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The Sea-shell .....
Why the Earth Moves
Round the Sun-Part I, 164
Part II. 168
A Glimpse of England in
Queen Elizabeth's Time-
Part I... 174
Part II., 177
The Great Plague in London 182
Who is My Neighbour ?...... 189
The Charge of the Light
Benefits of Affliction 194
THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.-PART I. pre-con-cert'-ed, previously settled for'-feit, lose de-jection, low spirits
as-cer-tain', find out de-vi-a'-tion, turning from com-put'-ed, reckoned clam'-or-ous, noisy
re'-cent-ly, lately tur'-bu-lence, disorder
de-lu'-sions, errors 1. On the morning of the 7th of October, 1492, at sunrise, several of the Admiral's crew thought they beheld land in the west, but so indistinctly that no one ventured to proclaim it, lest he should be mistaken, and forfeit all chance of the reward ; the Nina, however, being a good sailer, pressed forward to ascertain the fact.
2. In a little while, the flag was hoisted at her masthead, and a gun discharged, being the preconcerted signals for land. New joy was awakened throughout the little squadron, and every eye was turned to the west. As they advanced, however, their cloud-built hopes faded away, and before evening the promised land had again melted into air. The crews now sank into a degree of dejection proportioned to their recent excitement,
en new circumstances occurred to arouse them.
3. Columbus having observed great flights of small field-birds going towards the south-west, concluded they must be migrating to some neighbouring land, where they would find food and a resting-place. He knew the importance which the Portuguese voyagers attached to the flight of birds, by following which they had discovered many of their islands. He had now come seven hundred and fifty leagues, the distance at which he had computed to find the island of Cipango, and, as there was no appearance of it, he thought he might have missed it, through some mistake in the latitude.
4. He determined, therefore, on the evening of the 7th of October, to alter his course to the southwest, the direction the birds generally flew, and to continue in that direction for at least two days. After all, it was no great deviation from his main course, and would meet the wishes of the Pinzons, as well as be inspiriting to his followers generally.
5. For three days they stood in this direction, and the further they went, the more frequent and encouraging were the signs of land. Flights of small birds of various colours, some of them such as sing in the fields, came flying about the ships, and then continued towards the south-west, and others were heard also flying by in the night.
6. Tunny fish played about the smooth sea; and a heron, a pelican, and a duck were seen, all bound in the same direction. The herbage which floated by the ships was fresh and green, as if recently from land; and the air, Columbus observed, was sweet and fragrant as April breezes in Seville.
7. All these, however, were regarded by the crew as so many delusions beguiling them on to destruction; and when, on the evening of the third day, they beheld the sun go down upon a shoreless horizon, they broke forth into clamorous turbulence. They exclaimed against this obstinacy in tempting fate by continuing on into a boundless sea. They insisted upon turning homeward, and abandoning the voyage as hopeless.
8. Columbus endeavoured to pacify them by gentle words, and promises of large rewards ; but, finding that they only increased in clamour, he assumed a decided tone. He told them it was useless to murmur; the expedition had been sent by the Sovereigns to seek the Indies; and, happen what might, he was determined to persevere until, by the blessing of God, he should accomplish the enterprise. Columbus was now at open defiance with his crew, and his situation became desperate.
9. Fortunately, however, the manifestations of neighbouring land were such on the following day as no longer to admit a doubt. Besides a quantity of fresh weeds, such as grow in rivers, they saw a green fish, of a kind which keeps about rocks; then a branch of thorn with berries on it, and recently separated from the tree, floated by them; then they picked up a reed, a small board, and, above all, a staff artificially carved.
All gloom and mutiny now gave way to sanguine expectation; and throughout the day each one was eagerly on the watch, in hopes of being the first to discover the long-sought-for land.
10. In the evening, when, according to invariable custom on board of the Admiral's ship, the mariners had sung the “Salve Regina,” or vesper hymn, he made an impressive address to his crew. He pointed out the goodness of God in thus conducting them by such soft and favouring breezes across a tranquil ocean, cheering their hopes continually with fresh signs, increasing as their fears augmented, and thus leading and guiding them to a promised land.
11. He now reminded them of the orders he had given on leaving the Canaries; that, after sailing westward seven hundred leagues, they should not make sail after midnight. Present appearances authorised such a precaution. He though it probable that they would make land