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The Vale of Cedars by Grace Aguilar

Part 5 out of 5

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to retire entirely from all interference in public life. He could not,
he said, support the weight of shame, which, falling on his church,
had affected him individually. Vain were the royal solicitations, vain
the love of the people, vain the entreaties of the abbot and brethren
of his convent; he resigned the office of Sub-Prior, relinquished
every religious and secular honor, and buried himself in the most
impenetrable solitude, fraught with austerity and mortification,
personal penance, and yet devoted to such extraordinary acquirements,
that, though for long years his very existence was well nigh
forgotten, when next he burst upon the astonished eyes of the world,
it was no longer as Father Francis, the Sub-Prior of a Franciscan
monastery, a good and benevolent monk, but as the learned priest, the
sagacious statesman, the skilful general, ay, and gallant warrior--the
great and good CARDINAL XIMENES!

To wait the arrival of Torquemada, the sovereigns and their council
unanimously resolved. It was but a very brief delay, and would permit
a more effectual extermination of the secret office than could be
decided upon by the laity alone. Ere the day closed, and in presence
of the sovereigns, of all the nobles, officers of state, the Santa
Hermandad and principal citizens, Arthur Stanley was formally
pronounced INNOCENT of the crime with which he had been charged. The
golden spurs, which had been ignominiously hacked from his heels, were
replaced by the aged Duke of Murcia; knighthood again bestowed by the
King; and Isabella's own hand, with winning courtesy, presented him
a sword, whose real Toledo blade, and richly jewelled hilt, should
replace the valued weapon, the loss of which had caused him such
unmerited suffering, and shame.

"May it be used for us, as faithfully and nobly as its predecessor,"
were Isabella's concluding words; "and its associations, Senor
Stanley, be nought but those of joy."

The young man's cheek burned, but there was a deep shadow on his
countenance, which neither the honors he received, nor his own urgent
efforts had power to remove. He looked wistfully after the sovereigns
as they quitted the church, then with an irresistible impulse, broke
from the throng with whom he had been endeavoing to join in animated
converse, and, suddenly kneeling before Isabella, exclaimed in low,
agitated tones--

"_She_--she may still be in the villain's power. Oh, my liege, wait
not for Torquemada's arrival and leave her to die! He will wreak his
full vengeance upon her."

"Trust me for her safety, my young friend; measures have been already
taken to secure it," was Isabella's instant reply, in a tone so full
of sympathy, that Arthur caught her robe, and pressed it to his lips.

She smiled kindly and passed on, still accompanied by Ferdinand, not a
little astonished at her words, and still more so when Marie's whole
tale was imparted to him.

On retiring to rest that night, his thoughts still engrossed with
vain speculations as to the destined fate of Marie,--Arthur, half
unconsciously, unsheathed Isabella's magnificent gift, to judge of
the temper of the blade; and, as he did so, a scroll, which had been
twisted round the steel, fell to the ground. He raised it with hasty
curiosity, but his heart throbbed as he recognized the handwriting of
the Queen, and deciphered the following words:--

"To Senor Stanley, in secrecy and confidence, these: The eye of love
is said to pierce through all disguises. In this instance it has
proved less discriminative than woman's sympathy, and woman's
penetration. She in whom we believe Senor Stanley interested, and to
whose exertions he owes the publication of his innocence in time to
save life as well as honor, is safe, and under the protection of her
Queen. Let this suffice for present peace, and speak of it to none.

Arthur's first impulse was to press the precious letter to his lips,
and gaze upon it till every letter seemed transferred from the paper
to his heart; his next was to sit down on the nearest seat, and bury
his face in his hands, actually bewildered by the flash of light,
which with those brief words came. Disguise--exertion--could it be
possible? Nay, it must be! The soft touch of that little hand, the
speaking look of those lovely eyes, again thrilled through his very
soul, and he knew their meaning now. Mysterious, bewildering as it
was, the novice, the poor, exhausted, seeming boy--was Marie! Again he
owed his life to her, and the wild yearning to gaze on her again, to
clasp her to his bosom, to pour forth his gratitude, to soothe and
shield, became so painfully intense, as almost to banish the joy,
which her rescue from danger ought to have occasioned. Had it not been
for her refusal to bear witness against him, not even the month's
grace would have been allowed him; he would have been executed at
once. She had saved him then--she had saved him now! And his heart so
swelled he knew not how to contain its fulness, how to calm it down,
to wait till the Queen's further pleasure should be known. But hope
sprung up to give him comfort; Isabella would accomplish her intention
of conversion; Marie could never resist her, and then--then, oh! she
would be all, all his own, and life shine, for both the brighter, for
its former tempest clouds. Meanwhile, he had such sweet thoughts, such
lovely images, to rest on. He owed his life, his honor, to her; and he
thought that it was his devoted gratitude which so deepened love. How
sweet is such illusion! how refreshingly soothing to be grateful, when
the object of that gratitude has been, and is still, the dear object
of our love! How often we deceive ourselves, and imagine we are
experiencing the strongest emotions of gratitude, when, had an
indifferent person conferred the same benefit, we might feel it
indeed, but it would more pain than pleasure; and be an obligation, so
heavy that we should never rest, till in some measure, at least, it
was returned. How contrary the impression of benefits from those we

Never before had the appearance of the Queen's confessor, the stern,
and some said cruel, Torquemada, been hailed with such excitement. He
was speedily informed of the late transactions, and his counsel most
earnestly demanded by both sovereigns. He required some days to
deliberate, he said, so momentous and important was the affair; and
when he did reply, his counsel was entirely opposed to what many
hoped, and Ferdinand expected. Indignant as he declared himself to
be, at the abuses in religion, he yet put a strong and most decided
negative on the royal proposition, of utterly exterminating this
unlawful tribunal. With all his natural eloquence, and in most
forcible language, he declared that, if kept within proper bounds,
restrained by due authority, and its proceedings open to the
inspection of the Sovereign, and under him, the archbishops and other
dignitaries of the church, the Inquisition would be a most valuable
auxiliary to the well-doing and purifying of the most Catholic
kingdom. He produced argument after argument of most subtle reasoning,
to prove that every effort to abolish the office in Spain had been
entirely useless: it would exist, and if not publicly acknowledged,
would always be liable to abuse and desecration; that the only means
of exterminating its secret, and too arrogant power, was to permit its
public establishment, and so control it, that its measures should be
open to the present, and to every successive sovereign. He allowed the
necessity, the imperious necessity of rooting out the _secret_ office;
but he was convinced this could not be done, nor in fact would the
church allow it, unless it should be recognized in the face of all
Europe, as based on alike the civil and religious laws of Spain.

On Ferdinand the wily churchman worked, by proving that his royal
prerogative would be insured rather than injured by this proceeding;
that by publicly establishing the Inquisition, he proved his
resolution to control even this power, and render it a mere instrument
in his sovereign hand; that his contemplated conquest of the Moors
could not be better begun than by the recognition of a holy office,
whose glory it would be to bring all heathens to the purifying and
saving doctrines of the church of Rome. Ferdinand, though wary and
politic himself, was no match for Torquemada's Jesuitical eloquence;
he was won over to adopt the churchman's views with scarcely an effort
to resist them. With Isabella the task was much more difficult. He
appealed guardedly and gently to her tender regard for the spiritual
welfare of her people, sympathized with her in her indignant horror
of the crimes committed under religion's name, but persisted that the
evil of a secret Inquisition would never be remedied, save by the
measure he proposed. He pledged himself never to rest, till the
present halls and ministers of darkness were exterminated from every
part of Spain; but it could only be on condition of her assent to his
counsel. He used all his eloquence; he appealed to her as a zealous
Catholic, whose first duty was to further and purify her faith; but
for four days he worked in vain; and when she did give her consent, it
was with such a burst of tears, that it seemed as if her foreboding
eye had indeed read the shrouded annals of the future, and beheld
there, not the sufferings of individuals alone, but of the decline and
dishonor of that fair and lovely land, which she had so labored to
exalt. Ere another year from that day had passed, the Inquisition was
publicly established throughout the kingdom; and Torquemada, as first
Grand Inquisitor, reaped the reward of his persevering counsel, and
sealed, with blood, the destiny of Spain.

To her confessor, Isabella revealed the story of Marie, and her own
intentions. Torquemada heard the tale with a stern severity, little
encouraging to the Queen's ideas of mercy; he insisted that her
conversion _must_ be effected; if by kindness and forbearance, well
and good; but if she were obstinate, harshness must be resorted
to; and only on that condition would he grant Isabella the desired
blessing on her task. He did not fail to bring forward the fact of
a zealous Catholic, such as Don Ferdinand Morales, wedding and
cherishing one of the accursed race, and conniving at her secret
adherence to her religion, as a further and very strong incentive for
the public establishment of the Inquisition, whose zealous care would
effectually guard the sons of Spain from such unholy alliances in
future. He urged the supposition of Marie's having become the mother
of children by Ferdinand; was it not most probable, nay, certain, that
she would infuse her own unbelief in them; and then how mixed and
defiled a race would take the place of the present pure Castilians.
Isabella could reply nothing satisfactory to this eloquent reasoning.
The prejudices of education are strong in every really earnest heart;
and though her true woman's nature revolted at every thought of
severity, and towards one so suffering as Marie, she acknowledged its
necessity, in case of kindness failing. Under the seal of confession,
she imparted her full plan to Torquemada, entering more into minute
particulars than she had done even to her husband, or in words to
herself. It was so fraught with mercy and gentleness that Torquemada
gave his consent, believing it utterly impossible, if Marie really
loved, as Isabella fancied, that she could resist.

On the departure of her confessor, the Queen communed, as was her
frequent custom, long and severely with her own heart. What was the
cause of her extreme dislike to using harshness? With any other member
of that detested race, she felt Torquemada's counsel would have been
all-powerful; she would have left it all to him. It was then mere
personal regard, fear of the suffering which, did she cause Marie
increase of pain, she should inflict upon herself, and this must not
be. She was failing in the duty she owed her religion, if she could
not summon resolution to sacrifice even affection at its shrine. And
so she nerved herself, to adopt Torquemada's stern alternative, if
indeed it were required. How strange is self-delusion! how difficult,
even to the noblest, most unselfish natures, to read another spirit by
their own! Isabella felt it might be a duty to sacrifice affection for
religion, and nerved herself to its performance at any cost. And
yet that Marie should do so, she could not believe; and if she did,
harshness and suffering were to be her sole reward! Oh, that in
religion, as in every thing else, man would judge his brother man by
his own heart; and as dear, as precious, as his peculiar creed may be
to him, believe so it is with the faith of his brother! How much of
misery, how much of contention, of cruelty and oppression, would pass
away from this lovely earth, and give place for Heaven's own unity and
peace, and harmony and love.


