnamon rose. These also
finished their triumphal procession and went to their Valhalla. Then one
September morning the children woke to hear the wind screaming as if the
White Eagle had escaped his prison, and the rain pelting the world.

All summer they had been out, rain or shine, like water-ouzels, but now
they were glad to sit about the fire with the shutters all closed, and
the smoke now and then driven down into the room by the storm. Before
evening the little ones were begging for stories.

"I wish I could remember a saga I heard last Yule," Nikolina said at
last. "It was about a voyage the Vikings made to a country where the
people had never seen cattle. When they heard the cattle bellowing they
all ran away and left the furs they had come to sell."

"Tell all you remember and make up the rest," suggested Karen, but
Nikolina shook her head.

"One should never do that with a saga."

"I know that tale," spoke up Thorolf suddenly, although he had never in
his life repeated a saga. "Grandmother used to tell it. In the beginning
Bjarni Heriulfson the sea-rover, after many years came home to Iceland
to drink wassail in his father's house. But strangers dwelt there and
told him that his father was gone to Greenland, and he set sail for that
land. Soon was the ship swallowed up in a gray mist in which were
neither sun nor stars. They sailed many days they knew not where, but
suddenly the fog lifted and the sun revealed to them a coast of low
hills covered with forest. By this Bjarni thought that it was not
Greenland but some southerly coast. Therefore turned he northward and
sailed many days before he sighted the mountains of Greenland and his
father's house.

"Years afterward returned Bjarni to Iceland, and in his telling of that
voyage it came to the ears of Leif Ericsson, who asked him many
questions about the land he had seen. There grew no trees in Iceland or
Greenland, fit for house-timber, and Leif was minded to find out this
place of great forests. Thus it came that Leif sailed from Brattahlid in
Greenland with five and thirty men in a long ship upon a journey of

"First came they to a barren land covered with big flat stones, and this
Leif named Helluland, the slate land. Southward sailed he for many days
until he saw a coast covered with wooded hills, and there he landed,
calling it Markland, the land of woods. Then southward again they bore
and came to a place where a river flowed out of a lake and fell into the
sea. The country was pleasant, with good fishing. Leif said that they
would spend the winter there, and they built wooden cabins well-made and

"Then at the season when the leaves are blood-red and bright gold came
in from the woods Thorkel the German, smacking his lips and making
strange faces and jabbering in his own language. When they asked what
ailed him he said that he had found vines loaded with grapes, and having
seen none since he left his own country, which was a land of vineyards,
he was out of his senses with delight. Therefore was that country named
Vinland the Fair. In the spring went Leif home, well pleased, with a
cargo of timber, but his father being dead he voyaged no more to
Vinland, but remained to be head of his house.

"Next went Thorvald, Leif's brother, to Vinland and stayed two winters
in the booths that Leif built, until he was slain in a fight with the
men of that land. His men buried him there and returned sorrowfully to
their own land.

"Next went Thorestein, Leif's second brother, forth, with Gudrid his
wife, to get the body of Thorvald but he died on the voyage and his
widow returned to Brattahlid.

"Next came to Brattahlid Thorfin Karlsefne, the Viking from Iceland, who
loved and married Gudrid and from her heard the story of Vinland, and
desired it for his own. In good time went he forth in a long ship with
his wife, and there went with him three other valiant ships. They had
altogether one hundred and sixty men and five women, with cattle, grain
and all things fit for a settlement. This was seven years after Leif
Ericsson found Vinland. Among the stores for trading was scarlet cloth,
which the Skroelings greatly covet, insomuch that one small strip of
scarlet would buy many rich furs. But when they came to trade, hearing a
bull bellow, with a great squalling they all ran away and left their
packs on the ground, nor did they show their faces again for three
weeks. Snorre, the son of Thorfin Karlsefne, born in Vinland, was three
years old when the Northmen left that land. They had found the winter
hard and cold, and in a fight with the Skroelings many had been killed,
so that they took ship and returned to Iceland.

"They had gone but a little way when one of the ships, which was
commanded by Bjarni Grimulfsson, lagged so far behind that it lost sight
of the others. The men then discovered that shipworms[4] had bored the
hull so that it was about to sink. None could hope to be saved but in
the stern boat, and that would not hold half of them.

"Then stood Bjarni Grimulfsson forth, and said to his men that in this
matter there should be no advantage of rank, but they would draw lots,
who should go in the boat and who remain in the ship. When this had been
done it was Bjarni's lot to go in the boat. After all had gone down into
the boat who had the right, an Icelander who had been Bjarni's companion
made outcry dolefully saying, 'Bjarni, Bjarni, do you leave me here to
die in the sea? It was not so you promised me when I left my father's
house.' Then said Bjarni, for the lot was fairly cast, 'What else can be
done?' Then said the Icelander, 'I think that you should come up into
the ship and let me go down into the boat.' And indeed no other way
might be found for him to live. Then answered Bjarni making light of the
matter, 'Let it be so, since I see that you are so anxious to live and
so afraid of death; I will return to the ship.' This was done, and the
men rowing away looked back and saw the ship go down in a great swirl of
waves with Bjarni and those who remained.

"This tale my grandmother heard from her father, and he from his, and so
on until the time of that Thorolf Erlandsson who sailed with Bjarni
Grimulfsson and went down into the sea by his side singing, for he
feared nothing but to be a coward."

Thorolf's eyes were as proud and his head as high as were his Viking
forefather's when the worm-riddled galley went to her grave with more
than half her crew, three hundred and forty years before. In the little
silence which followed the fire crackled and whistled, the gusty
rain-drenched wind beat upon the little hut. And then Nils repeated
musingly the ancient saying from the Runes of Odin,

    "'Cattle die, Kings die,
    Kindred die, we also die,--
    One thing never dies,
    The fair fame of the valiant.'"

Some one knocked at the door. A real Viking in winged helmet and
scale-armor would hardly have surprised them just then. But it was only
a tall man in a traveler's cloak and hat, and they made quickly room for
him to dry himself by the fire, and brought food and drink for him to
refresh himself.

"I thought that I knew the way to the old place," he said, looking
about, "but in this tempest I nearly lost myself. Which of you is
Thorolf Erlandsson?"

The stranger was Syvert Thorolfson, a merchant of Iceland, Thorolf's
uncle. He brought messages from Nikolina's grandmother in Stavanger, and
from the Bishop, who was ready to see that all the children who had no
relatives should be taken care of in Bergen. Within three days Asgard
the Beautiful was left to the lemming and the raven. Yet the long bright
summer lived always in the hearts of the children. Years after Thorolf
remembered the words of the Wind-wife,--

"Make friends with the Skroelings--make friends. Friendship is a rock to
stand on; hatred is a rock to split on. In the land of Klooskap shall
you be Klooskap's guest."


[1] In old Norse families names alternated from father to son. For
example, Thorolf Erlandsson (Thorolf the son of Erland) would name his
son after his own father, and the boy would be known as Erland
Thorolfsson. A daughter was known by her given name and her father's, as
Sigrid Erlandsdatter. In the case of the farm being of sufficient
importance for a surname the name might be added, as "Elsie
Tharaldsdatter Ormgrass."

[2] Northern sailors regard the Finns as wizards.

[3] Fladbrod is the coarse peasant-bread of Norway, made from an
unfermented dough of barley and oatmeal rolled out into large thin cakes
and baked. It will keep a long time.

[4] The teredo or shipworm was a serious peril in the days before the
sheathing of ships. Even tar sheathing was not used until the sixteenth


    In the days of jarl and hersir, while yet the world was young,
    And sagas of gods and heroes the grim-lipped minstrel sung,
    With the beak of his open galley in the sunset's scarlet flame,
    Over the wild Atlantic the Norseland Viking came.

    Life was a thing to play with,--oh, then the world was wide,
    With room for man and mammoth, and a goblin life beside.
    Now we have slain the mammoths, and we have driven the ghosts away,
    And we read the saga of Vinland in the light of a new-born day.

    We have harnessed the deadly lightnings; we have ridden the restless
    We have chased the brood of the werewolf back to their noisome cave.
    But far in the icy Northland, with weird witch-lights aglow,
    Locked in the Greenland glaciers, is a tale we do not know.

    Out of Brattahlid's portal, southward from Herjulfsness,
    They came to their new-found kingdom, their Vinland to possess.
    Armored with careless laughter, strong with a stubborn will,
    The Vikings found it and lost it--it is undiscovered still!

    Where did they beach their galleys? How were their cabins planned?
    Who were the fearful Skroelings? What was the Fürdürstrand?
    What were the grapes of Tyrker? For all that is written or said,
    The Rune Stones hold the secret of the days of Eric the Red!



Salt and scarred from the northern seas, the _Taernan_, deep-laden with
herring, nosed in at the Hanse quay in Bergen. Thorolf Erlandsson looked
grimly up at the huge warehouses. Since the Hanseatic League secured a
foothold in Norway, in 1343, most Norwegian ports had been losing trade,
and Bergen, or rather the Hanse merchants in Bergen, had been getting
it. Between the Danes and the Germans it looked rather as if Norwegians
were to be crowded out of their own country.

The Hanse traders not only received and sold fish for the Friday markets
of northern Europe, but sold all kinds of manufactured goods. It was
said that they had two sets of scales--one for buying and one for
selling. Norwegians had either to adapt themselves to the new methods or
give their sons to the ceaseless battle of the open sea. From the Baltic
and Icelandic fisheries, the North Sea and the Lofoden Islands, their
ships got the heaviest and the hardest of the sea-harvesting.

But it takes more than hardship to break a Norseman. In his four years
at sea Thorolf had become tall, broad-shouldered and powerful, and at
eighteen he looked a grown man. He did more than he promised, and
listened oftener than he talked, and his only close friend was Nils
Magnusson, who was now coming down to the wharf. They had known each
other from boyhood.

Nils had been for three years a clerk in Syvert Thorolfsson's warehouse.
While not tall he was neither stunted nor crippled, and easily kept pace
with Thorolf. As he set out the silver-bound horn cups to drink
_skal_[1] with his friend in his own lodging, the croak and sputter of
German talk sounded in the street below.

"Behold a new Bergen," observed Nils whimsically. "Let us drink to the
founding of a new Iceland. Did you go to Greenland?"

"We touched at Kakortok with letters for the Bishop. The people are sick
and savage with fighting against the Skroelings."

"Now," said Nils, rubbing his long nose, "it is odd that you say that,
for I was just going to tell you some news. The King has given Paul
Knutson leave to raise a company to fight against the Skroelings in
Greenland--and parts beyond. He sails in a month."

"I wish I had known of it."

"I thought you would say that. This is between us two and the candle,
but Anders Amundson is going, and I am going, and you may go if you

Thorolf's gray eyes flamed. "What is Knutson like?"

"Well, they may call him Chevalier, but he has the old Viking way with
him. I said that I had a friend who had long wished to lay his bones in
a strange land, and he answered, 'If your friend sails with me I would
prefer to have him bring his bones home again.' He kept a place for

Three weeks later Thorolf, looking backward as the _Rotge_, (little auk
or sea-king) stood out to sea, saw the familiar outline of Snaehatten
against the sunrise and wondered when he should see it again. Like a
questing raven his mind returned to the summer spent at the saeter, and
recalled that dark saying of the Wind-wife,--

"In the land of Klooskap shall you be Klooskap's guest."

The galley[2] rode the waves with the bold freedom of her kind. Her keel
was carved out of a single great tree. Her seasoned oaken timbers,
overlapping, were riveted together by iron bolts, with the round heads
outside. Where a timber touched a rib, a strip was cut out on each side,
forming a block through which a hole was bored. Another hole was bored
in the rib to match and a rope twisted of the inner bark of the linden
was put through both holes and knotted. In surf or heavy sea, this
construction gave the craft a supple strength. Calking was done with
woolen cloth steeped in pitch. The mast, of a chosen trunk of fir, was
set upright in a log with ends shaped like a fishtail. The long oarlike
rudder was on the board or side of the ship to the right of the stern,
called the starboard or steerboard. The lading was done on the opposite
side, the larboard or ladderboard. There were ten oars to a side, and a
single large triangular sail.

Long and narrow, hardly ten feet above the water-line at her lowest, her
curved prow glancing over the waves like the head of a swimming snake,
she was no more like the tumbling cargo-ships than a shark is like a
porpoise. When they were two days out, Nils said to Thorolf,

"A Viking in such a galley would sail to the end of the world. By the
way, did the Skroelings in Greenland understand that language the
Wind-wife spoke?"

"I was not there long enough to find out. I once asked a man who knows
their talk well, and he said it was no tongue that ever he heard."

The Greenland folk welcomed them heartily. Finding that the white men
had not after all been forgotten by their own people, the natives drew
off and gave them no more trouble. The Northmen spent the winter in
sleep, talk, song, and hunting with native guides. Besides the old man
in white fur, as the polar bear was respectfully called, Arctic foxes,
walrus, whales and seal abounded. Many of the new-comers became skilful
in the making and the use of the skin-covered native boats called
Kayaks. Nils had some skill in carving wood and stone, and could write
in the Runic script of Elfdal. In the long evenings when winds from the
cave of the Great Bear buffeted the low huts, he taught Thorolf and
Anders what he knew, and talked with the Skroelings. But none of them
understood the runes of the Wind-wife. Their speech was quite different.

Spring came with brief, hot sunshine, and the creeping birches budded on
the pebbly shore. Encouraged by the reports from Greenland, new
colonists ventured out, and house-building went on briskly. One day
Thorolf was summoned to Knutson's headquarters.

"Erlandsson," began the Chevalier, "they say that you have information
about Vinland[3] and the Skroelings there, from an old woman who lived
among them. What can you tell me?"

Thorolf told the story of the Wind-wife. Knutson looked interested but

"I have talked with the oldest colonists," he said, "and they know
nothing of any Skroelings but those hereabouts. They say also that
Vinland is hard to come at. Boats venturing south return with tales of
heavy winds, dense fogs and dangerous cliffs and skerries--or do not
return at all. One was caught and crushed in the ice, and the crew were
found on the floe half starved and gnawing bits of hide. In the sagas of
Vinland the Skroelings are spoken of as fierce and treacherous. To hold
such a land would need a strong hand. The old woman may have
forgotten--or the stories may be those of her own people."

Thorolf shook his head. "Nay, my lord. She was not a forgetful
person--and the language is neither Lapp nor Finn."

"She was very old, you say?"

"I think so. I do not know how old."

"Old people sometimes confuse what they have heard with what they have
seen. But I shall remember what you have said."

"If he had known the Wind-wife," said Nils when told of this
conversation, "he would have no doubt."

Knutson wrote to the King, but got no reply for a long time. A ship with
a cargo of trading stores was sent for, and was wrecked on the Faroes.
But in the following spring an expedition to Vinland was really planned.
There was no general desire to take part in it. Many of Knutson's party
now longed for their native land, where the mountains were drawn swords
flashing in the sun, and the malachite and silver waters and flowery
turf, the jeweled scabbards. They dreamed of the lure sounding over the
valleys, of bright-paired maidens dancing the _spring dans_.
Nevertheless in due season the _Rotge_ left the Greenland shore and
pointed her inquiring beak southeast by south. In the _Gudrid_ sailed
Knutson and his immediate following, with the trading cargo and most of
the provisions. By keeping well out to sea at first the commander hoped
to escape the perils of the coast.

This hope was dashed by an Atlantic gale which drove them westward. For
two days and two nights they were tossed between wind and tide. Toward
the end of the second night the sound of the waves indicated land to
starboard. In the growing light they saw a harbor that seemed spacious
enough for all the ships in the world, sheltered by wooded hills. If
this were Vinland, it was greater than saga told or skald sang.

They landed to take in fresh water, mend a leak and see the country, but
found no grapes, no Skroelings nor any sign of Northmen's presence. On
the rocks grew vineberries, or mountain cranberries, and Knutson thought
that perhaps these and not true grapes were the fruit found in Vinland.
He sent a party of a dozen men, Anders and Thorolf leading, to explore
the forest, ascend some hill if possible and return the same day. He
himself remained with the ships and kept Nils by him. He rather expected
that the natives, learning of the strangers' arrival, would be drawn by
curiosity to visit the bay.

The scouting party followed the banks of the little stream that had
given them fresh water, Anders leading, Thorolf just behind him. Wind
stirred softly in the leaves overhead, unseen birds fluttered and
chirped, sunshine sifting through the maple undergrowth turned it to
emerald and gold and jasper. Once there was a discordant screech from
the evergreens, but it was only a brilliant blue jay with crest erect,
scolding at them. A striped squirrel flashed up the trunk of a tree to
his hole. Then sudden as lightning, from the bushes they had just
passed, came a flight of arrows.

Two men were slightly wounded, but most of the arrows were turned by the
light strong body armor of the Norsemen. The foe remained unseen and
unheard. Nothing stirred, though the men scanned the woods about them
with the keen eyes of seamen and hunters.

Thorolf was seized with an inspiration. He went forward a step or two,
lifted his hand in salutation, and called,--

"Klooskap mech p'maosa?"[4] (Is Klooskap yet alive?)

There was a silence stiller than death. The Norsemen faced the ominous
thicket without moving a muscle. Some one within it called out something
which Thorolf did not understand. But no more arrows came. He tried
another sentence.

"Klooskap k-chi skitap, pechedog latogwesnuk." (Klooskap was a great man
in the country far to the northward.)

This time he made out the answer. In a swift aside he explained to his

"'K'putuswin' means 'let us take council.' They want to have a talk."

He managed to convey his assent to the unseen listeners, and every tree,
rock and log sprouted Skroelings. They were quite unlike the natives of
Greenland, though of copper-colored complexion.[5] These men--there were
no women among them,--were tall and sinewy, and wore their coarse black
hair knotted up on the head with a tuft of feathers. They were naked to
the waist, and wore fringed breeches of deerskin, and soft shoes
embroidered in bright colors. Some had necklaces of bears' claws, beads
or shells, but the only weapons seemed to be the bow and arrow and a
stone-headed hatchet or club. They stared at the white man half
curiously and half threateningly.

Then began the queerest conversation that any one present had ever
heard. Thorolf discovered the wild men's language to be so nearly like
that learned from the Wind-wife that he could understand it when spoken
slowly, and in a halting fashion could make them comprehend him. His
companions listened in wonder. Not even Anders had really believed in
that language.

At last Thorolf held out his hand, and the leader of the Skroelings came
forward in a very gingerly manner and took it. Then walking in single
file, toes pointed straight forward, the savages melted into the forest
as frost melts in sunshine.

With a broad grin, the first he had worn for some time, Thorolf

"He asked why we came here. I told him, to see the country and trade
with his people. He says that white men have come here before, very long
ago. I think they were killed and he did not wish to say so. He says
that the Sagem, the jarl of his people, lives in a castle over there
somewhere. I told him to give the Sagem greeting from our commander, and
invite him to visit the place where our ships are. He says that it will
not be safe for us to go further into the forest until the Skroelings
have heard who we are and what we are doing here."

"That is very good advice," said Anders with a wry face, as he plucked
some moss to stanch the wound in his arm. The arrow-head which had made
it was a shaped piece of flint bound to the shaft with cords of fine
sinew. "We are too few to get into a general fight. Besides, that is not
in our orders."

They accordingly went back to the ships, arriving a little before
sundown. Knutson was greatly interested.

"You have done well," he said. "A boat was hovering about soon after you
left. This may have been a scouting party sent through the forest to cut
you off."

All the next day they waited, but nothing happened. On the morning
after, a large number of boats appeared rounding the headland to the
south. In the largest sat the Sagem, a very old man wrapped in furs. The
boats were made of birchbark laced on a wooden framework with fibrous
roots, like the toy skiff Mother Elle had made for little Peder.

The Skroelings landed, and advanced with great dignity to meet Knutson,
who was equally ceremonious. Nils and Thorolf had all they could do to
interpret the old chief's long speech, although many phrases were
repeated again and again, which made it easier. Knutson made one in
reply, briefer but quite as polite, and brought out beads, little
knives, and scarlet cloth from his trading stores. The red cloth and
beads were received with eagerness, the knives with interest, and after
a young chief had cut himself, with some awe. The Sagem in his turn
presented the stranger with skins of the sable, the silver fox and the
bear. He and a few of the warriors tasted of the food offered them, and
all the white men were asked to a feast in the village the next day.

So friendly were the Skroelings, in fact, that Knutson determined to
return to Greenland and see what could be done toward founding a
settlement here. He would leave part of the men in winter quarters, with
the _Rotge_ as a means of further explorations, or if necessary, of
escape. Her captain, Gustav Sigerson, was a cautious, wise and
experienced seaman. Anders Amundson, as the best hunter of the
expedition, was to stay, with Nils as clerk and Thorolf as interpreter.
Booths were erected, stores landed, and on a brilliant day in late
summer some forty Norsemen and Gothlanders on the shore watched the
_Gudrid_ slowly fading out of sight.

In talking with the natives Nils and Thorolf observed that their world
seemed to be infested with demons--particularly water-fiends. A reason
for this appeared in time. Half a dozen men one day took the stern-boat
and went a-fishing. They came back white-faced, with a story of a giant
squid with arms four times as long as the boat, that had risen out of
the sea and tried to pull them under. Only their skill as rowers had
saved them. Nils remembered the kraken, of ancient legends, and thought
he could see why the Skroelings never ventured out to sea in their frail
canoes. This put an end to plans for exploring along the coast.

The winter was colder than they had expected. This land, so much further
south than Norway, was bitten by frost as Norway never was. There is
something in intense cold which is inhuman. When men are shut up
together in exile by it, all that is bad in them is likely to crop out.
It might have been worse but for the fortunate friendliness of the
Skroelings. When scurvy appeared in the camp, their first acquaintance,
Munumqueh (woodchuck) had his women brew a drink which cured it. He
showed the white men also how to make pemmican, the compressed meat
ration of native hunters, and how to construct and use a birch canoe, a
pair of snowshoes, and a fire-drill. Gustav Sigerson died in the spring,
and Nils was chosen captain. He and Munumqueh became great cronies, and
exchanged names, Nils being thereafter known to his native friends as
the Woodchuck, and bestowing upon Munumqueh the proud name of his
grandfather, Nils the Bear-Slayer.

"It will never do for us to sit quiet here until Knutson returns," said
Nils when at Midsummer nothing had been seen of the ships. "We shall be
at one another's throats or quarreling with the savages." He had been
inquiring about the nature of the country, and had learned that westward
a great river led to five inland seas, so connected that canoes could go
from one to another. Along this chain of waters lived tribes who spoke
somewhat the same language and traded with one another. Southward lived
a warlike people who sometimes attacked the lake tribes. Beyond the last
of the lakes they did not know what the country was like. The waters
inland were not troubled with the water-demon so far as they knew. Nils,
Anders and Thorolf held a council and decided to explore the wilderness
as far as they could go in the _Rotge_. It was nothing more than all
their ancestors had done. Often, in their invasions of England, France
and other unknown regions Vikings had gone up one river and come down
another, and the _Rotge_, for all her iron strength, was no more than a
wooden shell when stripped.[6]

They set forth, escorted by a flotilla of small canoes, on a clear
summer morning, and found their progress surprisingly easy. Fish, game
and berries were plentiful, the villages along the river supplied corn
and beans, and though it was not always easy to drag the _Rotge_ around
the carrying-places pointed out by their native guides, they did not
have to turn back. It was a proud moment when the undefeated crew
launched their "water-snake" as the Skroelings called her, on the
shining waters of a great inland sea.

The journey had been a far longer one than they expected, and to natives
of any other country would have been much more exciting than it was to
the Norsemen.[7] They had seen cliffs a thousand feet high, cataracts,
rapids, a multitude of wooded islands, narrow valleys where floating
misty clouds came and went and the sky looked like a riband. But the
precipice above Naero Fiord rises four thousand perpendicular feet, and
the water which laps its base is thousands of feet in depth. The
Skjaeggedalsfos is loftier than Niagara, and the mist-maidens dance
along the perilous pathways of a hundred Norwegian cliffs. Nils and
Thorolf agreed that the Wind-wife was right when she said that the
country of the Skroelings was like Norway but had no end.

"The trouble is," reflected Nils as he set down the day's happenings on
a birch-bark scroll, "that nobody will believe us when we tell how great
the land is."

At the end of the fifth and largest lake they found people with some
knowledge of the country beyond. It seemed that after crossing the Big
Woods one came to great open plains where a ferocious and cruel race of
warriors hunted animals as large as the moose, with hoofs and short
horns and curly brown fur. This sounded like a cattle country. The lake
tribes evidently stood in great fear of the plains people, but in spite
of their evident alarm the Norsemen determined to go and see for
themselves.[8] Leaving the boat with ten of their company to guard it
they struck off southwestward through a country of forests, lakes and
streams. After fourteen days they stopped to make camp and go a-fishing,
for dried fish would be the most convenient ration for a quick march,
and they did not intend to spend much more time in exploring.

It seemed to Nils and Thorolf that some mark or monument should be left
to show how far they had really come. A small natural column of dark
trap rock was chosen, and while the others fished, or made a seine after
the native fashion, Nils marked out an inscription in Runic letters,
which are suited to rough work. Not far from the place where they found
the stone, and about a day's journey from camp, was a small high island
in a little lake, the kind of place usually chosen by Vikings for a
first camp. The stone, set in the middle of this island, would be easily
seen by any one looking for it, and savages would not see it at all.
When finished it was rafted across to the island and set up, the
inscription covering about half of it on both sides. While Nils and
several others were thus busy, the remainder of the party were trying
the seine. They reached camp after dark to find their booths in ashes,
and Nils with his men murdered a little way off, as they had come up
from the Rune Stone.[9]

LETTERS."--_Page_ 30]

With fury and horror the Norsemen looked upon the destruction. It was
all Thorolf and the cooler heads could do to keep the rest from
attacking the first Skroelings they saw. But the mischief had been done,
without doubt, by the unknown warriors of the plains, who had been
perhaps watching their advance. They sadly prepared to return to their
boat. But before they went, Thorolf paddled out to the island on two
logs, while the others kept guard, and added some lines to the
inscription on the stone.

They never saw their Vinland again. Knutson, finding the King fighting
hard against the Danes, gave no further thought to the wilderness.
Thorolf and a handful of his men finally reached Bergen; Anders
stayed in Greenland. More than five centuries afterward, a Scandinavian
farmer, grubbing for stumps in a Minnesota marsh, found overgrown by the
roots of a tulip tree a stone with an inscription in Runic letters, took
it to learned men and had it translated.

"8 Goths and 22 Norsemen upon journey of discovery from Vinland
westward. We had camp by two rocks one day's journey from this stone. We
were out fishing one day. When we returned home we found ten men red
with blood and dead. AVM save us from evil.        have ten men
by the sea to look after our ship 14 days journey from this island. Year


[1] Skal or skoal was the Norwegian word used in drinking a health.

[2] The description of the Norse galley is taken from Du Chaillu's "Land
of the Midnight Sun," in which the construction of one which was
unearthed at Nydam in Jutland is described (Vol. I. 380). The galley
"Viking" built in Norway on the model of an actual Viking ship of the
early Middle Ages, was taken across the Atlantic in 1893 by a Norwegian
crew of fourteen, anchoring in Lake Michigan, after a voyage in which
they had no shelter except an awning and cooked their own food as best
they could.

[3] The question of the actual whereabouts of Leif Ericsson's booths and
Thorfin Karlsefne's later settlement has never been positively decided.
The Knutson expedition to Greenland is an historical fact. It left
Norway about 1354 and returned about 1364. It is not positively known
that Knutson attempted the rediscovery of Vinland, unless what is known
as the Kensington Rune Stone is evidence of it. The writer has adopted
the theory that he did take a party southward, landing at Halifax, and
left a part of his men there, intending to return with more colonists;
that on returning to Norway he found the country in the throes of war
and abandoned any thought of further settlement, leaving his men to find
their way back as they could.

[4] The Indian phrases and legends referred to as learned by the
Wind-wife are Abenaki.

[5] According to historians the region along the St. Lawrence and the
Great Lakes was for a long time inhabited by tribes belonging to the
great Ojibway nation. Their territory extended nearly to the western
boundary of what is now Minnesota. Southward were the tribes later known
as Iroquois.

[6] Accounts of the open galleys of the Northmen agree in describing
them as small and light compared with the later decked ships. The open
"sea-serpent" of forty-two feet, with her mast unshipped was heavier but
not much bigger than the largest Indian carrying-canoes such as were
used in the fur-trade, and these were taken from the St. Lawrence
through the Great Lakes. Vikings landing in Europe were prepared not
only to return by a new route but even to take their boats apart or
build new ones if necessary.

[7] Bayard Taylor, visiting the Saguenay and the St. Lawrence
immediately after a sojourn in Norway, speaks of his inability to be
impressed as others had been, by the height of the cliffs and waterfalls
of Canada, although fully appreciating the beauty of the scenery.

[Footnote 8: The Sioux or Dakotas, who occupied the Great Plains, were
hereditary enemies of the Ojibways. In the Ojibway language one name for
these Plains Indians indicated that they were in the habit of mutilating
their victims.]

[9] The monument known as the Kensington Rune Stone was found near
Kensington, Minnesota, and is fully described in the reports of the
Minnesota Historical Society. It was the subject of many arguments at
first. Well known authorities pronounced it a forgery, while other well
known authorities declared it genuine. It was pointed out that the
language used was not that of the time of Leif Ericsson, but much more
modern; but later it was found that the inscription was exactly such as
would have been written about the middle of the fourteenth century, when
Knutson's expedition was in Greenland. Aside from the obvious lack of
motive for a forgery, investigation showed that neither the farmer nor
any one who might have been in a position to bury the stone where it was
found had any knowledge of Runic writing. Moreover, if the stone had
been a forgery it would seem that the forger would have used the name of
some well known leader, whereas no name is mentioned. If Knutson had
been with the expedition he would certainly have seen to it that his
presence was recorded.

Otter Tail Lake, just north of the place where the stone was discovered,
was one of the points marking the boundary between the Ojibway and
Dakota country. The position of the runes on the stone is precisely what
it would be if the inscription had been finished, or nearly finished, as
a guide to future exploration, and the account of the massacre added as
a warning.

A song commonly sung at the time of the Black Death contains the lines:

    "The Black Plague sped over land and sea
    And swept so many a board.
    That will I now most surely believe,
    It was not with the Lord's will.
    Help us God and Mary,
    Save us all from evil."


    We were Prince Henry's gentlemen,--
      His gentlemen were we,
    To dare the gods of Heathendom,
      Whoever they might be,--
    To do our master's sovereign will
      Upon a trackless sea.

    We were Prince Henry's gentlemen,
      And undismayed we went
    To fight for Lusitania
      Wherever we were sent,--
    The stars had laid our course for us,
      And we were well content.

    We were Prince Henry's gentlemen,
      And though our flagship lie
    Where white the great-winged albatross
      Came wheeling down the sky,
    Or black abysses yawned for us,
      We could not fear to die.

    We were Prince Henry's gentlemen,--
      Around the Cape of Wrath
    We sailed our wooden cockleshells--
      Great pride the pilot hath
    To voyage to-day the Indian Sea--
      But we marked out his path!



"Those things that you say cannot be true, Fernao! How do you know that
the sea turns black and dreadful just behind those heavenly clouds? If
there are hydras, and gorgons, and sea-snakes that can swallow a ship,
and a great black hand reaching up out of a whirlpool to drag men down,
why do we never see them here? Look at that sea, can there be anything
in the world more beautiful?"

The vehement small speaker waved her slender hand with a gesture that
seemed to take in half the horizon. The old Moorish garden, overrun with
the brilliant blossoms that drink their hues from the sea, overlooked
the harbor. Across the huddled many-colored houses the ten-year-old
Beatriz and her playfellow Fernao could see the western ocean in a great
half-circle, bounded by the mysterious line above which three tiny
caravels had just risen. The sea to-day was exquisite, bluer than the
heavens that arched above it. The wave-crests looked like a flock of
sea-doves playing on the sunlit sparkling waters. Fernao from his seat
on the crumbling wall watched the incoming ships with the far-sighted
gaze of a sailor. Portuguese through and through, the son and grandson
of men who had sailed at the bidding of the great Prince Henry, he felt
that he could speak with authority.[1]

"Of course I am telling you the truth. You are very wise about the
sea--you who never saw it until two weeks ago! Gil Andrade has been to
places that you Castilians never even heard of. He has seen whales, and
mermaids, and the Sea of Darkness itself! He has been to the Gold Coast
beyond Bojador, where the people are fried black like charcoal, and the
rivers are too hot to drink."

"Then why didn't he die?" inquired the unbelieving Beatriz.

"Because he didn't stay there long enough. And there are devils in the
forest, stronger than ten men, and all covered with shaggy hair--"

"I will not listen to such nonsense! Do you think that because I am
Spanish, and a girl, I am without understanding? Tio Sancho, is it true
that there is a Sea of Darkness?"

Sancho Serrao was an old seaman, as any one would know by his eyes and
his walk. For fifty years he had used the sea, as ship-boy, sailor, and
pilot. His daughter Catharina had been the nurse of Beatriz, and he had
brought coral, shells and queer toys to the little thing from the time
she could toddle to his knee.

"What has Fernao been saying to thee, pombinha agreste?" (little
wood-dove) he asked soberly, though his eyes twinkled ever so little. He
seated himself as he spoke, on an ancient bench that rested its back
against the wall just where the wind was sweetest. Under the fragrances
of ripening vineyards and flowering shrubs there was always the sharp
clean smell of the sea.

"He believes all that Gil Andrade and Joao Pancado tell him as if it
were the Credo," Beatriz began, her words flung out like sparks from a
little crackling fire. "He says that there is a Sea of Darkness out
away beyond the Falcon Islands, where ships are drawn into a great pit
under the edge of the world. And he says that ships cannot go too far
south because the sun is so near it would burn them, and they cannot go
too far north because the icebergs will catch them and crush them. If I
were a man, I would sail straight out there, into the sunset, and show
them what my people dared to do!"

Old Sancho was not all Portuguese. In his veins ran the blood of the
three great seafaring races of southern Europe--the Genoese, the
Lusitanian and the Vizcayan--and their jealousies and rivalries amused
him. He had spent most of his life in the feluccas and caravels of
Lisbon and Oporto, because when he was young they went where no other
ships dared even follow; but he did not believe that the last word in
discovery had been said even by Dom Henriques at Sagres, or the
Mappe-Monde of Fra Mauro in Venice.

"Not so fast there, velinha (small candle)" he cautioned, raising a
whimsical forefinger. "So said many of us in our youth. And when we had
sailed for weeks, and all our provisions were mouldy or weevilly, and
our water-casks warped and leaking so that we had to catch the rain in
our shirts, we began to wonder what it was we had come for. The sea
won't be mocked or threatened. She has ways of her own, the old witch,
to tame the vainglorious. And 't is true enough," the old pilot went on
with a quizzing look at Fernao on his insecure perch, "that sailors have
a bad habit of doubling and trebling their recollections when they find
anybody who will listen. I don't know why they do it. Maybe it is
because having told a perfectly true tale which nobody believed, they
think that a little more or a little less will do no harm. For this you
must remember, my children,--that at sea many things happen which when
told no one believes to be true."

"I would believe anything you told me, Tio Sancho," promised Beatriz,
all love and confidence in her little glowing face.

"Ay, would you now? What if I said that I have seen a ship with all sail
set coming swiftly before the wind, in a place where no wind was, to
stir our hair who beheld it--and sailing moreover through the air at the
height of a tall mast-head above the sea? And a mountain of ice half a
league long and as high as the Giralda at Seville, floating in a sea as
blue as this one, and as warm? And islands with mountains that smoke,
appearing and disappearing in broad daylight? Yet all of these are
common sights at sea."

"But is there a Sea of Darkness, verily, verily, tio caro?" persisted
Beatriz. The old man shook his head, with a little quiet smile.

"I'll not say there is not. And I'll not say there is. I saw a Sea of
Darkness on the second voyage that ever I made, but that's all."

"Oh, tell us all the story!" begged Beatriz, and Fernao silently slid
from the wall and came closer.

"The commander of our ship was Gonsales Zarco, one of Dom Henriques'
gentlemen. Years before he'd been caught by a gale on his way to Africa,
and driven north on to an island that he named because of that, Puerto
Santo (Holy Haven). So when he came that way again he stopped to see how
the settlement that was planted there prospered, and found the people in
great trouble of mind. They showed him that a thick black cloud hung
upon the sea to the northwest of the island, filling the air to the
very heavens and never going away; and out of this cloud, they said,
came strange noises, not like any they had heard before. They dared not
sail far from their island, for they said that if a man lost sight of
land thereabouts it was a miracle if he ever returned. They believed
that place to be the great abyss, the mouth of hell. But learned men
held the opinion that this cloud hid the island of Cipango, where the
Seven Bishops had taken refuge from the Moors and the Saracens.

"Certainly the cloud was there, for we all saw it, and when the
Commander said that he would stay to see whether it would change when
the moon changed, we liked it not, I can tell you. And when we learned
that he was minded to sail straight into the darkness and see what lay
behind it, why, there were some who would have run away--if they could
have run anywhere but into the sea.

"But we had a Spanish pilot, Morales, who had once been a prisoner in
Morocco, and there he knew two Englishmen who had sailed these seas in
time past. Their ship had been lying ready to sail for France, when late
at night Robert Macham, a gentleman of their country, came hurriedly
aboard with his lady love whom he had carried off from her home in
Bristol, and between dark and dawn the captain weighed anchor and was
off. Then being driven from the course the ship was cast on a thickly
wooded island with a high mountain in the middle, where they dwelt not
long, for the lady died, and Macham died of grief. The crew left the
island and were wrecked in Morocco and made slaves. All this was many
years before, for the Englishmen had grown old in slavery, and Morales
himself had grown old since he heard the tale.

"It was the belief of Morales that this was the island of which they
told, and that the cloud which hung above the waters was the mist
arising from those dense woods which covered it. The upshot was that the
commander set sail one morning early and steered straight for the cloud.

"The nearer we came the higher and thicker looked the darkness that
spread over the sea, and we heard about noon a great roaring of the
waves. Still Gonsales held his course, and when the wind failed he
ordered out the boats to tow the ship into the cloud, and I was one of
those who rowed. As we got closer it was not quite so dark, but the
roaring was louder, although the sea was smooth. Then through the
darkness we beheld tall black objects which we guessed to be giants
walking in the water, but as we came nearer we saw that they were great
rocks, and before us loomed a high mountain covered with thick woods.

"We found no place to land but a cave under a rock that overhung the
sea, and that was trodden all over the bottom by the sea-wolves, so that
Gonsales named it the Camera dos Lobos. The island, because of its
forests, he called Madeira. When we came back, having taken possession
of the island for the King, he sent a colony to settle upon it, and the
first boy and girl born there were named Adam and Eva. The people set
fire to the trees, which were in their way, and could not put out the
fire, so that it burned for seven years and all the trees were
destroyed. And the King gave our commander the right to carry as
supporters on his coat-of-arms two sea-wolves."

Beatriz drew a long breath. "Weren't you very scared, Tio Sancho?"

"Sailors must not be scared, little one. Or if they are, they must
never let their arms and legs be scared. We knew that we had to obey
orders or be dead, so we obeyed. I have been glad many a time since that
I sailed with Gonsales and old Morales to the discovery of Madeira."

"What are sea-wolves?" asked Fernao.

"Like no beast that ever you saw, my son. They have the fore part of the
body like a dog or bear, the hind part ending in a tail like a fish, but
with hair, not scales, on the body; the head has a thick mane, and the
jaws are large and strong. They are no more seen on that island, for
they went there only because it was never visited by men."

"Did they try to drive the people away?"

"No; they do not fight men unless men attack them. But the settlers were
once driven off Puerto Santo by animals, and not very fierce animals at
that." The old pilot grinned. "They were driven away by rabbits.
Somebody brought rabbits there and let them loose, and in a few years
there were so many that everything that was planted was eaten green. The
people who live on that island now have made a strict rule about

The children's laughter echoed the dry chuckle of the old man. Then
Fernao, unwilling to abandon his authorities,--

"But if the Sea of Darkness and the great abyss are not in the western
ocean, why haven't they found out what really is there?"

"That, my son, is more than I can tell you," said Sancho Serrao, getting
up. "I sailed where I was told, and I never was told to sail due west
from Lisbon. But here is a man who can answer your question, if any one
can. Welcome to my humble dwelling, Senhor Colombo! Shall we go into
the house, or will you find it pleasanter in the garden?"

The new-comer was a tall man of middle age, although at first sight he
looked older, because of his white hair. The fresh complexion, alert
walk, and keen thoughtful blue eyes were those of a man not old in
either mind or body. He smiled in answer to the greeting, and replied
with a quick wave of the hand. "Do not disturb yourself, I beg of you,
my friend. The garden is very pleasant. I have come on an errand of my
own this time. Did you ever see, in your voyages to Africa or elsewhere,
any such carving as this?"

He held out a curious worm-eaten bit of reddish brown wood, rudely
ornamented with carved figures in relief. Old Sancho took it and turned
it about, examining it with narrowed attentive eyes.

"Where did it come from?" he asked, finally.

"From the beach at Puerto Santo. My little son Diego picked it up, the
day before I came away from the island."

"Now that is curious. I was just telling the young ones about an
adventure of my youth, when Gonsales Zarco touched there on his way to
Madeira. With your good permission I will leave you for a few minutes
and rummage in an old sea-chest, and see whether there is any flotsam in
it to compare with this."

Left alone with the stranger, Fernao and Beatriz looked at him with shy
curiosity. They had seen him before, and knew him to be a mapmaker in
the King's service, but he had never before been within speaking
distance. He seemed to like children, for he smiled at them very kindly
and spoke to them almost at once.

"And you were hearing about the discovery of Madeira?"

"Ay, Senhor," Beatriz answered with demure dignity.

"I live not very far from that island. It seems like living on the
western edge of the world."

"Senhor," asked Fernao with sudden daring, "what is beyond the edge of
the world?"

"There is no edge, my boy. The world is round--like an orange."[2]

In all their fancies they had never thought of such a thing as that.
Beatriz looked at the tall man with silent amazement, and Fernao looked
as if he would like to ask who could prove the statement. The stranger's
smile was amused but quite comprehending, as if he was not at all
surprised that they should doubt him.

"See," he went on, taking an orange from the basket that stood by,
"suppose this little depression where the stem lost its hold to be
Jerusalem, the center of our world; then this is Portugal--" he traced
with the point of a penknife the outline of the great western peninsula.
"Here you see are the capes--Saint Vincent, Finisterre, the great rock
the Arabs call Geber-al-Tarif--the Mediterranean--the northern coast of
Africa--so. Beyond are Arabia and India, and the Spice Islands which we
do not know all about--then Cathay, where Marco Polo visited the Great
Khan--you have heard of that? Yes? On the eastern and southern shore of
Cathay is a great sea in which are many islands--Cipangu here, and to
the south Java Major and Java Minor. We are told in the Book of Esdras
that six parts of the earth are land and one part water, so here we cut
away the skin where there is any sea,--"

The miniature globe took form, like fairy mapmaking, under the
cosmographer's skilful fingers, and the children watched, fascinated.

FASCINATED."--_Page_ 44]

"But," cried Beatriz wonderingly, "a ship could sail around the world!"

Colombo nodded and smiled. "So it was written in the 'Travels of Sir
John Maundeville' more than a hundred years ago. But no ship has done

"Why not?" asked Fernao.

"Chiefly, perhaps, because of tales like that of the Sea of Darkness and
Satan's hand. And it is true that a ship venturing very far westward is
drawn out of its course, as if the earth were not a perfect round, but
sloped upward to the south. My own belief is,"--he seemed for a moment
to forget that he was talking to children, "that it is not perfectly
round, but somewhat like this pear,--" he selected a short chubby pear
from the basket, "and that on this mountain may be a cool and lovely
region which was once Paradise."

"Oh!" cried Beatriz, her face alight with the glory of the thought. The
geographer smiled at her and went on.

"Also you see that the ocean is on this side of the earth very much
greater than the Mediterranean. We do not know how long it would take to
cross it. I have lately received a map from the famous Florentine
Toscanelli which--ah!" he interrupted himself, "here comes our good
friend Master Serrao."

It had taken the pilot longer than he expected to hunt over his relics
of old voyages, and there was nothing, after all, like the piece of wood
cast ashore by the Atlantic waves. Old Sancho turned it over, examined
the edges of the carving, and shook his head.

"No; that is not African work; at least it is not like any work of
the black men that I have ever seen. They can all work iron, and this
was made without the use of iron tools; that I am sure of. Some of our
men were shipwrecked once where they had to make stone and shells serve
their turn, and I know the look of wood that has been worked with such
tools. And the wood itself is not like anything I have from Africa. It
is more like the timber of the East."

Now the stranger's eyes lighted with keener interest.

"You think it may be Indian, do you?"

"It may. But how in the name of Sao Cristobal did it come here? Besides,
the people of India understand the use of metal as well as we do, or

"May there not be wild men in remote islands of the Indian seas?"

"That might be. Gil Andrade has been in those parts, and he says there
are more islands than he could count. I have sometimes had occasion to
take his stories with a pinch of salt, but if there are islands where
wild people live they would make such things as this. And now I think of
it, I once picked up a paddle myself, floating off the Azores, that was
some such wood as this, but not carved. But the queerest thing I ever
found was this nut. Look at it."

It was part of a nutshell as big as a man's head and as hard as wood.
"The inside was quite spoiled," went on the old seaman, "but so far as I
could judge it was no kin to the palm nuts we get. I kept the shell, and
I have never found any merchant who could match it. Now the current sets
toward our coast from the west at a certain point, and that is where all
these odd things come ashore."

The guest nodded. "My brother-in-law and I have talked much of these
matters. One of his captains saw some time ago the floating bodies of
two men, brown-skinned, with straight black hair, not like the natives
of any part of Europe or Africa. Another thing which is strange, though
I hold it not as important as they do, is that the people of Madeira
persistently declare that they see a great island appear and disappear
to the westward. According to their description it has lofty mountains
and wooded valleys, and some say it is Atlantis and some Saint Brandan's
Isle. No ship sailing that way has ever landed there, however."

Sancho's eyes turned seaward. "It is marvelous," he said after a pause,
"what things men think they see. And you think, senhor, that the world
is not yet all known to us?'"

