The account given in the letter written by Quijada’s wife also applied to the last months of the imperial recluse’s existence. Doubtless he sometimes devoted himself to pious exercises and quiet meditation, but he was usually busied with political affairs and the reading and dictating of despatches. Even at that time he received many visitors. When Geronimo came from Cuacos, he was permitted to go in and out of his apartments freely, and the Emperor even seemed to prefer him to Don Carlos, his grandson, King Philip’s only son, who was destined to become the head of his house; at least, Charles’s conduct favoured this opinion.
On his return to Spain he had made his grandson’s acquaintance in Valladolid.
He was a boy who had well-formed, somewhat sickly features, and a fragile body. Of course the grandfather felt the deepest interest in him, and the influence of the famous victor in so many battles upon the twelve-year-old lad was a most beneficial one.
But Charles had scarcely left Valladolid when the passionate boy’s extremely dangerous tastes burst forth with renewed violence. The recluse student of human nature had probably perceived them, for when his tutor, and especially the young evildoer’s aunt, Juana, the Emperor Charles’s daughter, earnestly entreated him to let the grandson, whose presence would disturb him very little, come to San Yuste, because his influence over Don Carlos would be of priceless value, the grandfather most positively refused the request.
On the other hand, the Emperor had not only tolerated his son Geronimo near him, but rejoiced in his presence, for the quiet sufferer’s eyes had sparkled when he saw him. Wolf himself had often witnessed this delightful sight.
How Barbara’s heart swelled, how eagerly she listened, as Wolf described how well founded was his Majesty’s affection for this beautiful, extremely lovable, docile, true-hearted, and, moreover, frank, boy!
True, he showed as yet little taste for knowledge and all that can be learned from books; but he devoted himself with fiery zeal to the knightly exercises which since his Majesty’s death Quijada himself was directing, and in which he promised to become a master. Besides, by appealing to his ambition, he could be induced to put forth all his powers, and, if his teachers aimed at what they studiously omitted, it would not be difficult to make a scholar of him.
He had not remained unnoticed by any of the great lords who had sought the Emperor in Sal Yuste and met him. The Venetian ambassador Bodoaro, had asked the name of the splendid young noble.
Even when Death was already stretching hi hand toward the Emperor, he was still overburdened with business, and the heretical agitation which was discovered at that time in Spain had caused him much sorrow, especially as men and women whom he knew personally, belonging to the distinguished families of Posa and De Rojas, has taken part in it.