"Oh, bear me up
Against the unutterable tenderness
Of earthly love, my God! In the sick hour
Of dying human hope, forsake me not!"


For some months all was gayety and rejoicing in Segovia, not a little
heightened by the exciting preparations for the much desired war. The
time had now come when Ferdinand could, with safety to the internal
state of his kingdom, commence the struggle for which he had so
impatiently waited, since the very first hour of the union of Arragon
and Castile. Troops were marshalling secretly all over Spain; the
armorers and smiths were in constant requisition. The nobles were
constantly flitting from their hereditary domains to the court, eager
and active to combine all the pomp and valor of a splendid chivalry
with the more regular force; standing armies, which in almost every
European land were now beginning to take the place of the feudal
soldiery, so long their sole resource. It was necessary for Ferdinand,
ere he commenced operations, to visit his own dominions; a measure he
did not regret, as it effectually concealed his ulterior plans from
the Moors, who were also at that time too much disturbed by internal
dissensions, to give more than a cursory glance on the movements and
appearances of their Christian foes.

In the festivals of the palace the young Englishman was naturally the
hero of the day; the best feelings of the Spanish character had
been called into play towards him: he had been unjustly accused and
seriously injured; been subject to dishonor and shame; and many might
say it had all sprung from prejudice against him as a foreigner. The
very failing of the Spaniards in this case also operated in his favor;
their national jealousy called upon them to make publicly manifest the
falsity of such a supposition, and he was courted and feted by all,
brought forward on every occasion, and raised and promoted both to
civil and military distinction, by those very men who, before the late
events, would have been the first to keep him back, yielding him but
the bare and formal courtesy, which, however prejudiced, no true-born
Spaniard could refuse.

Amongst Isabella's female train, Arthur Stanley was ever gladly
welcomed, and his presence might have proved dangerous to more than
one of Isabella's younger attendants, had not his manner been such as
to preclude even the boldest and most presuming from any thought of
love. One alone he certainly singled out to talk with, and treat with
more attention than any other; and that one was the maiden we have
more than once had occasion to mention, Catherine Pas. Rallied as she
was by her companions, the young girl herself imagined there could be
no danger to her peace in associating thus with the handsome young
Englishman; for _she_ knew, though her companions did not, the real
reason of his preference for her society. Isabella had once slightly
hinted from which of her attendants Stanley might hear of Marie, and
giving them permission to answer his queries. It was a dangerous
ordeal for Catherine, but she laughed at the idea of permitting her
heart to pass into the possession of one who cared nothing for her,
save as she could speak of Marie.

Great was the surprise and many the conjectures of the Queen's
female court, when rather more than six months after her strange
disappearance, the widow of Morales re-appeared amongst them; not
publicly indeed, for at the various fetes and amusements of the
palace, and elsewhere, Marie was never seen. Her existence, however,
and safety, under Isabella's especial protection, were no longer kept
secret; and her recent loss was in itself quite sufficient reason for
her strict retirement. Her identity with brother Ernest, the supposed
novice, never transpired; he was supposed to have returned with Perez
to his guardian, Father Ambrose, who, though seen and questioned by
Don Alonzo at the village, did not accompany his dying penitent to
Segovia, nor, in fact, was ever seen in that city again.

The tender care and good nursing which had been lavished on Marie, had
restored her sufficiently to health as to permit returning elasticity
of mind. All morbid agony had passed, all too passionate emotions were
gradually relaxing their fire-bands round her heart; and strength, the
martyr strength, for which she unceasingly prayed, to give up all if
called upon for her God, seemed dawning for her. That she was still
under some restraint, a sort of prisoner in the palace, Marie herself
was not aware; she had neither wish nor energy to leave the castle,
and therefore knew not that her egress, save under watchful
guardianship, would have been denied. She had no spirits to mingle
with the light-hearted, happy girls, in her Sovereign's train, and
therefore was unconscious that, with the sole exception of Catherine
whose passionate entreaties had obtained her this privilege, all
intimacy with them would have been effectually prevented. It was
enough, more than enough (for the foreboding dread was ever present,
that such a blissful calm, such mental and bodily repose, were far,
far too sweet for any long continuance) to be employed in little
services for and about the person of the Queen, and to know that
Arthur Stanley was restored to even more than former favor, and fast
rising to eminence and honor.

Before the sovereigns quitted Segovia, Stanley left the court to march
southward with Pedro Pas, to occupy a strong fortification on the
barrier line, dividing the Spanish from the Moorish territories, and
commanding a very important post, which Ferdinand was anxious to
secure, and where he intended to commence his warlike operations,
as speedily as he could settle affairs at Saragossa. Twice before
Stanley's departure did Isabella contrive an apparently accidental
meeting between him and Marie, permitting them, though in her
presence, ample opportunity for mutual explanation; but not with much
evident success. Stanley, indeed, was painfully and visibly agitated,
finding it difficult, almost impossible to speak the feelings which
had so long filled heart and mind, and been in fancy so often thrown
into eloquent words, that he could not understand why in her presence
words were frozen up, and he could only _feel_. Marie's cheek and lip
had indeed blanched as she beheld him, but the deep and quiet calm she
had so earnestly sought, even then did not forsake her; once only her
voice faltered, when she conjured him to allude no longer to the past,
that the exertions she had made for him demanded no such gratitude
as he expressed. He would have answered with his usual passionate
impetuosity, but there was something in her manner which restrained
him; it was no longer the timid, yielding girl, who, even while she
told him of the barrier between them, had yet betrayed the deep love
she felt: it was the woman whose martyr spirit was her strength. And
yet, spite of himself, he hoped. Isabella, in parting with him, had
spoken such words as sent a thrill of delight over his whole being,
and he quitted Segovia buoyant and glad-hearted, to wait weeks,
months, he thought even years: so certain did he feel of success at

Isabella accompanied Ferdinand to Arragon, and determined on remaining
at Saragossa during the commencement of his Moorish campaign; but
she did not part from him without demanding and receiving his solemn
promise to send for her as soon as the residence of females in the
camp was practicable. She well knew the inspiring power of her
presence in similar scenes, and the joy and increased ardor which the
vicinity of near and dear relations, composing her court, would excite
in the warrior camp of Ferdinand. The promise was given, and the
annals of the Moorish war tell us how faithfully it was kept, and how
admirably Isabella performed the part she had assigned herself.

Months glided slowly and peacefully on; as each passed, the trembling
heart of Marie foreboded change and sorrow; but it was not till she
had been eight months a widow that aught transpired which could
account for such strange fears. Then, indeed, the trial came: she
thought she was prepared, but the aching heart and failing strength
with which she listened to the Queen's commands, betrayed how little
our best endeavors can pave the way for sorrow. Isabella spoke gently
and kindly indeed, but so decisively, there was no mistaking the
meaning of her words: she had waited, she said, till time had restored
not only health and strength, but some degree of tranquillity to the
heart, and elasticity to the mind. That, as a Jewess, Marie must have
long known, the Queen could not continue favor; that she was, in fact,
acting without a precedent in thus permitting the attendance of an
unbeliever on her person, or appearance in her court; but that she had
so acted, believing that when perfectly restored to sense and energy,
Marie would herself feel the necessity, and gladly embrace the only
return she required--a calm deliberation of the Catholic faith, and,
as a necessary consequence, its acceptance. She therefore desired that
Marie would devote herself to the instructions of a venerable monk
(Father Denis by name), whom she had selected for the task. That
from that day Marie would not be called upon for either service or
attendance on the Queen, but to devote her whole mind and energies to
the task proposed; and that when Father Denis brought her information
that Marie accepted the cross, that very hour she should resume
her place in Isabella's court, and be the dearest, most cherished
there!--be publicly acknowledged as the inheritrix of her husband's
vast possessions, and a future of love and joy would shine before her,
so bright as to banish even the memories of the stormy past.

Marie would have replied, but Isabella, with gentle firmness, refused
to hear her. "I demand nothing now," she said, "but obedience. A
willing heart, and open mind, are all you need bring with you to your
task: the father's holy lessons, blessed with God's grace, will do
the rest. I cannot believe that all the kindness and affection I have
shown have been so utterly without effect, that thou too wilt evince
the ungrateful obstinacy, so unhappily the characteristic of thy
blinded people. If banishment from our presence be a source of sorrow,
which I do believe it is, the term of that banishment rests entirely
with thyself. The sooner we can hail the child of the Virgin, even as
thou art now of our affections, the greater share of happiness wilt
thou bestow upon us and upon thyself. We have heard that nought but
harshness and severity can have effect on thy hardened race. It may
be, but with thee, at least, we will not use it, unless--" and her
voice and her look grew sufficiently stern for Marie to feel her words
were no idle threat--"unless obduracy and ingratitude so conquer
affection that we can see no more in the Marie Morales we have loved
than a hardened member of her own stiff-necked race; then--, but we
will not pain ourself or thee, by imagining what thine own will may
avert. Go, and the holy Virgin bless thee. Not a word; I know what
will be thine answer now; but a month hence thou wilt thank me for
this seeming severity."

And Isabella turned somewhat hastily away; for her lip quivered and
her eye swelled. Marie did not see these indications of emotion, and
silently withdrew.


"I have lost for that Faith more than thou canst bestow,
As the God who permits thee to prosper doth know.
In His hand is my heart, and my hope; and in thine
The land, and the life, which for Him I resign."


Marie Morales had had many trials. Her life had been one of those
painful mysteries, as to why such a being should have been thus
exposed to scorn, which while on earth we vainly try to solve. Yet it
is no imaginary picture: hundreds, aye thousands, of Israel's devoted
race have thus endured; in every age, in every clime, have been
exposed to martyrdom--not of the frame alone, but of the heart; doomed
but to suffer, and to die. And how may we reconcile these things with
the government of a loving father, save by the firm belief, which,
blessed--thrice blessed--are those who feel; that, for such sufferers
on earth, a future of blessedness is laid up in another and lovelier
world--where there is no more sorrow, no more tears!

