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|Sunday, May 4, 1494|
|"I will lead them"|
|The moon and darkness|
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Sunday, May 4, 1494
"I will lead them"
The moon and darkness
THE ARAWAK GIRL
By Herbert G. de Lisser
Author of "The White Witch of Rose Hall"
THE ARAWAK GIRL
PRINTED FOR THE PIONEER PRESS BY
THE GLEANER CO. LTD.,
148-156 Harbour St., Kingston, Jamaica.
THE ARAWAK GIRL
HERBERT G. de LISSER
Author of "The White Witch of Rose Hall," etc.
THE PIONEER PRESS,
148-156 HARBOUR ST., KINGSTON, JAMAICA, WEST INDIES
FIRST IMPRESSION JUNE, 1958
BY ELLEN G. de LISSER
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
In addition to a great volume of work as a newspaper
editor, the late Herbert George de Lisser was Jamaica's
first novelist. Others had produced a romance or two, but
he was a professional who published regularly here and
abroad. His character-drawing was admirable, and he had
a strong sense of story values.
de Lisser's novels fall into three groups:
1: His early tales in dialect, Jane's Career and Susan
Proudleigh, which many regard as his most artistic books.
2: His studies of contemporary life, such as Trium-
phant Squalitone and Under the Sun.
3: A long series of novels based upon Jamaican his-
tory, of which The White Witch of Rose Hall is the best
known, has reached several editions, and still sells well.
Other titles in this third classification are Psyche, Morgan's
Daughter and Revenge.
The author founded the successful annual Planter's
Punch in 1920, and with incredible energy he wrote "ach
year a book-length fiction feature for the magazine. Ah his
important later writings were issued first in Planter's Punch.
SSome were then published promptly in London, others ap-
1 eared posthumously, while a few remain in the files of the
" annual, inaccessible to the average reader.
Pioneer Press is happy to be able to offer one of the
most colourful of de Lisser's short novels, hitherto unpub-
lished in book form. The scene is laid among Arawak
Indians and Spaniards at the time of the discovery of Jam-
aica by Christopher Columbus, with emphasis on the year
that the Admiral spent as a castaway on the beach at Seville
close to St. Ann's Bay, which he had named Santa Gloria.
A fascinating chapter in our history is skilfully dramatised.
There is a strong love interest centring about a
cacique's daughter, an Arawak girl called Anacanoa.
de Lisser must have learned that this was the Jamaican
variation of a name which occurred among the aborigines
of Hispaniola as Anacaona. Certainly it is easier to pro-
nounce in the form he uses,
Anacanoa should become memorable on the roll of
Caribbean fictional heroines.
W. ADQLPHE ROBERTS,
THE ARAWAK GIRL
*- 2 Lo;.:&~-)jr
'Vlr ab "
Y,: ~I: ~~L;j:
"-' ~~5~~: ~" ::i
From 18th-century Engraving by Capt. J. G. Stedman
SUNDAY, MAY 4, 1494.
Anacanoa sprang lightly out of the hammock that
swung suspended from two of the crossbeams of her hut,
yawned slightly, stretching her lithe body with a little
tremor of luxurious enjoyment. She was completely nude,
a girlish figure light brown in hue and pretty, even if judged
by conventional European standards. She ran over to the
other hammock in the room and shook the young fellow
in it into wakefulness. "It is light," she said, "and we have
much to do."
He woke with a bound, came down to earth, and stood
beside her. They were still almost children, he fifteen, she
a year younger; but they had reached adult state in their
little Arawak Indian community and had now been mar-
ried for about three months. This hut was theirs, he had
built it with the aid of his wife's relatives. A frail structure,
yet in a semi-conscious fashion he was proud of it. He
was proud of himself too, for his girl-wife was the daughter
of the village cacique or chief, and it was admitted that she
was the most beautiful girl to be found for miles around.
"Come, Cotaban," she said, and caught him by the
Together they ran down to the seashore, where already
a number of other people were assembled. None of these
wore a stich of clothing. None was aware of any feeling
of strangeness or immodesty because of this; none gave it
a thought, for it was the custom of the country.
With loud, joyous cries the village folk dashed into the
water that seethed into silver as the waves came on one
after another to perish with a hiss upon the white and
yellow sands. The morning air was cool and stimulating,
a light breeze wandered down from the mountains to the
south, stirring the leaves of the dense woods that clothed
hill and vale save where clearings had been made for the
settlement, with its houses of reed and thatch and its patches
of cultivation. The village stood adjacent to the shore, but
protected from the occasional heavy winds or northerss"
by a belt of trees that screened it from anyone approaching
by the sea. But it was well within the sound of voices on
the shore, and those older members of the tribe who were
now preparing to join their younger friends and kinsfolk
could with little effort convey a message to anyone standing
on the edge of the vast spread of water which now, mo-
mently, was flushing into delightful colours as the sun's
level rays darted along its surface.
Inland and higher up clouds of mist were rolling hither
and yon. The mighty backbone of the mountains seemed
to tower into a blue and opal sky adorned with golden
streamers; thick underbrush fought about monster roots and
trunks for space in which to live. Palms sprang gracefully
into the air, slim bodies crowned with green and glittering
fronds. Silk cotton trees of enormous height and bulk,
huge giants from whose limbs depended parasitic plants that
lived upon them from generation to generation, dominated
the rest of the encircling forest. Through that forest ran
narrow trails, communicating with neighboring villages
inland, but it was the sea coast and the sea itself that the
villagers most used to visit one another, and in their canoes
these people could go swiftly and safely from point to
Anacanoa and her boy husband swam steadily out to
They took no notice of the water's wonderful colour-
ing, its deep and pale blues, subtle pinks, its heavy, dazzling
bars of silver. They had no word for all this beauty, yet
they enjoyed it as part of their lives; the vivid green and
the grandeur of the mountains that formed the background
of their home they looked at daily as something which had
always been and would always be there: these, too, had
become a part and parcel of their existence which they
would not willingly do without. Life was easy for them
on the whole, though there would be sickness now and
then, and death, and famine when a drought happened,
and destruction when one of the terrible West Indian hurri-
canes swept down upon the land. There had been such a
hurricane three years before. Cotaban and Anacanoa re-
membered it well. It had come from the east, it had torn
up stout trees by the roots, had lashed the sea into mad,
angry waves that thundered on the shore; it had levelled
every house, had smashed into splinters some of the smaller
canoes that had not been properly sheltered, and then had
passed on to some other land with its menace of death and
ruin. Some men and women had been killed by that hurri-
cane, all had suffered. But since then the frail villages
had been rebuilt, and the cassava and maize replanted,
and these were crops that gave a quick and bounteous re-
turn. And the fish and the turtle were still in the sea to be
caught, and coneys could be trapped or speared for food.
The hurricane was evil; but at the worst it came only now
and then; and as far back as these people could remember
their island had not been visited by that strange inimical
race of men, the cannibal Caribs, from whom their ances-
tors had fled to Jamaica so long, long ago. These Caribs
were worse than the hurricane; but there seemed nothing
to dread from them now. They were almost forgotten, had
become but a tradition, a tale told by the elders who had
heard it from their fathers. They were far away. So
Anacanoa and her husband and the rest of the villagers
swam and sported on that morning of Sunday, May 4, in
1494, thinking of the feast and of the dance that would be
held that night. And in the rays of the rising sun, far to
north and east, Christopher Columbus and his men ap-
proached the island of Jamaica.
"It is the island of which we were told in Juana,"
said the Admiral to a man who stood beside him, as the
pale outlines of the distant Jamaica highlands broke upon
"Yes; it probably is," this man answered, "and they
say it is full of gold."
"That may or may not be," said the Admiral thought-
fully. He had heard the same story about Juana, as he called
Cuba, and about Espanola, as he had named Haiti, and
bitter had been his disappointment. But he had disguised
his feelings. To the sovereigns of Spain he had promised
riches in abundance and he must not be thought now to
have become disillusioned in regard to his expectations.
He did not believe he would find much gold in the country
they were now approaching: why, he could not have said.
It was a conviction that he had. Still, it was a new land
to be discovered, part of that great eastern territory of
China and Japan to which he was convinced he had found
a new route by sailing west. He would take possession of
it in the name of Spain, and later on would see to it that
its inhabitants became Christians. And if there should be
any gold, he could claim it in exchange for the toys and
bells and pretty caps he had brought with him for purposes
of barter. But whatever he found, this country would be-
come a portion of Spain's possessions, though at first its
present owners would not be aware of that.
Slowly his three caravels drew nearer. They sailed
before the wind at a leisurely pace, for their bottoms were
foul with weed and shellfish, and they were leaky also.
They needed to be scraped and pitched; he would see to
that on some suitable beach shortly. His men lounged about
the decks, over fifty of them, and wondered whether the
women in the new land to which they were going were
well favoured and would be as complaisant as were the
women of Juana and Espanola. And would the men be as
hospitable as had been the savages of those other places?
If not, they must be taught to show proper respect for their
new masters-that is, if the Admiral would permit of a
proper show of authority. But Master Christopher was
inclined to be too easy with these people; he believed in
softsoap and nonsense of that sort; he was not sharp and
strong enough. Still, something could always be done be-
hind his back. Even an Admiral could not have eyes to
see everywhere and everyone .
On, on, the three small vessels came that fateful Sun-
day, but no one on the distant shore observed them yet.
No one peered out to see, expectant or foreboding: there
was nothing to worry about this bright May morning. The
hurricanes never happened at this time of the year, the
fishing had been good. And there was to be a big feast
tonight, and all night long there would be dancing. People
from the surrounding villages had been invited, and soon
they would come trooping in. Most of them would bring
their own food; but their hosts must give them drink. Well,
that had been prepared; there was any amount of the
piwari, the liquor made of fermented cassava and water.
All the wooden troughs and the large burnt-clay pots of
the village were filled with the intoxicating stuff. And the
calabashes to serve as cups were ready. Nevertheless there
were always some last preparations to be made, and now
that the bathing was over the women went back to the
village to see to what remained to be done for the approach-
ing festivities. And the young men went out in their canoes
to catch some more fish and turtle. And the older men
tried out their musical instruments of reeds and trumpet-
tree wood, their simple fifes and drums. It would be a
great dance tonight. Things were going well with all the
people: never had existence seemed more bright.
Shrieks rent the air, cries of excitement, of wild ap-
prehension; the children came flying into the settlement
from the beach, babbling something about great high canoes
that were bearing down upon the land.
The feast had been over for hours, the dance ended.
Nearly all night long rows of men had stood facing each
other in a piece of open ground in the village, prancing
and gesticulating towards one another; nearly all night long
there had been an eating of broiled fish and cassava cake,
a drinking of strong cassava beer, and towards the morn-
ing the exhausted merry-makers had thrown themselves into
hammocks or prone upon the ground to sleep off their ex-
haustion. When the sun came up, they were still in slumber;
but the children, who had fallen asleep early last night.
had awakened at their usual hour this morning and had
trooped down to the sea for their daily gambol in the water.
It was one of these, a child of eight, who had been the first
to observe something strange against the horizon, and had
called his companions' attention to it. They had stood
erect, up to their knees in water, watching the peculiar
objects for a while. These grew larger, more distinct,
even as they gazed; suddenly panic had assailed the young-
sters and they had run screaming to acquaint their elders
with the news. These elders, still a little tipsy from last
night's long debauch, were at first inclined to scoff at what
they heard. But the children were compelling, and, any-
how, all were now awake and it was time to bathe.
The whole village was on the seashore now. And
there was no doubting the evidence of one's eyes. There,
one, two, three, came high canoes with things above them
that looked like wings, strange canoes such as these folk
had never seen before, could never have imagined. What
could they be? As one man, the people turned their faces
towards their chief.
The cacique felt that something decisive was expected
of him. He was believed to be a man of superior powers,
he had always taken himself and his position seriously,
though no particular test of his qualities of leadership had
ever risen before. He must act now. He must assert him-
self. These might be the dreaded Caribs, the enemy who
would descend suddenly on an island, kill and eat some
of the inhabitants, seize some of the women to take away
as wives, then disappear once more. But they could be
fought if those they assailed were brave enough. And per-
haps they could be frightened Could they be frighten-
The exhilarating effect of the cassava beer had not yet
entirely evaporated. It lingered, it stimulated the cacique
and his men to a show of courageous action. He barked
"Man the canoes!"
His own villagers turned to obey: he now addressed
himself to his guests.
"These who come," said he, "may be friends or ene-
mies; we do not know. If they are friends, we have nothing
to fear from them. If they are enemies, they will not attack
me and my people alone, but all of you. Will you help
me to meet them?"
Many hesitated. They had their own settlements to
think of, they lived under their own chiefs, they never had
regarded themselves as one nation with all the people of
the island, had no sort of conception of such unity. They
would have to go and warn their chiefs, they pointed out,
and they must go at once. It sounded reasonable. So
away they went to spread the news of the appearance of
the huge canoes with wings that had appeared out of the
vast nothingness beyond. A few of the guests, however,
decided to remain and act under the cacique's orders.
These thronged with the villagers into a few canoes and
boldly pulled out to sea to meet the oncoming caravels.
Some of them paddled, others brandished long spears
tipped with bone or with points hardened by fire, and they
shouted loudly to scare Columbus and his men. These
laughed, understanding well the meaning of the noise they
heard. "They think to frighten us," said one sailor; "I
would hear a shout of a different kind if I got my sword
into one of them. And I may before the day is over."
"No!" a quietly commanding voice rang out, and the
speaker realized that he had been overheard by the Admiral,
whose proximity to him he had not noticed. "There will
be no bloodshed if we can avoid it. You see," the Admiral
was now addressing all those who could hear his voice on
the ship and everyone could "we are but few in
number, and we need food and may have to return to this
place. We must pacify, not antagonise, these savages; by
pacific methods we shall bring them to do whatever we
"But if they attack us, Admiral?" demanded one fellow,
glancing from the deck of the Nifia down to where the
Indians in the canoes were brandishing their spears.
"That is another matter; then indeed we shall have to
teach them a lesson they will not speedily forget. But,
remember, we are Christians, and we are here, among other
things, to spread the doctrine of Holy Church. We must
forgive our enemies." At the moment it did not occur to
Don Christopher that he and his were really the enemy,
and that the people of the island could have no need of
forgiveness from them. But then, the Admiral already
looked upon the Indians as his King's subjects, and there-
fore necessarily obedient to the governance of himself as
His Majesty's Viceroy in these parts.