"I do not know." Colombo stood up to take his departure. "If God hath
reserved any great work to be done, He hath also chosen the man who is
to do it. His tasks are not done by accident, or left to the blind or
the selfish. Toscanelli thinks that since the world is round, we should
reach the Indies by sailing due west from this coast, but in that case
India would seem to be far greater than we have believed. If I had the
ships and the men I would venture it. But at this time the King is
altogether taken up with the eastward route to the Indies. It was said
of old time, 'He that believeth shall not make haste.'"

"But you will sail to Paradise some day, will you not, senhor?" asked
Beatriz, treasuring the tiny globe in one careful hand while the other
shaded her eyes from the level rays of the evening sun.

"There is only one way to Paradise, little maid. That is by the will of
our Lord. And if you, my lad, are the first to sail round the world,
remember that the sea is His, and He made it. Man makes his own Sea of
Darkness by ignorance, and hate, and fear."


[1] Prince Henry of Portugal, often called "Henry the Navigator" built
the first naval observatory in Europe at Sagres. He may be said to have
laid the foundation of the Portuguese and later Spanish discoveries. In
the time of Columbus the Mappe-Mondo or Map of the World of a Venetian
monk was considered the most complete map yet made.

[2] The statement has been carelessly made in some juvenile books
dealing with the age of discovery, that in the time of Columbus nobody
knew that the world was round. This of course is not even approximately
the case. The conception of the earth as a sphere was generally set
forth in what might be called books of science, and even in some popular
works like that of Sir John Maundeville, who died in 1372. Its
acceptance by the public, however, may be said to have followed somewhat
the course of the Darwinian theory in the nineteenth century. Long after
evolution was admitted as a truth by scientific men there were schools
and even colleges which refused to teach it, and in fact it was not
accepted by the public until the generation which first heard of it had


    Down upon our seaward light,
      Swept by all the winds that blow,
    Birds come reeling in their flight--
      (_Ay de mi, Cristofero!_)
    Petrels tossing on the gale,
    Falcons daring sleet and hail,
    Curlews whistling high and far,
    Waifs that cross the harbor bar
    Borne from isles we do not know--
      (_Ay de mi, Cristofero!_)

    Round our island haven blest
      Waves like drifted mountain snow
    Break from out the shoreless West--
      (_Ay de mi, Cristofero!_)
    Cast ashore a broken spar
    Born beneath some alien star,
    Broken, beaten by the wave--
    In what far-off unknown grave
    Lie the hands that shaped it so?
      (_Ay de mi, Cristofero!_)

    Sails upon the gray world's edge
      Like mute phantoms come and go,--
    Life and honor men will pledge--
      (_Ay de mi, Cristofero!_)
    For the pearls and gems and gold
    That the burning Indies hold.
    Or the Guinea coast they dare
    With its fever-poisoned air
    For the slaves they capture so
      (_Ay de mi, Cristofero!_)

    In our chamber small to-night,
      Fair as love's immortal glow,
    Shines our silver censer-light--
      (_Ay de mi, Cristofero_!)
    What is this that holds thee fast
    In old histories of the past?
    Put the time-stained parchments by,
    Men have sought where dead men lie
    For the secret thou wouldst know--
      All too long, Cristofero!



Juan de la Cosa, captain of the _Santa Maria_, was prowling about the
beach of Gomera in a thoroughly dissatisfied frame of mind. His own
ship, the _Gallego_ before the Admiral re-christened her and made her
his flagship, was riding trim as a mallard within sight of his eye. She
would never have kept the fleet waiting in the Canaries for a little
thing like a broken rudder.

It was the _Pinta_ that had done this, and it was the veteran pilot's
private opinion that she would behave much better if her owners, Gomez
Rascon and Christoval Quintero, had been left behind in Palos. But what
can you do when you have seized a ship for the service of the Crown, and
turned her over to a captain who is a rival ship-owner, and her owners
wish to serve in her crew and not elsewhere? They cannot be blamed for
liking to keep an eye on their property!

"Capitano!" piped a voice at his elbow. He looked around, and then he
looked down. An undersized urchin with not much on but a pair of ragged
breeches stared up at him boldly, hands behind his back. "Do you know
what ails your ship over there?" He nodded sideways at the disgraced

The accent was that of Bilbao in the captain's own native province,
Vizcaya. Ordinarily he would have cuffed the speaker heels over head for
impudence, but the dialect made him pause. Besides, he wanted to hear
something to confirm his suspicions.

"She is no ship of mine," he growled, "and anyway, what do you know
about it?"

"I know much more than they think I do. The calkers did not half do
their work before she left port. I'd like to sail in her if she were
properly looked after. But when a man goes out on the dolphins' track he
likes to come home again, you know."

"A man! Do babes take a ship round Bojador? And who may you call
yourself, zagallo (strong youth)?"

"I am Pedro, son of Pedro who was an escaladero (climber) at the siege
of Alhama. He was killed on the way home, and my mother died of grief,
so that I get my bread where the saints put it. People say that they
unlocked all the jails to get you your crew for the Indies, and now I
see that it is true."

Juan de la Cosa knew the untamable sauciness of the Vizcayan breed, and
knew as well the loyalty that went with it. "Son," he said seriously,
"what do you know of this matter?" The boy put aside his insolence and
spoke gravely.

"I know that these fellows who have been commanded to serve your Admiral
hate him, and will make him lose his venture if they can. I would sooner
put to sea in a meal-tub with myself that I can trust, than in a Cadiz
galley manned with plotters. When they hauled this fine ship up on the
beach I asked for a job, and the lazy fellows were glad enough of help.
I never minded doing their work if they hadn't kicked me. When I heard
them planning I said to myself, 'Pedro, mi hidalgo, a crow in hand is
worth two buzzards in the bush waiting to pick your bones.' Your
Admiral may have to go back to Castile and eat crow.

"They have agreed that they will sail seven hundred leagues and no more,
since that is the distance from here to the Indies if your map is true.
If the Admiral refuse to turn back in case land is not found they will
pitch him into the sea and tell the world that he was star-gazing and
fell overboard, being an old man and unused to perilous voyages. He
should get him another crew--if he can."

This was important information. Yet to go back might be more dangerous
than to go on. The expedition had already been delayed a fortnight with
making a rudder for the _Pinta_, stopping her leaks, and replacing the
lateen sails of the _Nina_ with square ones, that she might be able to
keep up with the others. Another week must pass before they could sail.
If they returned to Palos it was doubtful whether they could get any men
at all to replace the disloyal ones. Too much delay might cause the
withdrawal of Martin Pinzon and his brother Vicente, owners of the
_Nina_; and if they went, most of the seamen who were worth their salt
would go also. La Cosa himself in the Admiral's place would go on and
take the chance of mutiny, trusting in his own power to prevent or
subdue it.

"Pedro," he said, "have you told this to any one else?"

"Not a soul."

"Would you like to sail with us?"

"Will a wolf bite? Why do you suppose I told you all this?"

"Bite your tongue then, wolf-cub, until I have seen the Admiral. Where
shall I find you if I want you?"

"Tia Josefa over there lets me sleep in the courtyard."

"Very well--now, off with you."

The Admiral said exactly what the pilot had thought he would say. He
knew himself to be looked upon with envy and dislike, as a Genoese, and
the Spaniards who made up his three crews had been collected as with a
rake from the unwilling Andalusian seaports. It was decided that the
mutinous sailors should be scattered so that they could not easily act
together. Pedro was taken on as cabin-boy, for he was thirteen, and
wiser than his age.

On that May day when Christoval Colón,[1] the hare-brained foreigner
whom the King and Queen had made an Admiral, read the royal orders in
the Church of San Jorge in Palos, there was amazement, wrath and horror
in that small seaport. Queen Ysabel had indeed been so rash as to pledge
her jewels to meet the cost of this expedition; but the royal
treasurers, looking over their accounts, noted that Palos owed a fine to
the Crown which had never been paid. Very good; let Palos contribute the
use and maintenance of two ships for two months, and let the magistrates
of the Andalusian ports hunt up shipmasters and crews and supplies. The
officers of the government came with Colón to enforce this order.

In vain did the Pinzon brothers, who had really been convinced by the
arguments of Colón, use all their influence to secure him a proper
equipment. Even after they had themselves enlisted as captains, with
their own ship the _Nina_, they could not get men enough to go on so
doubtful a venture. The royal officers finally took to the reckless
course of pardoning all prisoners guilty of any crime short of murder or
treason, on condition of their shipping for the voyage. At least half
the sailors of the three ships were pressed men.

The _Santa Maria_, largest of the three caravels, was ninety feet long
and twenty broad. She was a decked ship; the others had only the tiny
cabin and forecastle. A caravel was never intended for long voyages into
unknown seas. Her builders designed her for coasting trade, not for a
quick voyage independent of wind and tide; but on the other hand she was
cheaper to build and to sail than a Genoese galley. The Admiral believed
that in the end the smallness of the ships would be no disadvantage.
Among the estuaries, bays and groups of islands which he expected to
find, they could go anywhere. Including shipmasters, pilots and crews
the fleet carried eighty-seven men and three ship-boys, besides the
personal servants of the Admiral, a physician, a surgeon, an interpreter
and a few adventurers. The interpreter was a converted Jew who could
speak not only several European languages but Arabic and Chaldean.

"A retinue of servants indeed!" observed Fonseca, the bishop, when the
door had closed upon the Admiral of the Indies. "Since all enlisted in
the expedition are at his service, why does he demand lackeys?"

But the head of the Genoese navigator had not been turned by his honors.
No man cared less for display than he did, personally. He knew very
well, however, that unless he maintained his own dignity the rabble
under his command might be emboldened to cut his throat, seize the ships
and become pirates. The men whom he could trust were altogether too few
to control those he could not, if it came to an open fight,--but it must
not be allowed to come to that. It was not agreeable to squabble with
Fonseca about the number of servants he was allowed to have, but he
must have personal attendants who were not discharged convicts.

On the open seas, removed from their lamenting and despondent relatives,
the crews gradually subsided into a state of discipline. The
quarter-deck is perhaps the severest test of character known. Despite
themselves the sailors began to feel the serene and kindly strength of
the man who was their master.

With a tact and understanding as great as his courage and self-command
Colón told his men more than they had ever known of the Indies. The East
had for generations been the enchanted treasure-house of Europe. Arabic,
Venetian, Genoese and Portuguese traders had brought from it spices,
rare woods, gold, diamonds, pearls, silk, and other foreign luxuries.
But the wide and varied reading of the Admiral had given him more
definite information. He told of the gilded temples of Cipangu, the
porcelain towers of Cathay, rajahs' elephants in gilded and jeweled
trappings, golden idols with eyes of great glowing gems, thrones of
ebony inlaid with patterns of diamonds, emeralds and rubies, rich
cargoes of spices, dyewood, fine cotton and silk, pearl fisheries, the
White Feast of Cambalu and the Khan's great hall where six thousand
courtiers gathered. Portugal already was reaching out toward these
Indies, groping her way around the African coast. Were they, Spaniards
and Christians, to be outdone by Portuguese and Arab traders? No men
ever had so great a future. Not only the wealth of the Indies, but the
glory of winning heathen empires to abandon their idols for the
Christian faith, was the adventure to which they were pledged; and he
strove to kindle their spirits from his own.

To Pedro the cabin-boy, listening in silence, it was like an entrance
into another world. When he asked to be taken on he had been moved
simply by a boy's desire to go where he had not been before. Now he
served a demigod, who led men where none had dared go. The Admiral might
have the glory of rediscovering the western route to the Indies; his
cabin-boy was discovering him.

The sea was beautifully calm, and there was time for talk and
speculation. A drifting mast, to which nobody would have given two
thoughts anywhere else, was pointed out as an evil omen. Pedro grinned
cheerfully and elevated his nose.

"Do you not believe in omens, Pedro?" asked the Admiral, somewhat
amused. He had not found many Spaniards who did not.

"One does not believe all one hears, my lord," the youngster answered,
coolly. "Tia Josefa saw ill omens a dozen times a week, all sure death;
and she is ninety years old. A mast drifting with the current is usual.
When I see one drifting against it I will begin to worry."

The jumpy nerves of the sailors were easily upset. They might have been
calmer if the sea had been less calm. It is hard for Spanish blood to
endure inaction and suspense together. Day after day a soft strong wind
wafted them westward. Ruiz, one of the pilots, bluntly declared that he
did not see how they could ever sail back to Spain against this wind,
whether they reached the Indies or not.

"Pedro," said the Admiral quietly, "what do you think?"

Pedro hesitated only an instant. "My lord," he answered boldly, "if we
cannot go back we must go on--around the world."

"So we can," smiled the Admiral. "But it will not come to that." And
Ruiz, reassured and rather ashamed of his fears, told the other
grumblers if they had seen as much rough weather as he had they would
know when they were well off.

But after a time even the pilots took fright. The compass needle no
longer pointed to the North Star, but half a point or more to the
northwest of it. They had visions of the fleet helplessly drifting
without a guide upon a vast unknown sea. It was not then known that the
action of the magnetic pole upon the needle varies in different parts of
the earth, but the quick mind of the Admiral found an explanation which
quieted their fears. He told them that the real north pole was a fixed
point indeed, but not necessarily the North Star. While this star might
be in line with the pole when seen from the coast of Spain, it would
not, of course, be in the same relative position when seen from a point
hundreds of miles to the west.

On September 15 a meteor fell, which might be another omen--nobody could
say exactly what it meant. Then about three hundred and sixty leagues
from the Canaries the ships began to encounter patches of floating
yellow-green sea-weed, which grew more numerous until the fleet was
sailing in a vast level expanse of green like an ocean meadow. Tuna fish
played in the waters; on one of the patches of floating weed rested a
live crab. A white tropical bird of a kind never known to sleep upon the
sea came flying toward them, alighting for a moment in the rigging. The
owners of the _Pinta_ predicted that they would all be caught in this
ocean morass to starve, or die of thirst, for the light winds were not
strong enough to drive the ships through it as easily as they had sailed
at first. The Admiral, quite undisturbed, suggested that in his
experience land-birds usually meant land not very far away.

Colón always answered frankly the questions put to him, but there was
one secret which he kept to himself from the beginning. Knowing that he
would be likely to have trouble when he reached the seven-hundred-league
limit his crews had set for him, he kept two reckonings. One was for his
private journal, the other was for all to see. He took the actual
figures of each day's run as set down in his private record, subtracted
from them a certain percentage and gave out this revised reckoning to
the fleet. He, and he alone, knew that they were nearly seven hundred
leagues from Palos already, instead of five hundred and fifty. According
to Toscanelli's calculation, by sailing west from the Canaries along the
thirtieth parallel of latitude he should land somewhere on the coast of
Cipangu; but the map of Toscanelli might be incorrect. If the ocean
should prove to be a hundred or more leagues wider than the chart showed
it, they would have to go on, all the same.

Even after they were out of the seaweed there was something weird and
unnatural in the sluggish calm of the sea. Light winds blew from the
west and southwest, but there were no waves, as by all marine experience
there should have been. On September 25 the sea heaved silently in a
mysterious heavy swell, without any wind. Then the wind once more
shifted to the east, and carried them on so smoothly that they could
talk from one ship to another. Martin Pinzon borrowed the Admiral's
chart, and it seemed to him that according to this they must be near
Cipangu. He tossed the chart back to the flagship on the end of a cord,
and gave himself to scanning the horizon. Ten thousand maravedis had
been promised by the sovereigns to the first man who actually saw land.
Suddenly Pinzon shouted, "Tierra! Tierra!" There was a low bank of what
seemed to be land, about twenty-five leagues away to the southwest. Even
for this Colón hesitated to turn from his pre-arranged course, but at
last he yielded to the chorus of pleading and protest which arose from
his officers, set his helm southwest and found--a cloud-bank.

Again and again during the following days the eager eyes and strained
nerves of the seamen led to similar disappointments. Land birds
appeared; some alighted fearlessly on the rigging and sang. Dolphins
frolicked about the keels. Flying-fish, pursued by their enemy the
bonito (mackerel), rose from the water in rainbow argosies, and fell
sometimes inside the caravels. A heron, a pelican and a duck passed,
flying southwest. By the true reckoning the fleet had sailed seven
hundred and fifty leagues. Colón wondered whether there could be an
error in the map, or whether by swerving from their course they had
passed between islands into the southern sea. Pedro, as sensitive as a
dog to the moods of his master, watched the Admiral's face as he came
and went, and wondered in his turn.

The pilots and shipmasters were cautious in expressing their fears
within hearing of the sailors, for by this time every one in authority
knew that open mutiny might break out at any moment. On the evening of
October 10 a delegation of anxious officers came to explain to the
Admiral that they could not hold the panic-stricken crews. If no land
appeared within a week their provisions would not last until they
reached home; they had not enough water to last through the homeward
voyage even now. The Admiral knew as well as they the horrors of thirst
and famine at sea, particularly with a crew of the kind they had been
obliged to ship. What did he intend to do?

The Admiral, seated at his table, finished the sentence he was adding in
his neat, legible hand to his log, put it aside, put the pen in the case
which hung at his belt, closed his ink-horn. His quiet eyes rested
fearlessly on their uneasy faces.

"This expedition," he said calmly, "has been sent out to look for the
Indies. With God's blessing we shall continue to look for them until we
find them. Say to the men, however, that if they will wait two or three
days I think they will see land."

Next morning Pedro was engaged in polishing his master's steel corslet
and casque, while near by two or three sailors conferred in low tones.

"We have had enough of promises," growled one. "As Rascon says, we are
like Fray Agostino's donkey, that went over the mountain at a trot,
trying to reach the bunch of carrots hung on a staff in front of his

There was a half-hearted snicker, and one of the men pointed a warning
thumb at Pedro.

"Oh!" said the speaker. "You heard, you little beggar?"

"I did," said Pedro.


"Well, I was waiting for the end of the story. As I heard it the Abbot
charged the old friar with deceiving the dumb beast, and he said he had
to, because he was dealing with a donkey!"

Pedro slung the pieces of gleaming plate-mail to his shoulder and added
as he turned to go, "You need not be afraid that I shall tell the
Admiral what you were saying. I am not a fool, and he knows how scared
you are, already."

More signs of land appeared--river weeds, a thorny branch with fresh
berries like rose-hips, a reed, a piece of wood, a carved staff. As
always, the vesper hymn to the Virgin was sung on the deck of the
flagship, and after service the Admiral briefly addressed the men. He
reminded them of the singular favor of God in granting them so quiet and
safe a voyage, and recalled his statement made on leaving the Canaries,
that after they had made seven hundred leagues he expected to be so near
land that they should not make sail after midnight. He told them that in
his belief they might find land before morning.

Nobody slept that night. About ten o'clock the Admiral, gazing from the
top of the castle built up on the poop of the _Santa Maria_, thought
that far away in the warm darkness he saw a glancing light.

"Pedro," he said to the boy near him, "do you see a light out there?
Yes? Call Señor Gutierrez and we will see what he makes of it. I have
come to the pass where I do not trust my own eyes."

Gutierrez saw it, but when Sanchez of Segovia came up, the light had
vanished. It seemed to come and go as if it were a torch in a
fishing-boat or in the hand of some one walking. But at two in the
morning a gun boomed from the _Pinta_. Rodrigo de Triana, one of the
seamen, had seen land from the mast-head.

The sudden sunrise of the tropics revealed a green Paradise lapped in
tranquil seas. The ships must have come up toward it between sunset and
midnight. No one had been able to imagine with any certainty what
morning would show. But this was no seaport, or coast of any civilized
land. People were coming down to the shore to watch the approach of the
ships, but they were wild people, naked and brown, and the sight was
evidently perfectly new to them.

The Admiral ordered the ships to cast anchor, and the boats were manned
and armed. He himself in a rich uniform of scarlet held the royal banner
of Castile, while the brothers Pinzon, commanders of the _Pinta_ and the
_Nina_, in their boats, had each a banner emblazoned with a green cross
and the crowned initials of the sovereigns, Fernando and Ysabel. The air
was clear and soft, the sea was almost transparent, and strange and
beautiful fruits could be seen among the rich foliage of the trees along
the shore. The Admiral landed, knelt and kissed the earth, offering
thanks to God, with tears in his eyes; and the other captains followed
his example. Then rising, he drew his sword, and calling upon all who
gathered around him to witness his action, took possession of the
newly-discovered island in the name of his sovereigns, and gave it the
name of San Salvador (Holy Savior).

The wild people, terrified at the sight of men coming toward them from
these great white-winged birds, as they took the ships to be, ran away
to the woods, but they presently returned, drawn by irresistible
curiosity. They had no weapons of iron, and one of them innocently took
hold of a sword by the edge. They were delighted with the colored caps,
glass beads, hawk-bells and other trifles which were given to them, and
brought the strangers great balls of spun cotton, cakes of cassava
bread, fruits, and tame parrots. Pedro went everywhere, and saw
everything, as only a boy could. Later, when the flagship was cruising
among the islands, and the Admiral, worn out by long anxiety, lay asleep
in his cabin, the helmsman, smothering a mighty yawn, called Pedro to

"See here, young chap," he said, "we are running along the shore of this
island and there is no difficulty--take my place will you, while I get a

The boy hesitated. He would have asked his master, but his master was
asleep, and must not be awakened. This helmsman, moreover, was one of
the men who had been kind to him, ready to answer his questions
regarding navigation, and loyal to the Admiral. Moreover it was not
quite the first time that Pedro had been allowed to take this
responsibility. He accepted it now. The man staggered away and lost
himself in heavy sleep almost before he lay down.

It was one of the still, breathless nights of the tropic seas. Pedro's
small strong hands had not grasped the helm for a half-hour before the
wind freshened, and then a tremendous gust swept down upon the flagship
hurling her right upon the unknown shore. Pedro strove desperately with
the fearful odds, but before the half-awakened sailors heard his call
the _Santa Maria_ was past repair. No lives were lost, but the Admiral
decided that it would be necessary to leave a part of the men on shore
as the beginning of a settlement. He would not have chosen to do this
but for the disaster, for the men who made up these crews were not
promising material for a colony in a wild land. But he had no choice in
the matter. The two smaller ships would not hold them all. Pedro,
shaken with sobs, cast himself at the feet of his master and begged

"No one blames you, my son," said the Admiral, more touched than he had
been for a long time. "Be not so full of sorrow for what cannot be
helped. The wild people are friendly, the land is kind, and when we have
sailed back to Spain with our news there will be no difficulty in
returning with as many ships as we may need. Nay, I will not leave thee
here, Pedro. I think that now I could not do without thee."


[1] The name of Columbus took various forms according to the country in
which he lived. In his native Genoa it would be Cristofero Colombo. In
Portugal, where he dwelt for many years, it would be Cristobal Colombo,
and in Spanish Christoval or Cristobal Colón. In Latin, which was the
common language of all learned men until comparatively recent times, the
name took the form Christopherus Columbus, which has become in modern
English Christopher Columbus. In each story the discoverer is spoken of
as he would have been spoken of by the characters in that particular


    In this Thy world, O blessed Christ,
      I live but for Thy will,
    To serve Thy cause and drive Thy foes
      Before Thy banner still.

    In rich and stately palaces
      I have my board and bed,
    But Thou didst tread the wilderness
      Unsheltered and unfed.

    My gallant squadrons ride at will
      The undiscover'd sea,
    But Thou hadst but a fishing-boat
      On windy Galilee.

    In valiant hosts my men-at-arms
      Eager to battle go,
    But Thou hadst not a single blade
      To fend Thee from the foe.

    Great store of pearls and beaten gold
      My bold seafarers bring,
    But Thou hadst not a little coin
      To pay for Thy lodging.

    The trust that Thou hast placed in me,
      O may I not betray,
    Nor fail to save Thy people from
      The fires of Judgment Day!

    Be strong and stern, O heart, faint heart--
      Stay not, O woman's hand,
    Till by this Cross I bear for Thee
      I have made clean Thy land!



"Nombre de San Martin! who is that up there like a cat?"

"Un gato! Cucarucha en palo!"

"If Alonso de Ojeda hears of your calling him a cockroach on a mast, he
will grind your ribs to a paste with a cudgel (os moliesen las costillas
a puros palos)!" observed a pale, sharp-faced lad in a shabby doublet.
The sailor who had made the comparison glanced at him and chuckled.

"Your pardon--hidalgo. I have been at sea so much of late that the
comparison jumped into my mind. Is he a caballero then?"

"One of the household of the Duke of Medina Coeli. He is always doing
such things. If he happened to think of flying, he would fly. Every one
must be good at something."

The performance which they had just been watching would fix the name of
Ojeda very firmly in the minds of those who saw. Queen Ysabel, happening
to ascend the tower of the cathedral at Seville with her courtiers and
ladies, remarked upon the daring and skill of the Moorish builders.
Everywhere in the newly conquered cities of Granada were their
magnificent domes and lofty muezzin towers, often seeming like the airy
minarets of a mirage. The next instant Alonso de Ojeda had walked out
upon a twenty-foot timber projecting into space two hundred feet above
the pavement, and at the very end he stood on one leg and waved the
other in the air. Returning, he rested one foot against the wall and
flung an orange clean over the top of the tower. He was small, though
handsome and well-made, and he had now shown a muscular strength of
which few had suspected him.

It was natural that the sailor should be interested in the people of the
court, for he had business there. The Admiral of the Indies was making
his arrangements for his second voyage, and he had desired Juan de la
Cosa to meet him at Seville. As the pilot stood waiting for the Admiral
to come out from an interview with Fonseca he had a good look at many of
the persons who were to join in this second expedition.

"There will be no unlocking the jail doors to scrape together crews for
this fleet, I warrant you," thought the old sailor exultantly as he
stood in the shadow of the Giralda watching Castile parade itself before
the new hero. Here were Diego Colón, a quiet-looking youth, the youngest
brother of the Admiral; Antonio de Marchena the astronomer, a learned
monk; Juan Ponce de León, a nobleman from the neighborhood of Cadiz with
a brilliant military record; Francisco de las Casas with his son
Bartolomé; and the valiant young courtier whom all Seville had seen
flirting with death in mid-air.

"Oh, it was nothing," La Cosa heard Ojeda say when Las Casas made some
kindly compliment on his daring. "I will tell you," he added in a lower
voice, pulling something small out of his doublet, "I have a sure
talisman in this little picture of the Virgin. The Bishop gave it to me,
and I always carry it. In all the dangers one naturally must encounter
in the service of such a master as mine, it has kept me safe. I have
never even been wounded."

The Duke of Medina Coeli was in fact a stern master in the school of
arms. He was always at the front in the wars just concluded between
Spaniard and Moor, and where he was, there he expected his squires to
be. There was no place among the youths whose fathers had given him
charge of their military training, for a lad with a grain of physical
cowardice. Ojeda moreover had a quick temper and a fiery sense of honor,
and it really seemed to savor of the miraculous that he had escaped all
harm. At any rate he had reached the age of twenty-one with unabated
faith in the little Flemish painting.

"These youngsters--" the veteran seaman said to himself as he looked at
the straight, proud, keen-faced squires and youthful knights marching
along the streets of the temporary capital, "now that the Moors are
vanquished what won't they do in the Indies! I think the golden days
must be come for Christians. And shall you be a soldier also, my lad?"
he asked of the sharp-faced boy, who still stood near him.

"My father says not. He wants me to be a lawyer," said the youngster
indifferently. Then he slipped away as some companions of his own age,
or a little older, came by, and one said enviously,

"Where have you been, Hernan' Cortes? Lucky you were not with us. My
faith--" the speaker wriggled expressively, "we caught a drubbing!"

"Told you so," returned the lad addressed, with cool unconcern. "Why
can't you see when to let go the cat's tail?"

"He has a head on him, that one," the seaman chuckled. "There is always
one of his sort in every gang of boys. But that young gallant Ojeda! A
fine young fellow, and as devoted as he is brave." Juan de la Cosa had
conceived at first sight an admiration and affection for Ojeda which was
to last as long as they both should live.

The fleet that stately sailed from Cadiz on September 25, 1493, was a
very different sight from the three shabby little caravels that slipped
down the Tinto a year and a half before. The Admiral now commanded
fourteen caravels and three great carracks or store-ships, on board of
which were horses, mules, cattle, carefully packed shoots of grape-vines
and sugar-cane, seeds of all kinds, and provisions ready for use. The
fleet carried nearly fifteen hundred persons,--three hundred more than
had been arranged for, but the enthusiasm in Spain was boundless. It
carried also the embittered hatred of Fonseca. The Bishop, having been
the Queen's confessor, naturally became head of the Department of the
Indies in order to forward with all zeal the conversion of the native
races. But when he tried to assert his authority over the Admiral and
appealed to Fernando and Ysabel to support him, he was told mildly but
firmly that in the equipment and command of the fleet Colón's judgment
was best. This royal snub Fonseca never forgave, and he was one of those
persons who revenge a slight on some one else rather than the one who
inflicted it. It was also his nature never to forgive any one for
succeeding in an undertaking which he himself had prophesied would fail.

All seemed in order on the morning of the embarkation. At this time of
year storms were unlikely, and there was no severity of climate to be
feared. Half Castile and Aragon had come to see the expedition off. The
young cavaliers' heads were filled with visions of rich dukedoms and
principalities in the golden empire upon whose coast the discovered
islands hung, like pendants of pearl and gold upon the robe of a

The first incident of the voyage was not, however, romantic. The fleet
touched at the Canary Islands to take on board more animals--goats,
sheep, swine and fowls, for the Admiral had seen none of these in any of
the islands he had visited. In fact the people had no domestic animal
whatever except their strange dumb dogs. The cavaliers, glad of a chance
to stretch their legs in a space a little greater than the deck of a
crowded ship, strolled about discussing past and future with large

Ojeda was asking Juan de la Cosa about the nature of the country. It
seemed to him the ideal field for a man of spirit and high heart. How
glorious a conquest would it be to abolish the vile superstitions of the
barbarians and set up the altars of the true faith!

The pilot was a little amused and somewhat doubtful; he knew something
of savages, and Ojeda and the priests on board did not. It was not, he
suggested, always easy to convert stubborn heathen. A pig was a small
animal, but Ojeda would remember that to the Moslem it was as great an
object of aversion as a lion.

"Ho!" said Ojeda superbly, "that is quite--" He was interrupted by a
blow that knocked his legs out from under him and landed him on the
ground in a sitting position with his hat over his eyes.

"Who did that?" he cried, leaping to his feet, hand on sword.

"Only a pig, my lord," the sailor answered choking with half-swallowed
laughter. It was a pig, which the sailors had goaded to such a state of
desperation that it had bolted straight into the group as a pig will,
and was now galloping away, pursued by a great variety of maledictions
and persons. "They have got the creature now," he added, "You are not
hurt?" for Ojeda was actually pale with indignation and disgust.

"No," sputtered the youth, "but that pig--that p-pig--" He looked around
him with an eye which seemed to challenge any beholder of whatever
condition, to laugh and be instantly run through. Fortunately most of
those on the wharf had been too much occupied to see Ojeda fall before
the pig, and just then the trumpets blew, and all hastened to get back
on board ship.

When an expedition is composed largely of hot-headed youths trained to
the use of arms, each of whom has a code of honor as sensitive as a
mimosa plant and as prickly as a cactus, the lot of their commanders is
not happy. It may have been Ojeda's treasured talisman which saved him
from several sudden deaths during the following weeks, but Juan de la
Cosa privately believed it was partly the memory of the pig. The young
man had what might in another time and civilization have developed into
a sense of humor. It would not do for a hero with the world before him
to get himself sent back to Spain because of some trivial personal

On reaching Hispaniola the adventurers found plenty of real occupation
awaiting them. The little colony which the Admiral had left at Navidad
on his first voyage had been wiped out. The natives timidly explained
that a fierce chief from the interior, Caonaba, had killed or captured
all the forty men of the garrison and destroyed their fort. Colón was
obliged to remodel all his plans at a moment's notice. Instead of
finding a colony well under way, and in control of the wild tribes or at
least friendly with them, he found the wreck of a luckless attempt at
settlement, and the kindly native villagers turned aloof and suspicious,
and living in dread of a second raid by Caonaba. He chose a site for a
second settlement on the coast, where ships could find a harbor, not far
from gold-bearing mountains which the natives described and called
Cibao. This sounded rather like Cipangu.

Ojeda led an exploring party into the mountains, and found gold nuggets
in the beds of the streams. In March a substantial little town had been
built, with a church, granary, market-square, and a stone wall around
the whole. The Admiral then organized an expedition to explore the

On March 12, 1494, Colón with his chief officers went out of the gate of
the settlement, which had been named for the Queen, at the head of four
hundred men, many of whom were mounted, and all armed with sword,
cross-bow, lance or arquebus. With casques and breastplates shining in
the sun, banners flying, pennons fluttering, drums and trumpets
sounding, they presented a sight which should have brought ambassadors
from any monarch of the Indies who heard of their approach. But although
a multitude of savages came from the forest to see, no signs of any such
capital as that of the Great Khan appeared. At the end of the first
day's march they camped at the foot of a rocky mountain range with no
way over it but a footpath, winding over rocks and through dense
tropical jungles. There appeared to be no roads in the country.

But this was not an impossible situation to the young Spanish cavaliers,
for in the Moorish wars it had often been necessary to construct a road
over the mountains. A number of them at once volunteered for the
service, and with laborers and pioneers, to whom they set an example by
working as valiantly as they were ready to fight, they made a road for
the little army, which was named in their honor El Puerto de los
Hidalgos, the Gentlemen's Pass. When they reached the top of this steep
defile and could look down upon the land beyond they saw a vast and
magnificent plain, covered with forests of beautiful trees, blossoming
meadows and a network of clear lakes and rivers, and dotted here and
there with thatch-roofed villages. Near the top of the pass a spring of
cool delicious water bubbled out in a glen shaded by palms and one tall
and handsome tree of an unknown variety, with wood so hard that it
turned the ax of a laborer who tried to cut a chip of it. Colón gave the
plain the name of the Vega Reál or Royal Plain.

Of all the events, exploits and intrigues of those first years in the
Spanish Indies, no one historian among those who accompanied the
expedition ever found time to write. Where all was so new, and every
man, whether priest, cavalier, soldier, sailor, clerk or artisan, had
his own reasons and his own aims in coming to this land of promise,
nothing went exactly according to anybody's plans. The Admiral was soon
convinced that in Hispaniola at least no civilized capital existed. To
their amazement and amusement the Spaniards found that the savages
feared their horses more than their weapons. It was discovered after a
while that horse and rider were at first supposed to be one supernatural
animal. When the white men dismounted the people fled in horror,
believing that the ferocious beasts were going to eat them.

It became evident that with the fierce chief Caonaba to reckon with,
military strength and capacity would be the only means of holding the
country. The commander could not count on patriotism, religious
principle or even self-interest to keep the colonists united. In this
tangled situation one of the few persons who really enjoyed himself was
Alonso de Ojeda. Instead of spending his time in drinking, quarreling or
getting himself into trouble with friendly natives, the young man seemed
bent on proving himself an able and sagacious leader of men. A little
fortress of logs had been built about eighteen leagues from the
settlement, in the mining country, defended on all sides but one by a
little river, the Yanique, and on the remaining side by a deep ditch.
Gold dust, nuggets, amber, jasper and lapis lazuli had been found in the
neighborhood, and it was the Admiral's intention to send miners there as
soon as possible, protected by the fort, which he called San Tomás.
Ojeda happened to be in command of the garrison, in the absence of his
superior, when Caonaba came down from his mountains with an immense
force of hostile tribes. The young lieutenant in his rude eyrie, perched
on a hill surrounded by the enemy, held off ten thousand savages under
the Carib chief for more than a month. Finally the chief, whose people
had never been trained in warfare after the European fashion, found them
deserting by hundreds, tired of the monotony of the siege. Ojeda did not
merely stand on the defensive. He was continually sallying forth at the
head of small but determined companies of Spaniards, whenever the enemy
came near his stronghold. He never went far enough from his base to be
captured, but killed off so many of the best warriors of Caonaba that
the chief himself grew tired of the unprofitable undertaking and
withdrew his army. During the siege provisions ran short, and when
things were looking very dark a friendly savage slipped in one night
with two pigeons for the table of the commander. When they were brought
to Ojeda, in the council chamber where he was seated consulting with his
officers, he glanced at the famine-pinched faces about him, took the
pigeons in his hands and stroked their feathers for an instant.

"It is a pity," he said, "that we have not enough to make a meal. I am
not going to feast while the rest of you starve," and he gave the birds
a toss into the air from the open window and turned again to his plans.
When some one reported the incident to the Admiral his eyes shone.

"I wish we had a few more such commanders," he said.

Caonaba's next move was to form a conspiracy among all the caciques of
Hispaniola, to join in a grand attack against the white men and wipe
them out, as he had wiped out the little garrison at Navidad. A friendly
cacique, Guacanagari, who had been the ally of the Admiral from the
first, gave him information of this plot, and the danger was seen by
Colón's acute mind to be desperate indeed. He had only a small force,
torn by jealousy and private quarrels, and a defensive fight at this
stage of his enterprise would almost surely be a losing one. The
territory of Caonaba included the most mountainous and inaccessible part
of the island, where that wily barbarian could hold out for years; and
as long as he was loose there would be no safety for white men. To the
Admiral, who was just recovering from a severe illness, the prospect
looked very gloomy.

Pedro the Vizcayan cabin-boy, who was his confidential servant, was
crossing the plaza one day with a basket of fruit, when Alonso de Ojeda
stopped him to inquire after his master's health.

"His health," said Pedro, "would improve if I had Caonaba's head in this
basket. I wish somebody would get it."

Ojeda laughed, showing a flash of white teeth under his jaunty
mustachios. Then he grew thoughtful. "Wait a moment, Pedro," he said.
"Will you ask the Admiral if he can see me for a few minutes, this

When Ojeda appeared Colón detected a trace of excitement in the young
man's bearing, and tactfully led the conversation to Caonaba. He frankly
expressed his perplexity.

"Have you a plan, Ojeda?" he asked with a half smile. "It has been my
experience, that you usually have."

Ojeda felt a thrill of pleasure, for the Admiral did not scatter his
compliments broadcast. He admitted that he had a plan.

"Let me hear it," said Colón.

But as the youthful captain unfolded his scheme the cool gray eye of the
Genoese commander betrayed distinct surprise. It seemed only yesterday
that this youngster had been a little monkey of a page in the great
palace of the Duke of Medina Coeli, when he was entertained there, on
arriving in Spain.

"You see," Ojeda concluded, "I have observed in fighting these people
that if their leader is killed or captured, they seem to lose their
heads completely. I think that with a dozen men I can get Caonaba and
bring him in. If I do not--the loss will not be very great."

"I should not like to lose you," said the Admiral, with his hand on the
young man's shoulder. "Go, if you will,--but do not sacrifice your own
life if you can help it."

Ojeda had faith in his talisman, and he also believed that if any man
could go into Caonaba's territory and come back alive, he was that man.
He knew that he himself, in the place of the chief, would respect a man
whom he had not been able to beat.

With ten soldiers he rode up into the mountains, his blood leaping with
the wild joy of an adventure as great as any in the Song of the Cid. To
be sure, Caonaba would not in his mountain camp have any such army as
when he surrounded the fort, for then he commanded whole tribes of
allies. In case of coming to blows Ojeda believed that he and his men
with their superior weapons could cut their way out. Still, the odds
were beyond anything that he had ever heard of.

He found the Carib chief, and began by trying diplomacy. He said that
his master, the Guamaquima or chief of the Spaniards, had sent him with
a present. Would he not consent to make a visit to the colony, with a
view of becoming the Admiral's ally and friend? If he would, he should
be presented with the bell of the chapel, the voice of the church, the
wonder of Hispaniola.

Caonaba had heard that bell when he was prowling about the settlement,
and the temptation to become its owner was great. He finally agreed to
accompany Ojeda and his handful of Spaniards back to the coast. But
when they were ready to start, the force of warriors in Caonaba's escort
was out of all proportion to any peaceful embassy. Ojeda turned to his
original plan.

He proposed that Caonaba, after bathing in the stream at the foot of the
mountain, and attiring himself in his finest robe, should put on the
gift the Spanish captain had brought, a pair of metal bracelets, and
return to his followers mounted with Ojeda on his horse. The chief's
eyes glittered as he saw the polished steel of the ornaments Ojeda
produced. He knew that nothing could so impress his wild followers with
his power and greatness as his ability to conquer all fear of the
terrible animals always seen in the vanguard of the white men's army. He
consented to the plan, and after putting on his state costume, and being
decorated with the handcuffs, he cautiously mounted behind the young
commander, and his followers, in awe and admiration, beheld their
cacique ride.


Ojeda, who was a perfect horseman, made the horse leap, curvet and
caracole, taking a wider circuit each time, until making a long sweep
through the forest the two disappeared from the view of the Carib army
altogether. Ojeda's own men closed in upon him, bound Caonaba hand and
foot, behind their leader, and thus the chief was taken into the Spanish
settlement. The conspiracy fell to pieces and the colony was saved.

Caonaba showed no respect to Colón or any one else in the camp while a
prisoner there, except Ojeda. When Ojeda entered he promptly rose to his
feet. They had many conversations together, and Caonaba, who evidently
rather admired the stratagem by which he had been captured, agreed with
his captor that Ojeda was The Man Who Could Not Die.


The career of Alonso de Ojeda is one of the most picturesque and
adventurous in early Spanish-American history, and his character is
typical of the young Spanish cavalier of the age just following the
discovery of America. The episodes here used, with many others quite as
dramatic, are described at length in Irving's "Life of Columbus."


    Why do you come here, white men, white men?
      Why do you bend the knee
    When your priests before you, singing, singing,
      Lift the cross, the cross of tree?

    Flashing in the sunlight, rainbows waking,
      Move your mighty oars keeping time.
    Sailors heave your anchors, chanting, chanting
      Some strange and mystic rime.

    Pearls and gold we bring you, feathers of our wild birds,
      Glowing in the sunshine like flowers.
    Houses we will build you, food and clothing find you,
      You shall share in all that is ours.

    Why do you frighten us, white men, white men?
      Can you not be friends for a day?
    Souls are like the sea-birds, flying, flying,
      Borne by the sea-wind away.

    Why do you chain us in the mines of the mountains?
      Why do you hunt us with your hounds?
    We who were so free, are we evermore to be
      Prisoned in your narrow hateful bounds?

    One escape is left us, white men, white men,--
      You cannot forbid our souls to fly
    To the stars of freedom, far beyond the sunset,--
      We whom you have captured can die!



"But of what use is a King's patent," said Hugh Thorne of Bristol, "if
the harbors be locked?"

The Italian merchant glanced up from his papers and smiled, which was
all the answer the Englishman seemed to expect, for he stormed on, "Here
have we better fleeces than Spain, better wheat than France, finer
cattle than the Netherlands, the tin of Cornwall, the flax of Kent and
Durham, and our people starve or live rudely because of the fettering of
our trade."

"'T is a sad misfortune," said the merchant. "In a world so great as
this there is surely room for all to work and all to get reward for
their labor. But so long as the English merchant guilds wear away their
time and substance in fighting one another I fear 't will be no better."

Thorne flung his cloak about him with an impatient gesture. "That's
true," he answered, "the Spaniards hold by Spain, and all the Hanse
merchants by one another, but our English go every man for himself and
the devil take the hindmost. I speak freely to you, friend, because you
have cast in your lot with us West Country folk and are content to be
called John Cabot."

The other smiled again, his quick childlike smile, and went with his
guest to the door. When he entered again his small private room a
dark-eyed boy of five was crawling out from under the table.

"Dad," he inquired solemnly, "vat is a locked harbor?"

John Cabot laughed and swung his little son to his shoulder. "That is a
great question for a little brain," he said fondly. "But see thee here;
suppose I put thee in the chest and shut the lid and turn the key; thou
art locked in and canst not get out--so! But now I put thee out of door
and set the bandog to guard it; thou art locked out though the door be
wide open, seest thou? And when I forbid thee to pick up the plums that
fall on the grass from the Frenchman's damson tree, they are as safe as
if I locked them in the dresser here, are they not? So 't is when the
King forbids his people to send their goods to some harbor; it is the
same as if a great chain were stretched across that harbor with a great
lock upon it. Now run and play with Ludovico and Santo, Sebastiano mio,
and be glad thou art free of a pleasant garden."

But Sebastian still hung back, his dark head rubbing softly against his
father's shoulder. "When I am a great merchant," he announced, "the King
will let me send my ships all over the world."

John Cabot stroked the wavy dark hair with a lingering, tender touch.
"God grant thee thy wish, little one," he said. And Sebastian, with a
shout in answer to a call from the sunny out-of-door world, scampered

John Cabot, who had been born in Genoa, married while a merchant in
Venice, and had now lived for many years in Bristol, felt sometimes that
the life of a trader was like that of a player at dice. And the dice
were often loaded.

He was a good navigator, or he would not have been a true son of the
Genoese house of Caboto--Giovanni Caboto translated meant John the
Captain, and in a city full of sea-captains a man must know more than a
little of the sea to win that title. He had made a place for himself in
Venice as Zuan Gaboto, and now he was a known and respected man in the
second greatest seaport of England, with a house in the quarter of
Bristol known as "Cathay," the only part of the city where foreigners
were allowed to live. It had its nickname from the fact that the foreign
trade of Bristol was largely with the Orient.

English trade in those days was hampered by a multitude of restrictions.
There were monopolies, there were laws forbidding the export of this and
that, or the making of goods by any one outside certain guilds, there
were arrangements favoring foreign traders who had got their foothold
during the War of the Roses,--when kings needed money from any source
that would promise it. The Hanse merchants at the Steelyard alone
controlled the markets of more than a hundred towns. Their grim stone
buildings rose like a fort commanding London Bridge, and they paid less
both in duties and customs than English merchants did. They employed no
English ships, and could underbuy and undersell the English manufacturer
and the English trader. Their men were all bachelors, with no families
to found or houses to keep up in England. The farmer might get half
price for his wool and pay more than one price for whatever he was
obliged to buy. There was plenty of private exasperation, but no open
fighting, against this ruling of the London markets by Hamburg, Lübeck,
Antwerp and Cologne. Cabot's clear head and wide experience plainly
showed him the enormous waste of such a system, but he did not see how
to unlock the harbors. Neither, at present, did the King, whose shrewd
brain was at work on the problem.

