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Don G. May it please your majesty, the ladies are privileged to give credence to many wild tales which we plain matter-of-fact men can not admit. Every step I take, confutes this visionary idea of the earth's rotundity. Would not the blood run into my head, if I were standing upside down! Were I not fearful of offending your majesty, I would quote what the great Lactantius' says.
Isa. We are not vain of our science, Don Gomez; so let us have the quotation.
Don G. "Is there any one so foolish," he asks, "as to believe that there are antipodes with their feet opposite to ours,—that there is a part of the world in which all things are topsy-turvy, where the trees grow with their branches downward, and where it rains, hails, and snows, upward' ?” Col. I have already answered this objection. If there are people on the earth who are our antipodes, it should be remembered that we are theirs also.
Don G. Really, that is the very point wherein we matter-` of-fact men abide by the assurance of our own senses. know that we are not walking with our heads downward.
Isa. To cut short the discussion, you think that the enterprise which the Genoese proposes, is one unworthy of our serious consideration; and that his theory of an unknown shore to the westward of us is a fallacy.
Don G. As a plain matter-of-fact man, I must confess that I so regard it. Has your majesty ever seen an ambassador from this unknown coast?
Isa. Don Gomez, do you believe in the existence of a world of spirits? Have you ever seen an ambassador from that unknown world?
Don G. Certainly not. By faith we look forward to it. Isa. Even so by faith does the Genoese look forward, far over misty ocean, to an undiscovered shore.
Col. Your majesty is right; but let it be added that I have reasons, oh! most potent and resistless reasons, for the faith that is in me: the testimony of many navigators who have picked up articles that must have drifted from this distant coast: the nature of things, admitting that the earth is round the reports current among the people of one of the northern nations, that many years ago their mariners had sailed many leagues westward till they reached a shore where the grape grew abundantly; these and other considerations have made it the fixed persuasion of my mind, that there is a great discovery reserved for the man who will sail patiently westward, trusting in God's good providence, and turning not back till he has achieved his purpose.
Don G. Then truly we should never hear of him again. Speculation! mere speculation, your majesty! When this gentleman can bring forward some solid facts that will induce us plain matter-of-fact men to risk money in forwarding his enterprise, it will then be time enough for royalty to give it beed. Why, your majesty, the very boys in the streets point at their foreheads as he passes along.
Isa. And so you bring forward the frivolity of boys jeering at what they do not comprehend, as an argument why Isabella should not give heed to this great and glorious scheme? Ay, sir, though it should fail, still, it has been urged in language so intelligent and convincing, by this grave and earnest man, whom you think to undervalue by calling him an adventurer, that I am resolved to test the "absurdity," as you style it, and that forthwith.
Don G. Your majesty will excuse me if I remark, that I have from your royal consort himself the assurance that the finances are so exhausted by the late wars, that he can not consent to advance the necessary funds for fitting out an expedition of the kind proposed.
Isa. Be mine, then, the privilege! I have jewels, by
the pledging of which I can raise the amount required; and I have resolved that they shall be pledged to this enterprise, without any more delay.
Col. Your majesty shall not repent your heroic resolve. I will return, your majesty; be sure I will return, and lay at your feet such a jewel as never queen wore yet, an imperishable fame,-a fame that shall couple with your mem ory the benedictions of millions yet unborn, in climes yet unknown to civilized man. There is an uplifting presentiment in my mind, a conviction that your majesty will live to bless the hour you came to this decision.
Don G. A presentiment? A plain matter-of-fact man, like myself, must take leave of your majesty, if his practical common-sense is to be met and superseded by presentiments! An ounce of fact, your majesty, is worth a ton of presenti
Isa. That depends altogether upon the source of the presentiment, Don Gomez. If it come from the Fountain of all truth, shall it not be good?
Don G. I humbly take my leave of your majesty.
QUESTIONS.-1. What reasons did Don Gomez advance in proof that the earth is not a sphere? 2. What argument did Columbus present in proof that it was? 3. What did Queen Isabella resolve to do?
CON FIRM'ING, corroborating.
MU TI NEER', one who resists orders.
AS SO CIA TING, joining; connecting.
HES I TA'TION, doubt.
EN JOIN' ING, Commanding; ordering.
DEV AS TA'TION, a laying waste.
DISCOVERY OF THE NEW WORLD.
1. Ar sunrise, on the second day, some rushes recently torn up, were seen near the vessels. A plank, evidently hewn by an ax, a stick skillfully carved by some cutting instrument, a bough of hawthorn in blossom,—and lastly, a bird's nest built on a branch which the wind had broken, aid full of eggs, on which the parent bird was sitting amid the gently-rolling waves,—were seen floating past on the waters. The sailors brought on board these living and inanimate witnesses of their approach to land. They were a voice from the shore, confirming the assurances of Columbus. Before the land actually appeared in sight, its neighborhood was inferred from these marks of life.
2. The mutineers fell on their knees before the Admiral, whom they had insulted but the day before, craved pardon for their mistrust, and struck up a hymn of thanksgiving to God for associating them with this triumph. Night fell on these songs welcoming a new world. The Admiral gave orders that the sails should be close-reefed, and the lead kept going; and that they should sail slowly, being afraid of breakers and shoals, and feeling certain that the first gleam of daybreak would discover land under their bows.
3. On the last anxious night none slept. Impatient expectation had removed all heaviness from their eyes; the pilots and the seamen, clinging about the masts, yards, and shrouds, each tried to keep the best place and the closest watch to get the earliest sight of the new hemisphere. The Admiral had offered a reward to the first who should cry Land, provided his announcement was verified by its actual discovery.
4. Providence, however, reserved to Columbus himself this first glimpse, which he had purchased at the expense of
twenty years of his life, and of untiring perseverance. While walking the quarter-deck alone, at midnight, and sweeping the dark horizon with his keen eye, a gleam of fire passed and disappeared, and again showed itself on the level of the waves. Fearful of being deceived by the phosphorescence of the sea, he quietly called a Spanish gentleman of Isabella's court, in whom he had more confidence than in the pilots, pointed out the direction in which he had seen the light, and asked him whether he could discern any thing there.
5. He replied that he did, indeed, see a flickering light in that quarter. To make the fact still more sure, Columbus called another in whom he had confidence to look in the same direction. He said he had no hesitation in pronouncing that there was a light on the horizon. But the blaze was hardly seen before it again disappeared in the oceán, to show itself anew the next moment. Whether it was the light of a fire on a low shore, alternately appearing and disappearing beyond the broken horizon, or whether it was the floating beacon of a fisherman's boat now rising on the waves, and now sinking in the trough of the sea, they could not determine.
6. Thus both land and safety appeared together in the shape of fire to Columbus and his two friends, on the night between the 11th and 12th of October, 1492. The Admiral, enjoining silence, kept his observation to himself, for fear of again raising false hopes, and giving a bitter disappoinment to his ships' companies. He lost sight of the light, and remained on deck until two in the morning,-praying, hoping, and despairing alone, awaiting the triumph or the return on which the morrow was to decide.
7. He was seized with that anguish which precedes the great discoveries of truth, when, suddenly, a cannon-shot,