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life, hastened to the Court of Arragon; to the , but to Arthur the danger was his safety. Where heir apparent of which, he bore letters of introduc- he was going, indeed he knew not. He could tion, from men of rank and influence, and speedily see no further than the summit of the
which distinguished himself in the wars then agitating appeared like a thin line against the sky; but Spain. The character of the Spainards-impene- any bewilderment were preferable to the strange trable and haughty reserve-occasioned, in gene- stagnation towards outward objects, which had ral, prejudice and dislike towards all foreigners. enwrapped him ten minutes before. But powerful as was their pride, so was their Panting, breathless, almost exhausted, he generosity; and the young and lonely stranger, reached the summit, and before him yawned a who had thrown himself so trustingly and chasm, dark, fathomless, as if nature in some frankly on their friendship, was universally re- wild convulsion had rent the rock asunder. ceived with kindness and regard. In men of The level ground on which he stood was barely lower natures, indeed, prejudice still lingered; four feet square; behind hiin sloped the most but this was of little matter ; Arthur speedily precipitous side of the crag, devoid of tree or took his place among the noblest chivalry of bush, and slippery from the constant moisture Spain : devoted to the interests of the King of that formed a deep black pool at its base. Sicily, but still glorying in the name and feel. Stanley hazarded but one glance behind, then ing of an Englishman, he resolved, in his young looked steadily forward, till his eye seemed acenthusiasm, to make his country honoured in customed to the width of the chasm, which did hiinself.
not exceed three feet. He fixed his hold firmly He had been five years in Spain, and was now on a blasted trunk growing within the chasm; four-and-twenty ; but few would have imagined it shook-gave way—another moment and he him that age, so frank and free and full of would have been lost; but in that moment he thoughtless mirth and hasty impulse was his loosed his hold, clasped both hands above his character.
These last fifteen months, how- head, and successfully made the leap-aware ever, a shadow seemed to have fallen over him, only of the immense effort by the exhaustion not deep enough to create remark, but felt by which followed compelling him to sink down himself. His feelings, always ardent, had been on the grass, deprived even of energy to look all excited, and were all concentrated, on a sub- around him. ject so wrapt in mystery, that the wish to solve So marvellous was the change of scenery on it engrossed his whole being. Except when en- which his eyes unclosed, that he started to his gaged in the weary stratagem, the rapid march, feet, bewildered. A gradual hill, partly covered and actual conflict, necessary for Ferdinand's with rich meadow grass, and partly with corn, interest, but one thought, composed of many, diversified with foliage, sloped downwards, leadoccupied his mind, and in solitude so distract- ing by an easy descent to a small valley, where ingly, that he could never rest; he would tra- orange and lime trees, the pine and chesnut, verse the country for miles, conscious indeed of palm and cedar, grew in beautiful luxuriance. what he sought, but perfectly unconscious where On the left was a small dwelling, almost hidden
in trees. Directly beneath him, a natural founIt was in one of these moods he had entered tain threw its sparkling showers on beds of the pass we have described, rejoicing in its dif- sweet scented and gaily coloured flowers. The ficulties, but not thinking where it led, or what hand of man had very evidently aided nature place he sought, when a huge crag suddenly in forming the wild yet chaste beauty of the rising almost perpendicularly before him, ef- scene; and Arthur bounded down the slope, fectually roused him from his trance. Outlet disturbing a few tame sheep and goats on his there was none. All around him towered moun- way, determined on discovering the genius of tains, reaching to the skies. The path was so the place. winding, that, as he looked round bewildered, No living object was visible, however; and he could not even imagine how he came there. with his usual reckless spirit, he resolved on To retrace his steps, seemed quite as difficult as exploring further, ere he demanded the hospito proceed. The sun too had declined, or was tality of the dwelling. A narrow path led into effectually concealed by the towering rocks, for a thicker wood, and in the very heart of its sudden darkness seemed around him. There shade stood a small edifice, the nature of which was but one way, and Stanley prepared to scale Arthur vainly endeavoured to understand. It the precipitous crag before him with more was square, and formed of solid blocks of cedar; eagerness than he would a beaten path. He neither carvings nor imagery of any kind threw off' his cloak, folded it in the smallest pos- adorned it; yet it had evidently been built with sible compass, and secured it like a knapsack to skill and care.
