How They Came to Barbados, and Found No Men Therein
At one stride comes the dark.Coleridge.
Land! land! land! Yes, there it was, far away to the south and west, beside the setting sun, a long blue bar between the crimson sea and golden sky. Land at last, with fresh streams, and cooling fruits, and free room for cramped and scurvy-weakened limbs. And there, too, might be gold, and gems, and all the wealth of Ind. Who knew? Why not? The old world of fact and prose lay thousands of miles behind them, and before them and around them was the realm of wonder and fable, of boundless hope and possibility. Sick men crawled up out of their stifling hammocks; strong men fell on their knees and gave God thanks; and all eyes and hands were stretched eagerly toward the far blue cloud, fading as the sun sank down, yet rising higher and broader as the ship rushed on before the rich trade-wind, which whispered lovingly round brow and sail, I am the faithful friend of those who dare! Blow freshly, freshlier yet, thou good trade-wind, of whom it is written that He makes the winds His angels, ministering breaths to the heirs of His salvation. Blow freshlier yet, and save, if not me from death, yet her from worse than death. Blow on, and land me at her feet, to call the lost lamb home, and die!
So murmured Frank to himself, as with straining eyes he gazed upon that first outlier of the New World which held his all. His cheeks were thin and wasted, and the hectic spot on each glowed crimson in the crimson light of the setting sun. A few minutes more, and the rainbows of the West were gone; emerald and topaz, amethyst and ruby, had faded into silver-gray; and overhead, through the dark sapphire depths, the Moon and Venus reigned above the sea.
That should be Barbados, your worship, said Drew, the master; unless my reckoning is far out, which, Heaven knows, it has no right to be, after such a passage, and God be praised.
Barbados? I never heard of it.
Very like, sir: but Yeo and I were here with Captain Drake, and I was here after, too, with poor Captain Barlow; and there is good harborage to the south and west of it, I remember.
And neither Spaniard, cannibal, or other evil beast, said Yeo. A very garden of the Lord, sir, hid away in the seas, for an inheritance to those who love Him. I heard Captain Drake talk of planting it, if ever he had a chance.
I recollect now, said Amyas, some talk between him and poor Sir Humphrey about an island here. Would God he had gone thither instead of to Newfoundland!
Nay, then, said Yeo, he is in bliss now with the Lord; and you would not have kept him from that, sir?
He would have waited as willingly as he went, if he could have served his queen thereby. But what say you, my masters? How can we do better than to spend a few days here, to get our sick round, before we make the Main, and set to our work?
All approved the counsel except Frank, who was silent.
Come, fellow-adventurer, said Cary, we must have your voice too.
To my impatience, Will, said he, aside in a low voice, there is but one place on earth, and I am all day longing for wings to fly thither: but the counsel is right. I approve it.
So the verdict was announced, and received with a hearty cheer by the crew; and long before morning they had run along the southern shore of the island, and were feeling their way into the bay where Bridgetown now stands. All eyes were eagerly fixed on the low wooded hills which slept in the moonlight, spangled by fireflies, with a million dancing stars; all nostrils drank greedily the fragrant air, which swept from the land, laden with the scent of a thousand flowers; all ears welcomed, as a grateful change from the monotonous
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