As the caravels came on, the Indians drew back. Deep
blue water backed by lofty hills faced Columbus, but he
saw before him no land-locked sloping beach where he
might clean his ships. The bay was wide and beautiful,
even eyes already accustomed to gorgeous tropical scenery
rested with delight upon the entrancing scene as it revealed
itself. "Santa Gloria!" exclaimed the Admiral, "Holy Glory
-so shall this place be known in the future. Never have
I seen anything more charming, no, not even in Spain."
Santa Gloria, a beautiful name for a beautiful spot that had
hitherto, probably, been nameless. Long afterwards it was
to be known as St. Ann's Bay.
Tall, with long face, deep blue eyes, well fashioned,
slightly aquiline nose, with ruddy beard already grizzled and
hair already almost white, though he was now but 44 years
of age, Columbus was a man to attract attention as he
stood upon his deck. He had already made one journey
to the New World, and returned to Spain to receive the
compliments of his sovereigns, and now he moved about
with conscious dignity, as one aware that he had done
great things. As was customary with him when he was
nearing land, he had donned on this occasion his finest
raiment, and to the Indians in the canoes must have looked
a resplendent figure. His eyes roved over the shouting
people in the water below; scanned their painted bodies
and faces, their straight coarse hair decked over with parrot
feathers; presently, with unerring instinct, he singled out
the cacique who had come out in the largest of the canoes.
"Tell that chief," he said to his interpreter, an Arawak
from Haiti who had been in his service for nearly two years
now, "that we come as friends and mean him and his
people no harm. And give them some presents."
The interpreter shouted to the cacique, while Columbus
turned to Francisco Nino, his pilot.
"You will observe in the chief's canoe, Francisco, two
women. These people did not come out to fight, or they
would have left their womankind at home."
"Jolly fine specimens of the breed, too," laughed
Francisco, but Columbus, who had small sense of humour
and a great regard for his position, did not like this com-
ment upon his speech.
The two girls referred to were Anacanoa and her
younger sister, and now they were standing in the canoe
to see more clearly the strange men who had so strangely
invaded the island's life. The girls were stark naked, save
for a girdle of bright coloured stones round their waists.
The men in the canoe were naked too; but painted white,
black, yellow, red, as they had been on the previous night
for the feasting and the dance. The nudity of these people
did not seem peculiar to the Spaniards; it was the same
in the other West Indian lands which they had found.
Christians, some of them argued, should be clothed; but
did it matter much what heathen did, so long as they
worked hard and brought food, and surrendered their gold,
and their women too, when these were needed, and obeyed
implicitly every command delivered to them by the con-
quering Spanish? What was a savage man or woman,
Anchors out! The order was given, the anchors were
dropped, the caravels swung idly to the motion of the
waves. But here was no sufficiently sheltered place for
cleaning the vessels; here they would remain only for to-
night, and tomorrow they would go farther west to look
for a spot for their careening. The crew murmured; there
were some of them who had seen the cacique's daughters
and wanted to go ashore to make play with them. But
the Admiral was obdurate.
He saw Anacanoa make a motion with her arm,
thought she was waving farewell to him, and courteously
waved his arm in return. She understood and was de-
lighted; she hoped that these pale-faced strangers would
come ashore, would stay some time with them; would at
any rate return some day. But they remained on their
ships all that afternoon and night, and the next morning
it was up anchor at dawn and away farther west, where
some of the guests at the Santa Gloria village dance had
already arrived the day before. These had spread the
tidings of the white man's coming, and, because they feared
much and had not remained to witness, they said that these
strangers had acted with cruelty, and were clearly Caribs
who had changed their faces and had built them winged
canoes. Therefore the Indians at this new harbour boldly
set out to repel Columbus as he drew near to their village,
and threw their poor, ineffective spears at his ships, and
did their best to frighten him with noise. "I must teach
them a lesson," said the Admiral, "so that they will never
dare attack us again."
He gave an order. His men received it with a cheer.
Down into their boats tumbled the Spaniards. One
or two of them fired their arquebuses; their cross-bows
spoke, sharp arrows pierced the soft flesh of the shouting
savages; in a few moments these were pulling madly for
the beach. Laughing, crying out in derision, the Spaniards
followed, still sending arrows into the packed canoes. These
grounded, their paddlers scuttling towards the woods, but
the lesson had to be taught more sharply. A bloodhound
had been brought in one of the caravels and had been
lowered into a boat. It was set upon the fleeing Indians
as soon as the boat touched land, and among them it
sprang, snarling, biting, tearing one after another to the
ground. It had been taught to mangle and to kill.
"Good sport, by'r Lady, good sport!" shrieked some
of the invaders, but time was short and the dog had to be
called off at length. It came back to its masters proudly;
it felt itself the victor of the day. It was received with
howls of wild approval.
"These people have not shown a good spirit," admit-
ted the Admiral to Nino, his pilot, "but then they have not
yet been baptised. We shall see about that when we
"You remain how long, Admiral?"
"Three or four days. We shall draw up our ships on
that beach yonder, and scrape their bottoms. Then, if no
embassy comes from the Indians, I shall send an armed
party inland, with the dog, and endeavour to force them
to sell us some food. We must have water too. I hope
they will not compel us to take strong measures against
The Indians, however, showed themselves reasonable,
or desperately afraid, for the next day a small band of
them came to make peace with the newcomers, and they
brought presents of food. The Admiral was most gracious.
"But there seems to be no gold," said Juan de la Cosa,
the chartmaker, to him later on. "I see none."
"I thought not from the first," replied Columbus sadly.
He made an effort, brightened up, and added: "But we
shall find plenty of gold elsewhere shortly. I feel sure of
Two days later he sailed for Cuba.
When would he and his men return, wondered Ana-
canoa for some weeks after, and then the memory of them
began to grow dim and yet dimmer.
The ordinary life of an Arawak Indian village continued
The girl standing by the seashore heard the voice but
paid no attention. It was a voice familiar, that of her
husband; but her eyes were fixed upon two approaching
objects, strange and yet seen before, and her memory sud-
denly recalled the coming of similar huge canoes with great
wings, something that had occurred so long ago that at
times the thought of them had seemed to her like a dream.
This time she answered.
"Come quick, Cotaban; the pale strangers who came
so many, many moons ago are returning; come quick!"
Cotaban heard and came running to the beach. With
him ran also a number of men and women, youths and
maidens, attracted by the cry of Anacanoa, some of them
too young to remember when Columbus and his caravels
had sailed into Santa Gloria nine years before. But they
had heard of that event, had heard also that because the
strangers had been treated hospitably they had given pres-
ents and had been kind. They were friends, their chief
had said, to those of the land who were friendly, but terrible
to those who received them with hostile demonstrations.
It was June, and a brilliant sun lighted up sea and
country, bringing into radiant relief the lovely colours of
dancing waves and the varied greens of the thickly wooded
shore. Out of a sky of blue and gold, the summer sky of
the West Indian tropics, the ardent rays of the god of day,
to whom these Indians vaguely attributed power over men
and animals and life, poured dazzling down upon the world.
The crowded ships drew closer to the land, labouring
heavily, deep-sunk in the water, but they were not making
for exactly the same spot where Columbus had anchored
so many years before. They were moving, almost drifting,
a little way farther west towards a cove. From the beach
the gazing Indians could see this clearly. At a sign from
Anacanoa they too began moving quickly in the direction
of the cove.
"If they are inimical we are done for," said Columbus
grimly to a young man beside him; "if they fight like those
savages we encountered on the mainland we shall starve
and die. These ships are finished. We must beach them."
"But you have given an order to all your men,
Admiral; and surely they will obey. They will not molest
"I can always depend upon you, Diego," replied
Columbus kindly, "and on some of the others. But what
of the rest? You know what has happened in Espanola
and elsewhere. They disobey and defy me when they can.
And they turn the natives into enemies instead of into
"But all will know better than to indulge in such folly
here," protested Diego Mendez. He was still young, with
a frank, handsome countenance, a resolute countenance
also: out of his clear blue eyes looked courage and deter-
mination. He bore himself erect. He knew that the
Admiral depended upon him as on no other of the many
score of men on these two small ships, save his own brother
and his little son, and he was resolved to be true to the
man he followed and with whom he sympathized. He
realized too that the Admiral was right, for he had heard
ugly rumours among the crew of adventurers again and
again. But he must encourage the discoverer, whose heart
was now almost broken by discouragement and disappoint-
ment; who, if he had found a new world for Spain, had not
yet found gold in sufficient quantities to satisfy the expec-
tations and cupidity of his masters at home.
"Will they know better?" questioned Columbus bitter-
ly. "Well, we shall see. The ships must lie side by side
on the beach, Diego, and we shall live on them all the
time we may have to remain here. We must lash them
together and build a shelter for ourselves upon their decks.
No one must go ashore without leave; no one must take
anything by force; above all, no one must interfere with
the Indian women. Impress it upon our people that it will
be easy at any hour for these Indians to set fire to the thatch
with which we shall roof our rude cabins on the decks."
Diego nodded comprehension, then hurried off. He
scanned the desperate faces of the adventurers who had
left Spain some time ago to find wealth, and who now saw
themselves likely to be marooned forever in a wild and
savage land. For the caravels on which they had come
would never sail again. The sea worms had seen to that.
They were sinking even now.
Side by side, the wind favouring, the two vessels were
driven on the beach. The glinting blue water lapped them
gently, the jutting land on either side, rising clear out of
the sea, seemed to embrace them, the Indians on the shore
were crying out a welcome. These had made the journey
to this place quickly; and although Columbus could not
recognize a single face, he guessed that among these women
and men must be some whom he had seen nine years before.
One woman especially was waving to him; but her he did
not know. He could not possibly recognize in the full-
grown figure, with the little cotton apron hung in front
of her, the girl who had stood up stark nude in the chief's
canoe on his first visit to this country and had made to
him a friendly gesture with her arm.
He had but given her a glance at that time, had for-
gotten her almost immediately afterwards. But even had
he been able to fix her form and features in his memory,
that would not have helped him now. For Anacanoa had
changed, had grown from budding girlhood into woman-
hood, had developed in body, though still retaining a slight-
ness of physique rare in the Arawak woman, and was more
pleasing to look at now than when she was a child. She
wore the cotton apron sometimes affected by the matrons
of her people; but her rounded breasts were exposed, and
her supple flanks and body showed none of that soft flabbi-
ness so common among the Indian women of more than
twenty years of age. She was athletic, was this girl, had
always loved walking and running and swimming, and so
had kept herself in excellent condition. She had preferred
a fish to a cassava diet, which merely fattened; and she
had borne Cotaban but one child. Other young women
of her age had already had six or seven children, perhaps
more, most of whom had died in infancy, and by the time
that they were eighteen they had lost all pretensions to
such good looks as they might once have boasted of.
With Anacanoa it had been different. She was twenty-
three-she seemed far younger. Something in her mind
had impressed itself upon her face and figure, for thought
moulds flesh, and the spirit manifests itself in walk and
carriage and facial aspect. She had always thought of
herself as a chief's daughter, his eldest, his favourite, and
that increased the pride and self-regard with which she had
been born. She thought highly of herself, was, in a way,
a great lady in a village community essentially democratic.
The other girls and women looked mean beside her. In
her father's absence she might easily assume, and without
rivalry, the leadership of her tribe.
But if Columbus did not recognize her, neither did
she know him. At most she had had but a glimpse of him
quite long ago; but then he had seemed a godlike, command-
ing figure. Now it was an old man that stood at the prow
of a beached, half-sunken caravel and looked down upon
the welcoming people below. An old and broken man,
though not yet fifty-five, with beard as snow-white as his
hair, face lined with care and thin, with body bowed and
no longer decked out in gallant and gay attire. While the
crews of the two vessels were busy lashing them together,
he ordered a ladder to be lowered, and called Diego Mendez.
Diego, like himself, now spoke some Arawak learnt in
Espanola. They could understand and make themselves
understood by the people of the western islands.
As Columbus and Diego waded ashore the crowd
shrank back a little. Not so Anacanoa, who stood erect
waiting for the strangers to approach. Her father was
away at a neighboring village, having been invited there,
with some of his comrades, to a feast; he had no son or
nephew; it seemed quite natural to all that Anacanoa should
function in his absence. As for Columbus, knowing that
an Indian woman had once queened it in Espanola, he saw
nothing strange in this apotheosis of the pretty girl who
stood calmly waiting for them. But his quick eyes noted
one thing. Her gaze was fixed upon young Mendez, not
upon the old sick leader who was already known as the
But he spoke first. Christopher Columbus was never
the man to forget what was due to himself, or willingly
take second place to another.
"Lady," he said in her language, "we have come back
again as friends. We were here long ago, and we gave
you presents. We established here the sovereignty of our
master and mistress, the King and Queen of Spain, and
you are now their subjects. But they ensure you through
me the full possession of your lands and all the privileges
you enjoy. You must, however, provide us with food, for
which we will pay you liberally."
He repeated this latest sentence slowly and emphatically,
well aware that most of the other part of his speech would
fall upon uncomprehending ears. But it had, he felt, to
be made, for the taking of a land that did not belong to
him or to Spain must be done always in proper form and
with the dignity due to the greatest nation on the earth.
She caught the gist of some of the words, though the
accent was queer. Then Diego struck in.
"Queen," said he with a winning smile, "we want food
and water and your friendship. My master was here before,
and perhaps you saw him then. You know how good he
was" Diego hoped she had heard nothing about the
fight farther west upon the coast "and you may trust
him to treat you all exceedingly well. You will be friends
with us, won't you?"
Anacanoa understood this better. More than that, she
saw a handsome face smiling in hers, heard a strong,
pleasant voice speaking in kindly tones (for Diego had been
instantly attracted to her), and her heart went out to him.
What a man this was! and he spoke, however peculiarly,
her language. A slow smile broke over her face, and she
"My father, the chief, is not here; but you can have
food and water till he comes. And shelter. Will you live
"We live on our canoes," he replied, "but we shall be
among you often. We shall be friends."
"You," she said eagerly, "can have a hammock in my
house. I like you. My husband will like you also."
"But your husband would not like me to live in the
same house with you," he pointed out. "You are beautiful.
He would be jealous."
"He won't be jealous if I like you. He does what 1
say. Don't you like me?"
"Very much indeed; but I must be careful. And see,
my master grows impatient. Let your people begin to get
us food. I will return later."
"She seems to have taken a fancy to you, my son,"
remarked Columbus, as they walked thoughtfully back to'
the beached ships, upon which the men were already, in
spite of their weariness and hunger, beginning to erect a
shelter on the decks. "That should help us."