Henry Tudor had the thrift of a youth spent in poverty, and the turn for
finance inherited from Welsh ancestors, but his kingdom was not rich,
and his throne not over-secure. He was prejudiced against doing anything
rash, both by nature and by the very limited income of the crown. He had
given an audience to Bartholomew Columbus while the older brother was
still haunting the court of Castile with his unfulfilled plans, and had
gone so far as to tell the Genoese captain to bring his brother
Christopher to England that he might talk with him. Had it not been for
Queen Isabella's impulsive decision England instead of Spain might have
made the lucky throw in the great game of discovery. But by the time
Bartholomew could get the message to his brother the matter had been
settled and the expedition was already taking shape. Henry VII. always
kept one foot on the ground, and until he could see some other way to
bring wealth into the royal treasury he let the monopolies go on.

In 1495 he took a chance. He gave to John Cabot and his sons a license
to search "for islands, provinces or regions in the eastern, western or
northern seas; and, as vassals of the King, to occupy the territories
that might be found, with an exclusive right to their commerce, on
paying the King a fifth part of the profits."

It will be noted that this license did not say anything about the
southern ocean. Already troops of Spanish cavaliers were pouring into
the seaports, eager to make discoveries by the road of Columbus, and
Spain would regard as unfriendly any attempt to send English ships in
that direction. Whatever could be got from the Spanish territories
Henry would try another way of getting. The year before he had arranged
to have Prince Arthur, the heir to his throne, marry the fourth daughter
of the King of Aragon, Catherine, then a little Princess of eleven.
Prince Arthur died while still a boy, and Catherine became the first
wife of Henry, afterward Henry VIII. With a Spanish Princess as queen of
England, there might be an alliance between the two countries. That
would be better than quarreling with Spain over discoveries which were
at best uncertain. If Cabot really found anything valuable in the
northern seas the move might turn out to be a good one. It would make
England a more powerful member of the Spanish alliance, without taking
anything which Spain appeared to value.

In May, 1497, properly furnished with provisions and a few such things
as might show what England had to barter, the little _Matthew_ sailed
from Bristol under the command of John Cabot with his nineteen-year-old
son Sebastian and a crew of eighteen--nearly all Englishmen, used to the
North Atlantic. The King's permission was for five ships, but the wise
Cabot had heard something of the hardships of the first expeditions to
Hispaniola, and preferred to keep within his means, and sail with men
whom he could trust.

But on this voyage they found locked harbors not closed by the order of
any King but by natural causes,--harbors without inhabitants or means of
supporting life, and so far north as to be blocked by ice for half the
year. They sailed seven hundred leagues west and came at last to a rocky
wooded coast. Now in all the books of travel in Asia, mention had been
made of an immense territory ruled by the Grand Cham of Tartary, whose
hordes had nearly overrun Eastern Europe in times not so very long ago.
The adventures of Marco Polo the Venetian, in a great book sent to Cabot
by his wife's father, had been the fairy-tale of Sebastian and his
brothers from the time they were old enough to understand a story. In
this book it was written how Marco Polo and his companions passed
through utterly uninhabited wilds in the Great Khan's empire, and
afterward came to a region of barbarians, who robbed and killed
travelers. These fierce people lived on the fruits and game of the
forest, cultivating no fields; they dressed in the skins of wild animals
and used salt for money. Could this be the place? If so it behooved the
little party of explorers to be careful. As yet, nobody dreamed that any
mainland discovered by sailing westward from northern Europe could be
anything but Asia.

Cautiously they sailed along the rugged shore, but not a human being was
to be seen. It was the twenty-fourth of June, when by all accounts the
people of any civilized country should be coasting along from port to
port fishing or engaged in traffic. The sun blazed hot and clear, but
the inquisitive noses of the crew scented no cinnamon, cloves or ginger
in the air. All of these, according to Marco Polo, were in the
wilderness he crossed, and also great rivers. On crossing one of these
rivers he had found himself in a populous country with castles and
cities. Were there no people on this desolate shore--or were they lying
in wait for the voyagers to land, that they might seize and kill them
and plunder the ship?

One thing was certain, the air of this strange place made them all more
thirsty than they ever had been in England, and their water-supply had
given out. Sebastian and a crew of the younger men tumbled into a
boat, cross-bow and cutlass at hand, and went ashore to fill the
barrels, while John Cabot kept an anxious eye on the land. Sebastian
himself rather relished the adventure.

They found a stream of delicious water,--pure, cold and clear as a
fountain of Eden. Among the rocks they found creeping vines with rather
tasteless, bright red berries, in the woods little evergreen herbs with
leaves like laurel and scarlet spicy berries, dark green mossy vines
with white berries--but no spice-trees. The forest in fact was rather
like Norway, according to Ralph Erlandsson, who was a native of
Stavanger. Sebastian, who was ahead, presently came upon signs of human
life. A sapling, bent down and held by a rude contrivance of deerhide
thong and stakes, was attached to a noose so ingeniously hidden that the
young leader nearly stepped into it. He took it off the tree and looked
about him. A minute later, from one side and to the rear, a startled
exclamation came from Robert Thorne of Bristol, who had stepped on a
similar snare and been jerked off his feet. This was quite enough. The
party retreated to the ship. On the way back they saw trees that had
been cut not very long since, and Sebastian picked up a wooden needle
such as fishermen used in making nets, yet not like any English tool of
that sort.


They saw nothing more of the kind, although they sailed some three
hundred leagues along the coast, nor did they see any sort of tilled
land. This certainly could not be Cipangu or Cathay with their seaports
and gilded temples. Whatever else it was, it was a land of wild people,
savage hunters. John Cabot left on a bold headland where it could not
fail to be seen, a great cross, with the flag of England and the
Venetian banner bearing the lion of Saint Mark.

There was wild excitement in Bristol when it was known that the little
_Matthew_ had come safely into port, after three months' voyaging in
unknown seas. August of that year found the two Cabots at Westminster
with their story and their handful of forest trophies, and the excited
and suspicious Spanish Ambassador was framing a protest to the King and
a letter to Ferdinand and Isabella.

Henry VII. fingered the wooden needle, pulled the rawhide thong
meditatively through his fingers, and ate a little handful of the
wintergreen berries and young leaves. Their pungent flavor wrinkled his
long nose. This was certainly not any spice that came from the Indies.

"This country you found," he remarked at last, "is not much like New

"Nay, Sire," answered John Cabot simply.

"And I understand,"--the King put the collection of curiosities back
into the wallet that had held them, "that this represents one fifth at
least of the gains of the voyage."

Cabot bowed. As a matter of fact there had been no profits.

"My lord,"--the King handed the wallet over to the uneasy Ambassador,
who had been invited to the conference, "you have heard what our good
Captain says. If, as you say, Spain claims this landfall, we willingly
make over to you our--ahem!--share of the emolument." And the Spaniard,
looking rather foolish, saw nothing better to do than to bow his thanks
and retire from the presence.

The King turned again to the Cabots.

"Nevertheless," he went on meditatively, "we will not be neglectful of
you. In another year, if it is still your desire to engage in this work,
you may have--" a pause--"ten ships armed as you see fit, and manned
with whatever prisoners are not confined for--high treason. Fish, I
think you said, abound in those waters? Bacalao--er--that is cod, is it
not? Now it seems to me that our men of Bristol can go a-fishing on
those banks without interference from the Hanse merchants, and we shall
be less dependent on--foreign aid, for the victualing of our tables. And
there may be some way to Asia through these Northern seas--in which case
our brother of Spain may not be so nice in his scruples about trespass.
The Spice Islands are not his but Portugal's. And for your present
reward,--" the King reached for his lean purse and waggled his gaunt
foot in its loose worn red shoe "this, and the title of Admiral of your
new-found land."

He dropped some gold pieces into the hand of John Cabot. In the accounts
of his treasurer for that year may be seen this item:

"10th August, donation of £10 to him that found the new isle."

In May of the next year another voyage was undertaken by Sebastian, John
Cabot having died. This time there was a small fleet from Bristol with
some three hundred men. Sebastian sailed so far north as to be stopped
by seas full of icebergs, then turning southward discovered the island
of Newfoundland, landed further south on the mainland, and went as far
toward the Spanish possessions as the great bay called Chesapeake.
Meanwhile shoals of little fishing boats, from Bristol, Brittany,
Lisbon, Rye, and the Vizcayan ports on the north of Spain, crept across
the gray seas to fish for cod. They held no patent and carried no guns,
but they made a floating city off the Grand Banks for a brief season,
settling their own disputes. The people at home found salt fish good
cheap and wholesome. When Sebastian told the Bristol folk that the fish
were so thick in these new seas that he could hardly get his ships
through, they would not believe it. But when Robert Thorne and a dozen
others had seen the little caplin, the fish which the cod feeds upon,
swimming inshore by the acre, crowded by the cod behind them, and by
seal, shark and dogfish hunting the cod, when cod were caught and salted
down and shown in Bristol, four and five feet long, then Bristol
swallowed both story and cargo and blessed the name of Cabot.

Sebastian Cabot shook the dust of Bristol off his restless feet more
than once in the years that followed. Within five years after his voyage
to the Arctic regions he was cruising about the Caribbean. In 1517 he
was at the entrance of the great bay on the north coast of Labrador. In
1524 he was in the service of Spain, and coasting along the eastern
shores of South America ascended the great river which De Solis had
named Rio de la Plata, came within sight of the mountains of Peru. But
for orders from Spain, where Pizarro had secured the governorship of
that land, Cabot might have been its conqueror. In 1548, after some
years spent in Spain as pilot major, he came back to England, where he
was appointed to the position of superintendent of naval affairs. It was
his work to examine and license pilots, and make charts and maps, and
some ten years later he died, having founded the company of Merchant
Adventurers in 1553. This company was entitled to build and send out
ships for discovery and trade in parts unknown. By uniting merchant
traders in one body, governed by definite rules, and backed by their
combined capital, it broke the monopoly of the Hanseatic League and
finally drove the Hanse merchants out of England. Sebastian Cabot was
its first governor, holding the office until he died, and has rightly
been called the father of free trade. He had unlocked the harbors of the
world to his adopted country, England.


The rules drawn up by Cabot for the merchant adventurers, to be read
publicly on board ship once a week, are interesting as showing the
character of the man and the great advance made in welding English trade
into a company to be guided by the best traditions. For the first time
captains were required to keep a log, and this one thing, by putting on
record everything seen and noted by those who sailed strange waters,
made an increasing fund of knowledge at the service of each navigator.
Some of the points in the instructions are as follows:

7. "That the merchants and other skilful persons, in writing, shall
daily write, describe and put in memorie the navigation of each day and
night, with the points and observations of the lands, tides, elements,
altitude of the sunne, course of the moon and starres, and the same so
noted by the order of the master and pilot of every ship to be put in
writing; the captain-general assembling the masters together once every
weeke (if winde and weather shall serve) to conferre all the
observations and notes of the said ships, to the intent it may appeare
wherein the notes do agree and wherein they dissent, and upon good
debatement, deliberation and conclusion determined to put the same into
a common ledger, to remain of record for the companie; the like order to
be kept in proportioning of the cardes, astrolabes, and other
instruments prepared for the voyage, at the charge of the companie.

12. "That no blaspheming of God, or detestable swearing, be used in any
ship, or communication of ribaldrie, filthy tales, or ungodly talk to be
suffered in the company of any ship, neither dicing, tabling, nor other
divelish games to be permitted, whereby ensueth not only povertie to the
players, but also strife, variance, brauling, fighting and oftentimes

26. "Every nation and region to be considered advisedly, and not to
provoke them by any distance, laughing, contempt, or such like; but to
use them with prudent circumspection, with all gentleness and

These and other instructions form an ideal far beyond anything found in
the merchant shipping of any other land at that time, and the wisdom
which inspired them undoubtedly laid the foundation of the fine and
noble tradition which formed the best officers of the navy not yet born.
There was no British navy in the modern sense until a hundred years
after Cabot's day. In time of war the King impressed all suitable ships
into his service, if they were not freely offered by private owners. In
time of peace the monarch was a ship-owner like any other, and such a
thing as a standing navy was not thought of. Hence the brave, generous,
and courteous merchant adventurer, when such a man was abroad, was the
upholder of the honor of his country as well as the upbuilder of her


    Gray sails that fill with the winds of the morning,
      Out upon the Channel or the bleak North sea,
    Neither cross nor fleur-de-lis goes to your adorning,--
      Arctic frost and southern gale your tirewomen shall be.
    Yet when you come home again--home again--home again,
      Gray sails turn to silver when the keel runs free.

    Gray sails of Plymouth, 'ware the wild Orcades,
      Gray sails of Lisbon, 'ware the guns of Dieppe.
    Cross-bows of Genoa, 'ware the wharves of Gades,--
      You that sail the Spanish Seas may neither trust nor sleep.
    Yet when you come home again--home again--home again,
      You shall make the covenant for Kings to keep!

    Gray sails are crowding where the sea-fog sleeping
      Masks the faces of the folk that throng and traffic there.
    When the winds are free again and the cod are leaping,
      All the tongues of Pentecost wake the laughing air.
    And when they come home again--home again--home again,
      They shall bring their freedom for the world to share!



"Translators," observed Amerigo Vespucci, "are frequently traitors. Now
who is to be surety that yonder interpreter does not change your words
in repeating them?"

Alonso de Ojeda touched the hilt of his poniard. "This," he said.
"Toledo steel speaks all languages."

The Florentine's black eyebrows lifted a little, but he did not pursue
the subject. Ojeda was not the sort of man likely to be convinced of
anything he did not believe already, and Vespucci was having too good a
time to waste it in argument.

This middle-aged, shrewd-looking individual had for half his life been
chained to the desk, for he had been many years a clerk in the great
merchant houses of the Medici. Until he was forty years old he had
hardly gone outside his native city. In the latter half of the fifteenth
century each Italian city was a little world in itself, with its own
standards, customs and traditions. The fact that Vespucci spent most of
his leisure and all of his spare ducats in the collection and study of
maps and globes and works on geography, was regarded as a proof of mild
insanity. When he paid one hundred and thirty gold pieces for a
particularly fine map made by Valsequa in 1439, even his intimate friend
Soderini called him a fool. Vespucci was himself an expert mapmaker.
This may have been a reason why, about 1490, the Medici sent him to
Barcelona to look after their interests in Spain. In Seville he secured
a position as manager in the house of Juanoto Berardi, who fitted out
ships for Atlantic voyages. In 1497 he himself sailed for the newly
discovered islands of the West, and spent more than a year in
exploration. This taste of travel seemed to have whetted his appetite
for more, for he was now acting as astronomer and geographer in the
expedition which Ojeda had organized and Juan de la Cosa fitted out, to
the coast which Colón had discovered and called Tierre Firme. In the
seven years since the first voyage of the great Admiral it had become
the custom to have on board, for expeditions of discovery, a person who
understood astronomy, the use of the astrolabe and navigation in
general, and the making of charts and maps. Vespucci was exactly that
sort of man. However queer it might seem to the young Ojeda to find in a
clerk forty years old such a fresh and youthful delight in travel, both
he and La Cosa knew that they had in him a valuable assistant. It was
generally understood that he meant to write a book about it all.

Vespucci was in fact thinking of his future book when he made that
speech about translators. He was planning to write the book not in
Latin, as was usual, but in Italian, making if necessary another copy in

The party had sailed from Puerto Santa Maria on May 20, 1499, taking
with them a chart which Bishop Fonseca, head of the Department of the
Indies, furnished. It had been the understanding when Colón received the
title of Admiral of the Indies that no expedition should be sent out
without his authority. This understanding Fonseca succeeded in
persuading the King and Queen to take back, and another order was
issued, to the effect that no independent expedition was to go out
without the royal permission. This, practically, meant Fonseca's leave.
The Bishop signed the permit for Ojeda's undertaking with double
satisfaction. He was doing a favor for his friend, Bishop Ojeda, cousin
to this young man, and he was aiming a blow at the hated Genoese
Admiral, whose very chart he was turning over to the young explorer. All
sorts of stories had been set afloat about the unfitness of the Admiral
to hold such an important office. Fonseca had managed to influence the
Queen so far against him that one Bobadilla had been sent to Hispaniola
with power to depose Colón and treat him as a criminal,--so cunningly
were his instructions framed. When the great discoverer was actually
thrown into prison and sent to Spain manacled like a felon, it might
have added a few drops of bitterness to his reflections if he had known
what Ojeda was doing. This youth, whom he had trusted and liked, was now
looking forward to the conquest of the very region which the Admiral had
discovered, and using what was supposed to be the Admiral's private
chart to guide him.

It is not likely, however, that the fiery and impatient Ojeda gave any
thought to the feelings of the older man. Juan de la Cosa was a leader
in the expedition, many sailors were enlisted, who had served in former
voyages of discovery, and above all, Fonseca approved. Ojeda would never
have dreamed of setting up any personal opinion contrary to the views of
the Church.

In twenty-four days the fleet arrived upon a coast which no one on board
had ever seen. It was in fact two hundred leagues further to the south
than Paria, where the Admiral had touched. The people were taller and
more vigorous than the Arawaks of Hispaniola, and expert with the bow,
the lance and the shield. Their bell-shaped houses were of tree-trunks
thatched with palm leaves, some of them very large. The people wore
ornaments made of fish-bones, and strings of white and green beads, and
feather headdresses of the most gorgeous colors. The interpreter told
Ojeda that the Spaniards' desire of gold and pearls was very puzzling to
these simple folk, who had never considered them of any especial value.
In a harbor called Maracapana the fleet was unloaded and careened for
cleaning. Under the direction of Ojeda and La Cosa a small brigantine
was built. The people brought venison, fish, cassava bread and other
provisions willingly, and seemed to think the Spaniards angels. At
least, that was the version of their talk which reached Ojeda. It was
here that Amerigo Vespucci made that remark about translators. He had
not studied accounts of Atlantic voyages for the last few years without
drawing a few conclusions regarding the nature of savages. When it was
explained that the natives had neighbors who were cannibals, and that
they would greatly value the strangers' assistance in fighting them,
Vespucci came very near making a suggestion. He finally made it to Juan
de la Cosa instead of to Ojeda. The old pilot chuckled wisely.

"I've got past warning my young gentleman of danger ahead," he said
good-naturedly. "He can do without fighting just as well as a fish can
do without water. If I die trying to get him out of some scrape he has
plunged into head-first, it will be no more than I expect."

Ojeda was, in fact, spoiling for adventure, and joyfully set sail in the
direction of the Carib Islands. Seven coast natives were on board as
guides, and pointed out the island inhabited by their especial enemies.
The shore was lined with fierce-faced savages, painted and feathered,
armed with bows and arrows, lances and darts and bucklers. Ojeda
launched his boats, in each of which was a paterero, or small cannon,
with a number of soldiers crouching down out of sight. The armor of the
Spaniards protected them from the Indian arrows, while the cotton armor
of the savages and their light shields were no defense against
cannon-balls or crossbow-bolts.

When the barbarians leaped into the sea and attacked the boats the
cannon scattered them, but they rallied and fought more fiercely on
land. The Spaniards won that day's battle, but the dauntless islanders
were ready to renew the fight next morning. With his fifty-seven men
Ojeda routed the whole fighting force of the tribe, made many prisoners,
plundered and set fire to the villages, and returned to his ships. A
part of the spoil was bestowed on the seven friendly natives. Ojeda, who
had not received so much as a scratch, anchored in a bay for three weeks
to let his wounded recover. There were twenty-one wounded and one
Spaniard had been killed.

Sailing westward along the coast the fleet presently entered a vast gulf
like an inland sea, on the eastern side of which was a most curious
village. Ojeda could hardly believe the evidence of his own eyes. Twenty
large cone-shaped houses were built on piles driven into the bottom of
the lake, which in that part was clear and shallow. Each house had its
drawbridge, and communicated with its neighbors and with the shore by
means of canoes gliding along the water-ways between the piles. The
interpreters said it was called Coquibacoa.

"That is no proper name for so marvelous a place," said Ojeda after he
had tried to pronounce the clucking many-syllabled word. "Is it like
anything you have seen, Vespucci?"

The Italian had been comparing it with a similar village he had seen on
his first voyage, on a part of the coast called Lariab. He had an
instinct, however, that it would not be well to mix his own discoveries
with those of the present expedition.

"It is rather like Venice," he said demurely.

"That is the name for it," cried Ojeda in high
delight,--"Venezuela--Little Venice!"

"It would be interesting," observed Vespucci, "to know what names they
are giving to us. How they stare!"

The people of the village on stilts were evidently as much astonished at
the strangers as the strangers were at them. They fled into their houses
and raised the draw-bridges. The men in a squadron of canoes which came
paddling in from the sea were also terrified. But this did not last
long. The warriors went into the forest and returned with sixteen young
girls, four of whom they brought to each ship. While the white men
wondered what this could mean, several old crones appeared at the doors
of the houses and began a furious shrieking. This seemed to be a signal.
The maidens dived into the sea and made for the shore, and a storm of
arrows came from the canoemen. The fight, however, was not long, and the
Spaniards won an easy victory, after which they had no further trouble.
They found a harbor called Maracaibo, and twenty-seven Spaniards at the
earnest request of the natives were entertained as guests among the
inland villages for nine days. They were carried from place to place in
litters or hammocks, and when they returned to the ships every man of
them had a collection of gifts--rich plumes, weapons, tropical birds and
animals--but no gold. The monkeys and parrots were very amusing, but
they did not make up, in the minds of some of the crew, for the gold
which had not been found.

Ojeda returned from an exploring journey one day with a ruffled temper.
"A gang of poachers," he sputtered,--"rascally Bristol traders. We shall
have to teach these folk their place."

"What really happened?" Vespucci inquired privately of Juan de la Cosa.
The old mariner's eyes twinkled.

"It was funny. You see, we were coming down to the shore, ready to
return to the ships, when we spied an English ship and some sailors on
the beach, dancing after they'd caught their fish and eaten 'em. Up
marches our young caballero with hand on hilt and asks whose men they
are. But they answered him in a language he can't understand, d'ye see,
and after some jabbering he makes them understand that he wants to go on
board to see their captain. I went along, for I'd no mind to leave him
alone if there should be trouble.

"So soon as I set eyes on the captain I knew him for a chap I'd seen
years ago in Venice. He did me a good turn there, too, though he was but
a lad. I knew he was a Bristol man, but I hadn't expected to see him or
his ship so far from home. He could talk Spanish nearly as well as you

"'What are you doing here?' asks our worshipful commander.

"'Looking at the sky,' said the other man, cool as a cucumber. 'I think
we are going to have a storm.'

"'Don't bandy words with me,' says Ojeda. 'You are trespassing on my
master's dominions.'

"'Your master is the Admiral of the Indies, no?' says the stranger, and
that pretty near shut our young gentleman's mouth for a minute, for
between you and me I think he knows that Colón has not been well
treated. But he only got the more furious.

"'Do you insult me?' says he, and whips out his Toledo blade and bends
it almost double, to show the quality.

"'Wait a minute, my young hornet,' says the captain--he wasn't much more
than a boy, himself,--'didn't your master the Duke of Medina Coeli teach
you better than to irritate a man on the deck of his own ship? Mine can
sail two leagues to your one, and I'm just leaving for home, so, unless
you would like to go with me, perhaps you will let this conversation end
without any more pointed remarks. If I chose, you know, I could drop you
overboard in sight of your men, to swim ashore. My guns would stave your
longboat all to pieces. But I've stayed long enough to give the lads a
chance to have a good meal and a bit of fun--nothing's better than
dancing, for the spirits, dad always said it was better than either
fighting or dicing on shipboard. Before we part, though, I'm going to
give you one piece of advice. Don't stir up these coast natives too
often. If you do, they'll eat you. They use poisoned arrows in some of
these parts, and there's no cure for that but a red-hot iron.'

"The caballero's temper is like gunpowder--it flashes up in a second,
or not at all. He must ha' seen that the captain meant him kindness.
Anyway, he slips his sword back in the scabbard and says cool as you

"'Señor, pardon my hasty conclusion. You have of course a perfect right
to look at the sky, and to dance, if that is your diversion. I should be
extremely sorry to interfere with your departure. But you will
understand that when a commander in the service of the sovereigns of
Aragon and Castile finds intruders within their territory it is his duty
to make it his affair. I thank you for your warning. Adios,' and he
makes a little stiff bow and goes over the side, me after him. I looked
back just as I went over the rail, and the skipper was watching me, and
I may be mistaken but I believe he winked. I tell you, our little
captain can do things that would get him run through the body if he were
any other man."

Vespucci smiled thoughtfully. But this incident may have had something
to do with his later decision to part company with Ojeda. Vespucci
continued to explore the coast, and Ojeda sailed northward to the
islands, where he kidnaped some Indians for slaves. When he returned to
Cadiz the young adventurer found to his intense disgust that after all
expenses were paid there remained but five hundred ducats to be divided
among fifty-five men. This was all the more mortifying because, two
months before, Pedro Alonso Nino, a captain of Palos, and Christoval
Guerra of Seville, had come in from a trading voyage in the Indies with
the richest cargo of gold and pearls ever seen in Cadiz.

Vespucci wrote his book some years later, and as it was the first
popular account of the new Spanish possessions and was written in a
lively and entertaining style it had a great reputation. It gave to the
natives of the country the name which they have ever since
borne--Indians. A German geographer who much admired the work suggested
that an appropriate mark of appreciation would be to name the new
continent America, after Vespucci, and this was done. Vespucci described
all that he saw and some things of which he heard, using care and
discretion, and if he suspected that the captain of the Bristol ship was
Sebastian Cabot, later pilot-major of Spain, he did not say so.


Amerigo Vespucci has been unjustly accused of endeavoring to steal the
glory of Columbus, but there is no evidence that he ever contemplated
anything of the kind. It was a German geographer's suggestion that the
continent be named America.


    O the Gold Road is a hard road,
      And it leads beyond the sea,--
    Some follow it through the altar gates
      And some to the gallows tree.
    And they who squander the gold they earn
      On kin-folk ill to please
    Go soon to the grave, but he toils in the grave--
      The miner upon his knees.

    The Gold Road is a dark road--
      No bird by the wayside sings,
    No sun shines into the cañons deep,
      No children's laughter rings.
    They are slaves who delve in the stubborn rocks
      For the pittance their labor brings.
    Their bread is bitter who toil for their own,
      But they starve who toil for Kings.

    The Gold Road is a small road,--
      A man must tread it alone,
    With none to help if he faint or fall,
      And none to hear his groan.
    The weight of gold is a weary weight
      When we toil for the sake of our own--
    But our masters are branding our hearts and souls
      With a Christ that is carved in stone!



"They fight among themselves too much. They need the man with the whip."

"_Bough! wough!_"

"_Yar-r-rh! arrh!--agh!_"

A spirited and entertaining dog-fight was going on just outside the
house of the governor of Darien. The deep sullen roar of Balboa's big
hound Leoncico was as unmistakable as the snarling, snapping, furious
bark of Cacafuego, who belonged to the Bachelor Enciso. The two hated
each other at sight, months ago. Now they were having it out. The man
with the whip evidently came on the scene, for there was a final
crescendo of barks, yelps and growls, followed by silence.

Pizarro's remark, however, did not refer to the dogs but to the
settlers, who had been rioting over the governorship of the colony. The
outcome of this disturbance had been the practical seizure of the office
of captain-general by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. Pizarro himself, and Juan
de Saavedra, to whom he addressed his comment, had supported Balboa.
Saavedra did not commit himself further than to answer, with a shrug,
"Balboa can use the whip on occasion, we all know that. Ah, here he
comes now."

The man and the dog would have attracted attention anywhere, separately
or together. The man was well-made and vigorous, with red-brown hair and
beard, and clear merry eyes, a leader who would rather lead than
command. The dog was of medium size but very powerful, tawny in color
with a black muzzle, and the scars on his compact body recorded many
battles, not with other dogs but with hostile Indians. He had been his
master's body-guard in several fights, and Balboa sometimes lent him to
his friends, the dog receiving the same share of plunder that would have
been due to an armed man. Leoncico is said to have brought his captain
in this way more than a thousand crowns.

"You called him off, eh, General?" Saavedra asked, bending to stroke the
terrible head. He and Vasco Nuñez had been friends for years; in fact it
was Saavedra who had managed the smuggling of Balboa on board the ship
in a cask, to escape his creditors, when the expedition set out. They
were intimate, as men are intimate who are different in character but
alike in feeling and tradition. Pizarro was an outsider and knew it.

"Yes; Enciso's dog would be better for a whipping, perhaps, but I had no
mind to make the Bachelor any more an enemy than he is. Pizarro,--" he
turned to the soldier of fortune, with a frank smile, "I have work for
you to do. It is dangerous, but I know that you do not care for that.
Pick out six good men, and be ready to see if there is any truth in
those stories about the Coyba gold mines."

Pizarro's black brows unbent. Nothing could have suited him better than
just these orders. He was, like Balboa, a native of the province of
Estremadura in Spain, and being shut out by his low birth from
advancement in his own land, had come to the colonies in the hope of
gaining wealth and position by the sword. His reckless courage, iron
muscle, and a certain cold stubbornness had given him the reputation of
an able man, but though nearly ten years older than Balboa, he had never
held any but a subordinate position. He had nearly made up his mind that
his chance would never come. These hidalgos wanted all the glory as well
as all the power for themselves. He could not see why Balboa should turn
the possible discovery of a rich new province over to him, but if the
gold should be there, Pizarro would get it. He bowed, thanked the
general, and took his leave.

"General," said Saavedra, "I never like to put my neck in a noose, but
if you were only Vasco Nuñez I would ask you why you made exactly that

Balboa laughed and pulled the ears of Leoncico, who had laid his head in
full content on his master's knee. "I am always Vasco Nuñez to you,
_amigo_," he said easily, "as you very well know. Pizarro is a bulldog
for bravery, and he has a head on his shoulders. Also he is ambitious,
and this will give him a chance to win renown."

"And keeps him out of mischief for the time being," put in Saavedra

Balboa laughed again. "Why do you ask me questions when you know my mind
almost as well as I do? You see, now that Enciso is about to go, we
shall have some freedom to do something besides quarrel among ourselves.
Gold is an apology for whatever one does, out here. If there is as much
of it as they say, in this Coyba, the King may be able to gild the walls
of another salon, and if he puts Pizarro's portrait in it in the place
of honor I shall not weep over that. There is glory enough for all of
us, who choose to earn it."

Pizarro and his men had not gone ten miles from Darien before they ran
into an ambush of Indians armed with slings. The seven Spaniards
charged instantly, and actually put the enemy to flight, then beat a
quick retreat. Every man of them despite their body armor had wounds and
bruises, and one was left disabled upon the field. Balboa met them as
they limped painfully in. His quick eye took in the situation.

"Only six of you? Where is Francisco Hernan?"

"He was crippled and could not walk," answered Pizarro sulkily; he saw
what was coming. Balboa's eyes blazed.

"What! You--Spaniards--ran away from savages and left a comrade to die?
Go back and bring him in!"

Pizarro turned in silence, took his men back over the road just
traversed, and brought Hernan safely in.

This was one of the many incidents by which the colony learned the
mettle of the new captain-general. Under his direction exploration of
the neighboring provinces was undertaken. Balboa with eighty men made a
friendly visit to Comagre, a cacique who could put three thousand
fighting men in the field. Comagre and his seven sons entertained the
white men in a house larger and more like a palace of the Orient than
any they had before seen. It was one hundred and fifty paces long by
eighty paces broad, the lower part of the walls built of logs, the
floors and upper walls of beautiful and ingenious wood-work. The son of
this cacique presented to Balboa seventy slaves, captives taken by
himself, and golden ornaments weighing altogether four thousand ounces.
The gold was at once melted into ingots, or bars of uniform size, for
purposes of division. One-fifth of it was weighed out for the Crown, the
rest divided among the members of the expedition. The young cacique
stood by watching with scornful curiosity as the Spaniards argued and
squabbled over the allotment. Suddenly he struck up the scales with his
fist, and the shining treasure tumbled over the porch floor like spilt

"Why do you quarrel over this trash?" he asked. "If this gold is so
precious to you that you leave your homes, invade the land of peaceable
nations and endure desperate perils, I will tell you where there is
plenty of it."

The Spaniards' attention was instantly caught and held. The young Indian
went on, with the same careless contempt, "You see those mountains over
there? Beyond them is a great sea. The people who dwell on the border of
that sea have ships almost as big as yours, with sails and oars as yours
have. The streams in their country are full of gold. The King eats from
golden dishes, for gold is as common there as iron is among you,"--he
glanced at the cumbrous armor and weapons of his guests. Indeed the
panoply of the Spaniards, made necessary by the constant possibility of
attack, and the weight of their cross-bows and other weapons, was a
source of continual wonder to the light and nimble Indians, and of much
weariness and suffering to themselves. Many in time adopted the quilted
cotton body armor of the natives, and used pikes when they could in
place of the musketoun, which was like a hand-cannon.

This was not the first time that Balboa and many of the others had heard
of the Lord of the Golden House, but no one else had told the story with
such boldness. The young cacique said that to invade this land, a
thousand warriors would be none too many. He offered to accompany Balboa
with his own troops, if the white men would go.

Here indeed was an enterprise with glory enough for all. Balboa returned
to Darien and began preparations. Valdivia, the regidor of the colony,
had been sent to Hispaniola for provisions, but the supply he brought
back was absurdly small. One of the serious difficulties encountered by
all the first settlers in the New World was this matter of provisioning
the camps. For the Indians the natural fruits and produce of the country
were sufficient, and they seldom laid up any great store. The small
surplus of any one chief was soon exhausted by a large body of guests.
Moreover, the country had no cattle, swine, fowls, goats, no domestic
food animals whatever, no grain but the maize. The supply of meat and
grain was thus very small until Spanish planters could clear and
cultivate their estates. On the march the troops could and did live off
the country with less trouble.

Balboa decided to send Valdivia back to Hispaniola for more supplies. He
also sent by him a letter to Diego Colón, son of the great Admiral and
governor of the island, explaining his need for more troops in view of
what he had just learned about a new and wealthy kingdom not far away.
He frankly requested the Governor to use his influence with the King to
make this discovery possible without delay.

Weeks passed, and Valdivia did not come back. Provisions again became
scarce. Then a letter from Balboa's friend Zamudio, who had gone to
Spain in the same ship with the Bachelor Enciso, in order to defend
Balboa's course. Everything, it seemed, had gone wrong. The King had
listened to the eloquence of the Bachelor, and would probably send for
Balboa to come to Spain to answer criminal charges. It was said that he
meant to send out as governor of Darien, in the place of Balboa, an old
and wily courtier, one of Fonseca's favorites, named Pedro Arias de
Avila, and usually called Pedrarias.

"That," said Balboa, handing the letter over to Saavedra to read, "seems
to mean that the fat has gone into the fire."

"What shall you do?"

"If the King's summons arrives," said Balboa reflectively, "I think I
will be on the top of that mountain range looking for the sea the
cacique spoke of."

"I will go at once and make my preparations," assented the other. "Did
you know that Pizarro has adopted that dog--the Spitfire--Enciso's

"Has the dog adopted him?" laughed Balboa, extracting a thorn with the
utmost care from the paw of Leoncico.

"That is a shrewd question. You know I have a theory that a man is known
by his dog. This beast seems to have changed character when he changed
masters. When Enciso had him he was little more than a puppy, and then
he was thievish and cowardly. Now he will attack an Indian as savagely
as Leoncico himself. Pizarro must have put the iron into him."

"Pizarro can," said Balboa carelessly. "He does it with his men. I think
there is more in that fellow than we have supposed. We shall see--this
expedition will be a kind of test."

Saavedra, as he went to his own quarters, wondered whether Balboa were
really as unconscious and unsuspicious as he seemed.

"Like dog, like master," he said to himself. "Cacafuego shifted collars
as easily as any mongrel does--as readily as Pizarro himself would. I
think that Leoncico, left here without Balboa, would die. Neither a dog
or a man has any business with two masters. I wonder whether in the end
we shall conquer this land, or find that the land has conquered us?"

Balboa set forth with one hundred and ninety picked men and a few
bloodhounds. Half the company remained on shore at Coyba to guard the
brigantine and canoes, and with the others Balboa began the ascent of
the range of mountains from whose heights he hoped to view the sea.

In no other time and country have discoverers encountered the obstacles
and dangers which confronted the Spaniards who first explored Central
America. Precipitous mountains, matted jungles, barren deserts, deep and
swift streams, malarious bogs, and hostile natives often armed with
poisoned weapons, all were in their way, and they had to make their
overland journeys on foot, fully armed and often in tropical heat. Even
when accompanied by Indians familiar with the country, they could count
on little or nothing in the way of game or other provisions. Balboa's
friendly ways with the natives had secured him Indian guides and
porters, but it was difficult work, even so. In four days they traveled
no more than ten leagues, and it took them from the sixth to the
twenty-fifth of September to cover the ground between the coast of
Darien and the foot of the last mountain they must climb. One-third of
the men had been sent back from time to time, because of illness and
exhaustion. The party remained for the night in the village of Quaraqua
at the foot of the mountain, and at dawn they began their ascent, hoping
to reach the summit before the hottest time of the day. About ten
o'clock they came out of the thick forest on a high and airy slope of
the mountain, and the Indians pointed out a hill, from which they said
the sea was visible.

Then Balboa commanded the others to rest, while he went alone to the

"And this," muttered Pizarro to the man next him, "is the man who is
always saying that there is enough glory for all!"

Saavedra's quick ear caught the remark. He smiled rather satirically.
He, and he alone, knew the true reason for this action of Balboa's.

"Juan," the commander had said to him while they were wading through
their last swamp, "when we are somewhere near the summit I shall go on
alone. I want no one with me when I look down the other side of that
range. Whether I see a mere lake, which these savages may call a sea,
or--something greater, I am not sure I shall be able to command my
feelings. I will not be a fool before the men."

Balboa's heart was thumping as he climbed, more with excitement than
exertion. No one but Saavedra had so much as an inkling of the
importance his success or failure would have for him personally. The
whole of his future lay on the unknown other side of that hill. He shut
his eyes as he reached the top--then opened them upon a glorious view.

A vast blue sea sparkled in the sunshine, only a few leagues away. From
the mountain top to the shore of this great body of water sloped a wild
landscape of forest, rock, savanna and winding river. Balboa knelt and
gave thanks to God.

Then he sprang to his feet and beckoned to his followers, who rushed up
the hill, the great hound Leoncico bounding far ahead. When all had
reached the summit Father Andreas de Varo, motioning them to kneel,
began the chant of Te Deum Laudamus, in which the company joined. The
notary of the expedition then wrote out a testimonial witnessing that
Balboa took possession of the sea, all its islands and surrounding
lands, in the name of the sovereign of Castile; and each man signed it.
Balboa had a tall tree cut down and made into a cross, which was planted
on the exact spot where he had stood when he first looked upon the sea.
A mound of stones was piled up for an additional monument, and the names
of the sovereigns were carved on neighboring trees. Then Balboa, leading
his men down the southern slope of the mountain, sent out three scouting
parties under Francisco Pizarro, Juan de Escaray and Alonso Martin to
discover the best route to the shore. Martin's party were first to reach
it, after two days' journey, and found there two large canoes. Martin
stepped into one of them, calling his companions to witness that he was
the first European who had ever embarked upon those waters; Blas de
Etienza, who followed, was the second. They reported their success to
Balboa, and with twenty-six men the commander set out for the sea-coast.
The Indian chief Chiapes, whom Balboa had fought and then made his ally,
accompanied the party with some of his followers. On Michaelmas they
reached the shore of a great bay, which in honor of the day was
christened Bay de San Miguel. The tide was out, leaving a beach half a
league wide covered with mud, and the Spaniards sat down to rest and
wait. When it turned, it came in so fast that some who had dropped
asleep found it lapping the bank at their feet, before they were fairly

Balboa stood up, and taking a banner which displayed the arms of
Castile and Leon, and the figure of the Madonna and Child, he drew his
sword and marched into the sea. In a formal speech he again took
possession, in the names of the sovereigns, of the seas and lands and
coasts and ports, the islands of the south, and all kingdoms and
provinces thereunto appertaining. These rights he declared himself ready
to maintain "until the day of judgment."

While another document was receiving the signatures of the members of
the expedition, Saavedra, who was standing near the margin of the bay,
took up a little water in his hand and tasted it. It was salt.

In the excitement of actually reaching the coast of so broad and
beautiful a sea, no one had happened to think of finding out whether the
water was fresh or salt. This discovery made it certain that they had
found, not a great inland lake, but the ocean itself.

Pizarro scowled; he wished that he had not missed this last chance of
fame. Since he had discovered nothing it was not likely that his name
should be mentioned in Balboa's report to the King, at all. But Balboa,
high in expectation of the change which this fortunate adventure would
make in his career, went on triumphantly exploring the neighboring
country, gaining here and there considerable quantities of gold and
pearls. Saavedra, who had inherited an estate in Spain just before the
expedition started, and expected on his return to Darien to go home to
look after it, watched Pizarro with growing distrust and anxiety.

"I think you are ready to accuse him of witchcraft," said Balboa lightly
when Saavedra hinted at his suspicions. "You have not given me one
positive proof that the man is anything but a rather sulky, unhappy
brute who has had ill luck."

"He is ill-bred, I tell you," said Saavedra stubbornly. "He is making up
to the Indians, and that is not like him. We shall have trouble there

Balboa laughed and went to his hut, there to fling himself into a
hammock and take a much-needed nap. Saavedra, coming back in the
twilight, spied an Indian creeping through the forest toward a window in
the rear of the hut. He was about to challenge the man when there was a
yelp from the bushes, and Cacafuego leaped upon the prowler and bore him
to earth, tearing savagely at his throat and receiving half a dozen
wounds from the arrows the Indian carried in his hand and in his belt.
He had been trained by Pizarro to fly at an Indian, and made no
distinctions. Within an hour or two the poison in the arrow-points began
to take effect, and the dog died. Whether he had been prowling about in
search of food--for Pizarro kept him hungry with a view to making his
temper more touchy--or was looking for his old enemy Leoncico, no one
would ever know. Balboa looked grave and said nothing.

"The dog is dead--that is all that is absolutely certain," said Saavedra
grimly. "I wish it had been his master."


It is recorded that when Pizarro met Balboa with the order for his
arrest Balboa thus addressed him: "It is not thus, Pizarro, that you
were wont to greet me!" Pizarro's jealousy and ill-will are evident in
the recorded facts, though he does not appear to have been actually
guilty of treachery to his general.


    Alone with all the stars that rule mankind
    Ruy Faleiro sought to read the fate
    Of his close friend--now by the King's rebuke
    Sent stumbling out of Portugal to seek
    His fortune on the sea-roads of the world.
    But when Faleiro read the horoscope
    It seemed to point to glory--and a grave
    Beyond the sunset.

                      When Magalhaens heard
    The prophecy, he smiled, and steadfastly
    Held on his way to that young Emperor,
    The blond shy stripling with the Austrian face,
    And in due time was Admiral of the Fleet
    To sail the seas that lay beyond the world.

    Mid-August was it when the fleet set forth,
    December, when in that Brazilian bay,
    Santa Lucia, they dropped anchor,--then
    Set up a little altar on the beach
    And knelt at Mass in that gray solitude.

    Carvagio the pilot knew the place,
    And said the folk were kindly,--brown, straight-haired,
    Wore feather mantles, used no poisoned flints,
    And only ate man's flesh on holidays.
    Whereat a little daunted, not with fear,
    The mariners met them running to the shore,
    Bought swine of them, and plantains, cassava,
    And for one playing card, the king of clubs,
    The wild men gave six fowls! There were brown roots
    Formed like the turnip, chestnut-like in taste
    And called patata in ship-Spanish--cane
    Wherefrom is made the sugar and the wine
    Of Hispaniola, and the pineapple
    That was like nectar to their sea-parched throats.
    And thus they feasted and were satisfied.

    Like an enchanted Eden seemed the land,
    For birds on dazzling many-colored wings
    Made the trees blossom--parrots red, green, blue,
    Humming-birds like live jewels in the air,
    Strange ducks with spoon-shaped bills,--and overhead
    Like some fantastic frieze of living gold,
    The little yellow monkeys leaped and swung
    Chattering of Setebos in their unknown tongue.

    The old men lived beyond their sevenscore years--
    Or so the people said. They made canots
    Of logs that they carved out with heated stones.
    They slept in hamacs, woven cotton swings.
    Their chiefs were called cacichas--you may find
    All this put down in the thrice precious book
    Written by Pigafetta of Vicenza
    For a queen's pleasure when the voyage was done.

    Then from that shore they sailed, and southward bent,
    And as the long days lengthened, till the nights
    Were but star-circled midnight intervals,
    They wondered of what race and by what seas
    They should find kings at the antipodes.

    Where a great river flowed into the sea
    They found sea-lions,--on another isle
    Strange geese, milk-white and sable, with no wings,
    Who swam instead of flying, and they called
    The place the Isle of Penguins.

                                    Then they found
    A desolate harbor called San Juliano,
    Where the fierce flame of mutiny broke forth,
    Spaniard on Portuguese turned treacherously
    Till in the red midwinter sunrise towered
    The place of execution, and an end
    Was made of the two traitors. Outward flashed the sail
    And left the sea-birds there to tell the tale.

    Beyond there lay a bleak and misty shore,
    And in the fog a wild gigantic form
    White-haired, a savage, called a greeting to them.
    Friendly the huge men were, and took these men,
    Bearded and strange, for kinfolk of their god,
    Setebos, from his home beyond the moon,
    And from their great shoes filled with straw for warmth
    Magalhaens named them men of Patagonia.

    Westward they steered, and buffeted by winds,
    They found a narrow channel, where the fleet
    Halted for council. One returned to Spain
    Laden with falsehood and with mutiny.
    On sailed the others valiantly, their hearts
    Remembering their Admiral's haughty words
    Flung at his craven captain, "I will see
    This great voyage to the end, though we should eat
    The leather from the yards!" And thus they reached
    The end of that strait path of Destiny,
    And saw beyond the shining Western Sea.

    Northward the Admiral followed that long coast
    Past Masafuera--then began his flight
    Across the great uncharted shining sea.
    And surely there was never stranger voyage.
    The winds were gentle toward him, and no more
    The dreadful laughter of the tempest shrilled,
    Or down upon them pounced the hurricane.
    Therefore Magalhaens, giving thanks to God,
    Named it Pacific, and the lonely sea.
    Still bore him westward where his heart would be.

    Alone with all the stars of Christendom
    He set his course,--if he had known his fate
    Would he have stayed his hand? Before the end
    Fate the old witch, who often loves to turn
    A man's words on him, kept the ships becalmed
    Even to thirst and famine; when instead
    They fed on leather, gnawed wood, and ate mice
    As did the Patagonian giants, when
    They begged such vermin for a savage feast.
    Then Fate, her jest outworn, blew them to shore
    On the green islands called the Isles of Thieves,
    And brought them to more islands--and still more,
    A kingdom of bright lands in sunny seas.
    Here did the Admiral land, and raise the Cross
    Above that heathen realm,--and here went down
    In battle for strange allies in strange lands.

