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at seeing Columbus, and deplored with tears the misfortunes of the garrison. At the request of the admiral, his leg was examined by a Spanish surgeon, but no sign of a wound was to be seen, though he shrunk with pain whenever the leg was touched. As some time had elapsed since the battle, the external bruise might have disappeared, while a tenderness might remain in the part. Many of the Spaniards, however, who had not witnessed the generous conduct of the cacique in the first voyage, looked upon his lameness as feigned, and the whole story of the battle a fabrication to conceal his perfidy. Columbus persisted in believing him innocent, and invited him on board of his ships, where the cacique was greatly astonished at the wonders of art and nature brought from the old world. What most amazed him was the horses. He had never seen any but the most diminutive quadrupeds, and gazed with awe at the grandeur of these noble animals, their great strength, terrific appearance, yet perfect docility. The sight of the Carib prisoners also increased his idea of the prowess of the Spaniards, having the hardihood to invade these terrible beings even in their strong holds, while he could scarcely look upon them without shuddering, though in chains.
On board the ship were several Indian women who had been captives to the Caribs. Among them was one distinguished above her companions by a certain loftiness of demeanour; she had been much noticed and admired by the Spaniards, who had given her the name of Catalina. She particularly attracted the attention of the cacique, who is represented to have been of an amorous complexion.
spoke to her repeatedly, with great gentleness of tone and manner, pity in all probability being mingled with his admiration; for, though rescued from the hands of the Caribs, she and her companions were still, in a manner, captives on board of the ship.
A collation was served up for the entertainment of Guacanagari, and Columbus endeavoured by kindness and hospitality to revive their former cordial intercourse, but it was all in vain; the cacique was evidently distrustful and ill at ease. The suspicions of his guilt gained ground among the Spaniards. Father Boyle, in particular, regarded him with an evil eye, and advised Columbus, now that he had him securely on board of his ship, to detain him prisoner; but Columbus rejected the counsel of the crafty friar, as contrary to sound policy and honourable faith. The cacique, however, accustomed in his former intercourse with the Spaniards to meet on every side with faces beaming with gratitude and friendship, could not but perceive the altered looks of cold suspicion and secret hostility. Notwithstanding the frank and cordial hospitality of the admiral, therefore, he soon took leave and returned to land.
On the following day there was a mysterious movement and agitation among the natives on shore. The brother of Guacanagari came on board, under pretext of bartering a quantity of gold, but as it afterwards proved to bear a message to Catalina, the Indian female, whose beauty had captivated the heart of the cacique, and whom, with a kind of native gallantry, he wished to deliver from bondage. At midnight, when the crew were buried in their
first sleep, Catalina awakened her female companions, and proposed a bold attempt to gain their liberty. The ship was anchored full three miles from the shore, and the sea was rough; but these island women were accustomed to buffet with the waves, and the water was to them almost as their natural element. Letting themselves down silently from the side of the vessel, they trusted to the strength of their arms, and swam bravely for the shore. They were overheard by the watch, the alarm was given, the boats were manned and gave chase in the direction of a light blazing on the shore, an evident beacon for the fugitives. Such was the vigour of these sea nymphs, however, that they reached the land before they were overtaken. Four were captured on the beach, but the heroic Catalina, with the rest of her companions, escaped in safety to the forest. Guacanagari disappeared on the same day with all his household and effects, and it was supposed had taken refuge, with his island beauty, in the interior. His desertion gave redoubled force to the doubts heretofore entertained, and he was generally stigmatized as the perfidious destroyer of the garrison.
Founding of the City of Isabella-Discontents of the
THE misfortunes which had befallen the Spaniards, both by sea and land, in the vicinity of this harbour, threw a gloom over the place, and it was considered by the superstitious mariners as under some baneful influence, or malignant star. The situation, too, was low, moist, and unhealthy, and there was no stone in the neighbourhood for building. Columbus searched, therefore, for a more favourable place for his projected colony, and fixed upon a harbour about ten leagues east of Monte Christi, protected on one side by a natural rampart of rocks, and on the other by an impervious forest, with a fine plain in the vicinity, watered by two rivers. A great inducement also for settling here was, that it was at no great distance from the mountains of Cibao, where the gold mines were situated.
The troops and the various persons to be employed in the colony were immediately disembarked, together with the stores, arms, ammunition, and all the cattle and live stock. An encampment was formed on the margin of the plain, round a sheet of water, and the plan of a town traced out, and
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