"But her husband, Admiral! He-"
"He didn't come forward, I observed," said Columbus;
"he is evidently a person who doesn't count for much,
while she is the chief's daughter. He is not important, but
she is. They are heathen people, you know, and a husband
here is not like a husband in a Christian country; though,"
he added with a half-smile, "I have known some spouses
in Spain and Portugal who seemed strangely complaisant.
Do nothing that you think wrong, Diego, but don't offend
the girl. I see that she can be of much use to us. Humour
her as much as you can."
"Do you mean that I should share her habitation?"
"No; that might cause the others on our ships to
demand the right to sleep ashore and mix with these people.
But you can be nice to her without doing that."
"There won't be any difficulty about being nice to her,
Admiral. I like her; she is the finest looking girl I have
met in these parts. And above them all in intelligence."
"Yes. I think you had better join her now to see that
the food supplies come in quickly."
Diego turned back; the Admiral went on to his ship.
Anacanoa, who had been watching them, ran to meet Diego,
and with her came her husband. Cotaban had developed
into a fat and slouchy person, with dull intellect and slug-
gish habits. Anacanoa had already told him of her invita-
tion to Diego, and he had raised not the slightest objection.
"My husband wants you to live with us," she exclaimed
"I may later on," he gravely replied; "but at once it is
impossible. The Great God," he pointed reverently towards
the skies, "would not approve." He wondered how she
would take his supernatural reference.
"Later then? Very well. I am getting food for you
all. My father returns next sunrise, and then he will say
what shall next be done. But I will advise him to let you
have what you want-for your sake.
"You are very good, and lovely and desirable," he
exclaimed. "Your husband too-"
She cut him short. "He cares only for piwari, for
drink." She made a gesture of contempt. "Come and let
me show you my child."
They entered her thatched hut together. There, in a
little hammock swung beside that in which she slept, cuddled
a little girl of about eight years of age.
She favoured Anacanoa, having but the slightest
resemblance to her father. She would grow to be the image
of her mother.
"Her name?" Diego enquired.
"It is right she should have your name, she is so much
like you." He fell into a brown study for an instant. "I
wonder what will become of her," he mused, half audibly.
"Oh nothing-nothing much. Your daughter is nearly
as pretty as you, Anacanoa."
"Yes; and if I should have a son by you, it would be
more handsome still. Don't you think so?"
"I should hope so," he laughed, being accustomed by
now to the primitive freedom of the Arawaks; "but sup-
pose that all the men in my party were to want wives from
your people. What would your men say? There would
be fighting, and we must avoid that. You agree, don't
"I am the chief's daughter. The chief is different from
other men, and his daughter is different from other women.
You say we must wait: isn't that what you mean?"
"Yes," he answered, that being the most diplomatic
way he could think of out of what threatened to be a kind
of amatory imbroglio. But he looked at her with deep
admiration. He liked her immensely. He saw nothing to
blame in her simple directness of speech and purpose.
Somehow it fitted in with the surroundings of these strange
He took her in his arms and kissed her.
Anacanoa had never been kissed before. The caressing
salutation was strange to her, startling, but she knew it for
a love token. She clung to Diego warmly, nestling against
him; now, she fancied, she knew why, as a girl, she
had looked so yearningly at the fair strangers who had so
suddenly appeared one day before her village when she
had just been married; she had wanted one of them, the
handsomest, the best. And he had come at last. Later on
he would be her husband and they would have a son. They
must wait for some sunrises, perhaps even for one moon:
something of the sort he had said. That would be hard;
but meanwhile he would be with her day after day and she
would help him, and his also because of him.
When they went outside the hut they saw that the
Arawaks were already taking food to the ship. Cakes of
cassava, maize, dried fish, birds brought down with bow
and arrow, turtle speared as they swam or drifted in the
sea-a goodly quantity, but there was a large number of
men to be fed. Columbus knew that the Indians never
kept a great store of provisions against any future demand;
their present supply would soon be exhausted. But of this
he said nothing at the moment. It was enough that a few
days' needs might be sufficed.
That night, a rough shelter having been constructed
on the vessels lashed side by side, and covered with dried
thatch which some of the men had been sent ashore to
gather, leave was given to the Spaniards to take a walk
along the beach and stretch their sea-weary legs. "But
have a care that you do not offend the people," was the
Admiral's solemn injunction, "otherwise not one of us may
be alive when succour arrives from Espanola."
They were a queer looking crew, a band of ill-kept
tatterdemalions. A lengthy voyage, much fighting and great
hardships on the Central American coast, short rations and,
in the main, a brutal disposition, set them forth to the eye
in an unlovely and disreputable light; and had the villagers
been more sophisticated they would have shuddered with
horror and fear. And though the Indians spoke of these
adventurers as fair men, most of them were deeply tanned
and swarthy, most unshaven, nearly all loud and boisterous,
with bold acquisitive look and ravenous eyes. Ill-visaged
birds of prey would a casual European observer of even
that time have described them; only a few stood out as
conspicuously different in habiliment and behaviour.
Columbus, Diego Mendez, Bartholomew the brother
of Columbus, and perhaps half a dozen others. These
considered themselves to be gentlemen, and were resolved
to appear as befitted their status, as much as possible, even
if so far away from Spain.
"And if you remain we shall have a son," insisted
Anacanoa, as she and Diego Mendez walked along the
beach together that night, to the west of the cove, with
the waves breaking in surf upon the shore. "And if you
ever go away you must return to see him. Will you have
to go at all?"
"Only today the Admiral was saying something of the
sort to me, Anacanoa; but I do not leave your land. I
shall travel towards the sunrise."
"And if you go you will come back?"
"Without a doubt."
"And I will think of you as my husband until you
really become that. And I will tell my father, and he will
be good to you and to your chief. And Cotaban must find
a new house."
Diego was silent.
"But I don't see why you should wait till you come
back," she added plaintively, then fell silent.
Had she pressed him further then, the young Spaniard
would have taken her point of view.
Diego Mendez had dressed in some clean linen under-
wear he had saved for ceremonial or special occasions; he
wore his hose but had discarded his doublet and cloak.
He had shaved this morning; his face shone with good
humour and vivacity, the face of a young, good-looking,
courageous fellow devoted to his chief.
Anacanoa was clothed in a tiny white apron which
hung from a string of hand-woven cotton tied about her
waist. Round her neck she had put some ropes of bright-
coloured beads that the strangers had given to her the
day before. Her long black hair was wound about her
head and fringed her forehead. She was now with Diego
in a canoe, in which sat six paddlers who were to send
the light craft speeding silently towards the quarry they
There were many people in the shallow water of the
beach; ragged Spaniards bathing, while some of their com-
rades watched over them with ready cross-bows in case the
Indians should attempt treachery; Indians, too, of both sexes,
innocent of any clothing; and the scene might have seemed
to be a picnic, and was indeed really something of the sort-
For the newcomers and the natives were fraternising;
there was peace and harmony between them. From the
thatch-covered deck of the half-submerged Nina Columbus
watched them thoughtfully. The village cacique stood next
to him, deferential, but wondering at the change in the
appearance of the white man who had seemed so magni-
ficent when first he had come to these parts. It was an
old, sick man to whom the cacique, who had arrived this
morning, was talking now.
The canoe in which were Diego and Anacanoa was
fast disappearing from sight beyond the cove. The cacique
called the Admiral's attention to it.
"My daughter likes that young stranger," he said with
a slow smile. "Her husband is no good; he drinks the
piwari all day now; they have only one child. If you stay
here long she may take your man and have other children.'
He spoke as one making a commonplace remark about the
weather or the fishing.
Columbus answered diplomatically. "How long we
stay I cannot say now; but my men must respect your
women and not injure their husbands, Becchio; I am here
to protect, not to harm you."
The chief did not quite understand how Columbus
could be there to protect him, since it was the strangers
who were the weaker in numbers, with their winged canoes
out of action. But he agreed that the rights of his people
should be respected. In regard to his daughter, however,
both she and he could determine on her conduct.
"It would be all right if she put away her husband
and took your man," he assured the Admiral; "I could
give her to him. I could give many of you wives."
"If a woman is already married she belongs to her
husband forever," returned the Admiral gravely, nothing
loath to spread Christian doctrine at the moment, but even
more immediately concerned with keeping Diego free from
any foreign entanglements. Diego was too precious a
subaltern to tie himself up with even a chief's daughter
within a day or two of his landing. There was some im-
portant work for him to do: there always was. He must
be friendly with Anacanoa, but intimacy might be danger-
Becchio did not press the point; he was not in the
habit of thinking much or deeply on any subject. Doubtless
he felt that Diego and Anacanoa would settle their affairs
for themselves, without ostentation, if they were so inclined.
Meanwhile the canoe was being paddled towards the
open sea, eastward, where the Arawaks believed that turtle
would be found basking in the sun.
In a large gourd of calabash, filled with water, Ana-
canoa carefully nursed a curiously shaped fish nearly a foot
in length, whose underside was flat and deeply serrated.
About the head and fins of this creature a cotton net was
attached, and a long string of cotton, strongly woven, was
fastened to this net. Diego already knew the purpose of
this sucking fish, or remorra as it was called, and watched
with the interest of a sportsman as Anacanoa threw it into
the water when one of the Indians, pointing to a dark ob-
ject floating on the water's surface, indicated that the prey
which they had been seeking was found.
The huge amphibian, with a carapace more than three
feet long and almost as broad, floated sleeping, its back
slightly awash. Swiftly the sucking fish darted towards it,
slipped upon the shell, pressed its underside or suckers down
and clung with a tenacity more powerful than that of any
leach. The men in the canoe raised a shout of delight,
and began to paddle back to land. Anacanoa held in a
firm hand the string by which the remorra was fastened,
and before the turtle was awake it was being drawn towards
the cove. It made no resistance; suffering no pain, there
was no adverse reaction on its part to the pull exerted on
it. It was only when the canoe had arrived in shallow
water that it drew close to the animal: then one of the
paddlers exchanged his paddle for a long stone-tipped spear
and made a skilful thrust at the turtle's eye. The weapon
sank deep, the maddened creature almost leaped out of the
water, a desperate struggle began. But by this the other
men had jumped out of the canoe and soon had turned
their victim on its back. Thus with all its softer parts ex-
posed, it was easily vulnerable to the stabs from the stone-
tipped spears. Presently they were hauling it ashore, dead,
to be presented to the strangers for whom so large an
amount of food was needed.
Diego would have gone with the men, but Anacanoa
detained him. She called to some other Indians and signal-
led to them to take the paddles. "Let's go there," she said,
indicating somewhere towards the east.
Diego agreed. This might mean more food, and only
the night before the Admiral had expressed his fear that
the local food supply would not be adequate. Which would
mean suffering, and mutiny perhaps, unless the deficiency
were made good.
So eastward they went, the sun beating down fiercely,
but the heat tempered by the coolness of a wind that came
from the thickly wooded land upon their right. Now and
then the shore curved into long graceful indentations; here
and there, there was no beach and the trees came down in
serried ranks to the very water's edge, a waving barrier of
green against whose base lapped blue waves of sparkling
water. Sometimes great rocks stood out into the sea;
against these spray and spume broke high. Elsewhere little
streams could be spied murmuring unceasingly and emptying
themselves into the Caribbean that twenty years before had
After they had gone some way, hugging the shore as
they paddled, Diego noticed a trail of flowing white that
issued from between long lines of trees, a river as he saw
directly that came swiftly down to join the sea. At once
Anacanoa motioned with an arm, and the paddlers turned
the nose of the canoe to the right bank of this river. It
grounded; she and Diego leaped to the beach, and she
began to climb upwards, pushing her way along a trail
which had been trodden out by generations of naked feet.
And now they were in the forest, with a dense um-
brageous canopy above their heads and moist heat all about
them. He saw high trees with leaves of burnished green
on one surface, of glistening brown on the other; he saw
trees bearing a light mauve flower; he saw palms that sprang
upright into the sky, their heads in the fire of the sun. He
heard a steady roar. It was the thunder of falling water,
the voice of a cascade somewhere in front of them, and
presently, as they turned leftwards to the river's edge, and
came out upon clearer ground, a tumbling mass of water
burst upon their view.
It fell slantingly towards them, over rocks and ridges,
between massive century-old trees; it slid down terraces
formed by its own action, and in the shower of sunlight
that streamed down upon it it flashed into azure and white
as though turquoise and diamonds had been splintered and
flung into it by careless, generous hands. The sound of it
was a melodious roar, not deafening or terrifying; enchant-
ing rather; and the spray from it flung itself into the faces
of the two that watched it. Diego thought that it was one
of the loveliest waterfalls he had ever seen. This Indian
girl must have loved it too or she would never have brought
She sat down upon a rock and drew him to sit beside
her. She began to talk quickly, but soon realized that he
was not following her words. She spoke more slowly. He
understood her now to say that here was the boundary of
her father's jurisdiction, that just beyond it was another
tribe, friendly but independent. Some of her people were
thinking of building a village about here; she had urged
them to do that; she would like to be with them. "And
you could live here, too, with me," she added simply.
He knew now that she had brought him here to show
him the site of what should be their future home if he would
take her as a wife.
"It is very beautiful," he said, "and we may live here."
He himself did not believe this, but he was being diplomatic;
the Admiral wanted peace and a good understanding with
"And the rest of you will live in Jamaica also," she
said; for already she knew that the two ships could not
sail again, so badly damaged were they, and she did not
see how in even the biggest of the Indian canoes they would
dare put out into the distant sea.
Diego was moved to candour, stirred by a sentiment
of pity for his pretty, confiding girl.
"Some of us," he said, "are not good men. Your
women should avoid them."
"They don't eat men and women?" she enquired
He laughed. "No, that you need not fear. But some-
times they can be very cruel."
"You will prevent them," she assured him confidently,
leaning against him. "We have no fear with you among
them. Besides, we could beat them.
"Once, long, long ago, a big canoe of man-eaters came
here. They came from there;" she pointed vaguely in the
direction of Haiti, where a colony of Caribs had established
themselves, hailing originally from one of the small, distant
Carib islands. "My people fought them and killed them
all except one. She was a woman, and very beautiful, and
my father's father's father's father's father married her.
The man-eaters never came back again."
"So you are, in part, a descendant of the man-eaters?"
This puzzled her at first; but presently she understood.
"But I am not a man-eater," she cried in horror.
"I know that; I only meant to say that you have some
of their blood in your veins, Anacanoa"; and to himself he
said that that perhaps explained why she seemed much
braver, more intrepid, than most of her people; why per-
haps she was somewhat taller too than they.
