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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:22:15
Typefacelarge in Small
  With these assurances he cheered their hearts. In truth, however, hewas very indignant at Ovando's cool behavior. That he should have leftthem for months in danger and uncertainty, with a mere tantalizingmessage and a scanty present of food--all this naturally made the greatleader indignant. He believed that Ovando hoped that he might perish onthe island.

  * * * "I set out for the ship. And there was a large almadia which hadcome to board the caravel Nina, and one of the men from we Island of SanSalvador threw himself into the sea, took this boat, and made off; and thenight before, at midnight, another jumped out. And the almadia went backso fast that there never was a boat which could come up with her, althoughwe had a considerable advantage. It reached the shore, and they left thealmadia, and some of my company landed after them, and they all fled likehens.

  Therefore when they said the "Salve," which all the sailors are used to say and sing in their fashion, the Admiral ordered them to look out well fromthe forecastle, and he would give at once a silk jacket to the man who firstsaw land, besides the other rewards which the sovereigns had ordered,which were 10,000 maravedis, to be paid as an annuity forever to the manwho saw it first.

  He seems to have observed the singular regularity by which the tradewinds bore him steadily westward as he came over. He had no wish tovisit the Canary Islands again, and with more wisdom than could havebeen expected, from his slight knowledge of the Atlantic winds, he borenorth. Until the fourteenth of February the voyage was prosperous anduneventful. One day the captive Indians amused the sailors by swimming.


  On Sunday, October 28, he arrived there, in what is now called thePuerto de Nipe; he named it the Puerto de San Salvador. Here, as he wenton, he was again charmed by the beautiful country. He found palms "ofanother sort," says Las Casas, "from those of Guinea, and from ours." He found the island the "most beautiful which eyes have seen, full of verygood ports and deep rivers," and that apparently the sea is never roughthere, as the grass grows down to the water's edge. This greenness to thesea's edge is still observed there. "Up till that time," says Las Casas, ,hehad not experienced in all these islands that the sea was rough." He hadoccasion to learn about it later. He mentions also that the island ismountainous.

  Columbus satisfied himself that there was a much larger populationinland. He learned from the Indians that the cacique, as he always calls thechief of these tribes, was a most important monarch in that region. Hishouses were larger than others, built handsomely of wood, covered withpalm leaves.

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


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