There was neither tower nor his shoulders, slung his sword over his neck, bell, the usual accompaniments of a chapel, which and, with a vigorous spring, which conquered Stanley had at first imagined it; and he stood
paces of slippery rock at once, com- gazing on it more and more bewildered. At menced the ascent. Some brushwood, and one that moment, a female voice of singular and or two stunted trees, gave him now and then a thrilling beauty sounded from within. It was hold for his hands; and occasional ledges in evidently a hymn she chanted, for the strain was the rock, a resting for his foot; but still one slow and solemn, but though words were disfalse step, one failing nerve, and he must have tinctly intelligible, their language was entirely fallen backwards and been dashed to pieces ; | unknown. The young man listened at first,
conscious only of increasing wonderment, which , murmured exclamation, in which terror, aswas quickly succeeded by a thrill of hope, so tonishment and yet joy, were painfully mingled, strange, so engrossing, that he stood, outwardly and then the heroine gave place to the woman, indeed as if turned to stone; inwardly, with for her head sunk on his shoulder, and she burst every pulse so throbbing that to move or speak into tears. was impossible. The voice ceased; and in an- Time passed.
Nearly an hour from that other minute a door, so skilfully constructed as strange meeting, and still they were together ; when closed, to be invisible in the solid wall, but no joy, nor even hope was on the counteopened noiselessly; and a female figure stood be- nance of either. At first, Arthur had alluded to fore him.
their hours of happy yet unconfessed affection, when both had felt, intuitively, that they were all in all to each other, though not a syllable of love
had passed their lips; on the sweet memories of CHAP. II.
those blissful hours, so brief, so fleeting but still Marie wept: the memory seemed anguish
more than joy. And then he spoke of returned “ Farewell ! though in that sound be years affection, as avowed by her, when his fond words Of blighted hopes and fruitless tears— Though the soul vibrate to its knell
had called it forth; and shuddered at the recol
lection that that hour of acknowledged and Of joys departed-yet farewell."
Mrs. Hemans. mutual love, had proved the signal of their
separation. He referred again to her agonized
words, that an union was impossible, that she To attempt description of either face or form, dared not wed him; it was sin even to love him ; would be useless. The exquisite proportions of that in the tumultuary, yet delicious emotions she the rounded figure, the very perfection of each had experienced, she had forgotten, utterly forgotfeature, the delicate clearness of the com- ten in what it must end-the agony of desolation plexion-brunette when brought in close con- for herself, and, if he so loved her, for Stanley also tact with the Saxon, blonde when compared --and again he conjured her to explain their with the Spaniard—all attractions in themselves, meaning. They had been separated, after that were literally forgotten, or at least unheeded, fearful interview, by a hasty summons for him beneath the spell which dwelt in the expression to rejoin his camp ; and when he returned, she of her countenance. Truth, purity, holiness, had vanished. He could not trace either her something scarcely of this netherworld, yet or the friend with whom she had been staying. blended indescribably with all a woman's na
Don Albert had indeed said, his wife had gone ture, had resting there, attracting the most un- to one of the southern cities, and his young observant, and riveting all whose own hearts guest returned to her father's home; but where contained a spark of the same lofty attributes that home was, Don Albert had so effectually Her dress, too, was peculiar-a full loose petti- evaded, that neither direct questionings nor wary coat of dark blue silk, reaching only to the ancle, caution could obtain reply. But he had found and so displaying the beautifully shaped foot; her now; they had met once more, and oh why a jacket of pale yellow, the texture seeming of need they part again? Why might he not the finest woven wool, reaching to the throat ; seek her father, and beseech his blessing and with sleeves tight on the shoulders, but falling in consent? wide folds as low as the wrist, and so with every His words were eloquent, his tone impasmovement displaying the round soft arm be- sioned, and hard indeed the struggle they ocneath. An antique brooch of curiously wrought casioned. But Marie wavered not in the
repesilver confined the jacket at the throat. T'he tition of the same miserable truth, under the imcollar, made either to stand up or fall, was this pression of which they had separated before. evening unclosed and thrown back, its silver fringe She conjured him to leave her, to forget the exgleaming through the clustering tresses that fell in istence of this hidden valley, for danger threatall their native richness and raven blackness over ened her father and herself if it was discovered. her shoulders, parted and braided on her brow, So painful was her evident terror, that Arthur so as to heighten the chaste and classic expres- pledged his honour never to reveal it, declaring sion of her features.
