“Do I not believe that, Guacanagari?” said the Admiral, and thinking of Diego de Arana and Fray Ignatio and others and of the good hope of La Navidad, tears came into his eyes.
He sat upon the most honorable block of wood which was brought him and talked to Guacanagari. Then at his gesture one brought his presents, a mirror, a rich belt, a knife, a pair of castanets. Guacanagari, it seemed, since the sighting of the ships, had made collection on his part. He gave enough gold to make lustful many an eye looking upon that scene.
The women brought food and set before the Spaniards in the house. I found Guarin and presently we came to be standing without the entrance—they had no doors; sometimes they had curtains of cotton—looking upon that strange gathering in the little middle square of the town. So many Spaniards in the palm shadows, and the women feeding them, and Alonso de Ojeda’s hand upon the arm of a slender brown girl with a wreath of flowers around her head. Father Buil was within with the Admiral, truculently and suspiciously regarding the idolater who now had left the hammock and seemed as well of a wound as any there! But here without were eight or ten friars, gathered together under a palm tree, making refection and talking among themselves. One devout brother, sitting apart and fasting, told his beads.
Said Guarin, “I have been watching him. He is talking to his zeme.—They are all butios?”
“Yes. Most of them are good men.”
“What is going to happen here to all my people? Something is over against me and my people, I feel it! Even the cacique has fear.”
“It is the dark Ignorance and the light Ignorance, the clothed Ignorance and the naked Ignorance. I feel it too, what you feel. But I feel, O Guarin, that the inner and true Man will not and cannot take hurt!”
He said, “Do they come for good?”
I answered, “There is much good in their coming. Seen from the mountain brow, enormous good, I think. In the long run I am fain to think that all have their market here, you no less than I, Guacanagari no less than the Admiral.”
“I do not know that,” he said. “It seems to me the sunny day is dark.”
I said, “In the main all things work together, and in the end is honey.”
Out they came from palm-roofed house, the Admiral of the Ocean-Sea and Viceroy of what Indies he could find for Spain and Spain could take, and the Indian king or grandee or princeling. Perceiving that what he did was appreciated for what it was, Guacanagari had recovered his lameness. The cotton was no longer about his thigh; he moved straight and lightly,—a big, easy Indian.
It was now well on in the afternoon, but he would go with the Mighty Stranger, the Great Cacique his friend, to see the ships and all the wonders. His was a childlike craving for pure novelty and marvel.
So we went, all of us, back through vast woodland to cerulean water. Water was deep, the Marigalante rode close in, and about and beyond her the Santa Clara, the Cordera, the San Juan, the Juana, another Nina, the Beatrix and many another fair name. They were beautiful, the ships on the gay water and about them the boats and the red men’s canoes.