1492 eBook

Mary Johnston
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 376 pages of information about 1492.
on occasion many endued themselves with armor and hacked and hewed with an earthly sword.  At times there seemed as many friars and priests as soldiers.  Out and in went a great Queen and King.  Their court was here.  The churchmen pressed around the Queen.  Famous leaders put on or took off armor in Santa Fe,—­the Marquis of Cadiz and many others only less than he in estimation, and one Don Gonsalvo de Cordova, whose greater fame was yet to come.  Military and shining youth came to train and fight under these.  Old captains-at-arms, gaunt and scarred, made their way thither from afar.  All were not Spaniard; many a soldier out at fortune or wishful of fame came from France and Italy, even from England and Germany.  Women were in Santa Fe.  The Queen had her ladies.  Wives, sisters and daughters of hidalgos came to visit, and the common soldiery had their mates.  Nor did there lack courtesans.

Petty merchants thronged the place.  All manner of rich goods were bought by the flushed soldiers, the high and the low.  And there dwelled here a host of those who sold entertainment,—­mummers and jugglers and singers, dwarfs and giants.  Dice rattled, now there were castanets and dancing, and now church bells seemed to rock the place.  Wine flowed.

Out of the plain a league and more away sprang the two hills of Granada, and pricked against the sky, her walls and thousand towers and noble gates.  Between them and Santa Fe stretched open and ruined ground, and here for many a day had shocked together the Spaniard and the Moor.  But now there was no longer battle.  Granada had asked and been granted seventy days in which to envisage and accept her fate.  These were nearing the end.  Lost and beaten, haggard with woe and hunger and pestilence, the city stood over against us, above the naked plain, all her outer gardens stripped away, bare light striking the red Alhambra and the Citadel.  When the wind swept over her and on to Santa Fe it seemed to bring a sound of wailing and the faint and terrible odor of a long besieged place.

I came at eve into Santa Fe, found at last an inn of the poorer sort, ate scant supper and went to bed.  Dawn came with a great ringing of church bells.

Out of the inn, in the throbbing street, I began my search for Don Enrique de Cerda.  One told me one thing and one another, but at last I got true direction.  At noon I found him in a goodly room where he made recovery from wounds.  Now he walked and now he sat, his arm in a sling and a bandage like a turban around his head.  A page took him the word I gave.  “Juan Lepe.  From the hermitage in the oak wood.”  It sufficed.  When I entered he gazed, then coming to me, put his unbound hand over mine.  “Why,” he asked, " `Juan Lepe’?”

I glanced toward the page and he dismissed him, whereupon I explained the circumstances.

We sat by the window, and again rose for us the hermitage in the oak wood at foot of a mountain, and the small tower that slew in ugly fashion.  Again we were young men, together in strange dangers, learning there each other’s mettle.  He had not at all forgotten.

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1492 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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