    So ended his adventure. Yet not so,
    For the Victoria, faithful to his hand
    That laid her charge upon her, southward sailed
    Around the Cape and westward to Seville.
    El Cano brought her in, and her strange tale
    Told to the Emperor. "And the Admiral said,"
    He ended, "that indeed these heathen lands
    God meant should all be Christian, for He set
    A cross of stars above the southern sea,
    A passion-flower upon the southern shore,
    To be a sign to great adventurers.
    These be two marvels,--and upon the way
    We gained a kingdom, but we lost a day!"



"Elephants' teeth?"

"A fair lot, but I am sick of the Guinea coast. The Lisbon slavers get
more of black ivory than we do of the white."

The good Jean Parmentier, who asked the question, and the youth called
Jean Florin, who answered it, were looking at a stanch weather-beaten
little cargo-ship anchored in the harbor of Dieppe. She had been to the
Gold Coast, where wild African chiefs conjured elephants' tusks out of
the mysterious back country and traded them for beads, trinkets and gay
cloth. In Dieppe this ivory was carved by deft artistic fingers into
crucifixes, rosaries, little caskets, and other exquisite bibelots.
African ivory was finer, whiter and firmer than that of India, and when
thus used was almost as valuable as gold.

But within the last ten years the slave trade had grown more profitable
than anything else. A Portuguese captain would kidnap or purchase a few
score negroes, take them, chained and packed together like convicts, to
Lisbon or Seville and sell them for fat gold moidores and doubloons. The
Spanish conquistadores had not been ten years in the West Indies before
they found that Indian slavery did not work. The wild people, under the
terrible discipline of the mines and sugar plantations, died or killed
themselves. Planters of Hispaniola declared one negro slave worth a
dozen Indians.

"I do not wonder that the cacique Hatuey told the priest that he would
burn forever rather than go to a heaven where Spaniards lived," said
Jean Florin. "To roast a man is no way to change his religion."

"Some of our folk in Rochelle are of that way of thinking," agreed
Captain Parmentier dryly. "What say you to a western voyage?"

"Not Brazil? Cabral claims that for Portugal."

"No; the northern seas--the Baccalaos. Of course codfish are not ivory,
and it is rough service, but Aubert and some of the others think that
there may be a way to India. Sebastian Cabot tried for it and found only
icebergs, but Aubert says there is a gulf or strait somewhere south of
Cabot's course, that leads westward and has never been explored."

"I am tired of the Guinea trade," the youth repeated; "Cape Breton at
any rate is not Spanish."

"Not yet," said Jean Parmentier with emphasis.

Thus it came about that when Aubert, in 1508, poked the prow of his
little craft into open water to the west of the great island off which
men fished for cod, there stood beside him a young man who had been
learning navigation under his direction, and was now called Jean
Verassen. His real name was Giovanni Verrazzano, but nobody in Dieppe
knew who the Florentine Verazzani might be, and during his
apprenticeship there he had been known as Florin--the Florentine. In his
boyhood the magnificent Medici, the merchant princes, had ruled
Florence. After the fall of Constantinople he had seen the mastery of
the sea pass from Venice to Lisbon. When he left Florence he followed
the call of the sea-wind westward until now he had cast his lot with
the seafarers of northern France, the only bit of the Continent that was
outside the shadow of the mighty power of Spain. That shadow was growing
bigger and darker year by year. The heir to the Spanish throne, Charles,
grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, would be emperor of Germany, ruler
of the Netherlands, King of Aragon, Castile, Granada and Andalusia, and
sovereign of all the Spanish discoveries in the West; and no one knew
how far they might extend. France might have to fight for her life.

Meanwhile Norman and Breton fishermen went scudding across the North
Atlantic every year, like so many petrels. Honfleur, Saint Malo, La
Rochelle and Dieppe owed their modest prosperity to the cod. Baccalao,
codfish or stockfish, all its names referred to the beating of the fish
while drying, with a stick, to make it more tender; it was cheaper and
more plentiful than any other fish for the Lenten tables and fast-days
of Europe. The daring French captains found the fishing trade a hard
life but a clean one.

From the fishermen Aubert and Verrazzano had learned something of the
nature of the country. Bears would come down to steal fish from under
the noses of the men. Walrus and seal and myriads of screaming sea-gulls
greeted them every season. The natives were barbarous and unfriendly.
North of Newfoundland were two small islands known as the Isles of
Demons, where nobody ever went. Veteran pilots told of hearing the
unseen devils howling and shrieking in the air. "Saint Michael!
tintamarre terrible!" they said, crossing themselves. The young
Florentine listened and kept his thoughts to himself. He had never seen
any devils, but he had seen men go mad in the hot fever-mist of African
swamps, thinking they saw them.

Aubert was not sure whether this was an inlet, a strait or a river
behind the great barren island. When he had sailed westward for eighty
leagues the water was still salt. The banks had drawn closer together
and rude fortifications appeared on the heights. Canoes put forth from
the wooded shores and surrounded the sailing ship. They were filled with
copper-colored warriors of threatening aspect.

The French commander did not like what he saw. He was not provisioned
for a voyage around the world, and if these waters were the eastern
entrance to a strait he might emerge upon a vast unknown ocean. If on
the other hand he was at the mouth of a river, to ascend it might result
in being cut off by hostile savages, which would be most unpleasant. A
third consideration was that the inhabitants were said to live on fish,
game, and berries, none of which could be secured, either peaceably or
by fighting, in an enemy's country. Making hostages of seven young
savages who climbed his bulwarks without any invitation, he put about
and sailed away. During the following year the seven wild men were
exhibited at Rouen and elsewhere.

Aubert had made sure of one thing at least; the land to the west was not
in the least like the rich islands which the Spanish held in the
tropics. Except in the brief season when the swarming cod filled the
seines of the fishermen, it yielded no wealth, not even in slaves, for
the fierce and shy natives would be almost uncatchable and quite
impossible to tame.

Francis of Angoulême, the brilliant, reckless and extravagant young
French King, was hard pushed to get money for his own Court, and was
not interested in expeditions whose only result might be glory. He
jested over the threatening Spanish dominion as he did over everything
else. Italian dukedoms were overrun by troops from France, Spain,
Austria and Switzerland, and Francis welcomed Italian artists,
architects and poets to his capital. When the plague attacked Paris he
removed to one of the royal châteaux in the country or paid visits to
great noblemen like his cousin Charles de Bourbon. It was in 1522 at
Moulins, the splendid country estate of the Duc de Bourbon, that the
monarch met a captain of whom he had heard a great deal--all of it
gratifying. He had in mind a new enterprise for this Verrazzano.

During the last seven or eight years Verrazzano, like many other
captains, had been engaged in the peculiar kind of expedition dubbed
piracy or privateering according to the person speaking. France and
Spain were neither exactly at peace nor openly at war. The Florentine
had gone out upon the high seas in command of a ship fitted out and
armed at his own risk, and fought Spanish galleons wherever he met them.
This helped to embarrass the King of Spain in his wars abroad. Galleons
eastward bound were usually treasure-ships. The colonial governors,
planters, captains and common soldiers took all the gold they could get
for themselves, and the gold, silver and pearls that went as tribute to
the royal master in Spain had to run the gauntlet of these fierce and
fearless sea-wolves. The wealth of the Indies was really a possession of
doubtful value. It attracted pirates as honey draws flies. When these
pirates turned a part of their spoils over to kings who were not
friendly to Spain, it was particularly exasperating.

Francis had asked Verrazzano to come to Moulins because, from what he
had heard, it seemed to him that here was a man who could take care of
himself and hold his tongue, and he liked such men. The experience
reminded the Florentine of the great days of the Medici. Charles de
Bourbon's palace at Moulins was fit for a king. Unlike most French
châteaux, which were built on low lands among the hunting forests, it
stood on a hill in a great park, and was surrounded with terraces,
fountains, and gardens in the Italian style. Moreover its furniture was
permanent, not brought in for royal guests and then taken away. The
richness and beauty of its tapestries, state beds, decorations, and
other belongings was beyond anything in any royal palace of that time.
The duke's household included five hundred gentlemen in rich suits of
Genoese velvet, each wearing a massive gold chain passing three times
round the neck and hanging low in front; they attended the guests in
divisions, one hundred at a time.

The feasting was luxurious, and many of its choice dishes were supplied
by the estate. There were rare fruits and herbs in the gardens, and a
great variety of game-birds and animals in the park and the forest. But
there were also imported delicacies--Windsor beans, Genoa artichokes,
Barbary cucumbers and Milan parsley. The first course consisted of Médoc
oysters, followed by a light soup. The fish course included the royal
sturgeon, the dorado or sword-fish, the turbot. Then came heron, cooked
in the fashion of the day, with sugar, spice and orange-juice; olives,
capers and sour fruits; pheasants, red-legged partridges, and the
favorite roast, sucking-pig parboiled and then roasted with a stuffing
of chopped meats, herbs, raisins and damson plums. There were salads of
fruit,--such as the King's favorite of oranges, lemons and sugar with
sweet herbs,--or of herbs, such as parsley and mint with pepper,
cinnamon and vinegar. For dessert there were Italian ices and
confectionery, and the Queen's favorite plum, Reine Claude, imported
from Italy; the white wine called Clairette-au-miel, hypocras,
gooseberry and plum wines, lemonade, champagne. There was never a King
who could appreciate such artistic luxury more deeply than Francis I.
This may be one reason for his warm welcome of Verrazzano, who seemed to
be able to increase the wealth of his country and his King.

"I have had a very indignant visit from the Spanish ambassador," said
Francis when they were seated together in a private room. "He says that
there has been piracy on the high seas, my Verrazzano."

The Italian met the laughing glance of the King with a somber gleam in
his own dark eyes. "Does one steal from a robber?" he asked. "Not a
quill of gold-dust nor an ingot of silver nor a seed-pearl comes
honestly to Spain. It is all cruelty, bribery, slavery. Savonarola
threatened Lorenzo de' Medici with eternal fires, prince as he was, for
sins that were peccadilloes beside those of Spanish governors."

"There is something in what you say," assented Francis lightly. "If we
get the treasure of the Indies without owning the Indies we are
certainly rid of much trouble. I never heard of Father Adam making any
will dividing the earth between our brother of Spain and our brother of
Portugal. Unless they can find such a document--" the laughing face
hardened suddenly into keen attention, "we may as well take what we can
get where we can find it. And now about this road to India; what have
you to suggest?"

Verrazzano outlined his plans in brief speech and clear. The proposed
voyage might have two objects; one, the finding of a route to Asia if it
existed; the other, the discovery of other countries from which wealth
might be gained, in territory not yet explored. Verrazzano pointed out
the fact that, as the earth was round, the shortest way to India ought
to be near the pole rather than near the equator, yet far enough to the
south to escape the danger of icebergs.

"Very well then,"--the King pondered with finger on cheek. "Say as
little as possible of your preparations, use your own discretion, and if
any Spaniards try to interfere with you--" the monarch grinned,--"tell
them that it is my good pleasure that my subjects go where they like."

The Spanish agents in France presently informed their employer that the
Florentine Verrazzano was again making ready to sail for regions
unknown. Perhaps he did not himself know where he should go; at any rate
the spies had not been able to find out.

Two months later news came that before Verrazzano had gone far enough to
be caught by the squadron lying in wait for him, he had pounced on the
great carrack which had been sent home by Cortes loaded with Aztec gold.
In convoying this prize to France he had caught another galleon coming
from Hispaniola with a cargo of gold and pearls, and the two rich
trophies were now in the harbor of La Rochelle, where the audacious
captain was doubtless making ready for another piratical voyage.

Verrazzano made a second start a little later, but was driven back by a
Biscay storm. Finally, toward the end of the year 1523, he set out once
more with only one ship, the _Dauphine_, out of his original fleet of
four, and neither friend nor foe caught a glimpse of him during the
voyage. In March, 1524, having sailed midway between the usual course of
the West Indian galleons and the path of the fishers going to and from
the Banks of Newfoundland, he saw land which he felt sure had not been
discovered either by ancient or modern explorers.

It was a low shore on which the fine sand, some fifteen feet deep, lay
drifted into hillocks or dunes. Small creeks and inlets ran inland, but
there seemed to be no good harbor. Beyond the sand-dunes were forests of
cypress, palm, bay and other trees, and the wind bore the scent of
blossoming trees and vines far out to sea. For fifty leagues the
_Dauphine_ followed the coast southward, looking for a harbor, for
Verrazzano knew that pearl fisheries and spices were far more likely to
be found in southern than in northern waters. No harbor appeared. The
daring navigator knew that if he went too far south he ran some risk of
encountering a Spanish fleet, and that after his getting two of the most
valuable cargoes ever sent over seas, they would be patroling all the
tropical waters in the hope of catching him. He turned north again.

On the shore from time to time little groups of savages appeared moving
about great bonfires, and watching the ship. They wore hardly any
clothing except the skin of some small animal like a marten, attached to
a belt of woven grass; their skins were russet-brown and their thick
straight black hair was tied in a knot rather like a tail.

"One thing is certain," said young François Parmentier cheerfully,
"these folk have never seen Spaniards--or Portuguese. Even on the
Labrador the people ran from us, after Cortereale went slave-stealing

Verrazzano smiled. Young Parmentier was always full of hope and faith. A
little later the youth volunteered to be one of a boat's crew sent
ashore for water, and provided himself with a bagful of the usual
trinkets for gifts. The surf ran so high that the boat could not land,
and François leaped overboard and swam ashore. Here he scattered his
wares among the watching Indians, and then, leaping into the waves
again, struck out for the boat. But the surf dashed him back upon the
sand into the very midst of the natives, who seized him by the arms and
legs and carried him toward the fire, while he yelled with astonishment
and terror.

Verrazzano was if anything more horrified than François himself; this
was the son of his oldest friend. The Indians were removing his clothing
as if they were about to roast him alive. But it appeared presently that
they only wished to dry his clothes and comfort him, for they soon
allowed him to return to the boat, seeing this was his earnest desire,
and watched him with the greatest friendliness as he swam back.

No strait appeared, but at one point Verrazzano, landing and marching
into the interior with an exploring party, found a vast expanse of water
on the other side of what seemed a neck of land between the two seas,
about six miles in width. If this were the South Sea, the same which
Balboa had seen from the Isthmus of Darien, so narrow a strip of land
was at least as good or better than anything possessed by Spain.
Verrazzano continued northward, and found a coast rich in grapes, the
vines often covering large trees around which the natives kept the
ground clear of shrubs that might interfere with this natural vineyard.
Wild roses, violets, lilies, iris and many other plants and flowers,
some quite unknown to Europe, greeted the admiring gaze of the
commander. His quick mind pictured a royal garden adorned with these
foreign shrubs and herbs, the wainscoting and furniture to be made by
French and Italian joiners from these endless leagues of timber, the
stately churches and castles which might be built by skilful masons from
the abundant stone along these shores. Here was a province which, if it
had not gold, had the material for many luxuries which must otherwise be
bought with gold, and his clear Italian brain perceived that ingots of
gold and silver are not the only treasure of kings.

At last the _Dauphine_ came into a harbor or lake three leagues in
circumference, where more than thirty canoes were assembled, filled with
people. Suddenly François Parmentier leaped to his feet and waved his
cap with a shout.

"Now what madness has taken you?" queried Verrazzano.

"I know where we are, that's all. This is Wampum Town,--L'Anormé
Berge--the Grand Scarp. This is one of their great trading places,
Captain. Father heard about it at Cape Breton from some south-country

"And what may wampum be?" asked Verrazzano coolly.

"'T is the stuff they use for money--bits of shell made into beads and
strung into a belt. There is an island in this bay where they make it
out of their shell-fish middens--two kinds--purple and white. On my
word, this big chief has on a wampum belt now!"

This was interesting information indeed, and the natives seemed prepared
to traffic in all peace and friendliness. Verrazzano found upon
investigation that on the north of this bay a very large river, deep at
the mouth, came down between steep hills. Afterward, following the shore
to the east, he discovered a fine harbor beyond a three-cornered island.
Here he met two chiefs of that country, a man of about forty, and a
young fellow of twenty-four, dressed in quaintly decorated deerskin
mantles, with chains set with colored stones about their necks. He
stayed two weeks, refitting the ship with provisions and other
necessaries, and observing the place. The crew got by trading and as
gifts the beans and corn cultivated by the people, wild fruits and nuts,
and furs. Further north they found the tribes less friendly, and at last
came so near the end of their provision that Verrazzano decided to
return to France. He reached home July 8, 1524, after having sailed
along seven hundred leagues of the Atlantic coast.

[Illustration: "The natives seemed prepared to traffic in all peace and
friendliness"--_Page_ 132]

Francis I. was in the thick of a disastrous war with Spain, and had not
time just then to consider further explorations. The war was not fairly
over when a Cadiz warship, in 1527, caught Verrazzano and hanged him as
a pirate.


The not unnatural conclusion of Verrazzano that what he saw was an ocean
or a great inland sea led to extraordinary misconceptions in the maps
and charts of the time. It was not until the early part of the
seventeenth century that the region was actually explored, by Newport
and Smith, and found to be only Chesapeake Bay.


    I wake the gods with my sullen boom--
      I am the Drum!
    They wait for the blood-red flowers that bloom
    In the heart of the sacrifice, there in the gloom
      With terror dumb--
    I sound the call to his dreadful doom--
      I am the Drum!

    I was the Serpent, the Sacred Snake--
      Wolf, bear and fox
    By the silent shores of river and lake
    Tread softly, listening lest they wake
      My voice that mocks
    The rattle that falling bones will make
      On barren rocks.

    My banded skin is the voice of the Priest--
      I am the Drum!
    I sound the call to the War-God's feast
    Till Tezcatlipoca's power hath ceased
      And the White Gods come
    Out of the fire of the burning East--
      Hear me, the Drum!



If the Fathers of the Church had ever been on the other side of the
world, they would have made new rules for it.

So thought Jerónimo Aguilar, on board a caravel plying between Darien
and Hispaniola. It was a thought he would hardly have dared think in

He was a dark thin young friar from the mountains near Seville. In 1488
his mother, waiting, as women must, for news from the wars, vowed that
if God and the Most Catholic Sovereigns drove out the Moors and sent her
husband home to her, she would give her infant son to the Church. That
was twenty-four years ago, and never had the power of the Church been so
great as it now was. When the young Fray Jerónimo had been moved by
fiery missionary preaching to give himself to the work among the
Indians, his mother wept with astonishment and pride.

But the Indies he found were not the Indies he had heard of. Men who
sailed from Cadiz valiant if rough and hard-bitted soldiers of the
Cross, turned into cruel adventurers greedy for gold, hard masters
abusing their power. The innocent wild people of Colón's island Eden
were charged by the planters with treachery, theft, murderous
conspiracy, and utter laziness. With a little bitter smile Aguilar
remembered how the hidalgo, who would not dig to save his life, railed
at the Indian who died of the work he had never learned to do. It was
not for a priest to oppose the policy of the Church and the Crown, and
very few priests attempted it, whatever cruelty they might see. Aguilar
half imagined that the demon gods of the heathen were battling against
the invading apostles of the Cross, poisoning their hearts and defeating
their aims. It was all like an evil enchantment.

These meditations were ended by a mighty buffet of wind that smote the
caravel and sent it flying northwest. Ourakan was abroad, the Carib god
of the hurricane, and no one could think of anything thereafter but the
heaving, tumbling wilderness of black waves and howling tempest and
hissing spray. Valdivia, regidor of Darien, had been sent to Hispaniola
by Balboa, the governor, with important letters and a rich tribute of
gold, to get supplies and reinforcements for the colony. Shipwreck would
be disastrous to Balboa and his people as well as to the voyagers.

Headlong the staggering ship was driven upon Los Viboros, (The Vipers)
that infamous group of hidden rocks off Jamaica. She was pounded to
pieces almost before Valdivia could get his one boat into the water,
with its crew of twenty men. Without food or drink, sails or proper
oars, the survivors tossed for thirteen dreadful days on the uncharted
cross-currents of unknown seas. Seven died of hunger, thirst and
exposure before the tide that drifted northwest along the coast of the
mainland caught them and swept them ashore.

None of them had ever seen this coast. Valdivia cherished a faint hope
that it might be a part of the kingdom of walled cities and golden
temples, of which they had all heard. There were traces of human
presence, and they could see a cone-shaped low hill with a stone temple
or building of some kind on the top. Natives presently appeared, but
they broke the boat in pieces and dragged the castaways inland through
the forest to the house of their cacique.

That chief, a villainous looking savage in a thatched hut, looked at
them as if they had been cattle--or slaves--or condemned heretics. What
they thought, felt or hoped was nothing to him. He ordered them taken to
a kind of pen, where they were fed. So great is the power of the body
over the mind that for a few days they hardly thought of anything but
the unspeakable joy of having enough to eat and drink, and nothing to do
but sleep. The cacique visited the enclosure now and then, and looked
them over with a calculating eye. Aguilar was haunted by the idea that
this inspection meant something unpleasant.

All too soon the meaning was made known to them. Valdivia and four other
men who were now less gaunt and famine-stricken than when captured, were
seized and taken away, to be sacrificed to the gods.

It was the custom of the Mayas of Yucatan to sacrifice human beings,
captives or slaves for choice, to the gods in whose honor the stone
pyramids were raised. When the victim had been led up the winding
stairway to the top, the central figure in a procession of priests and
attendants, he was laid upon a stone altar and his heart was cut out and
offered to the idol, after which the body was eaten at a ceremonial
feast. The eight captives who remained now understood that the food they
had had was meant merely to fatten them for future sacrifice. Half mad
with horror, they crouched in the hot moist darkness, and listened to
the uproar of the savages.

A strong young sailor by the name of Gonzalo Guerrero, who had done
good service during the hurricane, pulled Jerónimo by the sleeve, "What
in the name of all the saints can we do, Padre?" he muttered. "José and
the rest will be raving maniacs."

Aguilar straightened himself and rose to his feet where the rays of the
moon, white and calm, shone into the enclosure. Lifting his hands to
heaven he began to pray.

All he had learned from books and from the disputations and sermons of
the Fathers fell away from him and left only the bare scaffolding, the
faith of his childhood. At the familiar syllables of the Ave Maria the
shuddering sailors hushed their cries and oaths and listened, on their

This was a handful of castaways in the clutch of a race of man-eaters
who worshiped demons. But above them bent the tender and pitiful Mother
of Christ who had seen her Son crucified, and Christ Himself stood
surrounded by innumerable witnesses. Among the saints were some who had
died at the hands of the heathen, many who had died by torture. The poor
and ignorant men who listened were caught up for the moment into the
vision of Fray Jerónimo and regained their self-control. When the prayer
was ended Gonzalo Guerrero sprang up, and rallied them to furious labor.
Under his direction and Aguilar's they dug and wrenched at their cage
like desperate rats, until they broke away enough of it just to let a
man's body through. Aguilar was the last to go. He closed the hole and
heaped rubbish outside it, as rubbish and branches had been piled where
they were used to sleep, to delay as long as possible the discovery of
their escape. They got clear away into the depths of the forest.

But for men without provisions or weapons the wilderness of that unknown
land was only less dreadful than death. Trees and vines barren of fruit,
streams where a huge horny lizard ate all the fish--El Lagarto he was
called by the discoverers,--no grain or cattle which might be taken by
stealth--this was the realm into which they had been exiled. When they
ventured out of the forest, driven by famine, they were captured by Acan
Xooc, the cacique of another province, Jamacana. Here they were made
slaves, to cut wood, carry water and bear burdens. Water was scarce in
that region. There had been reservoirs, built in an earlier day, but
these were ruined, and water had to be carried in earthern jars. The
cacique died, and another named Taxmar succeeded him. Year after year
passed. The soul of one worn-out white man slipped away, followed by
another, and another, until only Aguilar and Guerrero were left alive.

Taxmar sent the sailor as a present to a friend, cacique of Chatemal,
but kept Aguilar for himself, watching his ways.

The cacique was a sagacious heathen of considerable experience, but he
had never seen a man like this one. Jerónimo was now almost as dark as
an Indian and had not a scrap of civilized clothing, yet he was unlike
the other white men, unlike any other slave. He had a string of dried
berries with a cross made of reeds hung from it, which he sometimes
appeared to be counting, talking to himself in his own language. Taxmar
had once seen a slave from the north who had been a priest in his own
country and knew how to remember things by string-talk, knotting a
string in a peculiar fashion; but he was not like this man. When the
white slave saw the crosses carved on their old walls he had eagerly
asked how they came there, and Taxmar gathered that the cross had some
meaning in the captive's own religion. He never lied, never stole, never
got angry, never tattled of the other slaves, never disobeyed orders,
never lost his temper. Taxmar could not remember when he himself had
ever been restrained by anything but policy from taking whatever he
wanted. Here was a man who could deny himself even food at times, when
he was not compelled to. Taxmar could not understand.

What he did not know was, that when he had escaped from the cannibals
Aguilar had made a fresh vow to keep with all strictness every vow of
his priesthood, and to bear his lot with patience and meekness until it
should be the will of God to free him from the savages. He had begun to
think that this freedom would never be his in his lifetime, but a vow
was a vow. He no more suspected that Taxmar was taking note of his
behavior, than a man standing in front of the lion's cage at the
menagerie can translate the thoughts behind the great cat's intent eyes.

Taxmar began to try experiments. He invented temptations to put in the
way of his slave, but Aguilar generally did not seem to see them. One
day the Indians were shooting at a mark. One came up to Aguilar and
seized him by the arm.

"How would you like to be shot at?" he said. "These bowmen hit whatever
they aim at--if they aim at a nose they hit a nose. They can shoot so
near you that they miss only by the breadth of a grain of corn--or do
not miss at all."

Aguilar never flinched, although from what he knew of the savages he
thought nothing more likely than his being set up for a San Sebastian.
He answered quietly,

"I am your slave, and you can do with me what you please. I think you
are too wise to destroy one who is both useful and obedient."

The suggestion had been made by the order of Taxmar, and the answer was
duly reported to him.

It took a long time to satisfy the chief that this man who seemed so
extraordinary was really what he seemed. He came at last to trust him
wholly, even making him the steward of his household and leaving him to
protect his women in his absence. Finding the chief thus disposed,
Aguilar ventured a suggestion. Guerrera had won great favor with his
master by his valor in war. Aguilar was shrewd enough to know that
though it was very pleasant to have his master's confidence, if anything
happened to Taxmar he might be all the worse off. The only sure way to
win the respect of these barbarians was by efficiency as a soldier.
Taxmar upon request gave his steward the military outfit of the
Mayas--bow and arrows, wicker-work shield, and war-club, with a dagger
of obsidian, a volcanic stone very hard and capable of being made very
keen of edge, but brittle. Jerónimo when a boy had been an expert
archer, and his old skill soon returned. He also remembered warlike
devices and stratagems he had seen and heard of. Old soldiers chatting
with his father in the purple twilight had often fought their battles
over again, and nearly every form of military tactics then known to
civilized armies had been used in the war in Granada. Naturally the
young friar had heard more or less discussion of military campaigns in
Darien. His suggestions were so much to the point that Taxmar had an
increased respect for the gods of that unknown land of his. If they
could do so much for this slave, without even demanding any offerings,
they must be very different from the gods of the Mayas.

In reply to Taxmar's questions, Aguilar, who now spoke the language
quite well, endeavored to explain the nature of his religion. Not many
of the Spaniards who expected to convert the Indians went so far as
this. If they could by any means whatever make their subjects call
themselves Christians and observe the customs of the Church, it was all
they attempted. Taxmar was not the sort of person to be converted in
that informal way. He demanded reasons. If Aguilar advised him against
having unhappy people murdered to bribe the gods for their help in the
coming campaign, he wished to know what the objection was, and what the
white chiefs did in such a case. The idea of sacrificing to one's god,
not the lives of men, but one's own will and selfish desires, was
entirely new to him.

While Jerónimo was still wrestling with the problem of making the
Christian faith clear to one single Indian out of the multitudes of the
heathen, a neighboring cacique appeared on the scene,--jealous, angry
and suspicious. He had heard, he said, that Taxmar sought the aid of a
stranger, who worshiped strange gods, in a campaign directed against his
neighbors. He wished to know if Taxmar considered this right. In his own
opinion this stranger ought to be sacrificed to the gods of the Mayas
after the usual custom, or the gods would be angry,--and then no one
knew what would happen.

Aguilar thought it possible that Taxmar might reply that the conduct of
an army was no one's business but the chief's. That would be in line
with the cacique's character as he knew it. He did not expect that any
chief in that ancient land would dare to defy its gods openly.

Taxmar did not meet the challenge at once. His deep set opaque black
eyes and mastiff-like mouth looked as immovable as the carving on the
basalt stool upon which he sat. The cacique thought he was impressed,
and concluded triumphantly,

"Who can resist the gods? Let the altar drink the blood of the stranger;
it is sweet to them and they will sleep, and not wake."

"I shall do nothing of the kind," said Taxmar, the clicking, bubbling
Maya talk dropping like water on hot stones. "When a man serves me well,
I do not reward him with death. My slave's wisdom is greater than the
craft of Coyotl, and if his gods help me it is because they know enough
to do right."

The other chief went home in rage and disappointment and offended

No one, who has not tried it, can imagine the sensation of living in a
hostile land, removed from all that is familiar. Until his captivity
began Aguilar had never been obliged to act for himself. He had always
been under the authority of a superior. He had questioned and wondered,
seen the injustice of this thing and that, but only in his own mind.
When everything in his past life had been swept away at one stroke, his
faith alone was left him in the wrecked and distorted world. He had
never dreamed that Taxmar was learning to respect that faith.

The neighboring cacique now joined Taxmar's enemies with all his army,
and the councilors took alarm and repeated the suggestion that Aguilar
should be sacrificed to make sure of the help of the gods. Taxmar again
spoke plainly.

"Our gods," he said, "have helped us when we were strong and powerful
and sacrificed many captives in their honor. This man's gods help him
when he is a slave, alone, far from his people, with nothing to offer in
sacrifice. We will see now what they will do for my army."

In the battle which followed, the cacique adopted a plan which Aguilar
suggested. That loyal follower was placed in command of a force hidden
in the woods near the route by which the enemy would arrive. The hostile
forces marched past it, and charged upon the front of Taxmar's army. It
gave way, and they rushed in with triumphant yells. When they were well
past, Aguilar's division came out of the bushes and took them in the
rear. At the same instant Taxmar and his warriors faced about and sprang
at them like a host of panthers. There was a great slaughter, many
prisoners were taken, among them the cacique himself and many men of
importance; and Taxmar made a little speech to them upon the wisdom of
the white man's gods.

In the years that passed the captive's hope of escape faded. Once he had
thought he might slip away and reach the coast, but he was too carefully
watched. Even if he could get to the sea from so far inland, without the
help of the natives, he could not reach any Spanish colony without a
boat. There were rumors of strange ships filled with bearded men, whose
weapons were the thunder and the lightning. Old people wagged their
heads and recalled a prophecy of the priest Chilam Cambal many years
ago, that a white people, bearded, would come from the east, to overturn
the images of the gods, and conquer the land.

Hernando de Córdova's squadron came and went; Grijalva's came and went;
Aguilar heard of them but never saw them. At last, seven long years
after he came to Jamacana, three coast Indians from the island of
Cozumel came timidly to the cacique with gifts and a letter. The gifts
were for Taxmar, to buy his Christian slaves, if he had any, and the
letter was for them.

Hernando Cortes, coming from Cuba with a squadron to discover and
conquer the land ruled by the Lord of the Golden House, had stopped at
Cozumel and there heard of white men held as captives somewhere inland.
He had persuaded the Indians to send messengers for them, saying that if
the captives were sent to the sea-coast, at the cape of Cotoche, he
would leave two caravels there eight days, to wait for them.

While Aguilar read this letter the Indians were telling of the
water-houses of the strangers, their sharp weapons, their command of
thunder and lightning, and the wonderful presents they gave in exchange
for what they wanted. Aguilar's account of the squadron was even more
complete. He described the dress of the Spaniards, their weapons and
their manner of life without having seen them at all, and the Indians,
when asked, said it was so.

Taxmar's acute mind was adjusting itself to this event, which was not
altogether unexpected. He had heard more than Aguilar had about the
previous visits of the Spaniards to that coast. He asked Aguilar if he
thought that the strange warriors would accept him, their countryman, as
ambassador, and deal mildly with Taxmar and his people, if they let him
go. Aguilar answered that he thought they would.

Now freedom was within his grasp, and only one thing delayed him. He
could not leave his comrade Guerrero behind. The sailor had married the
daughter of a chief and become a great man in his adopted country.
Aguilar sent Indian messengers with the letter and a verbal message, and

Guerrero had never known much about reading, and he had forgotten nearly
all he knew. He understood, however, that he could now return to Spain.
Before his eyes rose a picture of the lofty austere sierras, the sunny
vineyards, the wine, so unlike pulque, the bread, so unlike flat cakes
of maize, the maidens of Barcelona and Malaga, so very different from
tattooed Indian girls. And then he surveyed his own brawny arms and
legs, and felt of his own grotesquely ornamented countenance.

To please the taste of his adopted people he had let himself be
decorated as they were, for life,--with tattooed pictures, with
nose-ring, with ear-rings of gold set with rudely cut gems and heavy
enough to drag down the lobe of the ear. He would cut a figure in the
streets of Seville. The little boys would run after him as if he were a
show. He grinned, sighed mightily, and sent word to Aguilar that he
thought it wiser to stay where he was. Aguilar set out for the coast
with the Cozumel Indians, but this delay had consumed all of the eight
days appointed, and when they reached Point Cotoche the caravels had

But a broken canoe and a stave from a water-barrel lay on the beach, and
with the help of the messengers Aguilar patched up the canoe, and with
the board for a paddle, made the canoe serve his need. Following the
coast they came to the narrowest part of the channel between the
mainland and Cozumel, and in spite of a very strong current got across
to the island. No sooner had they landed when some Spaniards rushed out
of the bushes, with drawn swords. The Indians were about to fly in
terror, but Aguilar called to them in their own language to have no
fear. Then he spoke to the Spaniards in broken Castilian, saying that he
was a Christian, fell on his knees and thanked God that he had lived to
hear his own language again.

The Spaniards looked at this strange figure in absolute bewilderment. He
was to all appearance an Indian. His long hair was braided and wound
about his head, he had a bow in his hand, a quiver of arrows on his
back, a bag of woven grass-work hung about his neck by a long cord. The
pattern of the weaving was a series of interwoven crosses. Cortes,
giving up hope of rescuing any Christian captives, had left the island,
but one of his ships had sprung a leak and he had put back. When he saw
an Indian canoe coming he had sent scouts to see what it might be. They
now led Jerónimo Aguilar and his Indian companions into the presence of
the captain-general and his staff. Aguilar saluted Cortes in the Indian
fashion, by carrying his hand from the ground to his forehead as he
knelt crouching before him. But Cortes, when he understood who this man
was, raised him to his feet, embraced him and flung about his shoulders
his own cloak. Aguilar became his interpreter, and thus was the prophecy
fulfilled concerning the gods of Taxmar.

CLOAK."--_Page_ 146]


The story of Jerónimo Aguilar follows the actual facts very closely. The
account of his adventures will be found in Irving's "Life of Columbus"
and other works dealing with the history of the Spanish conquests.


    O sorcerer Time, turn backward to the shore
      Where it is always morning, and the birds
    Are troubadours of all the hidden lore
      Deeper than any words!

    There lived a maiden once,--O long ago,
      Ere men were grown too wise to understand
    The ancient language that they used to know
      In Quezalcoatl's land.

    Though her own mother sold her for a slave,
      Her own bright beauty as her only dower,
    Into her slender hands the conqueror gave
      A more than queenly power.

    Between her people and the enemy--
      The fierce proud Spaniard on his conquest bent--
    Interpreter and interceder, she
      In safety came and went.

    And still among the wild shy forest folk
    The birds are singing of her, and her name
    Lives in that language that her people spoke
      Before the Spaniard came.

    She is not dead, the daughter of the Sun,--
      By love and loyalty divinely stirred,
    She lives forever--so the legends run,--
      Returning as a bird.

    Who but a white bird in her seaward flight
      Saw, borne upon the shoulders of the sea,
    Three tiny caravels--how small and light
      To hold a world in fee!

    Who but the quezal, when the Spaniards came
      And plundered all the white imperial town,
    Saw in a storm of red rapacious flame
      The Aztec throne go down!

    And when the very rivers talked of gold,
      The humming-bird upon her lichened nest
    Strange tales of wild adventure never told
      Hid in her tiny breast.

    The mountain eagle, circling with the stars,
      Watched the great Admiral swiftly come and go
    In his light ship that set at naught the bars
      Wrought by a giant foe.

    Dull are our years and hard to understand,
      We dream no more of mighty days to be,
    And we have lost through delving in the land
      The wisdom of the sea.

    Yet where beyond the sea the sunset burns,
      And the trees talk of kings dead long ago,
    Malinche sings among the giant ferns--
      Ask of the birds--they know!



"Glory is all very well," said Juan de Saavedra to Pedro de Alvarado as
the squadron left the island of Cozumel, "but my familiar spirit tells
me that there is gold somewhere in this barbaric land or Cortes would
not be with us."

Alvarado's peculiarly sunny smile shone out. He was a ruddy
golden-haired man, a type unusual in Spaniards, and the natives showed a
tendency to revere him as the sun-god. Life had treated him very well,
and he had an abounding good-nature.

"It will be the better," he said comfortably, "if we get both gold and
glory. I confess I have had my doubts of the gold, for after all, these
Indians may have more sense than they appear to have."

"People often do, but in what way, especially?"

"_Amigo_, put yourself in the place of one of these caciques, with white
men bedeviling you for a treasure which you never even troubled yourself
to pick up when it lay about loose. What can be more easy than to tell
them that there is plenty of it somewhere else--in the land of your
enemies? That is Pizarro's theory, at any rate."

Saavedra laughed. "Pizarro is wise in his way, but as I have said,
Cortes is our commander."

"What has that to do with it?"

"If you had been at Salamanca in his University days you wouldn't ask.
He never got caught in a scrape, and he always got what he was after."

"And kept it?"

"Is that a little more of Pizarro's wisdom? No; he always shared the
spoils as even-handedly as you please. But if any of us lost our heads
and got into a pickle he never was concerned in it--or about it."

"He will lose his, if Velasquez catches him. Remember Balboa."

"Now there is an example of the chances he will take. Cortes first
convinces the Governor that nobody else is fit to trust with this
undertaking. Córdova failed; Grijalva failed; Cortes will succeed or
leave his bones on the field of honor. No sooner are we fairly out of
harbor than Velasquez tries to whistle us back. He might as well blow
his trumpets to the sea-gulls. All Cortes wanted was a start. You will
see--either the Governor will die or be recalled while we are gone, or
we shall come back so covered with gold and renown that he will not dare
do anything when we are again within his reach. Somebody's head may be
lost in this affair, but it will not be that of Hernan' Cortes."

The man of whom they were speaking just then approached, summoning
Alvarado to him. Saavedra leaned on the rail musing.

"Sometimes," he said to himself, "one hastens a catastrophe by warning
people of it, but then, that may be because it could not have been
prevented. Cortes is inclined to make that simple fellow his aide
because they are so unlike, and so, I suspect, are others. At any rate I
have done my best to make him see whose leadership is safest."

The fleet was a rather imposing one for those waters. There were eleven
ships altogether, the flagship and three others being over seventy tons'
weight, the rest caravels and open brigantines. These were manned by one
hundred and ten sailors, and carried five hundred and fifty-three
soldiers, of whom thirty-two were crossbowmen and thirteen arquebusiers.
There were also about two hundred Indians. Sixteen horses accompanied
the expedition, and it had ten heavy cannon, four light field-guns,
called falconets, and a good supply of ammunition. The horses cost
almost more than the ships that carried them, for they had been brought
from Spain; but their value in such an undertaking was great.

Hernando Cortes had come out to Cuba when he was nineteen, and that was
fifteen years ago. Much had been reported concerning an emperor in a
country to the west, who ruled over a vast territory inhabited by
copper-colored people rich in gold, who worshiped idols. Cortes had
observed that Indian tribes, like schoolboys, were apt to divide into
little cliques and quarreling factions. If the subject tribes did not
like the Emperor, and were jealous of him and of each other, a foreign
conqueror had one tool ready to his hand, and it was a tool that Cortes
had used many times before.

The people of this coast, however, were not at all like the gentle and
childlike natives Colón had found. From the rescued captive Aguilar, the
commander learned much of their nature and customs. On his first attempt
to land, his troops encountered troops of warriors in brilliant
feathered head-bands and body armor of quilted white cotton. They used
as weapons the lance, bow and arrows, club, and a curious staff about
three and a half feet long set with crosswise knife-blades of obsidian.
Against poisoned arrows, such as the invaders had more than once met,
neither arquebus nor cannon was of much use, and body armor was no great
protection, since a scratch on hand or leg would kill a man in a few
hours. After some skirmishing and more diplomacy, at various points
along the coast, Cortes landed his force on the island which Grijalva
had named San Juan de Ulloa, from a mistaken notion that Oloa, the
native salutation, was the name of the place. The natives had watched
the "water-houses," as they called them, sailing over the serene blue
waters, and this tribe, being peaceable folk, sent a pirogue over to the
island with gifts. There were not only fruits and flowers, but little
golden ornaments, and the Spanish commander sent some trinkets in
return. In endeavoring to talk with them Cortes became aware of an
unusual piece of luck. Aguilar did not understand the language of these
folk. But at Tabasco, where Cortes had had a fight with the native army,
some slaves had been presented to him as a peace-offering. Among them
was a beautiful young girl, daughter of a Mexican chief, who after her
father's death had been sold as a slave by her own mother, who wished to
get her inheritance. During her captivity she had learned the dialect
Aguilar spoke, and the two interpreters between them succeeded in
translating Cortes's Castilian into the Aztec of Mexico from the first.
The young girl was later baptized Marina. There being no "r" in the
Aztec language the people called her Malintzin or Malinche,--Lady
Marina, the ending "tzin" being a title of respect. She learned
Castilian with wonderful quickness, and was of great service not only to
Cortes but to her own people, since she could explain whatever he did
not understand.

Cortes learned that the name of the ruler of the country was Moteczuma.
His capital was on the plateau about seventy miles in the interior. This
coast province, which he had lately conquered, was ruled by one of his
Aztec governors. Gold was abundant. Moteczuma had great store of it.
Cortes decided to pitch his camp where afterward stood the capital of
New Spain.

The friendly Indians brought stakes and mats and helped to build huts,
native fashion. From all the country round the people flocked to see the
strange white men, bringing fruit, flowers, game, Indian corn,
vegetables and native ornaments of all sorts. Some of these they gave
away and some they bartered. Every soldier and mariner turned trader;
the place looked like a great fair.

On Easter Day the Aztec governor arrived upon a visit of ceremony.
Cortes received him in his own tent, with all courtesy, in the presence
of his officers, all in full uniform. Mass was said, and the Aztec chief
and his attendants listened with grave politeness. Then the guests were
invited to a dinner at which various Spanish dishes, wines and
sweetmeats were served as formally as at court. After this the
interpreters were summoned for the real business of the day.

The Aztec nobleman wished to know whence and why the strangers had come
to this country. Cortes answered that he was the subject of a monarch
beyond seas, as powerful as Moteczuma, who had heard of the Aztec
Emperor and sent his compliments and some gifts. The governor gracefully
expressed his willingness to convey both to his royal master. Cortes
courteously declined, saying that he must himself deliver them. At this
the governor seemed surprised and displeased; evidently this was not in
his plan. "You have been here only two days," he said, "and already
demand an audience with the Emperor?" Then he expressed his astonishment
at learning that there was any other monarch as great as Moteczuma, and
sent his attendants to bring a few gifts which he himself had chosen for
the white chief.

These tributes consisted of ten loads, each as much as a man could
carry, of fine cotton stuff, mantles of exquisite feather-work, and a
woven basket full of gold ornaments. Cortes expressed his admiration and
appreciation of the gifts, and sent for those he had brought for
Moteczuma. They consisted of an arm-chair, richly carved and painted, a
crimson cloth cap with a gold medal bearing the device of San Jorge and
the dragon, and some collars, bracelets and other ornaments of cut
glass. To the Aztec, who had never seen glass, these appeared wonderful.
He ventured the remark that a gilt helmet worn by one of the Spanish
soldiers was like the casque of their god Quetzalcoatl, and he wished
that Moteczuma could see it. Cortes immediately sent for the helmet and
handed it to the chief, with the suggestion that he should like to have
it returned full of the gold of the country in order to compare it with
the gold of Spain. Spaniards, he said, were subject to a complaint
affecting the heart, for which gold was a remedy. This was not entirely
an invention of the commander's fertile brain. Many physicians of those
days did regard gold as a valuable drug; but only Cortes ever thought of
making use of the theory to get the gold.

During this polite and interesting conversation Cortes observed certain
attendants busily making sketches of all that they saw, and on inquiry
was told that this "picture-writing" would give the Emperor a far
better idea of the appearance of the strangers than words alone. Upon
this the Spanish general ordered out the cavalry and artillery and put
them through their evolutions on the beach. The cannon, whose balls
splintered great trees, and the horsemen, whose movements the Aztecs
followed with even more terror than those of the gunners, made a
tremendous impression. The artists, though scared, stuck to their duty,
and the strange and terrible beasts, and the thunder-birds whose mouths
breathed destruction, were drawn for the Emperor to see. After this the
governor, assuring Cortes that he should have whatever he needed in the
way of provisions until further orders were received from the Emperor,
made his adieux and went home.

Then began a diplomatic game between Cortes and the Emperor and the
various chiefs of the country. The couriers of the imperial government,
who traveled in relays, could take a message to the capital and return
in seven or eight days. In due time two ambassadors arrived from
Moteczuma, with gifts evidently meant to impress the strangers with his
wealth and power. The embassy was accompanied by the governor of the
province and about a hundred slaves. Some of these attendants carried
burning censers from which arose clouds of incense; others unrolled upon
the ground fine mats on which to place the presents.

