The painter and Don Enrique bent low to the Majesty of Castile. In the background Juan Lepe made squire’s obeisance. I was bearded and my face stained with a Moorish stain, and I was in shadow; it was idle to fear recognition that might never come. The Queen seated herself, and her daughter beside her, and with her good smile motioned the Archbishop to a chair. The two ecclesiastics, both venerable men, were given seats. The rest of the company stood. The Queen’s blue eyes rested on Don Enrique. She spoke in a clear, mild voice, threaded with dignity. “Were you summoned thither, Don Enrique de Cerda?”
He answered, “No, Highness! I came to the palace to seek Master Manuel Rodriguez who is to paint for me an altarpiece for the Church of Saint Dominic. You and the King, Madam, I thought were in Granada. Not finding him in his own lodging, I made bold to come here. Then at once, before I could hasten away, you returned!”
The true nature of this Queen was to think no evil. Her countenance remained mild. He had done valiant service, and she was sisterly-minded toward the greater part of the world. Now she said with serenity, “There is no fault, Don Enrique. Stay with us now that you are here.”
Bowing deeply, he joined a brother-in-arms, Don Miguel de Silva. His squire stood in the shadow behind him, but found a chance-left lane of vision down which much might be seen.
The Queen composed herself , in her chair. “This is the position, Master Manuel?” The fair man, so fine and quick that I loved to look at him, bowed and stepped back to his canvas, where he took up his brush and fell to work. The Queen and the Archbishop began to speak earnestly together. Words and sentences floated to Juan Lepe standing by the arras. The Queen made thoughtful pauses, looking before her with steady blue eyes and a somewhat lifted face. I noted that when she did this Manuel Rodriguez painted fast.
There fell a pause in their talk. Something differing from the subject of discourse, whatever in its fullness that might be, seemed to come into her mind. She sent her glance across the room.
“Don Enrique de Cerda—”
The tone summoned. When he was before her, “It was in my mind,” said the Queen, “to send for you within a day or two. But now you are here, and this moment while we await the King is as good as another. We have had letters from the Bishop of Seville whom we reverence, and from Don Pedro Enriquez to whom we owe much. They have to do with Jayme de Marchena who has long been suspect by the Holy Office. He has fled Seville, gone none know where! Don Pedro informs us, Don Enrique, that years ago this man stood among your friends. He does not think it probable that this is yet so—nor do I, Don Enrique, knowing that you must hold in abhorrence the heretic!” She looked mildly upon him. “In youth we make chance friendships thick as May, but manhood weeds the garden! And yet we think it possible that this man may in his heart trade on old things and make his way to you or send you appeal.” She paused, then said in a quiet voice, “Should that happen, Don Enrique, on your allegiance, and as a good Christian, you will do all that you can to put him in the hands of the Holy Office.”