"The man-eaters never came back, but we shall come
again and again," he spoke aloud, with a touch of regret
in his voice. "That is certain."
"That is good," she laughed gleefully.
He replied nothing; but rose from his seat.
"Let us go back to the canoe," he counselled.
He was strange, this man, she thought. Why did he
not immediately make her his own? What was there to
prevent him? But she was very intelligent; so she con-
cluded that he was restrained for the present by some
custom which he must respect. She did not observe the
sadness in his face when he looked at her.
Three days later, at dawn, Diego stood with three
Indians ready to set off on a journey round the coast on
foot, to the eastern part of the island. Already the food
supplies were falling off. Other tribes must be persuaded
to send in provisions, and the Admiral had already selected
Diego for this mission.
"Let me go with you," pleaded Anacanoa.
"It cannot be," he said. "But I will not be long away.
You can help me differently."
"Get your father and your people to bring all the food
they can gather to the ships; the Admiral will pay them
well. And tell your women folk to keep away from our
men, and warn your men not to quarrel with ours. You
understand? You will do what I ask?"
"Yes; and when you return?"
"Then you may become my wife, Anacanoa," he ans-
wered; and this time he meant it.
Such an alliance might help, he had already concluded;
indeed, the matter had been discussed by him and Don
Christopher. The latter saw himself in desperate plight.
No one in Epanola knew where he was; no Spaniard in all
the world except those here. And now some of his men,
rested and fed, were beginning to grumble, being only kept
in awe by the loyalty of the majority, a loyalty, however,
which might not always endure.
The immediate need was supplies and peace; Diego
was about to set off to arrange with different caciques for
the former, and it might be that if Diego took this village
chief's daughter to wife, as she wanted and her father
wanted, peace with the Indians might be secured. After
all, a heathen marriage was no marriage; and even if it was,
this was not the time to cavil over morals.
Columbus watched Diego and his Indian attendants
paddle off upon their venture; Anacanoa watched them also.
Then, when the canoe had faded from sight, she went to
her hut and explained to Cotoban that she was no longer
his wife. He was drinking cassava beer, which he loved,
and for which he now seemed to live, and it had bloated
his body and half-poisoned his brain. When she informed
him of this primitive divorce, he raised no objection. He
saw no reason to object. He must give up the hut, she
explained to him, since she would have no time to build a
new one against the return of her new husband; this also
seemed quite reasonable to him, especially as she would
take care of their child. He could go to his mother's hut,
he resolved. He would be happy there. On the whole,
if he had any emotion about the matter at all, it was one
of satisfaction and relief.
Anacanoa made the interior of the hut as attractive
as she could, instinct telling her that her new man would
not wish to be reminded of the habits of his predecessor.
Then she settled down to wait.
And now the days seemed lengthy; she scanned the sea
hour after hour from one of the arms of the narrow cove;
saw the sun go down evening after evening, and no sign
of the man she loved. At last one afternoon as to the
west, in a blaze of scarlet and saffron, of purple and pink,
the horizon and the sea lighted up in the swift-passing twi-
light of the tropics, a canoe with Diego was described. She
hurried to meet him; he embraced her kindly, then went
straight to the Admiral on his ship to make his report.
But the Admiral knew already of his success, for food in
sufficient quantities, bought with trumpery things, had been
coming in from the eastern villages with which Diego had
traded. Don Christopher shook Diego by the hand warm-
ly, and thanked him.
"The girl, Admiral," said the young man: "she is
waiting for me. I promised her. .."
"It is best so, as I told you the other day, my son,
before you went away," said Columbus calmly. "Neither
you nor I wanted this, and we strove against it. But it
cannot be helped. You may stay ashore."
"It won't be for long," thought the Admiral, but
would not put this thought into words.
With mixed feelings, for present gladness was tinctured
with fear and doubt as to what the future might bring,
Diego hastened back to Anacanoa.
There was no sort of Arawak wedding feast.
Already she looked upon herself as his wife.
"There is no other way," said the Admiral
Diego was thoughtful. Much was being asked of him,
but he was pledged to duty. Then he glanced at Ana-
canoa, and his heart sank.
It was night, and the great moon of the tropics silvered
forest and sea, dimming the flashes of emerald light from
the fireflies that flitted among the thick trees beneath whose
branches the two adventurers stood, with the girl not far
from them. They spoke in Spanish, so that she should not
understand. They had drawn away from the rest of their
own men, for these the Admiral did not wish to know the
idea he had in mind.
"There is no other way, Diego, and this is a desperate
one enough, God knows. Yet who can succeed, if not you?
You could sail in one of our best canoes to the eastern
tip of this island, then push off to Espanola; by Our Lady's
help you will arrive safely. The chief here will give us
paddlers; Anacanoa will assist in that. Then you must get
the Governor in Espanola to send me a ship, otherwise we
all must perish here.
"I repeat, there is no other way."
"I see that, Lord Admiral," replied Diego slowly; "but
you say I am not to return, but to go on to Spain with your
letters. Why shouldn't I return?"
"Because, Diego, you are the only man, except my
own brother, whom I can trust to take my letters to Spain.
And my brother is older than you are and not as likely to
succeed on such a mission. Tell me, my son, is it not
because of this woman that you wish to come back?"
"I care for her, Admiral, and she loves me. And now
it would be a crime to leave her forever. Look, she is
staring at us now as though she knew what we are talking
about, though that is not possible."
And, indeed, Anacanoa was gazing at them anxiously,
a presentiment of something concerning her being in her
"Take her with you," said Don Christopher, suddenly;
"she may be of help. I feel that she will gladly go."
"There is her child," murmured Diego, "her little
"The child has grandparents, and you will come back
to this country from Spain, Diego, you and she. I shall
see that you have a position here; our sovereigns will not
refuse me that. But if you wish to leave her behind. .."
"I will give her the choice, Admiral; and I will leave
it to your men to say if any of them will go to Espanola
instead of me. You do not object?"
"No," said the Admiral with a little smile, for he
knew that when Diego put the question to the others there
would be none to choose the peril of a long sea voyage in
an open canoe to Espanola. They would gladly leave the
honour and the danger to the intrepid young man. And
so it was as Columbus had thought, when, next day, Diego
asked who would sail on the Admiral's mission. But he,.
too, had known beforehand what the decision would be.
Anacanoa had guessed that something was afoot; but
had asked no questions. These strangers were queer; but
her lord was great among them-she saw that and her heart
swelled with pride. When their son was born he would
be great among the strangers' sons and her own people
also; he would rule the villages from west to east and their
chiefs would be subject to him. She had begun to think
imperially, had this girl. Something was stirring in her
blood-the fighting, conquering Carib strain-and it affected
Diego came to her after his speech to his comrades:
he took her aside, to a little glade among the trees, and put
his arm around her waist and drew her to him.
"I am going away, Anacanoa," he said to her; "I am
going across the seas, to get help for my chief. I may be
many, many moons away."
"Do you come back with the help?" she queried, a
frightened look creeping into her face.
He could not lie to her, would not. He felt in his
heart the sickness of shame.
"No; but I shall come back some time after he leaves;
I and many others."
"And me; what about me? Do I remain here alone?"
"Why can't I come with you, Diego? Why do you
wish to leave me?"
"I do not wish to leave you, Anacanoa; but the way
is long and over the water, and the perils are many. I may
"I shall want to die, too, if you do. And if you go
alone I shall never know what has become of you. Take
"And your little girl?"
"She will be safe with my father. And I love you
better than I love her."
"It shall be as you say, querida," he replied, and
though she did not know what this last word meant, she
felt and believed it was a term of endearment.
The next day they started. There were six Indians
with them to do the paddling. Her father took stoical leave
of her, as did her mother. There was, indeed, no fuss
whatever about her going, among her own people. As for
the Spaniards, they thought it only natural that Diego should
take his woman with him, since she was so good-looking;
but there was one of them, Captain Francisco de Porras,
who showed jealousy.
"Why not stay behind with me?" he asked Anacanoa,
as she was waiting to embark; "surely I am as good as
He had seized her by the arm and was laughing lewdly
in her face. She wrenched herself free of him, and then
before he could seize her again he found himself in the
grip of Diego Mendez.
"Look, Francisco," Diego growled: "I am the Admiral's
servant, and he wants no brawling among us. Besides, we
may never meet again. But if I had to remain here and
you again insulted this princess and myself, I would let
your blood out sufficiently to cool your insolence."
"Indeed, Master Diego?" sneered Francisco: "but two
can play at that game. And we may meet again, here or
in Espanola or in Spain, and the girl may be there too-
who knows? Until then-"
"You are mere carrion," scoffed Diego, and walked
Indians and Spaniards alike watched his canoe dis-
appear from sight.
The Admiral, worried, disappointed, looked haggard
when he was told some days later that Diego and his canoe
were entering the sheltered cove. So Diego, had not gone
to Espanola after all! This was terrible. He hurried out
of his improvised cabin to see the party land, and in a few
minutes his emissary was telling him a story of frustration
"We sailed to the east," said Diego; "but we were cap-
tured by a powerful cacique and his men, on one of our
landings. That night they were debating what should be
done with the stores we had, and they had made up their
minds to kill us. Anacanoa overheard them. She crept
out of the hut into which they had put us; they guarded
the entrance only, and so I cut a hole in the rear wall with
my knife for her to creep through. She insisted on it:
she is a brave and loyal girl, Admiral."
"Yes, my son, I know; but go on with your story."
"She listened outside the chief's house and heard them
talking. She came back and told us their plan; it seems that
they could not all agree about the details of it. We waited
for no more. We stole out of the hut by the hole, and
went quickly but quietly to where I had left my canoe when
I landed in that part of the country. It was safe. We
embarked; and here we are. I have failed."
"It is not your fault, Diego. You can always be
trusted to do your best."
The young man flushed with pleasure at this praise.
"I have a plan, Admiral," he said.
"I will go again to the eastern end of the island by
water, and from there I will strike across to Espanola.
But along the coast land you should send a body of armed
men to prevent any of these savages from putting out to
capture me before I am well away from the Jamaica shore.
Can this be done?"
"Admirably suggested," cried Don Christopher. "With-
out you, Diego, we should not be saved. It shall be as
"Another thing, Admiral."
"Yes, my son?"
"Whatever you wish."
"She must not go with us this time. It is going to be
terribly hard for men; it would be much worse for a woman.
She will understand that now. But I am asking you to
promise me two things: one is that you will see she is not
molested by any of our people-I would especially men-
tion Francisco de Porras."
"A villain at heart, Diego; he and his brother."
"You know it! The next thing is that when you leave
this country you shall bring her with you. Bring her to
Spain, her and her little child. I shall be there if, through
the good intercession of Our Lady of the Sea, I am suc-
cessful. In any case she must not be left behind when you
go, Admiral, for she would pine and probably die. You
"Readily, Diego, and all the more so because she was
not really married to that fellow Cotaban." Which remark
showed the Admiral to be something of a casuist.
Diego left his presence with a feeling of relief. It
would be some time before Anacanoa could join him in
Spain, but that reunion was now certain if he should achieve
the hazardous journey to Espanola. And he was too brave
and young and hopeful to doubt that he would.
What would he do with Anacanoa in his own country?
He did not yet face that question squarely; but at the back
of his mind was the idea that they would not be long in
Spain, that they would return to this part of the world, that
he might then be given a high position in and over this
island, as the Admiral had promised. He might be its
governor, and she, a chief's daughter, would make the sub-
mission of the people all the easier. And if she had the
son she was always prophesying? Vaguely he wondered
what the little creature would look like.
He went straight to her to tell her of his plan. And
this time Anacanoa had to yield to his decision without
He would not risk her life on an expedition which
even he would find hard and difficult, he assured her; she
would follow him with the Admiral, whose word could be
trusted. There was only one little bother. Francisco de
"Is nothing!" she exclaimed. "He is nothing here. He
is under your great chief, and if he attempted to lay hands
on me my own people would beat him, even though they
are not brave like you. I am safe; it is you, my heart,
who will be in peril."
"I, too, will be safe; and in a little while will come
the great winged canoe to bear my people away, and you
and the child with them. And now, until we meet again. .."
He kissed her fervently, and she passionately returned
his kisses. Then he stepped into the canoe, while a band
of armed Spaniards, commanded by the Admiral's brother,
marched off towards the east.
"Vaya con Dios, hijo!" cried Don Christopher; "Go
with God my son!"
"Hasta luego, Diego!" shouted the Spaniards left be-
hind, delighted that another effort was being made to bring
them succour and a rescue from this country, of which they
were growing weary.
Diego waved a reply, but his eyes were fixed on a
solitary figure which, standing on the edge of the little
promontory that formed one side of the Cove, stared at
him without uttering a sound. He passed almost directly
beneath this figure; he saw tears streaming down Anacanoa's
cheeks. He had never seen her weep before; now her eyes
overflowed, but she spoke no word, only dumbly gazed
upon him as she wept. He tried to smile cheerfully; found,
surprised at the instant, that his tears were answering hers,
that man though he was, he, too, was weeping. But he
found his voice as the canoe slipped by and called out to
her: "We shall meet again in a little while, querida de mi
He heard no answer.
Days passed, the Admiral's brother and his band of
armed men returned.
"We saw them depart safely from the extreme eastern
end of the island," reported Bartholomew Columbus; "we
waited until there was no possibility of their being pursued.
Then we came back."
"You spoke to Diego before he sailed for Espanola?"
questioned Don Christopher.
"I did. He hadn't much to say. But he bade me re-
mind you to take good care of Anacanoa."
"He seems to love her," mused the Admiral. "I must
ask the friar with us to instruct her in the principles of
our holy faith, and to baptize her. She will thus leave this
country a Christian."
"That will be splendid," agreed Bartholomew.
"I shall see to it at once. Happily, the good father
knows enough of her language."
So when Francisco de Porras approached Anacanoa
a couple of days after, intent upon courtship, he found her
under the tutelage of a priest who frowned at his interrup-
tion. He laughed and swaggered away. There were other
girls in the village and the neighbourhood. And some of
the Spaniards were already, though surreptitiously, forming
liaisons with these.
"My child, I cannot tell you. But I believe that
though we have heard nothing these many moons, Diego
is safe and well. He is under the special protection of our
"It is weary waiting," moaned Anacanoa.
"For both of us," sighed the Admiral. "And I am
sick and old."
He was lying on his bed in the thatched structure on
the Nifia's deck which he called his cabin. Fever had
prostrated him, and gout; and some five months had elapsed
since Diego Mendez had sailed in a frail vessel for the
shores of Espanola. No word had come from him. And
the men outside were saying that Mendez was dead.
