a host that was not good, but was factious, turbulent,
sensual and idle. Yet have I brought these strange
lands and naked peoples under the Sovereigns, giving
them the lordship of a new world. What say my
accusers? They say that I have taken great honors
and wealth and nobility for myself and my house.
Even they say, O my friend! that from the vast old-and-new
and fairest land that I have lately found, I took
and kept the pearls that those natives brought me,
not rendering them to the Sovereigns. God judge
me, it is not so! Spain becometh vastly rich,
and the head of the world, and her Sovereigns, lest
they should scant their own nobility, give nobility,
place and wage to him who brought them Lordship here.
It is all! And out of my gain am I not pledged
to gather an army and set it forth to gain the Sepulchre?
Have I fallen, now and again, in all these years in
my Government, into some error? How should I
not do so, being human? But never hath an error
been meant, never have I wished but to deal honestly
and mercifully with all, with Spaniards and with Indians,
to serve well the Sovereigns and to advance the Cross.
I call the saints to witness! All the way has
been difficult, thorns of nature’s and my enemies’
planting, but God knoweth, I have trodden it steadily.
I have given much to the Sovereigns, how much it is
future days brighter than these will show! I
have been true servant to them. If now, writing
in chains, upon the caravel Santa, Marta
cry to them for justice, it is because I do not fear
He ceased to speak, then presently, “I would
that all might see the light that I see over the future!—Thou
seest it, Juan Lepe.”
“Aye, I see light over the future.”
By littles the storm fell. Ere dawn we could
say, “We shall outlive it!” He slept for
an hour then waked. “I was dreaming of
the Holy Land—but do you know, Juan Lepe,
it was seated here in the lands we found!”
“Seated here and everywhere,” I said.
“As soon as we see it so and make it so.”
“Aye, I know that the sea is holy, and so should
be all the land! The prophet sees it so—”
The dawn came faintly in upon us. All was quieter,
the footing overhead steady, not hasting, frightened.
Light strengthened. A boy brought him breakfast.
He ate with appetite. “You are better,”
I said, “and younger.”
“It is a strange thing,” he answered,
“but so it had been from my boyhood. Is
the danger close and drear, is the ship upon the reef,
then some one pours for me wine! Some one, do
I say? I know Whom!”
I began to speak of the Adelantado. “Aye,
there he is the same! `Peril—darkness?
Well, let’s meet it!’ We are alike, we
three brothers, alike and different. Diego serves
God best in a monastery, and I serve best in a ship
with a book and a map to be followed and bettered.
Bartholomew serves best where he has been, Adelantado
and Alcayde. He is powerful there, with judgment