Title: The Wanderings of Persiles and Sigismunda

    Preface by the Translator.



    Book I.

      Chapter I.

      Chapter II.

      Chapter III.

      Chapter IV.

      Chapter V.

      Chapter VI.

      Chapter VII.

      Chapter VIII.

      Chapter IX.

      Chapter X.

      Chapter XI.

      Chapter XII.

      Chapter XIII.

      Chapter XIV.

      Chapter XV.

      Chapter XVI.

      Chapter XVII.

      Chapter XVIII.

      Chapter XIX.

      Chapter XX.

      Chapter XXI.

      Chapter XXII.

      Chapter XXIII.

    Book II.

      Chapter I.

      Chapter II.

      Chapter III.

      Chapter IV.

      Chapter V.

      Chapter VI.

      Chapter VII.

      Chapter VIII.

      Chapter IX.

      Chapter X.

      Chapter XI.

      Chapter XII.

      Chapter XIII.

      Chapter XIV.

      Chapter XV.

      Chapter XVI.

      Chapter XVII.

      Chapter XVIII.

      Chapter XIX.

      Chapter XX.

      Chapter XXI.

      Chapter XXII.

    Book III.

      Chapter I.

      Chapter II.

      Chapter III.

      Chapter IV.

      Chapter V.

      Chapter IX.

      Chapter X.

      Chapter XI.

      Chapter XII.

      Chapter XIII.

      Chapter XIV.

      Chapter XV.

      Chapter XVI.

      Chapter XVII.

      Chapter XIX.

      Chapter XX.

      Chapter XXI.

    Book IV.

      Chapter I.

      Chapter III.

      Chapter IV.

      Chapter V.

      Chapter VI.

      Chapter VII.

      Chapter VIII.

      Chapter IX.

      Chapter X.

      Chapter XI.

      Chapter XII.

      Chapter XIII.

      Chapter XIV.

Translated by Louisa Dorothea Stanley

Cervantes’ last published novel belongs to the genre of the Byzantine novel. The author dedicated Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda to Pedro Fernández de Castro y Andrade, VII Conde de Lemos, on 19 April of 1616, four days before Cervantes’ death. He was inspired to write a novel in the vein of the works of Heliodorus of Emesa, Syria, a Greek writer generally dated to the third century AD who is now known chiefly for the ancient Greek romance called the Aethiopica.

Cervantes’ novel is a romantic tale of travels by sea and land, featuring both real and fantastical geography and history mixed together, with the scene of the second half of the novel being transferred to Spain and Italy. Interestingly, though Cervantes is known primarily for Don Quixote, which is now widely regarded as one of the foremost classic novels ever written, the author himself considered Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda to be his crowning achievement in literature.

Pedro Fernández de Castro Andrade and Portugal (1576-1622) was Cervantes’ close friend, to whom he dedicated his last novel.

The original title page

The beginning of the novel in the first edition


Preface by the Translator.

This Romance was the last work of Cervantes, the dedication to the Count de Lemos was written the day after he had received extreme unction; he died four days after, on the 23rd of April 1616, aged 67. On that same day in that same year England lost her Shakespeare.

In the Preface to this edition, the Editor says, “Not a few are there among the wise and learned, who, notwithstanding the well known merit of all the works of the famous Spaniard, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, and in spite of the oft repeated praises lavished especially upon the Life and Deeds of Don Quixote de la Mancha, which has ever held the foremost place in the estimation of the public, yet give the preference above all to The Troubles of Persiles and Sigismunda, which I am about to present to the public anew in this edition.”

It seems, too, that this was the opinion of Cervantes himself; for in his dedication to the Count de Lemos, which is affixed to the second part of Don Quixote, he says, “offering to your Excellency the Troubles of Persiles and Sigismunda, a book I hope to finish in about four months (Deo volente), which is to be either the very best or the very worst hitherto composed in our language, I speak of books of entertainment, and indeed I repent of having said, the very worst, because, according to the opinion of my friends, it will reach the extreme of goodness.”

Sismondi also says the same in speaking of this work, and of its estimation in Spain; but he goes on to observe, “ a foreigner will not, I should imagine, concede to it so much merit: it is the offspring of a rich, but at the same time of a wandering imagination, which confines itself within no bounds of the possible or the probable, and which is not sufficiently founded on reality. He has entitled this Romance ‘A Northern Story,’ and his complete ignorance of the North, in which his scene is laid, and which he imagines to be a land of Barbarians, Anthropophagi Pagans, and Enchanters, is sufficiently singular.”

The truth of this cannot be denied; but I believe that it has never yet been translated into English, and, as it certainly possesses great merits in spite of the absurdities, and a good deal of imagination as well as beauty (though I fear much of the latter will be lost in a translation) as a work of Cervantes it appears to me worthy of being introduced to English readers.

The plan of the story is plainly imitated from Heliodorus, Bishop of Tricca, in Thessaly, who in his youth wrote a Romance in the Greek language, called The Æthiopian History; or, the Adventures of two Lovers, Chariclea, the daughter of the King of Ethiopia, and Theagenes, a noble Thessalian. He lived in the reigns of Theodosius and Arcadius, about the end of the fourth century.

Few modern readers, I imagine, would have patience to read this very heavy Romance; but in 1590, when Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia was published, “ stories of amusement and interest were not as plentiful as in the present day, and it was a short time before that Romance appeared, that a translation of Heliodorus’s Æthiopic History was published in England. The edition which I have seen is translated by N.

Tate, the first five books by “ a Person of Quality.” The date is 1753. The other editions are 1587, 1622, 1686.

But though the plan of Persiles and Sigismunda is taken from Heliodorus, I do not think they have any resemblance in style, and there is far more vivacity and humour in the narrative and characters, and more nature too, in spite of the high flown romance that surrounds them.

I fear the modern reader will find the numerous episodes tedious; and story after story, which every additional personage we meet, thinks it necessary to relate, will perhaps try his patience; yet there is great beauty in many of these, at least in the original language.

The remarkable ignorance which Cervantes displays on geographical points has a parallel in our own Shakespeare, who makes Bohemia a country with a sea coast.

Cervantes has evidently formed his ideas of the North only by the voyages and travels that were published at the time he lived. It is more surprising that he should know so little of England, considering how much his own country had been connected with her, and also from the knowledge and information he displays on other subjects.

The chief fault in the work is the remarkable want of keeping; for whereas he at once determines the period and date by bringing in the expulsion of the Moors; and Soldiers who served under Charles the 5th, also speaking of Lisbon as belonging to Spain, at the same time he throws his personages into a perfect land of Romance, and speaks of all the northern countries, as if themselves, their manners and customs, were utterly unknown and barbarous; yet Elizabeth or James the 1st was reigning in England; the queen of James the 1st was a Danish princess, and Denmark and Sweden were assuredly not unknown to fame.

In fixing upon Iceland and Friezland as the dominions of his hero and heroine, he gets upon safer ground, though by the way in which he speaks of them, he evidently considers this a sort of mysterious and only half understood land, which might serve a wandering prince or princess of romance, for a home, for want of a better.

The first and second part differ considerably, when Cervantes gets home to his own bright clime and sunny skies, you feel the truth of his descriptions, which form a striking contrast to the icy seas and snowy islands among which his pilgrims are voyaging throughout the whole first volume.

I have taken some few liberties, omitted some pages, and occasionally shortened a sentence, but I do not think the English reader will feel inclined to quarrel with these abbreviations, and the Spanish student can refer to the original.

To those who feel for Cervantes as he deserves, — to those who have enjoyed the rich fund of amusement that Don Quixote affords, I need not apologise further for making them also acquainted with these wondrously beautiful and almost angelic pilgrims, who were the last productions of his lively imagination, for assuredly those blue eyes and golden ringlets must have been most unlike the visions of beauty that dwelt around him, in his own land of Spain.

Postscript. — For the Portrait of Cervantes, which enriches the title page, I have to thank the great kindness and friendly aid of one, who has gained a distinguished name as an author, in the service of both Spanish Art and Spanish History, Mr. Stirling of Keir. I have also to acknowledge the courtesy of Sir Arthur Aston, to whom the original picture belongs, from which I have been permitted to take my engraving; it was brought by him from Madrid, and he found it in the possession of a family where it was highly prized, and considered as an undoubted Portrait of Cervantes.

July, 1853. — L. D. S.



THERE is an old couplet which was famous in its day, that began “With one foot in the stirrup already.” I could have wished in this epistle of mine, that this was not so much to the purpose as it is, for I may begin nearly in the same words, saying —

“With my foot in the stirrup already,

And the terrors of death before my eyes,

I write, noble Marquis, to thee.”

Yesterday I received extreme unction, and to-day I write this. Time is short, fears increase, hopes diminish; yet, nevertheless, I could wish my life prolonged enough to be able once more to kiss your feet, so great would be my delight in seeing your Excellency once again in Spain, that it would almost be new life to me; but if it be decreed that I am to lose it the will of Heaven be done; and at least you shall know this wish of mine, and you shall know that in me you had a truly loving servant, who would have gladly done more than die for your service; and I rejoice in the prospect of your Lordship’s arrival, I rejoice in seeing it even afar off, and again I rejoice to think that the hopes I have entertained of your Lordship’s goodness will prove true.

There still remain unfinished in my head certain reliques and fancies, “The weeks in a Garden,” and of the famous Bernardo, if I were so happy (but it could not be without a miracle) that Heaven would prolong my life, you should see them, and also the end of the Galatea which I know your Lordship much admires.

May God preserve your Lordship, as he alone can.

Your Excellency’s Servant,


Madrid, 19th of April, 1616.


IT happened then, dear Reader, that as I and two of my friends were coming from Esquivias, — a place famous for a thousand reasons, first on account of its many illustrious families, and secondly for its equally illustrious wines, — I heard some one behind me pricking along in great haste as if desirous of overtaking us, and even proving it by calling out to desire we would not go so fast. We waited, and a gray student mounted upon an ass came up to us, gray — because his whole dress was gray. He wore gaiters, round-toed shoes and a sword in a good scabbard (contera). He wore a starched band, with equal braids; it is true he had but two, so that the band got every minute awry, and he took infinite pains and trouble to set it right. Coming up to us, he said, “To judge by the haste with which you travel, gentlemen, you must be going to court to look after some place or Prebendal stall; My Lord of Toledo, or the King must be there at least, for truly my ass has been famed for his paces more than once, and yet could not overtake you?”

To which one of my companions replied, “It is the horse of Senor Miguel de Cervantes that is in fault, for he is a fast goer.” Scarce had the student heard the name of Cervantes, than alighting from his ass, his portmanteau falling on one side, and the cushion whereon he sat, on the other (for he was travelling with all his comforts about him), he hurried to me and seizing me by the left arm, cried, “Yes, yes, this is the crippled sound one, the famous man, the merry author, the delight of the Muses.”

I, when I heard so much praise poured forth in so short a space, thought it would be a lack of courtesy not to answer it, so embracing him round the neck (by which he lost his bands altogether,) I said, “This, sir, is an error into which many of my ignorant admirers have fallen, I am indeed Cervantes, but no favourite of the Muses, nor deserving of any of the encomiums with which you have been pleased to honour me. Go and remount your ass, and let us travel on together in pleasant conversation for the short distance that remains of our journey.

The polite student did as I desired, we reined in our steeds a little and pursued our way more leisurely. As we travelled we spoke on the subject of my ailments, and the good student immediately pronounced my doom, saying, “This malady is the dropsy, which all the water in the ocean would not cure, even if it were not salt, you must drink by rule, sir, and eat more, and this will cure you better than any medicine.”

“Many have told me so,” I answered, “but I should find it as impossible to leave off drinking as if I had been born for no other purpose. My life is well nigh ended and, by the beatings of my pulse, I think next Sunday at latest will see the close of my career, you have therefore, sir, made acquaintance with me just at the right moment, though I shall not have time to show myself grateful for the kindness you have shown to me.”