that to retrace the path by which he had disOn a stranger that beautiful vision must have covered it, was even to himself impossible. But burst with bewildering power : to Arthur Stanley still he urged her, what was this fatal secret ? she united memory with being, the past with the Why was it sin to love him! Was she the bepresent, with such an intensity of emotion that trothed of another and the large drops starting for a few minutes his very breath was impeded. to the young man's brow denoted the agony of She turned, without seeing him, in a contrary the question. direction; and the movement roused him.
No Arthur, no," was the instant rejoinder : “ Marie ! he passionately exclaimed, flinging " I never could love, never could be another's, himself directly in her path, and startling her so this trial is hard enough, but it is all I have to painfully, that though there was a strong and bear. I am not called upon to give my hand to visible effort at self-control, she must have another, while my heart is solely thine.” fallen had he not caught her in his arms. “ Then wherefore join that harsh word · sin,' There was an effort to break from his hold, a with such pure love, my Marie ? Why send me from you wretched and most lonely, when what he is, and be to him a son?” He turned no human power divides us?”
from her with a stifled groan. “Thou canst “No human power !-alas ! alas !-a father's not, I knew it-oh bless thee for thy generous curse-an offended God-these are too awful love; but tempt me no more, Arthur; it cannot to encounter, Arthur. Oh do not try me more; be; I dare not be thy bride." leave me to my fate, called down by my own “And yet thou speakest of love. "Tis false, weakness, dearest Arthur. If you indeed love thou canst not love me," and Stanley sprung to me, tempt me not by such fond words; they do his feet disappointed, wounded, till he scarce buć render duty harder. Oh, wherefore have knew what he said. “I would give up Spain you loved me!"
and her monarch's love for thee. I would live But such suffering tone, such broken words, in slavery beneath a tyrant's rule to give thee a were not likely to check young Stanley's solici- home of love. I would forget, trample on, tations. Again and again he urged her, at least annihilate the prejudices of a life, unite the pure to say what fatal secret so divided them; did blood of a Stanley with the darkened torrent he bút know it, it might be all removed. Marie running through thy veins, forget thy race, listened to him for several minutes, with averted descent, all but thine own sweet self. I would head and in unbroken silence; and when she do this, all this for love of thee.
And for me, did look on him again, he started at her marble what wilt thou do ?--reject me, bid me leave paleness and the convulsive quivering of her thee--and yet thou speakest of love: 'tis false, lips, which for above a minute prevented the thou lovest another better !" utterance of a word.
“Ay!” replied Marie, in a tone which startled Be it so,” she said, at length ; "you shall him, “ay, thou hast rightly spoken ; thy words know this impassable barrier. You are too have recalled what in this deep agony I had honourable to reveal it. Alas! it is not that fear well nigh forgotten. There is a love, a duty which restrained me; my own weakness which stronger than that I bear to thee. I would shrinks from being to thee as to other men, resign all else, but not my father's God.” were the truth once known, an object of aversion The words were few and simple; but the tone and of scorn."
in which they were spoken recalled Arthur's “Aversion! scorn! Marie, thou ravest," better nature, and banished hope at once. A impetuously exclaimed Stanley ; "torture me pause ensued, broken only by the young man's not by these dark words : the worst cannot be hurried tread, as he traversed the little platform more suffering.”
in the vain struggle for calmness. On him this But when the words were said, when with blow had fallen wholly unprepared; Marie had blanched lips and cheeks, and yet unfaltering faced it from the moment they had parted fifteen tone, Marie revealed the secret which was to months before, and her only prayer had been separate them for ever, Arthur staggered back, (a fearful one for a young and loving heart), relinquishing the hands he had so fondly clasped, that Stanley would forget her, and they might casting on her one look in which love and never meet again. But this was not to be; aversion were strangely and fearfully blended, and though she had believed herself prepared, and then burying his face in his hands, his one look on his face, one sound of his voice whole frame shook as with some sudden and had proved how vain had been her dream. irrepressible anguish.
