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Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic

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Author Topic: Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic  (Read 3242 times)
Lisa Wolfe
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« Reply #105 on: January 27, 2009, 11:42:47 pm »

p. 186

XVII
THE SEARCH FOR NORUMBEGA

Sir Humphrey Gilbert, colonel of the British forces in the Netherlands, was poring over the manuscript narrative of David Ingram, mariner. Ingram had in 1568-69 taken the widest range of travel that had ever been taken in the new continent, of which it was still held doubtful by many whether it was or was not a part of Asia. "Surely," Gilbert said to his half-brother, Walter Raleigh, a youth of twenty-three, "this knave hath seen strange things. He hath been set ashore by John Hawkins in the Gulf of Mexico and there left behind. He hath travelled northward with two of his companions along Indian trails; he hath even reached Norumbega; he hath seen that famous city with its houses of crystal and silver."

"Pine logs and hemlock bark, belike," said Raleigh, scornfully.

p. 187

"Nay," said Gilbert, "he hath carefully written it down. He saw kings decorated with rubies six inches long; and they were borne on chairs of silver and crystal, adorned with precious stones. He saw pearls as common as pebbles, and the natives were laden down by their ornaments of gold and silver. The city of Bega was three-quarters of a mile long and had many streets wider than those of London. Some houses had massive pillars of crystal and silver."

"What assurance can he give?" asked Raleigh.

"He offers on his life to prove it."

"A small offer, mayhap. There be many of these lying mariners whose lives are as worthless as the stories they relate. But what said he of the natives?"

"Kindly disposed," was the reply, "so far as he went, but those dwelling farther north, where he did not go, were said to be cannibals with teeth like those of dogs, whereby you may know them."

"Travellers' tales," said Raleigh. "Omne ignotum pro mirifico."

"He returned," said Gilbert, disregarding the

p. 188

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