Here we reached the bridge of Toledo, over which my road lay, and he separated from me to go by that of Segovia. As to what will be said of my adventure, Fame will take care of that, my friends will have pleasure in telling it, and I greater pleasure in hearing it. He again embraced me, I returned the compliment. He spurred on his ass, and left me as sorrily disposed as he was sorrily mounted. He had however furnished me with abundant materials for pleasant writing, but all times are not alike. Perhaps a time may come when, taking up this broken thread again, I may add what is now wanting and what I am aware is needed. Adieu to gaiety, adieu to wit, adieu, my pleasant friends, for I am dying, yet hoping to see you all again happy in another world.

Book I.

Chapter I.

Periander is drawn up out of the Dungeon: be goes out to Sea on a raft: a Tempest comes on, and be is saved by a Ship.

NEAR the mouth of a deep and narrow dungeon, which was more like a tomb than a prison to its wretched inmates, stood Corsiairbo the barbarian. He shouted with a terrible voice, but, although the fearful clamour was heard far and near, none could hear his words distinctly, except the miserable Clelia, an unhappy captive, buried in this abyss. “Clelia,” he said, “see that the boy who was committed to your custody two days ago, be bound fast to the cord I am about to let down; see that his hands are tied behind him, and make him ready to be drawn up here: also look well if among the women of the last prize there are any beautiful enough to deserve being brought amongst us, and to enjoy the light of the clear sky that is above us.” So saying, he let down a strong hempen cord, and for some brief space he and four other barbarians pulled it, until, with his hands tied strongly behind him, they drew up a boy, seemingly about nineteen or twenty years of age, drest in linen like a mariner, but beautiful, exceedingly.

The first thing the barbarians did was to investigate the manacles and cords with which his hands were tied behind his back; then they shook the locks of hair, which, like an infinity of rings of pure gold, covered his head. They cleaned his face, which had been obscured by dust, and revealed a beauty, so marvellous, that it softened and touched even the hearts of those who were carrying him to execution.

The gallant boy showed no sort of affliction in his bearing, but with beaming eyes he uplifted his countenance, and looking round on every side, with a clear voice and firm accent, he cried, “I give thanks, O vast and pitying Heavens, that I have been brought out to die where your light will shine upon my death, and not where those dark dungeons, from which I have just arisen, would have covered me with their gloomy horrors; I would wish, because I am a Christian, not to die in despair at least, although my misfortunes are such as to make me almost desire it.”

None of this speech was understood by the barbarians, being spoken in a different language from theirs; so, closing the mouth of the cavern with a large stone, and carrying the boy, still bound, among the four, they arrived at the sea-shore, where they had a raft of timber fastened together with strong filaments of bark and flexible osiers. This contrivance served them, as soon appeared, for a boat, in which they crossed to another island, about two or three miles distant. They leaped upon the raft, and put their prisoner seated in the midst of them. Immediately one of the barbarians took a great bow that was in the raft, and fitting into it an enormous arrow, the point of which was made of flint, he quickly bent it, and looking the boy in the face, made him his mark, giving signs as if he would shoot him through the heart. The other barbarians took three heavy poles, cut like oars, and whilst one used his as a rudder, the other two impelled the raft in the direction of the island before mentioned. The beautiful boy, who alternately hoped and feared the blow of the threat’ning dart, rounded his shoulders, compressed his lips, arched his brows, and in deep silence asked in his heart of Heaven, not to be delivered from this death, as near as it was cruel, but that he might have strength given him to suffer. The savage archer, seeing this, and knowing that it was not by this manner of death he was to die; finding even in his hard heart some pity for the boy, and not desiring to give him a protracted suffering, still kept the arrow pointed at his breast, but put the bow aside, and let him know by signs, as well as he could, that he did not wish to kill him.

Thus it befell, when the raft reached the middle of the strait, formed by the two islands, that there arose a sudden hurricane, which the inexperienced mariners had no power to withstand; the timbers that formed the raft, came asunder, and divided into parts, leaving in one (which might be composed of about six planks) the boy, who feared that the waves would speedily overwhelm him, and that by this death he was to die. Wild whirlwinds tossed the waters, contrary blasts contended together. The barbarians were all overwhelmed, and the planks, with the fast-bound captive, went out into the open sea, passing over the crests of the waves; not only impelling him towards heaven, but denying him the power of asking compassion from it in his distress: yet had Providence cared for him; the furious waves that every moment washed over him did not separate him from his raft, and he was carried by them into the abyss. As he was bound fast, with his hands behind his back, he could not assist himself, or make the smallest effort to preserve his life.

In this way, as I have said, he went out into the open sea, which appeared more peaceful on turning a point of land into a bay, where the planks floated wonderfully, defended from the raging and angry sea.

The weary youth felt this, and he looked around on every side, till he discovered near him a ship, which was lying at anchor in this quiet place as in a secure haven.

Those in the ship also perceived the raft and the figure that was upon it. To satisfy themselves what this might be, they let down their boat, and came to look at him, when they found the disfigured yet still beautiful boy: with speed and pity they took him to the ship, where the sight filled every one with wonder and admiration. He was lifted in by the sailors, and not being able to stand from weakness (for it was three days since he had tasted food), and moreover, being wetted and maltreated by the waves, he sunk down all at once on the deck. Touched with natural compassion, the captain kindly ordered that he should have instant assistance to restore him.

Immediately some hastened to take off the ligatures that bound him, others to bring odoriferous wines, with which remedies the fainting boy returned as if out of death to life, and raising his eyes to the captain, whose noble mien and rich attire declared his rank, as did his speech also, he said to him: “May the pitying Heavens reward thee, O compassionate sir, for the good deed thou hast done. For all the benefits bestowed on me I can make no return, such are my misfortunes, unless it be with my gratitude; and if it be allowed to a poor afflicted creature to say good of himself, I know this, that in being grateful no one on earth can excel me.” And here he attempted to rise and kiss the captain’s hand, but his weak condition would not permit this, for thrice he tried and thrice fell back on the deck.

The captain seeing this, ordered him to be raised up and carried below, his wet garments taken off, and that he should be dressed in others, clean and good, and then left to rest and sleep. They did as he commanded; the boy obeyed in silence, and the captain’s admiration increased when he saw him thus attired: his desire to learn as quickly as possible who he was, and what had brought him into such a strait, was strong, but his courtesy exceeded his curiosity, and he desired him to repose and recover from his fatigues before satisfying his wish.

Chapter II.

He discovers who the Captain of the Ship is. Taurisa relates to him the story of how Auristella was carried off: he offers to go in search of her, and to be sold to the Barbarians.

THE boy was left by the seamen to repose, as their commander had desired; but as thoughts, sad and various, crossed his mind, sleep refused to come near him. Another cause, however, helped to banish it. This was, certain grievous sighs and bitter lamentations, that proceeded, as it appeared to him, from an apartment near that where he was, and applying himself to listen, he heard that some one said, “Sad and luckless was the hour in which I was begotten, and under an evil star did my mother cast me forth into the world, and well may I say cast me forth, for a birth like mine may be more fitly termed to be cast out than born; at least I thought myself free to enjoy the light of heaven in this life, but thought deceived me, since I am about to be sold as a slave, and what misfortune can compare to this.”

“O thou, whoever thou art,” said the boy, “ if it is true, as people say, that sorrows and troubles when communicated to others are alleviated, come hither, and through the open chinks of these boards relate thine to me; and if thou dost not find relief, thou shalt at least meet with sympathy.”

“Listen then,” was the reply, “and in a few words I will relate the injustice that fortune has done to me, but first I would fain know to whom I am speaking. Tell me if thou art by chance a boy who has a short time since been found, tied upon some planks, which they say served for boats to the savages that dwell in the island near which we have anchored, sheltering from the storm that has arisen?”

“That same am I,” answered the boy.

“Then who art thou?” again asked the invisible speaker.

“I would tell thee,” he replied, “if it were not that I first wish thee to oblige me by relating thy history, which, from the words thou hast uttered, I imagine is not as happy as thou could’st desire it to be.”

“Then listen,” was the reply, “and I will briefly relate the history of my misfortunes. The commander of this ship is called Arnoldo, and he is the son and heir of the King of Denmark, into whose power there fell (owing to many extraordinary accidents) an illustrious lady, who was my mistress, and according to my idea, she is of such exceeding beauty that, from all who now live upon the earth, and all which the most lively imagination or the sharpest wits can conceive, she would bear away the prize. Her prudence equals her beauty, and her misfortunes surpass both. Her name is Auristella; she is of kingly race, and is born of rich parents. She then, whom to describe all praise must fall short, was sold as a slave, and bought by Arnoldo; and with so much earnestness and devotion he did, and does still, love her, that a thousand times he wished, instead of making her a slave, to be himself her’s, and to acknowledge her as his lawful wife, and this too with the full consent of the King, his father, who thought the rare beauty and merits of Auristella deserved even more than to become a queen; but she refused, saying, ‘I cannot possibly break a vow that I have made to continue a virgin all my life, nor can I be made to violate this vow either by entreaties or by threats.’

“But nevertheless Arnoldo did not cease to hope, trusting much to the effect of time, and the variable nature of woman; until it happened that my mistress, the Lady Auristella, going to the sea-shore as she was accustomed for her amusement, (she being treated more as a queen than a slave,) some corsairs came in a vessel, and seized and carried her off, we know not where. The Prince Arnoldo imagines that these corsairs are the same who sold her the first time, which same corsairs infest all these seas, islands, and shores, stealing or buying the most beautiful maidens that they can find in order to make a profit by selling them to this Island where it is said we now are, and which is inhabited by some barbarians, a savage and cruel race, who hold among themselves as a thing certain and inviolable (persuaded it may be by a demon, or as some say by an ancient sorcerer whom they consider the wisest of men), that there shall spring from among them a King, who will conquer and gain a great part of the world. They know not who this hoped for king will be, and in order to know it, the sorcerer commands them to sacrifice all the men who come to the Island, and to make their hearts into powder, which is then given in some drink to all the principal savages in the island, with an express order, that he who should take it without a wry face or appearing to dislike it, should be elected King, but it is not he who is to conquer the world, but his son. Also, he commands them to bring into the island all the maidens they can procure, either by theft or purchase, and that the most beautiful shall be delivered immediately to the barbarian, whose succession has been determined by the drinking of the powder. These maidens purchased, or stolen, are well treated by them; in this alone they are not barbarous; and they buy them at the highest prices, which they pay in pieces of uncoined gold and in precious pearls, with which the sea around these islands, abounds. For this cause, and impelled by this interest and desire of gain, many have become pirates and merchants. Arnoldo then, as I have before said, fancies that Auristella may be in this island; — she, who is the other half of his soul, and without whom he cannot live: and in order to ascertain this fact, he has determined to sell me to the barbarians, so that I, remaining among them, may serve as a spy to discover what he wishes to know, and he is now hoping for nothing more than that the sea should be calm enough for him to land and conclude the sale. See then whether I have not reason to complain, since the lot that remains for me is to go and live among savages, where I shall not be beautiful enough to hope to become their Queen, especially if her cruel fate should have brought to this land the peerless Auristella. This, then, is the cause of the sighs thou hast heard, and from this fear arise the lamentations I have uttered.”

She ceased speaking, and the boy felt a something rise in his throat, and pressed his mouth to the boards, which he watered with copious tears; and after a short space, he asked if by chance she had any conjecture whether Arnoldo had obtained the love of Auristella, or whether it was possible that she, having elsewhere pledged her faith, had disdained his offers, and refused the splendid gift of a Throne; for it seemed to him, he said, that sometimes the laws of human affection were even stronger than those of religion. She answered, that though she had fancied there was a time, when Auristella seemed to like one Periander, who had taken her from her own country, a noble gentleman endowed with all the qualities that could make him beloved, yet she never heard her mention his name in the continual complaints that she made to Heaven of her misfortunes, nor in any other way whatsoever.

He asked if she knew this Periander, of whom she spoke. She said she did not, but that by what she had heard, she knew it was he who had carried off her lady, into whose service she had entered after Periander left her, owing to a very extraordinary incident.

