11. Filial Piety
By virtue of the pledge he had given, Don Diego de Espinosa enjoyed the freedom of
the ship that had been his, and the navigation which he had undertaken was left entirely
in his hands. And because those who manned her were new to the seas of the Spanish
Main, and because even the things that had happened in Bridgetown were not enough
to teach them to regard every Spaniard as a treacherous, cruel dog to be slain at sight,
they used him with the civility which his own suave urbanity invited. He took his meals in
the great cabin with Blood and the three officers elected to support him: Hagthorpe,
Wolverstone, and Dyke.
They found Don Diego an agreeable, even an amusing companion, and their friendly
feeling towards him was fostered by his fortitude and brave equanimity in this adversity.
That Don Diego was not playing fair it was impossible to suspect. Moreover, there was
no conceivable reason why he should not. And he had been of the utmost frankness
with them. He had denounced their mistake in sailing before the wind upon leaving
Barbados. They should have left the island to leeward, heading into the Caribbean and
away from the archipelago. As it was, they would now be forced to pass through this
archipelago again so as to make Curacao, and this passage was not to be
accomplished without some measure of risk to themselves. At any point between the
islands they might come upon an equal or superior craft; whether she were Spanish or
English would be equally bad for them, and being undermanned they were in no case to
fight. To lessen this risk as far as possible, Don Diego directed at first a southerly and
then a westerly course; and so, taking a line midway between the islands of Tobago and
Grenada, they won safely through the danger-zone and came into the comparative
security of the Caribbean Sea.
"If this wind holds," he told them that night at supper, after he had announced to them
their position, "we should reach Curacao inside three days."
For three days the wind held, indeed it freshened a little on the second, and yet when
the third night descended upon them they had still made no landfall. The Cinco Llagas
was ploughing through a sea contained on every side by the blue bowl of heaven.
Captain Blood uneasily mentioned it to Don Diego.
"It will be for to-morrow morning," he was answered with calm conviction.
"By all the saints, it is always 'to-morrow morning' with you Spaniards; and to-morrow
never comes, my friend."
But this to-morrow is coming, rest assured. However early you may be astir, you shall
see land ahead, Don Pedro."