The almirante nodded coronary heart disease

-Alas! not even this, sir. I can not forgive; forgetting seems to me more wise. Fors is also more hasty. In this I do not agree with my friend. Where Cosma sighs, I shrug my shoulders; where Cosma cries, I smile. But in one thing we have become united as two shores: in loving you, Mr. almirante, in reviving yourselves, in understanding the greatness of the enterprise you have conceived and accomplished. We sometimes think of what they will say down there, in Europe, when they will see you reappear, discoverer of an unknown world, and then …

“And then,” interrupted Christopher Columbus, “you should also imagine that they will blame me for not having discovered the Cattaio. Four islands populated by savages, great thing! It is understood that if another comes before me to the coast of Spain ….

-Martino Alonzo Pinzon, is not it?

-Sure, -required the almirante.-If the deserter will come first to his homeland, he will be the discoverer, he will have the merit and the honor of everything.

“Signor almirante, must I tell you my soul?” Damiano exclaimed. “From Europe we can expect everything … even an act of justice. It is a land so curious! I put a pledge that when you arrive, no one will believe Martino Alonzo Pinzon anymore. After all, you will always have the testimony of two crews, almost entirely from Castigliani, in the midst of which he is a brother of Martino Alonzo, and some other blood relatives.-

The almirante nodded his head and motion of his lips: two gestures that said and did not say, but that, anyway, at that late hour of the evening, could not be noticed by our Damiano. On the other hand, silence was also eloquent, and it meant enough doubts that embittered the heart of the admirer.

“It will be necessary to hasten the departure,” he continued, continuing a reasoning that he had done within himself. “I have observed a certain regularity in the winds that blow on these seas. When we came, we had them favorable, from the east to the west. Now I think they start turning from west to east. It will be necessary to take advantage of it; otherwise, we would risk to stay in cream for a long time, ahead of making way for the coasts of Spain.

“Well, sir,” said Damiano. “We need a speedy resolution. Let’s dismount the caravel, before the offices of the marosi are crushed, and we make the fortress. It’s a matter of days.

-Yes, you say well, it’s a matter of days, when there’s goodwill, “concluded the almirante.” Tomorrow we’ll talk. ”

The following day, Christopher Columbus called the expedition officers and the pilots of the two seamanships, of the shipwrecked Santa Maria, and of the surviving Nina to council. Exposed the condition of a doubled crew, on the smallest caravel and the least manageable, remained the only one to return to Europe, and hinted at the plan to found a colony in Haiti, leaving a certain number of sailors, with those officers who wanted to remain at the command. The remains of the Santa Maria would have provided the material for the construction of a fortress, which its cannons could defend, and in which they would have left food for the sustenance of the garrison, in the space of a year. So he did not believe that the colony would have to wait for the return of a new expedition from Spain; but it was better to provide for a year, than for only six months; precautions in such cases never being too many.

Moreover, in that space of time, the new settlers would have had the opportunity to visit, with due caution, all the parts of the island, to look for the mines and all the other sources of wealth. Moreover, with the change of so many minutes that was still on board the Nina and in the cargo landed by the Santa Maria, they could have accumulated gold in large numbers. Learning the language of the natives, they would have become accustomed to their customs, their habits, in such a way as to be able to lend very useful services in the subsequent expeditions. To whom, as soon as he returned to Spain, he would have thought and provided the almirante, with that ready spirit and with the ardor of desire that everyone recognized in him, and that now had to be understood rather more than diminished.

Everyone liked the proposal, much more than the almirante did not get up. But perhaps the thought of freeing Nina from an overwhelming number of people made everyone easier to accept a party, on which, on any other occasion, they would find much to laugh.

Damiano was therefore right, foretelling that the idea would be welcomed with joy. And besides being right, Damiano won his point.

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That same day, which was December 27, was announced to the crews of Nina and Santa Maria, dead but not yet buried, the design of Mr. almirante of the sea Ocean and viceroy of the islands discovered in the West Indies. The design was already in embryo in the minds of many; he was greeted by everyone with festive shouts.

And it was necessary to hear the talks that were made on board, at breakfast time.

“Ah, I stay on the island. And you?

– Still I, certainly. I was crazy, to close for two or three months in the hold of the Nina, to die suffocated by the lack of air …. and the smell of neighbor!

– Still me, you know? still I remain in the island. It wants to be a golden life, ours, without the whirlwind of wind, and without salt water slaps.