He might be. Who could be certain he was not? But
who could be certain that he was, thought the man whose
faith and indomitable perseverance had led to the discovery
of a new world. So long as there was a glimmer of hope
he would not despair. Besides, there was this girl to com-
fort; and during these months she had in her turn been
a comfort to him.
She was the one woman allowed to enter the Admiral's
cabin as he lay confined within its narrow space. He
looked upon her in the light of a daughter now.
"There is something I have to tell you," said Ana-
canoa; "there is danger being prepared for you."
I seem to have known hardly anything else these many
years, my child: what is it?"
She lowered her voice. "Francisco Porras and his
brother plan to take your canoes, with some of the men,
and set off to the place they call Espanola. They may
attack you. They have been talking about it for some days."
How do you know this?" harshly demanded the
Admiral, half rising from his recumbent position.
"Francisco had been drinking much piwari; he came
boasting to me today what he was going to do. He said
I should go with him. I spumed him. He warned me that
he would kill me if I told you what he had said. He swore
that Diego is dead."
"Diego is not dead," cried Columbus; "but Francisco
and his worthless brother may be if they persist in their
treason. Go back now to your father's house, Anacanoa,
and quickly; you must not be here when I deal with
these men. I will send for you when I want you. And
when the ship comes for me, you will go with me as my
daughter. Send my brother here."
She left the Admiral at this command. It was New
Year's Day, though she knew nothing of the white man's
holidays and festivals. The sky was brilliant with great
stars which seemed more thickly strewn about the floor
of heaven in these cooler months than when the summer's
heat was smiting the land and the sun ruled with fiery
splendour. The atmosphere was cool, delicious, and the
odour of the pimento, the all-spice indigenous to the
country, pervaded everything, its very leaves aromatic.
She turned her eyes towards a spot where a group of men
She could distinguish the figure of Francisco de Porras
from where she was. She walked in that direction. They
let her come near, confident that she could not understand
what they said, and careless now if even she should.
Francisco was haranguing the group, his hawklike nose
and fierce eyes dominating it. He was tall and lean, reck-
less in appearance, with an evil, cruel mouth not complete-
ly hidden by the black moustache and short pointed beard
he wore. Many of those about him had reckless counten-
ances also, and all the hardness in their souls seemed to
have come uppermost at last. Francisco saw her, and
pointed her out with a few whispered words to two of the
men. These laughed, and she turned back hurriedly, not
liking his gesture and the sound of their raucous voices.
She went to her father's hut, as the Admiral had advised.
Early next day she was startled by a great clamour.
"For Spain, for Spain; we are for Spain!" a band of
desperadoes were crying, as they swarmed about the beach
by the stranded caravels and demanded that the Admiral
should see them. Anacanoa caught the note of menace
in the tumult of voices and hurried to the ship. But a
man at the foot of the ladder leading to its deck pushed
her roughly off with an oath, while some others standing
about overawed the Indians who had assembled astonished
at all this wild confusion.
Francisco de Porras, his sword unsheathed, was al-
ready on the Nifia's deck. "I must see the Admiral at
once," he thundered, "I have to tell him-"
The white-haired discoverer had appeared at the door-
way of his cabin. With a mighty effort he had risen from
his bed of illness. "Is this mutiny, Francisco?" he de-
manded, his eyes narrowed and his tones suffused with
"We want to return to Spain," blustered Porras. "We
have been here six months, and there is no word from
Espanola. Diego Mendez is either dead, or has left us in
the lurch. You have canoes; we can get away in them.
You are staying here because you are in disgrace in Castile
and are afraid to go back: you want us to live and die
here. I give you a chance to come with us; but if you
choose to stay, we go. Speak at once!"
"For Spain, for Spain!" shouted Francisco de Porras,
who wished for nothing less than that Don Christopher
should sail with him. His plot was to represent the
Admiral as desirous of keeping them forcibly in the island.
He beckoned to a few of his men who now sprang on the
ship at his gesture crying, "We are for Castile! we are for
Castile!" Don Christopher was at that moment very near
But now his brother, Bartholomew, came hurrying
from the other caravel, and Bartholomew, like Francisco,
held a drawn sword in his hand. "Take the Admiral in-
side," he shouted to three or four loyal men, and swung
to face Francisco. "And you get to hell from this deck,
or I send you there," he snarled to the leader of the
mutineers. "Off now, off you go, you sweepings of the
gutter! Por Dios, I will split you as you stand if you say
another word, you dog!"
Francisco sprang back; he knew that Bartholomew was
in deadly earnest. He would deal with him another day,
he thought; would kill him by torture, burn him; but he
would not fight him now. "For Spain, for Spain!" he cried
again, and scrambled overboard. Some fifty men swarmed
to his side. "Seize the canoes," he ordered, "and take as
much food and water as we can carry. Let us leave the
sick and the fools behind."
"Let them go," said Bartholomew to the Admiral who
lay prostrate on his bed, listening to the wild cries without;
"we are better without them. I hope they drown."
The rest of the crew looked on, some angry, some in
consternation, most with indifference, for many were sick
in body and sick in mind also. Food to which they were not
well accustomed, strange fevers, weariness, above all a
gnawing despair brought about by dreary months of wait-
ing for a deliverance that did not come, had broken the
spirit of'most of them, so that they cared little about what
Francisco de Porras might do. He and his following had
already seized ten canoes and had hastily filled them with
provisions. They were starting eastward, taking the route
which Mendez had taken; one, two, three of them pushed
off, then Francisco signalled to two of his men.
These had not yet embarked. Suddenly they ran
towards a body of Arawaks standing not far from them,
scattered them with a few rough blows, and swung Ana-
canoa off her feet. The surprise was complete. Before
she quite knew what had happened she was dumped into
a canoe in which sat Francisco de Porras, and his strong
arms were holding her down.
"Off!" he commanded, and then laughed wolfishly.
"So it seems that I have got you at last, Senora Mendez,"
A long piercing scream broke from Anacanoa; she had
no doubt what this outrage meant; she uttered the Admiral's
name. The Admiral heard her, knew her voice.
"Good God, Bartholomew," he gasped, "they are
injuring Anacanoa or taking her away! I promised Diego
to have care of her; and her father is chief of this place.
This is terrible. You must stop it, brother; you must rescue
this girl at once."
"It is useless," protested Bartholomew. "We cannot
fight these men for an Indian girl; even our loyal followers
would not do that. They will shed no blood for her."
"I think of her as a child of mine," said Columbus
bitterly, "and I promised Diego to bring her with me to
"You have nothing to blame yourself for, Christopher.
And it may be that none of us will ever see Spain again."
He walked out of the cabin. The Admiral struggled
to rise again, but fell back exhausted.
Francisco, meantime, was struggling with the girl.
She was strong, she fought like a wildcat, biting, scratching,
and soon he divined that if once she got free of his hold
she would throw herself into the water, dive, and swim
hell-for-leather to the shore. He laughed as he grasped
her intention; but he must still her violent movements or
the canoe might overturn. So he bade one of his men pass
him a long coil of cotton rope they had in the canoe, and
with this, literally sitting on Anacanoa's body, he tied first
her legs together, and then her hands behind her. So
bound, and stretched out, and held down, she was helpless.
True, she could curse him, rail at him, threaten him with
the vengeance of Diego. "Diego is dead," he jeered, "and
I am sorry for it for this reason: I could wish him to know
that I have got you at last, and I could wish to treat him
like the dog he is. I must be content with you alone, as
He was explicit enough for her understanding. And
as his men laughed at his sally, Anacanoa realized her utter
They paddled for miles. At this time of the year
muscular exertion in the open was not unpleasant, and
these men were glad of labour which they might consider
exercise. They knew there was a village in the vicinity
of a waterfall which already they called the Roaring River,
and to which Anacanoa had taken her white lover many
months before. For this settlement they now made, and
when they reached it Francisco at once assumed the air of
He had untied Anacanoa's feet, but her hands were
still bound, and she was led by the cotton rope, a captive.
Just before entering the village he bound a piece of coarse
native cotton cloth across her mouth.
He summoned the chief man of the place before him:
this cacique was independent of Anacanoa's father, just on
the border, but outside, of his jurisdiction. "I need huts
for my people to sleep in tonight," explained Francisco,
"and food, and women for those who want them. Do you
The cacique glanced at Anacanoa, whom he knew,
observed her plight, stared at the armed strangers and
perceived that they meant mischief. Women had never been
demanded from his people before, and food had always
been paid for. He would protest.
"The Big Chief," he began, referring to Columbus,
but Porras cut him short.
"The Big Chief," he said, with a wicked laugh, "has
sent me; I am obeying his commands. This will make it
hot in time for Master Christopher," he called out in Spanish
to his gang, and they too laughed. It was in for a penny,
in for a pound with them, and they were bent upon making
things as unpleasant as possible for the Admiral and their
comrades whom they had deserted.
"I see you don't believe me," he went on, addressing
the chief. "Very well, men, let us give him a touch of
discipline. Tie him to that tree!"
They grasped the bewildered, startled Indian; in a
trice he was lashed to a tree and blows from a heavy stick
were showered on his body. "That's how they use 'em,
and worse, in Espanola," laughed one of the Spaniards;
"shall we light a fire under his feet, Captain Francisco?"
"It might be as well to set a good example at once,"
agreed Francisco slowly, seeing the eager flame of cruelty
lighting up the faces of the brutes who had mutinied with
him. He knew he must please them if he were to retain
the leadership, and he himself was sadistic at heart. It
would be fine fun to see this fool Indian squirm as the fire
roasted him, and to hear his howls.
They ran like merry schoolboys to bind the unfor-
tunate man more securely; they tied him to the tree-trunk
round his neck and under his arms and across his middle.
Then, though he screamed for mercy and promised to do
whatever they wished, they heaped dry wood and grass
under his feet and about his legs, and lit a fire, and gloated
while he underwent the hideous torture that many another
Indian of the island was to know. All the people of the
settlement were there, staring, dumbfounded. When some
of them would have fled, they were beaten back by the
Spaniards, or menaced by the cross-bows to which arrows
were fitted. Some of the men had arquebuses, and one
of these was fired to scare the crowd. The thunder of it
terrified the people, a few of them falling prone to earth
in their fright. It was not until later that they discovered
that the weapon had shot one woman dead.
The chief was not burned to death; Francisco hadn't
enough time for a thorough execution by fire. When he
was but half-roasted-he died that night-the Spaniards
marched away, signalling to the people to go before them.
They selected a number of the best huts that were close
to one another, arranged for sentries to stand watch alter-
nately, each man doing his share, then sent the women
to bring them food. They were given what the villages pos-
sessed, with quantities of.cassava beer, which they swallow-
ed for its intoxicating effects, and then they stretched them-
selves out in the shade of the trees to rest and doze. The
sentries watched, the sleepers rested with their hands on
their arms, the Indians trembled and wondered what would
befall them next. The night the Spaniards took what
women they desired to be with them, and the girls went
obediently. The Indian men were silent and submissive.
That was better than being roasted alive.
A hut was reserved for the captain's use alone. Into
it he dragged Anacanoa, and to its centre post he attached
her with a chain he had carefully brought away from the
ship of which he had been in charge, the sister ship that
lay stranded in the Cove. He had been in command of
her; and he had bethought him of this chain before his
desertion, and for the very purpose to which he put it now.
He knew that Anacanoa would endeavour to escape, and
would gnaw through even a stout cotton rope. But she
could not gnaw through iron. He had her fast. She would
be his leman until he wearied of her; her very repugnance
for him, her wild efforts to escape him, stimulated his
desire for her. Perhaps that desire had been one of the
motives of his mutiny. He did not question himself about
this, was not given to self-analysis. He had simply wanted
her, had planned to take her, and now she was wholly in
He took good care that she should not get within reach
of sharp instruments, for he guessed she might try to kill
him or herself.
He took all the precautions he could think of.
They stayed in that village for three days, roystering,
making the girls their playthings, and the terrified savages
obeyed them as though they were gods.
Then they set off again in the canoes, leaving the
gentle roar of the falling water behind them, and taking
Anacanoa along like a captive dog.
"I WILL LEAD THEM"
She watched their preparations with a listless air.
They were going away, these men, and would leave her
here, in a part of Jamaica she had never known before,
but it was not this that mattered to her. She could get
back safely to her own place and people. But they might
find Diego and tell him lies about her, and he might never
want to see her more.
She was crouching near the shore, sheltered from sight
by the tree ferns that grew profusely in the dark, dank spot
she had chosen. Francisco had given up leading her in
leash by now; after a while she had followed blindly. For
she had heard talk that they intended to go to Espanola,
where Diego had gone, and the mere sound of that word
had drawn her like a magnet.
She heard a step on the ground just beyond her
shelter. Peeping out, she saw it was made by a Spaniard,
one Fernandez, a middle-aged man of kinder disposition
than most of the other desperadoes. He knew some Ara-
wak, and she had by this picked up some words of Spanish.
They had now and then talked with one another; he had
long known she loved Diego. She could count upon his
She called to him softly, and he came to her.
"What is it, little chieftainess?" he asked with a father-
ly smile. Whenever he looked at her he remembered the
daughter he had left at home, and his heart went out to
"I am going back to my people," she answered, "but
do me this kindness, senor. Should you see Diego, my
husband, will you tell him how I have been treated, but
how, within me, I have been true to him, and will be till
"I shall," he promised, for he did not know that the
Admiral had commissioned Diego to go on to Spain after
reaching the island of Espanola, and he did not care to tell
her that Diego might have been drowned at sea.
"I may never see him again," she mused, "never hear
his voice. Besides, would he want me now? Look at me,
what I am, what I have become...Better perhaps that we
never meet again, but, O Senor Fernandez, I love him so!"
"I know it, I know it," this rough man of fifty replied
softly, sick at seeing her misery. "Por Dios, I would help
you if I could. Ah, I have it! Why not go with us? Then
you may meet Diego again, and I hope he avenges your
"Go with you?" she cried, her face suddenly lighting
up, her renunciation of but a moment before forgotten.
"But how, how? They will not take me with them. How?"
"Easy enough. You are strong, you can paddle as
well as any of these Indians here. Tell the captain that
you would like to be a paddler in one of the canoes, and
I guess he will jump at the offer. Anyway, there's no
reason why he should refuse."
"Yes," she breathed excitedly, "he may take me if I
go to labour. Come with me; I will ask him now."