They were discoursing thus, when Taurisa was called from above (this was the name of her who had related the story of her misfortunes). Hearing herself called, she said, “Without a doubt the sea is now calm and the tempest is over, and this is the summons for me, and I must be delivered up to my hard fate. May Heaven protect thee, who ever thou art, and mayest thou be preserved from having thy heart burnt to ashes in order to accomplish this vain and foolish prophecy, for the inhabitants of this island seek hearts to burn as well as maidens to keep, in hopes of its fulfilment.”

They parted here; Taurisa went on deck; the boy remained in deep meditation for a while, and presently he asked for some clothes, that he might rise and dress himself. They brought him a vestment of green damask cut in the same fashion as the linen one he had on. He then went on deck, where he was received by Arnoldo with kind courtesy, who seated him by his side. Taurisa was there, dressed in rich and graceful attire, after the fashion of a water nymph, or a Hamadryad of the woods. So much was Arnoldo filled with admiration for the youth, that he told him the whole history of his love for Auristella and his intentions, and even asked his advice as to what he should do; and inquired if he thought the plan he had devised to gain intelligence of Auristella, appeared to him well conceived.

The youth, whose mind was full of fancies and suspicions, in consequence of the conversation he had held with Taurisa, and also from what Arnoldo had told him, now rapidly revolving in his imagination all that might possibly happen if by chance Auristella should have fallen into the hands of the barbarians, answered thus:

“My Lord, I am not of an age to give you advice, but I feel a wish to be of use to you, and to employ in your service the life you have preserved and for which I have to thank you. My name is Periander, I am of noble birth, from whence springs my misfortunes and calamities, which it would take too much time to relate to you at present. This Auristella, whom you seek, is my sister, and I also am in search of her. It is more than a year since I lost her. By the name, and by the beauty, which you describe her as possessing in such a high degree, I know without a doubt, that this must be my lost sister, whom to find I would give not only my life but the happiness I hope to enjoy in finding her, and that is the very greatest degree imaginable. Thus, I, being so deeply interested in this search, am devising certain other means in my mind, which, though it would be more dangerous as far as my safety is concerned, would be more sure and speedy. You, my Lord Arnoldo, have determined to sell this damsel to the barbarians, in order that she, being in their power, may discover whether Auristella is there likewise, of which she is to inform you, returning again to sell another damsel to these same barbarians, and if means do not fail her, Taurisa is to find out whether or no Auristella is among the number of those who are kept by the barbarians for the purpose you are acquainted with, and who are purchased by them with so much eagerness.”

“It is even so,” replied Arnoldo, “and I have chosen Taurisa rather than any other of the four maidens who are in the ship for the same purpose, because Taurisa knows her, having been her waiting-woman.”

“All this is well imagined,” said Periander, “but I am of opinion that no one will do this business so well as I myself will do it, since my age, my appearance, the interest I take in it, joined to the knowledge I have of Auristella, are all inciting me to advise that I should undertake this enterprise. Now see whether you agree with me in this and delay not a moment, for in cases of danger or difficulty, the advice and the undertaking should be settled together at once.”

The advice of Periander pleased Arnoldo, and without weighing the difficulties that might arise, put it into operation at once. And from many rich dresses which he had provided in the hope of finding Auristella, they attired Periander, who, in this disguise, came forth the most graceful and beautiful creature that mortal eyes had ever seen; since, unless we except Auristella, no other could possibly equal the beauty of the boy. The mariners stood in silent admiration; Taurisa, astonished; the Prince confused, with a notion that he might possibly not be the brother of Auristella, the consideration that he was a man, troubled his soul with the sharp pang of jealousy which can pierce even through adamant; that is to say, jealousy breaks through all security and prudence, although the enamoured heart be armed with both.

Finally, the metamorphosis of Periander being completed, they put out a little to sea in order to be seen by the barbarians. The hurry Arnoldo was in to hear something of Auristella had prevented him from first ascertaining from Periander who he and his sister were, and by what accidents he had been brought into the miserable condition in which he was found. All this, according to the natural order of things should have preceded the confidence reposed in him; but, as is common with lovers (occupied solely by the thought of seeking means to arrive at the desired end of their wishes, rather than in curiosity concerning other people’s affairs), he never found time to enquire concerning that, which it would have been well for him to have known, and which he came to know afterwards when the knowledge did him no good.

They sailed off a little way from the island as I said before; the ship decked out with flags and streamers, which floated in the air, making a gay and beautiful spectacle.

The calm sea, the clear sky, the sound of the clarions and other instruments of music, both warlike and joyous, filled all hearts with admiration, and the barbarians who looked on at no great distance, remained, as it seemed, doubtful what part to take, and then all at once they crowded to the shore, armed with the enormous bows and arrows I have already described. A little less than a mile brought the ship to the island, when after a discharge of artillery, which she had both heavy and numerous, the boat was lowered, and Arnoldo, Taurisa and Periander, with six sailors, got into it, putting a piece of white linen at the point of a lance as a signal of peace, this being customary among all nations. What befell them, is related in the following chapter.

Chapter III.

Arnoldo sells Periander to the inhabitants of the barbarous isle, dressed as a woman.

As the boat approached the shore, the barbarians crowded together, each one eager to be the first to know who it could be that was coming in it; and as a sign that they would receive them peaceably, and not as foes, they brought many bits of white linen, and waved them in the air, discharging a number of arrows at random, and jumping about with incredible agility.

The boat was not able to touch the land, because the sea was low, for the tide in these countries rises and falls like ours; but the barbarians, to the number of twenty, came down through the wet sand near enough to touch the boat with their hands. Among the men was a woman, seemingly a barbarian, but of great beauty, and before any one else spoke she said in the Polish tongue, “O ye, whoever ye are, our Prince, or rather our Governor, desires to know your names, whence ye come, and what it is ye seek: if by chance ye bring any damsel to sell, ye shall be well repaid for her; but if ye deal in any other merchandise, we need it not; for in this island, we have, thanks be to Heaven, everything that is necessary to human life without needing to go elsewhere to seek it.”

Arnoldo understood perfectly all she said, and asked her if she was of the barbarian race, or whether she had perchance been brought thither among those women bought in other countries?

To which she replied, “Answer me what I have asked of you, for my masters do not approve that I should speak any other words than those which are necessary for the negotiation.”

Arnoldo hearing this, said, “We are natives of Denmark, and our business is that of merchants and corsairs; we barter what we can, we sell again what we buy, and we dispose quickly of what we steal; among other prizes that have lately fallen into our hands, is this damsel, (here he pointed to Periander,) who being one of the most beautiful, or rather I should say the most beautiful in the world, we bring her here to sell, as the purpose for which you buy them in this island has reached our ears: and if the prediction of your wise men is true, you may well expect from this unparalleled beauty and noble character, that she will give you sons both beautiful and brave.”

The barbarians hearing him speak, asked the woman what it was he said. She told them, and four men instantly set off, as it soon appeared, to inform the governor. Whilst they were gone, Arnoldo asked if there were many women who had been bought, now in the island, and if any one amongst them was as beautiful as her whom he had brought for sale. “No,” answered she, “for though there are many, not one is equal to me in beauty; I am in truth one of those unhappy beings intended to be queen of the barbarians, which would be the greatest misfortune that could befall me.”

The men who had gone now returned, and with them a great many more, and their prince or chief, who might be distinguished by the rich apparel he wore.

They had thrown a light and transparent veil over Periander, that the brightness of his beauty might shine forth more suddenly and dazzle the eyes of the barbarians, who were surveying him very attentively. The governor spoke to the woman, and the result was, that she made known to Arnoldo his with that the veil should be withdrawn. They complied, and Periander standing up, displayed his lovely countenance; his eyes were raised to heaven, as if in grief for his sad fate, then the beams of those two bright suns fell on the bystanders, and met the gaze of the barbarian chief, who fell on his knees and made signs that he was worshipping after his fashion, the beautiful image before him. By the help of the female interpreter, in a few words the sale was completed, and they paid Arnoldo all he demanded without the smallest hesitation. All the barbarians departed, but speedily returned, laden with a quantity of large wedges of gold and long bags of fine pearls, which, without counting, they delivered to Arnoldo; who, taking Periander by the hand, gave him to the barbarian, and bade the interpretess tell her master that in a few days he would return, and bring them another damsel, if not quite as beautiful as this one, yet deserving of being purchased.

Periander embraced his companions with eyes full of tears, which sprung not from any feminine weakness, but from the recollection of the severe perils he had just escaped; Arnoldo made the signal for his ship to fire her guns, and the barbarian chief commanded his musical instruments to sound, and in a moment or two the whole place resounded with the noise of the artillery and the savage music filling the air with confused and mingled din.

In the midst of all this clamour, Periander was lifted out of the boat by the barbarians, and placed on dry land; Arnoldo returned to his ship with those who had accompanied him. It was arranged between him and Periander, that, unless compelled by the wind, he should not go far away from the island, but remain just so distant, as not to be seen by the inhabitants, and return if it should seem necessary, to sell Taurisa, if Periander made the signal agreed upon as to whether he met with Auristella or not. And in case she should not be in the island, no means were to be lost to endeavour to liberate Periander, even though it might be necessary to proceed to open war with the barbarians, in which he would exert all his power and that of his friends.

Chapter IV.

Auristella is taken from her prison in the disguise of a man, in order to be sacrificed; a battle ensues among the barbarians, and the island is set on fire. A Spanish barbarian takes Periander, Auristella, Clelia and the Interpretess, to his father’s cave.

AMONG those who came to settle the purchase of the maiden, was one named Bradamiro; he was one of the most valiant and illustrious men in the island, a despiser of all laws, arrogant beyond all arrogance, and daring as himself alone, for none other could compare with him. He, believing, as every one else did, that Periander was a woman, from the moment he first beheld her, determined to have the beautiful prize for himself, without caring to prove or accomplish the laws of the prophecy. As soon as Periander had set his foot on the island, the barbarians strove with one another for the honour of bearing him on their shoulders, and with great joy and rejoicing they carried him into a large tent, which stood in the midst of many smaller ones, in a delicious and peaceful meadow, all covered with the skins of animals both wild and tame. The woman who had served as interpretess for the bargain and sale of the fair captive, never quitted his side, and in a language which he did not the least comprehend, tried to console him. The governor then gave orders that a message should be sent to the prison island, and to bring forth a man, if they happened to have one, in order to make a trial of their deluding hope. He was immediately obeyed, and at the same time the ground was spread with skins of animals, dressed, perfumed, cleaned, and soft in texture, to serve as table-cloths; and on these, without order or neatness, were placed various kinds of dried fruits. At the sight and odour of this repast, several of the barbarians began to eat, and by signs invited Periander to do likewise. Bradamiro alone remained standing, leaning upon his bow, with his eyes fixed on the supposed woman. The governor bade him seat himself, but he refused to obey; and after heaving a deep sigh, he suddenly turned his back upon the party and quitted the tent. At this moment one of the barbarians entered, and told the governor that just as he and four of his companions had reached the shore in order to pass over to the prison where the captives were kept, a raft came in bringing a man and the woman who was the guardian of the dungeon; which news put an end speedily to the dinner, and the governor, rising with all the company, hurried to inspect the raft. Periander desired that he might accompany them, with which they were well pleased.

By the time they reached the shore, the prisoner and his keeper had landed. Periander looked at them to ascertain whether by chance he knew the unfortunate creature, whose hard fate had placed him in the very situation he himself had so lately been in: but he was not able to catch a full view of the face because he kept it hung down, and seemed to wish it should remain concealed; but the woman he knew full well, the woman whom they called the guardian of the prison. He felt as if his senses failed him when he looked at her, for clearly and without any doubt he knew that she was Clelia, the nurse of his beloved Auristella. Fain would he have spoken but he durst not, for he knew not what to conjecture about her; and so restrained his feelings and his tongue, and waited to see what would happen.

The governor, impatient to hasten the trial which was to give a happy and fitting mate to Periander, gave orders immediately to sacrifice the boy, (for he seemed no more,) that his heart might furnish powder for the absurd and lying experiment which the sorcerer had ordained.

