Santa Fe was court no less than camp, court almost as though it were Cordova. This Queen and King at least did not live at ease in palaces while others fought their wars. North, south, east and west, through the ten years, they had been the moving springs. It was an able King and Queen, a politic King and a sincere and godly Queen, even a loving Queen. If only—if only—
I had been a week and more in Santa Fe when King Boabdil surrendered Granada. He left forever the Alhambra. Granada gates opened; he rode out with a few of his emirs and servants to meet King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. The day shone bright. Spain towered, a figure dressed in gold and red.
Santa Fe poured out to view the spectacle, and with the rest went Diego Lopez and Juan Lepe. So great festival, so vivid the color, so echoing the sound, so stately and various the movement! Looking at the great strength massing there on the plain I said aloud, as I thought, to Diego Lopez, “Now they might do some worthy great thing!”
The squire not answering, I became aware that a swirl in the throng had pushed him from me. Still there came an answer in a deep and peculiarly thrilling voice. “That is a true saying and a good augury!”
I learn much by voices and before I turned I knew that this was an enthusiast’s voice, but not an enthusiast without knowledge. Whoever spoke was strong enough, real enough. I liked the voice and felt a certain inner movement of friendship. Some shift among the great actors, some parting of banners, kept us suspended and staring for a moment, then the view closed against us who could only behold by snatches. Freed, I turned to see who had spoken and found a tall, strongly made, white-haired man. The silver hair was too soon; he could hardly have been ten years my elder. He had a long, fair face that might once have been tanned and hardened by great exposure. His skin had that look, but now the bronze was faded, and you could see that he had been born very fair in tint. Across the high nose and cheek bones went a powdering of freckles. His eyes were bluish-gray and I saw at once that he habitually looked at things afar off.
He was rather poorly dressed and pushed about as I was. When the surge again gave him footing, he spoke beside me. “’Now that this is over, they might do some great, worthy thing!’ Very true, friend, they might! I take your words for good omen.” The throng shot out an arm and we were parted. The same action brought back to me Diego Lopez. Speaking to him later of the tall man, he said that he had noticed him, and that it was the Italian who would go to India by way of Ocean-Sea.
King Boabdil gave up his city to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Over Granada, high against the bright sky, rose and floated the banners. Cannon, the big lombards, roared. Mars’ music crashed out, then the trumpets ceased their crying and instead spread a mighty chanting. Te Deum Laudamus!