“How should we map it?” said the other. “Faith of God! I should like to see the maps a hundred years from now!”
He had something to say of Sebastian Cabot who was finding northward for King Henry of England. But laying a fine small hand upon the Admiral’s mighty one, he called him “magister et dominus, Christopherus Columbus.”
Winter wore away. With the spring he seemed to be better in health. He left his bed. But the physician, Juan Lepe, believed that ports and havens, new lands, and service of an order above this order were even now coloring and thrilling within.
When all spring was singing high, the Admiral, having had a letter from the king, said he would go to court. His sons would have had him travel in a litter, but he waved that away. The Adelantado procured him a mule, and with his sons and brother and a small train beside he started, the King being at Segovia. He had a hardly scraped together purse of gold, and all his matters seemed dejected. Yet his family riding with him rode as nobles of Spain, and his son, Don Diego, should one day become Governor of Hispaniola. Earthly speaking, for all his feeling “All is vain!” he had made his family. Unlike many families so made, this one was grateful.
On the road to Segovia, stayings, restings and meetings were cordial enough to him, for here flocked the people to see the Discoverer. If they heard his voice they were happy; if some bolder one had a moment’s speech with him that fortunate went off with the air of, “My children’s children shall know of this!” There returned in this springtide travel sunniness, halcyon weather, bright winds of praise. The last health of the present body was his upon this journey. Health and strength harked back. All noted it. Jayme de Marchena held it for the leap of the flame before sinking, before leaving the frame of this world. But his sons and Don Bartholomew cried, “Why, father, why, brother, you will outlive us yet!”
He rode firmly; he looked about with bright, blue-gray eyes; his voice had the old, powerful thrill. It was happiness to him when the simple came crowding, or when in some halt he talked with two or three or with a solitary. The New Lands and the Vast Change, and it would affect all our life, this way, that way and the other way.
But when we came to Segovia, the King was dead, not alive, to Christopherus Columbus. Not dead to the Indies, no! But dead to their old discoverer. We had chilly weather, miserable, and all the buds of promise went back. Or rather there were promises, cold smiles, but even he, the Genoese, saw at last that these buds were simulacra, never meant to bloom.
The Queen was gone. The Court wore the King’s color. Then the King went to Laredo to meet his daughter Juana, who was now Queen of Castile. With him went all of importance. Segovia became a dull and somewhat hostile water where rode at last anchor the ship of the Admiral.