He was instantly seized by several of the barbarians, and without any further ceremony than that of tying a piece of linen over his eyes, they made him kneel down to have his hands tied behind him, which he submitted to at once without uttering a word, like a tame lamb expecting the stroke that was to deprive him of life. But old Clelia, at the sight, upraised her voice and cried out with more vigour than might have been expected at her years— “Hold! O great and powerful governor, and know what you are about to do; for this youth, whom you are going to slay, can in no way be of any use for the purpose you require, seeing that he is the most beautiful woman imaginable, and no man. Speak, most lovely Auristella, and do not allow yourself to be deprived of life, overwhelmed as you are by the torrent of your misfortunes, but put your trust in that providence of Heaven, which has even now the power to save and preserve you, and enable you to enjoy it once more.”

At hearing these words, the cruel barbarians stopped the blow that was about to fall, for already had the knife touched the throat of the victim. The governor instantly ordered them to 9et her hands at liberty, and to unbind her eyes, when looking upon her more attentively, they saw that it was indeed the most beautiful face that ever was seen; and each man present, felt, that except it were Periander, no other living being could be compared to her. But how can tongue express or pen describe what were the feelings of Periander, when he saw that the now free, but lately condemned victim, was his own Auristella? A mist came over his eyes, his heart ceased to beat, and with weak and faltering steps he hastened to embrace her, saying, as he held her closely in his arms, “O beloved half of my soul, O — my pillar of hope, O prize, whether found for good or ill to me, I know not, but good methinks it must be since no evil can proceed from the sight of thee! Behold here thy brother, Periander.” And these last words he spoke in a tone so low, that they could be heard by none. He then went on, “Live, my lady, and my sister; there is no cruelty in this island towards women. Trust in Heaven, who since it has delivered you from the many perils and dangers you must have undergone, will surely also preserve you from those you have to dread henceforward.”

“Alas! my brother,” answered Auristella, (for she it was who had been so nearly sacrificed as a man,) “alas! my brother, how can I believe that this misfortune is the last we have to fear! A joyful thing, indeed, it has been to meet with thee, but in a most unhappy place and circumstances we meet.”

They wept together in speaking thus, which Bradamiro seeing, and thinking that Periander wept with grief for fear the newly-discovered friend or relation he seemed to have found should be sacrificed, determined to set the captive free, and at once break through every obstacle; so stepping up to them, he seized Auristella with one hand, and Periander with the other, and with a threatening air and proud bearing, he cried with a loud voice, “Let no man if he values his life at all, dare to touch even so much as a hair of the head of either of these two persons. This maiden is mine because I love her, and this man shall be free because he is a friend of the maiden.”

He had hardly spoken when the governor of the barbarous isle, in mighty wrath and indignation, fitted a long sharp arrow to his bow, and drawing himself back and extending his left arm, he drew the cord to his ear with his right. The arrow flew with so good an aim and with such fury that it entered the mouth of Bradamiro, — stopped at once his utterance, and separated his soul from his body. Whereat all present remained astonished, surprised and as it were in suspense — but the deed, bold as it was sure, was not done with such impunity but that the perpetrator received in the same manner the reward of his daring act; for a son of Corsicurbo, the barbarian who was overwhelmed in the storm when Periander escaped, more light of foot than the arrow from the bow, in two bounds reached the governor, and with his uplifted arm plunged into his breast a dagger, which, although of stone, was more sharp and piercing than if it had been of steel. The governor closed his eyes in everlasting night, and thus by his death Bradamiro was avenged. The greatest tumult ensued among the friends and relations of both; all flew to arms, and soon, incited by vengeance and rage, the arrows flew on all sides, dealing death far and wide. When the arrows were spent, as hands and poignards did not fail, they fell upon each other without respect of kindred. The son respected not the father nor the brother his brother, and as among them were many enemies who owed one another grudges for former injuries, they fell to work tearing to pieces with their nails, and cutting with their knives, without any one attempting to restore peace.

Now whilst arrows and blows, and wounds and death, were busy all around, the aged Clelia, the interpretess damsel, Periander and Auristella, all remained huddled close together full of terror and dismay. In the midst of the confusion a number of barbarians who belonged to the party of Bradamiro, separated themselves from the combat and flew to set fire to a wood not far off, where stood the dwelling of the governor. The trees began to burn, and the wind favoured the flames, till the smoke and fire increased to such a height, that it seemed as if every one would soon be first blinded and then burnt. The night came on — very dark and dismal, the groans of the dying, the cries of the fierce combatants, the cracking sound of the fire, carried no terror into the hearts of the barbarians, which were still breathing nothing but rage and vengeance, but it filled with awe and fear those of the miserable little cluster of persons, who knew not what to do or how to find a refuge. But in this hour of alarm and peril, Heaven forgot not to send succour of so new and remarkable a kind, that it appeared to them a miracle.

Night had closed in, and as I said before, dark and cloudy; only the flames of the blazing wood gave light enough to distinguish objects, when a young barbarian came up to Periander, and in the Castilian tongue, which he well understood, said, “Follow me, beautiful maiden, and tell the others who are with you to do the same, and I will place you in safety, Heaven helping me.” Periander did not reply, but he rose up, signed to Auristella, Clelia, and the interpretess, that they should pluck up courage and go with him, and so, treading over dead corpses, and trampling upon weapons at every step, they followed the young barbarian who was their guide. The flames of the burning wood reached very near to them, and lighted them on their way. The advanced age of Clelia, and the great youth of Auristella, made it difficult for them to keep up with the rapid steps of the guide. Perceiving which, the barbarian, who was young and strong, caught up Clelia, and seated her on his shoulder; Periander did the same by Auristella; the interpretess less delicate, and more active, followed with manly vigour: and in this way, sometimes mounting, sometimes descending, they reached the sea-shore, and after coasting along for about a mile in a northerly direction, the guide stopped before the mouth of a spacious cavern, into which the tide came and went. They waded through the water a little way, turning first to the right and then to the left; and now narrowing, now widening, sometimes bending almost double and crawling on the ground, sometimes walking upright; they moved on till they came out into what seemed to them an open plain, where they might walk freely, at least so their guide told them, for they could discern nothing through the darkness, as the light of the burning forest, which still blazed fiercely, did not reach them here.

“Blessed be God,” exclaimed the barbarian, in the same Castilian tongue, “who hast brought us here in safety, for although there is still some danger to fear, it is not that of death.”

Then they saw that there approached rapidly a great light like a comet, or rather a meteor, which seemed to move through the darkness. They expected its coming with some alarm, but the barbarian said, “This is my father coming to receive me.”

Periander, who could speak the Castilian language, though not very fluently, said to him, “May Heaven reward thee, O — human angel, or whoever thou mayest be, for the kind deed thou hast done; and even though our death should only be delayed, we still gratefully acknowledge the benefit received.”

The light now came near, carried by a person seemingly a barbarian, whose age appeared to be about fifty years. On approaching them he put down the light, which was a thick pine-branch, and embraced his son with open arms; asking, in Castilian, what had happened that he had brought so large a company. “Father,” he replied, “let us go to our den, for I have much to say and more to consider. The island is in a blaze; all the inhabitants are now either ashes or half-burnt corpses. These few per sons that you see I have stolen from the fire and the knife of the barbarians: let us go, sir, as I said to our retreat, that my mother and sister may exercise their charity in behalf of these poor weary and frightened guests.”

The father acted as guide, and they all followed. Clelia, now somewhat revived, was able to walk, but Periander would not part with the lovely burden he had carried. It was not possible that he should find that heavy, Auristella being the sole joy he had on earth.

They had not gone very far when they arrived in front of a high and steep rock, at the foot of which they perceived a very narrow opening or cave, the walls and roof of which were this same rock. Two women drest in the barbarian costume, came forth with lighted pine-branches in their hands. One was a girl about fifteen years of age; the other, who seemed approaching to thirty, was beautiful, but the younger one was surpassingly fair. One of them cried, “Ah my father and my brother;” the elder only said, “Welcome, beloved son of my affections.” The interpretess was amazed to hear any one speak in this country (especially women who looked like the native islanders) any language but the customary dialect, but when she was about to ask them by what mystery they spoke the Castilian tongue, she was prevented by the father bidding his wife and daughter spread the hard floor of the cave with woolly fleeces. They obeyed, placing their torches against the walls. They then hastened to bring from an inner cave the fleeces of sheep and goats, and other animals, with which they adorned the place, and shielded their guests from the cold they were beginning to feel severely.

Chapter V.

The account that the Spanish barbarian gives of himself to his new guests.

SHORT and quickly finished was the supper, but to sup without fear made it savoury. They replaced the torches with fresh ones, and although there was a good deal of smoke in the apartment, it was warm. The dishes on which the supper was served were neither of silver nor china; the hands of the young host and hostess were the plates, and the drinking cups were made from the bark of some tree more suited to the purpose than cork would have been. The young girl kept at a distance, and supplied them with water, fresh, clear and cool. Clelia soon fell asleep, for sleep is more welcome to age than any conversation however pleasant it may be. The elder hostess made her a couch in the inner apartment, of which the mattress and blankets were skins. She then returned to sit with the others, to whom the Spaniard now spoke as follows: “Although by rights I should hear your story first, yet will I tell you who and what I am, that you may conceal nothing from me after having heard my history of myself.

“As my good fortune would have it I was born in Spain, in one of her best provinces. My family is respectable though not noble, I was brought up in affluence; I learned grammar, which is the step that leads to the other sciences, but my star inclined me rather to that of arms, than of letters. In my youth I had no friendship for either Bacchus or Ceres, nor had Venus any charms for me either. Impelled then by my inclinations, I left my country, and went to the wars, which at that time his Majesty the Emperor Charles V. was waging in Germany with some of its potentates? Mars befriended me; I acquired the name of a good soldier. The emperor distinguished me, I made friends, and above all, I learned liberality and good breeding — one learns this in the school of a Christian soldier. I returned home with riches and honours, intending to remain some days there in order to enjoy the society of my parents, who were both living, and of the friends who expected me. But that which men call fortune, — for my part I know not what she is, — envious of my tranquillity, turning the wheel she is said to hold, threw me down from the summit on which I had been placed into the depths of misery-wherein you see me now, using, as her instrument wherewith to effect this, a gentleman, the second son of a nobleman who had an estate near my home. He came to our village on a festival-day. In the square there was a circle of gentlemen of whom I was one. Coming up to me, with an arrogant air and manner, he said, smiling, ‘So you are a valiant soldier, Senor Antonio, and the public talk of all Flanders and Italy has declared you to be truly a most gallant and generous gentleman.’

‘And my good Antonio must know how glad I am to hear this,’ I answered (being myself this Antonio). ‘I thank you a thousand times, my lord, for the praise you bestow on me, your lordship does well to honour your countrymen and servants; but with all this, I would wish your lordship to know that I gained my honours and rewards in Flanders, but good breeding I inherited at my birth, and therefore I deserve for that neither praise nor blame. But, nevertheless, good or bad, I am your lordship’s very humble servant, and I beseech you to honour me according to my desert.’

“A gentleman who stood by me, and one of my particular friends, said to me in not so low a voice but that the young nobleman could hear, ‘Antonio, my friend, how you talk, one does not call Don Such a one, — My lord.’ Before I could reply the young nobleman answered, ‘The good Antonio speaks well, for he treats me after the Italian fashion, which is to say — your lordship, instead of your worship.’

“‘ I am perfectly well acquainted,’ said I, ‘ with the customs and usages of well-bred people, and in addressing your lordship as my lord, it is not after the fashion of Italy, but that I desire to give you your full title according to the rank you bear in Spain; and I, being only a simple gentleman and raised by my own deeds, am at least deserving of the common forms of politeness from any nobleman in the land, and he who fails in this (here I clapped my hand to my sword) is not worthy to be called a gentleman.’ So saying, I gave him two cuts on the head, bestowed with very good will, which took him so by surprise that he hardly knew what had happened to him, nor stirred a step in his own defence, and I awaited his attack, sword in hand. His first surprise over, he drew his sword and prepared to avenge himself with great spirit; but this was prevented, partly by the blood that flowed from his wounds and that the byestanders interfered, laid hold of me and made me retire to my father’s house, where the story was soon told; my friends represented to me strongly the danger I was in, and providing me with money and a good horse, advised me to put myself in safety, since I had made myself such great and powerful enemies. Accordingly I did so, and in two days had passed the boundary of Arragon, where I breathed awhile. In short, I determined to return to Germany, where I intended again to enter the service of the emperor, but there I was warned that my enemy and many more were seeking me, with the purpose of taking my life by any means they could. This, as was not unnatural, rather alarmed me, and I returned again to Spain, for I thought there could not be a safer asylum than the home of my enemy. I saw my parents in the night time, provided myself with money and jewels; with these I came to Lisbon, and embarked on board a vessel which was on the point of sailing for England, in which were several English gentlemen, who had come out of curiosity to visit Spain, and having seen all, or at least the best part of her principal cities, were returning home to their own country.