-If you go by this step, children, you all remain on the ground, and Mr. almirante returns alone in Spain.

– But already! Have not you thought about this trouble? If one wants to remain all, the admirer will have to choose the ones he will leave and those he will bring.

-Decided the fate, I imagine.

-Well, if fate decides, I, who was born on a bad day, I will have to stay on board. But mind you, I am the first to make a proposal, and I intend to have secured the benefit.

– We feel Ruiz’s proposal.

-He is here: I make a change to those who, being destined to remain a colonist, wanted instead to return to Europe.

“In the decrepit Europe!” Damiano muttered between his teeth.

“Do not forget me, then, in case I did not favor fate. I want to stay in Haiti. A good country, beautiful women, working hard, having a good time; what do you want more?

-Good boy! So you mean a colony?

– And how would I understand it, me? Son sailor; I would be a soldier. I would not have to participate in profits, or only in a small part, with the help of these five fingers, which are not too long, nor too much exercised in the practice of a perfect treasurer. My safe earning will be to give me good weather. This is the earthly paradise; I want to enjoy it.

“Doing the part of the snake is not it?” She laughed, laughed, imagined herself at full blast. Damiano, attentive to the speeches, but not putting his mouth, enjoyed his beautiful find. He knew well what his profits would be in the new colony. The almirante, for sure, would have assigned him an office. Perhaps, by separating himself from Cosma, he would have resolved to leave his name of war, to resume his true and authentic name. And with that, out of bacchus, and with the qualities that accompanied him, the office could not fail him; nobody, then, would have found us laughing.

What a moment, when he had heard an order of this fact read: “We etc. etc. let’s name the noble man, etc. etc. of accounts, etc. etc. at the charge of etc. etc.”! He had not yet dared to imagine the office to which the Almirante could assign it, he did not yet know. But if it was not the first, nor the second, it would not have been the fourth, for bacchus bacchone.

“But then, why would not it be the second?” Damiano asked himself. “Let’s talk a little bit, and let’s see.”

Here the friend Damiano made his accounts:

– A Castilian at the supreme command, it is understood; the almirante also said it. It is an honor due to the nation for which the enterprise was made. You had to look for it with the light, keep it here by force, a Castigliano wants us. But the second place, vivaddio, should be free. The sailors will gladly stay; life for life, will always prefer six months, a year of garrison on the ground, rather than the hassle of a trip, even if returning home. Imagine the edge of the Nina, what will it be for two or three months! Only to go to sleep, it will be necessary to divide at least three teams, and to mute in the ranci. And they will beg each other! … they will beg of those buckets, or those other things made of wood, so those who want to leave to take a nap, like those who do not want to stop theirs. I already seem to hear them. For the officers, it’s a different matter. Their ration, good or mediocre, the officers have it. Sure on this side, they will have no reason to want to stay on the ground; and the second place should touch me, for some honest reason, beyond the benevolence of Mr. almirante. With a similar service, I would be well placed, in the eyes of the sweet Abarima and his family. Supreme commander, I know, I could ask the king’s daughter. Second degree, I will always be able to aspire to a king’s niece; not to mention that Guacanagari has no husband daughters. Actually, what I heard about the laws of succession in this country bore me a little. Dying a cacìco without children, it happens to him, preferring the son of his brother, the son of his sister, because there is more assurance that this is of the same blood, I will say so, cacical. And one understands: the sons believed of a brother could sometimes have no consanguinity with the uncle; where the children of the sister are necessarily the children of their mother. You see thin brains, these savages of Haiti! and they know where the devil holds his tail. ”

Damiano, as you can see, thought a lot of things, already having the wedding contract in his pocket. It was a dream in all the rules, his own; he enlarged it, describing it to himself, and was a bit like the one who is drunk with his own words.

The work was soon followed by the chatter, an animated and cheerful work by the whole crew. The Santa Maria had to be unmade piece by piece. Cauliflowers and marangoni, with hammers, tins, and dark, and every other manner of shoes, they snapped, ripped, sawed, levered; and boards, boards, beams, stems, all jumped in the water, whence the natives of Haiti, helping volunteers, swimming around the dry, pushing everything to the beach.

