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a reason for this appearance, which, though it did not satisfy himself, seemed so plausible to them, that it dispelled their fears, and silenced their murmurs.
On the first of October, they were about seven hundred and seventy leagues west of the Canaries. They had now been above three weeks at sea : all their prognostics of discovery, drawn from the flight of birds, and other circumstances, had proved fallacious, and their prospect of success seemed now to be as distant as ever. The spirit of discontent and of mutiny began to manifest itself among the sailors, and, by degrees, the contagion spread from ship to ship.
All agreed, that Columbus should be compelled, by force, to return, while their crazy vessels were yet in a condition to keep the sea; and some even proposed to throw him overboard, as the most expeditious method of getting rid of his remonstrances, and of securing a seasonable return to their native land.
Columbus was fully sensible of his perilous situation. He perceived that it would be of no avail to have recourse to any of his former expedients, to lead on the hopes of his companions, and that it was impossible to rekindle any zeal for the success of the expedition, among men, in whose breasts fear had extinguished every generous sentiment.
He found it necessary to soothe passions, which he could no longer command, and to give way to a torrent too impetuous to be checked. He accordingly promised his men, that he would comply with their request, provided they would accompany him, and obey his commands, for three days longer; and if, during that time, land were not discovered, he would then abandon the enterprise, and direct his course towards Spain.
Enraged as the sailors were, and impatient as they were of returning to their native country, this proposition did not appear to them unreasonable : nor did Columbus hazard much in confining himself to a time so short; for the près'ages of discovering land had become so numerous and promising, that he deemed them infallible.
For some days, the sounding line had reached the bottom; and the soil, which it brought up, indicated land to be at no great distance. The flocks of birds increased, and were composed not only of sea-fowl, but of such land birds as could not be supposed to fly far from the shore.
- The crew of the Pinta observed a cane floating, which seemed to have been newly cut, and likewise a piece of timber, artificially carved. The sailors aboard the Nigna
took up the branch of a tree, with red berries, perfectly fresh. The clouds, around the setting sun, assumed a new appearance; the air was more mild and warm; and, during night, the wind became unequal and variable.
From all these symptoms, Columbus was so confident of being near land, that, on the evening of the eleventh of October, after public prayers for success, he ordered the sails to be furled, and strict watch to be kept, lest the ship should be driven ashore in the night. During this interval of suspense and expectation, no man shut his eyes; all kept upon deck, gazing intently towards that quarter where they expected to discover the land, which had been so long the object of their wishes.
About two hours before midnight, Columbus, standing on the forecastle, observed a light at a distance, and privately pointed it out to two of his people. All three saw it in motion, as if it were carried from place to place. A little after midnight, the joyful sound of Land! land! was heard from the Pinta. But, having been so often deceived by fallacious appearances, they had now become slow of belief, and waited, in all the anguish of uncertainty and impatience, for the return of day.
As soon as morning dawned, their doubts and fears were dispelled. They beheld an island about two leagues to the north, whose flat and verdant fields, well stored with wood, and watered with many rivulets, presented to them the aspect of a delightful country. The crew of the Pinta instantly began a hymn of thanksgiving to God, and were joined, by those of the other ships, with tears of joy, and transports of congratulation.
This office of gratitude to Heaven was followed by an act of justice to their commander. They threw themselves at the feet of Columbus, with feelings of self-condemnation, mingled with reverence. They implored him to pardon their ignorance, incredulity, and insolence, which had created him so much unnecessary disquiet, and had so often obstructed the prosecution of his well-concerted plan; and passing, in the warmth of their admiration, from one extreme to another, they now pronounced the man, whom they had so lately reviled and threatened, to be a person inspired, by Heaven, with sagacity and fortitude more than human, in order to accomplish a design so far beyond the ideas and conceptions of all former ages.
As soon as the sun arose, all the boats were manned and armed. They rowed towards the island with their colours
displayed, warlike music, and other martial pomp; and, as they approached the coast, they saw it covered with a multitude of people, whom the novelty of the spectacle had drawn together, and whose attitudes and gestures expressed wonder and astonishment at the strange objects which presented themselves to their view.
Columbus was the first Europēan who set foot in the New World which he had discovered. He landed in a rich dress, and with a naked sword in his hand. His men followed, and, kneeling down, they all kissed the ground which they had long desired to see.
They next erected a crucifix, and, prostrating themselves before it, returned thanks to God for conducting their voyage to such a happy issue. They then took solemn possession of the country for the crown of Castile and Leon, with all the formalities with which the Portuguese were accustomed to take possession of their new discoveries.