“It so happened that I was disputing a point of small importance with one of the English sailors, in the course of which, growing angry, I was obliged to give him a blow. This excited the wrath of the other sailors, and in fact of the whole crew, who seized every missile weapon that came to hand, wherewith to assail me. I retreated to the forecastle, and took one of the English gentlemen as my shield, putting myself behind him, which mode of defence so far availed me, that I was not instantly slain.

“The other gentlemen quieted the tumult; but on condition that I should be thrown into the sea, or at least, that I should be cast adrift in a small boat in which I might return to Spain, or wherever Providence might send me.

“This was done accordingly; they put me into the boat with two barrels of water, one of butter, and some biscuit. I thanked my protectors for the favour shown me, and set out on my voyage with only two oars. The ship was soon far away. Night came on, and I was alone in the middle of the wide ocean, at the mercy of the wind and waves. I raised my eyes to heaven, and recommended my soul to God, with as much devotion as I could; then I looked northward, by which I hoped to distinguish whither I was going, but I knew not the place where I was. Six days and six nights I went on thus, trusting more to the mercy of Heaven than to my own exertions, for my arms were quite tired with the continued work they had to do. I abandoned the oars, unshipped them, and laid them in the boat, to assist me again, when the sea permitted and my strength returned. I laid myself down at full length on my back, shut my eyes, and there was not a saint in heaven I did not invoke in my inmost heart to aid me. It may perhaps be hard to be believed, that in the midst of this my greatest need, there came upon me a very heavy sleep, so heavy that I lost all sense and feeling; but in my dreams imagination pictured all kinds of horrible deaths, — all were in the water, and in one it seemed to me that I was devoured by wolves and torn in pieces by wild beasts, so that waking or sleeping, my life was a prolonged death. From this not very pleasant dream, I was roughly awakened by a tremendous wave, which washed over the boat and filled it with water. I saw my danger, and hastened, as well as I was able, to restore the wave to its parent sea. My oars availed me nothing, though I again attempted to use them. The sea was growing boisterous, scourged and fretted by a south-west wind, which seems to prevail more powerfully in these seas than in any others. I saw that it was folly to oppose my little boat to its fury, my weak and fainting strength to its fierceness; so once more I laid down my oars, and let the boat run where it pleased the wind and waves to carry it.

“I had again recourse to prayer, I renewed my promises, I increased the waters of the ocean with the streams that poured from my eyes, not from the fear of death that seemed fast approaching, but from a dread of the punishment my sins deserved. I do not know how many days and nights I was thus a wanderer on the wide sea, which became wilder and fiercer each day. At length I came to an island which seemed to be inhabited by human beings, although full of wolves which ran about it in flocks. I got shelter under a rock near the shore, not daring to set foot on land, for fear of the animals I had perceived. I ate some of my biscuit, which was mouldy, but necessity and hunger stop at nothing. Night came on less obscure than had lately been the case, the sea seemed calmer and promised better things for the coming day; I looked in the heavens, the stars were shining, and all seemed to speak of fair weather at sea, and tranquillity in the sky. I was thus situated, when it seemed to me, by the doubtful light, that the rock which served me as a harbour, was crowned with wolves, such as I had seen before in my dreams, and one of them (as was indeed the fact) spoke in a clear distinct voice, and in my native tongue— ‘Spaniard,’ it said, ‘go away, and seek thy fortune elsewhere, unless it is thy wish to die here, torn into pieces by our teeth and claws; and ask not who it is that tells thee this, but give thanks to Heaven, who has permitted thee to find pity even among savage beasts.’

“I leave it to you to guess whether I was alarmed or no; but my terror was not so great as to prevent me from instantly profiting by the advice I had received: I shipped the oars, took them in hand, and rowed with great vigour till I was fairly out at sea once more.

“But, as it is a common saying, that misfortunes and’ afflictions disturb the memory of those who suffer, I cannot tell how long it was that I was moving about in those seas, finding not one, but a thousand deaths at every moment staring me in the face; but at length a tremendous tempest flung my boat and me upon this island, in the same spot where is the mouth of the cave by which you entered. The boat had got into the cave on dry land, but the surf would return, and might carry it out again to sea, which I perceiving, threw myself upon the sand, and digging my nails firmly in, I managed to place myself out of reach of the returning wave; and although with the boat the sea would take away the means of saving my life, yet I remained on the ground, well pleased at any rate to change the manner of my death, and seeing life prolonged, hope did not desert me utterly.”

The Spaniard had reached this part of his story, when from the inner apartment, where they had left Clelia, were heard groans and lamentations. Periander, Auristella, and the rest, hastened with lights to see what was the cause. They found Clelia seated on the skins, her back supported by the rock, her eyes turned up to heaven, and almost in her last moments.

Auristella flew to her, and in tender and mournful accents she exclaimed, “What ails you, my beloved nurse? Is it possible that you are wishing to leave me thus alone, at the very moment when I stand most in need of your counsels.” Clelia turned herself a little round, and taking Auristella’s hand in her’s,— “Yes, child of my love, it is even so,” she said, “I could have wished to live till I had seen you placed in the condition that you deserve to be in, but Heaven will not permit this, and I am resigned to its will. All I ask of you, my own beloved mistress, is, that if ever a happier fate should be yours, and any of my relations should be living, you will let them know that I died in the Christian faith, and in that of the holy Roman Catholic Church. I would say more, but I cannot.” She then pronounced the name of Jesus several times, and closed her eyes for ever; at sight of which Auristella also closed hers, and sunk to the earth in a deep swoon; those of Periander were as fountains — and as rivers, all the rest. Periander flew to assist his Auristella, who returned to life only to utter such lamentations, to shed so many tears, and heave such sighs, as might have moved even hearts of stone to pity. It was determined that the funeral should be on the following day, and the young barbarian and his sister remained to watch the corpse. The others retired to rest during the short remainder of the night.

Chapter VI.

In which the Spaniard continues his Story.

DAYLIGHT was long in appearing, even to the eyes of those accustomed to the gloomy region, because the smoke and ashes of the fire, which still continued burning, impeded the sun’s rays from shining on the earth. The elder Spaniard ordered his son to go forth, as he was accustomed to do, and learn what was doing in the island.

The others had passed the night in disturbed dreams; Auristella could not sleep from grief for the loss of her nurse Clelia, and her wakefulness kept Periander also on the watch. They both went forth into the open space before the cave, and saw how Nature had made and fashioned it, as if Art and Industry had been at work to create it. It was a circular space, surrounded by high and rugged rocks, and, as well as they could judge, it appeared that for the distance of a league in length, the place was full of trees, which bore fruit, though sour, yet eatable. Grass grew luxuriantly, for the water that issued from the rocks kept up a perpetual verdure. They were admiring this with some wonder, when the Spaniard, their host,’ approached and said, “Come, my guests, and let us bury the dead body — then we will continue the history which I left unfinished.” They followed him, and the remains of poor Clelia were laid in a hollow of the rock, and covered over with earth and large stones. Auristella begged that a cross might be put to mark the spot, as a sign that the person there buried had been a Christian. The Spaniard said that he had a large cross in his dwelling, which should be put above the grave-. The last farewell was given, and Auristella’s grief burst out afresh, whose tears instantly caused answering drops in Periander’s eyes. To wait the young barbarian’s return, they all hastened to shut themselves up in the cavern where they had slept, to escape the cold, which threatened to be severe; and seated upon the soft skins, the Spaniard claimed their attention, and pursued his narrative as follows: —

“When I lost the boat which brought me to the sands, by the returning waves which carried it away, as I before said, with its departure fled my hopes of escape; nevertheless I did not lose courage; I came to this spot, and it seemed to me as if Nature had made and fashioned it for a theatre, where might be represented the tragedy of my misfortunes. I wondered that I saw no people, but only some mountain goats and small animals of various kinds. I surveyed the whole place, and found this cave in the rocks, which I pitched upon at once as my dwelling. Finally, having surveyed it all, I returned to the entrance by which I had come, to try if I could hear any human sounds, or find some person who might tell me where I was. My good fortune, and pitying Heaven, which had not quite forgotten me, sent a girl, a native of the island, not more than fifteen years of age, who was searching for shells and other marine treasures, among the rocks and stones of the sea-shore. At sight of me she stopped, her feet seemed as if nailed to the spot, the collection of shells and sea-weeds fell to the ground. Taking her in my arms, without saying a word to her, or she to me, I carried her to my cave, and set her down in the place where we now arc. I kissed her hands, put my cheek to hers, and by every means I could imagine, tried to show that I only meant kindness to her. She, after her first alarm was over, looked at me attentively with wondering eyes, then touched me with her hands, and felt me all over. By degrees she lost all fear, laughed and embraced me, and taking out of her bosom a bit of bread, not made of wheat, but after her own country fashion, she put it in my mouth, and said something in her own language: I knew afterwards that she was asking me to eat, and I did so, for in truth I was in great need of some food. She then took me by the hand, and led me to the stream, which runs not far off, making signs that I should drink. I was never weary of looking at her. To me she seemed an angel from heaven, rather than a savage islander. We returned to the entrance of the cavern, and there I tried by signs and words (which she understood not) to persuade her to return to me again. I embraced her tenderly, and she in an innocent manner kissed me on the forehead, telling me by signs she would come and visit me soon again. I went back to this place and employed myself in finding out whether the fruit, with which the trees were loaded, was good for food. I found walnuts, filberts, and some wild pears, for which I returned thanks to God.

“I spent the night in the same place, and longed for the day, hoping again to see the beautiful islander, although I was not without some fear that she would relate what she had seen, and perhaps give me up to the barbarians, with whom I imagined the island was inhabited; but this fear left me, when I saw her at the opening of the cave the following morning, beautiful as the sun, gentle as a lamb, not accompanied by savages to seize me and take my life, but laden with food to support it.”

The Spaniard had reached this part of his story, when the youth who had been sent out to gain intelligence, arrived, and brought word that the island was almost entirely destroyed by the fire, and nearly the whole of the inhabitants dead, some by fire, and some by the knife. That if any survived they had put out to sea in their rafts, to escape the flames on land; that they might safely leave their concealment, and go through the island, where they were not prevented by the fire, and that each one must consider what steps would be best to take in order to escape from this accursed land; for all around were other islands, inhabited by savages, but of less cruel and barbarous natures; and, possibly, in a change of place, they might change also their fortune.

“Be composed, my son, and stay quiet for a few minutes, for I am relating the story of my adventures; and I am nearly come to the end of these, though not, I fear, to the end of my misfortunes.”

“Do not weary yourself, my dear husband,” said the elder of the women, “by giving all the minute details which very possibly may fatigue the hearers as well as the narrator; leave it to me to tell all that remains to be told up to the present moment.”

“I am content to let it be so,” replied the Spaniard, “for I shall have great pleasure in hearing how you will relate the story.”

