Time passed. Other wild and restless adventurers beside Roldan broke into insurrections less than Roldan’s. The Viceroy hanged Moxica and seven with him, and threw into prison Guevara and Requelme. Roldan, having had his long fling—too powerful still to hang or to chain in some one of our forts—Roldan wrote and received permission, and came to San Domingo, and was reconciled.
Suddenly, after long time of turmoil, wild adventure and uncertainty, peace descended. Over all Hispaniola the Indians submitted. Henceforth they were our subjects; let us say our victims and our slaves! Quarrels between Castilians died over night. Miraculously the sky cleared. Miraculously, or perhaps because of long, patient steering through storm. For three months we lived with an appearance of blossoming and prospering. It seemed that it might become a peaceful, even a happy island.
The Viceroy grew younger, the Adelantado grew younger, and Don Diego, and with them those who held by them through thick and thin. The Admiral began to talk Discovery. It was two years since there, far to the south, we had passed in by the Mouth of the Serpent, and out by the Mouth of the Dragon.
The Viceroy, inspecting the now quiet Vega, rode to an Indian village, near Concepcion. He had twenty behind him, well-armed, but arms were not needed. The people came about him with an eagerness, a docility. They told their stories. He sat his horse and listened with a benignant face. Certain harshnesses in times and amounts of their tribute he redressed. Forever, when personal appeal came to him, he proved magnanimous, often tender, fatherly and brotherly. At a distance he could be severe. But when I think of the cruelties and high-handedness of others here, the Adelantado and the Viceroy shine mildly.
We rode back to Concepcion. I remember the jewel-like air that day, the flowers, the trees, the sky. Palms rustled above us, the brilliant small lizards darted around silver trunks. “The fairest day!” quoth the Admiral. “Ease at heart! I feel ease at heart.”
This night, as I sat beside him, wiling him to sleep, for he always had trouble sleeping—a most wakeful man!— he talked to me about the Queen. Toward this great woman he ever showed veneration, piety, and knightly regard. Of all in Spain she it was who best understood and shared that religious part in him that breathed upward, inspired, longed and strained toward worlds truly not on the earthly map. She, like him—or so took leave to think Juan Lepe—received at times too docilely word of authority, or that which they reckoned to be authority. Princes of the Church could bring her to go against her purer thought. The world as it is, dinging ever, “So important is wealth—so important is herald-nobility—so important is father-care in these respects for sons!” could make him take a tortuous and complicated way, could make him bow and cap, could make him rule with an ear for world’s advice when he should have had only his book and his ship and his dream and a cheering cry “Onward!” Or so thinks Juan Lepe. But Juan Lepe and all wait on full light.