Her former trials had been sharp agony and strong excitement. Her
present had neither the one nor the other; yet it was fraught with as
heavy suffering, as any that had gone before it; even though she knew
not, guessed not, _all_ that depended upon her conversion. It would
have been comparatively easy to have endured, for her faith's sake,
harshness and contempt; in such a case, self-respect rises to sustain
us, and we value our own tenets the more, from their startling
contrast with those which could command the cruelty we endure; but
Father Denis used harshness neither of manner nor of words. Firmly
impressed in his own mind, that it was utterly vain for a soul to hope
for salvation unless it believed in Jesus, the Virgin, the saints and
holy martyrs; he brought heart and soul to his task; and the more he
saw of Marie, the more painfully did he deplore her blind infatuation,
and the more ardently desire, to save her from the eternal
perdition which, as a Jewess, must await her. He poured forth such
soul-breathing petitions, for saving grace to be vouchsafed to her, in
her hearing, that Marie felt as if she would have given worlds, only
to realize the belief for which he prayed; but the more her heart was
wrung, the more vividly it seemed that her own faith, the religion of
her fathers through a thousand ages, impressed itself upon her mind
and heart, rendering it more and more impossible for her to forswear
it, even at the very moment that weak humanity longed to do it, and so
purchase peace. Naturally so meek and yielding, so peculiarly alive
to the voice of sympathy and kindness, it was inexpressibly and
harrowingly distressing to be thus compelled to resist both; to think
also of all Isabella's gentle, cherishing, and manifested affection;
and to know that the only return she demanded, she dared not, might
not give. To some dispositions these considerations would have been of
no weight whatever; to Marie they were so exquisitely painful, that
she could scarcely understand how it was that, feeling them thus
acutely, she could yet so clearly, so calmly, reply to Father Denis,
bring argument for argument, and never waver in her steadfast
adherence to, and belief in her own creed. The very lessons of her
youth, which she had thought forgotten in the varied trials which
had been her portion since, returned with full--she fancied
superhuman--force and clearness to her mind, rendering even the very
wish to embrace the Catholic religion, futile. There was a voice
within her that _would_ be heard, aye above every human feeling, every
strong temptation. She could not drown its clear ringing tones; even
where her mental sufferings seemed to cloud and harrow up the brain,
to the exclusion of every distinct idea, that voice would breathe its
thrilling whisper, telling her it was vain to hope it, she could not
be in heart a Catholic; and so she dared not be in words.

A romance is no place for polemical discussion, and we will therefore
leave those painful arguments unrecorded. Suffice it, that Marie's
intimate acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures in their original
tongue--the language of her own people--gave her so decided an
advantage over the old monk, that, after nearly three months' trial,
he sought his Sovereign, and, with the most touching humility,
acknowledged his utter incapacity, for the conversion of Donna Marie,
and implored her to dismiss him, and select one more fitted for the

Astonished, and bitterly disappointed, Isabella cross-questioned him
as to the cause of this sudden feeling of incapacity, and his answers
but increased her desire to compel Marie to abandon Judaism, and
become--in semblance at least, a Catholic; believing fully that, this
accomplished, the Holy Spirit would do the rest, and she would at
least have saved her soul. She retained the father in the palace;
desiring him to inform his charge that one fortnight's grace would be
allowed her, to ponder on all the solemn truths he had advanced, and
on her own decision whether she would not rather yield to kindness,
than tempt the severity her obstinacy demanded; but, save this
enjoyment, he was to commune with her no further. With a trembling
spirit the Queen again sought the counsel of her confessor, and
reported the information of the holy father. Torquemada listened, with
a curling lip and contracted brow. He was not surprised, he said,
for it was exactly what he had expected. It was a part of their
blaspheming creed, to blind by sorcery, the eyes and minds of all
those who had ever attempted to win them over by kind and reasonable
argument. Father Denis had been bewitched, as all were, who ever
attempted to convert, by other than the harshest means. Her grace must
see the necessity of severity, and surely could not refuse the using
it any longer. But Isabella did refuse, till her last resource had
been tried; and all she asked was, if she might hold forth a powerful
temporal temptation to obtain the end she so earnestly desired?
Torquemada hesitated; but at length, on being told the severe
alternative which Isabella would enforce, if her first proposal were
rejected, reluctantly acceded; still persisting that nothing but the
rack and the flame, or fatal expulsion, would ever purge Spain from
the horrible infection of so poisonous a race. Isabella heard him with
a shudder; but, thankful even for this ungracious sanction, waited,
with, trembling impatience, the termination of the given fourteen
days; hoping, aye praying in her meek, fervid piety, that the mistaken
one might be softened to accept the proffered grace, or her own heart
strengthened to sacrifice all of personal feeling for the purifying by
fire and consequent salvation, of that immortal soul now so fearfully
led astray.

It was with little hope that the father again sought Marie. Bewitched
he might be, but he was so impressed with the fervid earnestness
of her gentle spirit; with the lofty enthusiasm that dictated her
decision; so touched with the uncomplaining, but visible suffering,
which it cost her to argue with, and reject the voice of
kindness--that it required a strong mental effort in the old man, to
refrain from conjuring his Sovereign, to permit that misguided one
to remain unmolested, and wait, till time, and prayer, from those so
interested in her, should produce the desired effect. But this feeling
was so contrary to the spirit of the age, that it scarcely needed
Torquemada's representations to convince him, that he was experiencing
the effect of the invisible sorcery with which the race of Israel
always blinded the eyes of their opponents. The kind old man was awed
and silenced by his stern superior. Liberty of conscience was then a
thing unheard of; and therefore it was, that so much of the divine
part of our mingled nature was so completely concealed, that it lost
alike effect or influence. It was not even the subjection of the weak
to the strong; but the mere superiority of clerical rank. The truest
and the noblest, the most enlarged mind, the firmest spirit would
bend unresistingly to the simple word of a priest; and the purest
and kindest impulses of our holier nature be annihilated, before the
dictates of those, who were supposed to hold so infallibly, in their
sole keeping, the oracles of God. The spiritual in man was kept in
rigid bondage; the divinity worshipped by the Catholics of that age,
represented to the mass like the Egyptian idol, with a key upon his
lips--his attributes, as his law, hid from them, or imparted by chosen
priests, who explained them only as suited their individual purposes.
Is it marvel, then, that we should read of such awful acts committed
in Religion's name by man upon his brother? or that we should see the
purest and loveliest characters led away by priestly influence to
commit deeds, from which now, the whole mind so recoils, that we turn
away disappointed and perplexed at the inconsistency, and refuse the
meed of love and admiration to those other qualities, which would
otherwise shine forth so unsullied? The inconsistency, the seeming
cruelty and intolerance, staining many a noble one in the middle ages,
were the effects of the fearful spirit of the time; but their virtues
were their own. Truth if sought, must triumph over prejudice. By
inspection and earnest study of facts--of _causes_, as well as of
_events_, the mind disperses the mists of educational error, and
enables us to do justice, even to the injurer; and enlarges and
ennobles our feelings towards one another; till we can attain that
perfection of true, spiritual charity, which would look on all men as
children of one common parent. Liable, indeed, to be led astray by
evil inclination, and yet more by evil circumstances; but still our
brethren, in the divine part of our nature; which, however crushed,
hidden, lost to earth, is still existing--still undying. For such is
the immortal likeness of our universal Father; in which He made man,
and by which He marked mankind as brethren!

Marie's answer was as Father Denis feared. She had pondered on all
he had said, and the dread alternative awaiting her; but the
impossibility of embracing Catholicism was stronger than ever. The
unfeigned distress of the old monk pained and alarmed her, for it
seemed to her as if he were conscious that some dreadful doom was
hanging over her, which he shrunk from revealing. She had not long to
remain in that torturing suspense: a few hours later in the same day,
she was summoned to Isabella's presence. The sensation of terror was
so intense as to render obedience, for the minute, utterly impossible.
Every limb shook, and again came the wild longing for power to believe
as they desired; for a momentary cessation of the voice of conscience,
to embrace the proffered cross, and be at rest. But it _would not_
cease; and, scarcely able to support herself, she stood before the
dread Princess in whose hand was her earthly fate.


"She clasped her hands"!--the strife
Of love--faith--fear, and the vain dream of life,
Within her woman-heart so deeply wrought--
It seemed as if a reed, so slight and weak,
_Must_, in the rending storm, not quiver only--break!


Isabella's expressive countenance was grave and calm; but it was
impossible to doubt the firmness of her purpose, though what that
purpose might be, Marie had no power to read. She stood leaning
against the back of one of the ponderous chairs; her head bent down,
and her heart so loudly and thickly throbbing that it choked her very

"We have summoned thee hither, Marie," the Queen said at length,
gravely, but not severely, "to hear from thine own lips the decision
which Father Denis has reported to us; but which, indeed, we can
scarcely credit. Wert thou other than thou art--one whose heavy trials
and lovable qualities have bound thee to us with more than common
love--we should have delivered thee over at once to the judgment of
our holy fathers, and interfered with their sentence no farther. We
are exposing ourselves to priestly censure even for the forbearance
already shown; but we will dare even that, to win thee from thine
accursed creed, and give thee peace and comfort. Marie canst _thou_
share the ingratitude--the obstinacy--of thy benighted race, that even
with thee we must deal harshly? Compel me not to a measure from which
my whole heart revolts. Do not let me feel that the charge against thy
people is true, without even one exception, and that kindness shown to
them, is unvalued as unfelt."

A convulsive sob was the sole reply. Marie's face was buried in her
hands; but the tears were streaming through her slender fingers, and
her slight figure shook with the paroxysm.

"Nay, Marie, we ask not tears. We demand the proof of grateful
affection on thy part; not its weak display. And what is that proof?
The acceptance of a faith without which there can be no security
in this life, nor felicity hereafter! The rejection of a fearfully
mistaken--terribly accursed--creed; condemning its followers to the
scorn and hate of man, and abiding wrath of God."

"'To the scorn and hate of man?' Alas, gracious Sovereign, it is
even so; but not to the 'abiding wrath of God,'" answered Marie,
suppressing with a desperate effort, her painful emotion. "The very
scorn and loathing we encounter confirms the blessed truth, of our
having been the chosen children of our God, and the glorious promise
of our future restoration. We are enduring now on earth the effects of
the fearful sins of our ancestors; but for those who live and die true
to His law, there is a future after death laid up with Him; that, how
may we forfeit for transitory joy?"

"If it were indeed so, we would be the last to demand such forfeit,"
answered the Queen; "but were it not for the blinding veil of wilful
rejection cast over the eyes and hearts of thy people, thou wouldst
know and feel, that however thy race were _once_ the chosen of God,
the distinction has been lost for ever, by their blaspheming rejection
of Jesus and his virgin mother; and the misery--its consequence--on
earth, is but a faint type of that misery which is for everlasting. It
is from this we would save thee. Father Denis has brought before thee
the solemn truths which our sainted creed advances, in reply to the
mystifying fallacies of thine; and, he tells me, wholly without
effect. My arguments, then, can be of such little weight, that I have
pledged myself to my confessor to attempt none. We summoned thee
merely to tell our decision in this matter; of too vital importance
to be left to other lips. Once more let me ask--and understand thee
rightly!--have all the Holy Father's lessons failed to convince, even
as all our affection has failed to move, thee?"

