“He will not die,” I said. “You are cordial to him, though he hears you yet from leagues and leagues away. Go on!”
“Christopher, from Paris I got slowly, slowly, so slowly I thought it!—to Seville. But I was not poor. They gave me gold, the French King gave it, their nobles, their bishops. I walked in that glory; it flooded me from you! All your people, Christopher, your sons and your brothers and our old father. You build us again, you are our castle and great ship and Admiral! When I came to Barcelona, how they praised you! When I came to Toledo, how they praised you! When I came to Seville, how they praised you! But at Seville I learned that I was too late, and you were gone upon your second voyage. Then I went to Valladolid and the Queen and the King were there, and they said, `He has just sailed, Don Bartholomew, from Cadiz with sixteen ships—your great brother who hath crossed Ocean-Sea and bound to us Asia!’—But, sweet Jesu, what entertainment they gave me, all because I had lain in our old wooden cradle at Genoa a couple of years or so after you!—Genoa!—They say Genoa aches because she did not send you. Christopher, do you remember the old rock by the sea—and you begged colors from Messer Ludovico and painted upon it a ship and we called it the Great Doge—”
The Admiral’s eyes opened slowly like a gray dawn; he moved ever so slightly in the bed, and his lips parted. “Brother,” he whispered.
We got him from the Cordera to Hispaniola shore, and so in a litter to his own house in Isabella. All our town was gathered to see him carried there. He began to improve. The second day he said to Don Bartholomew, “You shall be my lieutenant and deputy. Adelantado—I name you Adelantado.”
Don Bartholomew said bluntly, “Is not that hard upon Diego?”
“No, no, Bartholomew!” answered Don Diego, who was present. “If it were question of a prior of Franciscans, now! But Christopher knows and I know that I took this stormy world but for lack of any other in blood to serve him. Our Lady knows that I never held myself to be the man for the place! Be Adelantado and never think of me!”
The Admiral upon his bed spoke. “We have always worked together, we Colombos. When it is done for the whole there is no jealousy among the parts. I love Diego, and I think he did well, constraining his nature to it, here among the selfish, the dangerous and factious! And others know that he did well. I love him and praise him. But Bartholomew, thou art the man for this!”
Accordingly, the next noontide, trumpets, and a proclamation made before the great cross in the middle of our town. The Viceroy’s new-come brother had every lieutenant power.
I do not know if he ever disappointed or abused it. He became great helper to his great brother.
These three! They were a lesson in what brothers might be, one to the other, making as it were a threefold being. Power was in this family, power of frame and constitution, with vital spirit in abundance; power of will, power of mind, and a good power of heart. Their will was good toward mankind.