Nothing like this had ever been offered to a Spanish conqueror, even by
Moors, to say nothing of Indians. There were two collars of gold set
with precious stones; a hundred ounces of gold ore just as it came from
the mines; a large alligator's-head of gold; six shields covered with
gold; helmets and necklaces of gold. There were birds made of green
feathers, the feet, beaks and eyes of gold; a box of feather-work upon
leather, set with a gold plate weighing seventy ounces; pieces of cloth
curiously woven with feathers, and others woven in various designs. Most
gorgeous of all were two great plates as big as carriage wheels, one of
gold and one of silver, wrought with various devices of plants and
animals rather like the figures of the zodiac. The wildest tales of the
most imaginative adventurer never pictured such magnificence. If
Moteczuma's plan had been to induce the strangers to respect his wishes
and go home without visiting his capital, it was a complete failure.
After this proof of the wealth and splendor of the country Cortes had no
more idea of leaving it than a hound has of abandoning a fresh trail.
When the envoys gave him Moteczuma's message of regret that it would not
be possible for them to meet, Cortes replied that he could not think of
going back to Spain now. The road to the capital might be perilous, but
what was that to him? Would they not take to the Emperor these slight
additional tokens of the regard and respect of the Spanish ruler, and
explain to him how impossible it would be for Cortes to face his own
sovereign, with the great object of his voyage unfulfilled? There was
nothing for the embassy to do but to take the message.

While waiting for results, Cortes received a visit from some Indian
chiefs of the Totonacs, a tribe lately conquered by the Aztecs. Their
ruler, it seemed, had heard of the white cacique and would like to
receive him in his capital. Cortes gave them presents and promised to
come. In the meantime his own men were quarreling, and both parties were
threatening him. The bolder spirits announced that if he did not make a
settlement in the country, with or without instructions from the
governor of Cuba who had sent him out, they would report him to the
King. The friends of Velazquez accused Cortes of secretly encouraging
this rebellion, and demanded that as he had now made his discovery, he
should return to Cuba and report.

Cortes calmly answered that he was quite willing to return at once, and
ordered the ships made ready. This caused such a storm of wrath and
disappointment that even those who had urged it quailed. Seeing that the
time was ripe, the captain-general called his followers together and
made a speech. He declared that nobody could have the interests of the
sovereigns and the glory of the Spanish race more at heart than he had.
He was willing to do whatever was best. If they, his comrades, desired
to return to Cuba he would go directly. But if they were ready to join
him, he would found a colony in the name of the sovereigns, with all
proper officers to govern it, to remain in this rich country and trade
with the people. In that case, however, he would of course have to
resign his commission as captain-general of an expedition of discovery.

There was a roar of approval from the army at this alluring suggestion.
Before most of them fairly knew what they were about they had voted to
form a colony under the royal authority, elected Cortes governor as soon
as he resigned his former position, and seen the new governor appoint a
council in proper form, to aid in the government.

"I knew it," said Saavedra to himself as he went back, alone, to his
quarters. "Just as people have made up their minds they have got him
between the door and the jamb, he is somewhere else. When he resigned
his commission he slipped out from under the government of Cuba, and
that has no authority over him. He has appointed a council made up of
his own friends, and now he can hang every one of the Velasquez party if
they make any trouble. But they won't."

They did not. Cortes sent his flagship to Spain with some of his
especial friends and some of his particular enemies on board, the
enemies to get them out of his way, the friends to defend him to the
King against their accusations. He founded a city which he named Villa
Rica de Vera Cruz, the Rich Town of the True Cross. Then, as the next
step toward the invasion of the country, he proceeded to play Indian

First he accepted the invitation of the chief of the Totonacs, and
Moteczuma, hearing of it, sent the tax-gatherers to collect tribute and
also to demand twenty young men and women to sacrifice to the gods as an
atonement for having entertained the strangers. Cortes expressed lively
horror, and advised the chief of the Totonacs to throw the tax-gatherers
into prison. Then he secretly rescued them and telling them how deeply
he regretted their misfortunes as innocent men doing their duty to their
ruler, he sent them on board his own ships for safe-keeping. When the
Emperor heard what had happened he was enraged against the Totonacs. If
they wished to escape his vengeance now their only chance was to become
allies of Cortes.

Thus within a few days after landing, the commander had got all of his
own followers and a powerful native tribe so bound up with his fortunes
that they could not desert him without endangering their own skins. He
now suggested to two of the pilots that they should report five of the
ships to be in an unseaworthy condition from the borings of the
teredos--in those days sheathing for hulls had not been invented, and
the ship-worm was a constant danger, in tropical waters especially. At
the pilots' report Cortes appeared astonished, but saying that there was
nothing to do but make the best of it, ordered the ships to be
dismantled, the cordage, sails and everything that could be of use
brought on shore, and the stripped hulls scuttled and sunk. Then four
more were condemned, leaving but one small ship.

There was nearly a riot in the army, marooned in an unknown and
unfriendly land. Cortes made another speech. He pointed out the fact
that if they were successful in the expedition to the capital they would
not need the ships; if they were not, what good would the ships do them
when they were seventy leagues inland? Those who dared not take the risk
with him could still return to Cuba in the one ship that was left. "They
can tell there," he added in a tone which cut the deeper for being so
very quiet, "how they deserted their commander and their friends, and
patiently wait until we return with the spoils of the Aztecs."

An instant of breathless silence followed, then somebody shouted. A
hundred voices took up the cry,--

"To Mexico! To Mexico!"

Of the adventures, the fighting, the wonderful sights and the narrow
escapes of the march to the capital, Bernal Diaz, who was with the army,
wrote afterward in bulky volumes. On the seventh day of November, 1519,
the compact little force of Spaniards, little more than a battalion in
all, with their Indian allies from the provinces which had rebelled
against the Emperor, came in sight of the capital. The moment at which
Cortes, at the head of his followers, rode into the city of Mexico is
one of the most dramatic in all history. Nothing in any novel of
adventure compares with it in amazing contrast or tragic possibilities.
The men of the Age of Cannon met the men of the Age of Stone. The mighty
Catholic Church confronted a nation of snake-worshiping cannibals. The
sons of a race that lived in hardy simplicity, a race of fighters, had
come into a capital where life was more luxurious than it was in
Seville, Paris or Rome--a heathen capital rich in beauty, wealth and all
the arts of a barbarian people.

The city had been built on an island in the middle of a salt lake,
reached by three causeways of masonry four or five miles long and twenty
or thirty feet wide. At the end near the city each causeway had a wooden
drawbridge. There were paved streets and water-ways. The houses, built
around large court-yards, were of red stone, sometimes covered with
white stucco. The roofs were encircled with battlements and defended
with towers. Often they were gardens of growing flowers. In the center
of the city was the temple enclosure, surrounded by an eight-foot stone
wall. Within this were a score of teocallis, or pyramids flattened at
the top, the largest, that of the war-god, being about a hundred feet
high. Stone stairs wound four times around the pyramid, so that
religious processions appeared and disappeared on their way to the top.
On the summit was a block of jasper, rounded at top, the altar of human
sacrifice. Near by were the shrines and altars of the gods. Outside the
temple enclosure was a huge altar, or embankment, called the
tzompantli, one hundred and fifty-four feet long, upon which the skulls
of innumerable victims were arranged. The doorways and walls everywhere
were carved with the two symbols of the Aztec religion--the cross and
the snake. Among the birds in the huge aviary of the royal establishment
were the humming-birds which were sacred to one of the most cruel of the
gods, and in cages built for them were the rattlesnakes also held
sacred. Flowers were everywhere--in garlands hung about the city, in the
hands of the people, on floating islands in the water, in the gardens
blazing with color.

The Spanish strangers were housed in a great stone palace and
entertained no less magnificently than the gifts of the Emperor had led
them to expect. The houses were ceiled with cedar and tapestried with
fine cotton or feather work. Moteczuma's table service was of gold and
silver and fine earthenware. The people wore cotton garments, often dyed
vivid scarlet with cochineal, the men wearing loose cloaks and fringed
sashes, the women, long robes. Fur capes and feather-work mantles and
tunics were worn in cold weather; sandals and white cotton hoods
protected feet and head. The women sometime used a deep violet hair-dye.
Ear-rings, nose-rings, finger-rings, bracelets, anklets and necklaces
were of gold and silver.

Moteczuma himself, a tall slender man about forty years old, came to
meet them in a palanquin shining with gold and canopied with
feather-work. As he descended from it his attendants laid cotton mats
upon the ground that he might not soil his feet. He wore the broad
girdle and square cloak of cotton cloth which other men wore, but of the
finest weave. His sandals had soles of pure gold. Both cloak and sandals
were embroidered with pearls, emeralds, and a kind of stone much
prized by the Aztecs, the chalchivitl, green and white. On his head he
wore a plumed head-dress of green, the royal color. When Cortes with his
staff approached the building set apart for their quarters, Moteczuma
awaited them in the courtyard. From a vase of flowers held by an
attendant he took a massive gold collar, in which the shell of a certain
crawfish was set in gold and connected by golden links. Eight golden
ornaments a span long, wrought to represent the same shell-fish, hung
from this chain. Moteczuma hung the necklace about the neck of Cortes
with a graceful little speech of welcome.

[Illustration: "Moteczuma awaited them in the courtyard"--_Page_ 162]

The Aztec Emperor was making the best of a situation which he did not
like at all. In other Mexican cities Cortes had ordered the idols cast
headlong down the steps of the teocalli, the temples cleansed, and a
crucifix wreathed in flowers to be set up in place of the red altar
stained with human blood. He was attended by some seven thousand native
allies from tribes considered by the Aztecs as wild barbarians. His
daring behavior and military successes had all been reported to
Moteczuma by the picture-writing of his scribes. There was a tradition
among the Aztecs that some day white bearded strangers would come,
destroy the worship of the old gods of blood and terror, and restore the
worship of the fair god Quetzalcoatl. Before the white men landed there
had been earthquakes, meteors and other omens. Would the old gods
destroy the invaders and all who joined them, or was this the great
change which the prophets foretold? Who could say?

In the beautiful, terrible city Cortes moved alert and silent, courteous
to all, every nerve as sensitive to new impressions as a leaf to the
wind. He knew that strong as the priesthood of the fierce gods
undoubtedly was, there was surely an undercurrent of rebellion against
their cruelty and their unlimited power. In a fruitless attempt to keep
the Spaniards out of the city by the aid of the gods, three hundred
little children had been sacrificed. If Cortes failed to conquer, by
peaceful means or otherwise, nothing was more certain than that he and
all of his followers not killed in the fighting would be butchered on
the top of those terrible pyramids sooner or later. Yet he looked about
him and said, under his breath,

"This is the most beautiful city in the world."

"And you think we shall win it for the Cross and the King?" asked
Saavedra in the same quiet tone.

"We must win," said Cortes, with a spark in his eyes like the flame in
the heart of a black opal. "There is nothing else to do."


In the spelling of the Aztec Emperor's name Cortes' own form is
used,--"Moteczuma," instead of the commoner "Montezuma." One must read
Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico" for even an approximately adequate
account of this extraordinary campaign.


    Klooskap's children, the last and least,
    Bidden to dance at his farewell feast,
    Under the great moon's wizard light,
    Over the mountain's drifted white,
    The Winag'mesuk, the wood-folk small,
    Came to the feasting the last of all!

    Magic snowshoes they wore that night,
    Woven of frostwork and sunset light,
    Round and trim like the Master's own,--
    Their lances of reed, with a point of bone,
    Their oval shields of the woven grass,
    Their leader the mighty Kaktugwaas.

    The Winag'mesuk, the forest folk,
    They fled from the words that the white man spoke.
    They were so tired, they were so small,
    They hardly could find their way back at all,
    Yet bravely they rallied with shield and lance
    To dance for Klooskap their Snowshoe Dance!

    Light and swift as the whirling snow
    They leaped and fluttered aloft, alow.
    Silent as owls in the white moonlight
    They pounced and grappled in mimic fight.
    When they chanted to Klooskap their last farewell
    He laid on the forest a fairy spell.

    From Little Thunder, from Kaktugwaas,
    He took the buckler of woven grass,
    The lance of reed with a point of bone,
    The rounded footgear like his own,
    And bade them grow there under the pines
    While the snowdrifts melt and the sunlight shines!

    The sagamore pines are dark and tall
    That guard the Norumbega wall.
    When the clear brooks dance to the flute of spring,
    And veery and catbird of Klooskap sing,
    The Winag'mesuk for one short hour
    Come back for their token of Klooskap's power--
      Moccasin Flower!



"What shall I bring thee then, from the world's end, Reine Margot?"
asked Alain Maclou. The small girl in the deep fireside recess of a
Picardy castle-hall considered it gravely.

"There should be three gifts," she said at last, "for so it always is in
Mère Bastienne's stories. I will have the shoes of silence, the girdle
of fortune, and diamonds from Norumbega. Tell me again about Norumbega."

"Nay, little one, I must go, to see after the lading of the ship. Fare
thee well for this time," and the young man bent his tall head above the
hand of his seven-year-old lady. The graceful, quick-witted and
imaginative child had been his pet and he her loyal servant these three
years. It was understood between them that she was really the Queen of
France, barred from her throne by the Salic Law that forbade any woman
to rule that country in her own right. Some day he was to discover for
her a kingdom beyond seas, in which she alone should reign. Of all the
tales, marvelous, fanciful or tragic, which he or her old nurse had told
her, she liked best the legend of Norumbega, the city in the wilderness
which no explorer had ever found. Wherever French, Breton or English
fishermen had become at all familiar with the Indians they heard of a
city great and populous, with walls of stone, ruled by a king richer
than any of their chiefs, but no two stories agreed on the location.
Some had heard that it was an island, west of Cape Breton; others that
it was on the bank of a great river to the southward. Maclou had seen at
a fair one of the Indians brought to France ten years before in the
_Dauphine_, and spoken to him. According to this Indian the chief town
of his people was on an island in the mouth of a river where high gray
walls of rock arose, longer and statelier than the walls of Dieppe. In
describing these walls the Indian did not indeed say that they encircled
the city, but no Frenchman could have imagined rock palisades built for
any other purpose. On the other hand Maclou knew a pilot who had been
caught in a storm and blown down the coast southwest from the fisheries,
and he and his crew had seen, from ten or twelve leagues out at sea,
white and shining battlements on the crest of a mountain far inland.
When they asked their Indian guides what city it was the slaves trembled
and showed fear, and declared that none of their people ever went there.
Had only one man seen the glittering walls it might have been a vision,
but they had all seen.

If Norumbega really existed, the expedition of Jacques Cartier in 1535
seemed likely to find it. He had made a voyage the year before with two
ships and a hundred and twenty men, of whom Maclou had been one. Not
being prepared to remain through the winter, they had been obliged to
turn back before they had done more than discover a magnificent bay
which Cartier named the Bay of Chaleur on account of the July heat, and
a squarish body of water west of Cape Breton which seemed to be marked
out on their map as the Square Gulf. Now the veteran of Saint Malo had
instructions to explore this gulf and see whether any strait existed
beyond it which might lead to Cathay. On general principles he was to
find out how great and of what nature the country was. The maps of the
New World were fairly complete in their outline of the southern
continent and islands discovered by Spain; it was hoped that this
expedition might give an equally definite outline to the northern coast.
Cartier had on his previous voyage caught two young Indians who had come
from far inland to fish, and brought them back to France. They had since
learned enough Breton to make themselves understood, and from what they
said it seemed to Cartier that there might be a far greater land west of
the fisheries than the mapmakers had supposed. The King, on the other
hand, was inclined to hope that the lands already found were islands,
among which might be the coveted route to Cathay. Maclou bent his brows
over the map and pondered. If Norumbega were found it would be the key
to the situation, for the people of a great inland city would know, as
the people of Mexico did, all about their country. Did it exist, or was
it a fairy tale, born of mirage or a lying brain?

On Whitsunday the sixteenth of May, Carrier and his men went in solemn
procession to the Cathedral Church of Saint Malo, confessed themselves,
received the sacrament, and were blessed by the Bishop in his robes of
state, standing in the choir of the ancient sanctuary. On the following
Wednesday they set sail with three ships and one hundred and ten men.
Cartier had been careful to explain to the King that it would be of no
use to send an expedition to those northern shores unless it could live
through the winter on its own supplies. The summer was brief, the winter
severe, and there was no possibility of living on the country while
exploring it. As such voyages went, the three ships were well
provisioned. Late in July they came through the Strait of Belle Isle,
and on Saint Laurence's Day, August 10, found themselves in a small bay
which Cartier named for that saint. Rounding the western point of a
great island the little fleet came into a great salt water bay.

"I believe," said Cartier to Maclou as the flagship sailed gaily on over
the sunlit sparkling waves, "that this must be the place from which all
the whales in the world come." The great creatures were spouting and
diving all around the fleet, frolicking like unwieldy puppies. Every one
was alert for what might be discovered next. None were more lively and
full of pleased expectation than the two Indian youths. Captives had
been taken by the white men before, but none had ever returned. Their
people were undoubtedly mourning them as dead, but would presently see
them not only alive but fat and happy. They had crossed the great waters
in the white men's canoe, and lived in the white men's villages, and
learned their talk. They had been christened Pierre and Kadoc, French
tongues finding it hard to pronounce their former names.

Cartier called them to him and began to ask questions. He learned that
the northern coast of the gulf, along which they were sailing, was that
of a land called Saghwenay, in which was found Caignetdaze, called by
the white men copper. This gulf led to a great river called Hochelaga.
They had never heard of any one going all the way to the head of it, but
the old men might remember. What the name of the country to the south of
the gulf was, Cartier could not make out. It sounded something like
Kanacdajikaouah. "Kaou-ah" meant great, or large, and Cartier finally
set down the rest of the word as Canada, as nearly as the French
alphabet could spell out the gutturals.

The youths in fact belonged to a tribe in the great confederacy of the
Kanonghsionni, the People of the Long House--or rather the lengthened
house, Kanonsa being the word for house, and "ionni" meaning lengthened
or extended.[1] Five tribes, many generations ago, had united under the
leadership of the great Ayonhwatha--"he who made the wampum belt."[2]
They had adopted weaker tribes when they conquered them, exactly as,
upon the marriage of a daughter, the father built an addition to his
house for the newly wedded couple. The captives had picked up the Breton
patois rather easily, but there was nothing in France which was at all
like an Iroquois bark house, and they had to use the Indian word for it.
Maclou, who had been studying the native language at odd times during
the voyage, found that it had no b, f, m, or v, and on the other hand it
had some noises which were not in any Breton, French or English words,
though the Indian "n" was rather like the French "nque."

Some fifteen leagues from the salt gulf the water became so fresh that
Cartier finally gave up the idea that the channel he had entered might
be a strait. It was still very wide, and if it really was a river it was
the biggest he had ever seen. Three islands now appeared, opposite the
mouth of a swift and deep river which came from the northern territory
called Saghwenay. Cartier sailed up this river for some distance,
finding high steep hills on both sides, and then continued up the great
river to find the chief city of the wilderness empire, if it was an

No sign had been seen of Norumbega. Presently the keen expectant eye of
Cartier caught sight of something which went far to shake his faith in
that romantic citadel. It was a bold headland on the right, which would
certainly have been chosen by any civilized king in Europe as a site for
a fortress. Those mighty cliffs would almost make other defenses
needless. Yet the heights were occupied by nothing more than a wooden
village, which the interpreters called Stadacona, saying that their
chief, Daghnacona, was its ruler. Shouts arose from the water's edge as
some one among the excited Indians recognized on the deck of a great
winged canoe their own lost countrymen. The interpreters answered with
joyous whoops. A dozen canoes came paddling out, filled with young
warriors, and a rapid interchange of guttural Indian talk went on
between Pierre and Kadoc and their kinfolk. The enthusiasm rose to a
still higher pitch when strings of beads of all colors were handed down
to the Indians in the canoes, and presently Daghnacona himself appeared
to welcome the white men to his country, with dignified Indian eloquence
and an escort of twelve canoes. This was clearly a good place to stop
and refit the ships. Cartier took his fleet into a little river not far
away, and prepared to learn all he could of the country before going on.

The information he got from Daghnacona was not encouraging. This was
not, it appeared, the chief town of the country. That was many miles up
the river, and was called Hochelaga. It would not be safe for the white
men to go there. Their ships might be caught between ice-floes, and the
falling snow would blind and bewilder them. Cartier glanced at the blue
autumn sky and smiled. No one is quicker than an Indian to read faces.
Daghnacona saw that the white chief intended to go, all the same.

Cartier decided to leave the larger ships where they were, and proceed
up the great river to Hochelaga with a forty-ton pinnace, two boats, and
about fifty men. Early in the morning, before he was quite ready to
start, a canoe came down stream, in which were three weird figures
resembling the devils in a medieval miracle-play. Their faces were jet
black, they were clothed in hairy skins, and on their heads were great
horns. As they passed the ships they kept up a monotonous and appalling
chant, and as their canoe touched the beach all three fell upon their
faces. Indians, rushing out of the woods, dragged them into a thicket,
and a great hubbub followed, not a word of which was understood by the
white men, for the Indian interpreters were there with the rest.
Presently the interpreters appeared on the beach yelling with fright.

"Pierre! Kadoc!" the annoyed commander called from his quarter-deck,
"what is all this hullabaloo about?"

"News!" gasped Pierre. "News from Canghyenye! He says white men not come
to Hochelaga!" And Kadoc chimed in eagerly, "Not go! Not go!"

"Coudouagny?" Cartier repeated to Maclou, completely mystified. "Who can
that be?"

Further questioning drew out information which sounded as if Coudouagny,
or Canyengye, were a tribal god. In reality this was the word for "elder
brother." In that region it was applied to the Tekarihokens, the eldest
of the five nations in the league of the Long House. They were afterward
dubbed by their enemies the Mohawks or man-eaters, and the fear for the
white men's safety which the interpreters expressed may very well have
been quite genuine.

But the Breton captain had not come across the Atlantic to give up his
plans for fear of an Indian god, if it was a god, and his reply to the
warning was to the effect that Coudouagny must be a numskull. More
seriously he explained to the interpreters that although he had not
himself spoken with the God of his people his priests had, and he fully
trusted in the power of his God to protect him. The party set forth at
the appointed time.

In about two weeks they reached the greatest Indian town that any of
them had ever seen. It was not the walled city of the Norumbega legend,
but both Maclou and Cartier had ceased to expect anything of that kind.
The Indian guides had said that the town was near, and all were dressed
in their best. A thousand Indians, men, women and children, were on the
shore to receive them, and the commander at the head of his little troop
marched into Hochelaga to pay their respects to the chief.

The Indian city was inhabited by several thousand people, living in
wigwams about a hundred and fifty feet long by fifty wide, built of bark
over a frame of wood, and arranged around a large open space. The whole
was surrounded by a stockade of three rows of stakes twelve or fifteen
feet high. The middle row was set straight, the other two rows five or
six feet from it and inclining toward it like wigwam-poles. The three
rows, meeting at the top, were lashed to a ridgepole. Half way down and
again at the bottom cross-braces were fastened diagonally, making a
strong wall. Around the inside, near the top, was a gallery reached by
ladders, on which were piles of stones to be thrown at invaders. Instead
of being square, or irregular with many angles and outstanding towers,
like a French walled town, it was perfectly round.

The interpreters afterward explained that each of the houses was
occupied by several families, as the head of each house shared his
shelter with his kinfolk. When a daughter was married she brought her
husband home, as a rule, and her father added an apartment to his house
by the simple device of taking out the end wall of bark and building on
another section. Each household had its own stone hearth, the smoke
escaping through openings in the roof. A common passage-way led through
the middle of the house. On the sides were rows of bunks covered with
furs. Weapons hung on the walls, and meat broth or messes of corn and
beans simmered fragrantly in their kettles. Some of these long houses
held fifty or sixty people each, and there were over fifty of them in
all. In that climate, with warlike neighbors, the advantage of such an
organized community over scattered single wigwams was very great. All
around were cleared fields dotted with great yellow pumpkins, where corn
and beans had grown during the past summer.

To the sons of Norman and Breton peasants it was evident that these
fields had not been cultivated for centuries, like those of France, any
more than the wall around Hochelaga was the work of stone-masons toiling
under generations of feudal lords. If this were the chief city of these
people, they had no Norumbega. But it was very picturesque in its sylvan
barbaric way, among the limitless forests of scarlet and gold and
crimson and deep green, which stretched away over the mountains. Upon
the rude cots in the wigwams as they passed, Cartier's men saw rich and
glossy furs of the silver fox, the beaver, the mink and the marten,
which princesses might be proud to wear. Curious bead-work there was
also on the quivers, pouches, moccasins and belts of these wild people,
done in white and purple shell beads made and polished by hand and not
more than a quarter of an inch long and an eighth of an inch thick.
These were sewn in patterns of animals, birds, fishes and other things
not unlike the emblems of old families in France. Belts of these beads
were worn by those who seemed to be the chief men of Hochelaga.
Porcupine quills were also used in embroidery and head-bands.

The people thronged into the open central space, which was about a
stone's throw across, some carrying their sick, some their children,
that the strangers might touch them for healing or for good fortune. The
old chief, who was called Agouhana, was brought in, helpless from
paralysis, upon a deerskin litter. When Cartier understood that his
touch was supposed to have some mysterious magic he rubbed the old man's
helpless limbs with his own hands, read from his service-book the first
chapter of the Gospel of Saint John and other passages, and prayed that
the people who listened might come to know the true faith. Then, after
beads, rings, brooches and other little gifts had been distributed, the
trumpets blew, and the white men took their leave. Before they returned
to their boats the Indians guided them to the top of the hill which rose
behind the town, from which the surrounding country could be seen.
Cartier named it Montreal--the Royal Mountain.

[Illustration: "CARTIER READ FROM HIS SERVICE-BOOK."--_Page_ 176]

It was now the first week in October, and the rapids in the river above
Hochelaga blocked further exploration with a sailing vessel. As for
going on foot, that was out of the question with winter so near. The
party returned to Stadacona and went into winter quarters. While they
had been gone their comrades had built a palisaded fort beside the
little river where the ships lay moored. They were hardly settled in
this rude shelter before snow began to fall, and seemed as if it would
go on forever, softly blanketing the earth with layer on layer of cold
whiteness. It was waist-deep on the level; the river was frozen solid;
the drifts were above the sides of the ships, and the ice was four
inches thick on the bulwarks. The glittering armor of the ice incased
masts, spars, ropes, and fringed every line of cordage with icicles of
dazzling brightness. Never was such cold known in France. Maclou
thought, whimsically, while his teeth chattered beside the fire, of a
tale he had once told Marguerite of the palace of the Frost King. That
fierce monarch, and not the guileless Indian chief, was the foe they
would have to fight for this kingdom.

Their provisions were those of any ship sent on a voyage into unknown
lands in those days--dried and salted meat and fish, flour and meal to
be made into cakes or porridge, dried pease, dried beans. For a time the
Indians visited them, in the bitterest weather, but in December even
this source of a game supply was cut off, for they came no more. The
dreaded scurvy broke out, and before long there were hardly a dozen of
the whole company able to care for the sick. Besides the general misery
they were tormented by the fear that if the savages knew how feeble they
were the camp might be attacked and destroyed. Cartier told those who
had the strength, to beat with sticks on the sides of their bunks, so
that prowling Indians might believe that the white men were busy at

But the wild folk were both shrewder and more friendly than the French
believed. Their medicine-men told Cartier one day that they cured scurvy
by means of a drink made from the leaves and bark of an evergreen.
Squaws presently came with a birch-bark kettle of this brew and it
proved to have such virtues that the sick were cured of scurvy, and in
some cases of other diseases which they had had for years. Cartier
afterward wrote in his report that they boiled and drank within a week
all the foliage of a tree, which the Indians called aneda or tree of
life, as large as a full-grown oak.[3] Many had died before the remedy
was learned, and when the weather allowed the fleet to sail for home,
there were only men enough for two of the ships. The Indians had told of
other lands where gold and rubies were found, of a nation somewhere in
the interior, white like the French, of people with but one leg apiece.
But as it was, the country was a great country, and well worth the
attention of the King of France. Leaving the cross and the fleur-de-lis
to mark the place of their discovery, the expedition sailed for France,
and on July 16, 1536, anchored once more in the port of Saint Malo.

"And there is no Norumbega really?" asked little Margot rather
dolefully, when the story of the adventure had been told. "And your hair
is all gray, here, on the side."

"None the less I have gifts for thee, little queen, and such as no Queen
of France hath in her treasury." Maclou's smile, though a trifle grave,
had a singular charm as he opened his wallet. Margot nestled closer, her
eyes bright with excitement.

The first gift was a little pair of shoes of deer-skin dyed green and
embroidered with pearly white beads on a ground of black and red French
brocade. They had no heels and no heavy leather soles, and were lined
with soft white fur; and they fitted the little maid's foot exactly.

The second gift was a girdle of the same beads, purple and white, in a
pattern of queer stiff sprays. "That," said Alain Maclou, "is the Tree
of Life that cured us all of the sickness."

The third was a cluster of long slender crystals set in a fragment of
rock the color of a blush rose.[4]

"'Tis a magic stone, sweetheart. Keep it in the sunshine on thy
window-ledge, and when summer is over 't will be white as snow. Leave it
in a snowbank, or in a cellar under wet moss, and 't will turn again to
rose-color. This I have seen. In the winter nights the Frost King hangs
his ice-diamonds on every twig and rope and eave, and when they shine in
the red sunrise they look like these crystals. And I have seen all the
sky from the zenith to the horizon at midnight full of leaping rose-red
flames above such a world of ice. 'Tis very beautiful there, Reine
Margot, and fit kingdom for a fairy queen."

Marguerite turned the strange quartz rock about in her small hands with
something like awe.

"And the shoes are shoes of silence, for an Indian can go and come in
them so softly that even a rabbit does not hear. They were made by a
kind old squaw who would take no pay, and a young warrior gave me the
wampum belt, and I found the stone one day while I was hunting in the
forest, so that all three of thy gifts are really gifts from Norumbega."

"I think--I'm rather glad it is not a real city," said Margot with a
long breath. "It is more like fairyland, just as it is,--and the Frost
King and the terrible sickness are the two ogres, and the good medicine
man is a white wizard. It is a very beautiful kingdom, Alain, and I
think you are the Prince in disguise!"


[1] Kanonghsionni was the name which the Iroquois gave themselves. It
appears that at this time they occupied the country along the St.
Lawrence held some centuries before by the Ojibways and later, in the
time of Champlain, by the Hurons.

[2] Hiawatha is generally said to have founded the league of the Five
Nations. Although these nations were united against any attack from
outside they were not always free from interior enmities and
dissensions, and the Mohawks in particular were objects of the fear and
dislike of their neighbors, as the significance of their sobriquet
clearly shows.

[3] Aneda is said to be the Iroquois word for spruce. When Champlain's
men were attacked by scurvy in the same neighborhood half a century
later, the Iroquois no longer lived there, and this remedy was not

[4] Rose quartz has this property.


    Bred to the Game of the World as the Kings and the Emperors played it,
      Fate and our masters hurled us over the terrible sea.
    When the sails of the carracks were furled the Game was the Game that
        we made it,--
      We that were horses in Spain were gods in a realm to be!

    Swift at the word we sped, we fought in the front of the battle,--
      Ah, but the wild men fled when they heard us neigh from afar!
    The field was littered with dead, cut down like slaughtered cattle
     --Ah, but the earth is red where the Conquistadores are!

    Now does the desert wake and croon of hidalgos coming--
      Now for her children's sake she is whetting her sword to slay,
    And the armored squadrons break, and our iron-shod hoofs are drumming
      On the rocks of the mountain pass--we are free, we are off and away!

    Hush--did a man's foot fall in the pasture where we go straying?
      Listen--is that the call of a man aware of his right?
    Hearken, my comrades all--once more the Game they are playing!
      Masters, we come, we come, to be one with you in the fight!



"Cavalry without horses, in ships without sailors, built by blacksmiths
without forges and carpenters without tools. Now who in Spain will
believe that?" commented Cabeça de Vaca.

It was the evening of the twenty-first of September, 1528. Five of the
oddest looking boats ever launched on any sea were drawn up on the shore
of La Baya de Cavallos, where not a horse was in sight, though there had
been twoscore a fortnight ago. On the morrow the one-eyed commander of
the Spaniards, Pamfilo de Narvaez, would marshal his ragamuffin
expedition into those boats, in the hope of reaching Mexico by sea.

"We shall tell of it when we are grandfathers--if the sea does not take
us within a week," said Andres Dorantes with a sigh. "I think that God
does not waste miracles on New Spain."

"Miracles? It is nothing less than a miracle that this fleet was built,"
said Cabeça de Vaca valiantly. And indeed he had some reason for saying

Narvaez, with a grant from the King which covered all the territory
between the Atlantic and the Rio de los Palmas in Mexico, had staked his
entire private fortune on this venture. He had landed in Baya de le
Cruz--now Tampa Bay--on the day before Easter. The Indians had some gold
which they said came "from the north." Cabeça, who was treasurer of the
expedition, strongly advised against proceeding through a totally
unknown country on this very sketchy information. But Narvaez consulted
the pilot, who said he knew of a harbor some distance to the west,
ordered the ships to meet him there, and with forty horsemen and two
hundred and sixty men on foot, struck boldly into the interior.

It was an amazing country. It had magnificent forests and almost
impassable swamps, gorgeous tropical flowers and black bogs infested
with snakes, alligators and hostile Indians, game of every kind and
dense jungles into which it retreated. There seemed to be no towns, no
grain-land and no gold-bearing mountains. The persevering explorers
crossed half a dozen large rivers and many small ones, wading when they
could, building rafts or swimming when the water was deep. After between
three and four months of this, half-starved, shaken with swamp fever,
weary and bedraggled, they reached the first harbor they had found upon
the coast they followed, but no ships were there. Whether the ships had
been wrecked, or put in somewhere only to meet with destruction at the
hands of the Indians, they never knew.

Narvaez called his officers into consultation, one at a time, as to the
best course to pursue in this desperate case. They had no provisions, a
third of the men were sick and more were dropping from exhaustion every
day, and all agreed that unless they could get away and reach Mexico
while some of them could still work, there was very little chance that
they would ever leave the place at all. But they had no tools, no
workmen and no sailors, and nothing to eat while the ships were
a-building, even if they knew how to build them. They gave it up for
that night and prayed for direction.

Next day one of the men proved to have been a carpenter, and another
came to Cabeça de Vaca with a plan for making bellows of deerskin with a
wooden frame and nozzle, so that a forge could be worked and whatever
spare iron they had could be pounded into rude tools. The officers took
heart. Cross-bows, stirrups, spurs, horse-furniture, reduced to
scrap-iron, furnished axes, hammers, saws and nails. There was plenty of
timber in the forests. Those not able to do hard work stripped palmetto
leaves to use in the place of tow for calking and rigging. Every third
day one of the horses was killed, the meat served out to the sick and
the working party, the manes and tails saved to twist into rope with
palmetto fiber, and the skin of the legs taken off whole and tanned for
water bottles. At four different times a selected body of soldiers went
out to get corn from the Indians, peaceably if possible, by force if
necessary, and on this, with the horse-meat and sometimes fish or
sea-food caught in the bay, the camp lived and toiled for sixteen
desperate days. A Greek named Don Theodoro knew how to make pitch for
the calking, from pine resin. For sails the men pieced together their
shirts. Not the least wearisome part of their labor was stone-hunting,
for there were almost no stones in the country, and they must have
anchors. But at last the boats were finished, of twenty-two cubits in
length, with oars of savin (fir), and fifty of the men had died from
fever, hardship or Indian arrows. Each boat must carry between
forty-five and fifty of those who remained, and this crowded them so
that it was impossible to move about, and weighted them until the
gunwales were hardly a hand's breadth above the water. It would have
been madness to venture out to sea, and they crept along the coast,
though they well knew that in following all the inlets of that marshy
shore the length of the voyage would be multiplied several times over.
When they had been out a week they captured five Indian canoes, and with
the timbers of these added a few boards to the side of each galley. This
made it possible to steer in something like a direct line toward Mexico.

On October 30, about the time of vespers, Cabeça de Vaca, who happened
to be in the lead, discovered the mouth of what seemed to be an immense
river. There they anchored among islands. They found that the volume of
water brought down by this river was so great that it freshened the
sea-water even three miles out. They went up the river a little way to
try to get fuel to parch their corn, half a handful of raw corn being
the entire ration for a day. The current and a strong north wind,
however, drove them back. When they sounded, a mile and a half from
shore, a line of thirty fathoms found no bottom. After this Narvaez with
three of the boats kept on along the shore, but the boat commanded by
Castillo and Dorantes, and that of Cabeça de Vaca, stood out to sea
before a fair east wind, rowing and sailing, for four days. They never
again saw or heard of the remainder of the fleet.

On November 5 the wind became a gale. All night the boats drifted, the
men exhausted with toil, hunger and cold. Cabeça de Vaca and the
shipmaster were the only men capable of handling an oar in their boat.
Near morning they heard the tumbling of waves on a beach, and soon
after, a tremendous wave struck the boat with a force that hurled her up
on the beach and roused the men who seemed dead, so that they crept on
hands and knees toward shelter in a ravine. Here some rain-water was
found, a fire was made and they parched their corn, and here they were
found by some Indians who brought them food. They still had some of
their trading stores, from which they produced colored beads and
hawk-bells. After resting and collecting provisions the indomitable
Spaniards dug their boat out of the sand and made ready to go on with
the voyage.

They were but a little way from shore when a great wave struck the
battered craft, and the cold having loosened their grip on the oars the
boat was capsized and some of the crew drowned. The rest were driven
ashore a second time and lost literally everything they had. Fortunately
some live brands were left from their fire, and while they huddled about
the blaze the Indians appeared and offered them hospitality. To some of
the party this seemed suspicious. Were the Indians cannibals? Even when
they were warmed and fed in a comfortable shelter nobody dared to sleep.

But the Indians had no treacherous intentions whatever, and continued to
share with the shipwrecked unfortunates their own scanty provision.
Fever, hunger and despair, reduced the eighty men who had come ashore,
to less than twenty. All but Cabeça and two others who were helpless
from fever at last departed on the desperate adventure of trying to find
their way overland to Mexico. One of the two left behind died and the
other ran away in delirium, leaving Cabeça de Vaca alone, as the slave
of the Indians.

He discovered presently that he was of little use to them, for though he
could have cut wood or carried water, this was squaws' work, and should
a man be seen doing it every tradition of the tribe would be upset. He
was of no use as a hunter, for he had not the hawk-like sight of an
Indian or the Indian instinct for following a trail. He could dig out
the wild roots they ate, which grew among canes and under water, but
this was laborious and painful work, which made his hands bleed. With
tools, or even metal with which to make them, he might have made himself
the most useful member of the tribe, but as it was, he was even poorer
than the wretched people among whom he lived, for they knew how to make
the most of what was in the country, and he had no such training.

The lonely Spaniard studied their language and customs diligently. He
found that they made knives and arrows of shell, and clothing of woven
fibers of grass and leaves, and deerskin. They went from one part of the
country to another according to the food supply. In prickly pear time
they went into the cactus region to gather the fruit, on which they
mainly lived during the season. When pinon nuts were ripe they went into
the mountains and gathered these, threshing them out of the cones to be
eaten fresh, roasted, or ground into flour for cakes baked on flat
stones. They had no dishes except baskets and gourd-rinds, and their
houses were tent-poles covered with hides. When a squaw wished to roast
a piece of meat she thrust a sharp stick through it. When she wished to
boil it she filled a large calabash-rind with water, put in it the
materials of her stew, and threw stones into the fire to heat. When very
hot these stones were raked out with a loop of twisted green reed or
willow-shoots and put into the water. When enough had been put in to
make the water boil, it was kept boiling by changing the cooled stones
for hotter ones until the meat was cooked.

Many of the baskets made by the squaws were curiously decorated, and
made of fine reed or fiber sewed in coils with very fine grass-thread,
so that they were both light and strong. There were cone-shaped
carrying-baskets borne on the back with a loop passed around the
forehead; in these the squaws carried grain, fruit, nuts or occasionally
babies. There were baskets for sifting grain and meal, and a sort of
flask that would hold water. The materials were gathered from mountains,
valleys and plains over a range of hundreds of miles--grasses here, bark
fiber there, dyes in another place, maguey leaves in another, and for
black figures in decoration the seed-pods called "cat's claws" or the
stems of maiden-hair fern. A design was not copied exactly, but each
worker made the pattern in the same general form and sometimes improved
on it. There was a banded pattern in a diamond-shaped criss-cross almost
exactly like the shaded markings on a rattlesnake-skin. The Indians
believed in a goddess or Snake-Mother, who lived underground and knew
about springs; and as water was the most important thing in that land of
deserts, they showed respect to the Snake-Mother by baskets decorated in
her honor. Another design showed a round center with four zigzag lines
running to the border. This was intended for a lake with four streams
flowing out of it, widening as they flowed; but it looked rather like a
cross or a swastika. There was a design in zigzags to represent the
lightning, and almost all the patterns had to do in some way with lakes,
rivers, rain, or springs.

As the exile of Spain began to know the country he sometimes ventured on
journeys alone, without the tribe, to the north, away from the coast. In
these wanderings he met with tribes whose language was not wholly
strange, but whose customs and occupations were not exactly like those
of his own Indians. Once he found a village of deerskin tents where the
warriors were painting themselves with red clay, for a dance. He
remembered that the squaws, when he came away some days before, were in
great lamentation because they had no red paint for their baskets. He
took out a handful of shells and found that these Indians were only too
pleased to pay for them in red earth, deerskin, and tassels of deer hair
dyed red. They would hardly let him go till he promised to come again
and bring them more shells and shell beads. This suggested to him a way
in which he might make himself of use and value.

Longer and longer journeys he took, trading shells for new dyes, flint
arrow-heads, strong basket-reeds, and hides and furs of all sorts,
learning more and more of the country as he trafficked. Once he found
families living in a house built of stone and mud bricks, in the crevice
of a cliff, getting water from a little brook at the base of it, and
raising corn and vegetables along the waterside. Their houses had no
real doors. They had trap-doors in the roof, reached by a notched
tree-trunk inside and one outside. The corn that grew in the little farm
at the foot of the cliff was of different colors, red, yellow, blue and
white. Each kind was put in a separate basket. Each kind of meal was
made separately into thin cakes cooked on a very hot flat stone. A
handful of the batter was slapped on with the fingers so deftly that
though the cake was thin, crisp and even, the cook never burned herself.
The people were always on their guard against roving bands of Indians
who lived in tipis, or wigwams, and were likely to attack the
cliff-dwellers at any moment.

Cabeça de Vaca became interested in these wandering tribes, and moved
north to see what they were like. He found them quite ready to trade
with him and extremely curious about his wares. They had hides upon
their tipis of a sort he had not seen before, not smooth, but covered
with curly brown fur like a big dog's. It was some time before the
Spanish trader made out what sort of animal wore such a skin, though he
knew at first sight that it must be a very large one. Finally the old
medicine man with whom he was talking began to make sketches on the
inside of one of the great robes. The Spaniard in his turn made
sketches, drawing a horse, a goat, a bear, a wolf, a bull. When he drew
the bull the old Indian got excited. He declared that that was very like
the animal they hunted, but that their bulls had great humped shoulders
like this--he added a high curved line over the back. Cabeça came to the
conclusion that it must be some sort of hunchbacked cow, but whatever it
was, the curly furry hide was comforting on cold nights. The old Indian
told him a few days after that some of the young men had just come in
with news of a herd of these great animals moving along one of their
trails, and if the white men cared to travel with them he could see them
for himself.

It did not take the trader long to make up his mind. He went with the
Indians at the slow trot which covers so many miles in a day, and sooner
than they had expected, they saw from a little rise in the ground a vast
herd of slowly moving animals which at first the white man took for
black cattle. But they were not cattle.

There was the huge hump with the curly mane, and there were the short
horns and slender, neat little legs which had seemed so out of
proportion in the old Indian's sketch. From their point of view they
could see the hunters cut out one animal and attack him with their
arrows and lances without arousing the fears of the rest. The creatures
moved quietly along, grazing and pawing now and then, darkening the
plain almost as far as the eye could see. The trader spent several days
with the tribe, and when he went south again he had a bundle of hides so
large that he had to drag it on a kind of hurdle made of poles. He had
helped the Indians decorate some of the hides they had, and whenever he
did this he wrote his own name, the date, and a few words, somewhere on
the skin.

COULD SEE."--_Page_ 191]

"Why do you do this?" asked the medicine man, putting one long bronze
finger on the strange marks.

"It is a message," said Cabeça de Vaca. "If any of my own people see it
they will know who made the pictures."

The Indian looked at him thoughtfully.

"You are very clever," he said. "You ought to be a medicine-man."

This put another idea into the exile's head. He had seen much of the
medicine-men in his wanderings, and had studied their ways. Like most
men of his day who traveled much, he had a rough-and-ready knowledge of
medicine and surgery. He had sometimes been able to be of service to
sick and wounded Indians, and whether it was their faith in him, or in
the virtues of his treatment, his patients usually got well. In
comparing notes they found that he often prayed and sang in his own
language while watching with them. In the end he gained a great
reputation as a sort of combined priest and doctor. He was not too proud
to adopt some of the methods of the medicine-men when he found them
effective, especially as regards herbs and other healing medicaments,
used either in poultices or drinks. From being a poor slave and a burden
to his masters, he became their great man.

He had been for more than five years among the Indians when another
tribe of Indians met with his tribe, perhaps drawn by the fame of the
white medicine-man, and among their captives he recognized with joy
three of his own comrades--Castillo, Dorantes, and a Barbary negro
called Estevanico (Little Stephen). He told them of his experience, and
found them glad to have him teach them whatever of the arts of the
medicine-man he himself knew. After that, the four friends traveled more
or less in company, and persuaded the Indians to go westward, where they
thought that there might be a chance of meeting with some of their own
people. They finally reached a point at which the Indians explained that
they dared not go further, because the tribe which held the country
further west was hostile.

"Send to them," suggested Cabeça, "and tell them we are coming."

After some argument the Indians sent two women, because women would not
be harmed even in the enemy's country. Then the four comrades set out
into the new land.

Among them they knew six Indian dialects, and could talk with the people
after a fashion, wherever they went. Even when two tribes were at war,
they made a truce, so that they might trade and talk with the strangers.
At last Castillo saw on the neck of an Indian the buckle of a
sword-belt, and fastened to it like a pendant the nail of a horse-shoe.
His heart leaped. He asked the Indian where he got the things. The
Indian answered,

"They came from heaven."

"Who brought them?" asked Cabeça.