"Would--would to Heaven I could believe as thou demandest!" answered
Marie. "Would that those lessons had brought conviction! The bitter
agony of your Grace's displeasure--of feeling that, while my heart so
throbs and swells with grateful devotion that I would gladly die to
serve thee, yet the proof thou demandest I _cannot_ give; and I must
go down to an early grave, leaving with thee the sole impression that
thou hadst cherished a miserable ingrate, whom, even as thou hast
loved, so thou must now hate and scorn. Oh, madam! try me by other
proof! My creed may be the mistaken one it seems to thee; but, oh!
it is no garment we may wear and cast off at pleasure. Have mercy,
gracious Sovereign! condemn me not as reprobate--hardened--more
insensible than the veriest cur, who is grateful for the kindness of
his master!--because I love my faith better even than thy love--the
dearest earthly joy now left me."

"Methinks scarcely the dearest," replied Isabella, affected, in spite
of her every effort for control; "but of that here after. Marie, I
have pledged myself to my confessor, not to let this matter rest. He
has told me that my very affection for thee is a snare, and must
be sacrificed if it interfere with my duty; not alone as member of
Christ's church, but as Sovereign of a Catholic realm, whose bounden
duty it is to purge away all heresy and misbelief. I feel that he is
right, and, cost what it may, Christ's dictates must be obeyed. The
years of fraud--of passing for what thou wert not--I forgive, for thy
noble husband's sake; but my confessor has told me, and I feel its
truth, that if we allow thy return to thy people as thou art now, we
permit a continuance of such unnatural unions, encourage fraud,
and expose our subjects to the poisonous taint of Jewish blood and
unbelief. A Christian thou must become. The plan we have decided upon
must bring conviction at last; but it will be attended with such
long years of mental and physical suffering, that we shrink from the
alternative, and only thine own obstinacy will force us to adopt it."

She paused for above a minute; but though Marie's very lips had
blanched, and her large eyes were fixed in terror on the Queen's face,
there was no answer.

"Thou hast more than once alluded to death," Isabella continued,
her voice growing sterner; "but, though such may be the punishment
demanded, we cannot so completely banish regard as to expose thy soul,
as well as body, to undying flames. Thou hast heard, perchance, of
holy sisterhoods, who, sacrificing all of earthly joys and earthly
ties, devote themselves as the willing brides of Christ, and pass
their whole lives in acts of personal penance, mortification,
self-denial, and austerity; which to all, save those impelled try this
same lofty enthusiasm, would be unendurable. The convent of St. Ursula
is the most strictly rigid and unpitying of this sternly rigid school;
and there, if still thou wilt not retract, thou wilt be for life
immured, to learn that reverence, that submission, that belief,
which thou refusest now. Ponder well on all the suffering which this
sentence must comprise. It is even to us--a Christian--so dreadful,
that we would not impose it, could we save thy deluded spirit by any
other means. The Abbess, from the strict and terrible discipline of
long years, has conquered every womanly weakness; and to a Jewess
placed under her charge, to be brought a penitent to the bosom of
the Virgin, is not likely to decrease the severity of treatment and
discipline, the portion even of her own. Once delivered to her charge,
we interfere no further. Whatever she may command--short of actual
torture, or death--thou must endure. Marie! wilt thou tempt a doom
like this? In mercy to thyself, retract ere it be too late!"

"If I can bear the loss of thy favor, my Sovereign, I can bear this,"
replied Marie, slowly and painfully. "There is more suffering in the
thought, that your Grace's love is lost for ever; that I shall never
see your Highness more; and thou must ever think of me as only a
wretched, feelingless ingrate, than in all the bodily and mental
anguish such a life may bring."

"Marie!" exclaimed Isabella, with an irrepressible burst of natural
feeling. And Marie had darted forwards, and was kneeling at her feet,
and covering her hand with tears and kisses, ere she had power to
forcibly subdue the emotion and speak again.

"This must not be," she said at length; but she did not withdraw the
hand which Marie still convulsively clasped, and, half unconsciously
it seemed, she put back the long, black tresses, which had fallen over
her colorless cheek, looked sadly in that bowed face, and kissed
her brow. "It is the last," she murmured to herself. "It may be
the effects of sorcery--it may be sin; but if I do penance for the
weakness, it must have way."

"Thou hast heard the one alternative," she continued aloud; "now hear
the other. We have thought long, and watched well, some means of
effectually obliterating the painful memories of the past, and making
thy life as happy as it has been sad. We have asked and received
permission from our confessor to bring forward a temporal inducement
for a spiritual end; that even the affections themselves may be made
conducive to turning a benighted spirit from the path of death into
that of life; and, therefore, we may proceed more hopefully. Marie! is
there not a love thou valuest even more than mine? Nay, attempt not
to deny a truth, which we have known from the hour we told thee that
Arthur Stanley was thy husband's murderer. What meant those wild words
imploring me to save him? For what was the avowal of thy faith, but
that thy witness should not endanger him? Why didst thou return to
danger when safety was before thee?--peril thine own life but to save
his? Answer me truly: thou lovest Stanley, Marie?"

"I have loved him, gracious Sovereign."

"And thou dost no longer? Marie, methinks there would be less wrong
in loving now, than when we first suspected it," rejoined the Queen,

"Alas! my liege, who may school the heart? He was its first--first
affection! But, oh! my Sovereign, I never wronged my noble husband. He
knew it all ere he was taken from me, and forgave and loved me still;
and, oh! had he been but spared, even memory itself would have lost
its power to sting. His trust, his love, had made me all--all his

"I believe thee, my poor child; but how came it that, loving Stanley,
thy hand was given to Morales?"

For the first time, the dangerous ground on which she stood flashed on
the mind of Marie; and her voice faltered as she answered--"My father
willed it, Madam."

"Thy father! And was he of thy faith, yet gave his child to one of

"He was dying, Madam, and there was none to protect his Marie. He
loved and admired him to whom he gave me; for Ferdinand had never
scorned nor persecuted us. He had done us such good service that my
father sought to repay him; but he would accept nothing but my hand,
and swore to protect my faith--none other would have made such
promise. I was weak, I know, and wrong; but I dared not then confess I
loved another. And, once his wife, it was sin even to think of Arthur.
Oh, Madam! night and day I prayed that we might never meet, till all
of love was conquered."

"Poor child," replied Isabella, kindly. "But, since thou wert once
more free, since Stanley was cleared of even the suspicion of guilt,
has no former feeling for him returned! He loves thee, Marie, with
such faithful love as in man I have seldom seen equalled; why check
affection now?"

"Alas! my liege, what may a Jewess be to him; or his love to me, save
as the most terrible temptation to estrange me from my God?"

"Say rather to gently lure thee to Him, Marie," replied Isabella,
earnestly. "There is a thick veil between thy heart and thy God now;
let the love thou bearest this young Englishman be the blessed means
of removing it, and bringing thee to the sole source of salvation, the
Saviour Stanley worships. One word--one little word--from thee, and
thou shalt be Stanley's wife! His own; dearer than ever from the
trials of the past. Oh! speak it, Marie! Let me feel I have saved thee
from everlasting torment, and made this life--in its deep, calm joy--a
foretaste of the heaven that, as a Christian, will await thee above.
Spare Stanley--aye, and thy Sovereign--the bitter grief of losing thee
for ever!"

"Would--would I could!" burst wildly from the heart-stricken Marie;
and she wrung her hands in that one moment of intense agony, and
looked up in the Queen's face, with an expression of suffering
Isabella could not meet. "Would that obedience, conviction, could come
at will! His wife?--Stanley's. To rest this desolate heart on his? To
weep upon his bosom?--feel his arm around me?--his love protect me? To
be his--all his? And only on condition of speaking one little word?
Oh! why can I not speak it? Why will that dread voice sound within,
telling me I dare not--cannot--for I do not believe? How dare I take
the Christians's vow, embrace the cross, and in my heart remain a
Jewess still?"

"Embrace the cross, and conviction will follow," replied the Queen.
"This question we have asked of Father Tomas, and been assured that
the vows of baptism once taken, grace will be found from on high; and
to the _heart_, as well as _lip_, conversion speedily ensue.
Forswear the blaspheming errors of thy present creed--consent to be
baptized--and that very hour sees thee Stanley's wife!"

"No, no, no!--Oh! say not such words again! My liege, my gracious
liege, tempt not this weak spirit more!" implored Marie, in fearful
agitation. "Oh! if thou hast ever loved me, in mercy spare me this!"

"In mercy is it that we do thus speak, unhappy girl." replied
Isabella, with returning firmness; for she saw the decisive moment had
come. "We have laid both alternatives before thee; it rests with thee
alone to make thine own election. Love on earth and joy in Heaven,
depends upon one word: refuse to speak it, and thou knowest thy doom!"

It was well, perhaps, for Marie's firmness, that the Queen's appealing
tone had given place to returning severity; it recalled the departing
strength--the sinking energy--the power once more to _endure!_ For
several minutes there was no sound: Marie had buried her face in her
hands, and remained--half kneeling, half crouching--on the cushion at
the Queen's feet, motionless as stone; and Isabella--internally as
agitated as herself--was, under the veil of unbending sternness,
struggling for control. The contending emotions sweeping over that
frail woman-heart in that fearful period of indecision we pretend not
to describe: again and again the terrible temptation came, to say but
the desired word, and happiness was hers--such intense happiness, that
her brain reeled beneath its thought of ecstasy; and again and again
it was driven back by that thrilling voice--louder than ever in its
call--to remain faithful to her God. It was a fearful contest; and
when she did look up, Isabella started; so terribly was its index
inscribed on those white and chiselled features.

She rose slowly, and stood before the Sovereign, her hands tightly
clasped together, and the veins on her forehead raised like cords
across it. Three times she tried to speak; but only unintelligible
murmurs came, and her lips shook as with convulsion. "It is over,"
she said at length, and her usually sweet voice sounded harsh and
unnatural. "The weakness is conquered, gracious Sovereign, condemn,
scorn, hate me as thou wilt, thou must: I must endure it till my
heart breaks, and death brings release; but the word thou demandest I
_cannot_ speak! Thy favor, Arthur's love, I resign them all! 'Tis the
bidding of my God, and he will strengthen me to bear it. Imprison,
torture, slay, with the lingering misery of a broken heart, but I
cannot deny my faith!"

Disappointed, grieved, as she was at this unexpected reply, Isabella
was too much an enthusiast in religion herself not to understand the
feeling which dictated it; and much as she still abhorred the faith,
the martyr spirit which could thus immolate the most fervid, the
most passionate emotions of woman's nature at the shrine of her God,
stirred a sympathetic chord in her own heart, and so moved her, that
the stern words she had intended to speak were choked within her.

"We must summon those then to whose charge we are pledged to commit
thee," she said with difficulty; and hastily rung a silver bell beside
her. "We had hoped such would not have been needed; but, as it is--"

She paused abruptly; for the hangings were hastily pushed aside, and,
instead of the stern figure of Torquemada, who was to have obeyed the
signal, the Infanta Isabella eagerly entered; and ran up to the Queen,
with childish and caressing glee at being permitted to rejoin her.
The confessor--not imagining his presence would be needed, or that he
would return to his post in time--had restlessly obeyed the summons of
a brother prelate, and, in some important clerical details, forgot the
mandate of his Sovereign.

