The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

the wind blew, which, therefore, had not space sufficient to act upon the surface and heave up large waves. Terror, however, multiplies and varies the forms of ideal danger a thousand times faster than the most active wisdom can dispel them. The more Columbus argued, the more boisterous became the murmurs of his crew, until, on Sunday, the 25th of September, there came on a heavy swell of the sea, unaccompanied by wind. This phenomenon often occurs on the broad ocean; being either the expiring undulations of some past gale, or the movement given to the sea by some distant current of wind; it was, nevertheless, regarded with astonishment by the mariners, and dispelled the imaginary terrors occaosioned by the calm.

Columbus, who as usual considered himself under the immediate eye and guardianship of Heaven in this solemn enterprise, intimates in his journal that this swelling of the sea seemed, providentially ordered to allay the rising clamors of his crew; comparing it to that which so miraculously aided Moses when conducting the children of Israel out of the captivity of Egypt.*


CHAPTER IV.
CONTINUATION OF THE VOYAGE—DISCOVERY OF LAND.

[ 1492.]

The situation of Columbus was daily becoming more and more critical. In proportion as he approached the regions where he expected to find land the impaitience of his crews augmented. The favorable signs which increased his confidence, were derided by them as delusive; and there was danger of their rebelling, and obliging him to tam back, when on the point of realizing the object of all his labors. They beheld themselves with dismay still wafted onward, over the boundless wastes of what appeared to them a mere watery desert, surrounding the habitable world. What was to become of

____________________
*
"Como is mar estuviese mansa y llana murmuaba la gente diciendo que, pues por alli no habia mar grande que nunca ventaria para volver á España; pero despues alzóse mucho la mar y sin viento, que los asombraba; por lo cual dice aqui el Almirante; asi que muy necesario me fué la mar alta, que no pareció, slavo el tiempo de los Judios cuando salieron de Egipto contra Moyses que los sacaba de captiverio."Journal of Colomb. Navarrete, tom. i. p. 12.

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