“I will obey thee, Marie,” Stanley said, at “ Thou knowest all, now," continued Marie, length, pausing before her. "I will leave thee after a pause, and she stood before him with now, but not-not for ever. No, no; if indeed arms folded on her bosom, and an expression of thou lovest me, time will not change thee. If meek humility struggling with misery on her thou hast but one sacred tie, when nature severs beautiful features. “Senor Stanley, I need not that, and thou art alone on earth, thou shalt be now implore you to leave me; that look was mine, whatever be thy race.” sufficient. Say but you forgive the deception I “ flope it not, ask it not! Oh, Arthur, better have been compelled to practise--and--and thou shouldst hate me, as thy people do my forget me. Remember what I am, and you will race: I cannot bear such gentle words,” faltered soon cease to love."
poor Marie, as her head sunk for a minute on Never, never!" replied Stanley, as with his bosom, and the pent up tears burst forth. passionate agony he flung himself before her. "But this is folly,” she continued, forcing back " Come with me to my own bright land; who the choking sob, and breaking from his passionate shall know what thou art there? Marie, my embrace. “There is danger alike for
father own beloved, be mine. What to me is race or and thee, an thou tarriest longer. Not that blood ? I see but the Marie I have loved, I way,” she added, as his eye glanced inquiringly shall ever love. Come with me. Edward has towards the hill by which he had descended'; made overtures of peace if I would return to “there is another and an easier path ; follow England. For thy sake I will live beneath his me—thou wilt not betray it ?" sway ; be but mine, and oh we shall be happy “Never !” was the solemn rejoinder, and not yet."
a word more passed between them. He followed “And my father”” gasped the unhappy girl, her through what seemed to be an endless for the generous nature of Arthur's love ren- maze, and paused before a towering rock, which, dered her trial al most too severe. “Wilt thou smooth and perpendicular as a wall built by protect him too? wilt thou for my sake for olman, ran round the vale and seemed to reach to
heaven. Pushing aside the thick brushwood, some virtues as an individual, but none as a Marie stood beside the rock, and by some in- king; and his son Henry, who succeeded him visible movement, a low door flew open and in 1450, had neither the one nor the other. disclosed a winding staircase.
Governed as his father had been, entirely by "Thou wilt trust me, Arthur?”
favourites, the discontent of all classes of his Ay, unto death,” he answered, springing subjects rapidly increased; the people were disafter her up the rugged stair. Narrow loopholes, gusted and furious at the extravagance of the almost concealed without by trees
and brushwood, monarch's minion; the nobles, fired at his indimly lighted the staircase, as also a low, narrow solence; and an utter contempt of the king, inpassage, which branched off in zig-zag windings creased the virulence of the popular ferment. at the top, and terminated, as their woody path Unmindful of the disgrace attendant on his dihad done, in a solid wall. But again an invisible vorce from Blanche of Navarre, Henry sought door flew open, closing behind them; and, after and obtained the hand of Joanna, Princess of walking about a hundred yards through prickly Portugal, whose ambition and unprincipled inshrubs and entangled brushwood that obscured trigues heightened the ill favour with which he his sight, Marie paused, and Arthur gazed round was already regarded. The court of Castile, bewildered.
