The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

them dead, might set sail and leave them in this wilderness, cut off forever from their homes and the abodes of civilized man. At length, when almost reduced to despair, they had arrived at the sea-shore, and following it for some time, be. held, to their great joy, the fleet riding quietly at anchor. They brought with them several Indian women and boys; but in all their wanderings they had not met with any man; the greater part of the warriors, as has been said, being fortunately absent on an expedition.

Notwithstanding the hardships they had endured and his joy at their return, Columbus put the captain under arrest, and stopped part of the rations of the men, for having strayed away without permission, for in a service of such a critical nature, it was necessary to punish every breach of discipline.*


CHAPTER III.
CRUISE AMONG THE CARIBBEE ISLANDS.

[ 1493.]

Weighing anchor on the 10th of November, Columbus steered toward the north-west, along this beautiful archipelago; giving names to the islands as they rose to view; such as Montserrat, Santa Maria la Redonda, Santa Maria la Antigua, and San Martin. Various other islands, lofty and well-wooded, appeared to the north, south-west, and south-east; but he forbore to visit them. The weather proving boisterous, he anchored on the 14th at an island called Ayay by the Indians, but to which he gave the name of Santa Cruz. A boat well manned was sent on shore to get water and procure information. They found a village deserted by the men, but secured a few women and boys, most of them captives from other islands. They soon had an instance of Carib courage and ferocity. While at the village they beheld a canoe from a distant part of the island come round a point of land and arrive in view of the ships. The Indians in the canoe, two of whom were females, remained gazing in mute amazement at the ships, and were so entranced that the boat stole close upon them before they per-

____________________
*
Dr. Chanca's Letter, Hist. del Almirante, cap. 40.

-217-

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