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A SPANISH TALL.
The gun was going down upon ged, had grown visibly larger; and the ridge of the mountain above Ma- one, a pale youth, with a hectic cheek jente on a fine evening in July, when and a sunken eye, who had written the my honoured master Don Francisco last Christmas carol, and was in fact de Almorin, and his valet Tomaso, the village poet, silently followed with came in sight of the ferry across the a burning glance and an outstretched Jucar. There had been some reports hand the motion of a small
grey cloud of robbers among the hills, and they that rose from behind the hill, and stopped to see what a crowd was made grew into gold and purple as it met of, that had gathered on the river's the sun. He afterwards wrote some side. They might have saved them- lines upon it, saying that he had seen selves the delay, for the crowd was the spirits going up in a chariot of fire, nothing worse than the peasantry of and they were often sung afterwards the neighbourhood looking on the through the country. But a sudden ferry-boat, which was upset and lying turn of the road let out the horsemen on a little island in the midst of the at once, galloping down with whip and stream. The next day was to be the spur to the river's side. Then came fair of Valencia, and heaps of partridges, such a scene of confusion as it would hams, eggs, and cheeses, lay on the bank, take Lope to describe : Peasants rollwaiting till the flood should pass away. ing over peasants; the Alcalde in full The outcries of the peasants came up flight; the priest on his knees, calling to the travellers' ears like the clamour on every saint together; and more of robbers, and the peasants them- boar-hams, sheep-cheeses, partridges, selves were still more puzzled by the and eggs, driven into the stream by travellers, who had in their hurry mis- the general rush, than I suppose ever taken the road, and were riding within floated down a Valencian river before. an inch of the precipice.-"Nothing
The cavaliers were at length recoga human ever galloped so fast," was one nized to be flesh and blood. The Al. observation of the crowd ;“ nothing calde gathered his gown round him, human could ever gallop there at all," and retreated in anger beyond the was another. The best hunter for rabble. The priest put up his breviary twenty miles round acknowledged, that in some confusion, and the rabble he would as soon break his neck at roared with laughter, and clamoured once as follow bird or goat there ; and for news of the heretics and the last the priest, taking out his breviary, be- battle. The poet, after gazing on the gan the “ Exhortation against dealing noble figure and handsome countewith the devil.” The horsemen had nance of the Don, pointed out the upby this time got over the rocks, and turned boat, and offered him a bed in plunging into the valley, disappeared. the village till the flood should Whatever differences of opinion there down. “It is impossible, my friend, might have been as to their appear. said the cavalier, “I must pass the ance, there could be none as to their river to-night, for to-night I must be vanishing. The Alcalde, a man of in Valencia. Is there no other boat ?” great gravity, and few words as be -"No," was the answer ; came him, withdrawing the priest a the only one known within memory; step or two from the crowd, and hold the villagers were attached to it; it ing council with him, returned, and was probable that they never would declared, that what they had seen have another."-"Is there no ford?” was an undoubted apparition, and “None for forty miles.”—“Then stand that they might expect to hear great out of my way; farewell.” Don Frannews, probably of a battle in Portugal. cisco struck in the spur, and with a The priest went round, giving his be- motion of his hand to his servant to nediction to the merchandise, and the follow, darted forwards amid an outcrowd repeated their Ave Marias with cry of terror from the crowd. The much fervency. Some had seen the flood was high, and had swelled higher spectres disappear in a flash of light- within the last few minutes. It now ning, others could swear that the came down, roaring and dashing sheets hollow in the rock, where they plun- of foam upon the shore. The horse Vol. XI.
6 that was
stooped his nostrils to the water's edge, saged the plague, and the arrival of three started back, plunged, and wheeled the Moors. round. Tomaso looked the picture of Don Francisco had reached the se reluctance. “Stay where you are, sir,” shore. The bursting of the mill-dam said Don Francisco ; ' take care of the had probably saved his life, for in his to horses, and follow me when this pes- last struggle with the eddy, it broke den tilent river goes down. This is my the current, in which he would infal- 31 birth-night-If I do not appear at libly have gone whirling to the ocean, home, it will be taken for granted that dead or alive, and dashed him on the free a hundred foolish things have happen- bank, some miles down the ford. ed to me.
