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into the country of the Cherokees; and five days later they reached Xualla, a Cherokee town above the junction of the Tuckaseegee and Oconna-Luftee rivers in Swain County, North Carolina. On the way the cacica of Cufitachiqui had escaped; and — more untimely loss — had carried into the thickets with her “a cane box, like a trunk,” full of unbored pearls. “And the Governor, not to give offense, permitted it so, thinking that in Guaxulle he would beg them of her when he should give her leave to depart.” Still pushing on towards that “richest province,” De Soto crossed the Smoky Mountains and went into Tennessee. He tarried at Guaxule, where the chief's house stood on a great mound, surrounded by a terrace on which half a dozen men could walk abreast. Here he was fortunate enough to get three hundred “dogs” —perhaps opossums — as meat for his army. But this hilly country was unprofitable to man and beast. De Soto therefore turned south into Georgia, to see that “greatest prince” of Coosa. There was no lack of food as he pressed on southward; for the natives willingly contributed mulberries, nuts, maize, and wild turkeys. De Soto's course took him down the Coosa River to Chiaha, a town of the Creeks. Coosa, in Talladega County, Alabama, where men and beasts waxed fat on the abundance of the land, was reached on the 26th of July. Remembrance of Coosa lingered with these Spaniards and lured some of them back in after years. The chief of Coosa, arrayed in a wonderful shawl of marten skins — in mid-July, and in Alabama! - and preceded by men playing upon small flutes, came out to meet De Soto and invited him to settle in his country. But De Soto was not interested in furs, and he saw no gold in Coosa. So, after having seized a number of slaves and the chief himself, he went on, southward now, through Alabama. Near the Alabama River he was shown another gloomy memento of Spanish adventurers in that land. This V was the dagger of Theodoro, the Greek, who had come ashore at the river's mouth to get fresh water for Narváez's men some eleven years before. On the 15th of October, having crossed the Alabama, De Soto reached Mavilla, a large town near the present Choctaw Bluff. The name Mavilla is preserved in that of Mobile, city and river. At Mavilla was fought the fiercest combat of the entire march. The Indians soon set upon the Spaniards and drove them outside the walls of the town. They seized all the baggage, including provisions,

some arms, and the three hundred and fifty pounds of pearls, gathered in the slaves, struck off their chains and armed them. DeSoto drew up his army and made a fierce assault upon the stockade, while, within one of the houses, some soldiers, a priest, and a friar, who had been trapped there, fought off the Indians at the door with swords and clubs. De Soto ordered the town fired; and, as the flames burst forth from the roofs and the natives attempted to flee, he broke through with his soldiery and took possession. Eighteen Spaniards and twelve horses were killed, and one hundred and fifty Spaniards and seventy horses were badly wounded with arrows. The Indians were slaughtered almost to a man; for, as they attempted to flee, the Spanish horsemen drove them back into the burning town. There, “losing the hope of escape, they fought valiantly; and the Christians getting among them with cutlasses, they found themselves met on all sides by their strokes, when many, dashing into the flaming houses, were smothered, and, heaped one upon another, burned to death. . . . The struggle lasted so long that many Christians, weary and very thirsty, went to drink at a pond nearby, tinged with the blood of the killed.” In the fire were consumed all the baggage and supplies, the pearls, and the vessels for the Mass. Now De Soto, himself severely wounded, - for always he led his men when he ordered an attack, — heard that at the coast, six days distant, ships from Cuba commanded by his lieutenant, Maldonado, rode at anchor waiting for news of him and bearing supplies for the army, as well as letters from Doña Isabel. But he ordered that this information be kept from his men, who were already disillusioned about golden Florida and eager to leave it. The pearls which he had intended to send to Cuba “for show, that their fame might raise the desire of coming to Florida,” had been destroyed; and as he feared the effect of sending word of himself without “either gold or silver, or other thing of value,” he determined to send no news of himself until he should have discovered a rich country. So the ships waited their appointed time, and then sailed home again, bearing to Cuba no word of its Governor, and to Doña Isabel only silence. At the time of his decision De Soto's force was lessened by one hundred and two men, who had been slain or lost on his long march; the remainder were in tatters, or naked, under their rusty mail; many of his horses, all his supplies and extra clothing, and his slim booty were destroyed; and his men no longer shared what little hope may have remained to him of ever reaching that richest province “beyond.” But if his decision, made for his pride and his honor and against the love of his wife and his own chances of survival, cost him anything, no hint of that cost passed his stern lips. For twenty-eight days he rested at Mavilla to allow the wounded, who dressed their wounds with the fat of the slain Indians, to recover; then he took up the search again. On the 17th of November De Soto moved northwestward in quest of another Promised Land, a place called Pacaha. He crossed the Black Warrior and the Tombigbee rivers and a month later entered a Chickasaw town in the present State of Mississippi, where he went into winter quarters. Before spring he had his troubles with the proud and warlike Chickasaws. Some of the natives, caught in theft, were executed; and another, “his hands having first been cut off,” was sent back to the chief as a visible warning. Four Spaniards, who pillaged some Indian houses, almost met with as hard a fate; for De Soto, stern with friend and foe alike, ordered two of them put to death and the

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