While this was the work of the crews, Cristoforo Colombo once again went up to the residence of the cacìco, to inform his friend Guacanagari of his new intention. He wanted to leave a part of his people, to defend that island from the raids of the Caribs; with more people he would return to the second voyage, and also with more copies of precious donations for his guest, as of goods to be bartered with gold. The design pleased Guacanagari; the idea of ​​retaining a part of those extraordinary beings, of those sons of heaven, and the thought of seeing one day return to the beach of Haiti the lord of white men, with great pirogues laden with bronze rattles, bracelets and beautiful jewelry of colored glass beads, made the whole tribe go wild. Imagine the cries, the jumps, the caprioli of that simple people, while Christopher Columbus, accompanied by the cacìco and the great of his house, went around to find a suitable place, on which to build his wooden fortress.

The sun had not even disappeared from the horizon, and already most of the wood of Santa Maria was transported from the coast to the eminence that Christopher Columbus had chosen, not far from the village of Guacanagari. Along the slope you could see the natural Haiti coming and going in a double chain: those who ascended the coast carrying bundles of boards, or beams, and those that descended empty-handed, to go and redo a good load.

While the work was proceeding, some naturals from another part of the island had come to announce that a great canoe with white wings, like those of the Nina, had thrown the anchor into a river at the eastern end of the island. . Christopher Columbus gave a breath of satisfaction. That great pirogue could only be the Pinta, the Pinta that he now believed was already on his way to Europe, the Pinta, which had certainly moved away from the team to obey the unruly ambition of Martino Alonzo Pinzon, impatient of commands, eager to discover and to gather for himself.

Whatever the case, the Pinta was there, still under the hand of the admiral. Disobeying or not, it was a ship more for the return; and his presence, a little bit more than everyone’s mind, made it possible to divide the crew of the Holy Mary a little better, otherwise he would have been forced to press himself all over Nina, or to leave too many men in the fortress begun. . For this, nothing had changed in the drawings of the admirer. His shipwreck, in perfect calm, without wind and without sea storm, was for him a manifest sign of a supreme will. It seemed a misfortune; but without that misfortune, he would not have stopped so long in Haiti, to discover its hidden riches. The decision to stop and build the fortress was taken; we did not have to, we could no longer revoke it.

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With all these thoughts bubbling into his soul, Cristoforo Colombo was quick to ask one of his fastest pirogues to the cacìco, with how many more rowers of the country could be in vogue. A Spaniard went with them, bringing a letter to the empress to Pinzon. In that letter, which he had written there for a while, Cristoforo Colombo, without moving any reproach to the undisciplined commander of the Pinta, invited him to join the team immantinently.

The pirogue returned at the end of three days. He had flown the island for forty miles, without seeing the Pinta and without even hearing from the natives of the sea. In the meantime, other announcements of the same kind were coming to the admirer, but from other parts of the island; from here, many had seen the great pirogue with swan’s wings; but Christopher Columbus thought that they had all dreamed, nor wanted to distract people from work, to track down that fantastic ship.

And it was sad for him not to have any more wood than Nina, to return to Europe. If the Pinta had escaped, and came before him to the shores of Spain, he usurped the honor of the made discoveries, or, with slanderous accusations, worrying the spirits, spoiling every plan of future expeditions to him. If the Pinta was lost, his condition was even worse; because of three caravels that had been entrusted to him, only one remained, too low to the others in sailing, and the outcome of his great undertaking depended on the uncertain return of a fragile disgust, through the immensity of the ocean. Did he perish in the waves? and with him the great secret of the dark sea closed in the abyss.

The danger was great; any delay, then, only increased it; It is therefore necessary to work with increasing alacrity to the construction of the fortress. Della Pinta, if he wandered around in those waters, there would be no more sure news, in those days he would have had to stay there too long.

Damiano had followed with some anxiety the adventures of that drama that took place in the mind of his great fellow citizen. At first, hearing that the Pint had been found, and seeing the almirante so prompt to send people on the Pinzon trail, the suspicion had entered the soul that nothing should be done in the colony of Haiti.

“Ahimè!” He said to Cosma that day. “My beautiful dream fades.

“What a dream?” Cosma exclaimed.

-How? -Ross Damiano, with an air of amazement.-You do not know? … But you live in the world of the moon?

“My dear, I do not know whether it is the world of the moon;” Cosma said calmly, “well, it is the world of my soul; and it’s all in here.

-My, however, is the world of my heart, -said Damiano.-Ed is here near, in Haiti.

– In Haiti!

– In Haiti, yes; or in the Spagnuola, to use the name of Mr. almirante; or, to be more precise, in the Court of Guacanagari.

-Ah, yes, now there are, -what Cosma, who really had the air to get off then from the clouds.-So you really and in mind that wild?

