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WE sailed from Peru, where we had continued by the space of one whole year, for China and Japan, by the South Sea,
taking with us victuals for twelve months; and had good winds from the east, though soft and weak, for five months'
space and more. But then the wind came about, and settled in the west for many days, so as we could make little or no
way, and were sometimes in purpose to turn back. But then again there arose strong and great winds from the south, with
a point east; which carried us up, for all that we could do, toward the north: by which time our victuals failed us, though
we had made good spare of them. So that finding ourselves, in the midst of the greatest wilderness of waters in the world,
without victual, we gave ourselves for lost men, and prepared for death. Yet we did lift up our hearts and voices to God
above, who showeth His wonders in the deep; beseeching Him of His mercy that as in the beginning He discovered the
face of the deep, and brought forth dry land, so He would now discover land to us, that we might not perish.
And it came to pass that the next day about evening we saw within a kenning before us, toward the north, as it were
thick clouds, which did put us in some hope of land, knowing how that part of the South Sea was utterly unknown, and
might have islands or continents that hitherto were not come to light. Wherefore we bent our course thither, where we saw
the appearance of land, all that night; and in the dawning of next day we might plainly discern that it was a land flat to our
sight, and full of boscage, which made it show the more dark. And after an hour and a half's sailing, we entered into a
good haven, being the port of a fair city. Not great, indeed, but well built, and that gave a pleasant view from the sea. And
we thinking every minute long till we were on land, came close to the shore and offered to land. But straightway we
saw divers of the people, with batons in their hands, as it were forbidding us to land: yet without any cries or fierceness,
but only as warning us off, by signs that they made. Whereupon being not a little discomfited, we were advising with
ourselves what we should do. During which time there made forth to us a small boat, with about eight persons in it,
whereof one of them had in his hand a tipstaff of a yellow cane, tipped at both ends with blue, who made aboard our ship,
without any show of distrust at all. And when he saw one of our number present himself somewhat afore the rest, he
drew forth a little scroll of parchment (somewhat yellower than our parchment, and shining like the leaves of
writing-tables, but otherwise soft and flexible), and delivered it to our foremost man. In which scroll were written in
ancient Hebrew, and in ancient Greek, and in good Latin of the school, and in Spanish these words: "Land ye not, none
of you, and provide to be gone from this coast within sixteen days, except you have further time given you; meanwhile, if
you want fresh water, or victual, or help for your sick, or that your ship needeth repair, write down your wants, and you
shall have that which belongeth to mercy." This scroll was signed with a stamp of cherubim's wings, not spread, but
hanging downward; and by them a cross.
This being delivered, the officer returned, and left only a servant with us to receive our answer. Consulting hereupon
among ourselves, we were much perplexed. The denial of landing, and hasty warning us away, troubled us much: on the
other side, to find that the people had languages, and were so full of humanity, did comfort us not a little. And above all,
the sign of the cross to that instrument was to us a great rejoicing, and as it were a certain presage of good. Our answer
was in the Spanish tongue, "That for our ship, it was well; for we had rather met with calms and contrary winds, than any
tempests. For our sick, they were many, and
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