A seemingly boundless plain once so famous for chastity and honour, sank stretched for miles around' him, its green level to the lowest ebb of infamy, the shadow of only diversified by rocks scattered about in huge which, seeming to extend over the whole land, masses and wild confusion, as if hurled in fury affected nobles and people with its baleful infrom some giant’s hand. The rock whence he fluence. All law was at an end : the people, had issued was completely invisible. He looked even while they murmured against the King, folaround again and again, but only to bewilder lowed his evil example ; and history shrinks from himself yet more.
the scenes of debauchery and licentiousness, “The way looks more dreary than it is. Keep robbery and murder which desecrated the land. to the left: though it seem the less trodden path, But this state of things could not last long, thou wilt find there a shelter for the night, while there still remained some noble hearts and to-morrow's sun will soon guide thee to a amongst the Castilians. Five years after their frontier town; thy road will be easy then. Night marriage, the Queen was said to have given birth is falling so fast now, thou hadst best not linger, to a daughter, whom Henry declared should be Arthur."
his successor, in lieu of his young brother AlBut he did linger, till once more he had drawn fonso (John's son, by a second wife, Isabella of from her the confession of her love, that none Portugal). This child the nobles refused to reother could take his place, even while she conjured ceive, believing and declaring that she was not him never to seek her again—and so they parted. Henry's daughter, and arrogated to themselves Five minutes more, and there was no vestige of the right of trying and passing sentence on their a human form on the wide-extended plain.
Sovereign, who, by his weak, flagitious conduct, had, they unanimously declared, forfeited all
right even to the present possession of the CHAP. III.
The confederates, who were the very highest
and noblest officers of the realm, assembled at “ Now History unfolds her ample page,
Avita, and with a solemnity and pomp which Rich with the spoils of Time.”
gave the whole ceremony an imposing character of reality, dethroned King Henry in effigy, and
proclaimed the youthful Alfonso sovereign in his Clearly to comprehend the internal condition stead. All present swore fealty, but no actual of Spain at the period of our narrative (1479)—a good followed: the flame of civil discord was condition which, though apparently purely na- relighted, and raged with yet greater fury; contional, had influence over every domestic hearth tinuing even after the sudden and mysterious -it is necessary to glance back a few years. death of the young prince, whose extraordinary The various petty Sovereignties into which Spain talent, amiability, and firmness, though only had been divided never permitted any length- fourteen, gave rise to the rumour that he had ened period of peace; but these had at length actually been put to death by his own party, merged into two great kingdoms, under the who beheld in his rising genius the utter denames of Arragon and Castile. The form of struction of their own turbulence and pride. both governments was monarchial ; but the Be this as it may, his death occasioned no genius of the former was purely republican, and cessation of hostilities, the confederates carrying the power of the sovereign so circumscribed by on the war in the name of his sister, the Infanta the Junta, the Justicia, and the Holy Brotherhood, Isabella. Her youth and sex had pointed her that the vices or follies of the monarch were of out as one, not likely to interfere or check the less consequence, in a national point of view, in projects of popular ambition, and therefore the Arragon, than in any other kingdom. It was very fittest to bring forward, as an excuse for not so with Castile. From the death of Henry their revolt. With every appearance of huthe Third, in 1404, a series of foreign and civil mility and deference, they offered her the crown; disasters had plunged the kingdom in a state of but the proudest and boldest shrank back anarchy and misery. John the Second had abashed, before the flashing eye and proud
majesty of demeanour with which she answered, I be the real father of Joanna, submitted to "The crown is not yours to bestow; it is held Isabella. Peace thus dawned for Castile; but it by Henry, according to the laws alike of God was not till three years afterwards, when Ferdiand man; and till his death, you have no right nand had triumphed over the enemies of Arrato bestow, nor I to receive it."
