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There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?
Sir Walter Scott.
XIX.—PIZJRRO ON THE ISLE OF GALLO.
PIZARRO and his little band had been sorely tried by the perils they had encountered. They were now experiencing untold miseries on the desolate island of Gallo. They had to endure the pangs of hunger even in a greater degree than they had formerly experienced in the wild woods of the neighboring continent. Their principal food was crabs and such shell-fish as they could scantily pick up along the shores. Incessant storms of thunder and lightning swept over the devoted island and drenched them with a perpetual flood.
2. Thus, half-naked, and pining with famine, there were few in that little company who did not feel the spirit of enterprise quehched within them, or who looked for any happier termination of their difficulties than that afforded by a return to Panama. The appearance of Tafur,* therefore, with two vessels, well stored, was greeted with all the rapture that the crew of a sinking wreck might feel on the arrival of some unexpected succor; and the only thought. after satisfying the immediate cravings of hunger, was to embark and leave the detested isle for ever.
3. But by the same vessel letters came to Pizarro from his two confederates, Luquef and Almagro,t beseeching him not to despair in his present extremity, but to hold fast to his original purpose. To return under the present
* Pron. Tah'-foor. f Pron. Loo'-ka. % Pron. Ahl-mah'-gro.
circumstances would be to seal the fate of the expedition; and they solemnly engaged, if he would remain firm at his post, to furnish him in a short time with the necessary means for going forward.
4. A ray of hope was enough for the courageous spirit of Pizarro. It does not appear that he himself had entertained, at any time, thoughts of returning. If he had, these words of encouragement entirely banished them from his bosom, and he prepared to stand the fortune of the cast on which he had so desperately ventured. He knew, however, that solicitations or remonstrances would avail little with the companions of his enterprise; and he probably did not care to win over the more timid spirits who, by perpetually looking back, would only be a clog on his future movements. He announced his own purpose, however, in a laconic but decided manner, characteristic of a man more accustomed to act than to talk, and well calculated to make an impression on his rough followers.
5. Drawing his sword, he traced a line with it on the sand from east to west. Then turning towards the south, "Friends and comrades!" he said, "on that side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm, desertion, and death; on this side, ease and pleasure. There lies Peru with its riches; here Panama and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south." So saying, he stepped across the line. He was followed by the brave pilot Ruiz; next by Pedro de Candia, a cavalier, born, as his name imports, in one of the isles of Greece. Eleven others successively crossed the line, thus intimating their willingness to abide the fortunes of their leader for good or for evil.
6. Fame, to quote the enthusiastic language of an ancient chronicler, has commemorated the names of this little band, "who thus, in the face of difficulties unexampled in history, with death rather than riches for their reward, preferred it all to abandoning their honor, and stood firm by their leader as an example of loyalty to future ages."
7. But the act excited no such admiration in the mind of Tafur, who looked on it as one of gross disobedience to the commands of the governor, and as little better than madness, involving the certain destruction of the parties engaged in it. He refused to give his sanction to it himself by leaving one of his vessels with the adventurers to prosecute their voyage, and it was with great difficulty that he could be persuaded even to allow them a part of the stores which he had brought for their support. This had no influence on their determination, and the little party, bidding adieu to their returning comrades, remained unshaken in their purpose of abiding the fortunes of their commander.
8. There is something striking to the imagination in the spectacle of these few brave spirits, thus consecrating themselves to a daring enterprise, which seemed as far above their strength as any recorded in the fabulous annals of knight-errantry. A handful of men without food, without clothing, almost without arms, without knowledge of the land to which they were bound, without vessel to transport them, were here left on a lonely rock in the ocean with the avowed purpose of carrying on a crusade against a powerful empire, staking their lives on its success. What is there in the legends of chivalry that surpasses it?
9. This was the crisis of Pizarro's fate. There are moments in the lives of men, which, as they are seized or neglected, decide their future destiny. Had Pizarro faltered from his strong purpose, and yielded to the occasion, now so temptingly offered, for extricating himself and his broken band from their desperate position, his name would have been buried with his fortunes, and the conquest of Peru would have been left for other and more successful adventurers. But his constancy was equal to the occasion, and his conduct here proved him competent to the perilous post he had assumed, and inspired others with a confidence in him which was the best assurance of success.
W. H. Prescott.
XX.—IN. A HUNDRED YEARS.
IT will be all the same in a hundred years.
And the veteran's pride in his crafty schemes,
Ah, 'tis not the same in a hundred years,
I AM charged with pride and ambition. The charge is true, and I glory in its truth. Who ever achieved any thing great in letters, arts, or arms, who was not ambitious? Csesar was not more ambitious than Cicero. It was but in another way. Let the ambition be a noble one, and who shall blame it? I confess I did once aspire to be queen, not only of Palmyra, but of the East. That I am. I now aspire to remain so. Is it not an honorable ambition? Does it not become a descendant of the Ptolemies and of Cleopatra?
2. I am applauded by you all for what I have already done. You would not it should have been less. But why pause here? Is so much ambition praiseworthy, and more criminal? Is it fixed in nature that the limits of this