Outside of the fortress that afternoon Juan Lepe kept company with one who had come with the fire-new Governor, a grim, quiet fellow named Pedro Lopez. He and Luis Torres had been neighbors in Spain; it was Luis who brought us together. I gave him some wine in Doctor Juan Lepe’s small room and he told readily the charges against the Viceroy that Bobadilla, seizing, made into a sheaf.
Already I knew what they were. I had heard them. One or two had, I thought, faint justification, but the mass, no! Personal avarice, personal greed, paynim luxury, arrogance, cruelty, deceit—it made one sorrowfully laugh who knew the man! Here again clamored the old charge of upstartness. A low-born Italian, son of a wool-comber, vindictive toward the hidalgo, of Spain! But there were new charges. Three men deposed that he neglected Indian salvation. And I heard for the first time that so soon as he found the Grand Khan he meant to give over to that Oriental all the islands and the main, and so betray the Sovereigns and Christ and every Spaniard in these parts!
The Adelantado arrived in San Domingo. He came with only a score or two of men, who could have raised many more. Don Francisco de Bobadilla saw to it that he had word from his great brother, and that word was “Obedience.” The Adelantado gave his sword to Don Francisco. The latter loaded the first with chains and put him aboard a caravel in the harbor. He asked to be prisoned with his brother; but why ask any magnanimity from an unmagnanimous soul?
Out in the open now were all the old insurgents. Guevara and Requelme bowed to the earth when the Governor passed, and Roldan sat with him at wine.
THE caravel tossed in a heavy storm. Some of her mariners were old in these waters, but others, coming out with Bobadilla, had little knowledge of our breadths of Ocean-Sea. They had met naught like this rain, this shaken air, these thunders and lightnings. There rose a cry that the ship would split. All was because they had chained the Admiral!
Don Alonso de Villejo, the Captain taking Christopherus Columbus to Spain, called to him Juan Lepe. “Witness you, Doctor, I would have taken away the irons so soon as we were out of harbor! I would have done it on my own responsibility. But he would not have it!”
“Yes, I witness. In chains in Hispaniola, he will come to Spain in chains.”
“If the ship goes down every man must save himself. He must be free. I have sent for the smith. Come you with me!”
We went to that dusky cabin in the ship where he was prisoned. “It is a great storm, and we are in danger, senor!” said Villejo. “I will take away these irons so that if—”
The Admiral’s silver hair gleamed in the dusk. He moved and his gyves struck together. “Villejo!” he said, “if I lie to-night on the floor of Ocean-Sea, I will lie there in these chains! When the sea gives up its dead, I will rise in them!”