“Well then,” said she, “the end of all these visits that “I made to this place was this, I agreed to call this man my husband and to become his wife, according to the fashion amongst Christians, which he promised he would observe, and in this cave were born the son and daughter whom you have seen. He taught me his language, and I in return taught him mine; he also instructed me in the holy Catholic faith, and he baptized me in the rivulet, although he told me he could not do it with all the customary ceremonies of his native land. He explained to me as well as he could his own religion, and I received all he said in my inmost heart, and gave it my full and entire belief. I believe in the Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons, and yet one God. He also taught me how the Holy Roman Catholic Church is ruled by the Holy Spirit, and governed by the Pope, who is priest, vicar, and viceroy of God on earth, and the legitimate successor of St. Peter, the first Pastor of the Church, after Jesus Christ. Great things he told me about the blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven, and the shelter and refuge of all sinners. Many other things besides he taught me; but I think I have told you enough, to show that I am a true Catholic Christian. I, simply, in pity gave to him a soul rude and unpolished; he has informed and Christianized it. I gave myself to him, thinking that in so doing I committed no wrong, and the result of our union has been the two children you see here, who will increase the number of true believers, In return for all he has done for me, I gave him a quantity of the gold with which this island abounds, and some pearls which I keep by me, in the hope that the day would come when we may be delivered from this prison, and go where we can dwell in safety and freedom. —— Now it seems to me I have told you all that my husband Antonio, who is also called, The Spanish barbarian, wished you to know.” —

“That is true, my Ricla,” he replied, for such was her name; and all the company then expressed their great interest in the eventful history they had heard, bestowing upon them a thousand compliments and good wishes for the future, especially Auristella, who had contracted a warm affection for the mother and daughter.

The boy (who as well as his father was called Antonio) now observed that it would not do for them to remain idly here, without taking into consideration how they might escape from their present hiding-place; for if the fire which still continued burning, should extend over the hills, or if the wind was to bring some sparks into their retreat, all would speedily be consumed.

“That is true, my son,” said the father; and Ricla advised them to wait two days, for that there was one island so near you could distinctly see it when the sun shone and the sea was calm, and its inhabitants come occasionally to sell and barter what they have and make bargains with the islanders. “I will go forth,” said she, “for none will hear or impede me, since the dead cannot do either of these things. I will contrive to buy a boat at whatever price they ask, telling them that I need it in order to escape with my husband and children who are shut up in a cave, to shelter from the fire; but you must know that these boats are made of the trunks of trees, covered with the hides of animals, to prevent the water entering by the sides, and according to what I have observed they can only be used in calm weather, and they carry none of those bits of linen cloth that I have seen in the boats which come sometimes to our coasts, bringing men and maidens for sale, to feed the superstitious follies that have long been the practice in this island. Now, I believe, such boats as I have described are not fit to trust to in the open sea, and encounter the storms and tempests that are so frequent.”

Periander enquired “whether the Senor Antonio had never tried this experiment during all the years he had been shut up here?”

“No answered Ricla, “because too many eyes were upon me, and it would have been quite impossible for me to find an opportunity for agreeing with the owners of the boats, and making a purchase or finding an excuse for so doing.”

“That was the cause truly,” said Antonio, “and not the insecurity of the boats; but now that Heaven has sent me this counsel I mean to follow it, and my good Ricla will be on the watch for the merchants of the other isle, and without haggling as to the price, will purchase a boat, with all the requisite sea stores, saying that she wants it for the purpose she has mentioned.”

By degrees all came to be of the same opinion, and when they left the cave and emerged into the country, they were amazed to see what slaughter had been done by the flames and by the fight; they saw death in a thousand different shapes, of which senseless fury and angry passions had been the inventors. They also observed that the barbarians who had survived the slaughter, collected in their boats, were at a distance, looking on at the conflagration of their homes; and some they thought had passed over to the island which served as a prison for their captives. Auristella was desirous of going there also to see if perchance any wretched creatures remained in the dark dungeon, but this was rendered unnecessary by the arrival of a raft containing about twenty persons, whose garb and appearance plainly showed that they were the unfortunate prisoners who had been in the dungeon. When they reached the shore they kissed the ground, and even appeared inclined to worship the fire, because they understood from the barbarian who had set them free from their horrible place of confinement, that the island was all in flames, and they had no longer anything to fear from the inhabitants. They were kindly welcomed by the little company, so lately themselves rescued, and consoled in the best manner they were able. Some told the story of their misfortunes; others were silent, unable to find words to express what they felt.

Ricla was somewhat surprised that there should have been a barbarian compassionate enough to have released them, and that none of them who had taken to the raft had (as they supposed) gone over to the prison island. One of the captives said that the person who came to release them spoke in the Italian tongue, and that he told them all the miserable history of the burning island, advising them to come over and to make themselves some compensation for their sufferings, by taking possession of the gold and pearls they would find in abundance; that he himself would follow them on another raft which was left there to keep them company, and devise a plan for getting free.

The various stories told by the captives were so different, some so remarkable and extraordinary, and some so melancholy, that they drew alternate tears and laughter from the hearers.

Six boats were now seen approaching the island, — they were those of which Ricla had spoken. They came to the shore, but did not produce any merchandise, because none of the islanders appeared to buy it. Ricla went to bargain with these merchants for their boats, as she had arranged she would. They would only part with four, keeping two for themselves to return home in. Ricla was liberal, and paid the price they demanded, at once, in pieces of uncoined gold.

Two boats were given to the prisoners just freed from the dungeon, and in the other two the party embarked. All the provisions they could collect were put in one, and four of the newly released captives. In the other went Auristella, Periander, Antonio and his son, with the fair Ricla, the wise Transila, and the graceful Constance, daughter of Antonio and Ricla.

Auristella, however, before she quitted the island, wished to take a last farewell of the grave, where her beloved Clelia was buried. She was accompanied thither by all her friends, and shed many tears over the tomb. Then, returning to the shore, amid tears of mingled joy and sorrow, they embarked, having first knelt down on the sands and offered up sincere and fervent prayers to Heaven for a prosperous voyage, and to be guided where to go.

Periander took the command of his boat, the others followed; but just as the oars touched the water, for sails they had none, a light and active figure, in appearance one of the barbarian islanders, cried aloud in the Tuscan tongue, and said, “If any of ye in these boats are Christians, I implore ye for the love of the true God, to take a fellow Christian along with you.” One of the men in the other boat then said, “This is the person, gentlemen, who delivered us from our horrible captivity, and if you are as good as you appear to be, (he directed his speech to the party in the first boat,) it would be well to repay him for the kindness he showed to us, by receiving him into our company.” On hearing this, Periander ordered the boat which held the provisions to return and take in the supplicant; this done, they raised their voices in joyful chorus, took up their oars, and with glad hearts, they began their voyage. —

Chapter VII.

They embark and quit the barbarous Isle, and discover another Island.

FOUR miles or thereabouts, the four boats had gone, when they discovered a large ship, which going before the wind, with all her sails set, seemed coming on to attack them. Periander on seeing her said, “Without a doubt this must be Arnoldo’s ship returning to know what has happened to me, and now what is there I would not give to avoid seeing him!” Periander had told Auristella the whole of what had passed between him and Arnoldo, and what had been agreed upon by them to do.

Auristella was alarmed, for she did not wish to fall into the power of Arnoldo. We have already related, though briefly, all that had happened in the year during which she had been in his hands. The lovers did not desire that he should see them together, as, supposing even that he should be satisfied with the story of their feigned relationship as brother and sister, there was still always a fear that the true history of their parentage might be discovered; and more than this, how could she be certain that Periander would not be jealous with such strong excitement before his eyes? For what prudence will avail, what confidence has the lover, when, by mischance, jealous suspicions find a place in his breast?

However, all this was settled at once by the wind suddenly changing, which gave the sails of the advancing vessel a contrary direction, so that, in one short moment, they were lowered and again set in another, even to the topsails, and the ship began to run before the wind, in exactly the opposite course to that she had just come, quickly leaving the boats far behind. Auristella breathed again, Periander recovered his spirits, but the other passengers in the boats would have rejoiced to change their situation, and to have been taken on board the ship whose size promised them greater security and a better voyage. In less than two hours she was out of sight; they might follow if they could, but it was impossible. All they were able to do was to make for another island, whose high snow-covered mountains, gave it the appearance of being near, but in reality it was more than six leagues distant.

Night closed in very darkly; the wind rose and was in their favour, which was a great relief to the rowers, who made all possible haste to reach the island. According to Antonio’s calculation it was midnight when they arrived. In order to bring their boats in, the surf not being high, they ran them ashore, and pushed them in with their arms. The night was so cold it forced them to seek a shelter from the frost, but they found none. Periander gave orders that all the women should get into the largest boat, and keep close together, to preserve themselves as much as possible from the cold. They did so, and the men made a bodyguard round the boat, walking up and down, waiting for the day to dawn, that they might discover where they were, for at present they could not tell whether the island was inhabited or not. As it is natural that anxiety should banish sleep, not one of all this company could close their eyes, which Antonio perceiving, he told the Italian barbarian that, in order to pass away the time and beguile the long hours of this weary night, it would be as well if he was to amuse them by relating the events of his life, as, in all likelihood, they must be wonderful and varied, since they had placed him in the situation and circumstances where they had found him.

“I will do this willingly,” replied the Italian, “although I fear that none will give their belief to them, so many, so new, and so extraordinary are they.”

“Our own adventures and the strange things we have seen, have taught and disposed us to believe anything we may be told, even if it should lean more to the improbable than the probable,” answered Periander.

“Let us then,” said the Italian, “come here alongside of the boat where the ladies are; perhaps the sound of my voice may lull some of them to sleep, and perchance some one from whose eyelids sleep is banished, may show compassion. It is a consolation to feel in relating a history of misfortunes, that others can weep with one.”

“At least for my part,” cried Ricla from the boat, “in spite of sleep, I have tears to offer, and sympathy to give, to your hard fate and the long period of your sorrows.” Auristella said the same; so all the party assembled round the boat, and lent an attentive ear to what the seeming barbarian was about to say. He commenced his narrative in the following words.

Chapter VIII.

In which Rutilio gives an account of his Life.

MY name is Rutilio, my native place Sienna, one of the most famous of Italian cities, my profession that of a dancing master: I excelled in this, and if I had pleased I might have been fortunate in it. There lived in Sienna a rich gentleman, to whom Heaven had given a daughter, more beautiful than discreet. Her father intended her to marry a Florentine gentleman, and that she might be adorned with every accomplishment that could be acquired, since the gifts of the understanding were wanting, he wished that I should teach her to dance, as grace and elegance of motion is more displayed in modest dances than in anything, and is indispensable for all ladies of quality. I began by teaching her how to move the body, but ended in also moving her heart. She having, as I said before, but little discretion, gave hers to me, and destiny, which then began the long current of my misfortunes, so willed it that I carried her off from her father’s house, and we set out intending to go to Rome, that we might enjoy one another’s company. But as love does not bestow his favours cheaply, and crimes ever bring punishment in their train (which should always be kept in mind), we were overtaken on the road by her father, so great was the diligence he made to seek for us. Her defence and mine, which was simply that I was carrying off my wife, and her’s, that she was going with her husband, was only an aggravation of my crime, which moved and disposed the judge to sentence me to death. I was thrown into prison with those condemned for other crimes more dishonourable than mine. In the prison I was visited by a woman who was accused of “fatucherie,” which would in the Castilian tongue be called witchcraft. She had been taken out of her confinement by the jailor’s wife, in order that she might cure her daughter of a complaint which the doctors failed in comprehending, by her herbs and spells. Finally, to make my story short, since there is no reason why being good it should also be long; seeing me thus fast bound, the cord at my throat, sentenced to death, without a hope, or chance of mercy, the witch said that if I would consent to marry her and take her for my wife, she would release me from this peril. She told me not to fear, for that on the very same night of the day when we held our conversation, she would break the chains and manacles, and in spite of all other obstacles, would set me at liberty, and in a place where I should be quite safe from the pursuit of my enemies, however great and powerful they might be.