"Men with beards like you," the Indian answered rather timidly, "seated
on strange animals and carrying long lances. They killed two of our
people with those lances, and the rest ran away."

Then Cabeça knew that his countrymen must have passed that way. His
feelings were a strange mixture of joy and grief.

As they went on they came upon more traces of Spaniards, parties of
slave-hunters from the south. Everywhere they themselves were well
treated, even by people who were hiding in the mountains for fear of the
Christians. When Cabeça told the Indians that he was himself a Christian
they smiled and said nothing; but one night he heard them talking among
themselves, not knowing that he could understand their talk.

"He is lying, or he is mistaken," they said. "He and his friends come
from the sunrise, and the Christians from the sunset; they heal the
sick, the Christians kill the well ones; they wear only a little
clothing, as we do, the Christians come on horses, with shining garments
and long lances; these good men take our gifts only to help others who
need them; the Christians come to rob us and never give any one

The next day Cabeça told the Indians that he wished to go back to his
own people and tell them not to kill and enslave the natives. He
explained to them that this wickedness was not in any way part of his
religion, and that the founder of that religion never injured or
despised the poor, but went about doing good. When he was sure that
there were Spaniards not many miles away, he took Estevanico, leaving
the other two Spaniards to rest their tired bones, and with an escort of
eleven Indians went out to look for his countrymen.

When he found them, they were greatly astonished. Their astonishment did
not lessen when he told them how he came to be where he was. He sent
Estevanico back to tell the rest of the party to come, and himself
remained to talk with Diego de Alcaraz, the leader of the Spanish
adventurers, and his three followers. They were slave-hunters, like the
other Spaniards. When, five days afterward Estevanico, Castillo and
Dorantes came on with an escort of several hundred Indians, all Cabeca's
determination and diplomacy were taxed to keep the slavers from making a
raid on the confiding natives then and there. To buy Alcaraz off cost
nearly all the bows, pouches, finely dressed skins, and other native
treasures he had gained by trading or received as gifts. In this
collection were five arrowheads of emerald or something very like that
stone. It was not in Cabeça de Vaca to break his word to people who
trusted him. He had suffered every sort of privation; he had traveled
more than ten thousand miles on foot in his six years among the Indians
of the Southwest; now he had lost most of his profit from that long
exile; but he went back to Spain with faith unbroken and honor clear as
a white diamond.

In May, 1536, he and his companions reached Culiacan in the territory of
Spain. All the way to the City of Mexico they were feasted and welcomed
as honored guests. The account which Cabeça de Vaca wrote of his travels
was the first written description of the country now called Texas,
Arizona and New Mexico.


This story follows closely the "Relacion of Cabeca de Vaca." It
illustrates the resourcefulness, bravery and ingenuity of Spanish
cavaliers of the heroic age as hardly any other episode does.


    De Soto was a gentleman of Spain
      In those proud years when Spanish chivalry
    From fierce adventure never did refrain,--
      Ruler of argosies that ruled the sea,
    She looked on lesser nations in disdain,
      As born to trafficking or slavery.

    In shining armor, and with shot and steel
      Abundantly purveyed for their delight,
    Banners before whose Cross the foe should kneel,
      His company embarked--how great a light
    Through men's perversity to stoop and reel
      Down through calamity to endless night!

    Yet unsubmissive, obdurately bold,
      The savages refused to serve their need.
    They would not guide the conquerors to their gold,
      Nor though cast in the fire like a weed
    Or driven by stern compulsion to the fold,
      Would they abandon their unhallowed creed.

    The forest folk in terror broke and fled
      Like fish before the fierce pursuing pike.
    The stubborn chiefs as hostages were led--
      And in the wilderness, a grisly dyke
    Of slaves and captives, lay the heathen dead,
      And the black bayou claims all dead alike.

    Then southward through the haunted bearded trees
      The Spaniards fought their way--Mauila's fires
    Devoured their vestments and their chalices,
      Their sacramental wine and bread--the choirs
    No longer sang their requiems, and the seas
      Lay between them and all their sacred spires.

    At last in a lone cabin, where the cane
      Hid the black mire before the lowly door,
    De Soto died--although they sought to feign
      By some pretended magic mirror's lore
    That still he lived, a gentleman of Spain,--
      And the dread flood rolled onward to the shore!



"Paris is no place in these times for a Huguenot lad from Navarre," said
Dominic de Gourgues, of Mont-de-Marsan in Gascony. "His father, François
Debré, did me good service in the Spanish Indies. One of these days,
Philip and his bloodhounds will be pulled down by these young terriers
they have orphaned."

"If the Jesuits have their way all Huguenots will be exterminated, men,
women and children," said Laudonnière, with a gleam of melancholy
sarcasm in his dark pensive eyes. "Life to a Jesuit is quite simple."

"My faith," said Gascon, twisting his mustache, "they may find in that
case, that other people can be simple too. But I must be off. I thank
you for making a place for Pierre."

In consequence of this conversation, when Ribault's fleet anchored near
the River of May, on June 25, 1564, Pierre Debré was hanging to the
collars of two of Laudonnière's deerhounds and gazing in silent wonder
at the strange and beautiful land.

"The fairest, fruitfullest and pleasantest land in all the world," Jean
Ribault had said in his report two years before to Coligny the Great
Admiral of France. Live-oaks and cedars untouched for a thousand years
were draped in luxuriant grape-vines or wreathed with the mossy gray
festoons of "old men's beard." Cypress and pine mingled with the
shining foliage of magnolia and palm. From the marsh arose on sudden
startled wings multitudes of water-fowl. The dogs tugged and whined
eagerly as if they knew that in these vast hunting-forests there was an
abundance of game. In this rich land, thus far neglected by the Spanish
conquistadores because it yielded neither gold nor silver, surely the
Huguenots might find prosperity and peace. Coligny was a Huguenot and a
powerful friend, and if the French Protestants now hunted into the
mountains or driven to take refuge in England, could be transplanted to
America, France might be spared the horrors of religious civil war.

Pierre was thirteen and looked at least three years older. He could not
remember when his people and their Huguenot neighbors had not lived in
dread of prison, exile or death. When he was not more than ten years old
he had guided their old pastor to safety in a mountain cave, and seen
men die, singing, for their faith. After the death of his father and
mother he had lived for awhile with his mother's people in Navarre, and
since they were poor and bread was hard to come by he had run away the
year before and found his way to Paris, where Dominic de Gourgues had
found him. If the Huguenots had a safe home he might be able to repay
the kindness of his cousins. Meanwhile the country, the wild creatures,
the copper-colored people and the hard work of landing colonists and
supplies were full of interest and excitement for Pierre.

Satouriona, the Indian chief, showed the French officers the pillar
which Ribault's party had set up on their previous visit to mark their
discovery. The faithful savages had kept it wreathed with evergreens
and decked with offerings of maize and fruits as if it were an altar.

Unfortunately not all the colonists were of heroic mind. Most who had
left France to seek their fortunes were merchants, craftsman and young
Huguenot noblemen whose swords were uneasy in time of peace. French
farm-laborers were mainly serfs on Catholic estates, and landowners did
not wish to come to the New World. Thus the people of the settlement
were city folk with little experience or inclination for cultivating the
soil. The Indians grew tired of supplying the wants of so large a number
of strangers. Quarrels arose among the French. A discontented group of
adventurers mutinied and went off on a wild attempt at piracy. They
plundered two ships in the Spanish Indies and were caught by the Spanish
governor. The twenty-six who escaped his clutches fled back to the fort,
which Laudonnière had built and named Carolina. His faithful lieutenant
La Caille arrested them and dragged them to judgment. "Say what you
will," said one of the culprits ruefully, "if Laudonnière does not hang
us I will never call him an honest man." The four leaders were promptly
sentenced to be hanged, but the sentence was commuted to shooting. After
that order reigned, for a time.

Some of the tradesmen ranged the wilderness, bringing back feather
mantles, arrows tipped with gold, curiously wrought quivers of beautiful
fur, wedges of a green stone like beryl. There were reports of a gold
mine somewhere in the northern mountains. Ribault did not return with
the expected supplies, the Indians had mostly left the neighborhood, and
misery and starvation followed, for the game, like the Indians fled the
presence of the white men. The Governor began to think of crowding the
survivors into the two little ships he had and returning to France.

Matters were in this unsatisfactory state when Captain John Hawkins in
his great seven-hundred-ton ship the _Jesus_, with three smaller ones,
the _Solomon_, the _Tiger_ and the _Swallow_, put in at the River of May
for a supply of fresh water. He gave them provisions, and offered
readily to take them back to France on his way to England, but this
offer Laudonnière declined.

"Monsieur Hawkins is a good fellow," he observed dryly to La Caille,
"and I am grateful to him, but that is no reason why I should abandon
this land to his Queen, and that is what he is hoping that I may do."

Others were not so long-sighted. The soldiers and hired workmen raised a
howl of wrath and disappointment when they heard that they were not to
sail with Hawkins, and openly threatened to desert and sail without
leave. Laudonnière answered this threat by the cool statement that he
had bought one of the English ships, the _Tiger_, with provisions for
the voyage, and that if they would have a little patience they might
soon sail for France in their own fleet. Somewhat taken aback they
ceased their clamor and awaited a favoring wind. Before it came, Ribault
came sailing back with seven ships, plenty of supplies, and three
hundred new colonists.

The fleet approached as cautiously as if it were coming to attack the
colony instead of relieving it, and Laudonnière, who saw many of his
friends among the new arrivals, presently learned that his enemies among
the colonists had written to Coligny describing him as arrogant and
cruel and charging that he was about to set up an independent monarchy
of his own. The Admiral, three thousand miles away, had decided to ask
the Governor to resign. Ribault advised him to stay and fight it out,
but Laudonnière was sick and disheartened. Life was certainly far from
simple when to use authority was to be accused of treason, and not to
use it was to foster piracy, and he had had enough of governing colonies
in remote jungles of the New World. He was going home.

To most of the colonists, however, Ribault's arrival promised an end of
all their troubles. Stores were landed, tents were pitched, and the
women and children were bestowed in the most comfortable quarters which
could be found for them just then. To his great satisfaction Pierre
found among the arrivals his cousin Barbe and her husband, a carpenter,
and her three children, Marie, Suzanne and little René. The two young
girls regarded Cousin Pierre as a hero, especially when they learned
that the bearskin on the floor of their palmetto hut had but a few
months ago been the coat of a live black bear. It had been caught
feasting in the maize-fields of the Indians, by their cousin and another
youth, and shot with a crossbow bolt by Pierre. They thought the roast
corn and stewed clams of their first meal ashore the most delicious food
they had ever tasted, and the three-cornered enclosure in the forest
with the wilderness all about it, the most wonderful place they had

Little did these innocent folk imagine what was brewing in Spain. The
raid of French pirates upon the Jamaican coast had promptly been
reported by the Adelantado of that island. Spanish spies at the French
court had carefully noted the movements of Coligny and Ribault. Pedro
Menendez de Avila, raising money and men in his native province of
Asturia in Spain for the conquest of all Florida, learned with horror
and indignation that its virgin soil had already been polluted by
heretic Frenchmen.

Menendez had in that very year gained permission from the King of Spain
to conquer and convert this land at his own cost. In return he was to
have free trade with the whole Spanish empire, and the title of
Adelantado or governor of Florida for life--absolute power over all of
America north of Mexico, for Spain had never recognized any right of
France or England in the region discovered by Cabot, Cartier, Verrazzano
or others. Menendez was allowed three years for his tremendous task. He
was to take with him five hundred men and as many slaves, a suitable
supply of horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, and provisions, and sixteen
priests, four of whom were to be Jesuits. He had also to find ships to
convey this great expedition.

But Menendez had been playing for big stakes all his life. He was only
ten years old when he ran away and went to sea on a Barbary pirate ship.
While yet a lad he was captain of a ship of his own, fighting pirates
and French privateers. He had served in the West Indies and he had
commanded fleets. King Philip had never really understood the enormous
possibilities of Florida until Menendez explained them to him. The soil
was fertile, the climate good, there might be valuable mines, and there
were above all countless heathen whom it was the deepest desire of
Menendez to convert to the true faith. In this last statement he was as
sincere as he was in the others. He expected to do in Florida what
Cortes had done in Mexico. Now heresy, the unpardonable sin, burned out
and stamped out in Spain, had appeared in the province which he had
bound himself at the cost of a million ducats to make Spanish and
Catholic. With furious energy he pushed on the work of preparation.

He had assembled in June, 1565, a fleet of thirty-four ships and a force
of twenty-six hundred men. Arciniega, another commander, was to join him
with fifteen hundred. On June 29 he sailed from Cadiz in the _San
Pelayo_, a galleon of nearly a thousand tons, a leviathan for those
days. Ten other ships accompanied him; the rest of the fleet would
follow later. It was the plan of Menendez to wipe out the garrison at
Fort Caroline before Ribault could get there, plant a colony there and
one on the Chesapeake, to control the northern fisheries for Spain
alone. On the way a Caribbean tempest scattered the ships and only five
met at Hispaniola, but Menendez did not wait for the rest. When he
reached the Florida coast he sent a captain ashore with twenty men to
find out exactly where on that long, lonely shore line the French colony
had squatted.

About half past eleven on the night of September 4, the watchman on one
of the French ships anchored off shore saw the huge _San Pelayo_, the
Spanish banner lifting sluggishly in the slow wind, coming up from the
south. Ribault was in the fort, so were most of the troops, and three of
the ships were anchored inside the bar. The strange fleet came steadily
nearer, the great flagship moved to windward of Ribault's flagship the
_Trinity_, and dropped anchor. The others did likewise. Not a word was
spoken by friend or foe. The Spanish chaplain Mendoza afterward wrote:

"Never since I came into the world did I know such a stillness."

A trumpet sounded on the _San Pelayo_. A trumpet sounded on the
_Trinity_. Menendez spoke, politely.

[Illustration: "'GENTLEMEN, WHENCE DOES THIS FLEET COME?'"--_Page_ 204]

"Gentlemen, whence does this fleet come?"

"From France."

"What is it doing here?"

"Bringing soldiers and supplies to a fort of the King of France in this
country--where he soon will have many more," flung back the Breton
captain defiantly.

"Are you Catholics or Lutherans?"

This time a score of clear voices reinforced the
Captain's--"Lutherans--Huguenots--the Reformed Faith--The Religion!" And
the Captain added, "Who are you yourself?"

"I am Pedro Menendez de Avila, General of the fleet of the King of
Spain, Don Felipe the Second, who come hither to hang and behead all
Lutherans whom I find by land or sea, according to instructions from his
Majesty, which leave me no discretion. These commands I shall obey, as
you will presently see. At daybreak I shall board your ships. If I find
there any Catholic he shall be well treated. But every heretic shall

The reply to the rolling sonorous ultimatum was a shout of derision.

"Ah, if you are a brave man, don't put it off till daylight! Come on now
and see what you will get!"

Menendez in black fury snapped out a command. Cables were slipped, and
the towering black hulk of the _San Pelayo_ bore down toward the
_Trinity_. But the Breton captain was already leading the little fleet
out of danger, and with all sail set, went out to sea, answering the
Spanish fire with tart promptness. In the morning Menendez gave up the
chase and came back to find armed men drawn up on the beach, and all
the guns of the ships inside the bar pointed in his direction. He
steered southward and found three ships already unloading in a harbor
which he named San Augustin and proceeded to fortify.

In Fort Caroline, Pierre Debré, awakened by the sound of firing, ran
down to the beach, where a crowd was gathering. No one could see
anything but the flashes of the guns; who or what was attacking the
ships there was no way of knowing. The first light of dawn showed the
two fleets far out at sea, and Ribault at once ordered the drums to beat
"To arms!" They saw the great galleon approach, hover about awhile, and
bear away south. When the French fleet came back later, one of the
captains, Cosette, reported that trusting in the speed of his ship he
had followed the Spaniards to the harbor where they were now landing and
entrenching themselves.

The terror which haunted the future of every Huguenot in France now
menaced the New World.

Ribault gave his counsel for an immediate attack by sea, before Menendez
completed his defense or received reinforcements. Laudonnière was ill in
bed. The fleet sailed as soon as it could be made ready, and with it
nearly every able fighting man in the settlement. Pierre, nearly crying
with wrath and disappointment, was left among the non-combatants at the
fort. In vain did old Challeux the carpenter try to console him. It
might be, as Challeux said, that there would be plenty of chances to
fight after his beard was grown, but now he was missing everything.

That night a terrible storm arose and continued for days. The marshes
became a boundless sea; the forests were whipped like weeds in the wind.
Where had the fleet found refuge? or had it been hurled to destruction
by the rage of wind and sea? Laudonnière, in the driving rain, came from
his sick-bed to direct the work on the defenses, which were broken down
in three or four places. Besides the four dog-boys, the cook, the
brewer, an old cross-bow maker, and the old carpenter, there were two
shoemakers, a musician, four valets, fourscore camp-followers who did
not know the use of arms, and the crowd of women and children. The sole
consolation that could be found in their plight was that in such a storm
no enemy would be likely to attack them by sea or land. Nevertheless
Laudonnière divided his force into two watches with an officer for each,
gave them lanterns and an hour glass for going the rounds, and himself,
weak with fever, spent each night in the guard-room.

On the night of the nineteenth the tempest became a deluge. The officer
of the night took pity on the drenched and gasping sentries and
dismissed them. But on that night five hundred Spaniards were coming
from San Augustin through almost impassable swamps, their provisions
spoiled and their powder soaked, under the leadership of the pitiless
Menendez. The storm had caught Ribault's fleet just as it was about to
attack on the eleventh, and Menendez had determined to take a force of
Spaniards overland and attack the fort while its defenders were away.
With twenty Vizcayan axemen to clear the way and two Indians and a
renegade Frenchman, François Jean, for a guide, he had bullied,
threatened and exhorted them through eight days of wading through mud
waist-deep, creeping around quagmires and pushing by main force through
palmetto jungles, until two hours before daylight the panting,
shivering, sullen men stood cursing the country and their commander,
under their breath, in a pine wood less than a mile from Fort Caroline.
It was all that Menendez could do to get them to go a rod further. All
night, he said, he had prayed for help; their provisions and ammunition
were gone; there was nothing to do but to go on and take the fort. They
went on.

In the faint light of early morning a trumpeter saw them racing down the
slope toward the fort and blew the alarm. "Santiago! Santiago!" sounded
in the ears of the half-awakened French as the Spaniards came through
the gaps in the defenses and over the ramparts. Fierce faces and
stabbing pikes were everywhere. Laudonnière snatched sword and buckler,
rallied his men to the point of greatest danger, fought desperately
until there was no more hope, and with a single soldier of his guard
escaped into the woods. Challeux, chisel in hand, on his way to his
work, swung himself over the palisade and ran like a boy. In the edge of
the forest he and a few other fugitives paused and looked down upon the
enclosure of the fort. It was a butchery. Some of the Huguenots in the
woods decided to return and surrender rather than risk the terrors of
the wilderness. The Spaniards, they said, were at least men. Six of them
did return, and were cut down as they came. Pierre Debré side by side
with a few desperate men who had one of the two light cannon the fort
possessed, was fighting like a tiger in defense of a corner where a
group of women and children were crouching.

When Menendez could secure the attention of his maddened men he gave an
order that women, children and boys under fifteen should be spared. This
order and the instant's pause it gave came just as the last of the men
in Pierre's corner went down before the halberds of the Spaniards.
Pierre leaped the palisade and ran for the forest. Looking back, he saw
the trembling women and children herded into shelter, but not killed.
Fifteen of the captured Huguenots were presently hanged; a hundred and
forty-two had been cut down and lay heaped together on the river bank.
Pierre plunged into the forest and after days of wandering reached a
friendly Indian village. The carpenter and the other fugitives who
escaped were taken to France in the two small ships of Ribault's fleet
which had not gone to attack the Spanish settlement. Menendez returned
at leisure to San Augustin, where he knelt and thanked the Lord.

The fate of the men of Ribault's fleet became known through the letters
which the Spaniards themselves wrote in course of time to their friends
at home, but chiefly through Menendez's own report to the King. Dominic
de Gourgues heard of it from Coligny, and his eyes burned with the still
anger of a naturally impetuous man who has learned in stern schools how
to keep his temper.

"As I understand it," he said grimly and quietly, "Menendez, in the
disguise of a sailor, found Ribault and his men shipwrecked and
starving, some in one place, some in another. He promised them food and
safety on condition that they should surrender and give up their arms
and armor. He separated them into lots of ten, each guarded by twenty
Spaniards. When each lot had been led out of sight of the rest he
explained that on account of their great numbers and the fewness of his
own followers he should be compelled to tie their hands before taking
them into camp, for fear they might capture the camp. At the end of the
day, when all had reached a certain line which Menendez marked out with
his cane in the sand, he gave the word to his murderers to butcher

Coligny bowed his noble gray head.

"And he offered them life if they would renounce their religion,
whereupon Ribault repeating in French the psalm, 'Lord, remember thou
me,' they died without other supplication to God or man. On this account
did Menendez write above the heads of those whom he hanged, 'I do this
not as to Frenchmen but as to Lutherans.' And no demand for redress has
as yet been made?"

"One," said the Admiral coolly. "A demand was made by Philip of Spain.
He has required his brother of France to punish one Gaspé Coligny,
sometimes known as Admiral, for sending out a Huguenot colony to settle
in Florida."

The Gascon sprang to his feet muttering something between his teeth. "I
crave your pardon, my lord," he added with a courteous bow. "I am but a
plain rough soldier unused to the ways of courts, but it seems to me
that things being as they are, my duty is quite simple." He bowed
himself out and left Coligny wondering.

During the following months it was noted that in choosing the men for
his coming expedition Gourgues appeared to be unusually select. He sold
his inheritance, borrowed some money of his brother, and fitted out
three small ships carrying both sails and oars. He enlisted, one by one,
about a hundred arquebusiers and eighty sailors who could fight either
by land or sea if necessary. He secured a commission from the King to
go slave-raiding in Benin, on the coast of Africa. On August 22, 1567,
he set sail from the mouth of the Charente.

"I should like to know," said one of the trumpeters, Lucas Moreau,
"whether we are really going slave-catching, or not."

"Why do you think we are not?" asked the pilot, to whom he spoke.

"Because I have seen nothing on board that looks like it. Moreover, he
was very particular to ask me if I had been in the Spanish Indies, and
when he heard that I had been in Florida he took me on at once. I was
out there, you know, when you were, two years ago."

"And you would like to go back?" asked the other, gruffly.

"If there were a chance of killing Menendez, yes," answered Moreau with
a fierce flash of white teeth.

The trumpeter's guess was a shrewd one. When the tiny fleet reached the
West Indies, the commander took his men into his confidence and revealed
the true object of his voyage--to avenge the massacre at Fort Caroline.
The result proved that he had not misjudged them. Fired by his spirit
they became so eager that they wanted to push on at once instead of
waiting for moonlight to pass the dangerous Bahama Channel. They came
through it without mishap, and at daybreak were anchored at the mouth of
a river about fifteen leagues north of Fort Caroline. In the growing
light an Indian army in war paint and feathers, bristling with weapons,
could be seen waiting on the shore.

"They may think we are Spaniards," said Dominic de Gourgues. "Moreau,
if you think they will understand you, it might be well for you to speak
to them."

No sooner had the trumpeter come near enough in a small boat for the
Indians to recognize him, than yells of joy were heard, for the war
party was headed by Satouriona himself, who well remembered him. When
Moreau explained that the French had returned with presents for their
good friends there was great rejoicing. A council was appointed for the
next day.

In the morning Satouriona's runners had scoured the country, and the
woods were full of Indians. The white men landed in military order, and
in token of friendliness laid aside their arquebuses, and the Indians
came in without their bows and arrows. Satouriona met Gourgues with
every sign of friendliness, and seated him at his side upon a wooden
stool covered with the gray "Spanish moss" that curtained all the trees.
In the clearing the chiefs and warriors stood or sat around them, ring
within ring of plumed crests fierce faces and watchful eyes. Satouriona
described the cruelty of the Spaniards, their abuse of the Indians and
the miseries of their rule, saying finally,

"A French boy fled to us after the fort was taken, and we adopted him.
The Spaniards wished to get him to kill him, but we would not give him
up, for we love the French." He waved his hand, and from the woods at
one side came, in full Indian costume, bronzed and athletic, Pierre

Greatly as he was surprised and delighted, Gourgues dared not show it
too plainly, and Pierre had grown almost as self-contained as a veteran
of twice his years. When the French commander suggested fighting the
Spaniards Satouriona leaped for joy. He and his warriors asked only to
be allowed to join in that foray.

"How soon?" asked Gourgues. Satouriona could have his people ready in
three days.

"Be secret," the Gascon cautioned, "for the enemy must not feel the wind
of the blow." Satouriona assured him that there was no need of that
warning, for the Indians hated the Spaniards worse than the French did.

"Pierre," said Gourgues, when he had the lad safe on board ship, "they
said you were killed."

"I stayed alive to fight Spaniards," said the boy with a flash of the
eye. "'Sieur Dominic, there are four hundred of them behind their walls,
where they rebuilt our fort. I have hidden in the trees and counted. But
you can trust Satouriona. The Spaniards have stolen women, enslaved and
tortured men, and killed children, and the tribe is mad with hate."

Twenty sailors were left to guard the ships, Gourgues with a hundred and
sixty Frenchmen took up their march along the seashore; their Indian
allies slipped around through the forest. With the French went
Olotoraca, the nephew of the chief, a young brave of distinguished
reputation, a French pike in his hand. The French met their allies not
far from the fort, and pounced upon the garrison just as it finished
dinner, Olotoraca being the first man up the glacis and over the
unfinished moat. The fort across the river began to cannonade the
attacking party, who turned four captured guns upon them, and then
crossed, the French in a large boat which had been brought up the river,
the Indians swimming. Not one Spaniard escaped. Fifteen were kept alive,
to be hanged on the very trees from which Menendez had hanged his French
captives, and over them was set an inscription burned with a hot poker
on a pine board:

"Not as to Spaniards, but as to Traitors, Robbers, and Murderers."

When not one stone was left upon another in either fort, Dominic de
Gourgues bade farewell to his Indian allies, and taking with him the lad
so strangely saved from death and exile, went back to France.


The full history of this dramatic episode is to be found in Parkman's
"The Pioneers of France in the New World."


    The moon herself doth sail the air
      As we do sail the sea,
    Where by Saint Michael's Mount we fare
      Free as the winds are free.
    Our keels are bright with elfin gold
      That mocks the tyrant's gaze,
    That slips from out his greedy hold
      And leaves him in amaze.

    White water creaming past her prow
      The little _Golden Hynde_
    Bears westward with her treasure now--
      We'd ship and follow blind,
    But that he never did require--
      Our Captain hath us bound
    Only by force of his desire--
      The quarry hunts the hound!

    The hunt is up, the hunt is up
      To the gray Atlantic's bound,--
    The health of the Queen in a golden cup!--
      The quarry is hunting the hound!
    Like steel the stars gleam through the night
      On armored waves beneath,--
    As England's honor cold and bright
      We bear her sword in sheath!

    When that great Empire dies away
      And none recall her place,
    Men shall remember our work to-day
      And tell of our Captain's grace,--
    How never a woman or child was the worse
      Wherever our foe we found,
    Nor their own priests had cause to curse
      The quarry that hunted the hound!



White fog, the thick mist of windless marshes, masked the Kentish coast.
The Medway at flood-tide from Sheerness to Gillingham Reach was one maze
of creeks and bends and inlets and tiny bays. Nothing was visible an
oar's length overside but shifting cloudy shapes that bulked obscurely
in the fog. But although this was Francis Drake's first voyage as master
of his own ship, he knew these waters as he knew the palm of his hand.
His old captain, dying a bachelor, had left him the weather-beaten
cargo-ship as reward for his "diligence and fidelity", and at sixteen he
was captain where six years before he had been ship's-boy.

Scores of daring projects went Catherine-wheeling through his mind as he
steered seaward through the white enchanted world. In 1561 Spain was the
bogy of English seaports, most of whose folk were Protestants. There was
no knowing how long the coast-wise trade would be allowed to go on.

Out of the white mist flashed a whiter face, etched with black brows and
lashes and a pointed silky beard--the face of a man all in black, whose
body rose and dipped with the waves among the marsh grass of an eyot. So
lightly was it held that it might have slipped off in the wake of the
boat had not Tom Moone the carpenter caught it with a boat-hook. But
when they had the man on board they found that he was not dead.

Ten minutes before, the young captain would have said that every dead
Spaniard was so much to the good, but he had the life-saving instinct of
a Newfoundland dog. He set about reviving the rescued man without
thinking twice on the subject.

"'T is unlucky," grumbled Will Harvest under his breath. "Take a
drownded man from the sea and she get one of us--some time."

"Like enough," agreed his master blithely. "But this one's not
drownded--knocked on the head and robbed, I guess. D'you think we might
take him to Granny Toothacre's, Tom?"

"I reckon so," returned Tom with a wide grin, "seein' 't is you. If I
was the one to ask her I'd as lief do it with a brass kittle on my head.
She don't like furriners."

Drake laughed and brought his craft alongside an old wharf near which an
ancient farm-house stood, half-hidden by a huge pollard willow. Here,
when he had seen his guest bestowed in a chamber whose one window looked
out over the marshes, he stayed to watch with him that night, sending
the ship on to Chatham in charge of the mate.

"Now what's the lad up to?" queried Will as they caught the ebbing tide.
"D'ye think he'll find out anything, tending that there Spanisher?"

"Not him. He don't worm secrets out o' nobody. But he's got his reasons,
I make no doubt. You go teach a duck to swim--and leave Frankie alone,"
said Moone.

The youth did not analyze the impulse that kept him at the bedside of
the injured man, but he felt that he desired to know more of him. The
stranger was gaunt, gray and without jewel, gold chain or signet ring
to show who he was, but it was the same man who had spoken to him at
Gravesend five years ago.

A barge-load of London folk had come down to see the launching of the
_Serchthrift_, the new pinnace of the Muscovy Company, and among them
was the venerable Sebastian Cabot. Alms were freely distributed that the
spectators might pray for a fortunate voyage, but Frankie Drake was
gazing with all his eyes at the veteran navigator. A hand was laid on
his shoulder, and a friendly voice inquired,

"Did you get your share of the plunder, my son?"

The lad shook his head a trifle impatiently. "I be no beggar," he
answered. "I be a ship's boy."

"Ay," said the man, "and you seek not the Golden Fleece?"

His eyes laughed, and his long fingers played with a strange jewel that
glowed like Mars in the midnight of his breast. It was of gold enamel,
with a splendid ruby in the center, and hanging from it a tiny golden
ram. Could he mean that? But the crowd surged between them and left the
boy wondering. He had never spoken to a Spaniard before.

As the fluttering pulse grew stronger and the man roused from his
stupor, disjointed phrases of sinister meaning fell from his lips. No
names were used, and much of his talk was in Spanish, but it suggested a
foul undercurrent of bribery, falsehood and conspiracy hidden by the
bright magnificence of the young Queen's court. The queer fact seemed to
be that the speaker appeared himself to be the victim of some Spanish
plot. Now why should that be, and he a Spaniard?

The young captain turned from the window, into which through the
clearing air the moon was shining, to find the stranger looking at him
with sane though troubled eyes.

"The _Golden Fleece_?" he asked in English. Drake shook his head.

"You've had a bad hurt, sir," he said, and briefly explained the

"Ah," said the man frowning, and was silent.

"If you would wish to send any word to your friends,--" Drake began, and

"I have no friends here, save my servant Sancho. The _Golden Fleece_
will sail on Saint James's Eve for Coruna, and he was to meet me at
Dover and return with me to our own country. In Alcala they know what to
expect of a Saavedra."

The last words were spoken with a proud assurance that gave the listener
a tingling sense of something high and indomitable. Saavedra's dark eyes
were searching his face.

"I fear I trespass on your kindness," he added courteously, "and that I
have talked some nonsense before I came to myself."

"Nothing of any account, sir," answered the lad quickly. "Mostly it was
Spanish--and I don't know much o' that. You'll miss your ship if she
sails so soon, but you're welcome here so long as you like to stay."

"I thank you," said the Spaniard in a relieved tone, adding half to
himself, "No friends--but one cannot break faith--even with an enemy."

He dropped asleep almost at once after swallowing the cordial which
Drake held to his lips. The moon came up over the flooded meadows that
were all silvery lights and black shadow like a fairy realm. The lad
had never spent a night like this, even when he had seen his master

When the pearl and rose of a July morning overspread the sky he
descended, to splash and spatter and souse his rough brown head in a
bucket of fresh-drawn water, and wheedle the old dame into a good humor.

"What ye hate and fear's bound to come to ye, sooner or later," Granny
Toothacre grumbled as she stirred her savory broth, "My old man said so
and I never beleft it--here be I at my time o' life harborin' a

"Ah, now, mother,"--Drake laid a brown hand coaxingly on her old
withered one,--"you'll take good care of him for me, and we'll share the

"Ransom," the old woman muttered, looking after the straight, sturdy
young figure as it strode down to the wharf, "not much hope o' that. Not
but what he's a grand gentleman," she admitted, turning the contents of
her saucepan into her best porringer. "He don't give me a rough word no
more than if I was a lady."

Drake spent all his leisure during the next fortnight with the Spaniard,
whose recovery was slow but steady. It was tacitly understood that the
less said of the incident which had left him stunned and half-drowned
the better. If those who had sought to kill him knew him to be alive,
they might try again.

The young seaman had never known a man like this before. In his guest's
casual talk of his young days one could see as in a mirror the Spain of
a half-century since, with its audacious daring, its extravagant
chivalry and its bulldog ferocity.

"They have outgrown us altogether, these young fellows," he said once
with his quaint half-melancholy smile. "When the King and Queen rode in
armor at the head of their troops in Granada, our cavaliers dreamed of
conquering the world--now it has all been conquered."

"Not England," Drake put in quickly.

"Not England--I beg your pardon, my friend. But we have grown heavy with
gold in these days--and gold makes cowards."

"It never made a coward o' me," laughed the lad. "Belike it'll never
have the chance."

Through the shadows the old ship's-lantern cast in the rude
half-timbered room seemed to move the wild figures of that marvellous
pageant of conquest which began in 1492. Saavedra spoke little of
himself but much of others--Ojeda, Nicuesa, Balboa, Cortes, Alvarado,
Pizarro. In his soft slow speech they lived again, while by the stars
outside, unknown uncharted realms revealed themselves. This man used
words as a master mariner would use compass and astrolabe.

"Those days when we followed Balboa in his quest for the South Sea," he
ended, "were worth it all. Gold is nothing if it blinds a man to the
heavens. You too, my son, may seek the Golden Fleece in good time. May
the high planets fortify you!"

What room was left for a knight-errant in the Spain of to-day, ruling by
steel and shot and flame and gold? It must be rather awful, the listener
reflected, to see your own country go rotten like that in a generation.
Yet there was no bitterness in the old hidalgo's tranquil eyes. "I have
been a fool," he said smiling, "but somehow I do not regret it. The
wound from a poisoned arrow can be seared with red-hot iron, but for the
creeping poison of the soul--the loss of honor--there is no cure."

When the seamen came to get orders from their young captain, Saavedra
observed with surprise the lad's clear knowledge of his own trade.
Francis Drake's old master had seen King Henry's shipwrights discarding
time-honored models to build for speed, speed and more speed. He had
seen Fletcher of Rye, in 1539, prove to all the Channel that a ship
could sail against the wind. All that he knew he had taught his young
apprentice, and now the boy was free to use it for his own
work--whatever that should be. Unlike the gilded and perfumed courtiers,
these men of the sea showed little respect toward the tall ships of
Spain. Saavedra, pleased that they spoke without reserve in his
presence, watched the rugged straightforward faces, and wondered.

The time came when they took him and his stocky, silent old servant to
board a Vizcayan boat. As they caught his last quick smile and farewell
gesture Will Harvest heaved a rueful sigh. "I never thought to be
sorrowful at parting with a Don," he said reflectively, "but I be."

"God made men afore the Devil made Dons," growled Tom Moone. "Yon's a

Drake had gone down the wharf with John Hawkins of Plymouth, a town that
was warmly defiant of Spain's armed monopoly of sea-trade. Privateers
were dodging about the trade-routes where Spanish and Portuguese
galleons, laden with ingots of gold and silver, dyewoods, pearls,
spices, silks and priceless merchandise, moved as menacing sea-castles.
Huger and huger galleasses were built, masted and timbered with mighty
trunks from the virgin forests of the Old World, four and five feet
thick. The military discipline of the Continent made a warship a
floating barrack; the decks of a Spanish man-of-war were packed with
drilled troops like marching engines of destruction, dealing leaden
death from arquebus and musquetoun. The little ships of Cabot,
Willoughby and William Hawkins had not exceeded fifty, sixty, at most a
hundred tons; Philip's leviathans outweighed them more than ten to one.
What could England do against the landing of such an army? An English
Admiral would be Jack the Giant-Killer with no magic at his command. Yet
in the face of all this, under the very noses of the Spanish patrol,
Protestant craftsmen were escaping from the Inquisition in the
Netherlands to England, where Elizabeth had contrived to let it be known
that they were quite welcome.

To a perfectly innocent and lawful coasting trade Drake and his crew now
added this hazardous passenger service. They were braving imprisonment,
torture and the stake, for in 1562 no less than twenty-six Englishmen
were burned alive in Spain, and ten times as many lay in prison. Before
Drake was twenty all Spanish ports were closed to English trade. He sold
his ship and joined Hawkins in his more or less contraband trade with
the West Indies.

With every year of adventure upon the high seas his hatred of the
tyranny of Spain deepened and strengthened. Yet though Spanish ferocity
might soak the world in blood, he would not have his men tainted with
the evil inheritance of the idolaters. It came to be known that El
Draque did not kill prisoners. His crews fought like demons, but they
slew no unarmed man, they molested no woman or child. On these terms
only would he accept allies. Tons of plunder he took, but never a
helpless life. He landed the shivering crews of his prizes on some
Spanish island or with a laugh returned to them their empty ships. "A
dead man's no mortal use to anybody," he would say cheerily, and go on
using his cock-boats to sink or capture galleys. At twenty-seven,
beholding for the first time the shining Pacific, he vowed that with
God's help he would sail an English ship on that sea. Alone upon the
platform built in a great tree with steps cut in its trunk, to which his
negro allies the Maroons had guided him, he conceived the sublimely
audacious plan which he was one day to unfold to Walsingham and the

The air was thick with rumors of war with Spain when Drake arrived in
London years later, in the company of a new friend, Thomas
Doughty,--courtier, soldier, scholar, familiar with every shifting
undercurrent of European court life. Never at a loss for a phrase, ready
of wit and quick of understanding, Doughty could put into words what the
frank-hearted young sea-captain had thought and felt and dreamed. Both
knew the peace with Philip to be only deceptive. Walsingham and
Leicester were for war; Burleigh for peace; between the two the subtle
Queen played fast and loose with her powerful enemy.

Drake avowed to Doughty his belief that to strike effectively at the
gigantic power of Spain, England must raid the colonies--not the West
Indies alone, but the rich western provinces of Peru and Chili. No one
had been south of Patagonia since its discovery, sixty years before.
Geographers still held that beyond the Straits of Magellan a huge
Antarctic continent existed. From that unknown region of darkness and
tempest came the great heaving ground-swell, the tidal wave and the
hurricane. Even Spanish pilots never used the perilous southern route.
Treasure went overland across the Isthmus. Every year an elephantine
treasure-ship sailed from Panama westward through the South Sea; and
there was a rich trade between the American mines and the Orient and the
Spanish peninsula, by way of the Cape of Good Hope. Doughty's
imagination was fired by the gorgeous possibilities of the idea, and
when he became the secretary of Christopher Hatton, the Queen's handsome
Captain of the Guard, he laid the plan before him with all the eloquence
of his persuasive tongue. Hatton finally obtained from Elizabeth a
promise to contribute a thousand crowns to the cost of an expedition to
penetrate the South Seas. This, however, was only on condition that the
affair should be kept secret, above all from Burleigh, who was certain
to use every effort to stop it. She had already, in a private audience
with Drake, been informed of the main features and even the details of
the scheme, and had assured him that when the time was ripe he should be
chosen to avenge the long series of injuries which Philip had inflicted
upon England's honor and her own.

When in mid-November, 1577, Drake ran out of Plymouth with his tiny
fleet, he had with him all told one hundred and fifty seamen and
fourteen boys, enlisted for a voyage to Alexandria, although it was
pretty well known that this was a blind. His flagship, the _Pelican_,
afterward re-christened the _Golden Hynde_ for Hatton's coat-of-arms,
was a hundred-ton ship carrying eighteen guns. The _Marygold_, a barque
of thirty tons and fifteen guns, and the _Swan_, a provision ship of
fifty tons, were commanded by two of the gentlemen volunteers, Mr. John
Thomas and Mr. John Chester. Captain John Wynter commanded the
_Elizabeth_, a new eighty-ton ship, and a fifteen-ton pinnace called
the _Christopher_ in honor of Hatton, was commanded by Tom Moore. Thomas
Doughty was commander of the land-soldiers, and his brother John was
enlisted among the gentlemen adventurers.

All of Drake's experience and sagacity had gone to the fitting out of
the ships. There were less than fifty men on board besides the regular
crews, and among them were special artisans, two trained surveyors,
skilled musicians furnished with excellent instruments, and the
adventurous sons of some of the best families in England. As page the
Admiral had his own nephew, Jack Drake. There were stores of wild-fire,
chain-shot, arquebuses, pistols, bows, and other weapons. The Queen
herself had sent packets of perfume breathing of rich gardens, and
Drake's table furniture was of silver gilt, engraved with his arms; even
some of the cooking utensils were of silver. Nothing was spared which
became the dignity of England, her Admiral and her Queen. On calm nights
the sea was alive with music. And on board the little flagship Doughty
and Drake talked together as those do whose minds answer one another
like voices in a roundelay.

Men who have time and again run their heads into the jaws of death are
often inclined to fatalism. Drake had never expressed it in words, but
he had a feeling that whatever he was meant to do, God would see that he
did, so long as he gave himself wholly to the work. One evening when the
Southern Cross was lifting above the darkling sea, and the violins were
crooning something with a weird burden to it, Doughty mused aloud.

"'T is the strangest thing in life, that whatever we are most averse to,
that we are fated to do."

"Eh?" said Drake with a laugh, looking up from Eden's translation of
Pigafetts. "Accordin' to that you can't even trust yourself. D'you look
to see me set up an image to be worshiped?" Then he added in a lower
tone, "That's foolish, Tom. God don't shape us to be puppets."

"That sounds like old Saavedra," was Doughty's idle comment. "He had
great store of antiquated sentiments--like those in the chronicles of
the paladins. I knew his nephew well--a witty fellow, but visionary. He
laughed at the old cavalero, but he was fond of him, and our affections
rule us and ruin us. A man should have no loves nor hates if he would
get on at court."

Sheer surprise kept the other silent for the moment, and Doughty went

"The old man had been in Mexico with Cortes, and might have risen to
Adelantado in some South American province if he had not been too
scrupulous to join Pizarro. He was in London, ten or fifteen years
before I knew him, and I believe he was the destruction of a
well-considered Spanish plot for the assassination of Her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth--the assassins nearly killed him. He was left for dead and was
picked up by some sailors."

"He was in luck." Drake's eyes twinkled.

"They would have been luckier--if they had let the Spanish agents in
London know they had him. He paid them well of course, but he gave them
credit for the most exalted motives. All his geese were swans."

"Maybe they acted out o' pure decency," Drake said dryly.

"My Admiral, this is not Utopia." Doughty stroked his beard with a light
complacent hand. "Seriously, it is not a kindness to expect of men
without traditions more than they are capable of doing. 'E meglio
cade dalle fenestre che del tetto.'" (It is better to fall from the
window than from the roof.)

Drake was silent, fingering the slender Milanese poniard with the blade
inlaid with gold and the great ruby in the top of the hilt, which lay on
the table between them. The shipmaster came in just then with some
question, and the conversation dropped.

PONIARD."--_Page_ 227]

It was not often that Francis Drake attempted to analyze the character
and behavior of those about him. Mostly he judged men by a shrewd
instinct; but that night he lay long awake, watching the witch-lights
upon the waves from the dancing lanterns. He was acute enough to see
that Doughty had hit slyly at him over Saavedra's shoulders. Doughty had
not liked it that Moone should be raised to the rank of captain; he had
already shown that he regarded himself as second only to Drake in
command, and the champion of the gentlemen as distinct from the
mariners. The second officer of every English ship was a practical
shipmaster whose authority held in all matters concerning navigation.
The soldiers and their officers were passengers. This was unavoidable in
view of the new method of English sea-fighting, which depended quite as
much on the skill of the seamen as on the armed and trained soldier.
English gunners could give the foe a broadside and slip away before
their huge adversary could turn. Drake now had two factions to deal
with, and he bent his brows and set his jaw as he pondered the
situation. If discord arose, the gentlemen would have to come to order.
There was no room here for old ideas of caste. Any man too good to haul
on a rope might go to--Spain.

Doughty had a way of taking it for granted that Drake and he, as
gentlemen, shared thoughts and feelings not to be comprehended by common
men. On land this had not seemed offensive, but on blue water, with the
old sea-chanteys in his ears, in the intimate association of a long
voyage, Drake found himself resenting it. What was there about the man
that made his arguments so plausible when one heard them, so false when
his engaging presence was withdrawn? And yet how devoted, how
sympathetic, how witty and companionable he could be! Drake found
himself excusing his friend as if he were a woman,--laughed, sighed, and
went to sleep.

Presently he began to hear of John Doughty's amusing himself by reading
palms and playing on the superstitions of the sailors with strange
prophecies, in which his brother sometimes joined. Drake summoned the
two to a brief interview in which Thomas Doughty learned that his friend
on land, frank, boyish and unassuming, was a different person from the
Admiral of the Fleet. Yet as this impression faded, the brothers
perversely went on encouraging discord between the gentlemen adventurers
and the sailors, and foretelling events with sinister aptness.

It grew colder and colder. It should be summer,--but as they crept
southward they encountered cold and wind beyond that of the North Sea in
January. The nights grew long; the battering of the gales never ceased;
the ships lost sight of one another. It was whispered that not only had
the uncanny brothers foretold the evil weather, but Thomas Doughty had
boasted of having brought it about. "We'll ha' no luck till we get rid
of our prophet," said blunt Tom Moone, "and the Lord don't provide no
whales for the likes o' he."