Leave the beach clear!" For the first few minutes he was The next instant he sprang off his totally insensible to his escape. He will horse, threw the bridle on the valet's had felt the rush of the waters over time, arm, and was rolling away in the wa- him; his ears had been filled with a risch ters.
roar, and his eyes covered with a dark. The The Don was a bold swimmer, ness, till all passed away. His first and had once, under the evil spirit of sensation on the bank was that of being champaigne and a wager, swum with able to struggle, and he flung his arms an Englishman from Port St Mary's round him on the billows of a bed of a big to the Fishmarket gate at Cadiz, after the thickest thistles that ever grew into supper. The Englishman was drowned, under a Spanish sun. With eyes still toplay and the Spaniard won his wager, and closed against the waters, and ears de la a fever, which sent him to mountain filled with their horrible hissing, he lo per air and the Biscay physicians for six was at last convinced that he had months. Having dared the ocean, he, changed his element, and with hands thing I suppose, thought he night defy a and limbs stung by a million of thorns, isto river; and at his first plunge he rose he sprang on his feet. The night had so far in the stream, that the peasants fallen, and the sky sparkled through a raised a general shout of admiration. the branches of the wilderness. But Yet the river was strong, and to reach neither cottage lights, stray peasants
, liptis the opposite side was the matter in nor wood-tracks, would come for his på de dispute between it and the Don. But
calling. The thought of the tertulla the river was on its own ground, and, in his family mansion came into his of course, soon had the advantage. mind.
He thought of the boleras The waves seemed to tumble over and the quadrilles, the music and the each other, as if to reach the very spot
supper; and himself, the honour and where the swimmer was whirling hope of all, shivering in wet clothes round and round like a cork. The ad
in the open air, thinking of robbers miration of the peasants grew silent ; and wolves, with a wilderness on one a huge billow, high as the Alcalde's side, and on the other nothing but a house, and white as all the pigeons confounded river, that had nearly sent that ever covered it, came down thun- him down for food to the Mediterradering and flashing, till every soul left nean lobsters. A new dash of foam his wares, and ran up the beach. The from a passing wave drove him back mill-dam had burst, and on looking into the wood, and by the help of a back, there was nothing to be seen but star, that twinkled like a diamorid, to sheet on sheet of foam,
rolling baskets guide him over and about the trunks here and there, a borrico snorting and of endless oaks, poplars, and elms, struggling down the torrent, and frag- some fallen, some bending to their ments of mill-spokes, tables, and three- fall, and others clustered like pillars of legged stools, which the miller's fa a cathedral, he felt his way onwards. mily had abandoned as ransom for After an hour or two of tumbling their lives. After much gazing, a cap struggling, and execrations at the folly was seen whirled on the shore, which of having ever learned to swim, the Tomaso recognized as his master's, light, not too good at best, darkened and which, with many tears, he put suddenly, and he found himself under up, declaring that he should preserve a wall. He now called out loudly, but it for the old Countess, who would no one answered. He might as well think no reward too high for a relic
of have spoken to the trees, among which her departed son. Night fell rapidly, he now appeared likely to pass the and the crowd retired, telling stories night. At length, in creeping round the whole way of the floods that pre- the wall, he caught the glimpse of a
, iar 11 eddo
, i to
his en the rin
arth in ment, he could have sworn by the down, and all this to look upon a of the comparison. The wall was broken in the thicket, and he heard the words,
1 tbe mit lamp through a crevice, and before a tear hastily swept from the eye, bo
he could cry out again, a young female gin again, “ The grave is but a calmod pret glided from an inner door, and took er bed," and so on. There was not
her seat under the lamp, which hung much in this, but the voice was touch, in a kind of rude summer-pavilion, ing, and even the raising of her hand
Here he began to think of an adven- to her head was so full of a pretty be realise ture. The female might be handsome tenderness, that the Don began to
or not, for her back was turned to him. imagine himself in love.
