Whereat the place buzzed loudly, and one saw that many would go.
Many did go upon the ships that sailed not in a few days but a few weeks. Some went for good reasons, but many for ill. Juan Lepe heard afar and ahead of time the great tide of talk when they should arrive in Spain! And though many went who wished the Admiral ill, many stayed, and forever Roldan made for him more enemies, open or secret.
He sent, it is true, upon those ships friends to plead his cause. Don Francisco de Las Casas went to Spain and others went. And he sent letters. Juan Lepe, much in his house, tending him who needed the physician Long-Rest and Ease-of-Mind, heard these letters read. There was one to the Sovereigns in which he related with simple eloquence that discovery to the South, and his assurance that he had touched the foot of the Mount of all the World. With this letter he sent a hundred pearls, the golden frog and other gold. Again he took paper and wrote of the attitude of all things in Hispaniola, of Roldan and evil men, of the Adelantado’s vigilance, justice and mercy, of natural difficulties and the need to wait on time, of the Indians. He begged that there be sent him ample supplies and good men, and withal friars for the Indian salvation, and some learned, wise and able lawyer and judge, much needed to give the law upon a thousand complaints brought by childish and factious men. And if the Sovereigns saw fit to send out some just and lofty mind to take evidence from all as to their servant Christopherus Columbus’s deeds and public acts and care of their Majesties’ New Lands and all the souls therein, such an one would be welcomed by their Graces’ true servant.
So he himself asked for a commissioner—but he never thought of such an one as Francisco de Bobadilla!
So the ships sailed. Time passed.
UP and down went the great Roldan scission. Up and down went Indian revolt, repression, fresh revolt, fresh repression. On flowed time. Ships came in, one bearing Don Diego; ships went out. Time passed. Alonso de Ojeda, who by now was no more than half his friend, returned to Spain and there proposed to the Sovereigns a voyage of his own to that Southern Continent that never had the Admiral chance to return to! The Sovereigns now were giving such consent to this one and to that one, breaking their pact with Christopherus Columbus. In our world it was now impossible that that pact should be letter-kept, but the Genoese did not see it so. Ojeda sailed from Cadiz for Paria with four ships and a concourse of adventurers. With him went the pilot Juan de la Cosa, and a geographer of Florence, Messer Amerigo Vespucci.
It came to us in Hispaniola that Ojeda was gone. Now I saw the Admiral’s heart begin to break. Yet Ojeda in his voyage did not find the Earthly Paradise, only went along that coast as we had done, gathered pearls, and returned.