Marie saw the softened expression of the Queen's face; the ineffectual
effort to resist her child's caresses, and retain her sternness: and,
with a sudden impulse, she threw herself at her feet.

"Oh! do not turn from me, my Sovereign!" she implored, wildly clasping
Isabella's knees. "I ask nothing--nothing, but to return to my
childhood's home, and die there! I ask not to return to my people; they
would not receive me, for I have dared to love the stranger; but in my
own isolated home, where but two aged retainers of my father dwell, I
can do harm to none--mingle with none; let me bear a breaking heart for
a brief--brief while; and rest beside my parents. I will swear to thee
never to quit that place of banishment--swear never more to mingle with
either thy people or with mine--to be as much lost to man, as if the
grave had already closed over me, or convent walls immured me! Oh,
Madam! grant me but this! Will it not be enough of suffering to give up
Arthur?--to tear myself from thy cherishing love?--to bear my misery
alone? Leave me, oh! leave me but my faith--the sole joy, sole hope, now
left me! Give me not up to the harsh, and cruel father--the stern mother
of St. Ursula! If I can sacrifice love, kindness--all that would make
earth a heaven--will harshness gain thine end? Plead for me," she
continued, addressing the infant-princess, who, as if affected by the
grief she beheld, had left her mother to cling round Marie caressingly;
"plead for me, Infanta! Oh, Madam! the fate of war might place this
beloved and cherished one in the hands of those who regard thy faith
even as thou dost mine; were such an alternative proffered, how wouldst
thou she should decide? My Sovereign, my gracious Sovereign, oh, have

"Mamma! dear Mamma!" repeated the princess at the same moment, and
aware that her intercession was required, though unable to comprehend
the wherefore, she clasped her little hands entreatingly; "grant poor
Marie what she wishes! You have told me a Queen's first duty is to be
kind and good; and do all in her power to make others happy. Make her
happy, dear Mamma, she has been so sad!"

The appeal to Isabella's nature was irresistible; she caught her child
to her heart, and burst into passionate tears.


"I will have vengeance!
I'll crush thy swelling pride! I'll still thy vaunting!
I'll do a deed of blood!
Now all idle forms are over--
Now open villany, now open hate--
Defend thy life!"


"Let me but look upon 'her' face once more--
Let me but say farewell, my soul's beloved,
And I will bless thee still."


Some time had elapsed since King Ferdinand and his splendid army had
quitted Saragossa. He himself had not as yet headed any important
expedition, but fixing his head-quarters at Seville, dispatched thence
various detachments under experienced officers, to make sallies on the
Moors, who had already enraged the Christian camp by the capture of
Zahara. Arthur Stanley was with the Marquis of Cadiz, when this insult
was ably avenged by the taking of Albania, a most important post,
situated within thirty miles of the capital. The Spaniards took
possession of the city, massacred many of the inhabitants, placed
strong restrictions on those who surrendered, and strongly garrisoned
every tower and fort. Nor were they long inactive: the Moors resolved
to retake what they considered the very threshold of their capital;
hastily assembled their forces, and regularly entered upon the siege.

While at Seville, the camp of Ferdinand had been joined by several
foreign chevaliers, amongst whom was an Italian knight, who had
excited the attention and curiosity of many of the younger Spaniards
from the mystery environing him. He was never seen without his armor.
His helmet always closed, keeping surlily aloof, he never mingled in
the brilliant jousts and tournaments of the camp, except when Arthur
Stanley chanced to be one of the combatants: he was then sure to be
found in the lists, and always selected the young Englishman as his
opponent. At first this strange pertinacity was regarded more as a
curious coincidence than actual design; but it occurred so often, that
at length it excited remark. Arthur himself laughed it off, suggesting
that the Italian had perhaps some grudge against England, and wished
to prove the mettle of her sons. The Italian deigned no explanation,
merely saying that he supposed the Spanish jousts were governed by the
same laws as others, and he was therefore at liberty to choose his own
opponent. But Arthur was convinced that some cause existed for this
mysterious hostility. Not wishing to create public confusion, he
contended himself by keeping a watch upon his movements. He found,
however, that he did not watch more carefully than he was watched,
and incensed at length, he resolved on calling his enemy publicly to
account for his dishonorable conduct. This, however, he found much
easier in theory than practice. The wily Italian, as if aware of his
intentions, skilfully eluded them; and as weeks passed without any
recurrence of their secret attacks. Stanley, guided by his own frank
and honorable feelings, believed his suspicions groundless, and
dismissed them altogether. On the tumultuary entrance of the
Spaniards, however, these suspicions were re-excited. Separated by the
press of contending warriors from the main body of his men, Stanley
plunged headlong into the thickest battalion of Moors, intending to
cut his way through them to the Marquis of Cadiz, who was at that
moment entering the town. His unerring arm and lightness of movement
bore him successfully onward. A very brief space divided him from his
friends: the spirited charger on which he rode, cheered by his hand
and voice, with one successful bound cleared the remaining impediments
in his way, but at that moment, with a piercing cry of suffering,
sprung high in the air and fell dead, nearly crushing his astonished
master with his weight. Happily for Stanley, the despairing anguish of
the Moors at that moment at its height, from the triumphant entry of
the Spaniards into their beloved Albania, aggravated by the shrieks
of the victims in the unsparing slaughter, effectually turned the
attention of those around him from his fall. He sprung up, utterly
unable to account for the death of his steed: the dastard blow had
been dealt from behind, and no Moor had been near but those in front.
He looked hastily round him: a tall figure was retreating through the
thickening _melee_, whose dull, red armor, and deep, black plume,
discovered on the instant his identity. Arthur's blood tingled with
just indignation, and it was with difficulty that he restrained
himself from following, and demanding on the instant, and at the
sword's point, the meaning of the deed.

The sudden start, and muttered execration of the Italian, as Stanley
joined the victorious group around the Marquis, convinced him that his
reappearance, and unhurt, was quite contrary to his mysterious enemy's
intention. The exciting events of the siege which followed, the
alternate hope and fear of the Spaniards, reduced to great distress
by the Moors having succeeded in turning the course of a river which
supplied the city with water, and finally, the timely arrival of
succors under the Duke of Medina Sidonia, which compelled the Moors to
raise the siege and disperse--the rejoicing attendant on so great and
almost unexpected a triumph, all combined to prevent any attention to
individual concerns. The Italian had not crossed Arthur's path again,
except in the general attack or defence; and Stanley found the
best means of conquering his own irritation towards such secret
machinations, was to treat them with indifference and contempt.

The halls of Alhama were of course kept strongly manned; and a guard,
under an experienced officer, constantly occupied the summit of a
lofty tower, situated on a precipitous height which commanded a
view of the open country for miles, and overlooked the most distant
approach of the Moors. As was usual to Moorish architecture, the tower
had been erected on a rock, which on one side shelved down so straight
and smooth, as to appear a continuance of the tower-wall, but forming
from the battlements a precipice some thousand feet in depth. The
strongest nerve turned sick and giddy to look beneath, and the side of
the tower overlooking it was almost always kept unguarded.

It was near midnight when Stanley, who was that night on command,
after completing his rounds, and perceiving every sentinel on duty,
found himself unconsciously on the part of the tower we have named.
So pre-occupied was his mind, that he looked beneath him without
shrinking; and then retracing his steps some twenty or thirty yards
from the immediate and unprotected edge, wrapped his mantle closely
round him, and lying down, rested his head on his arm, and permitted
the full dominion of thought. He was in that dreamy mood, when the
silence and holiness of nature is so much more soothing than even the
dearest sympathy of man; when every passing cloud and distant star,
and moaning wind, speaks with a hundred tongues, and the immaterial
spirit holds unconscious commune with beings invisible, and immaterial
as itself. Above his head, heavy clouds floated over the dark azure of
the heavens, sometimes totally obscuring the mild light of the full
moon; at others merely shrouding her beams in a transparent veil,
from which she would burst resplendently, sailing majestically along,
seeming the more light and lovely from the previous shade. One
brilliant planet followed closely on her track, and as the dark masses
of clouds would rend asunder, portions of the heavens, studded with
glittering stars, were visible, seeming like the gemmed dome of some
mighty temple, whose walls and pillars, shrouded in black drapery,
were lost in the distance on either side. Gradually, Stanley's
thoughts became indistinct; the stars seemed to lose their radiance,
as covered by a light mist; a dark cloud appearing, in his half
dormant fancy, to take the gigantic proportions of a man, hovered on
the battlement. It became smaller and smaller, but still it seemed
a cloud, through which the moonlight gleamed; but a thrill passed
through him, as if telling of some impalpable and indefinable object
of dread. With a sudden effort he shook off the lethargy of half
sleep, and sprung to his feet, at the very moment a gleaming sword was
pointed at his throat. "Ha, villain! at thy murderous work again!" he
exclaimed, and another moment beheld him closed in deadly conflict
with his mysterious foe. A deep and terrible oath, and then a mocking
laugh, escaped his adversary; and something in those sounds, nerved
Stanley's arms with resistless power: he was sure he could not be
mistaken, and he fought, not with the unguarded desire of one eager
to obtain satisfaction for personal injury--but he was calm, cool,
collected, as threefold an avenger. For once, the demon-like caution
of the supposed Italian deserted him: discovery was inevitable, and
his sole aim was to compass the death of the hated foreigner with his
own. He tried gradually to retreat to the very edge of the precipice,
and Stanley's calm and cautious avoidance of the design lashed him
into yet fiercer desperation. Thick and fast, fell those tremendous
blows. The Italian had the advantage in height and size, Stanley in
steady coolness and prudent guard; the Italian sought only to slay his
adversary, caring not to defend himself; Arthur evidently endeavored
merely to unhelm the traitor, and bring him but slightly wounded to
the ground. For several minutes there was no cessation in that fearful
clash of steel; the strokes were so rapid, so continued, a hundred
combatants might have seemed engaged. A moment they drew back, as if
to breathe; the Italian, with a despairing effort, raised his weapon
and sprung forwards; Arthur lightly leaped aside, and the murderous
stroke clove but the yielding earth. Another second, and ere the
Italian had regained his equilibrium, Arthur's sword had descended
with so true and sure a stroke that the clasp of the helmet gave way,
the dark blood bubbled up from the cloven brow, he reeled and fell;
and a long, loud shout from the officers and soldiers, who, at the
sound of arms, had flocked round, proclaimed some stronger feeling
than simply admiration of Stanley's well-known prowess.

"Seize him! seize him! or by Heaven he will escape us yet!" were among
the few words intelligible. "The daring villain, to come amongst us!
Did he think for ever to elude Heaven's vengeance? Bind, fetter, hold
him; or his assistant fiends will release him still!"