probably made matters worse, and not astonishment to him. He had been a minutes les to put her to flight became the grand bold gallant, if the Valencia Diario de
. Yet, to see her, in his pre- los Amores was to be believed; but
sent position, was impossible ; "the the order to join his regiment before to file crevice was the narrowest slit that was it moved to the Portuguese frontier,
ever made in a stone wall; to widen it had found him able to take leave of Hat He was desperate, for the stones were the walls of his own native town, and ta bere masses large enough for the foundation look back towards it from every hill
of the rock of Gibraltar. The Don, up to Elvas, without more than recatholic as he was, was once or twice membering that there dwelt the lips on the point of wishing for the aid of of the Lady Isadora de Alcazar, or the cloven-footed architect, who had the still more renowned eyes of the built the bridge of Saragossa in one Lady Maria de Dolores. How he had night
, and carried it away in another. escaped from beauties covered with The figure of the female was delicate, jewels, and tempting bim with still and some notes of her voice, borne to brighter glances, to hang upon a wall wards him by the echo of the pavilion, in a forest, where probably more than pleased him 'still more. At that mo one wolf was waiting for his coming Santa Casa, that she had eyes as jetty country girl of seventeen, made him as the locks that hung over them feel excessively astonished. He began shining in the lamp, rosy lips, carna
to think that he was doing something tion cheeks, and teeth that made all foolish, and was preparing to descend, the pearls of the earth black in the when the voice murmured through
many hollows and corners, like “ The grave is but a calmer sleep, those of the old Moorish buildings, for the tenth time, but the sound and after a short search, he found a
seemed sweeter than ever. His turnrecess which placed him on the oppo- ing round shook the vines, the singer site side of the garden. A withered gave a startled look upwards, and he vine was his ladder, and he mounted saw a face of great beauty; a pale to the top of the wall. The female forehead, from which locks as black as was young, but she shewed neither ebony had been shaken back by her the eyes of jet, nor the cheeks of care looking up; a cheek, flushed with nation ; her head was leant upon a surprise, and a pair of eyes that, unthin white hand, and she was looking der the lamp, sparkled like a pair of intently on a piece of embroidery large diamonds. Don Francisco in which lay on her knee. In a few mo- another step would have crossed the ments she took it up, and began to wall, when a musket was fired from work at it; but she seemed to be behind; the bullet dashed the stone thinking of other things, for, after an into shivers round his head, his hold
or two, she sighed deeply, and gave way, and he found himself budropped it once more upon her knee. ried to the neck in lime, bricks, and Then her low, broken song was begun bramble bushes. On his winding himagain, and he heard these words, in a self out of this pit, he determined
to very sweet voice :
try the wall again, declare his rank,
and make the unknown beauty an " The grave is but a calmer bed
offer of the whole Almorin Palace, Where mortals sleep a longer sleep ; A shelter for the houseless head,
with all therein. But the lamp had A spot where wretches cease to weep.”
been put out, the arbour was desert
ed, he could not hear so much as the The voice would then sink into a rustle of a bird ; all had disappeared murmur, and after a sigh or two, and like the money of a fairy tale ; and in
the house, and as escape was im- wish to see the most ridiculous sight kabes
a night that seemed doubly dark on his head on his hand, he was going over purpose to puzzle him, he at length the occurrences of the night. From scrambled out of the wood, and, to struggling through the stream, he had his wonder, found himself within a arrived in the forest, and was now, in short league of Valencia.
his wild fancies, leaning on the wall of the 2 p The palace was by this time crowd- the old garden. The inlaid floor at his ed; the tertulla was in all its glory. feet looked to him a green turf, knotLemonade and iced waters, Majorca ted and sprinkled with roses. He saw cakes, and Maltese oranges, were ma- a delicate figure sitting in the shelter king a hundred circles of the ball- of a vine, and all the sounds that rooms; and the lights blazed down reached him from the tertulla, only from the huge windows on half the made up the murmur of the words that coule populace of Valencia, dancing in the “ The grave is but a calmer bed.” hindi i courts below. The Captain-General's He had taken courage, and was just ball was nothing to it, though he had going to make a speech and melt the seat bel brought his first fiddler from Naples, beauty that sat before him bright as and had produced a famine of ice in the an icicle, when he felt a blow on the met de ti city for a month in the hottest part of shoulder. The forest was gone
at the year before. But the Don's mind once, the chandeliers glared on his help was changed upon things of this kind, eyes, and before him be saw laughing and he would have made his way up a immoderately Alonzo de Pinto, sup- als corse private stair-case, and thought of the posed to be the most impudent man evening's adventure in his bed, but south of the Ebro. He had that night and one for a sudden cry, and the sight of a waltzed with the Princess d’Eboli
, ti si man rolling from the top of tħe stairs flirted with the French ambassador's the D
) to the bottom. It was Tomaso, who wife in the very teeth of his excellenhad been ferried over the river about cy, and put on, for the first time, his two hours before, and had come full uniform as a Captain in the bussays speed home, with no small doubt of of Numantia. Don Francisco could ever seeing him again ; but he had have flung him through the window, found the tertulla begun, and he was but the hussar would not see bis antoo much a lover of dancing and eat- ger, and laughing, till he brought a ing to disturb them by opening his concourse round them, charged him mind for the night. His cry of sur- with little short of sleeping in that prise brought out the servants. The illustrious company, Don's coming was now known through “ Awake !" said the hussar," if you possible, he gave way to the prepara- on earth at this moment--the terror of tions for his appearance, and entered the old Captain-General for his house, the state apartinent. He was received which, unless the Virgin and the as sons and heirs of palaces and mines winds are merciful, will, he swears, in Mexico always have been, and will be a cinder by to-morrow.” Don always be received. The gentlemen Francisco probably wished that soine complimented him on his dia de santo, of his mother's guests were there to the Lady Maria de Dolores chid him take their chance; however, he said openly for coming so late, and two nothing, and suffered himself to be hundred and fifty eyes of the first rate, dragged along. In another apartment, blue, brown, and black, thanked him where the windows shewed the whole for coming at all.