The Spaniards, while thus employed, were surrounded by many of the natives, who gazed, in silent admiration, upon actions which they could not comprehend, and of which they did not foresee the consequences. The dress of the Spaniards, the whiteness of their skins, their beards, their arms, appeared strange and surprising.
The vast machines, in which they had traversed the ocean, that seemed to move upon the water with wings, and uttered a dreadful sound, resembling thunder, accompanied with lightning and smoke, struck them with such terror, that they began to respect their new guests as a superior order of beings, and concluded that they were children of the sun, who had descended to visit the earth.
The Europeans were hardly less amazed at the scene now before them. Every herb, and shrub, and tree, was different from those which flourished in Europe. The soil sèemed to be rich, but bore few marks of cultivation. The climate, even to Spaniards, felt warm, though extremely delightful.
The inhabitants were entirely naked: their black hair, long and uncurled, floated upon their shoulders, or was bound in tresses around their heads: they had no beards; their complexion was of a dusky copper colour; thei features singular, rather than disagreeable; their aspect gentle and timid.
Though not tall, they were well shaped and active. Their faces, and other parts of their body, were fantastically painted with glaring colours. They were shy at first, through fear, but soon became familiar with the Spaniards, and, with transports of joy, received from them hawks' bells, glass beads, and other baubles ; in return for which, they gave such provisions as they had, and some cotton yarn, the only commodity of value which they could produce.
Towards evening, Columbus returned to his ships, accompanied by many of the islanders in their boats, which they called canoes; and, though rudely formed out of the trunk of a single tree, they rowed them with surprising dexterity
Thus, in the first interview between the inhabitants of the Old World and those of the New, every thing was conducted amicably, and to their mutual satisfaction. The former, enlightened and ambitious, formed already vast ideas with respect to the advantages which they might derive from those regions that began to open to their view. The latter, simple and undiscerning, had no foresight of the calamities and desolation, which were now approaching their country.
A good Scholar.-MAY.
A GOOD scholar is known by his obedience to the rules of the school, and to the directions of his teacher. He does not give his teacher the trouble of telling him the same thing over and over again ; but says or does immediately whatever he is desired. His attendance at the proper time of school is always punctual. Fearful of being too late, as soon as the hour of meeting approaches, he hastens to the school, takes his place quietly, and instantly attends to his lesson. He is remarkable for his diligence and attention. He reads no other book than that which he is desired to read by his master. He studies no lessons but those which are appointed for the day.
He takes no toys from his pocket to amuse himself or others; he has no fruit to eat, no sweetmeats to give away:-If any of his companions attempt to take off his eye or his mind from his lesson, he does not give heed to them. If they still try to make him idle, he bids them let him alone, and do their own duties. And if, after this, they go on to disturb and vex him, he informs the teacher, that, both for their sake and for his own, he may interfere, and, by a wise reproof, prevent the continuance of such improper and hurtful conduct.
When strangers enter the school, he does not stare rudely in their faces; but is as attentive to his lesson as if no one were present but the master. If they speak to him, he answers with modesty and respect. When the scholars in his class are reading, spelling, or repeating any thing, he is very attentive, and studies to learn by listening to them. His great desire is to improve, and therefore he is never idle, -not even when he might be SO, and yet escape
detection and punishment.
He minds his business as well when his teacher is out of sight, as when he is standing near him, or looking at him. If possible, he is more diligent when his teacher happens for a little to be away from him, that he may show all good fidelity” in this, as in every thing else. He is desirous of adding to the knowledge he has already gained, of learning something useful every day. And he is not satisfied if a day passes, without making him wiser than he was before, in those things which will be of real benefit to him.
When he has a difficult lesson to learn, or a hard task to perform, he does not fret or murmur at it. He knows that his master would not have prescribed it to him, unless he had thought that he was able for it, and that it would do him good. He therefore sets about it readily; and he encourages himself with such thoughts as these : “My parents will be very glad when they hear that I have learned this difficult lesson, and performed this hard task. My teacher, also, will be pleased with me for my diligence. And I myself shall be comfortable and happy when the exercise is finished. The sooner and the more heartily I apply myself to it, the sooner and the better it will be done."
When he reads, his words are pronounced so distinctly, that you can easily hear and understand him. His copy book is fairly written, and free from blots and scrawls. - His letters are clear and full, and his strokes broad and fine. His figures are well made, accurately cast up, and neatly put down in their regular order; and his accounts are, in general, free from mistakes.
He not only improves himself, but he rejoices in the improvement of others. He loves to hear them commended, and to see them rewarded. “If I do well,” he says, “I shall be commended and rewarded too; and if all did well,