gon, and succeeded his father as Sovereign of But though firm in this resolution, Isabella that kingdom, that any vigorous measures could did not refuse to coincide in their plans for se- be taken for the restoration of internal order. curing her succession. To this measure Henry The petty Sovereignties of the Peninsular, himself consented, thus appearing tacitly to ac- with the sole exception of the mountainous disknowledge the truth of the reports that Joanna trict of Navarre, and the Moorish territories in was a surreptitious child, and for a brief period the south, were now all united; and it was the Castile was delivered from the horrors of war. sagacious ambition of Ferdinand and Isabella to Once declared heiress of Castile and Leon, render Spain as important in the scale of kingIsabella's hand was sought by many noble doms as any other European territory; and to suitors, and her choice fell on Ferdinand, the do this, they knew, demanded as firm a control young King of Sicily, and heir-apparent to the over their own subjects, as the subjection of still crown of Arragon. Love was Isabella's in- harassing foes. centive. Prudence, and a true patriotic am- Above a century had elapsed since Spain had bition, urged the Archbishop of Toledo not only been exposed to the sway of weak or evil kings, to ratify the choice, but to smoothe every diffi- and all the consequent miseries of misrule and culty in their way : he saw at once the glory war. Rapine, outrage, and murder had become which might accrue to Spain by this peaceful so frequent and unchecked, as frequently to inunion of two rival thrones. Every possible and terrupt commerce, by preventing all communiimpossible obstacle was privately thrown by cation between one place and another. The Henry to prevent this union, even while he gave people acknowledged no law but their own paspublicly his consent; his prejudice against Fer- sions. The nobles were so engrossed with hadinand being immoveable and deadly. But the tred of each other, and universal contempt of manæuvres of the Archbishop were more skilful their late sovereign, with personal ambition and than those of the King. The royal lovers—for general discontent, that they had little time or such they really were-were secretly united at leisure to attend to any but their own interest. Valladolid, to reach which place in safety Fer- But a very brief interval convinced both nobles dinand had been compelled to travel in disguise, and people that a new era was dawning for and attended only by four cavaliers; and at that themn. În the short period of eighteen months, period so straitened were the circumstances of the the wise administration of Isabella and FerdiPrince and Princess, who afterwards possessed nand, had effected a sufficient change to startle the boundless treasures of the new world, that all ranks into the conviction that their best inthey were actually compelled to borrow money terests lay in prompt obedience, and in exerting to defray the expences of their wedding ! themselves in their several spheres, to second
The moment Henry became aware of this their sovereign's will. The chivalric qualities of marriage, the civil struggle recommenced. In Ferdinand, his undoubted wisdom and unvain the firm, yet pacific Archbishop of Toledo wavering firmness, excited both love and fear; recalled the consent he had given, and proved while devotion itself is not too strong a term that the union not only secured the after-glory to express the national feeling entertained of Spain, but Henry's present undisturbed pos- towards Isabella. Her sweet, womanly gentlesession of his throne. Urged on 'by his wife, ness, blended as it was with the dignity of the and his intriguing favourite, the Marquis of Vil- sovereign; her ready sympathy in all that conlena, who was forever changing sides, he pub- cerned her people--for the lowest of her sublished a manifesto, in which he declared on jects; doing justice, even if it were the proud oath that he believed Joanna to be his daughter, noble who injured, and the serf that sufferedand proclaimed her heiress of Castile. Ferdi- all was so strange, yet fraught with such national nand and Isabella instantly raised an army, re- repose, that her influence every year increased ; gardless of the forces of Portugal (to whose while every emotion of chivalry found exercise, monarch Joanna had been betrothed), who were and yet rest in the heart of the aristocracy for rapidly advancing to the assistance of Henry. their Queen ; her simple word would be obeyed, Ere, however, war had regularly commenced, a on the instant, by men who would have paused brief respite was obtained by the death of and weighed and reasoned, if any other-even Henry, and instantly and unanimously Isabella Ferdinand himself-had spoken. Isabella knew was proclaimed Queen of Leon and Castile. her power ; and if ever sovereign used it for the Peace, however, was not instantly regained; the good, the happiness of her people, that proud King of Portugal married Joanna, and resolved glory was her own. on defending her rights. Some skirmishing In spite of the miserable condition of the took place, and at length a long-sustained con- people during the civil struggles, the wealth of flict near Fero decided the point--Ferdinand Spain had not decreased. It was protected and and the Castilians were victorious; the King of increased by a class of people whose low and Portugal made an honourable retreat to his own despised estate was, probably, their safeguardfrontiers, and the Marquis of Villena, the head these were the Jews, who for many centuries of the malcontents, and by many supposed to had, both publicly and secretly, resided in