Fiercely the fallen man had striven to extricate himself; but
Stanley's knee moved not from his breast, nor his sword from his
throat, until a strong guard had raised and surrounded him: "but the
horrible passions imprinted on those lived features were such, that
his very captors turned away shuddering.

"Hadst thou not had enough of blood and crime, thou human monster,
that thou wouldst stain thy already blackened soul with, another
midnight murder?" demanded Stanley, as he sternly confronted his
baffled foe. "Don Luis Garcia, as men have termed thee, what claim
have I on thy pursuing and unchanging hate? With what dost thou charge
me? What wrong?"

"Wrong!" hoarsely and fiercely repeated Don Louis. "The wrong of
baffled hate; of success, when I planned thy downfall; of escape,
when I had sworn thy death! Did the drivelling idiots, who haunted,
persecuted, excommunicated me from these realms, as some loathed
reptile, dream that I would draw back from my sworn vengeance for such
as they? Poor, miserable fools, whom the first scent of danger would
turn aside from the pursuit of hate! I staked my life on thine, and
the stake is lost; but what care I? My hate shall follow thee; wither
thy bones with its curse; poison every joy; blight every hope; rankle
in thy life blood! Bid thee seek health, and bite the dust for anguish
because it flies thee! And for me. Ha, ha! Men may think to judge
me--torture, triumph, slay! Well, let them." And with a movement so
sudden and so desperate, that to avert it was impossible, he burst
from the grasp of his guards; and with one spring, stood firm and
triumphant on the farthest edge of the battlement. "Now follow me who
dares!" he exclaimed; and, with a fearful mocking laugh; flung himself
headlong down, ere the soldiers had recovered his first sudden
movement. Stanley alone retained presence of mind sufficient to dart
forward, regardless of his own imminent danger, in the vain hope of
arresting the leap; but quick as were his movements, he only reached
the brink in time to see the wretched man, one moment quivering in
air, and lost the next in a dark abyss of shade.

A cry of mingled disappointment, horror, and execration, burst from
all around; and several of the soldiers hastened from the battlements
to the base of the rock, determined on fighting the arch-fiend
himself, if, as many of them firmly believed, he had rendered Don Luis
invulnerable to air, and would wait there to receive him. But even
this heroic resolution was disappointed: the height was so tremendous,
and the velocity of the fall so frightful, that the action of the air
had not only deprived him of life, but actually loosed the limbs from
the trunk, and a fearfully mangled corpse was all that remained to
glut the vengeance of the infuriated soldiers.

The confusion and excitement attending this important event, spread
like wildfire; not only over Albania, but reaching to the Duke's camp
without the city. To send off the momentous information to the
King, was instantly decided upon; and young Stanley, as the person
principally concerned, selected for the mission.

Ferdinand was astonished and indignant, and greatly disappointed
that justice had been so eluded; but that such a monster, whose
machinations seemed, in their subtlety and secrecy, to prevent all
defeat, no longer cumbered Spain, was in itself a relief so great both
to monarch and people, as after the first burst of indignation to
cause universal rejoicings.

It so happened that Ferdinand had been desirous of Stanley's presence
for some weeks; letters from Isabella, some little time previous, had
expressed an earnest desire for the young man's return to Saragossa,
if only for a visit of a few days. This was then impossible. Three
months had elapsed since Isabella's first communication; within the
last two she had not again reverted to Stanley; but the King, thinking
she had merely refrained from doing so, because of its present
impossibility, gladly seized the opportunity of his appearance at
Seville, to dispatch him, as envoy extraordinary, on both public and
private business, to the court of Arragon.

Isabella was surrounded by her ministers and nobles when Stanley
was conducted to her presence; she received him with cordiality and
graciousness, asked many and eager questions concerning her husband
and the progress of his arms, entered minutely into the affair of Don
Luis, congratulated him on his having been the hand destined to unmask
the traitor and bring him low; gave her full attention on the instant
to the communications from the King, with which he was charged;
occupied some hours in earnest and thoughtful deliberation with her
counsel, which, on perusal of the King's papers, she had summoned
directly. And yet, through all this, Arthur fancied there was an even
unusual degree of sympathy and kindliness in the tone and look with
which she addressed him individually; but he felt intuitively it
was sympathy with sorrow, not with joy. He was convinced that his
unexpected presence had startled and almost grieved her; and why
should this be, if she had still the hope with which she had so
infused his spirit, when they had parted. His heart, so full of
elasticity a few hours previous, sunk chilled and pained within him,
and it was with an effort impossible to have been denied, had it not
been for the Queen's _unspoken_ but real sympathy; he roused himself
sufficiently to execute his mission.

But Isabella was too much the true and feeling woman, to permit the
day to close without the private interview she saw Stanley needed;
reality, sad as it was, she felt would be better than harrowing
suspense; and, in a few kindly words, the tale was told.

"I should have known it!" he exclaimed, when the first shock of bitter
disappointment permitted words. "My own true, precious Marie! How
dared I dream that for me thou wouldst sacrifice thy faith; all, all
else--joy, hope, strength; aye, life itself--but not thy God! Oh,
Madam," he continued, turning passionately to the Queen, "thou hast
not condemned her to misery for this! Thou hast not revoked thy former
heavenly mercy, and delivered her over to the stern fathers of our
holy church? No, no! Isabella could not have done this!"

"Nor have we," replied the Queen, so mildly that Arthur flung himself at
her feet, conjuring her to pardon his disrespectful words. "Give her to
thee, without retracting her fearful misbelief, indeed we dared not, but
further misery has not been inflicted. We have indeed done penance for
our weakness, severe penance; for Father Tomas asserts that we have most
grievously sinned; and more, have pledged ourselves most solemnly, that
what he may counsel for the entire uprooting of this horrible heresy,
and accursed race, shall be followed, cost what it may, politically or
privately; but to refuse the last boon of the unhappy girl, who had so
strangely, perchance so bewilderingly, wound herself about my
heart--Stanley, I must have changed my nature first!"

"Her last boon! Gracious Sovereign--"

"Nay, her last to her Sovereign, my friend. It may be that even yet
her errors may be abjured, and grace be granted in her solitude, to
become in this world as the next, what we have prayed for; but we dare
not hope it; nor must thou. She besought permission to return to the
home of her childhood, pledging herself never to leave it, or mingle
with her people or ours more."

"And she is there! God in Heaven bless, reward your Highness for the
mercy!" burst impetuously from Arthur. "I trust she is, nay, I believe
it; for Jewess as she is, she would not pledge me false. In the garb
of the novice, as she saved thee, Father Denis conducted her to the
frontiers of Castile. More we know not, for we asked not the site of
her home."

There was a few minutes' pause, and then, with beseeching eloquence,
Arthur conjured the Sovereign to let him see her once, but once again.
He asked no more, but he felt as if he could not sustain the agony of
eternal separation, without one last, last interview. He pledged his
honor, that no temptation of a secret union should interfere with the
sentence of the Queen; that both would submit; only to permit them
once more to meet again.

Isabella hesitated, but not for long. Perhaps the secret hope arose
that Stanley's presence would effect that for which all else had
failed; or that she really could not resist his passionate pleadings.

"One word of retraction, and even now she is thine.--And I will bless
thee that thou gavest her to me again," she said in parting; but her
own spirit told her the hope was vain.

Half an hour after this agitating interview Arthur Stanley was again
on horseback, a deep hectic on either cheek; his eye bloodshot and
strained, traversing with the speed of lightning the open country, in
the direction of Castile.


"Oh! love, love, strong as death--from such an hour
Pressing out joy by thine immortal power;
Holy and fervent love! Had earth but rest
For thee and thine, this world were all too fair:
How could we thence be weaned to die without despair!

"But woe for him who felt that heart grow still
Which with its weight of agony had lain
Breaking on his. Scarce could the mortal chill
Of the hushed bosom, ne'er to heave again,
And all the curdling silence round the eye,
Bring home the stern belief that she could die."


The glowing light of a glorious sunset lingered on the Vale of Cedars,
displaying that calm and beautiful retreat in all the fair and rich
luxuriance of former years. Reuben and Ruth, the aged retainers of the
house of Henriquez, had made it their pride and occupation to preserve
the cherished retreat, lovely as it had been left. Nor were they its
only inmates; their daughter, her husband, and children, after various
struggles in the Christian world, had been settled in the Vale by the
benevolence of Ferdinand Morales--their sole duty, to preserve it in
such order, as to render it a fitting place of refuge for any who
should need it. Within the last twelve months, another inmate had been
added to them. Weary of his wanderings, and of the constant course of
deception which his apparent profession of a monk demanded, Julien
Morales had returned to the home of his childhood, there to fix
his permanent abode; only to make such excursions from it, as the
interests of his niece might demand. Her destiny was his sole anxious
thought. Her detention by Isabella convinced him that her disguise had
been penetrated, and filled him with solicitude for her spiritual, yet
more than her temporal welfare. Royal protection of a Jewess was
so unprecedented, that it could only argue the hope--nay, perhaps
conviction--of her final conversion. And the old man actually tried to
divorce the sweet image of his niece from his affections, so convinced
was he that her unhappy love for Arthur, combined with Isabella's
authority, and, no doubt, the threat of some terrible alternative
should she refuse, would compel her acceptance of the proffered cross,
and so sever them for ever. How little can man, even the most gentle
and affectionate, read woman!