-A wild, my dear, who is worth more than many ladies of the most civilized Europe.

-Matter of taste!

– And in your eyes, please add, and eyes that can discern. I know that not everyone sees one way. There are presbyents, and there are short-sighted people, for example. But you, Cosma, that you have a hawk’s eye and the other of lynx, you should recognize that Tolteomec’s daughter is not as wild as the others. What a wonderful creature! And has it never occurred to you to portray her dressed like a lady in Europe?

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-No really. I’ll even tell you that I have not even looked at it.

-Male! -Claimed Damiano.-That is, I correct myself: you may have done well too.

-What are these speeches?

-Seek of wise man …. and seasoned. So let’s say: better this way; better than you did not stop and look at her. You never know. Now therefore, I, who have looked at her very much, and I take it into account that I will never be satisfied, I have figured it out in all possible shapes. At first in the style of Diana huntress. With that garnish on her hips, with that mantle, or stole that you want to say, thrown with such grace on the right arm and turned on her left side, it really seemed to me to be the goddess of the woods. Yesterday I still told him.

– Did he understand you?

-Eh, so-so. You know I make a profit, in the language of Haiti. It’s easier than I believed in all of it. Or perhaps, these are the miracles of necessity, when love helps it. Abarima appeared to me up there, from that spot that borders the meadow, behind Tolteomec’s house … But you do not know the places, my dear. It does not matter, for that matter; a stain is always a stain. Abarima came out of the bush when I crossed the lawn to look for it. Now you will believe it, or you will not believe it, the illusion was perfect; I thought I saw Diana, coming from the edge of the forest, to the admiration, to the adoration of the shepherds.

-Of the rapacious wolves, – Cosma said, smiling.

– Leave the wolves, poor people! Besides, I’m not that ferocious beast you believe. I told you I would love that woman dressed as a European lady. And I am also represented with a great robe of velvet, or of ormisino, gallonata of gold, with its great vertugadino to the hips, to keep wide folds, a rich mantilla on the head, accommodated on a trecciera of pearls … How good it should be! What a portentous of youth, beauty and grace, to make one hundred women of Europe die of envy every day!

“There will always be a complexion,” Cosma said, “on which the women of Europe will be able to blackmail.

“What a complexion!” Damiano shouted, shrugging. “Abarima’s is clearer, in Haiti, compared to the others. In Europe it would be a little more charged, it would give a little more to the red, that’s all. And you think it’s a defect, that? White, my dear, has another fault, and much more serious: it turns too often in the pale, the dull, the yellow. There would be no danger here. So, I say, so much earned, falling in love with a red skin. And then, think of the pèche, the beautiful pèche duràcine of our sweet Liguria. It is always pleasant to think about it … out of season; Your mouth is watering, and from the palate you reach the nostrils with a sweetly sharp, or acutely suave, fragrance that makes you shrink your neck and tear your eyes from the excess of pleasure. And these, my dear, are the sensations that your most humble servant feels when he thinks of Tolteomec’s daughter, the sweet, the tasty Abarima, the Haitian peach.

– Salvatic peach, Damian, salvatic peach!

– Oh no, Cosma! These, if anything, are wild with a strange nature. Have you seen the great wear and tear they make of aromatic herbs? At every moment they rub their hands. With some fragrant fragrances, Abarima often remembers the mouth, which would not need it. And he also makes his bath, you know, that Diana huntress. There, in the bush, is a fountain, a real emerald basin, and in that water she dives every day. He confessed it to me yesterday, when he came out of the bush. And I thought of the fountain of Valchiusa; and I repeated to myself those beautiful verses:

Clear, fresh and sweet waters,
Where the beautiful members
Pose the one that alone to me par woman!
-Purple madonna Laura! – Cosma cried, shuddering. – If the spirit of Messer Francesco hears you, poor to you!

-Do you want to say that he will send me to scratch from his cat? But I would bet that if he still lived and saw Tolteomec’s daughter, he would forget the flight of Hugh of Sade’s wife. After all, -said Damiano, -the valentuomo had forgotten several times, when he was alive. There are stories, around that platonic lover! …

“Listen!” Cosma interrupted. “Do not spoil the image of Petrarch, not even in Haiti. The posterity wants figures all of a piece; and the simulacrum must not show the weld nor the patchwork of the improper artist. We all know that every metal has its waste. I, for example, studying you, I see well where is yours. And one day I thought you more faithful to certain ideas! …

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