Together they hurried to where Francisco and some
of his men stood overlooking the final preparations for their
embarkation for Espanola. Indians were sullenly loading
the canoes with water and provisions; they knew that they
had been impressed to paddle the strangers a long way over
to an island of which they had heard but never seen, and
they dare not disobey. At first there had been a refusal;
but one of the Spaniards had drawn his sword and swept
from his shoulders the head of the man who had first voiced
objections. And then, out of sheer deviltry, three other
Spaniards had tried the edges of their blades on the necks
of some other Arawaks as these had run by them yelling.
Six dead bodies had testified to the power and the ruthless-
ness of the masters; after that a feeling of impotent dread
and terror had settled upon the people of this village. They
were slaves; they must obey any command delivered to
them. They were toiling now in utter silence, but their
eyes were like those of animals haunted by the fear of
"I want to go with ybu," said Anacanoa, boldly ap-
"You do, do you?" he answered, staring at her. "But
I don't think I need you any longer. Where we are going
there are a lot of other girls quite as pretty as you used to
be, and they will be glad if I smile at them.
"So here you stay, my girl, which is the place for you.
I wonder that you should want to come with me!"
"I can paddle as well as any man; and I have heard
how Ayty is to be reached: you haven't."
"I don't believe you. You have another reason for
wanting to go. Santa Maria, I know it!"
He turned with a great burst of laughter to his friends.
"She is thinking of joining up with Diego Mendez. I al-
ways hated that fellow! I wonder what he would say if I
took her along. That might show him that I have been
more than a match for him, and if he attempted to kick
up a row about how I took her from him-well, he would
only get laughed at. I think I'll show him: it will take
him down a peg; and if he still wants to have her now
that I have done with her, he may."
He turned to Anacanoa and spoke in halting Arawak.
"Very well, you can come along; but understand, you will
paddle like any man."
Without a word she ran towards one of the canoes,
and, by chance, it was the one in which Francisco himself
was to embark, and her friend Fernandez also.
In another hour's time they were off. From the eastern
extremity of Jamaica they set out, a little fleet of canoes
manned mainly by Indian paddlers, though some of the
Spaniards gave a hand as well. Mile after mile they pulled,
and the sun shone fiercer and fiercer, and sea and sky were
a blaze of gold and blue. It was gruelling work, with over
a hundred miles to go. And when the land behind them
had sunk out of sight they found themselves in a welter
of waves that ran tumultuously in all directions, as it
seemed, and threatened to swamp the frail craft to which
they had entrusted their lives.
The canoes tried to keep close together. But now
and then some heavy wave mightier than the rest, would
strike and scatter them, and trom one canoe to another
would come shouts and ejaculations-curses, prayers, even
screams, for now these men began to fear that they were
faced with death by drowning. Looking about them as
far as they could see, the water's surface was one broken
heaving mass of foam and spray. "My God!" exclaimed
Francisco de Porras at last, "we shall die if we dare venture
"Turn about," he signalled to his paddlers, and the
poor creatures were glad to obey. His manoeuvre was
soon perceived by the men who had set out with him:
one by one the canoes turned again towards the shore.
But steadily the wind rose, and now it was a race between
them and what appeared to be a gathering storm. And
the canoes laboured heavily as though they might founder
at any moment.
"There are too many people on board," growled
Francisco. "We must save ourselves."
As he spoke he seized an Arawak paddler, tore from
him his paddle, and, lifting him bodily, hurled him into the
sea. Three others followed; and now the signal had been
given for a general drowning. Pitched into the water, the
frightened wretches screamed, swam frantically landwards,
never losing touch with the canoes. The Spaniards paddled
desperately; in Francisco de Porras' canoe Anacanoa sat
with pinched lips awaiting death. Indeed, she might have
been the first to be thrown overboard, as a woman of less
use than a man, but that she was near to Fernandez who
had kept a hand upon her shoulder and had glared at those
who would have sacrificed her with murder in his eyes.
She stared at her people swimming and struggling in
the water. She had never thought of them as her people
before; they were from another part of the island, strangers,
foreigners, to her. But now she had a sense of oneness
with them; a feeling that had been growing within her all
these weeks came fully to life at last. She and they were
one, and these brutal pale-faced men were of another breed
altogether. They were bad, vile, terrible.. .except Diego.
And the old man who had been chief of them all. And
this other old man, too (so she thought of Fernandez),
who was so strangely kind to her. But all the rest-
Suddenly she screamed. One of the struggling Indians
exhausted, on the point of sinking, had seized the gunwale
of the canoe. He hoped by that means to be dragged
through the water to safety. One or two others had instant-
ly followed his example. Swiftly a Spanish sword rose
and a clinging hand was severed, then another and another;
and with agonised cries the frantic wretches sank out of
sight, the spurting blood immediately obliterated by the
resurgent waves. All around a similar tragedy was being
enacted. Anacanoa dropped her paddle and buried her
face in her hands.
"Send her to join the others!" roared a rough,, harsh
voice; it was that of a man who sat near to Fernandez.
"Touch her, and you go first, you cowardly, hound,"
snapped Fernandez; "no harm comes to her in this boat
while I live."
They left her alone after that, and pulled vigorously
for the shore, and as they approached it the waves became
less boisterous, and the wind died down. When they landed,
they fell to earth, worn out, exhausted, maddened by the
thought that they had had to abandon their enterprise.
They paid no attention to Anacanoa, who walked from
among them and went to crouch again in her damp shelter
of tree fern. One awful feeling, a conviction, obsessed her
mind and tore her soul with grief.
Diego. Diego had gone the way these men had at-
tempted, and had never come back, he and those who went
with him. What had happened to them? She could see
them with her mind's eye, braving wind and wave, fighting
a hopeless battle against the raging elements, upset,
struggling for a few desperate moments in the water, sink-
ing forever. It must have been so; had she, too, not nearly
lost her life on this same sea? She rocked her body in
grief and despair. He was dead, and all her hopes had
died with him.
By a curious twist of mind, she connected his death
with these men who had injured her, and then with all the
strangers. He had gone away on their behalf; had he not
been sent he would be with her now. He might, he would
have remained with her forever. They had sent him to
his end, had deprived her of him, just as they were slaying
her people, working havoc in the country, and had de-
graded her, the daughter of a chief, into a thing of no
value. And this was only a beginning: she felt it. Swiftly
her thoughts turned to suicide, as were to turn the thoughts
of so many of these primitive Jamaicans in the days to
But no, she concluded; one could always escape that
way if one wished. Surely one should strike a blow at
these enemies first. But how?
If only her people would fight, all would be well. She
would try to make them do that; at the very least they
could starve the greater part of the strangers by not send-
ing in any more food to the stranded ships: the others
could be dealt with afterwards. It was Diego who had
worked so that they should have food, and they had made
him go to his death. If she could, she would undo his
work, and he would be pleased if only he could know of it.
That evening she stole out of the village, no one
seeing her. She was rested; even otherwise she would have
gone. Her mind was inflamed with her self-imposed mis-
sion of vengeance.
That night she slept under the shelter of a great tree
some miles away; the next morning early she set out for
one of the settlements that Francisco had harassed on his
journey to the eastern side of the country. She asked for
the chief, and he took her to his hut. He was visibly
relieved that the white men were not with her.
"Chief," she began abruptly, "I have escaped from
those evil ones. They tried to go to Ayty, but failed. They
will come this way again, and will make slaves of your
men and will use your women as they please, unless you
resist them. That is the only way of safety for you."
"But we are weak and they are strong," wailed the
chief. "They will burn us or cut us to pieces. We are
"They are few and we are many, and they are divided.
Some are there"-she pointed east-"the others are at my
village, and many of them are ill. If our people gathered
together and attacked each party in turn they would dis-
"My men have not fought an enemy for ever so long,
chieftainess. Not since the man-eaters came long ago have
we done battle with anyone. And these men are not like
us they are so powerful that we fear to look them in the
face. They cannot be conquered."
"I have been with them, and I know that they feel
fear as you do; I have heard them scream in terror of the
waters. Send out some of your men to other chiefs, and
bid them say that these chiefs should meet you to talk
about the saving of themselves. If you don't, you will
perish every one of you."
The man made a gesture of impotence. Energetic
action and concerted effort was something clearly beyond
Anacanoa saw it. "Very well, then," she continued;
"but why continue to supply the strangers at my village
with food? Stop that, and your example will be followed.
I will go to the other chiefs and tell them what you have
resolved to do, and they will do likewise. Then, when
the men who live where my father lives have starved to
death, it will be easy to deal with those who are nearer
The chief knew that his people were already grumbling
at having to supply the strangers with food, and a policy
of ceasing supplies, a purely negative policy, appealed to
his lethargic mind. "I could do that," he agreed; "but I
have heard that the big chief at your place is a good man,
and kind. Would you have him starve to death?"
"Yes," she answered firmly, "if that is the only way
of saving ourselves. But he is kind, and many of his own
men hate him. And he is sick. He may die at any time.
He, however, can secretly be supplied with food; I will see
to that. And there is one man over there-again she
pointed east-whom I would save. But all this you can
leave to me. Remember, too, that even if all the strangers
die, it is better that they should than that we should. We
must rot stop at anything."
"They say that long ago, Anacanoa, your mother's
mother's mother's mother was a man-eater from Ayty,"
remarked the chief with a glint of respect and admiration
in his eyes. "And you talk as she might have talked."
"I want to act as she might have acted. Had your
fathers been only a little bold no man-eaters could ever
have taken them for a meal. I will stay here for the rest
of this day, and tonight, and then go on to the next village.
If you will not fight the strangers, starve them. Perhaps
the men elsewhere in Jamaica will fight."
"They have no leader," said the chief.
"I, the man-eating woman, will lead them," replied
The next morning she started again on her long
journey. And now, day after day, she trudged it from
one settlement to another, always suggesting active measures,
answered always with words of hopelessness and despair.
They had no idea of combination. They were timid, afraid,
physically weak also, and imbued with the belief that the
Spaniards were unconquerable. But they could cease to
supply foodstuffs to the Admiral and his men on the
stranded ships; they could say that their stores were ex-
hausted. They would be glad to do that. They were
emphatic in their repetition of this promise.
That was something, thought Anacanoa; much. When
many of the strangers began to die, the people of the island
would see that the rest could be fought, after all.
On and on, alone, she pursued her object. Rumours
came to her by wandering Indians, or men sent purposely
to tell her what was happening. The Spaniards had made
a second attempt to leave the country by canoe, but had
failed again. They were moving about now, taking what
they wanted, seizing the women in the face of the men,
ill-treating, killing, at the faintest suspicion of resistance.
They were spreading the report that all that they did was
done at the orders of the Admiral. They were even advis-
ing the Indians to sweep down upon him and kill him!
That determined Anacanoa.
She made straight for her own settlement, arriving
there after dark one night. She went to the Nina and
asked to see the Admiral. He was ill, in bed, she was
told. She asked a man on the deck to send in her name
to him. In another minute she was beckoned on to the
She stood before the Admiral. She was startled at
his appearance. His cheeks were paler and more drawn
than they had been before; his eyes were pools of suffering.
He, too, had difficulty in recognizing the pretty, merry,
dashing girl he had known but so short a time before.
Her face had grown hard and thin and set; there was now
something wild and cruel about it. But she looked at him
She told him what she had heard about the mutineers,
what she herself had seen. She did not tell him it was
she who had been inducing her people to starve the
Spaniards. The erstwhile ingenuous savage had been rapid-
ly transformed into a woman with a subtle, calculating
"Leave this canoe, Admiral, and come with me. I
can hide you," she advised. "Bring your brother and your
son; they will be safe. Otherwise, you will all die." She
"We are in God's hands, my daughter, and, besides,
I am the chief of all these people, even of those who have
dared to wander away from me," returned the Admiral.
"I am not afraid of their threats of intended violence: the
Blessed Virgin protects me. But they have angered your
people, and these are sending in no more food. That is
my main trouble now."
She was silent.
"Do you know, Anacanoa, how your people can be
brought to let us have food again?"
"No. They will not give you any more food. But
you yourself, and your son, and-"
"We stay here," replied Columbus firmly, "until help
comes from Espanola-Ayty as you call it."
"Help will never come. Diego was drowned." She
spoke with a sob.
"Help will come. Diego was not drowned." Columbus
asserted this in a confident tone of voice. "I had a dream
of him last night. Do you never dream of him, Anacanoa?"
"Yes," she answered softly.
"And isn't it always of a man alive and in good
"Then why doubt?"
"I know I shall never see him again. In my dreams
he has told me so."
"Hum!" The Admiral changed the subject brusquely.
"So you think we shall get no more food, do you?"
"I am sure of it, chief; but you can be saved, and-"
"You can aid me much, Anacanoa. You say that
my deserters are plotting to attack me. I am not surprised.
Can you. or any of your people keep in touch with them
so as to gain knowledge of their movements and get me
word of them? They are not far from here now. Could
you do this?"
"Perhaps. I will try. I will try to warn you in time
when they are marching against you."
"You are a good Christian, my daughter; I am glad
I had you taught our faith, and baptised."
"But you will starve all the same."
"We shall not starve: you will see. And now go back
to your house and sleep. I have some work to do."
She left him, impressed by the certitude of the old
man; yet when she had gone there crept over his face a
look akin to despair. The men with him were on short
rations now; in a little while they would be almost entirely
without food, and then they would mutiny as the others
had done, and would spread through the island burning
and robbing. They would kill him too. There was only
one chance left to him on earth.
He dragged himself to a rough shelf in his cabin and
took from it a book; it was the astronomical calculations
of a German who called himself Regiomontanus. This man
had calculated that there would be a total eclipse of the
moon on the night of February 29, 1504. That was five
nights away. Was Regiomontanus correct? If he was not,
the end of him, Christopher Columbus, was at hand. Pray
God and the blessed saints that the German had made no
mistake! Everything depended now on the coming of that
THE MOON AND DARKNESS
The moon sailed vivid through a dark blue, irradiated
sky, and the long rollers of the outer sea flashed back a
reflection of its silver light. On distant mountain tops and
lowland clearings great trees sprang into clear relief in the
midst of all that shimmering, heatless illumination from
above. The lofty background of the coast reared itself
into a prominence impressive and distinct; the little winds
that whispered through the trees stirred them but gently,
as though aware that the occasion was one for watchful
silence, for almost breathless expectancy.