“To me she seemed no witch, but an angel sent from Heaven, to rescue and save me. I waited for night, and in the depth of its silence she came; she bade me grasp the end of a cane, which she put into my hand, telling me to follow her. I felt somewhat alarmed, but as the case was urgent, I rose to comply, and followed her, finding myself free from chains, and bolts and bars removed, everywhere the prison doors were open, and prisoners and jailors, all alike, wrapt in profound sleep. When we reached the street, my guide spread upon the ground a cloak, and desired me to stand upon it, bidding me be of good heart, but that for a time I must suspend my devotions. I instantly perceived that this was a bad sign; instantly I knew that she was going to carry me through the air; and although as a well-educated Christian, I had been taught that there was no truth in all the stories of witchcraft, and considered them as mere fictions, which was very natural, still the danger I had been in, and the fear of speedy death, hurried me so much, that I set my foot upon the mantle, and she, murmuring some words I did not hear, the cloak, with us upon it, began to rise into the air, and I began to be horribly afraid, and in my heart there was not a saint in the Litany I did not call to my aid: she seemed aware of my fear, and suspected my invocations, for again she bade me leave them off. Miserable as I am, said I, what good can I expect, if I refuse to ask it of God, from whom all good comes? However, I shut my eyes, and resigned myself to be carried away by demons, for such are the post horses of witches; it seemed to me about four hours or more that we had travelled, when at the dawn of day, I found myself in an unknown country.

“The cloak touched the ground, and my guide said, ‘You are now safe, friend Rutilio, and in a place, where none of human race can harm you;’ and saying this, she clasped me in her arms, to embrace me in a very shameless manner.

I repulsed her, when, as it appeared to me, she, who had just embraced me, bore the shape of a wolf, which sight made my blood freeze within me, and disturbed my senses; but, as it often happens that in the worst perils, the very absence of hope makes one gain strength from despair, so mine impelled me to seize a knife I had with me by chance, which I plunged into the heart of what seemed to me a wolf, with such fury, that she fell on the earth, and in falling she lost her enchanted form, and I saw the miserable sorceress lying before me a bleeding corpse.

“Conceive, sirs, what a condition for me, alone, in an unknown land, without any one to guide me. I remained expecting that day would dawn at last, but it came not, nor could I discern the faintest sign in the horizon that the sun was rising. I removed to a distance from the corpse of the sorceress, for it caused me a feeling of horror to be near it. Frequently I raised my eyes to heaven, contemplating the motions of the stars, and it seemed to me by the course they had made that it ought to be day. I was in this dilemma, when I suddenly heard voices, and hastening towards the place whence these sounds proceeded, I called out in the Italian tongue, and asked, what country I was in. I was answered in the same language, ‘This land is Norway; but who art thou that askest this question, and in a language few here understand?’

“‘I am,’ I replied, ‘a miserable wretch, who, to escape death, have come here to meet it in another shape;’ and then I briefly related the history of my journey, and also the death of the witch. He to whom I spoke seemed to compassionate me, and said, ‘Then, good man, return infinite thanks to Heaven for having saved thee from the power of these accursed witches, of whom there is an abundance in these northern parts. It is said of them, that they change themselves into wolves, male and female, for there are both sorcerers and sorceresses. How this can be I know not, and, as a good Catholic Christian, I do not believe it; but nevertheless, experience proves the contrary, and all I can make out of it is, that such transformations are illusions of the evil one, and by God’s permission as a punishment for the abominable sins of this accursed sort of persons.’

“I asked him what hour it might be, for it appeared to me the night was long, and the day slow in coming. He told me, that the year in these countries was divided into four parts; three months of total night, when the sun never shone upon the earth at all; and three months of twilight, neither night nor day; there were also three months of perpetual day, when the sun was never hid, and three more of a night twilight; that the present season was the day twilight, and it was a vain hope to look for the light of the sun; and that it would be equally hopeless to look for a return to my own country, except during the season when it was always day, at which time ships sailed from these parts to England, France, and Spain, with various sorts of merchandise. He asked me if I knew of any way of gaining my bread, till the time should arrive when I could hope to return home to my own land. I told him I was a dancer, and a wonderful man for cutting capers, and that I knew a good many sleight of hand tricks. The man laughed aloud, and told me that these exercises, or employments, or whatever I was pleased to call them, would not avail me much, in Norway, or in any of these parts. He asked me if I knew what a goldsmith’s business was. I told him I had skill to learn anything he could teach me.

“‘Then come along brother,’ said he, ‘but first, let us go and bury this miserable creature.’

“We did so, and then he took me to a city where all the inhabitants walked about the streets, carrying lighted pine-branches in their hands, and so transacting the business of daily life. As we went along I enquired how and when he had come to this country, and if he really was Italian. He replied that one of his ancestors had married and settled here, having come to transact some important business, and that he had taught all his children his native language, and so it had descended to all his posterity until it had reached him, who was one of his cousins four times removed....

I could tell you much of the house where I was received, of the wife and children I found there, and servants of whom he had many, of his immense possessions, of the kind and hospitable reception I met with, but it would be to go on for ever; enough to tell you briefly that I learned his business, and in the space of a few months, could gain my own livelihood.

“At last there came a day when my master and patron, for so I might call him, gave orders that a quantity of his merchandise should be got ready to carry to some of the neighbouring islands, and to some which were very far distant. I accompanied him as much out of curiosity as a desire to sell what I had of my own property, in which voyage I saw many wonderful and fearful things, and others amusing and pleasant. I took note of manners, and customs, and ceremonies, unknown elsewhere. In fine, at the end of two months, we were overtaken by a tempest that lasted nearly forty days, at the end of which we were cast upon the island, from whence we have just escaped, among some rocks whereon our vessel went to pieces, and not one of its crew escaped alive but myself.

Chapter IX.

Wherein Rutilio continues his Story.

THE first thing that offered itself to my sight was the body of a barbarian hanging to a tree, by which I knew that I was in a country of savages, and immediately fear placed before my eyes a thousand different modes of death. Not knowing precisely which to dread, I expected and feared them all by turns. At last, since necessity is said to be the mother of invention, I bethought myself of an experiment, extraordinary enough; this was, to pull the dead barbarian off his bough, and having taken off all my own clothes, which I buried in the sand, to dress myself in his, which easily fitted, seeing they were made only of the skins of animals, not cut or fashioned in any way, but fastened round the waist, as you have seen. To conceal my foreign tongue, and that I might not be known to be a stranger, I pretended to be deaf and dumb, and in this guise I proceeded further into the island, jumping and making fantastic capers in the air.

“At a short distance I perceived a great number of the barbarians who flocked round me, and one and all asked (as I have since known) who I was, and whence I came, and whither I was going. I answered by keeping silence and making all the signs I could devise, again beginning to jump and cut capers in the air. I was followed by all the boys, let me go where I would, and thus I passed for a dumb barbarian, and the boys gave me food in return for my capers and merry-andrew tricks. In this way I have lived three years among them, and might pass all my life without being discovered. I paid great attention to their language, and learned to speak it very tolerably. I heard the prophecy about the duration of their kingdom, which had been pronounced by a very ancient and wise man, in whom they placed implicit credit. Many men have I seen sacrificed in order to accomplish it, many maidens I have seen purchased for the same purpose, until the conflagration of the island which you, sirs, have witnessed with your own eyes.

“I escaped from the flames and hastened to warn the prisoners in the dungeon, where you all no doubt have been. I saw these boats and flew to the shore, where in your generous bosoms I found an answer to my entreaties, and was received on board by you, for which I thank you with ray whole heart; and now I put my trust in Heaven, since we have been delivered from so many and such great dangers, that we may be favoured with a happy and prosperous voyage.”

Here Rutilio ceased speaking, leaving his hearers wondering and much interested by all he had told.

Day came on, sharp and cold, stormy, and threatening a snow-storm. Auristella now gave Periander something that Clelia had delivered into her hands the night on which she died. It was two waxen balls, one of which enclosed a magnificent diamond cross of inestimable value; the other contained two pearls, also of immense price. These jewels showed that Periander and Auristella were persons of great! consequence, although this was more plainly proved by their noble bearing and good manners. As the day advanced, Antonio made a little excursion inland, but could discover nothing but high mountains covered with snow, and returning to the boats, he said, the island seemed uninhabited, and he thought it would be better for them to seek elsewhere some land where they might be sheltered from the extreme cold that threatened them, and to provide themselves with food of which they should shortly stand in need. The boats were accordingly launched into the sea, and they all embarked and directed their course towards another island they discovered not very far off. As they were making way with all the speed two oars could accomplish, for each boat had no more, a voice, low and melodious, was heard to proceed from one of the two other boats, so sweet that they all listened to it with attention. It was remarked, especially by the elder Antonio, that the song was in the Portuguese tongue, which he understood perfectly. The voice ceased, but shortly after began again to sing in Castilian, in time to the motion of the oars, which impelled the boats gently through a tranquil sea; the words he sang were as follows.

Upon a tranquil sea

With fav’ring winds

And starry sky,

And by a pleasant way,

Unknown, yet sure,

Thy strange and wondrous bark,

Her course shall ply, Borne onwards to a port,

Safe and secure.

Onwards direct and straight

Her course she steers,

Nor upon Scylla, nor Charybdis driven,

Nor hidden rocks,

Nor secret perils, fears,

Honour, the end and aim, for which she thus hath striv’n.

Let not thine efforts fail,

Even though hopeless seem,

The distant haven;

Nor once remit thy toil,

Nor ever slacken sail.

True love can never change,

And only he,

Will prosp’rous be,

Who firm and true remains,

Nor ever seeks to range.

Ricla, as the voice ceased, said, “This songster must needs be an idle soft creature, who at such a time as this fills the air with his voice,” but Periander and Auristella judged otherwise. They thought the singer was more of a lover than an idle fellow. Those who love quickly recognize the passion in another, and seek fellowship with them who know how to pity and sympathize with their own weaknesses. So with the leave of the rest of the party in the boat, although it was hardly necessary to ask it, they requested the singer to step into their boat, as much to enjoy hearing his voice better as to learn his history, for it was evident that a person who could sing at such a time must either feel a great deal, or not at all.

The boats joined, and the singer stepped from his into that where Periander and his party were, who all received him very courteously. As he entered, the new corner said, half in Portuguese and half in Castilian, “I owe to Heaven and to you, and to my voice, this agreeable change for the better into your boat; albeit I believe I shall not long encumber it with the load of my body, for the heavy sorrows I have in my heart are such that I feel my life holds by a single thread.”

“Heaven may help thee yet,” said Periander, “for I am a living proof that there are no sorrows or miseries that can kill any one.”

Here Auristella joined in the conversation and said, “That is not hope which merely puts away and resists misfortune, but as the light shines brightest in darkness so is hope most firm in time of trouble, and despair is the feeling of only coward souls. There is no cowardice or meanness greater than to give oneself up to despair.”

“I believe this truly,” answered the singer, “notwithstanding, and in spite of, the sad experience I have known in the course of my life.”

They continued rowing as they discoursed, so that before night they reached another island also uninhabited, but there were trees upon it, and many of them, and full of fruit, though dried, and past the season, yet fit to eat. They leaped ashore, drew up their boats, and began with great speed to despoil the trees, and make a hut to keep themselves from the cold that night; they also kindled a fire by rubbing dry sticks together, a common and well-known practice, and as all worked, it was not long before they had built up this poor shelter, where they all assembled, supplying the inconveniences of the place by a good fire, this appearing to all the first thing necessary to their comfort. After satisfying their hunger they would have prepared themselves to sleep, if it had not been that the desire Periander felt to learn the adventures of the musician prevented him, and he entreated that he would, if it were possible, let them hear the story of his misfortunes, for misfortunes they must have been, to have brought him into such a situation.

The singer was courteous and without more entreaty, began thus.

Chapter X.

The Story of the enamoured Portuguese.

IN the briefest possible words with which a tale can be told, I will give you the history of my life, which will itself be brief also, if I am to give any credit to a certain dream which disturbed my repose last night.