Drake warned his comrade with an ominous quiet. "Doughty," he said, "if
you value your neck you keep your reading and writing to what a common
man can understand--you and your brother. A man can't always prophesy
for himself, let alone other folk."

"You heard what he said," commented Wynter grimly when the Admiral was
in his cabin behind closed doors. "Better not raise the devil unless you
know for sure what he'll do. There's been one gallows planted on this

"Sneck up!" laughed Doughty, "he would not dare hang a gentleman!" but
he felt a creeping chill at the back of his neck.

On the desolate island where the stump of Magellan's gallows stood black
against a crimson dawn, they landed and the tragedy of estrangement and
suspicion ended. Thomas Doughty was tried for mutiny and treason before
a jury of his peers. Every man there held him a traitor, yet he was
acquitted for lack of evidence. Thus encouraged, Doughty boldly declared
that they should all smart for this when Burleigh heard of it. What he
had done to hinder the voyage, he averred, was by Burleigh's orders, for
before they sailed he had gone to that wily statesman and told him the
entire scheme.

In a flash of merciless revelation Drake saw the truth. He left Doughty
to await the verdict, called the companies down to the shore, and there
told them the story of the expedition from first to last, not
overlooking the secret orders of the Queen.

"This man was my friend," he said with a break in his voice such as they
had not heard save at the suffering of a child. "I would not take his
life,--but if he be worthy of death, I pray you hold up your hands."

There was a breathless instant when none stirred; then every hand was

On the next day but one they all sat down to a last feast on that bleak
and lonely shore; the two comrades drank to each other for the last
time, shared the sacrament, and embracing, said their farewells. Doughty
proved that if he could not live a true man he could die like a
gentleman; the headsman did his work, and Drake pronounced the solemn
sentence, "Lo! this is the death of traitors!"

In that black hour the boyish laughter went forever from the eyes of the
Admiral, and the careless mirth from his voice. When after a while young
Jack Drake, unable to bear the silence that fell between them, began
some phrase of blundering boyish affection, the sentence trailed off
into a stammer.

"He's dead and at peace, Jack," the master said, the words dropping
wearily, like spent bullets. "He couldn't help being as he was,--I
reckon. If I'd known he was like that I could ha' stopped him, but I
never knew--till too late."

Discord among the crews continued, until Drake, rousing from his fitful
melancholy, called them all together on a Sunday, and mounted to the
place of the chaplain.

"I am going to preach to-day," he said shortly. Then he unfolded a paper
and began to read it aloud.

"My masters, I am a very bad orator, for my bringing up hath not been in
learning; but what I shall speak here let every man take good notice of
and let him write it down. For I will speak nothing but what I will
answer it in England, yea, and before Her Majesty." He reminded them of
the great adventure before them and went on.

"Now by the life of God this mutiny and dissension must cease. Here is
such controversy between the gentlemen and the sailors that it doth make
me mad to hear it. I must have the gentleman to haul with the mariner
and the mariner with the gentleman. I would know him that would refuse
to set his hand to a rope--but I know there is not any such here.

"Any who desire to go home may go in the _Marygold_, but let them take
care that they do go home, for if I find them in my way I will sink

Then beginning with Wynter he reduced every officer to the ranks
forthwith, reprimanded known offenders, and wound up with this appeal:

"We have set by the ears three mighty sovereigns, and if this voyage
have not success we shall be a scorning unto our enemies and a blot on
our country forever. What triumph would it not be for Spain and
Portugal! The like of this would never more be tried!" Then he gave
every man his former rank and dismissed them. Moone, meeting Will
Harvest that night by the light of a bonfire, was the only man who dared
venture a comment. "We was spoilin' for a lickin'," he said, "and we got
it. I do hope and trust we'll keep out o' mischief till Frankie gets us
home to Plymouth, Hol'." Will grinned back cheerfully, and there was a
subdued laugh from the group about the fire. The fleet was itself again.

Adventure after adventure succeeded, wilder than minstrel ever sang. The
_Marygold_ went down with all hands; Wynter in the _Elizabeth_,
believing the Admiral lost, turned homeward; the _Christopher_ and the
_Swan_ had already been broken up. All alone the little _Golden Hynde_,
blown southward, sailed around Cape Horn and proved the Antarctic
continent a myth. Then Drake steered northward after more than two
month's tossing on the uncharted seas, to revictual his ship in Spanish
ports, fill his hold with the rich cargoes of one prize ship after
another, and capture at last the great annual treasure-ship _Nuestra
Señora de la Concepçion_, nicknamed the _Spitfire_ because she was
better armed than most of the ships plying on that coast. As they
ballasted the _Golden Hynde_ with silver from her huge hulk the jesting
seamen dubbed her the _Spit-silver_. The little flagship was literally
brimful of silver bars, ingots of gold, pieces of eight, and jewels
whose value has never been accurately known. The Spanish Adelantados,
accustomed to trust in their remoteness for defense, frantically looked
for Drake everywhere except where he was. Warships hung about the
Patagonian coast to catch him on his way home--surely he could not stay
at sea forever!

But Drake had other plans. Navigators were still searching for the
northern passage, the Straits of Anian, and he coasted northward until
his men were half paralyzed with cold and the creeping chill of the fog.
From the latitude of Vancouver he turned south again, and put into a
natural harbor not far from the present San Francisco, which he named
New Albion because of the white cliffs like the chalk downs of England.
Here he landed and made camp to refit and repair his flagship. He had
captured on one prize, two China pilots in whose possession were all the
secret charts of the Pacific trade.

Indians ventured down from the mountains to the little fort and
dockyard, wondering and admiring. Parson Fletcher presently came to the
Admiral with the extraordinary news that they were worshiping the
English as gods. Horror and laughter contended among the Puritans when
they found themselves set up as idols of the heathen, and the chaplain
endeavored by signs to teach the simple savages that the God whom all
men should worship was invisible in the heavens.

"'T only shows," remarked Moone, with a nail in one corner of his mouth,
after vehemently dissuading a persistent adorer, "that a man never knows
what he'll come to. Granny Toothacre used to say that if there's a thing
you fight against all your life it'll come to you sooner or later."

"So she did," said Drake with a grim smile as he passed. "Takes a woman
to tell a fortune, after all."

"D'you ever hear what become of the old Don we picked up that time?"
Moone asked in a lowered voice.

"Not since he sent Frankie the dagger with the gold work and the jewel.

"'Cause the pilot o' the _Spit-silver_ he knowed un. He say the plague
broke out in the Low Countries, and the old Don took and tended that
Gallego servant o' his and then he died--not o' the pestilence--just
wore out like. I reckon maybe he told Mus' Drake. I didn't."

Silence fell. Then Will said thoughtfully, "He won't be Mus' Drake much
longer--by rights--but you never know what a woman'll do. She keep her
presents and her favors for them that ha'n't earned 'em--as a rule."

Moone presently hummed half aloud,

    "When I served my master I got my Sunday pudden,
      When I served the Company I got my bread and cheese.
    When I served the Queen I got hanged for a pirate,
      All along o'sailin' on the Carib Seas!"

It was a reckless jest, for every one knew that if Elizabeth were dead
or married to a Catholic or at peace with Spain when they saw England
again, it was extremely likely that the gallows would be their reward.
But here, at any rate, was one spot not yet haunted by the Spanish

The Indians, persuaded at last that the white chief was not a god,
insisted on making him their King. They crowned him with a headdress of
brilliant feathers, in all due ceremony, hung a chain of beads about his
neck, and looked on with the utmost reverence while Drake fixed to a
large upright post a tablet claiming the land for the Queen of England,
and a silver sixpence with the portrait of Elizabeth and the Tudor rose.
Securely hidden under the tablet in a hollow of the wood were memoranda
concerning the direction in which, according to the Indians, gold was to
be found in the streams,--plenty of gold. When she was ready to the last
rope's end the little ship spread her wings and sailed straight across
the Pacific, round the Cape of Good Hope, home to England.

Battered and scarred but still seaworthy the _Golden Hynde_ crept into
Plymouth Sound, where Drake heard that the plague was in the seaport.
Using this for excuse not to land until he knew his footing, he anchored
behind Saint Nicholas Island and sent letters to Court.

The sea-dogs who patrolled the Narrow Seas in Elizabeth's time
understood her better than her courtiers did. To Drake she was still the
keen-minded woman who, like the jeweled silent birds he had seen in
tropical jungles, sat in her palace, with enemies all about her alert
and observant, and ready to seize her if she came within their grasp. He
knew her waywardness to be half assumed, since to let an enemy know
what he can count on is fatal. He had not much doubt of her action, but
he must wait for her to give him his cue.

Within a week came her answer. She demurely suggested that she should be
pleased to see any curiosities which her good Captain had brought home.
Drake went up to London, and with him a pack train laden with the cream
of his spoil. The Spanish Ambassador Mendoza came with furious letters
from Philip demanding the pirate's head. A Spanish force landed that
very week in Ireland. Burleigh and the peace party were desperate. All
that Mendoza could get out of Elizabeth was an order to Edmund Tremayne
at Plymouth to register the cargo of the _Golden Hynde_ and send it up
to London that she might see how much the pirate had really taken. At
the same time Drake himself went down with her private letter to
Tremayne telling him to look another way while her captain got his share
of the bullion. Meanwhile she suggested that Philip call his Spaniards
out of Ireland. Philip snarled that they were private volunteers.
Elizabeth replied, so was Drake. An inquiry was held, and not a single
act of cruelty or destruction of property could be proved against any of
Drake's crews. The men were richly rewarded by their Admiral; the
_Golden Hynde_ came up to Deptford; a list of the plunder was returned
to Mendoza; and London waited, excited and curious.

Out of this diplomatic tangle Elizabeth took her own way, as she usually
did. On April 4, 1581, she suggested to Drake that she would be his
guest at a banquet on board the little, worm-eaten ship. All the court
was there, and a multitude of on-lookers besides, for those were the
days when royalty sometimes dined in public. After the banquet, the
like of which, as Mendoza wrote his master, had not been seen in England
since the time of her father, Elizabeth requested Drake to hand her the
sword she had given him before he left England. "The King of Spain
demands the head of Captain Drake," she said with a little laugh, "and
here am I to strike it off." As Drake knelt at her command she handed
the sword to Marchaumont, the envoy of her French suitor, asking that
since she was a woman and not trained to the use of weapons, he should
give the accolade. This open defiance of Philip thus involved in her
action the second Catholic power of Europe before all the world. Then,
as Marchaumont gave the three strokes appointed the Queen spoke out
clearly, while men thrilled with sudden presage of great days to come,--

"Rise up,--Sir Francis Drake!"


    Where the Russian Bear stirs blindly in the leash of a mailéd hand,
    Bright in the frozen sunshine, the domes of Moscow stand,

    Scarlet and blue and crimson, blazing across the snow
    As they did in the Days of Terror, three hundred years ago.

    Courtiers bending before him, envoys from near and far,
    Sat in his Hall of Audience Ivan the Terrible Tsar,

    (He of the knout and torture, poison and sword and flame)
    Yet unafraid before him the English envoy came.

    And he was Sir Jeremy Bowes, born of that golden time
    When in the soil of Conquest blossomed the flower of Rhyme.

    Dauntless he fronted the Presence,--and the courtiers whispered low,
    "Doth Elizabeth send us madmen, to tempt the torture so?"

    "Have you heard of that foolhardy Frenchman?" Ivan the Terrible said,--
    "He came before me covered,--I nailed his hat to his head."

    Then spoke Sir Jeremy Bowes, "I serve the Virgin Queen,--
    Little is she accustomed to vail her face, I ween.

    "She is Elizabeth Tudor, mighty to bless or to ban,
    Nor doth her envoy give over at the bidding of any man!

    "Call to your Cossacks and hangmen,--do with me what ye please,
    But ye shall answer to England when the news flies over seas."

    Ivan smiled on the envoy,--the courtiers saw that smile,
    Glancing one at the other, holding their breath the while.

    Then spoke the terrible Ivan, "His Queen sits over sea,
    Yet he hath bid me defiance,--would ye do as much for me?"



Primrose garlands in Coombe Wood shone with the pale gold of winter
sunshine. Violets among dry leaves peered sedately at the pageant of
spring. In the royal hunting forest of Richmond, venerable trees
unfolded from their tiny buds canopies like the fairy pavilion of

Philip Armadas and Arthur Barlowe, coming up from Kingston, beheld all
this April beauty with the wistful pleasure of those who bid farewell to
a dearly beloved land. Within a fortnight Sir Walter Ralegh's two ships,
which they commanded, would be out upon the gray Atlantic. The Queen
would lie at Richmond this night, and the two young captains had been
bidden to court that she might see what manner of men they were.[1]

Armadas, though born in Hull, was the son of a Huguenot refugee. Barlowe
was English to the back-bone. Both knew more of the ways of ships than
the ways of courts. Yet for all her magnificence and her tempers
Elizabeth had a way with her in dealing with practical men. She welcomed
merchants, builders, captains and soldiers as frankly as she did Italian
scholars or French gallants. Her attention was as keen when she was
framing a letter to the Grand Turk securing trade privileges to London
or Bristol, as when she listened to the graceful flatteries of Spenser
or Lyly. In this year 1584 she had granted a patent to Ralegh for
further explorations of the lands north of Florida discovered half a
century since by Sebastian Cabot. She heaped upon it rights and
privileges which made Hatton and her other court gallants grind their
teeth. Ralegh knew well that this was no time for him to be wandering
about strange coasts. He was therefore fitting out an expedition to make
a preliminary voyage and report to him what was found.

"'T is like this," Armadas was saying with the buoyant confidence which
endeared him alike to his patron and his comrade. "North you get the
scurvy and south the fever, but midway is the climate for a new empire.
There Englishmen may have timber for their shipyards, and pasture for
their sheep and cattle, and meadows for their corn. There Flemings and
Huguenots may live and work in peace. Our sons may be lords and princes
of a new world, Arthur lad."

"Aye; but there's the Inquisition in the Indies to reckon with,"
answered Barlowe with his grim half-smile. "And if what we hear of the
barbarians be true, the men who make the first plantation may be forced
to plant and build with their left hand and keep their right for

"Oh, the barbarians,--" Armadas began, and paused, for the chatter of
young voices broke forth in a copse.

"I tell thee salvages be hairy men with tails like monkeys. My uncle he
has seen them on the Guinea coast."

"Dick, if thou keep not off my heels in the passamezzo--"

"Be not so cholerical, Tom Poope, or the Master'll give thee a tuning.
Thou'rt not Lord of the Indies yet."

"Faith," chuckled Barlowe, "here be some little eyasses practising a
fantasy for the Queen's pleasure. Hey, lads, what's all the pother

The company emerged half-shamefacedly from the shrubbery, a group of
youngsters between ten and fourteen, in fanciful costumes of silk and
brocade, or mimic armor and puffed doublets. The central figure of the
group was a handsome little lad in a sort of tunic of hairy undressed
goatskin, a feather head-dress and gilded ornaments. His dark face had a
sullen look, and he grasped his lance as if about to use it. Another
urchin, whose great arched eyebrows, rolling eyes and impish mouth
marked him as the clown of the company, made answer boldly,

"'T is Tom Poope, your lordships, who mislikes the dress he must wear,
and says if we have but a king and queen of the monkeys to welcome the
discoverers, the Queen will only laugh at us, and 'a will not stay to be
laughed at. 'T is a masque of the ventures of Captain Cabot, look you,
and Tom's the King of the salvages and makes all the long speeches."

"Upon my word, coz," laughed Armadas, "I think we have stumbled upon a
pretty conceit intended to do honor to our master. Methinks His Royal
Highness here has the right on't--the man who made that costume never
saw true Indians."

"Have you seen them, then, sir? Are you a voyager?" asked Tom Poope
eagerly, his face brightening. "And will you look on and tell us if we
do it right?"

Barlowe grinned good-humoredly, and Armadas waved a laughing assent.
They seated themselves upon a grassy bank and the play began.

Before half a dozen speeches had been said it was quite clear that the
dark-eyed child who played the Indian King was the heart and fire of the
piece. They were all clever children and well trained, but he alone
lived his part. His small figure moved with a grace and dignity that
even his grotesque apparel could not spoil. The costumer had evidently
built his design for the costume of an Indian chief upon legends of wild
men drawn from the history of Hanno and his gorillas, adding whatever
absurdities he had gathered from sailors of the Gold Coast and the
Caribbean Sea. Armadas, who had made a voyage to Newfoundland and seen
the stately figure of a sachem outlined against a sunset sky, thought
that the boy's instinct was truer than the costumer's tradition.

"Let me arrange thy habit, lad," he said when the first scene ended and
the clown began his dance. With a few deft touches, ripping down one
side of the tunic and wreathing a girdle of ivy and bracken, he changed
the whole outline of the figure. With the hairy tunic draped as a cloak,
and the ungainly plumed head-dress arranged as a warrior's crest, the
character which had been almost ridiculous became heroic, as the author
of the masque evidently had intended. The little King's beautiful voice
changed like the singing of a Cremona violin as he spoke his lines to
the white stranger:

    "To this our wild domain we welcome thee
    In honorable hospitality.
    If Thou dost come as the great Lord of Life,
    The Lord of bear and wolf, and stag and fox,
    Leopard and ape, and rabbits of the rocks,
    We are thy children, as our brothers are,--
    The furry folk of forest fastnesses,
    The bright-winged birds that wanton with the breeze,
    The seal that sport amid the sapphire seas.
    We worship gods of lightning and of thunder,
    Of winds and hissing waves, the rainbow's wonder,
    The fruits and grains, borne by the kindly earth,
    And all the mysteries of death and birth.
    Say who you are, and from what realm you hail,
    White spirits that in winged peraguas sail?
    If ye be angels, tell us of your heaven.
    If ye be men, tell us who is your King."

It was not a long play, and had been written by a court poet especially
for the children, of whose acting the Queen was fond. There were dances
and songs--a sailor's contra-dance to the music of a horn pipe, a
stately passamezzo by the Indian court, a madrigal and an ode in
compliment to the Queen.[3] Finally the leader of the white men planted
the banner of England on the little knoll, and in the name of his
sovereign received the homage of the Indians. The last notes of the
final chorus had just died away when trumpets called from the Thames,
and the scene melted into chaos. Off ran the players, cramming costumes
and properties into their wallets as they went, to see the Queen land at
the water-gate. Amadas and Barlowe took the same direction less

"I wonder now," said Armadas thoughtfully, "how much of prophecy there
may have been in that mascarado? Do you know, old lad, we may be taken
for gods ourselves in two months' time? God grant they think us not
devils before we are done!"

"We need have no fear if no Spaniards have landed on that coast before
us," said Barlowe stolidly. "If they have--no poetical speeches will
help our cause."

The Queen's great gilded barge with its crimson hangings came sweeping
up the river just as they joined the company drawn up to receive her.
The tall graceful figure of Ralegh was nearest her, and when she set
her small neat foot upon the stone step it was his hand which she
accepted to steady her in landing. She was a sovereign every inch even
in her traveling cloak, but when dinner was over, and she took her seat
in the throne-room, she dazzled the eye with the splendor of gold and
pearl network over brilliant velvets, the glitter of diamonds among the
frost-work of Flanders lace. Elizabeth knew how to stage the great Court
drama as well as any Master of the Revels.

Moreover, what the Queen did, set the fashion for all the courtiers, to
the profit and prosperity of merchants and craftsmen. Earls might
secretly writhe at the prospect of entertaining their sovereign with
suitable magnificence, but the tradesmen and purveyors rubbed their
hands. When a company of Flemings was employed for four years on the
carving of the beams and panels of the Middle Temple Hall, or noblemen
to be in the fashion built new banquet-rooms in the Italian style, with
long windows and galleries, English, Flemish and Huguenot builders
flocked to the kingdom. If she took with one hand she gave with the
other, and it was not without reason that the common folk of England
long after she was dead called their daughters after "good Queen Bess."

To Armadas and Barlowe it was a novel and splendid pageant. After they
were presented to the Queen, and expressed their modest thanks for the
honor of being sent upon her service, they withdrew to a window-recess
to watch the company. The gentlemen pensioners in gold-embroidered suits
and lace-edged ruffs, the dignified councilors in richer if darker
robes, the maids of honor, bright as damask roses moving in the wind,
all circled around one pale woman with keen gray-blue eyes that never
betrayed her. A little apart, speaking now and then to some courtier or
councilor, stood the Spanish Ambassador in somber black and gold, like a
watchful spider in a garden of rich flowers. Ralegh, careless and
debonair, gave him a frank salutation as he came to speak to his

"You may repent of the venture and wish to stay at Court," he said
smiling. "The Queen thinks well of ye."

"Not I," growled Barlowe, and Armadas laughed, "My Lord, do you think so
ill of us as to deem us weathercocks in the wind?"

"You must take care to avoid the clutches of the Inquisition," Ralegh
added, not lowering his voice noticeably, yet not speaking loud enough
to be heard by others. "I have hastened the fitting out of the ships and
delayed your coming to Court lest Philip's ferrets be set on you. The
life of Kings and Queens is like to a game of chess."

"Of primero rather, it seems to me," said Armadas, "or the game the
Spanish call ombre. Chess is brain against brain, fair play. In the
other one may win the game by the fall of the cards--or by cheatery."[4]

"A good simile, Philip," said Ralegh, with shining eyes. "'T is all very
well to say, as some do, that if old King Harry were alive he'd have our
Englishmen out of Spanish prisons. But in his day Spain had hardly begun
her conquests over seas, and the Inquisition had not tasted English
blood. It was Philip that taught our men primero--and the best player is
he who can bluff, so playing his hand that his enemy guesses not the
truth. And the stake in this game is--Empire."

Ralegh's head lifted as if he saw visions. In silence the three
joined the company now assembling to see the masque of the children.
Bravely it went, nimbly the dancers footed it, sweetly rang the
choruses, and well did the little chief and captain play their parts. At
the end the Queen, saying in merry courtesy that she could do no less
for him who had found her a kingdom and him who freely gave it,
presented a ring set with a carnelian heart to Hal Kempe who played
Cabot, but about the neck of Tom Poope she hung a golden chain, for if
he had to wear her fetters, she said, they should at least be golden.
And so the play came to an end, and work began.

GOLDEN."--_Page_ 245]

On April 27, with a fair wind, the two ships of Ralegh's venture went
down to the Channel and out upon the western ocean. They had good
fortune, for not a Spaniard crossed their course. Nine weeks later they
sighted the coast which the French had once called Carolina. Before they
were near enough to see it well they caught the scent of a wilderness of
flowering vines and trees blown seaward, and as they neared the shore
they saw tall cedars and goodly cypresses, pines and oaks and many other
trees, some of them quite unknown to English soil. It is written in
Armadas's journal that the wild grapes were so abundant near the sea
that sometimes the waves washed over them; and the sands were yellow as
gold. The first time that an arquebus was fired, great flocks of birds
rose from the trees, screaming all together like the shouting of an
army, but there seemed to be no fierce beasts nor indeed any large

"With kine, sheep, cattle, and poultry, and such herbs and grain as can
be brought from England," said Armadas, "this land would sure be a
paradise on earth."

"You forget the serpent," returned Barlowe, who had been reared by a
Puritan grandfather and knew his Bible.

"I am not likely to forget our great enemy while the name of Ribault or
Coligny remains unforgotten," said the other. "All the more reason why
this land should be kept for the Religion."

Indeed when they landed they found little in the country or the people
to recall Adam's doom. They set up their English standard upon an island
and took possession of the domain in the name of Elizabeth of England.
This island the Indians called Wocoken, and the inlet where the ships
lay, Ocracoke. They went inland as the guests of the native chiefs, and
on the island of Roanoke they were entertained by the people of Wingina
the king, most kindly and hospitably. The sea remained smooth and
pleasant and the air neither very hot nor very cold, but sweet and
wholesome. Manteo and Wanchese, two of the Indian warriors, chose to
sail away with the white men, and in good time the ships returning
reached Plymouth harbor, early in September of that year. Manteo was
made Lord of Roanoke, the first and the last of the American Indians to
bear an English title to his wild estate. The new province was named
Virginia, with the play upon words favored in that day, for it was a
virgin country, and its sovereign was the Virgin Queen.

When the two captains came again to London they found the air full of
the intriguings of Spain. In that year Santa Cruz had organized a plot
against the Queen's life, discovered almost by chance; in that year it
became clear that Philip's long chafing against the growing sea-power of
England and his hatred of such rangers as Drake and Hawkins must sooner
or later blaze up in war. And by chance also Armadas learned how narrow
had been their own escape from a Spanish prison.

He had been the guest of a friend at the acting of Master Lyly's new
masque by the Children of the Chapel at Gray's Inn. Little Tom Poope
sang Apelles's song and ruffled it afterward among the ladies of the
court, as lightly as Essex himself. Armadas came out into the dank
Thames air humming over the dainty verses,--

    "'At last he staked her all his arrows.
    His mother's doves, and team of sparrows--'"

A small hand slid into his own and pulled him toward a byway.

"Why, how is it with thee, Master Poope? Didst play thy part bravely,

"Come," said the boy in a low breathless voice. "I have somewhat to tell
thee. In here," and he drew Armadas toward a doorway. "'T is my mother's
lodging--there is nothing to fear."

A woman let them in as if she had been watching for them, opened the
door into a small plainly furnished private room and vanished.

"Art not going on any more voyages to the Virginias?" asked the boy, his
eager eyes on the Captain's face.

"Not for the present, my boy. Why? Wouldst like to sail with us, and
learn more of the ways of Indian Princes?"

"Nay, I have no time for fooling--they'll miss me," said the youngster
impatiently. "The Spanish Ambassador has his spies upon thee, and thou
must leave a false scent for them to smell out. He sent his report on
thee, eight months ago."

"Before we sailed to Roanoke?" queried Armadas with lifted brows.

"Before thou went to Richmond that day. His Excellency quizzed me after
the masque and asked me did I know when the ships sailed and whither
they were bound, believing me to be cozened by his gold. I told him they
were for Florida to find the fountain of youth for the Queen, and would
sail on May-day!"

A grin of pure delight widened the boy's face, and he wriggled in
gleeful remembrance where he perched, on a tall oaken chair. "Oh, they
will swallow any bait, those gudgeons, and some day their folly will be
the end of them. I would not have them catch thee if they could be
fooled, and well did I fool them, I tell thee!"

"For--heaven's--sake!" stammered Armadas in amazement. "Little friend,"
he added gently, "it seems to me that we owe thee life and honor. But
why didst do it?"

"Why?" The boy's fine dark brows bent in a quick frown. "What a pox
right had they to be tempting me to be false to the salt that I and they
had eaten? I hate all Spaniards. I'd ha' done it any way," he added
shyly, "for to win our game, but I did it for love o' thee because thou
took my part about the mascarado."

"I think," said Armadas as he took from his wallet a bracelet of Indian
shell-work hung with baroque pearls, "that all our fine plans would ha'
come to naught but for thy wise head, young 'un. These be pearls from
the Virginias, and if you find 'em scorched, that's only because the
heathen know no other way of opening the oyster-shell but by fire. The
beads are such as they use for money and call roanoke. The gold of the
Spanish mines can buy men maybe, but it does not buy such loyalty as
thine, that's sure. I have no gold to give, lad,--but wear this for a
love-token. And I think that could the truth be known, the Queen herself
would freely name thee Lord of Roanoke."


[1] The name is variously spelled Armadas, Amidas and Amadas. The form
here used is that of the earliest records. The same is true of the
spelling "Ralegh."

[2] Companies of children under various names were often employed in the
acting of plays in the time of Elizabeth. These are the "troops of
children, little eyasses" alluded to by Shakespeare in "Hamlet." They
sometimes acted in plays written for them by Lyly and others, and
sometimes in the popular dramas of the day. Ben Jonson wrote a charming
epitaph on Salathiel Pavy, one of these little actors, who died at

[3] The passamezzo, passy-measure or half-measure was a popular
Elizabethan dance, like the coranto and lavolta.

[4] Primero, or ombre, is said to be the ancestor of our modern game of
poker. An interesting account of its origin and variations will be found
in Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer's "Prophetical, Educational and Playing


    Out on the road to Fairyland where the dreaming children go,
    There's a little inn at the Sign of the Rose, that all the fairies
    For Titania lodged in that tavern once, and betwixt the night and
      the day
    The children that crowded about her there, she stole their hearts away!

    Peaseblossom, Moth and Mustardseed, Agate and Airymouse too,
    Once were children that laughed and played as children always do,
    But when Titania kissed their lips, and crowned them with daffodil gold
    They never forgot what she whispered them, they never knew how to grow

    Mothers that wonder why little lads forget their homely ways,
    And little maids put their dolls aside and take to acting plays,
    Ah, let them be kings and queens awhile, for there's nothing sad or
    In their innocent thought, and their crowns were wrought by the touch
      o' the Fairy Queen!

    Close to the heart o' the world they come, the children who know the
    To the little low gateway under the rose, where 't is neither night
      nor day.
    They see what others can never guess, they hear what we cannot hear,
    And the loathly dragons that waste our life they never learn to fear.

    The little inn at the Sign of the Rose,--ah, who can forget the place
    Where Titania danced with the children small and lent them her elfin
    And wherever they go and whatever they do in the years that turn them
    They never forget the charm she said when she stole their hearts away!



"Is there not any saint of the kitchen, at all?" asked the serious-eyed
little demoiselle sorting herbs under the pear-tree. Old Jacqueline,
gathering the tiny fagots into her capacious apron, chuckled wisely.

"There should be, if there isn't. Perhaps the good God thinks that the
men will take care that there are kitchens, without His help." She
hobbled briskly into the house. Helêne sat for a few minutes with hands
folded, her small nose alert as a rabbit's to the marvelous blend of
odors in the hot sunshiny air.

It was a very agreeable place, that old French garden. There had been a
kitchen-garden on that very spot for more than five hundred years; at
least, so said Monsieur Lescarbot the lawyer, and he knew all about the
history of the world. A part of the old wall had been there in the days
of the First Crusade, and the rest looked as if it had. When Henry of
Navarre dined at the Guildhall, before Ivry, they had come to Jacqueline
for poultry and seasoning. She could show you exactly where she gathered
the parsley, the thyme, the marjoram, the carrots and the onion for the
stuffing, and from which tree the selected chestnuts came. A white hen
proudly promenading the yard at this moment was the direct descendant of
the fowl chosen for the King's favorite dish of _poulet en casserole_.

But the common herbs were far from being all that this garden held.
Besides the dozen or more herbs and as many vegetables which all cooks
used, there were artichokes, cucumbers, peppers of several kinds,
marigolds, rhubarb, and even two plants of that curious Peruvian
vegetable with the golden-centered creamy white flowers, called
po-té-to. Jacqueline's husband, who had been a sea-captain, had brought
those roots from Brazil, and she,--Helêne,--who was very little then,
had disgraced herself by gathering the flowers for a nosegay. It was
after that that Jacqueline had begun to teach her what each plant was
good for, and how it must be fed and tended. Helêne had grown to feel
that every plant, shrub or seedling was alive and had thoughts. In the
delightful fairy tales that Monsieur Marc Lescarbot told her they were
alive, and talked of her when they left their places at night and held
moonlight dances.

Lescarbot's thin keen face with the bald forehead and humorous eyes
appeared now at the grille in the green door. He swept off his béret and
made a deep bow. "Mademoiselle la bien-aimée de la bonne Sainte Marthe,"
he said gravely, "may I come in?"

He had a new name for her every time he came, usually a long one. "But
why Sainte Marthe?" she asked, running to let him in.

"She is the patron saint of cooks and housewives, petite. A good cook
can do anything. Sainte Marthe entertained the blessed Lord in her own
home, and was the first nun of the sisterhood she founded. Moreover when
she was preaching at Aix a fearful dragon by the name of Tarasque
inhabited the river Rhone, and came out each night to devastate the
country until Sainte Marthe was the means of his--conversion."

"Oh, go on!" cried Helêne, and Lescarbot sat down on the old bench
under the pear-tree and began to help with the herbs.

"Sainte Marthe was an excellent cook, and the first thing she did when
she founded her convent was to plant a kitchen-garden. On Saint John's
Eve she went into the garden and watered each plant with holy water,
blessing it in the use of God. People came from miles around to get
roots and seeds from the garden and to ask for Sainte Marthe's recipes
for broths and cordials for the sick. Often they brought roots of such
plants as rhubarb and--er--marigold, which had been imported from
heathen countries, to be blessed and made wholesome." Lescarbot's eye
rested on the potato plant, which he distrusted.

"Well. The dragon prowled around and around the convent walls, but of
course he could not come in. At last he pretended to be sick and sent
for Sainte Marthe to come and cure him. As soon as she set eyes on him
she knew what a wicked lie he had told, and resolved to punish him for
his impudence. Of course all he wanted of her was to get her recipes for
sauces and stews so that he might cook and eat his victims without
having indigestion--which is what a good sauce is for. Sainte Marthe
promised to make him some broth if he would do no harm while she was
gone, and just to make sure he kept his promise she made him hold out
his fore-paws and tied them hard and fast with her girdle, while he sat
with his fore-legs around his--er--knees, and her broomstick thrust
crosswise between. Then she got out her largest kettle and made a good
savory broth of all the herbs in her garden--there were three hundred
and sixty-five kinds. She knew that if he drank it all, the blessed
herbs would work such a change in his inside that he would be like a
lamb forever after.

"But one thing neither she nor Tarasque had thought of, and that was,
that the broth was hot. Of course he always took his food and drink very
cold. When he smelled its delicious fragrance he opened his mouth wide,
and she poured it hissing hot down his throat, and it melted him into a
famous bubbling spring. People go there to be cured of colic."

Helêne drew a long breath. She did not believe that Lescarbot had found
that story in any book of legends of the saints, but she liked it none
the worse for that.

"I wonder if Sainte Marthe blessed this garden?" she said.

"I have no doubt she did, and that is why it flourishes from Easter to
Michaelmas. But I came to-day for a potato. Sieur de Monts desires to
see one and to understand the method of its cultivation."

"Oh, I know that," cried Helêne, eagerly, and she took one of the queer
brown roots from the willow basket by the wall. "See, these are its
eyes, one, two, three--seven eyes in this one. You must cut it in
pieces, as many pieces as it has eyes, and plant each piece separately;
and from each eye springs a plant."

"Ah!" said Lescarbot gravely, and he put the potato in his wallet.

For two years Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, and the valiant gentlemen
Samuel de Champlain, Bienville de Poutrincourt, and others of his
company, had been striving to maintain a settlement in the grant of La
Cadie or L'Acadie, between the fortieth and forty-sixth degrees of north
latitude in the New World, of which the King had made De Monts
Lieutenant-General. De Monts engaged Champlain, who had already
explored those coasts, as chief geographer, and the merchant Pontgravé
was in charge of a store-ship laden with supplies. Fearing the severe
winter of the St. Lawrence, the party steered south along the coast and
anchored in a tranquil and beautiful harbor surrounded with forest,
green lowlands, and hills laced with waterfalls. In his delight with the
place Poutrincourt declared that he would ask nothing better than to
make it his home; and he received a grant of the harbor, which he named
Port Royal. The expedition finally came to rest on an island in a river
flowing into Passamaquoddy Bay, where they began their settlement. Their
wooden buildings--a house for their viceroy, one for Champlain and other
gentlemen, barracks, lodgings, workshops and storehouses,--surrounded a
square in the middle of which one fine cedar was left standing, while a
belt of them remained to hedge the island from the north winds. The work
done, Poutrincourt set sail for France, leaving seventy-nine men to
spend the winter at Ile Sainte-Croix. Scurvy broke out, and before
spring almost half the company were in their graves. Spring came, but no
help from France. It was June 16 before Poutrincourt returned with forty
men, and two days later Champlain set sail in a fifteen-ton barque with
De Monts and several others, to explore the coast and discover if
possible a better place for the colony. They went as far south as Nauset
Harbor, and Champlain made charts and kept a journal quaintly
illustrated with figures drawn and painted; but De Monts found no place
that suited him. Then he bethought himself of the deep sheltered harbor
of Port Royal, and they removed everything to that new site, on the
north side of the basin below the mouth of a little river which they
called the Équille. Even parts of the buildings were taken across the
Bay of Fundy. But a ship from France brought news to De Monts that
enemies at court were working against his Company, and leaving Pontgravé
in command he and Poutrincourt returned home, to see what they could do
to further the interests of the colony in Paris. Among other things
Champlain, who had tried without success to make a garden in the sandy
soil of the island, begged them to provide the settlers with seeds,
roots, cuttings and implements by which they might raise grain and
vegetables and other provisions for themselves. This would improve the
health and also reduce the expenses of the colony, and the land about
the new site was well adapted for cultivation.

Poutrincourt, foregathering with his friend Lescarbot soon after the
lawyer had lost nearly all he possessed in a suit, recounted to him the
woes of the colony, and found with pleasure that in spite of the doleful
history of the last two years Lescarbot was eager to seek a new career
in New France.

Helêne came running in one morning in the early spring of 1606, to find
old Jacqueline on the steps of the root-cellar with a heap of sprouting
potatoes beside her. Lescarbot was packing away in a panier such as she
gave him, while under the whitening pear-tree a donkey stood, sleepily
shaking his ears as he waited for orders.

"Oh, what are you doing, Uncle Marc?" she cried.

"Making ready to go to the land beyond the sunset, Mademoiselle la
Princesse du Jardin de Paradis," he said smiling. "Sit down while the
good mother gets the packets of seeds she promised me, and I will tell
you a story."

All curiosity and wonder, the little maid settled herself on the ancient
worm-eaten bench, and Lescarbot began.

"It happened one day that men came and told the King that a great realm
lay beyond the seas, where only wild men and animals lived, and that
this realm was all his. Now the wild men were not good for anything, for
they had never been taught anything, but since the winters in that
country were very cold the animals wore fur coats. The King called to
him a Chief Huntsman and told him that he might go and collect tribute
from the fur coats of the animals, and that after he had given the King
his share, the fur coats of all the animals belonged to him."

"Did the animals know it?"

"I think they did, for they were accustomed to having men try to take
away their fur coats. All the other hunters were very angry when they
found that the King had given this order, but the Chief Huntsman told
them that they might have a share in the hunting, only they must ask his
permission and pay tribute to the King; and that satisfied them for a

"The Chief Huntsman sailed to the far country and built a castle for
himself and his men, and when winter came they found that it was indeed
very cold--so cold that the wine and the cider froze and had to be given
out by the pound instead of the pint. But that was not the worst of it.
There was a dragon."

Helêne's blue eyes grew round with interest.

"A dragon whose poisonous breath tainted the food and caused a terrible
plague. They prayed to Saint Luke the Physician for help, and he
appeared to them in a vision and said, 'I cannot do anything for you so
long as you eat not good food. God made man to live in a garden, not to
fill himself with salt fish and salt meat and dry bread.' But they could
not plant a garden in the middle of winter, and they had to wait. When
the ship went back to France a gallant captain--named Samuel de
Champlain--sent a letter to a friend of his in France, praying him to
send a gardener with seeds, roots and cuttings that there might be good
broths and tisanes and sauces to work magic against the dragon that he
slay no more of their folk. And, little Helêne, I am filling a pair of
paniers with those roots and those seeds, and I am going to be a
gardener beyond the sunset."

Helêne looked grave. To find her friend and playfellow suddenly dropped
away from her into the middle of a fairy-tale was rather terrifying, but
it was also thrilling. She slipped down from the bench.

"You shall have cuttings from my very own rose-bushes," said she; and at
her direction Lescarbot took up very carefully small rose-shoots that
had rooted themselves around the great bushes,--bushes that bore roses
white with a faint flush, white with a golden-creamy heart, pure
snow-white, sunrise pink and deep glowing crimson with a purple shade.

If Lescarbot had been a superstitious man, he might have been inclined
to gloom during his first sea-voyage, for the ship in which he and
Poutrincourt set sail from Rochelle on the thirteenth of May, 1606, was
called the _Jonas_. But instead he joined in all the diversions possible
in their two months' voyage--harpooning porpoises, fishing for cod off
the Banks, or dancing on the deck in calm weather,--and in his leisure
kept a lively and entertaining journal of the adventure. They ran into
dense fog in which they could see nothing; they saw, when the mist
cleared, a green and lovely shore, but before it fierce and dangerous
rocks on which the breakers pounded. Then a storm broke, with rolling
thunder like a salute of cannon. At last on July 27 they sailed into the
narrow channel at the entrance of the harbor of Port Royal.

The flag of France, with its golden lilies on a white ground, gleamed in
the noon sunlight as they came up the bay toward the little group of
wooden buildings in the edge of the forest. Not a man was to be seen on
the silent shore; a birch canoe, with one old Indian in it, hovered near
the landing. A great fear gripped the hearts of Bienville de
Poutrincourt and Marc Lescarbot. Were Pontgravé and Champlain all dead
with their people? Had help come too late?

Then from the bastion of the rude fortifications a cannon barked salute,
and a Frenchman with a gun in his hand came running down to the beach.
The ship's guns returned the salute, and the trumpets sang loud greeting
to whoever might be there to hear.

When they had landed they learned what had happened. There were only two
Frenchmen in the fort; Pontgravé and the others, fearing that the supply
ship would never arrive, had gone twelve days before in two small ships
of their own building to look for some of the French fishing fleet who
might have provisions. The two who remained had volunteered to stay and
guard the buildings and stores. There was a village of friendly Indians
near by, and the chief, Membertou, who was more than a hundred years
old, had seen the distant sail of the _Jonas_ and come to warn the white
men, who were at dinner. Not knowing whether the strange ship came in
peace or war, one of the comrades had gone to the platform on which the
cannon were mounted, and stood ready to do what he could in defense,
while the other ran down to the shore. When they saw the French flag at
the mast-head the cannon spoke joyfully in salute.

All was now eager life and activity. Poutrincourt sent out a boat to
explore the coast, which met the two little ships of Pontgravé and
Champlain and told the great news. Lescarbot, exploring the meadows
under the guidance of some of Membertou's people, saw moose with their
young feeding peacefully upon the lush grass, and beavers building their
curious habitations in a swamp. Pontgravé took his departure for France
in the _Jonas_, and Champlain and Poutrincourt began making plans.

The winter in Port Royal had been less severe than the terrible first
winter of the settlement, on the St. Croix, but the two leaders decided
to take one of the ramshackle little ships and make another exploring
voyage along the coast, to see whether some more comfortable site for
the colony could not be found. There was plenty of leeway to the
southward, for De Monts was supposed to control everything as far south
as the present site of Philadelphia; but the coast had never been
accurately charted by the French further south than Cape Cod.

Lescarbot, who was to command at Port Royal in their absence, had
already laid out his kitchen-garden and set about spading and planting
it. The kitchen, the smithy and the bakery were on the south side of the
quadrangle around which the wooden buildings stood; east of them was the
arched gateway, protected by a sort of bastion of log-work, from which a
path led to the water a few paces away; and west of them another bastion
matched it, mounting the four cannon. The storehouses for ammunition and
provisions were on the eastern side; on the west were the men's
quarters, and on the north, a dining-hall and lodgings for the chief men
of the company, who now numbered fifteen. Lescarbot set some of the men
to burning over the meadows that they might sow wheat and barley; others
broke up new soil for the herbs, roots and cuttings he had brought, and
he himself, hoe in hand, was busiest of all.

"Do not overtask yourself," warned Poutrincourt, pausing beside the
thin, pale-faced man who knelt in the long shadows of the rainy dawn
among his neatly-arranged plots. "If you are too zealous you may never
see France again." Lescarbot laughed and dug a little grave in his
plantation. "What in heaven's name are those?"

"Potatoes," answered the lawyer-gardener. "The Peruvian root they are
planting in Ireland."

"But you do not expect to get a crop this year--and in this climate?"

"I don't expect anything at all. I am making the experiment. If they
come up, good; if they do not, I have seed enough for next year."

The potatoes came up. It was an unusually hot summer, and the situation
was favorable. If Lescarbot had known the habits of the vegetable he
might not have thought of putting them into the ground on the last day
of July, but they grew and flourished, and their odd ivory-and-gold
blossoms were charming. Lescarbot worked all day in the bracing sunlit
air, and now and then he hoed and transplanted by moonlight. In the
evening he read, wrote, or planned out the next day's program.

September came, with cool bright days and a hint of frost at night; the
lawyer marshalled his forces and harvested the crops. The storehouses,
already stocked with Pontgravé's abundant provision, were filled to
overflowing, and they had to dig a makeshift cellar or root-pit under a
rough shelter for the last of their produce. The potatoes were carefully
bestowed in huge hampers provided by Membertou's people, who were
greatly interested in all that the white men did. Old Jacqueline had
said that they needed "room to breathe," and Lescarbot was taking no
chances on this unknown American product.

October came; the Indians showed the white men how to grind corn, and
the carpenters planned a water-mill to be constructed in the spring, to
take the place of the tedious hand-mill worked by two men. Wild geese
flew overhead, recalling to the Frenchmen the legends of Saint Gabriel's
hounds. The forests robed themselves in hues like those of a priceless
Kashmir shawl, and the squirrels, martens, beavers, otters, weasels,
which the hunters brought in were in their winter coats. But the
exploring party had not returned. Lescarbot, who had occupied spare
moments in preparing a surprise for them when they did return, and
carefully drilled the men in their parts, began to be secretly anxious.
But on the morning of November 14, old Membertou, who had appointed
himself an informal sentinel to patrol the waters near the fort,
appeared with the news that the chiefs were coming back.

All was excitement in a moment, although Lescarbot privately had to
admit that he could not even see a sail, to say nothing of recognizing
the boat or its occupants. But the long-sighted old sagamore was right.
The party of adventurers, their craft considerably the worse for the
journey, steering with a pair of oars in place of a rudder, reached the
landing-place and battered, weary and dilapidated, came up to the fort.
They were surprised and disappointed to see no one about except a few
curious Indians peeping from the woods.