Thousands of people were clustered on and about the
ground fronting the half-sunken caravels of Columbus,
thousands of savages, hate in their hearts, bitter fear, a
feeling of awe and superstitious terror also, for had not
the strangers' chief sent out to say that this night he would
ask his god to blot out the light of the moon because the
people of the land would let him and his men all starve
to death? That was the warning and the threat that had
been circulated by his messengers these last few days; these
had hurried from village to village inviting the people to
be present at this astonishing proof of the white man's
power, and the villagers had now obeyed the call. They
had doubted, they doubted still. Who could blot out the
moon? Yet the older ones amongst them had a dim recol-
lection of some such eclipse in the past, and they remem-
bered it had been claimed by their priests that only because
of the latter's supplication had light been given to the people
again. Their priests, however, could not avail against these
strangers should they succeed in taking away the brightness
at night which in their own dumb way the savages loved.
And-dread thought-if the light of the moon could be
put out, might not that of the sun be obliterated also?
Anacanoa had been one of the first to hear of what
the Admiral intended. The very next morning after her
return to Santa Gloria, and but a few hours after she had
seen him, Columbus had sent for her, intending to make
her his chief emissary to her countrymen. He had by this
thought out his plan. He must act now by stratagem,
using a calculated eclipse to terrorise the savages, as others
were to use other eclipses for the same purpose hereafter,
both in fiction and in fact.
"Anacanoa," he had said gravely, "since your people
have determined to starve us, I must punish them. But I
will not do so by means of weapons though I easily
"Most of your men are sick," she swiftly interrupted,
"and if the strong ones die you will be at the mercy of
Porras and his friends."
"A keen brain," thought Columbus; "possibly even a
dangerous one. But she has cause to be dangerous, poor
Outwardly, he appeared to treat her interruptions as
irrelevant and absurd. He continued without taking overt
notice of it.
"Without killing any of them, I will punish them. On
the night of four sunrises from now I will pray to my God
to take from you the moon; later on I may cause everlasting
darkness to prevail."
"Because we won't feed you so that you may make
us to be less than the dirt you tread upon? Is that just,
great chief? Are you, too, no better than the men I have
escaped from and who seek to kill you? Are you all
She choked with indignation. But behind it was also
"Was Diego like Francisco de Porras?" asked the
"No! He was different; but he was only one."
"There are others, daughter. But just as you do not
wish your people to be killed and enslaved, so I cannot
wish to see mine starved to death. Go now and tell them
what I have said, go as far as you can, but be back in
time to witness for yourself. I have sent for your father
"You cannot put out the moon," she stormed.
"We shall all see," he answered gravely, then turned
away to indicate that she must leave him.
She wanted to disbelieve in his power. For if he
should succeed, what hope could she have of ridding her
country of these terrible pests? She had witnessed with
her own eyes what they had done in the east; and that, she
felt, was but the beginning. If they proved now that they
could kill the moon, her people would die like dogs beneath
their yoke without lifting a hand in their own defence.
She dashed out of the cabin; and in a flash of revela-
tion it came to the Admiral that it was not so much the
thousands of simple-minded creatures that he had to fear
as this one girl who, through some strange freak of inherit-
ance or soul, had a brain to think, perhaps to devise plans,
and might even succeed in time in getting her plans put
into execution. It came to him suddenly that it might be
she, that indeed it was she, more than anyone else, who
was responsible for his perilous plight. She was his friend,
yet she was also his enemy. She would save him and
two or three others, if they agreed, but she was bent on
slaying the rest. That was the inner meaning of all that
she had said the night before, of her tempestuous anger
now. A bold idea on her part, and if the German astron-
omer should prove wrong and the eclipse fail of realisation,
this young woman would of a surety be able to laugh the
Spaniards to scorn, call upon her people to strike at them,
and lead them to the attack in person.
Why had all this not occurred to him before? If it
had he would have retained her by force; prevented her
further machinations: now she was gone-but perhaps not
far. He hurried out on deck and swept the shore with his
eyes, but saw nothing of the girl. He called to two of his
men and sent them to bring her back if they could find her,
but not in such a way as to arouse her suspicions or create
a demonstration among her tribe. Once she was aboard,
he could find some excuse for holding her there. But if she
suspected his design before she was locked away, there
might be serious trouble at once.
The men found her talking to her father and some
other of the elders; they told her the Admiral wished to see
her. Impulsively she started to follow them, then paused.
Why did he wish to see her? He had declared that he must
assist his own people and punish hers for protecting them-
selves; what more could he now say, what else could there
be between them? Yet.. .but again she paused. Why two
men instead of one only? Were they to drag her to the
big canoe if she refused to go? If not, why two instead
of only one?
And so an idea which was in the dim recesses of the
Admiral's mind, and which had expressed itself partly, even
though partially repressed, became vaguely apparent to the
girl. Had but one messenger been sent, she would have
heeded the message. Columbus realized this when his men
returned with her refusal.
So she had become an open enemy, and she looked
upon him as one. What a pity, yet his duty was clear.
He would not spare her life even, if by her death his pur-
poses could be accomplished. She was making war upon
him, and she was but a subject. This was rank rebellion!
"And she is a Christian too," mused Columbus, for the
moment genuinely astonished at such backsliding from the
faith. But this feeling did not persist. After all, were not
the Porras brothers also Christians, and Christians from
birth, and was their behaviour in accordance with the teach-
ings of Holy Church? The Admiral did not proceed to ask
himself whether his policy was also strictly Christian. The
truth is that he had no doubt it was.
She was standing tonight within the shadow of a ceiba
tree, waiting for what might happen. She had gone among
the villages as the Admiral had told her to do, telling of
his threat, but she had also taken the opportunity to cast
doubts upon his power to make good those threats and to
incite hundreds of her people to strike then and there at
the Spanish when they saw that the moon could not be
blotted out. That they would follow her then she believed.
Fear would turn to bitter rage, the hate in their hearts
overflow and spur them to revenge, when it was apparent
to them that these strangers from over the sea were but
men like themselves and had no control over the heavens,
even as those who had tried to get away to Haiti had
shown her that they became desperately afraid when faced
with drowning. Her people would know at last that they
had only to strike and be free. They would follow her,
and she would lead.
While she thought thus, the Admiral was thinking
much the same in his own terms.
As he stood at the prow of the Nifia, in full view of all
upon the shore, he was certain that she was looking at him,
that though she was invisible to him they were, in a manner
of speaking, face to face at a tremendous moment of his
career. Had he been able to accomplish it, he would have
had her slain in that instant and would have justified his
action as something done for Spain. Could she on her
part have achieved his death just then, he would not have
lived another second.
He stood there, in clear relief, in a histrionic posture,
looking at the moon. In his mind was a wild anxiety, his
countenance showed nothing of it. He wished them to
believe that he was waiting impassively, confidently, for a
manifestation of the terrible power of his God; in his heart
he was uttering fervent prayers to the Blessed Virgin, to
every saint he could remember; and on the lashed decks
of the caravels his men were arranged armed to the teeth
to repel a rush of the Indians if that should come. And
now the silence grew oppressive, the silence of tense wait-
ing, of an expectation that shook the stoutest savage heart.
Anacanoa found herself trembling violently. She wanted
to scream aloud.
Would the shadow of the earth never steal across the
surface of the moon? Mother of God, would everything
end tonight in an orgy of bloodshed?
Suddenly Columbus stiffened. Surely the light from
above had grown a trifle dim, surely the luminosity of the
earth had faded slightly? He stared: was not that a thin
line of darkness on the hither edge of the moon? Was not
A low wail, rising to a panic shriek, the heavy sound
of hundreds, thousands of human bodies falling prone upon
the earth, a deafening clamour where but a moment before
there had been an appalling stillness, broke and rent and
shattered the circumambient air. The moon was dying!
The strange chief from over the sea was putting out the
light of the world. A great cry of supplication arose, an
invocation of mercy: he should have whatever he wanted
did he but spare them now.
Anacanoa too had fallen, but not upon her face. She
was kneeling, her mind was a prey to fright, but even then
it retained some grasp on reason. She did not doubt that
the Admiral had done this thing through means that he
commanded; but had it not happened before? she cried to
herself. And if the moon died, would it not die for the
white men as well as for the others? And this great chief
-did not Porras and his friends defy him, laugh at him,
and say openly that he could and should be killed? Why
did he not bring his rebels back to him if he were so all-
powerful? If set upon now, if attacked and slain, surely
his power over the moon would end and light would return
and the people would be free. Could they be got to under-
stand anything of this?
Her questioning restored her courage. She had taken
a grip upon herself again.
She rose to her feet, the one erect figure in that vast
crowd that night. All around her were men and women
writhing, waiting, screaming, begging, promising anything.
How to rouse these to an onslaught, to inspire them to one
great act of courage that should save them? Hopeless.
She knew it could never be done. Sickened, she turned
Darker and darker it grew, and soon the world was
shrouded in sepulchral gloom save for the glitter from the
stars overhead. Columbus relaxed. There was laughter
in his heart, but his mien was solemn, though he knew
he was not seen. His voice rang out to the chiefs, who
had all been gathered very close to his ships. He would
accept their submission, he assured them, would pray to his
God to send back the light, but there must be no further
disobedience, no failure on their part to do their duty.
Gravely he retired to his cabin. He did not believe that
from the Indians of the island he had anything more to
They waited, still wailing; presently their lamentations
changed to a new note, for something was happening in
the heavens. The light was coming again. The white chief
had been merciful and they were saved! With a heavy heart
Anacanoa walked to her hut. Nothing mattered now.
For a long time, because she was industrious and
loved action, she had been weaving out of the wild cotton
of the country a long plain rope, not sure that she would
find any use for it. She took it up now, handling it curi-
ously. Only the other day, in one of the villages that
Francisco de Porras had invaded, she had seen an Indian
dangling from a tree-branch; the man had hanged himself.
That, he had felt, was the only way of escape for him.
Perhaps it was the only way of escape for her also, she
thought; the only way now, and the best. Her child stirred
in its hammock.
She walked over to the hammock and gazed at the
little girl. The very image of her, Diego had said, and
bearing her own name.
The child would be cared by her parents if she died;
she knew that. But might it not be better if the child too
died with her? She had seen enough in the eastern villages
to guess what would be the fate later on of girls like this
one; they would be ravished, made use of for a while, then
put incessantly to work. Swiftly they would fail under the
burden. There was no hope for them. The rope and the
tree might be their only means of escape.
But she could not find it in her to hang her little one
with her own hands. And she would not leave it alone-
not yet. She would have gone without it to Diego; she
loved Diego better than anything else in this life; but when
he was here she had seen nothing to fill her with dread,
with terror and with loathing; the strangers had not yet
shown themselves for what they were. Diego would have
been able to prevent them, she felt sure, but he was dead.
The old chief on the winged canoe had lied to her: he knew
that Diego was dead.
She crouched, sleepless, by the child's hammock. She
was still there when her father came in to see her at day-
"The chief spoke truth," said he, "but he gave us back
"If you had killed him in the darkness the light would
have returned," she answered miserably; "but you only
"He would have slain us all," retorted the old man,
shocked. "We are as nothing before him."
"You are as fools, and he knows it."
"He may have heard that you tried to stir the tribes
against him; is it safe for you to stay here?"
"I stay. I do not fear him--or any with him. It is all
over now, for me, for you, for all of us. Look at me."
She rose slowly to full height. "I was beautiful once. Am
I beautiful now? What have Porras and his men made
of me, your daughter, the daughter of a chief? I am as
nothing to them, and so it is and will be with all of us.
We are finished."
But her father could not think in terms of the future
and of the fate of a people. He only believed that she
was in danger from the Admiral's vengeance, and wished
her to escape if that could be. But he knew her. If she
would not go, he could not make her.
And she would not go. Day after day she saw her
kinsfolk and others, others from distant parts of the island
taking food to Columbus and his men. They walked with
humble propitiatory demeanour; unused to strenuous toil,
they worked with feverish anxiety; and already some of
them were breaking beneath their task. But she did nothing,
and she made no effort to avoid the eyes of Columbus,
though she did not go near his ships. He saw her now and
then. But her power was shattered, he knew, and now
that he was safe from anything she might attempt, now
that he had ceased to fear her, his old liking and commis-
seration for her returned.
Genuinely he pitied her, wished that he could help.
Though he could not foresee it, there was to be erected in
his memory a great bronze statue of him with his arm
thrown in protective gesture over the shoulders of an
Indian girl. This statue would stand near the entrance to
the Panama Canal, a mute testimony to the fact that he
at least had had pity for the people he discovered. He
would not allow them to baulk him, but he would not
wantonly destroy them. He felt thus towards Anacanoa
now. She was broken, in her very walk he could read her
utter humiliation and despair. It hurt him. But he made
no move towards her. Something told him that that would
be of no effect.
And he, too, on his part, was being attacked by a
somewhat similar feeling of despair.
What had become of Diego? Was he dead? Or had
he reached Espanola? He had been gone some eight months
now; did the Governor of Espanola intend that the Admiral
of the Indies should be abandoned for ever and left to
perish? Mother of God, it seemed like that!
Then one day a word went round that roused to wild
enthusiasm the desperate Spaniards and brought Anacanoa
flying with delirious joy to the shore.
On the sea, in the middle distance, distinct and grow-
ing clearer every moment, sailed towards the little cove a
A quarter of a mile from the cove in which lay the
stranded ships the caravel came to a stop and a boat was
let down from her into the sea. It pulled towards the ships;
the Admiral watched it anxiously, Anacanoa, from the
beach, gazed at it with straining eyes. It reached the Nifa,
stopped, and a Spaniard in it rose up and began talking
to Columbus, who stood on the deck above him. He handed
the Admiral two letters; presently a cask of wine was
hoisted from the boat to the deck, and a side of bacon.
The Admiral, on receiving his letter, retired to his cabin
to answer it; he soon re-appeared, passed the reply down
to the messenger from Espanola and began a conversation.
Would not Captain Escobar change his mind and come on
board? Escobar would not. Then the boat suddenly pushed
off. That was all.
Diego was not in the boat. Was he in the big canoe
out yonder, Anacanoa wildly asked herself, though she
could not believe that her lover would have come back and
not have sought her. But she must make certain, she must
leave no room for doubt. She ran to a little canoe, and,
scrambling into it, seized the paddles and began to pull
vigorously towards the ship in the offing. Columbus, still
standing on deck, saw her action and divined its purpose.
His voice rang out, commanding.
She heard, looked in his direction, paused, and he
spoke to her.
"Diego is not on that ship. And you must not trust
yourself to those men. Diego has sent you a message.
Come up to me, and I will give you what he has sent to
She detected a kindly note in his voice; it was a friend,
not an enemy, who spoke. In a few minutes she was
standing before him; in spite of her own distress she could
perceive that he was troubled.
"Come with me," he said briefly.