reach of the Guadalaviar from the SerThe Don was a handsome man. ranos bridge to that of the Real, he They say neither man por woman ever saw the old man in the middle of his possessed beauty without a knowledge aides-de-camp, making the most exof its value to the smallest grain ; but traordinary gestures, running from after the first salutations, he felt all window to window like a monkey, that could be said looked somewhat then flinging himself on a couch, and dull--sleep hung on him, and he sat swallowing cup on cup of coffee, which, down in a recess, where the figures of he said, were necessary to strengthen the dancers, and the sounds of the his voice in the emergency of the violins and guitars, passed over his town's being set on fire. There was a senses like the sights and sounds of a good deal of laughing at this comical dream.
distress, but the Doli
, thinking it a With his elbow on his knee, and
matter of politeness under the family
poof, was approaching to inquire how once like you, but the night I walked he could assist him, when the hussar, the quarter-deck of the San Stefano
Looking him in the face with an af- off Algiers" His hearer shrunk at 3 fected gravity, said, “I hope, Don, the sound, and the young hussar bu.
you have a passionate desire to hear ried his face in his pocket handkerthe history of O' Reilly's expedition to chief. A red flash rose again over the Algiers?” Now the Don had a par- Villa Real. In a few moments the ticular aversion to this subject, for it trumpets of the cavalry were heard, had been rhymed on by all the bad and they came down the quay at full poets of Spain, and Heaven be thank- trot, wheeling over the bridge towards ed for all its gifts, as old Moretin says, the fire. The dancing stopped, and
if they could be eaten, there would all the company crowded to the winbe no fear of famine for a long time.” dows to see the troops; and indeed It had been turned into a ballad in his they made a showy spectacle, as they regiment by the quarter-master. He came into the moonlight, and passed had heard it strummed to guitars along by the statues on the battlethrough the three summer months of ments, which had often been said to his quarters in Leon, and he had seen make a little army of themselves; the half-a-dozen tragedies on it damned. tossing of plumes, the glittering of But the old officer saw him, and sprang sabres, the lifting up of the silver from his couch ; Don Francisco fol- trumpets in the air as they sounded, lowed him to the window._" See, and the constant motion of all, dazzled my friend, see !" said he in a passion, the eye, till the very statues seemed to * what your Valencian rascals are do- move. I think a painter might have ing!" The Don looked up and down made much of it, if there had been the river, but it lay like a sheet of such a thing in Spain, but, as Campo beaten silver, gently waving in the di Verde said, “In Spain the women moonlight. The sky was as blue as a paint enough for all the nation." I violet, and the trees of the Alameda, merely repeat what he said, without to the left below, looked like tufts of veuching for its truth. green feathers scarcely shaking in the · While his excellency was waiting to light air. “ I protest,” said he, “I hear the effect of his aid-de-camp's exsee nothing, but the finest night pos- pedition across the bridge, and this sible !"-" You are a young man,' re- took up some time, the company contorted the Captain-General, in rather a tinued to gather into the apartment, sharp tone, " and can see nothing but and began to talk, drink lemonade, what is to be seen ; but when you are and flirt, as is the custom in Spain, older, you will be more suspicious of especially in summer. But the chief all this security. There are five hun- amusement was the old Conde, who dred, ay five thousand incendiaries at ran constantly backwards and forwards this moment, in front of the Villa Real between the windows, repeating verses palace ;” and at the moment a flame out of the Araucana, for he was a bel shot up to the sky, and shouts were esprit, and in his youth was supposed heard. Don Francisco would have to have written some madrigals on the called the domestics, and sallied out Lady De dos Hermanas, the celebraat their head, but the old man restrain- ted beauty, who afterwards died for ed him. “ It does not become your love of the Infant Don Pablo. All dignity,” said he, “or mine, to be his quotations had a reference to fire, seen cutting those villains into frag- though it was the fire of love, at wbich ments. I have already dispatched an some of the ladies laughed immodeaid-de-camp to the hussars at Villivi- rately, for he was a remarkably withca, and they will make a supper of ered, little, old man, with sharp brown them." They are coining already, eyes, and a voice as shrill and quaverthen,” said the Don; “ I hear the ing as a dulzayna. When his verses trumpets.”—“. Impossible ! my dear were exhausted, he flung himself back Don," said his excellency, and he again upon the sofa, and putting on a looked at his watch ; “ but you are a face of the deepest despair, called for young man young ears are privileged coffee. He looked like the caricatures to hear all kinds of things. When of Frederic of Prussia. At last a noise his excellency, perceiving that his ob- was heard in the ante-room.
6 Make servations were not well taken, said way for the aid-de-camp," was the with a smile of conciliation, “ I was cry. “ Por el amor de Dios, make