As they neared the wooden gateway it was suddenly flung open, and out
marched a procession of masquers, headed by Neptune in full costume of
shell-fringed robe, diadem, trident, and garlands of kelp and sea-moss,
attended by tritons grotesquely attired, and fauns, reinforced by a
growing audience of Indians, squaws and papooses. This merry company
greeted the wanderers with music, song and some excellent French verse
written by Lescarbot for the occasion. Refreshed with laughter and the
relief of finding all so well conducted, Champlain, Poutrincourt and
their men went in to have something to eat and drink. Then they spent
the rest of the day hearing and telling the story of the last three

It is written down, adorned with drawings, in the journals of Champlain,
and it was all told over as the men sat around their blazing fires and
talked, all together, while a light November snow flurried in the air

"So you see we lost our rudder in a storm off Mount Désert--" "And the
autumn gales drove us back before we had fairly passed Port Fortuné--"
"It came near being Port Malheur for us, and it was for Pierre and
Jacques le Malouin, poor fellows. They and three others stayed ashore
for the night and hundreds of Indians attacked them,--oh, but hundreds.
Well, we heard the uproar--naturally it waked us in a hurry--and up we
jumped and snatched any weapon that was handy, and piled into the boat
in our shirts. Two of the shore party were killed and we saw the other
three running for their boat for dear life, all stuck over with arrows
like hedgehogs, my faith! So then we landed and charged the Indians, who
must have thought we were ghosts, for they left off whooping and ran for
the woods. Our provisions were so far spent that we thought it best to
return after that, and in any case--it would be as bad, would it not, to
die of Indians as to die of scurvy?"

"But tell me, my dear fellow," said Champlain when the happy hubbub had
a little subsided, "how have your gardens prospered? Truly I need not
ask, in view of the abundance of the dinner you gave us."

Lescarbot smiled. "I think that the saints must have whispered to the
little plants," he said whimsically, "or else they knew that they must
grow their best for the honor of France. But perhaps it is not strange.
I had the seeds and roots from the garden of Helêne."

"And who is Helêne?" asked Champlain with interest. Lescarbot explained.

"It was really wonderful," he said in conclusion, "to see how careful
she was to remember every herb and plant which might be useful, and to
ask Jacqueline for some especial recipes for cordials and tisanes for
the sick. And by the way, Jacqueline told me that the sea-captains
regard potatoes as especially good to prevent or cure scurvy."

In any case the potato was popular among the exiled Frenchmen. They ate
it boiled, they ate it parboiled, sliced and fried in deep kettles of
fat, they ate it in stews, and they ate it--and liked it best of
all--roasted in the ashes. Jacqueline had said that the water in which
the root was boiled must always be thrown away, which showed that there
was something uncanny about it, but whether it was due to the potatoes
or the general variety of the bill of fare, there was not a case of
scurvy in the camp all winter.

Soon after his return Champlain broached a plan which he had been
perfecting during the voyage. The fifteen men of rank formed a society,
to be called "L'Ordre de Bon-Temps." Each man became Grand-Master in
turn, for a single day. On that day he was responsible for the
dinner,--the cooking, catering, buying and serving. When not in office
he usually spent some days in hunting, fishing and trading with the
Indians for supplies. He had full authority over the kitchen during his
reign, and it was a point of honor with each Grand Master to surpass, if
possible, the abundance, variety and gastronomic excellence of the meals
of the day before. There was no market to draw upon, but the caterer
could have steaks and roasts and pies of moose, bear, venison and
caribou; beavers, otters, hares, trapped for their fur, also helped to
feed the hunters. Ducks, geese, grouse and plover were to be had for the
shooting. Sturgeon, trout and other fish might be caught in the bay, or
speared through the ice of the river. The supplies brought from France,
with the addition of all this wilderness fare, held out well, and
Lescarbot expressed the opinion, with which nobody disagreed, that no
epicure in Paris could dine better in the Rue de l'Ours than the
pioneers of Port Royal dined that winter.

Ceremony was not neglected, either. At the dinner hour, twelve o'clock,
the Grand Master of the day entered the dining-hall, a napkin on his
shoulder, his staff of office in his hand, and the collar of the Order,
worth about four crowns, about his neck. After him came the
Brotherhood in procession, each carrying a dish. Indian chiefs were
often guests at the board; old Membertou was always made welcome.
Biscuit, bread and many other kinds of food served there were new and
alluring luxuries to the Indians, and warriors, squaws and children who
had not seats at table squatted on the floor gravely awaiting their

HALL."--_Page_ 266]

The evening meal was less formal. When all were gathered about the fire,
the Grand Master presented the collar and staff of office to his
successor, and drank his health in a cup of wine.

The winter was unusually mild; until January they needed nothing warmer
than their doublets. On the fourteenth, a Sunday, they went boating on
the river, and came home singing the gay songs of France. A little later
they went to visit the wheat fields two leagues from the fort, and dined
merrily out of doors. When the snow melted they saw the little bright
blades of the autumn sowing already coming up from the rich black soil.
Winter was over, and work began in good heart. Poutrincourt was not
above gathering turpentine from the pines and making tar, after a
process invented by himself. Then late in spring a ship came into harbor
with news which ended everything. The fur-traders of Normandy, Brittany
and the Vizcayan ports had succeeded in having the privilege of De Monts
withdrawn. Hardly more than a year after his arrival Lescarbot left his
beloved gardens, and in October all the colonists were once more in
France. Membertou and his Indians bewailed their departure, and held
them in long remembrance. Wilderness houses soon go back to their
beginnings, and it was not long before all that was left of the brave
and gay French colony was a little clearing where the herb of
immortality, the tansy of Saint Athanase, lifted its golden buttons and
thick dark green foliage above the remnant of the garden of Helêne.

Yet the experience of that year was not lost. It was the first instance
of a company of settlers in that northern climate passing the winter
without illness, discord or trouble with the Indians. Later, in the
little new settlements of Quebec and Montreal, some of the colonists met
again under the wise and kindly rule of Champlain. Little Helêne lived
to bring her own roses to a garden in New France, and teach Indian girls
the secrets which old Jacqueline taught her. And it is recorded in the
history of the voyageurs, priests and adventurers of France in the New
World that wherever they went they were apt to take with them seeds and
plants of wholesome garden produce, which they planted along their route
in the hope that they might thus be of service to those who came after


    Amsterdam's the cradle where the race was rocked--
    All the ships of all the world to her harbor flocked.
    Rosy with the sea-wind, solid, stubborn, sweet,
    Played the children by canals, up and down the street.
    Neltje, Piet and Hendrik, Dirck and Myntje too,--
    Little Nick of Leyden sailed his wooden shoe.

    "Quarter-deck and cabin--rig her fore-and-aft,"--
    Thus he murmured wisely as he launched his craft.
    "Cutlass, pike and musquetoun, howitzer and shot--
    But our knives and mirrors and beads are worth the lot."
    Room enough for cargo to last a year or two,
    In the round amidships of a wooden shoe!

    Bobbing on the waters of the Nieuwe Vlei
    See the bantam galleot, short and broad and high.
    Laden for the Indies, trading all the way,
    Frank and shrewd and cautious, fiery in a fray,--
    Sagamore and mandarin are all the same to you,
    Little Nick of Leyden with your wooden shoe!



All along the coast of Britain, from John o' Groat's to Beachey Head,
from Saint Michael's Mount to Cape Wrath, twinkled the bonfires on the
headlands. Henry Hudson, returning from a voyage among icebergs, guessed
at once what this chain of lights meant. The son of Mary Queen of Scots
had been crowned in London.[1]

Hudson's keen eyes were unusually grave and thoughtful as the _Muscovy
Duck_ sailed up to London Pool on the incoming tide. The sailors looked
even more sober, for most of them were English Protestants, with a few
Flemings, and John Williams the pilot was an Anabaptist. It was he who
asked the question of which all were thinking.

"Master Hudson, d'ye think the new King will light them other fires--the
ones at Smithfield?"

Hudson shook his head. "That's a thing no man can say for certain, John.
But there's the Low Countries and the Americas to run to. 'T is not as
it was in Queen Mary's day."

"Aye, but Spain has got all of America, pretty near, and the French are
nabbing the rest," said the pilot doubtfully.

"Nay, that's a bigger place than you guess, over yonder. Ever see the
map that Doctor Dee made for Queen Bess near thirty years ago? I
remember him showing it to my grandsire with the ink scarce dry on it.
The country Ralegh's people saw has got room for the whole of France and
England, and plenty timber and corn-land. Sir Walter he knew that."

There was plague in London when they landed, and all sought their
families in fear and trembling, not knowing what might have come and
gone in their absence. Hudson's house was at Mortlake on the Thames
above London, and there he was rejoiced to find all well. Young John
Hudson was brimful of Mr. Brereton's new Relacion of the Voyage of
Captain Bartholomew Gosnold and Captain Bartholomew Gilbert to the North
part of Virginia by permission of the honorable Knight Sir Walter
Ralegh. Strawberries bigger than those of England, and cherries in
clusters like grapes, blackbirds with carnation-colored wings, Indians
who painted their eyebrows white and made faces over mustard, were mixed
higgledy-piggledy in his bubbling talk. Hudson, turning the pages of the
new book, saw at once that on this voyage around Cape Cod the little
ship _Concord_ had sailed seas unknown to him.

"Why won't the Company send you to the Americas, Dad?" the boy asked
eagerly. "When will I be old enough to go to sea?"

"Wait till ye're fourteen at least, Jack," his father answered. "There's
much to learn before ye're a master mariner."

In the next few years things were not so well with English mariners as
they had been. Cecil and Howard, picking a quarrel with Ralegh, had him
shut up in the Tower. The Dutch were trading everywhere, seizing the
chances King James missed. But Hudson was in the employ of the Muscovy
Company like his father and grandfather, and the Russian fur trade was
making that Company rich.

Captain John Smith, a shrewd-faced soldier with merry eyes, appeared at
the house one day and told entertaining stories of his campaigns under
Prince Sigismund of Bohemia. He and the boy John drove the neighbors
nearly distracted with curiosity, one winter evening, signalling with
torches from the house to the river.[2] To anxious souls who surmised a
new Guy Fawkes conspiracy Captain Smith showed how he had once conveyed
a message to the garrison of a beleaguered city in this way. Here was
the code. The first half of the alphabet was represented by single
lights, the second half by pairs. To secure attention three torches were
shown at equal distances from one another, until a single light flashed
in response to show that the signal was understood. For any letter from
A to L a single light was shown and hidden one or more times according
to the number of the letter from the beginning; thus, three flashes
meant C; four meant D, and so on. For a letter between M and Z the same
plan was followed using two torches. The end of a word was signified by
three lights. In this way Smith had spelled out the message, "On
Thursday night I will charge on the east; at the alarum, sally you." He
had, however, translated it into Latin, to make it short.

John Hudson found new interest in Latin.

When Captain Smith began to talk of joining a new colony to go to
Virginia the boy begged hard to be allowed to go. But just at this time
the Muscovy Company was sending Henry Hudson to look for a way round
through northern seas to the Spice Islands. The Dutch were already
trading in the Portuguese Indies. If England could reach them by a
shorter route, it would be a very pleasant discovery for the Muscovy

Even in 1607 geographers believed in an open polar sea north of Asia.
Hudson tried the Greenland route. Sailing east of Greenland he found
himself between that country and the islands named "Nieuwland" by
William Barents the Dutch navigator in 1596. Their pointed icy mountains
seemed to push up through the sea. Icebergs crowded the waters like
miniature peaks of a submerged range. Hudson returned to report to the
company "no open sea."

In 1608 he was again sent out on the same errand. This time he steered
further east, between those islands and another group named by Barents
Nova Zembla. He sailed nearer to the pole than any man had been before
him, and found whales bigger, finer and more numerous than anywhere
else. Rounding the North Cape on his way home he made the first recorded
observation of a sun-spot. In August, when he returned and made his
report, there was a sensation in the seafaring world.

The Dutch promptly sent whaling ships into the arctic seas, and
suggested, through Van Meteren the Dutch consul in London, a friend of
Hudson, that the English navigator should come to Amsterdam and talk of
entering their service. While there, he received an offer from the
French Ambassador, suggesting that his services would be welcome to a
proposed French East India Company. Hearing this, the Dutch hastened to
secure him, and on April 4, 1609, he sailed from Amsterdam in a yacht of
eighty tons called the _Half Moon_ and shaped rather like one, manned by
a crew of twenty, half English and half Netherlanders, and John as

John was in such a state of bliss as a boy can know when sailing on the
venture of his dreams. His father had told him in confidence that as his
sailing orders were almost the same as the year before, he did not
expect to find the northern route to India in that direction. Failing
this the _Half Moon_ would look for it in the western seas. Of this plan
he had said nothing in Holland.

He found, as he had expected, that the arctic waters were choked with
ice, and turning southward he headed for the Faroe Isles. While in
Holland he had had a letter from Captain John Smith, who had explored
the regions about Chesapeake Bay. No straits leading to the western
ocean had been discovered there, and no Sea of Verrazzano. Captain
Smith's opinion was that if such a passage existed it would be somewhere
about the fortieth parallel. Explorations had already been made farther
north. Davis Strait had been discovered some years before by John Davis,
now dead. Martin Frobisher had found another strait leading northwest.
Both of these were so far north that they were likely to be ice-bound by
the time the little _Half Moon_ could reach them. Hudson meant to look
along the coast further south, and see what could be found there.

The _Half Moon_ took in water at the Faroes and anchored some seven
weeks later, on July 18, in Penobscot Bay. Her foremast was gone and her
sails ripped and rent by the gales of the North Atlantic, and the
carpenter with a selected crew rowed ashore and chose a pine tree for a
new mast. While this was a-making and the sails were patched up, the
crew not otherwise engaged went fishing.

"I say," presently observed John Hudson, who knew Brereton's Relacion by
heart, "this must ha' been the place where they caught so many fish
that they were 'pestered with Cod' and threw numbers of 'em overboard.
This makes twenty-seven, Dad, so far."

During that week they caught fifty cod, a hundred lobsters and a halibut
which John declared to be half as big as the ship. Two French boats
appeared, full of Indians ready to trade beaver skins for red cloth. The
strawberry season was past, but John found wild cherries, small, deep
red, in heavy bunches. When he tried to eat them, however, they were so
sour that he nearly choked. Cautiously he tasted the big blue
whortleberries that grew on high bushes; near water, and found them
delicious. He had been eating them by the handful for some time when he
became aware that there was a feaster on the other side of the thicket.
Receiving no reply to his challenge he went to investigate and saw a
brown bear standing on his hind legs and raking the berries off the
twigs with both forepaws, into his mouth. At sight of John he dropped on
all fours and cantered off.

Leaving the bay they cruised along the coast past Cape Cod, and then
steered southwest for the fortieth parallel. Wind and rain came on in
the middle of August, and they were blown toward an inlet which Hudson
decided to be the James. Not knowing how the English governor of
Jamestown might regard an intrusion by a Dutch ship, he turned north
again, and on the twenty-eighth of August entered a large bay and took
soundings. More than once the _Half Moon_, light as she rode, grounded
on sand-banks, and Hudson shook his head in rueful doubt.

"D' you think the straits are here, Dad?" asked John when he had a
chance to speak with his father alone.

"Hardly. This is fresh water. It's the mouth of a river."[3]

"Yes, but might there be an isthmus--or the like?"

"A big river with as strong a current as this would not rise on a
narrow, level strip of land, son. It's bringing down tons of sand to
make these banks we run into. There's a great wide country inland

The chanteys of the sailors were heard at daybreak in the lonely sea, as
the _Half Moon_ went on her way northward. On September 3 the little
ship edged into another and bigger bay to the north. Whether it was a
bay or a lake Hudson was at first rather doubtful. The shores were
inhabited, for little plumes of smoke arose everywhere, and soon from
all sides log canoes came paddling toward the ship. These Indians were
evidently not unused to trading, for they brought green tobacco, hemp,
corn and furs to sell, and some of them knew a few words of French. By
this, and by signs, they gave Hudson to understand that three rivers, or
inlets, came into this island-encircled sea, the largest being toward
the north. Hudson determined to follow this north river and see where it

As he sailed cautiously into the channel, taking soundings and observing
the shores, he was puzzled. The tide rose and fell as if this were an
inlet of the sea, and it was far deeper than an ordinary river. In fact
it was more like a Norwegian fiord.[4] It might possibly lead to a lake,
and this lake might have an outlet to the western ocean. That it was a
strait he did not believe. Even in the English Channel the meeting tides
of the North Sea and the Atlantic made rough water, and the _Half Moon_
was drifting as easily as if she were slipping down stream. In any
event, nothing else had been found, either north or south of this point,
which could possibly be a strait, and Hudson meant to discover exactly
what this was before he set sail for Amsterdam.

They passed an Indian village in the woods to the right, and according
to the Indians who had come on board the place was called
Sapokanican,[5] and was famous for the making of wampum or shell beads.
A brook of clear sweet water flowed close by. Presently Hudson anchored
and sent five men ashore in a boat to explore the right-hand bank of the
channel. Night came on, and it began to rain, but the boat had not
returned. Hudson slept but little. In the morning the missing men
appeared with a tale of disaster. After about two leagues' travel they
had come to a bay full of islands. Here they had been attacked by two
canoes carrying twenty-six Indians, and their arrows had killed John
Colman and wounded two other men. It grew so dark when the rain began
that they dared not seek the ship, and the current was so strong that
their grapnel would not hold, so that they had had to row all night.

Sailing only in the day time and anchoring at night the little Dutch
ship went on to the north, looking between the steep rocky banks like a
boat carved out of a walnut-shell, in the wooden jaws of a nutcracker.
After dark, fires twinkled upon the heights, and the lapping waters
about the quiet keel were all shining with broken stars. The flame
appeared and vanished like a signal, and John Hudson wondered if the
Indians knew John Smith's trick of sending a message as far as a beacon
light could be seen.

One night he climbed up on the poop with the ship's great lantern and
tried the flashing signals he remembered. Before many minutes two of the
wild men had drawn near to watch, and although John could not make out
the meaning of the light that came and went upon the cliffs, it was
quite clear that they could. One of them waved his mantle in front of
the lantern, and turning to the boy nodded and grinned good-naturedly.
The signal fires must have talked to some purpose, for the next day a
delegation paddled out from the shore to invite the great captain, his
son and his chief officers to a feast.

When the party arrived at the house of the chief, which was a round
building, or pavilion, of saplings sheathed with oak bark, mats were
spread for them to sit upon, and food was served in polished red wooden
bowls. Two hunters were sent out to bring in game, and returned almost
at once with pigeons which were immediately dressed and cooked by the
women. One of the hunters gave John one of the arrowheads used for
shooting small birds; it was no bigger than his least fingernail and
made of a red stone like jasper. A fat dog had also been killed, skinned
and dressed with shell knives, and served as the dish of honor. Hudson
hastily explained in English to his companions that whether they
relished dog or not, it would never do to refuse it, as this was a
special dish for great occasions.

"Dad," said John that night, "do you think any ship with white men ever
came up here before?"

"No," said Hudson.

"I hope they'll call this the Hudson."

The water was now hardly more than seven feet deep, and the tide rose
only a few inches. Hudson came reluctantly to the conclusion that there
was no proceeding further in a ship. He sent a boatload of men several
leagues up-stream, but they came back with the report that the river was
much the same so far as they had gone.

During the voyage they had often seen parties of the savages, usually
friendly but sometimes hostile. Flights of arrows occasionally were
aimed at the _Half Moon_, and the crew replied with musket-shots which
sometimes but not always hit the mark. The painted warriors had a way of
disappearing into the woods like elves. Once, in spite of all endeavors
to shake him off, a solitary Indian in a small canoe followed along
under the stern till he saw the chance of climbing up the rudder to the
cabin window. He stole the pillow off the commander's bed, two shirts,
and two bandoliers (ammunition-belts), the tinkle of which betrayed him.
The mate saw him making off with his plunder and shot him, whereupon the
other Indians paddled off at top speed, some even leaping from their
canoes to swim ashore. A boat put out and recovered the stolen property,
and when a swimming Indian caught the side of it to overturn it the cook
valiantly beat him off with a sword. These with many other adventures
were duly written down by Robert Juet the mate.

To John Hudson the voyage was a journey of enchantment. Nothing he had
ever seen was in the least like the glory of the autumn forests,
mantling the mountains in scarlet, gold, malachite, russet, orange and
purple. He had been in the gardens at Lambeth where Tradescant the
famous gardener ruled, but there was more color in a single vivid maple
standing blood-red in a bit of lowland than in all his Lancaster roses.
And the great river had its flowers as well. A tall plant like an elfin
elm covered with thick-set tiny blossoms yellow as broom, grew wild over
the pastures, and interspersed with this fairy forest were thickets of
deep lavender daisies with golden centers. In lowland glades were tall
spikes of cardinal blossoms, and clusters of deep blue flowers like buds
that never opened. Vines loaded with bunches of scarlet and orange
berries like waxwork, and others bearing fluffy bunches of silky gray
down curly as an old man's beard, climbed the trees that overhung the
stream. The mountains in the upper river came right down to the water
like the glacis of a giant fort, and fitful winds pounced upon the _Half
Moon_ and rocked her like a cradle. Once there was a late
thunder-shower, and the noise of the thunder among the humped ranges was
for all the world like balls rolling in a great game of bowls played by
goblins of the mountains.

On the fourth of October, the _Half Moon_ left the island which the
Indians called Manahatta, passed through the Narrows and sailed for
Europe. Looking back at those green shores with their bronze
feather-crowned people watching to see the flight of their strange
guest, John Hudson felt that when he was a man, he would like nothing
better than to have an estate on the shores of the noble river, which no
white boy had ever before set eyes on. Where a great terrace rose, some
fifty miles above Manahatta, walled around by mountains and almost two
hundred feet above the river, there should be a fort, of which Captain
John Smith should be the commander; and in the broadening of the river
below to form an inland sea, his father's squadron should ride, while
the Indians of all the upper reaches of the river should come to pay
tribute and bring wampum, furs and tobacco in exchange for trinkets. And
on the island at the mouth of the river there would be a great city,
greater than Antwerp, to which all the ships of the world should come as
they came now to Antwerp and to London. So dreaming, John Hudson saw
the shores of this new world vanish in the blue line, where earth and
sky are one.


[1] The kindling of bonfires and beacon lights on the accession of a
sovereign or any other occasion of national rejoicing is a very old
custom in Britain and is still kept up. At the time of Queen Victoria's
jubilee trees were planted closely to form a great V on the side of the
Downs, and when the fires were lighted on Ditchling Beacon and other
heights the letter stood out black against the close turf of the

[2] The account of Smith's campaigns and signalling code is given in his

[3] The Delaware.

[4] Some authorities consider the Hudson River to be actually a fiord or
fjord and not a true river.

[5] Greenwich Village.


    The Tailor sat with his goose on the table--
      (Table of Laws it was, he said)
    Fashioning uniforms dyed in sable,
      Picked out with gold and sanguine red.

    "This," he said as he snipped and drafted,
      "Sublimely foreshadowing cosmic Fate
    With world-dominion august, resplendent,
      Will wear, as nothing can wear but Hate!

      "Chimerical dreams of souls romantic
      Are out of date as an old wife's rune.
    Britain is doomed as Plato's Republic--"
      When in at the door came a lilting tune!

        _"Here to-day and gone to-morrow--
          All in the luck of the road!
        Didn't come to stay forever,
          But we'll take our share of the load!"_

      Highlanders, Irish, Danes, Egyptians,
      Norman or Slav the dialects ran;
    Something more than a board-school shaped them--
      Drill and discipline never made man!

    Once they knew Crecy, Hastings, Drogheda,
      Moscow, Assaye, Khartoum or Glencoe,--
    Now the old hatreds are tinder for campfires.
      England has only her world to show!

    They are not dreamers, these men of the Empire,
      Guarding their land in the old-time way,
      And this is the style that prevails in the Legions,--
      "The foe of the past is a friend to-day."

        _"It's a long, long road to the Empire
          (From Beersheba even to Dan)
        And the time is rather late for a chronic Hymn of Hate,--
          And we know the tailor doesn't make the man!"_



Barefoot and touzle-headed, in the coarse russet and blue homespun of an
apprentice, a small boy sidled through the wood. Like a hunted hedgehog,
he was ready to run or fight. Where a bright brook slid into the
meadows, he stopped, and looked through new leaves at the infinite blue
of the sky. Words his grandfather used to read to him came back to his

"Let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of
the mountain."

The Bible which old Joseph Bradford had left to his grandson had been
taken away, but no one could take away the memory of it. If he had
dared, Will would have shouted aloud then and there. For all his hunger
and weariness and dread of the future the strength of the land entered
into his young soul. He drank of the clear brook, and let it wash away
the soil of his pilgrimage. Then he curled himself in a hollow full of
dry leaves, and went to sleep.

When he woke, it was in the edge of the evening. Long shadows pointed
like lances among the trees. A horse was cropping the grass in a
clearing, and some one beyond the thicket was reading aloud. For an
instant he thought himself dreaming of the old cottage at
Austerfield--but the voice was young and lightsome.

"Where a man can live at all, there can he live nobly."

The reader stopped and laughed out. A lively snarling came from a burrow
not far away, where two badgers were quarrelling conscientiously.

"Just like folks ye be, a-hectorin' and a-fussin'. What's the great
question to settle now--predestination or infant baptism?--Why, where
under the canopy did you come from, you pint o' cider?"

"I be a-travelin'," Will said stoutly.

"Runaway 'prentice, I should guess. I was one myself at fifteen."

"I'm 'leven, goin' on twelve," said the boy, standing as straight as he

"Any folks?"

"I lived with granddad until he died, four year back."

"And so you're wayfarin', be you? What can you do to get your bread?"

The urchin dug a bare toe into the sod. "I can work," he said
half-defiantly. "Granddad always said I should be put to school some
day, but my uncle won't have that. I can read."


"No--English. Granddad weren't college-bred."

"Nor I--they gave me more lickings than Latin at the grammar school down
to Alvord, 'cause I would go bird's-nesting and fishing sooner than
study my _hic_, _haec_, _hoc_. And now I've built me a booth like a wild
man o' Virginia and come out here to get my Latin that I should ha'
mastered at thirteen. All the travel-books are in Latin, and you have to
know it to get on in foreign parts."

"Have you been in foreign parts?"

"Four year--France and Scotland and the Low Countries. But I got enough
o' seeing Christians kill one another, and says I to myself, John Smith,
you go see what they're about at home. And here I found our fen-sludgers
all by the ears over Bishops and Papists and Brownists and such like. In
Holland they let a man read's Bible in peace."

"Is that the Bible you got there?"

"Nay--Marcus Aurelius Antoninus--a mighty wise old chap, if he was an
Emperor. And I've got Niccolo Macchiavelli's seven books o' the Art o'
War. When I'm weary of one I take to t' other, and between times I ride
a tilt." He waved his hand toward a ring fastened on a tree, and a lance
and horse-furniture leaning against the trunk.

"Our folks be Separatists," the boy said.

"Well, and what of it?" laughed the young man. "As I was a-reading
here--a man is what his thoughts make him. Be he Catholic or Church
Protestant or Baptist, he's what he's o' mind to be, good or bad. Other
folk's say-so don't stop him--no more than them badgers' worryin' dams
the brook."

This was a new idea to Will. His hunger for books was so keen that it
had seemed to him that without them, he would be stupid as the swine.
John Smith seemed to understand it, for he added,

"You bide here with me awhile, lad. Maybe there's a way for you to get
learning, yet."

Will shared the leafy booth and simple fare of his new friend for a
fortnight, doing errands, rubbing down the black horse, Tamlane, and at
odd times learning his conjugations. When John Smith left his hermitage
and went to fight against the Turks in Transylvania, he placed a little
sum of money with a Puritan scholar at Scrooby to pay for the boy's
schooling for a year or two. The yeoman uncle had a family of his own to
provide for, and was glad to have Will off his hands.

Transylvania in 1600 was on the very frontier of Christendom. John Smith
needed all the philosophy he had learned from his favorite author when,
after many adventures, he was taken prisoner and sent to the
slave-market of Axopolis to be sold. Bogal, a Turkish pacha, bought the
young Englishman to send as a gift to his future wife, Charatza
Tragabigzanda, in Constantinople.

Chained by the neck in gangs of twenties the slaves entered the great
Moslem city. John Smith was left at the gate of a house exactly like all
the others in the narrow noisy street. The beauty of an Oriental palace
is inside the walls. Within the blank outer wall of stone and mud-brick,
arched roofs, painted and gilded within, were upheld by slender round
pillars of fine stone--marble, jasper, porphyry, onyx, red syenite,
highly polished and sometimes brought from old palaces and temples in
other lands. Intricate carving in marble or in fine hard wood adorned
the doorways and lattices, and the balconies with their high
lattice-work railings where the women could see into a room below
without being seen. In the courtyards fountains plashed in marble
basins, and from hidden gardens came the breath of innumerable roses. On
floors of fine mosaic were silken many-hued rugs, brought in caravans
from Bagdad, Moussoul or Ispahan, and the soft patter of bare feet,
morocco shoes and light sandals came from the endless vistas of open
arches. A silken rustling and once a gurgle of soft laughter might have
told the Englishman that he was watched, but he knew no more what it
meant than he understood the Arabic mottoes, interwoven with the
decoration of the blue-and-gold walls.

Charatza's curiosity was aroused at the sight of a slave so tall, ruddy
and handsome. She sent for him to come into an inner room where she and
her ladies sat, closely veiled, upon a cushioned divan. Bogal's letter
said that the slave was a rich Bohemian nobleman whom he had captured in
battle, and whose ransom would buy Charatza splendid jewels. But when
spoken to in Bohemian the captive looked perfectly blank. He did not
seem to understand one word.

Arabic and Turkish were no more successful. At last the young princess
asked a question in Italian and found herself understood. It did not
take long for her to find out that the story her lover had written had
not a word of truth in it. She was as indignant as a spirited girl would
naturally be.

In one way and another she made opportunities to talk with the
Englishman and to inquire of others about his career. She presently
discovered that he was the champion who had beheaded three Turkish
warriors, one after another, before the walls of the besieged city
Regall. She made up her mind that when she was old enough to control her
own fortune, which would be in the not very distant future, she would
set him free and marry him. Such things had been done in Constantinople,
and doubtless could be done again.

But meantime Charatza's mother, learning that her daughter had been
talking to a slave, was not at all pleased and threatened, since he was
no nobleman and would not be ransomed, to sell him in the market.
Charatza was used to having her way sooner or later, and managed to have
him sent instead to her brother, a pacha or provincial governor in
Tartary. She sent also a letter asking the pacha to be kind to the young
English slave and give him a chance of learning Turkish and the
principles of the Koran.

This was far from agreeable to a brother who had already heard of his
sister's liking for the penniless stranger,--especially as he found that
the Englishman had no intention of turning Moslem. The slave-master was
told to treat him with the utmost severity, which meant that his life
was made almost unbearable. A ring of iron, with a curved iron handle,
was locked around his neck, his only garment was a tunic of hair-cloth
belted with undressed hide, he was herded with other Christian slaves
and a hundred or more Turks and Moors who were condemned criminals, and,
as the last comer, had to take the kicks and cuffs of all the others.
The food was coarse and unclean, and only extreme hunger made it
possible to eat it.

John Smith was not the man to sit down hopelessly under misfortune, and
he talked with the other Christians whenever chance offered, about
possible plans of escape. None of them saw any hope of getting away,
even by joining their efforts. It may be that some of this talk was
overheard; at any rate Smith was sent after a while to thresh wheat by
himself in a barn two or three miles from the stone castle where the
governor lived. The pacha rode up while he was at work and began to
abuse him, taunting him with being a Christian outcast who had tried to
set himself above his betters by winning the favor of a Turkish lady.
The Englishman flew at him like a wildcat, dragged him off his horse and
broke his skull with the club which was used instead of a flail for
threshing. Then he dressed himself in the Turk's garments, hid the body
under a heap of grain, filled a bag with wheat for all his provision,
mounted the horse of his late master, and rode away northward. He knew
that Muscovy was in this general direction, and coming to a road marked
by a cross, rode that way for sixteen days, hiding whenever he heard any
sound of travelers for fear the iron slave-ring should betray him. At
last he came to a Russian garrison on the River Don, where he found good
friends. In 1604, after some other adventures, he came again to England.
All London was talking of the doings of King James, who in one short
year had managed to dissatisfy both Catholics and Protestants. Since the
voyages of Gosnold, Pring and Weymouth there was much interest in
Virginia. Ralegh was a prisoner in the Tower. There was talk of a
trading association to be called the London Company, and it was said
that this company planned a new plantation somewhere north of Roanoke.
Smith could see the great future which might await an English settlement
in that rich land. He decided to join the adventurers going out in the
fleet of Captain Christopher Newport. Before sailing, he went to
Lincolnshire to bid farewell to his own people, and in the shadow of the
Tower of Saint Botolph's he espied a tall lad whose look recalled

"Why," he cried with a hearty clasp of the hand. "'t is thyself grown a
man, Will! And how goes the Latin?"

"I love it well," the youth answered shyly. "Master Brewster hath also
instructed me in the Greek. If--if I had known where to send it I would
have repaid the money you was so kind as to spare."

"Nay, think no more o't--or rather, hand it on to some other young
book-worm," laughed the bearded and bronzed captain. "And how be all
your folk?"

The lad's eyes rested wistfully upon the quaint old seaport streets.
"The Bishop rails upon our congregation," he said. "Holland is better
than a prison, and we shall go there soon."

Smith's practical mind saw the uselessness of trying to get any
Non-Conformist taken on by a royal colony in Virginia just then. "'Tis a
hard case," he said sympathetically, "but we may meet again some day.
There's room enough in the Americas, the Lord knows, for all the honest
men England can spare."

Thus they parted, and on April 26, 1607, the Virginia voyagers saw land
at the mouth of the Chesapeake.

The company was rather top-heavy. Out of the hundred who were enrolled,
fifty-two were gentlemen adventurers, each of whom thought himself as
good as the rest and even a little better. No sooner had the ship
dropped anchor than thirty of them went ashore to roam the forest,
laughing and shouting as if they had the country to themselves. The
appearance of five Indians sent them scurrying back to the ship with two
of their number wounded, for they had no weapons with them. That night
the sealed orders of the London Company were opened, and it was found
that the directors had appointed a council of seven to govern the colony
and choose a president for a year. The colonists were charged to search
for gold and pearls and for a passage to the East Indies. Nothing more
original in the way of a colonial enterprise had occurred to the
directors. Success in these undertakings meant immediate profits with
which the new Company could compete with Bristol, Antwerp, and the
Muscovy Company's rich fur trade.

In the list of names for the council appeared that of Captain John
Smith, which was somewhat embarrassing, since a scandalous tale had been
set going during the voyage, that he intended to lead a mutiny and make
himself governor of the colony. This was so far believed that he was
kept a prisoner through the last part of the voyage. The other
councilors, Newport, Gosnold, Wingfield, Ratcliffe, Martin and Kendall,
held their election without him and chose Wingfield president.

Next day the carpenters began work on the shallop, which had been
shipped in sections, and Wingfield ordered Smith inland with a party of
armed men, to explore. They saw no Indians, but found a fire where
oysters were still roasting, and made a good meal off them, though some
of the luscious shellfish were so large that they had to be cut in
pieces before they were eaten. Coasting along the bay they discovered a
river, which was explored when the shallop was launched. Upon this river
they saw an Indian canoe forty feet long, made of the trunk of a tree
hollowed out, Indian fashion, with hot stones and shell gouges. They
found also oysters in abundance and in some of them fresh-water pearls.
After spending seventeen days in examining the country, they chose for
their settlement a peninsula on the north side of the river called the
Powhatans by the Indians, from the tribe living on its banks. This site
was about forty miles from the sea, and here, on May 13, they moored
their ships to trees in six fathom of water and named the place
Jamestown, and the river the King's River.

Thus far the Indians had been friendly, and Wingfield would not have any
fortifications built, or any military drill, for fear of arousing their
anger. Captain Kendall, despite orders, constructed a crescent-shaped
line of fence of untrimmed boughs, but most of the weapons remained in
packing-cases on board ship. Wingfield, who regarded Smith as a rather
dangerously outspoken man to have about just then, sent him with Newport
and twenty others, to explore the river to its head. On the sixth day
they passed the chief town of the Powhatans. On May 24 they reached the
head of the river, set up a cross, and proclaimed in the wilderness the
sovereignty of King James Stuart.

The thrifty eye of the Lincolnshire yeoman observed many things with
satisfaction during this march. There might not be any gold mines, but
there was unlimited timber, and the meadows would make as good pasture
for cattle as any in England. In the forests were red deer and fallow
deer, bears, otters, beavers, and foxes, besides animals unknown in
Europe. One moonlight night, while examining deer tracks near a little
stream, Smith saw humped on a fallen log above it a furry beast about
the size of a badger, with black face and paws like a bear, and a bushy
tail with crosswise rings of brown and black. This queer animal was
eating something, and dipping the food into the water before each
mouthful. When Smith described it to the Indians he could make nothing
of the name they gave it, but wrote it down as best he could--Araughcoune.
Another new kind of creature was of the size of a rabbit, grayish white,
with black ears and a tail like a rat. It would hang by its tail from a
tree, until knocked off with a stick, and then curl up with shut eyes
and pretend to be dead. It was excellent eating when roasted with wild
yams,--rather like a very small suckling pig, the colonists later
discovered. For the most part, however, Smith was inclined to think
they would have to depend upon their provisions and the corn they could
buy from the Indians.

On returning to Jamestown they found that the Indians had been raiding
the settlement, the colonists at the time being all at work and taken
completely by surprise. Seventeen men had been wounded, and a boy
killed. After this, the men were drilled each day, the guns were
unpacked and a palisade was begun.

Newport was in a hurry to return to England, and Wingfield now suggested
that Smith, who was still supposed to be under arrest, should go with
him and save any further trouble. This did not suit Smith at all. He
demanded an open trial, got it, and was triumphantly cleared of all

Of the privation, dissensions and sickness which followed Newport's
departure, the bad water, rotten food, constant trouble with savages,
and the unreasonable demands of the directors of the London Company, all
historians have told. One story, which Smith was wont to tell with keen
relish, deals with the instructions of the Company that the Indian
chief, "King Powhatan," should be crowned with all due ceremony, just at
a time of year when every hand in the colony was needed for attending to
the crops. Smith and Newport had just come to a reasonable understanding
with that astute savage, by which he treated them with real respect; and
the attention paid him by his "brother James," as he proceeded to call
the King of England, rather turned his head. He liked the red cloak sent
him, but had no idea what a crown meant. The raccoon skin mantle which
he removed when robed in the royal crimson was sent to England and is
now in a museum at Oxford.

After some years of strenuous toil and adventure John Smith went back
to London. An explosion of powder, whether accidental or intentional was
never known, wounded him seriously just before he left Jamestown, and he
did not recover from it for some time.

"And what is in your mind to do next, Captain?" asked Master William
Simons the geographer when they had finished, between them, the new map
of Virginia. Smith's eyes twinkled as he snapped the cover on his

"Why, 't is hard for an old rover like me to lie abed when there's man's
work to be done. You know, the London Company holds only the southern
division of the King's Patent for Virginia; the north's given to
Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth. And that's never been settled yet."

"There was a colony of Captain George Popham and Ralegh Gilbert went
out, five year ago," said Simons doubtfully. "They said they could not
endure the bitter climate."

"Sho," said Smith impatiently, one stubbed forefinger on the map, "'t is
in almost the same latitude as France. Maybe they chose the wrong place
for their plantation. Why, the French trade furs with the savages, all
up and down the Saint Laurence, and mind the cold no more than nothing
at all. The first thing we know, the Dutch will be out here finding a
road to the Indies."

Both men laughed. They had lost faith in that road to fortune.

"Anyhow Hudson didn't find it when they sent him to look for it the year
afore he died," said Simons, "or they'd be into it now. But what are you

"First make a voyage of exploration," said Smith. "I ha' talked with one
and another that told me they taken a draught of the coast, and I ha'
six or seven of the plots they drew, so different from one another and
out of proportion they do me as much good as so much waste paper--though
they cost me more," added the veteran grimly. "With a true map o' the
coast, we'd know whereabouts we were."

"No gold nor silver, I hear."

"Maybe not. But what commodity in England decays faster than wood? And
where will you find better forest than along that shore? Build shipyards
there, and our English folk would make a living off'n that and the
fisheries. I know how 't was in Boston--the Flemings would salt their
fish down right aboard the ships when the fleets came in. But men for
work like this must be men--not tyrants, nor slaves."

John Smith's eyes flashed, and his lips closed so tightly that his thick
mustaches and beard stuck straight out like a lion's. He had seen a
plenty of both slavery and tyranny in his life.

In fact there was a neck-and-neck race between the Plymouth Company and
the Dutch West India Company, for the control of the northern province.
Dutch fur traders were already on Manhattan Island living in makeshift
wooden huts, and Adrian Block was exploring Long Island Sound, when John
Smith went out to map the coast north of Cape Cod for Sir Ferdinando
Gorges of the Plymouth Company in 1614. The two little English ships
reached the part of the coast called by the Indians Monhegan in April of
that year. They had general instructions to meet the cost of the
expedition, if possible, by whaling, fishing and fur-trading. No true
whales were found, however, and by the time the ships reached the
fishing grounds the cod season was nearly past. Mullet and sturgeon were
plentiful in summer, and while the sailors fished, Smith took a few men
in a small boat and ranged the coast, trading for furs. Within a
distance of fifty or sixty miles they got in exchange for such trifles
as were prized by the Indians, more than a thousand beaver skins, a
hundred or more martens and as many otter-pelts. On a rocky island four
leagues from shore, in latitude 431/2, he made a garden in May which gave
them all salad vegetables through June and July. Not a man of the
twenty-five was ill even for a day. Cod, they learned, were abundant
from March to the middle of June, and again from September to November,
for cor-fish--salt fish or Poor John. The Indians said that the herring
were more than the hairs of the head. Sturgeon, mullet, salmon, halibut
and other fish were plentiful. Smith had a vision of comfortable
independent mariners settled on farms all along the coast, sending their
fish to market the year round, and sleeping every night at home. It
seemed to him that here, in a hardy thrifty province which gold-seekers
and gentlemen adventurers might scorn, he could contentedly end his

There was a pleasant inlet on the coast of a bold headland, north of
Cape Cod, which he thought would be his choice for his plantation. This
headland he had named Cape Tragabigzanda. There were three small round
islands to be seen far to seaward, which he called the Three Turks'
Heads. One Sunday, "a faire sunshining day," he climbed a green height
above Anusquam, and sitting on a huge boulder surveyed the bright and
peaceful landscape and chose the site for his house. Good stone there
would be in abundance, and mighty timbers that had been growing for him
since the days of Noah. In this Province of New England a strong and
fearless race would found new towns with the old names--Boston,
Plymouth, Ipswich, Sandwich, Gloucester. So he dreamed until the sun
went down under a canopy of crimson and gold, while the boat rocked in
the little bay where he would have his wharf.

In 1619, when English Puritans began preparations for the founding of a
new colony, he offered his services, but the older men would have none
of him. He was a "Church of England Protestant" and one of the
unregenerate with whom they had no fellowship. They took his map as a
guide, and settled, not on Cape Tragabigzanda, which Prince Charles had
re-named Cape Anne, but in the bay which he had called Plymouth. He
spent some years in London writing an account of his adventures, and
died in 1631 at the age of fifty-two--Captain John Smith, Admiral of New


The account of Captain John Smith's adventures among the Turks was at
one time considered apocryphal, but good authorities now see no reason
to regard his narrative of his own career as in any way inaccurate. The
perils and strange chances which an adventurous man encountered in such
times often seem almost incredible in a more peaceful age, but there is
really no more reason to doubt them than to discredit authentic accounts
of men like Daniel Boone, Francis Drake, or other men of similar


    Through tangled mysteries of old romance
      Knights, Latin, Celt or Saxon, pass a-dream,
    Seeking the minarets of magic towers
      Through the witched woods that gleam.

    Stately in trappings thick with gold and gems,
      Stern-browed and stubborn-eyed, they wandered forth,
    As children credulous, as strong men brave,
      To South, and West, and North.

    Our venturous pilots map the windy skies;
      To serve our pleasure, huger galleons wait.
    Aflame with more than magic lights, our walls
      Guard the Manhattan Gate!


Among the sources of information from which the historical material of
this book are drawn are the following works:

Voyages, HAKLUYT

The Discovery of America. JOHN FISKE

Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America. JOHN FISKE

The Conquest of Mexico. PRESCOTT

Two Voyages in New England. J. JOSSELYN

Adventures and Conquests of Magellan. GEORGE MAKEPEACE TOWLE

Narrative and Critical History of America. (Edited by JUSTIN WINSOR)

The People for Whom Shakespeare Wrote. WARNER

The Romance of Colonization. G. BARNETT SMITH


The Voyage of the Vega. NORDENSKIOLD

The Land of the Midnight Sun. DU CHAILLU

The Court of France. LADY JACKSON

Sailors' Narratives of New England Voyages. (Edited by GEORGE PARKER


The Iroquois Book of Rites. HALE

Drake. ALFRED NOYES (_poem_)

Crusaders of New France. WILLIAM BENNETT MUNRO

Elizabethan Sea-dogs. WILLIAM WOOD

Young Folks' Book of American Explorers. HIGGINSON

Paradise Found. WILLIAM F. WARREN

Ferdinand and Isabella. PRESCOTT

Pioneers of France in the New World. PARKMAN

Sir Francis Drake. JULIAN CORBETT

Henry the Navigator. MEN OF ACTION SERIES


[Transcriber's Notes:

Page Problem                    Change/Comment

8    "Helene"                   "Helêne" to match rest of text
26   same awe                   some awe
55                              Inserted a comma after 'jeweled
85                              superfluous comma in "Catherine,
                                became" removed
85   valauble                   valuable
90   good cheap and wholesome.  As in image
108  comrad                     comrade
133  'And the White Gods come'  Line indented to match other stanzas.
150  sqadron                    squadron
162  religon                    religion
178  exicitement                excitement
194  slaves                     slavers
194  Cabeca                     'Cabeça' as elsewhere
230  'like spent bullets"       'like spent bullets.'
232  two month's                As in image
239  exploratioins              explorations
247  Amadas                     Armadas
300                             Inserted '(' before 'Edited by Justin

The following variant spellings in the text have been left unmodified:

"Bacalao" and "Baccalao"
"Mappe-Mondo" and "Mappe-Monde"
"'T is" and "'Tis"

The following variant hyphenations in the text have been left unmodified:

"arrow-heads" and "arrowheads"
"birch-bark" and "birchbark"
"cross-bow" and "crossbow-bolts"
"court-yards" and "courtyards"
"deer-skin" and "deerskin"
"frost-work" and "frostwork"
"Grand-Master" and "Grand Master"
"ink-horn" and "inkhorn"
"kin-folk" and "kinfolk"
"sea-weed" and "seaweed"
"shell-fish" and "shellfish"
"ship-worm" and "shipworms"]

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