He took her to his cabin, and at once lay down in
the bunk from which he had by an effort of will risen some
time before. His face was pale, his hands trembling.
"Diego has sent you this," he said, handing to her a
piece of paper on which was drawn in ink a portrait of
Diego. There was no mistaking the face: the man in
Espanola who had done the sketch had in him the makings
of an artist. There were some marks scrawled on the
paper which meant nothing to the girl; but Diego knew
that the Admiral would tell her what they said. "From
Diego to Anacanoa. We shall meet soon," the Admiral
read. "You see, daughter," he went on in a tired voice,
"I was right: Diego is not dead."
"Why has he not come?"
"Didn't he tell you he was going on a long journey
for me?" Have you forgotten?"
"No; but much time has gone since then. He could
"There have been difficulties. There still are. I ex-
pected two ships at least to take me away from this island,
and I would have taken you with me, as I have promised.
But you see how it is, Anacanoa. One little ship comes
and it sails tonight. The white chief of the next island is an
enemy of mine, and the man you saw me talking to just
now is another enemy. He came to see how I stood, per-
haps hoping to find me dead. I shall not die. The holy
saints will preserve me. Diego will see that I am rescued;
I can depend upon him. He is good and true."
"Yes," sobbed Anacanoa.
"And he loves you and remembers you. He has sent
you a picture of himself."
Her eyes had never wandered from the portrait; it
seemed to her something wonderful, though she knew, of
course, that some men of her own people could carve crude
representations of the human face on wood and stone, that
there were rock drawings here and there in her own village
which were the work of the primitive artists of her race.
But this was so lifelike! And it was done on a flimsy
sheet of something like stiffened, woven cotton, and sent
to her from over the sea!
"He remembers me and loves me," she whispered soft-
ly. "You spoke the truth, Admiral, when you told me
this long ago."
"And now we are friends again, Anacanoa, though I
know well that we were enemies when I had to blot out
the moon. But I forgive you, for you have had much
wrong at the hands of some of my people. So have I. We
shall be friends now until the end, and I may still want
your help as I have wanted it before. I shall try again
to bring Francisco and his men back to me; if I fail it will
probably mean war between them and me. You must still
seek to find out their intentions and let me know."
"Cannot you kill them at a stroke, as you blotted out
the moon?" she asked.
"It was God, really, who blotted out the moon; I should
have made that plainer. And God would not wish men
to be killed without being given a chance to repent. You
understand that, don't you?"
She shook her head, puzzled.
"I see that you don't; you need further instruction in
our faith. Meanwhile find out everything you can about
Francisco. That may save our lives-yours as well as
She left him, taking her precious drawing with her.
It was bitter that Diego had not returned, though he had
never promised to do so. On the other hand a great weight
seemed lifted from her heart, and as she walked towards
the village there was a new spirit in her, a new feeling;
the gloom that had settled down upon her was dissipated.
Diego remembered her, Diego loved her.
He had sent her a message. He had sent her his
She would make a pouch for his portrait; she would
carry it with her whithersoever she went. That night she
wove a tiny receptacle and slung it by a bit of cotton cord
around her neck so that it rested just under her left bosom.
She felt then that, in some sort of way, she had Diego
Next morning she went to the Admiral's ship and
showed him what she had done. He smiled kindly, paternal-
ly. With a sudden gesture she sank on her knees before
him and exclaimed-
"I love you, too."
"Yes, now. I understand, child."
"I love you, as I love my father. Better. But not
as I love Diego."
"I understand. It is queer, isn't it, that you would
have killed me, and I you, only a little time ago?"
"Why speak of that now?" she asked.
"You are right; we shall speak of it no more. We
shall forget it. Thanks to the Blessed Virgin, we are like
father and daughter again. I have no daughter of my own,
The light came through the umbrageous trees a
luminous green, and the subdued roar of the waterfall was
in their ears.
They stood together, Anacanoa and Fernandez, the
friend who had saved her from death in the boat some time
before, and who had stood by her when she was little better
than a slave in Francisco's camps. Francisco de Porras
was still steadily moving towards the Admiral's quarters.
He was nearer now than he had been a month ago.
Fernandez liked to meet Anacanoa now and then. He
would have liked also to go back to Columbus, but the
desertion of himself alone would win him, he feared, the
bitter contempt of both sides. He had mutinied with
Francisco; to desert Francisco by himself would brand him
as a double traitor, and the Admiral might still suspect him.
So where he was he felt he must remain. His position
sickened him. His chief pleasure these days was to meet
the young Arawak chieftainess, as he called her, and this
he did in secret always.
She would watch for him in the woods, knowing his
fashion of taking solitary walks. She invariably saw him
first. But now he walked where he fancied she might be,
which was always the farthest place possible from the
village in which the Spaniards were, but within reach of
anyone there whom she wanted to meet. Now and then,
too, an Arawak Indian would bring Fernandez a message
and he would follow the man quietly. He was always led
Today Fernandez was visibly unhappy.
He had ever respected the Admiral, though he had
allowed himself to be seduced from his allegiance by the
Porrasses. These he now loathed. And these had deter-
mined at last to strike at the Admiral.
"The old chief," he told Anacanoa, "has been trying
to make peace with Francisco de Porras. But Porras doesn't
want peace. He is going on to Santa Gloria-your place
-in a day or two. There will be murder done."
"It's a shame," muttered Fernandez.
"Leave Porras. Come with me."
"I dare not. I would be jeered at. And somehow,
my child, I fancy that I shall never leave this country. I
have a feeling that way.'
"I see you don't understand what I mean. No matter.
You could warn the Admiral if you wished. Have you
thought of that?"
"I have been warning him, Fernandez."
"You don't tell me! So that is why you have been
so much about Porras's camps! Well, I can't blame you.
He treated you like nothing."
"And the Admiral has been kind. He is now my
father. I will ask him to forgive you."
"It's no use, amiga mia; I think my time has come. I
have been feeling so for weeks. I wish I could see a priest,
but we haven't one with us, we are such a heathen lot in
this camp. I must have caught one of your fevers."
"So Porras is going to fight very soon?" she asked.
"The sunrise after the next he will attack," answered
Fernandez, and she slipped away from him.
She made no pause on the long way until she stood
in Columbus' presence. Very briefly she told him what
would happen so shortly. She was positive. He could not
doubt her words.
He sent for his brother, his chief lieutenant.
"I think you had better see Porras once more, Bar-
tholomew," said the sick commander, "and try to bring him
to reason. We must avoid bloodshed if possible."
"It is no longer possible, Christopher; Anacanoa knows
that. The day after tomorrow, at dawn, I march against
"He is stronger than we are."
"There will be fifty of us against his fifty; only our
hale men will I take."
"And I will show you a way through the woods that
will be safe for you," interposed Anacanoa, "and some of
my people will be present to help you, should you need
Bartholomew withdrew, to maKe preparations; Ana-
canoa looked down upon the Admiral lying recumbent in
"We shall defeat them," she said.
"Doubtless," he replied, "the holy saints will be on
our side. But Spanish lives will be lost, and I wished to
avoid that. I will send my priest with my men, however,
and at the last he may save souls. You are going too,
"I will be there."
She left him with his thoughts, and went to her father.
Quickly she told him of what was impending; she asked
that on the morrow a band of the younger men of his and
the neighboring villages should be collected to aid the
Chief Bartholomew. This, she put it cunningly, would
ensure that never again would the moon be blotted out.
Sixty Arawaks were assembled, a sufficient number.
Anacanoa declared herself their leader. Then, with these
going in advance, she took Bartholomew and his band
through the secret, sheltered ways she knew.
They climbed a gentle slope, where the land came
down to the seashore in easy gradation. They forded a
river which a little farther down became the waterfall she
loved so well. They were now on the other side of this
waterfall and before them was an open space, a green dell
shadowed by great trees, a place of sylvan beauty, with
the voice of the falling water singing in their ears. The
attacking force would come this way. As they emerged
from the opposite track into the open they could be taken
"You would make a good general, my girl," said
Bartholomew Columbus, with admiration. "If her people
were like her," he said to himself, "we should not be long
She drew her own men apart to another side of the
open space and hid them among the trees. Within an
hour the sound of tramping was heard, and the first pitched
battle on Jamaica soil, an early hostile encounter between
rival bands of Spaniards in the New World, was about to
But Francisco de Porras had made his arrangements
also. He and five others were to launch themselves on
Bartholomew and kill him as soon as he came in sight:
everything else was secondary to that. Francisco had been
certain that there would be a fight, and that Bartholomew
would be in command of the Admiral's men; there was
no one else to be. And if Bartholomew were killed, he
shrewdly calculated, the Admiral's followers, most of whom
were sick of their inactivity and of their marooning on this
island, would accept Francisco de Porras as their leader.
Everything, then, depended on one fighter's life. The one
great, necessary tactic was to kill Bartholomew Columbus.
But, unknown to Francisco, Bartholomew had moved
to meet him.
Out from among the trees came Francisco with his
picked bodyguard, and behind them marched the others.
Before these had time to emerge, a wild shout rang out
and Bartholomew and his soldiers were racing across the
clearing to launch themselves on Francisco and his people.
Completely taken by surprise, these nevertheless remem-
bered what they had to do. The six chosen fighters hurled
themselves upon Bartholomew. In an incredibly short
space of time he had struck three of these in blood to the
Then every armed man on both sides threw himself
into the fight. The air resounded with their yells, and
with the sound of swords striking against shields. Men
who had once been friends were now at one another's
throats in death grips; hate glared from infuriated eyes,
curses flew from hideous, snarling, twisted mouths. Ana-
canoa had now brought part of her own force into the
open, armed with spears, with stone hatchets and with
clubs, and these looked fearfully on, wondering to see the
strangers at war among themselves. They stared amazed,
and the girl, glancing at them, realized once again with a
sickened heart that she might call upon them in vain for
resolute action. They were not warriors. They shrank
from striking a defensive blow, though they could die by
their own hands in despair, as she had known them do.
They stood behind her, shrinking, timid, ready to flee away.
They were in utter awe of the white men. She could have
-struck the nearest to her in the face.
Bartholomew realized that he was in great danger.
He grasped the tactics of his enemy. Fighting desperately,
he nevertheless was obliged to give way, three men attack-
ing him at once, and his desperate retreat brought him
close to those trees about which clustered the Arawaks led
by Anacanoa. He struck at Francisco with his sword and
missed. Francisco whooped in glee and brought down his
sword with full force on Bartholomew's shield. The blow
half-split the shield, but the weapon stuck; Francisco
wrenched fiercely at it, but vainly. It was now Bartholo-
mew's turn; but quick as lightning Francisco sprang back-
wards and drew his dagger. He would rush in under his
own shield and pierce Bartholomew to the heart. It all
occupied a few seconds of time; and as Francisco sprang
forward Anacanoa did likewise. He was within two yards
of her. In her hand she bore a heavy wooden club. This
she brought down upon the head of the rebel leader who,
as he staggered in her direction, turned against her the
dagger he had intended for Bartholomew. It pierced the
girl's side, ripping through the little pouch in which she
carried the picture of Diego Mendez. She sank to the
Fernandez, fighting half-heartedly with the Porras
faction, was a witness of Anacanoa's fall. With an angry
cry he threw himself towards her, to save her if he could.
His one wish was to put himself between her and any of
the avenging Francisco party, whose leader was now sur-
rounded. Bartholomew saw his move, misunderstood it,
lunged forward and plunged his sword into Fernandez.
The stricken man tumbled prone beside the dying girl he
She saw him, raised her right arm and laid it upon
him as if in benediction. He knew she understood.
And now, because Francisco de Porras was a prisoner,
his men turned swiftly to flee in wild disorder. They dis-
appeared like lightning, and the victors let them go. The
battle was over.
It had been a matter of minutes.
Bartholomew knelt beside Anacanoa, and the priest
he had brought with him, and who had a rude under-
standing of what is called first aid in these days, came
hurrying up; He had taken no part in the fighting. His
work was now to begin.
He turned to Fernandez first, but Ferdandez pointed
faintly to Anacanoa. Her wound was staunched with strips
of cloth the priest had brought with him. Then he gave
his attention once more to Fernandez. There was no hope
that Fernandez could live to be carried to Santa Gloria;
and none of Bartholomew's followers was in such need of
The man made his confession, with Anacanoa's arm
still resting lovingly on his body, received absolution, looked
at her and muttered, "It's adios for me, chieftainess."
"And for me, too, Fernandez," she said, with a sob
in her voice. "I shall never see Diego again."
"In heaven you will, my daughter,". the priest inter-
rupted. "You are a Christian; I will hear your confession
and absolve you. Your last act was to save our com-
She had little to say, her conversion had been per-
functory, her instruction elementary; but the priest was
satisfied. "God will forgive her much, because she has
loved much," he muttered. He had understood far more
than had been thought.
"We will take her with us," commanded Bartholomew;
"make a palanquin for her."
"Tell Diego," she whispered, and Bartholomew nodded,
not trusting himself to speak. "And the Admiral," she
"Tell my father to look after my little child, and re-
mind Diego of her. I wonder..."
What was in her mind? No one about her could
guess at that moment or ever afterwards, for those were
her final words. Fernandez died before they lifted her up
to bear her away. She died as they did so.
They took Francisco de Porras a prisoner with them.
They took also the dead body of Anacanoa. That night
she was buried by the seashore with Christian rites, and
the sick Admiral himself stood beside her grave: "it is the
least I can do," he had said to his brother. He looked
like a man who had suffered an intimate loss.
He had taken from her the bloodstained pouch con-
taining Diego's portrait. "Please God," he said, "I will
give this to Diego with my.own hand."
And so he did when he met Diego Mendez again in
Spain. Francisco de Porras had been set free by the
Governor of Espanola. The other rebels, too, had gone
unpunished. All but the Admiral had forgotten Anacanoa.
And Diego. He never forgot.
Diego remained unmarried. Years after, his nephew,
another Diego Mendez, was to go out to Jamaica. And
he was to land at Santa Gloria and meet there an Arawak
maiden called Anacanoa; but this Columbus could not
When the young man was setting forth for the West
Indies, his uncle bade him seek out the girl whose mother
had been Anacanoa, and who had saved Don Bartholomew's
life. "Tell her I knew and loved her mother," said the
older Diego. He looked at his nephew thoughtfully.
"I wonder..." were the words that passed through
E PIONEER PRESz
Book Publishing Department of
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S. G. FLETCHER
HON. P. M. SHERLOCK, B.A., C.B.E.;
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W. ADOLPHE ROBERTS
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