He offered to go to Seville, as soon as Granada should fall, and find and fight Don Pedro. I shook my head. I could have done that had I seen it as the way.
He agreed that Don Pedro was now the minor peril. It is evil to chain thought! In our day we think boldly of a number of things. But touch King or touch Church—the cord is around your neck!
I said that I supposed I had been rash.
He nodded. “Yes. You were rash that day in the oak wood. Less rash, and my bones would be lying there, under tree.” He rose and walked the room, then came to me and put his unhurt arm about my shoulders. “Don Jayme, we swore that day comrade love and service—and that day is now; twilight has never come to it, the leaves of the oak wood have never fallen! The Holy Office shall not have thee!”
We sat down and drank each a little wine, and fell to ways and means.
I rested Juan Lepe in the household of Don Enrique de Cerda, one figure among many, involved in the swarm of fighting and serving men. There was a squire who had served him long. To this man, Diego Lopez, I was committed, with enough told to enlist his intelligence. He managed for me in the intricate life of the place with a skill to make god Mercury applaud. Don Enrique and I were rarely together, rarely were seen by men to speak one to the other. But in the inner world we were together.
Days passed. We found nothing yet to do while all listening and doing at Santa Fe were bound up in the crumbling of Granada into Spanish hands. It seemed best to wait, watching chances.
Meantime the show glittered, and man’s strong stomach cried “Life! More life!” It glittered at Santa Fe before Granada, and it was a dying ember in Granada before Santa Fe. The one glittered and triumphed because the other glittered and triumphed not. And who above held the balances even and neither sorrowed nor was feverishly elated but went his own way could only be seen from the Vega like a dream or a line from a poet.
For the most part the nobles and cavaliers in Santa Fe spent as though hard gold were spiritual gold to be gathered endlessly. One might say, “They go into a garden and shake tree each morning, which tree puts forth again in the night.” None seemed to see as on a map laid down Spain and the broken peasant and the digger of the gold. None seemed to feel that toil which or soon or late they must recognize for their own toil. Toil in Spain, toil in other and far lands whence came their rich things, toil in Europe, Arabia and India! Apparel at Santa Fe was a thing to marvel at. The steed no less than his rider went gorgeous. The King and Queen, it was said, did not like this peacocking, but might not help it.
They themselves were pouring gold into the lap of
Church. It was a capacious lap.
Wars were general enough, God knew! But not every year could one find a camp where the friar was as common as the archer or the pikeman, and the prelate as the plumed chieftain.