It was the day completing the eleventh month after Don Ferdinand's
murder, when Julien Morales repaired earlier than usual to the little
temple, there to read the service for the dead appointed for the day,
and thence proceeded to his nephew's grave. An unusual object, which
had fallen on, or was kneeling beside the grave, caught his eye, and
impelled him to quicken his pace. His heart throbbed as he recognized
the garb of a novice, and to such a degree as almost to deprive him of
all power, as in the white, chiselled features, resting on the cold,
damp sod, he recognized his niece, and believed, for the first
agonizing moment, that it was but clay resting against clay; and that
the sweet, pure spirit had but guided her to that grave and flown. But
death for a brief interval withdrew his grasp; though his shaft had
reached her, and no human hand could draw it back. Father Denis had
conducted her so carefully and tenderly to the frontiers of Castile,
that she had scarcely felt fatigue, and encountered no exposure to the
elements; but when he left her, her desire to reach her home became
stronger, with the seeming physical incapacity to do so. Her spirit
gave way, and mental and bodily exhaustion followed. The season was
unusually damp and tempestuous, and, though scarcely felt at the time,
sowed the seeds of cold and decline, from which her naturally good
constitution might, in the very midst of her trials, otherwise have
saved her. Her repugnance to encounter the eyes or speech of her
fellows, lest her disguise should be penetrated, caused her to shrink
from entering any habitation, except for the single night which
intervened, between the period of the father's leaving her and her
reaching the secret entrance to the Vale. Her wallet provided her with
more food than her parched throat could swallow; and for the consuming
thirst, the fresh streams that so often bubbled across her path, gave
her all she needed. The fellowship of man, then, was unrequited,
and, as the second night fell, so comparatively short a distance lay
between her and her home, that buoyed up by the desire to reach it,
she was not sensible of her utter exhaustion, till she stood within
the little graveyard of the Vale; and the moon shining softly and
clearly on the headstones, disclosed to her the grave of her husband.
She was totally ignorant that he had been borne there; and the rush
of feeling which came over her, as she read his name--the memories of
their happy, innocent, childhood, of all his love for her--that had he
been but spared, all the last year's misery might have been averted,
for she would have loved him, ay, even as he loved her; and he would
have guarded, saved--so overpowered her, that she had sunk down upon
the senseless earth which covered him, conscious only of the wild,
sickly longing, like him to flee away and be at rest. She had reached
her home; exertion no longer needed, the unnatural strength, ebbed
fast, and the frail tenement withered, hour by hour, away. And how
might Julien mourn! Her work on earth was done. Young, tried, frail
as she was, she had been permitted to show forth the glory, the
sustaining glory, of her faith, by a sacrifice whose magnitude was
indeed apparent, but whose depth and intensity of suffering, none knew
but Him for whom it had been made. She had been preserved from the
crime--if possible more fearful in the mind of the Hebrew than any
other--apostacy: and though the first conviction, that she was indeed
"passing away" even from his affection, was fraught with absolute
anguish, yet her uncle could not, dared not pray for life on earth.
And in the peace, the calm, the depth, of quietude which gradually
sunk on her heart, infusing her every word and look and gentle smile,
it was as if her spirit had already the foretaste of that blissful
heaven for which its wings were plumed. As the frame dwindled, the
expression of her sweet face became more and more unearthly in its
exquisite beauty, the mind more and more beatified, and the heart more
freed from earthly feeling. The reward of her constancy appeared in
part bestowed on earth, for death itself was revealed to her--not as
the King of Terrors, but as an Angel of Light, at whose touch the
lingering raiment of mortality would dissolve, and the freed soul
spring up rejoicing to its home.

It was the Feast of the Tabernacle and the Sabbath eve. The
tent--formed of branches of thick trees and fragrant shrubs--was
erected, as we have seen it in a former page, a short distance from
the temple. Marie's taste had once again, been consulted in its
decorations; her hand, feeble as it was, had twined the lovely
wreaths of luscious flowers and arranged the glowing fruit. With some
difficulty she had joined in the devotional service performed by her
uncle in the little temple--borne there in the arms of old Reuben, for
her weakness now prevented walking--and on the evening of the Sabbath
in the Festival, she reclined on one of the luxurious couches within
the tent, through the opening of which, she could look forth on the
varied beauties of the Vale, and the rich glorious hues dyeing the
western skies. The Sabbath lamps were lighted, but their rays were
faint and flickering in the still glowing atmosphere. A crimson ray
from the departing luminary gleamed through the branches, and a faint
glow--either from its reflection, or from that deceiving beauty, which
too often gilds the features of the dying--rested on Marie's features,
lighting up her large and lustrous eyes with unnatural brilliance. She
had been speaking earnestly of that life beyond the grave, belief in
which throughout her trials had been her sole sustainer. Julien had
listened, wrapt and almost awe-struck, so completely did it seem as if
the spirit, and not the mortal, spoke.

"And thine own trials, my beloved one," he said,--"Has the question
never come, why thou shouldst thus have been afflicted?"

"Often, very often, my father, and only within the last few weeks has
the full answer come; and I can say from my inmost heart, in the words
of Job, 'It is good that I have been afflicted,' and that I believe
all is well. While _on_ earth, we must be in some degree _of_ earth,
and bear the penalty of our earthly nature. The infirmities and
imperfections of that nature in others, as often as in ourselves,
occasion human misery, which our God, in his infinite love, permits,
to try our spirit's strength and faith, and so prepare us for that
higher state of being, in which the spirit will move and act, when
the earthly shell is shivered, and earthly infirmities are for ever
stilled. In the time of suffering we cannot think thus; but looking
back as I do now--when the near vicinity of another world bids me
regard my own past life almost as if it were another's--I feel it in
my inmost heart, and bless God for every suffering which has prepared
me thus early for his home. There is but one feeling, one wish
of earth, remaining," she continued, after a long pause of utter
exhaustion. "It is weak, perhaps, and wrong; but if--if Arthur could
but know that fatal secret which made me seem a worse deceiver than
I was--I know it cannot be, but it so haunts me. If I wedded one
Christian, may he not think there needed not this sacrifice--sacrifice
not of myself, but of his happiness. Oh! could I but--Hush! whose step
is that?" she suddenly interrupted herself; and with the effort of
strong excitement, started up, and laid her hand on her uncle's arm.

"Nay, my child, there is no sound," he replied soothingly, after
listening attentively for several moments.

"But there is. Hark, dost thou not hear it now? God of mercy! thou
hast heard my prayer--it is _his_!" she exclaimed, sinking powerlessly
back, at the moment that even Julien's duller ear had caught a rapid
step; and in another minute the branches were hastily pushed aside,
and Stanley indeed stood upon the threshold.

"Marie--and thus!" he passionately exclaimed; and flinging himself
on his knees beside her, he buried his face on her hand, and wept in

* * * * *

Nearly an hour passed ere Marie could rally from the agitation of
Arthur's unexpected presence sufficiently to speak. She lay with her
hand clasped in his, and his arm around her--realizing, indeed, to the
full, the soothing consolation of his presence, but utterly powerless
to speak that for which she had so longed to see him once again. The
extent of her weakness had been unknown till that moment either to
her uncle or herself, and Julien watched over her in terror lest the
indefinable change which in that hour of stillness was perceptibly
stealing over her features should be indeed the dim shadow of death.
To Arthur speech was equally impossible, save in the scarcely
articulate expressions of love and veneration which he lavished on
her. What he had hoped in thus seeking her he could not himself have
defined. His whole soul was absorbed in the wild wish to see her
again, and the thoughts of death for her had never entered his heart.
The shock, then, had been terrible, and to realize the infinite mercy
which thus bade sorrow cease, was in such a moment impossible. He
could but gaze and clasp her closer and closer, yet, as if even death
should be averted by his love.

"Uncle Julien," she murmured, as she faintly extended her hand towards
him, "thou wilt not refuse to clasp hands with one who has so loved
thy Marie! And thou, Arthur, oh! scorn him not. Without him the
invisible dungeons of the Inquisition would have been my grave, and
thine that of a dishonored knight and suspected murderer."

The eyes of her companions met, and their hands were grasped in that
firm pressure, betraying unity of feeling, and reciprocal esteem,
which need no words.

"Raise me a little, dearest Arthur; uncle Julien" put back that
spreading bough. I would say something more, and the fresher air may
give me strength. Ah! the evening breeze is so fresh and sweet; it
always makes me feel as if the spirits of those we loved were hovering
near us. We hold much closer and dearer communion with the beloved
dead in the calm twilight than in the garish day. Arthur, dearest,
thou wilt think of me sometimes in an hour like this."

"When shall I not think of thee?" he passionately rejoined. "Oh,
Marie, Marie! I thought separation on earth the worst agony that could
befall me; but what--what is it compared to the eternal one of death?"

"No, no, not eternal, Arthur. In heaven I feel there is no distinction
of creed or faith; we shall all love God and one another there, and
earth's fearful distinctions can never come between us. I know such
is not the creed of thy people, nor of some of mine; but when thou
standest on the verge of eternity, as I do now, thou wilt feel this

"How can I gaze on thee, and not believe it?" he replied. "The loudest
thunders of the church could not shake my trust in the purity of
heaven, which is thine."

"Because thou lovest, Arthur. Thy love for Marie is stronger than thy
hatred of her race; and, oh! if thou lovest thus, I know thou hast

"Forgiven!" he passionately reiterated.

"Yes, dearest Arthur. Is the past indeed so obliterated that the wrong
I did thee is forgotten even as forgiven? But, oh, Arthur! it was not
so unjustifiable as it seemed then. I dared not breathe the truth in
Isabella's court. I dare not whisper it now save to thee, who would
die rather than reveal it. Arthur, dearest Arthur, it was no Christian
whom I wedded. We had been betrothed from early childhood, though I
knew it not; and when the time came, I could not draw down on me a
father's curse, or dash with agony a heart that so cherished, so loved
me, by revelation of a truth which could avail me nothing, and would
bring him but misery. Ferdinand was my cousin--a child of Israel, as

"Now heaven bless thee for those words, my own, true, precious Marie!"
exclaimed Stanley, in strong emotion, and clasping her still closer,
he pressed his quivering lips to her forehead, starting in agony as he
marked the cold, damp dews which had gathered upon it, too truly
the index of departing life. He besought her to speak no more--the
exertion was exhausting her; she smiled faintly, drank of the reviving
draught which Julien proffered, and lay for a few minutes calm and

"I am better now," she said, after an interval. "It was only the
excitement of speaking that truth, which I have so long desired to
reveal--to clear my memory from the caprice and inconstancy with which
even thy love must have charged me; and now, Arthur, promise me that
thou wilt not mourn me too long: that thou wilt strive to conquer the
morbid misery, which I know, if encouraged, will cloud thy whole life,
and unfit thee for the glorious career which must otherwise be thine.
Do not forget me wholly, love, but deem it not a duty to my memory
never to love again. Arthur, dearest, thou canst bestow happiness on
another, and one of thine own faith, even such happiness as to have
been thy wife would have given me. Do not reject the calm rest and
peacefulness, which such love will bring to thee, though now thou
feelest as if the very thought were loathing. She will speak to thee
of me; for Jewess as she knew me, she has loved and tended me in
suffering, and so wept my banishment, that my frozen tears had well
nigh flowed in seeing hers. Seek her in Isabella's court, and try to
love her, Arthur--if at first merely for my sake, it will soon, soon
be for her own."

Impressively and pleadingly, these words fell on Arthur's aching
heart, even at that moment when he felt to comply with them was and
must ever be impossible. When time had done its work, and softened
individual agony, they returned again and yet again; and at each
returning, seemed less painful to obey.

"And Isabella, my kind, loving, generous mistress," she continued,
after a very long pause, and her voice was so faint as scarcely
to make distinguishable the words, save for the still lingering
sweetness, and clearness of her articulation--"Oh! what can I say to
her? Arthur, dearest Arthur, thou must repay the debt of gratitude
I owe her. Her creed condemns, but her heart loves me--aye, still,
still! And better (though she cannot think so) than had I for earthly
joy turned traitor to my God. Oh, tell her how with my last breath I
loved and blessed her, Arthur; tell her we shall meet again, where
Jew and Gentile worship the same God! Oh that I could but have
proved--proved--How suddenly it has grown dark! Uncle Julien, is it
not time for the evening prayer?"

