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served by all the citizens.” From Santiago Don Hernando sent Doña Isabel and the ships to Havana, his port of embarkment for Florida; while with one hundred and fifty horsemen he made a tour of the cities under his authority. Presently he heard that his ships bound for Havana had experienced severe storms, which had swept them out of their course and separated them. But after forty days they had all come safely to Havana. Leaving his cavalcade to follow as it might, Don Hernando mounted and made all speed to Havana and Doña Isabel. On Sunday, May 18, 1539, De Soto said farewell to his wife and sailed from Havana for Florida, the land still reputed to be “the richest of any which until then had been discovered”; and on the thirtieth he landed his men near an Indian town on Tampa Bay. Here the Spaniards immediately had a brush with the natives, who let drive at the armored horsemen with their arrows. Two savages were killed; the others fled through wooded and boggy country where the horses could not follow. And, when the Spaniards lay in camp that night they could see flames come out against the blackness, dwindling in the distance to specks like fireflies, as the Indians passed their fiery warning inland. Two days later they came upon a deserted town of eight huts. De Soto established headquarters there and sent out several companies of horse and foot to explore. He ordered the woods felled “the distance of a crossbow shot” around the town. He set sentinels about the place and detailed horsemen to go the rounds. After having made all secure, he lodged himself in the chief’s house. And there, in the dust flooring, under his torch’s glare, he found a small scatter of pearls. They were ruined by the fire used in boring them for beads; but to him they were typical of the jewelled chain of fortune which should link him with greatness to his life's end and as long after . as men's tongues should wag. So had Narváez thought when he found the golden ornament. When the exploring parties returned they could relate that the Indians of Florida were no mean foes. One party brought back six men wounded — one so badly that he died. But they had captured four women. Another party brought in a man — a white man. This was Juan Ortiz, of noble lineage, follower of the fortunes of Narváez, and for the last eleven years a slave among the savages. He had entered Florida with Narváez, but instead of following his leader inland, had stuck to the ships

and had returned to Cuba. Then Narváez's wife had sent him back to Florida in a pinnace to look for her husband, and there he had been taken captive. An Indian girl, he said — apparently a prototype of Pocahontas — had romantically saved his life, just as he was about to be roasted alive at the command of her father. In passing from tribe to tribe, sometimes in barter, sometimes as a fugitive, Ortiz had become conversant with several dialects and he could now play the rôle of interpreter. To De Soto's eager inquiries he answered that he had seen no gold nor jewels, but had heard of a rich country thirty leagues inland. This was enough. De Soto now dispatched his ships to Cuba for more supplies and ordered his company to make ready to march. This was the beginning of three years of restless wandering, in the course of which De Soto and his men traversed Florida, Georgia, Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. Leaving at the camp a garrison of fifty footmen with thirty horses and food for two years, on August 1, 1539, DeSoto set out. In his train were some five hundred and fifty lancers, crossbowmen, and arquebusiers, about two hundred horses, a number of priests and Dominican friars — with the sacred vessels, vestments, and white meal for the Mass; a physician and his medicines; a ship's carpenter, calkers, and a cooper for the boat-building that might be necessary on inland waters - perhaps to construct a ship to bear Don Hernando to China by that fabled waterway Columbus had not found. And there were armorers and smiths, with their forges and tools, for mail shirts must be mended betimes, swords tempered, and the great bulk of iron chains and iron slave-collars kept in good repair. They were bound northwestward to the country of Cale. Indians had told them that beyond Cale, “towards the sunset,” lay a land of perpetual summer where there was so much gold that, when its people came down to war with the tribes of Cale, “they wore golden hats like casques.” On towards that land of golden hats went the Spaniards; over low thicketed country full of bogs and swamps, where the horses, weighted by their own armor and their heavily accoutered riders, mired and floundered. They crossed several small rivers on logs, swimming the horses over by a hawser. This was not the country, “very rich in maize,” which Indians had told them stretched along the way to Cale. Pinched by hunger, the Spaniards ate young palm shoots and water cresses “without other thing.” And, from the thickets about the bogs and marshes, invisible savages sent a rain of arrows upon them. “He came to Cale and found the town abandoned,” tersely writes the Gentleman of Elvas Cale was a huddle of mud and palmetto huts some where on the Suwanee River. But there was ripe maize in the Indian fields, enough to supply De Soto's men for three months; three men were killed during the husking. The Indians kept under cover, and no slaves could be taken; so the Spaniards were forced to grind their own corn for bread. Some of them ground it in the log mortars they found in the town and sifted the flour through their mail shirts. The majority, disdaining this menial toil, ate the grains “parched and sodden.” No golden hats were found in Cale, so De Soto pushed on northwestward to Caliquen. Along his route he set a company of his horsemen and a pack of greyhounds sharply to work catching Indians. For an army in a strange land needed guides; and gentlemen unskilled in bread-making needed slaves. Like Cortés he made a practice of seizing the chief of each town on his march — after an exchange of compliments and fraternal testimonials. Then he

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