“When you die, senor, there will die a great servant of the world.”
I spoke so because I knew the cordial that he wanted.
His eyes brightened, strength came into his voice. “Do you know aught of my brother the Adelantado?”
“No. He may be on his way from Xaragua. What would you wish him to do, sir?”
“Come quietly to San Domingo as I came. This Governor is but a violent, petty shape! But I have sworn to obey the Queen and the King of the Spains. I and mine to obey.”
I asked him if he believed that the Sovereigns knew this outrage. I could believe it hardly of King Ferdinand, not at all of the Queen.
Again I felt that this was cordial to him. I had spoken out of my conviction, and he knew it. “No,” he said. “I do not believe it. I will never believe it of the Queen! Look you! I have thought it out in the night. The night is good for thinking out. You would not believe how many enemies I have in Spain. Margarite and Father Buil are but two of a crowd. Fonseca, who should give me all aid, gives me all hindrance. I have throngs of foes; men who envy me; men who thought I might give them the golden sun, and I could not; hidalgos who hold that God made them to enjoy, standing on other men’s shoulders, eating the grapes and throwing down the empty skins, and I made them to labor like the others; and not in Heaven or Hell will they forgive me! And others—and others. They have turned the King a little their way. I knew that, ere I went to find that great new land where are pearls, that slopes upward by littles to the Height of the World and the Earthly Paradise. Turned the King, but not the Queen. But now I make it they have worked upon her. I make it that she does not know the character of Don Francisco de Bobadilla. I make it that, holding him to be far wiser than he is, she with the King gave him great power as commissioner. I make it that they gave him letters of authority, and a last letter, superseding the Viceroy, naming him Governor whom all must obey. I make it that he was only to use this if after long examination it was found by a wise, just man that I had done after my enemies’ hopes. I make it that here across Ocean-Sea, far, far from Spain, he chose not to wait. He clucked to him all the disaffected and flew with a strong beak at the eyes of my friends.” He moved his arms and his chains clanked. “I make it that this severity is Don Francisco de Bobadilla’s, not King Ferdinand’s, not —oh, more than not—the good Queen’s!”
Juan Lepe thought that he had made out the probabilities, probably the certainties.
“If I may win to Spain!” he ended. “It all hinges on that! If I may see the Sovereigns—if I may see the good Queen! I hope to God he will soon chain me in a ship and send me!”
Had he seen Don Francisco de Bobadilla?
No, he had not seen Don Francisco de Bobadilla. He thought that on the whole that Hidalgo and Commander of Calatrava was afraid.