December 28: Last hail of bullets

A great Bullet.

Sir Francis Drake mucks around with the Spaniards some more today -- part of the general superviolent "Deadwood"-like environment which characterized the Old World's beginnings in the New World:
In all the time of our being here, neither the governor for the said King of Spain, which is a Portugal, neither the bishop, whose authority is great, neither the inhabitants of the town, or island, ever came at us...

[S]ince they came not at us, we left written in sundry places, as also in the Spital House (which building was only appointed to be spared), the great discontentment and scorn we took at this their refraining to come unto us, as also at the rude manner of killing, and savage kind of handling the dead body of one of our boys found by them straggling all alone, from whom they had taken his head and heart, and had straggled the other bowels about the place, in a most brutish and beastly manner. In revenge whereof at our departing we consumed with fire all the houses...
They would have given them the smallpox blankets too, if they'd thought of it, or if it would have worked on fellow-Europeans.

• Actually, it might have. Here's the very next paragraph:
From hence putting off to the West Indies, we were not many days at sea but there began among our people such mortality as in a few days there were dead above two or three hundred men. And until some seven or eight days after our coming from Santiago, there had not died any one man of sickness in all the fleet. The sickness showed not his infection, wherewith so many were strucken, until we were departed thence; and then seized our people with extreme hot burning and continual agues, whereof very few escaped with life, and yet those for the most part not without great alteration and decay of their wits and strength for a long time after.
I wonder if you're more likely to be superviolent under conditions where you don't expect your own life to be very long. If you're going to go out with an ague tomorrow, you might as well take some Spaniards down with you.

• One of the guys who is under Drake's command is named Captain Careless. I think I read about him in a Highlights in third grade.

• In the same vein of mindless-and-pretty-juvenile observations on the text, here's an always-welcome use of "naughty": "... we were forced by the vile sea-gate, which at that present fell out, and by the naughtiness of the landing-place..."

That's a good landing place for me today.

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