“I could force you, senor,” said Villejo.
The other answered, “Try it, and God will make your hands like a babe’s!”
Villejo and the smith did not try it. There was something around him like an invisible guard. I knew the feel of it, and that it was his will emerged at height.
“Remember then, senor, that I would have done it for you!” Villejo touched the door. The Admiral’s voice came after. “My brother, Don Bartholomew, he who was responsible to me and only through me to the Sovereigns, free him, Villejo, and you have all my thanks!”
We went to take the gyves from Don Bartholomew. It would have been comfort to these brothers to be together in prison—but that the Governor of Hispaniola straitly forbade. When Villejo had explained what he would do, the Adelantado asked, “What of the Admiral?”
“I wish to take them from him also. But he is obstinate in his pride and will not!”
“He will go as he is to the Queen and Spain and the world,” said Juan Lepe.
“That is enough for me,” answered the Adelantado. “I do not go down to-night a freed body while he goes down a chained.—Farewell, senor! I think I hear your sailors calling.”
Villejo hesitated. “Let them have their will, senor,” said Juan Lepe. “Their will is as good as ours.”
Don Bartholomew turned to me. “How fares my brother, Doctor? Is he ill?”
“He is better. Because he was ill I was let to come with him. But now he is better.”
“Give him my enduring love and constancy,” said the Adelantado. “Good night, Villejo!” and turned upon his side with a rattling of his chain.
Returning to the Admiral, Juan Lepe sat beside him through the night. The tempest continuing, there were moments when we thought, It may be the end of this life! We thought to hear the cry “She sinks!” and the rush of feet.
At times when there fell lulls we talked. He was calmly cheerful.
“It seems to me that the storm lessens. I have been penning in my mind, lying here, a letter to one who will show it to the Queen. Writing so, I can say with greater freedom that which should be said.”
“What do you say?”
He told me with energy. His letter related past events in Hispaniola and the arrival of Bobadilla and all that took place thereupon. He had an eloquence of the pen as of speech, and what he said to Dona Juana de la Torre moved. A high simplicity was his in such moment, an opening of the heart, such as only children and the very great attain. He told his wrongs, and he prayed for just judgment, “not as a ruler of an ordered land where obtain old, known, long-followed laws, and where indeed disorder might cry `Weakness and Ill-doing!’ But I should be judged rather as a general sent to bring under government an enemy people, numerous, heathen, living in a most difficult, unknown and pathless country. And to do this I had many good men, it is true, but also