“Why, they are not pacified,” answered Luis. “Worse follows worse. Pedro Margarite left two bands in the Vega, and from all I hear they turned devils. It looked like peace itself, didn’t it, this great, fair, new land, when first we stepped upon it, and raised the banner and then the cross? It’s that no longer. They’re up, the Indians, Caonabo and three main caciques, and all the lesser ones under these. In short, we are at war,” ended Luis. “Alonso de Ojeda at the moment is the Cid. He maneuvers now in the Vega.”
I looked around. We were sitting under palm trees, by the mud wall of our town. Beyond the forest waved in the wind, and soft white clouds sailed over it in a sky of essential sapphire. “There’s an aspect here of peace!”
“That is because Guacanagari, from his new town, holds his people still. For that Indian the scent of godship has not yet departed! He sees the Admiral always as a silver-haired hero bringing warmth and light. He is like a dog for fidelity!—But I saw three Indians from outside his country curse him in the name of all the other tribes, with a kind of magical ceremony. Is he right, or is he wrong, Juan Lepe? Or is he neither the one nor the other, but Something moves him from above?”
“Have you never seen again the butio, Guarin?”
We sat and looked at the rich forest, and at that strange, rude, small town called Isabella, and at the blue harbor with the ships, and the blue, blue sea beyond. Over us—what is over us? Something seemed to come from it, stealing down the stair to us!
The fourth day after his return, Don Francisco de Las Casas, Don Juan Ponce de Leon, and others told to the Viceroy, lying upon his bed in his house, much what Luis Torres told Juan Lepe. “Sirs,” he said, when they had done, “here is my brother, Don Bartholomew, who will take order. He is as myself. For Christopherus Columbus, he is ill, and must be ill awhile.”
The sixth day came Guacanagari, and sat in the room and talked sorrowfully. Caonabo, Gwarionex, Behechio, Cotubanama, said, “Were these or were these not gods, yet would they fight!”
The Admiral said, “The Future is the god. But there are burrs on his skirt!”
Guacanagari at last would depart. He stood beside the bed and the silver-haired great cacique from heaven. The Admiral put forth a lean, knotted, powerful hand and laid it on the brown, slim, untoiled hand. “I wish peace,” he said. “My brother Bartholomew and I will do what we can do to gain it. Good peace, true peace!”
Without the room, I asked the cacique about Guarin. He was gone, he said, to the mountains. He would not stay with Guacanagari, and he would not go to Caonabo or Gwarionex. “All old things and ways are broken,” said Guacanagari. “All our life is broken. I do not know what we have done. The women sit and weep. And I, too, sometimes I weep!”
The seventh day came in Alonso de Ojeda from St.