And her lips moved in the wordless utterance of the prayer for which
she had asked, forgetting it had some time before been said; and then
her head sunk lower and lower on Arthur's bosom, and there was no
sound. Twilight lingered, as loth to disappear, then deepened into
night, and the silver lamps within the tents brighter and more
brightly illumined the gloom; but Arthur moved not, suppressing even
his breath, lest he should disturb that deep and still repose. It was
more than an hour ere Julien Morales could realize the truth, and then
he gently endeavored to unclasp Arthur's almost convulsive hold, and
with, kindly force to lead him from the couch. The light of the lamp
fell full upon that sweet, sweet face; and, oh! never had it seemed so
lovely. The awful stillness of sculptured repose was indeed there; the
breath of life and its disturbing emotions had passed away, and nought
but the shrine remained. But like marble sculptured by God's hand,
that sweet face gleamed--seeming, in its perfect tracery, its heavenly
repose, to whisper even to the waves of agony, "Be still--my spirit is
with God!"

* * * * *

Julien Morales and Arthur Stanley--the aged and the young--the Jewish
recluse and Christian warrior--knelt side by side on the cold earth,
which concealed the remains of one to both so inexpressibly dear. The
moonlit shrubs and spangled heaven alone beheld their mutual sorrow,
and the pale moon waned, and the stars gleamed paler and paler in the
first gray of dawn ere that vigil was concluded. And then both arose
and advanced to the barrier wall; the spring answered to the touch,
and the concealed door flew back. The young Christian turned, and
was folded to the heart of the Jew. The blessing of the Hebrew was
breathed in the ear of the Englishman, and Stanley disappeared.

Oh, love! thou fairest, brightest, most imperishable type of heaven!
what to thee are earth's distinctions? Alone in thy pure essence thou
standest, and every mere earthly feeling crouches at thy feet. And art
thou but this world's blessing? Oh! they have never loved who thus
believe. Love is the voice of God, Love is the rule of Heaven! As one
grain to the uncounted sands, as one drop to the unfathomed depths--is
the love of earth to that of heaven; but when the mortal shrine is
shivered, the minute particle will re-unite itself with its kindred
essence, to exist unshadowed and for ever.


"Why then a final note prolong,
Or lengthen out a closing song,
Unless to bid the gentles speed
Who long have listened to my rede?"


The fickle sun of "merrie England" shone forth in unusual splendor;
and, as if resolved to bless the august ceremony on which it gazed,
permitted not a cloud to shadow the lustrous beams, which, darted
their floods of light through the gorgeous casements of Westminster
Abbey, in whose sacred precincts was then celebrating the bridal of
the young heir of England, with a fair and gentle daughter of Spain.
It was a scene to interest the coldest heart--not for the state and
splendor of the accoutrements, nor the high rank of the parties
principally concerned, nor for the many renowned characters of church,
state, and chivalry there assembled; it was the extreme youth and
touching expression, impressed on the features, of both bride and

Neither Arthur, Prince of Wales, nor Catherine, Infanta of Arragon,
had yet numbered eighteen years, the first fresh season of joyous
life; but on neither countenance could be traced the hilarity and
thoughtlessness, natural to their age. The fair, transparent brow of
the young Prince, under which the blue veins could be clearly seen,
till lost beneath the rich chesnut curls, that parted on his brow,
fell loosely on either shoulder; the large and deep blue eye, which
was ever half concealed beneath the long, dark lash, as if some untold
languor caused the eyelid to droop so heavily; the delicate pink of
his downless cheek, the brilliant hue on his lips, even his peculiar
smile, all seemed to whisper the coming ill, that one so dear to
Englishmen would not linger with them to fulfil the sweet promise of
his youth.

Beauty is, perhaps, too strong a word to apply to the youthful bride.
It was the pensive sadness of her mild and pleasing features that so
attracted--natural enough to her position in a strange land, and the
thoughts of early severance from a mother she idolized, but recalled
some twenty years afterwards as the dim shadow of the sorrowing
future, glooming through the gay promise of the present. And there,
too, was Prince Henry, then only in his twelfth year, bearing in his
flashing eye and constantly varying expression of brow and mouth, true
index of those passions which were one day to shake Europe to the
centre; and presenting in his whole appearance a striking contrast
to his brother, and drawing around him, even while yet so young, the
hottest and wildest spirits of his father's court, who, while they
loved the person, scorned the gentle amusements of the Prince of

Henry the Seventh and his hapless consort, Elizabeth of York, were, of
course, present--the one rejoicing in the conclusion of a marriage for
which he had been in treaty the last seven years, and which was at
last purchased at the cost of innocent blood; the other beholding only
her precious son, whose gentle and peculiarly domestic virtues, were
her sweetest solace for conjugal neglect and ill-concealed dislike.

Amongst the many noble Spaniards forming the immediate attendants of
the Infanta, had been one so different in aspect to his companions as
to attract universal notice; and not a few of the senior noblemen of
England had been observed to crowd round him whenever he appeared, and
evince towards him the most marked and pleasurable cordiality. His
thickly silvered hair and somewhat furrowed brow bore the impress
of some five-and-fifty years; but a nearer examination might have
betrayed, that sorrow more than years, had aged him, and full six,
or even ten years might very well be subtracted from the age which a
first glance supposed him. Why the fancy was taken that he was not a
Spaniard could not have been very easily explained; for his wife was
the daughter of the famous Pedro Pas, whose beauty, wit, and high
spirits were essentially Spanish, and was the Infanta's nearest and
most favored attendant; and he himself was constantly near her person,
and looked up to by the usually jealous Spaniards as even higher in
rank and importance that many of themselves. How, then, could he be a
foreigner? And marvel merged into the most tormenting curiosity, when,
on the bridal day of the Prince of Wales, though he still adhered to
the immediate train of the Princess, he appeared in the rich and full
costume of an English Peer. The impatience of several young gallants
could hardly by restrained even during the ceremony; at the conclusion
of which they tumultuously surrounded Lord Scales, declaring they
would not let him go, till he had told them who and what was this
mysterious friend: Lord Scales had headed a gallant band of English
knights in the Moorish war, and was therefore supposed to know every
thing concerning Spain, and certainly of this Anglo-Spaniard, as ever
since his arrival in England they had constantly been seen together.
He smiled good-humoredly at their importunity, and replied--

"I am afraid my friend's history has nothing very marvellous or
mysterious in it. His family were all staunch Lancastrians, and
perished either on the field or scaffold; he escaped almost
miraculously, and after a brief interval of restless wandering, went
to Spain and was treated with such consideration and kindness by
Ferdinand and Isabella, that he has lived there ever since, honored
and treated in all things as a child of the soil. On my arrival, I was
struck by his extraordinary courage and rash disregard of danger, and
gladly hailed in him a countryman. I learned afterwards that this
reckless bravery had been incited by a wish for death, and that events
had occurred in his previous life, which would supply matter for many
a minstrel tale."

"Let us hear it, let us hear it!" interrupted many eager voices, but
Lord Seales laughingly shook his head.

"Excuse me, my young friends: at present I have neither time nor
inclination for a long story. Enough that he loved, and loved
unhappily; not from its being unreturned, but from a concatenation of
circumstances and sorrows which may not be detailed."

"But he is married; and he is as devoted to Donna Catherine as she is
to him. I heard they were proverbial for their mutual affection and
domestic happiness. How could he so have loved before?" demanded,
somewhat skeptically, a very young man.

"My good friend, when you get a little older, you will cease to marvel
at such things, or imagine, because a man has been very wretched, he
is to be for ever. My friend once felt as you do (Lord Seales changed
his tone to one of impressive seriousness); but he was wise enough
to abide by the counsels of the beloved one he had lost, struggle to
shake off the sluggish misery which was crushing him, cease to wish
for death, and welcome life as a solemn path of usefulness and good,
still to be trodden, though its flowers might have faded. Gradually as
he awoke to outward things, and sought the companionship of her whom
his lost one had loved, he became sensible that, spiritless as he had
thought himself, he could yet, did he see fit, win and rivet regard;
and so he married, loving less than he was loved, perchance at the
time but scarcely so now. His marriage, and his present happiness, are
far less mysterious than his extraordinary interference in the event
which followed the conquest of the Moors--I mean the expulsion of the

"By the way, what caused that remarkable edict?" demanded one of the
circle more interested in politics than in individuals. "It is a good
thing indeed to rid a land of such vermin; but in Spain they had
so much to do with the successful commerce of the country, that it
appears as impolitic as unnecessary."

"Impolitic it was, so far as concerned the temporal interests of the
kingdom; but the sovereigns of Spain decided on it, from the religious
light in which it was placed before them, by Torquemada. It is
whispered that Isabella would never have consented to a decree,
sentencing so many thousands of her innocent subjects to misery and
expulsion, had not her confessor worked on her conscience in an
unusual manner; alluding to some unprecedented favor shown to one of
that hated race, occasioned, he declared, by those arts of magic which
might occur again and yet again, and do most fatal evil to the land.
Isabella had, it appears, when reproached by Torquemada for her act
of mercy, which he termed weakness, pledged herself, not to interfere
with his measures for the extermination of the unbelief, and on this
promise of course he worked, till the edict was proclaimed."

"But this stranger, what had he to do with it?" demanded many of the
group, impatient at the interruption.

"What he had to do with it I really cannot tell you, but his zeal
to avert the edict lost him, in a great measure the confidence of
Ferdinand. When he found to prevent their expulsion was impossible,
he did all in his power to lessen their misfortune, if such it may be
called, by relieving every unbeliever that crossed his path."

An exclamation of horrified astonishment escaped his auditors. "What
could such conduct mean? did he lean towards unbelief himself--"

"That could hardly be," replied Lord Scales. "Unless he had been a
Catholic, earnest and zealous as herself, Isabella would never have so
esteemed him, as to give him as wife her especial favorite, Catherine
Pas, and place him so near the person of her child. When I left Spain,
I entreated my friend to accompany me, and resume his hereditary title
and estate, but I pleaded in vain. Some more than common tie seemed to
devote him to the interests of the Queen of Castile, whom he declared
he would never leave unless in England he could serve her better than
in Spain. At that time there was no chance of such an event. He now
tells me, that it was Isabella's earnest request that he should attend
the Princess; be always near her, and so decrease the difficulties,
which in a foreign land must for a time surround her. The Queen is
broken in health, and dispirited, from many domestic afflictions; and
it was with tears, she besought him to devote his remaining years, to
the service of her child, and be to the future Queen of England true,
faithful, and upright, as he had ever been to the Queen of Spain.
Need I say the honorable charge was instantly accepted, and while he
resumes his rank and duties as a Peer of his native land, the grateful
service of an adopted son of Spain will ever be remembered and

"But his name, his name?" cried many eager voices.


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