THE INVADERS It was on a boat which was laden with bananas and running from Colon, on the Isthmus of Panama, to New York. The steward called me at dawn. He thought I was mad because I stood in pyjamas without apparent heed of the mirky drizzle. Beyond the sad waters there was little to see but a low-lying and dreary island with a melancholy lighthouse. No vegetation brightened the scene. There was no gorgeous sunrise. There was nothing but a lump of barrenness heaving out of the sea. But this was the island of San Salvador, the western land which Columbus first touched when he sailed to find the Indies. There are now near one hundred and fifty millions of people of European descent in the Americas. And a little glow came into my imagination that rain-swept morning when I felt I was the only traveller on the boat who had crawled forth to gaze at San Salvador. I tried to picture what thoughts must have crowded the mind of Columbus when he sighted this shore. He never knew what he had discovered for Spain. He could never have dreamt he was the first in the greatest invasion the world has ever witnessed. A year later I was on an Atlantic liner. The fo'c'sle was thronged with poor Spaniards from Vigo and poor Portuguese from Lisbon. In the voyage across the Atlantic I had watched them in the steerage—tawny-visaged, easygoing men, and broad-set, figureless women, sprawling, gossiping, drowsing. To the accompaniment of an accordion they lifted their voices in song on the balmy, starlit evenings whilst the ship churned through the tropical seas
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