La Señorita looked like she would faint. Her face glistened with perspiration; she trembled, seemed feverish and most of all, afraid.
“Get some cold water in a bucket, Sal,” Brother David said. He led La Señorita to a bench. “Have no fear, trust God. Here, drink some water.” La Señorita Xichete stared at Brother David. She clutched a stack of yellowed parchments in her arms then bent to kiss the top sheet. Sal saw the papers ragged edges and symbols with crimson circles over black designs. “Take this medicine, please.” Brother David gave her a small envelope in exchange for her parchments. He made a slight bow as if he were standing in front of his own Bishop and not some feverish native woman. “Go in peace, my daughter.” He made the sign of the cross over her head. “You have done well. The greatness of your people will be remembered forever. Help her on the stairs, Sal.”
La Señorita staggered just a little, held her hand against the shelves, then allowed Sal to guide her from the room, her silver earrings still dangling from her ears. At the bottom of the stairs, Sal watched her disappear into the crowd, then hurried back to Brother David, unsure of what he just witnessed.
“Why did you let her go? I thought you’d…,” Sal said. His words burned in him. He felt like a foolish boy.
“I can only imagine what you thought, Sal. Life is often unkind, and any man is capable of acting like a fool,” Brother David said. Sal eyed him with suspicion. He never told him about Brother Santana or his own Papá, yet David seemed to know his thoughts.
“God knows how easily we are tempted by our desires. For instance, even you followed La Señorita Xichete because of her silver earnings,” Brother David said. “Let me show you some real treasures hidden in this little room.”
Sal pretended to be interested in what the Brother said, but his mind fixed on La Señorita and her silver. How did Brother David know about being tempted by desires? Determined to protect her from Brother David, he hoped to see her again, alone. Meanwhile, Brother David said something about a library, waving his arms, referring to the stacks of books scattered around the room. Sal never saw a library in Yuste and did not care about Brother David’s treasures.
“Are there any stories of risk and honor here?” Sal said. He tried to act interested until he could get away, find Blas, and tell him the truth about Brother David.
“Look at this special book,” Brother David said. He acted innocent, as if nothing changed between them. He reached toward a row of worn leather bindings
“¡No más! I’m done with your games,” Sal said. He backed away from Brother David. “I’m not a boy impressed by your stupid secrets!” Angry and disappointed, he wanted to get out of the stuffy room.
“It’s true. You are no child. This book proves you’re a man, look here,” Brother David said. He stood in Sal’s way and held an open book in front of him. “They call this type of book a ship’s log,” Brother David said. He talked as if Sal were a child.
“Looks like something from the King,” Sal said. He pointed to the golden seal at the top of the page.
“Yes, it’s his royal mark in gold,” Brother David said. “Here is a list of all the gold collected from your voyage.” He pointed to a scribbled line. “And here, listed with the other men on the ship’s crew is your own name, Salvador Tenorio.” He paused to see Sal’s reaction. Sal swallowed his feelings of anger toward Brother David and moved his finger over and over the line with his own name.
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