“I am, sirs, a Portuguese, of noble blood, rich in fortune’s gifts, and not poor in those of nature. My name is Manuel de Sosa Coutino; Lisbon my native place; and my profession that of a soldier. Near my father’s house, with only a wall between, was that of another gentleman, of the ancient family of the Pereiras, who had an only daughter, sole heiress of his wealth, which was great, the hope and prop of her family, who, for her high birth, riches, and beauty, was sought in marriage by all the best and greatest of the land; and I, who as a near neighbour, had many opportunities of seeing her, saw her, knew her, and adored her, with but a faint hope of ever obtaining her as my wife. To save time, and knowing that neither words nor gifts would avail, I determined that one of my relations should ask her of her father for me, since neither in birth, nor condition, nor yet in age, was there any difference between us. The answer I obtained was, that his daughter Leonora was as yet too young to marry; that two years should pass, and that he would give his promise not to dispose of his daughter during that time without letting me know of it. This was the first blow upon the shoulders of my patience, and on the shield of my hopes; but not for this did I cease to declare publicly my open suit, which was soon known throughout the city; but she, retired into the citadel of her prudence and the recesses of her discretion, modestly and with her father’s permission, accepted my service, and gave me to understand, that, if she did not return my attentions, they were at least not displeasing to her.

“It happened that at this moment I was sent by the king to command one of his armies in Barbary, a post of great importance and trust. The hour for parting arrived; and since that of my death came not also, it is clear that absence cannot kill nor grief destroy. I spoke to her father, and entreated him to renew the promise he had given of the two years during which I might hope. He took compassion upon me, and consented that I should take leave of his wife and his daughter Leonora, who, accompanied by her mother, came forth to receive me in a parlour, and with her came modesty, grace, and silence. I was stupified when I saw so much beauty so near me; fain would I have spoken, but the words stuck in my throat, and my tongue cleaved to the roof of my mouth. I neither knew how nor was able to utter a syllable, and my silence proved the tumult of my soul so plainly that it was evident to the father of my beloved, who was as courteous as he was prudent. He embraced me, and said: ‘Farewells, Don Manuel, were never the time for many words, and perhaps this silence may speak more in your favour than any eloquence. Go and perform your duty, and return as speedily as you can. I will not fail in the promise I have made to you. My daughter Leonora is an obedient child, and her mother always wishes to please me, and I have a kindness for you; so it seems to me, with these three things, you may indulge good hopes of success in what you desire.’ These words remained graven on my memory in such a manner that I have not forgotten them, and never shall whilst life endures.

“Neither the beautiful Leonora nor her mother said a word, nor could I utter one, as I have said before.

“I departed for Barbary, where I remained two years, and fulfilled the duties of my office, giving satisfaction thereby to my king. I returned at the end of this time to Lisbon, and found that the fame of Leonora’s beauty was noised abroad to the furthest limits of the kingdom, extending even through Castile and other places, from whence came ambassadors, asking her in marriage for princes and great noblemen; but, as she submitted her will entirely to her parents, I could not hear whether she was or was not favourable to any of them. Seeing now that the two years were come to an end, I went to renew my suit to her father, and implore him to give her to me as my wife. Alas! alas! I cannot dwell upon this part of my story, for in the very prime of life death called for me, and I fear I shall hardly have time to relate the sequel of my unhappy story; if it comes, I shall no longer consider myself unfortunate.

“At last I was informed, that on a certain approaching Sunday, my beloved Leonora should be delivered to me, which news nearly killed me with happiness. I invited my relations, called my friends together, and sent presents, with all the requisite preparations, to show that I was about to be married, and that Leonora was to be the bride.

“The day arrived, and, accompanied by all the highest and noblest gentlemen of the city, I went to a convent called that of the Mother of God, where I was told my bride had been awaiting me since the preceding day, for, that it was her wish to have the celebration of her betrothal performed in the church, by the permission of the Archbishop of the City.” Here the melancholy cavalier paused for a moment, as if to take breath to pursue his narration, and then continued— “I arrived at the convent which was adorned with royal pomp; some of the principal persons of the city came out to meet me, who were assembled there with many of the noblest ladies also. The church resounded with music both vocal and instrumental, and at this moment, appeared from the cloister, the peerless Leonora, accompanied by the abbess and many of the nuns. She was dressed in white satin, slashed, and a gown with a train after the Castilian fashion; the slashes were adorned with rich and large pearls. Her gown was lined with a rich stuff of gold and green; her hair hung down over her shoulders, so bright and golden, it would have shamed the sunbeams, and so long, it nearly swept the floor. The girdle, necklace and rings that she wore, were worth almost a kingdom; and again I repeat, she shone forth so beautiful, so lovely and graceful, and so richly adorned and decorated, that she was the envy of every woman, and the admiration of every man, present. For myself, I can only say, that at sight of her, I felt I could never be worthy of such a creature, even though I had been the emperor of the whole world.

“A kind of stage had been erected in the middle of the body of the church, where was an open space, in which the ceremony of our espousals was to take place. The beautiful maiden went up to it first, where she stood revealed in all her loveliness.: she appeared like the bright Aurora at break of day, or as ancient fables tell, so looked the chaste Diana in the woods. Some thought she could be compared to nothing but herself. I went up to the stage next, feeling as if I was going up to heaven, and I knelt on one knee before her, as if I was about to worship her. Then there arose a cry of many voices, and the voices said, ‘May ye live long and happy years in this world, O lovely and loving ones; may beauteous children grow around your table as a crown, and may this love extend to your children’s children; may ye never know anger or jealousy; may doubt and suspicion never dwell within your breasts, may envy be trampled under your feet, and good fortune never cease in your house.’

“All these good and holy wishes filled my soul with pleasure, seeing with what universal joy my happiness was received. But now the beauteous Leonora took my hand, and there, as we stood together side by side, she raised her voice and said to me:— ‘Don Manuel de Sosa, you know well how my father gave his word to you that he would not dispose of my person for two years, which were to count from the day when you first asked for me to be your wife, and if I forget not, I also said (seeing myself pursued by your solicitude, and feeling obliged by the many benefits bestowed by you on me more from your courtesy than my deserts) that I would take no other spouse on earth, but yourself. My father has fulfilled his promise to you, as you have seen, and I wish to accomplish mine, as you will see; and therefore because I knew that deceits, although they may be honourable and profitable, yet carry with them a kind of treason, when they are long delayed and entertained, I would wish that mine should appear and be made known to you at this present instant. I, my Lord, am married, and my Spouse being alive, I can in no way marry another. I have not left you for any man on earth, but for a Bridegroom in Heaven; that is, Jesus Christ, God and Man. He is my espoused one, I gave my word to him before I gave it to you; to him without deceit, and with my whole heart; to you deceitfully, and without any truth. I confess that if I were to choose an earthly husband none could equal you, but having chosen a heavenly one, who is like God? If this seem to you like treason or unseemly usage, give me any punishment you please, and call me any name you like; but neither death nor promises, nor threats, shall divide me from my crucified Lord and Spouse.’ —

“She ceased to speak, and instantly the abbess and the nuns began to strip off her rich apparel, and to cut off the precious ringlets of her hair. I, strangely moved, and anxious to repress the signs of weakness, strove to keep back the tears which filled my eyes, and falling on my knees I pressed her hand to my lips, and she, Christianly compassionate, let her arms embrace my neck; then, standing up, I said in a voice which every one present could hear, ‘Maria Optimam partem elegit and thus saying I left the church, and, accompanied by my friends, returned to my own house, where, by turning and returning in my imagination all this strange history, I well nigh lost my reason, and now for the same cause, I am about to lose my life.” So saying, he heaved a deep sigh, and gave up the ghost, falling heavily to the ground.

Chapter XI.

They reach another Island, and are hospitably received.

IN haste Periander flew to help him, and found that he was indeed quite dead; at which all present were greatly astonished, as well as shocked, by so strange and unforeseen an event. “This dream,” said Auristella, “has excused the gentleman from relating to us the adventures of the latter part of his life, the events which led to so disastrous a termination, and to the prison of the barbarians, which must doubtless have been most curious and extraordinary.”

To this Antonio rejoined, “Seldom do misfortunes come single, sorrows keep one another company, but however great they may be, they cease with the life of him who suffers.” They then gave directions to have him buried in the best manner they could; his own garments served him for a shroud. The snow, instead of earth, was his covering, and for a cross they found one in his bosom, with a scapulary, which proved that he was a knight of the order of Christ. But this mark of honour was hardly necessary to prove his nobility, since it was clearly shown in his manners and language. Tears were not wanting at his funeral, for compassion did its work, and drew them from every eye.

Morning now began to dawn. The boats were again launched, the sea appearing calm and tranquil and half sorrowful, half joyful, between hope and fear, they went on their way, uncertain whither they were going.

These seas were nearly covered with islands, for the greater part uninhabited. Of those that were peopled, the inhabitants were a rude, half savage race, rough in manners, and of insolent and harsh nature; yet, in spite of this, they would gladly have found some human beings to receive them, for they thought it impossible that they could be as cruel as snow-covered mountains, or so inhospitable as the hard and rugged rocks of the other islands.

Ten days more they voyaged on, without finding any port, or beach, or shelter, whatever, leaving right and left little isles which gave no promise of being peopled. They turned their eyes to a high mountain that appeared in view, rowing with all their strength, for their boats began to leak terribly, and their provisions were well nigh exhausted. At last, more thanks to Providence than to their own exertions, they reached the wished-for land, and saw two persons, standing on the shore, to whom Transila cried out with a loud voice, and asked, “What land is this? Who governs it? And are ye Catholic Christians?” They replied, in their own language, which she well understood, that the island was called Golandia, and that they were Catholics, but that it was uninhabited; so few persons lived there that they only occupied one house, which served for an inn to people who put into the harbour, which was behind a great rocky mountain, to which they pointed. And if, said they, you, whoever you are, wish to repair any damage, keep us in sight, and we will direct you to the port. They, in the boats, thanked God for this, and followed on the water those who guided them on land. On turning round the corner of the rock, that had been pointed out, they saw a little bay, that might be termed a harbour, in which lay ten or a dozen vessels, some large, some middle-sized, and some small. Great was their joy in seeing these, since it gave them hopes of obtaining a change of boats to pursue their voyage in safety to other lands.

They landed; some persons came to meet them out of the vessel, some from the house. The beautiful Auristella arrayed in the same garments with which Arnoldo had adorned Periander, when he sold him to the barbarians, was carried on shore by Periander and the two Antonios, father and son; with her came the graceful Transila, the beautiful Constance, with Ricla her mother; and all the rest of the persons in the boats that accompanied this gallant party. So great was the admiration, amazement, and fear of the beholders, both those from the vessels and those on land, at sight of this burst of loveliness, that they all prostrated themselves before them on the ground, and made signs, as if they would worship Auristella. They gazed upon her silently, and with such reverence, that they thought not of uttering a word, or doing anything but look at her. The fair Transila who, as I have already said, understood the language of the country, was the first to break silence, saying to them, “To claim your hospitality, our until now adverse fortune has conducted us; by our dress, and by our mild demeanour, you may perceive we come for peace, not war; since neither women nor afflicted men seek to fight. Afford us then hospitality, and grant us boats in which we may pursue our voyage, for these in which we have come hither are so worn and useless, that it will be impossible to trust ourselves in them again to brave the perils of the ocean. If you will give us the necessaries we require, in exchange for gold and silver, we are able to recompense you abundantly, and still receive the precious supplies we stand in need of as if they were a gift.”

Wondrous to tell, a man, who seemed to be a seaman, answered in Spanish, “He who could doubt the truth of what you say, O beauteous lady, must be an idiot; for even though fraud may deceive, and guilt mask herself in the guise of truth and virtue, it could not be harboured in a form so lovely as that you wear. The master of this inn is courteous, the people who belong to these ships are not less so. Therefore, take your choice whether you will go to them or to the inn, where you will be received and treated as your appearance deserves.”

The elder Antonio seeing, or rather I should say, hearing, his own language spoken, said, “Since it has pleased Heaven to bring us to a place where the sweet accents of my native land once more sound in my ears, I feel already that my misfortunes are ended. Let us go to yonder hostelry, and, after we have taken some repose, we can arrange how best to return to our own countries, with more security than we have hitherto hoped for.”

At this moment a younker, who was in the main tops of one of the vessels, called out in English, “A ship is in sight in full sail, making straight for this harbour.”

They all crowded together in one spot, without moving a step, anxiously watching for the ship announced as being so near at hand, and when she came nearer they perceived that on her swelling sails was a red cross, and they also saw that there was a flag on the yard arm of her main mast, which bore the arms of England. She discharged, as she came in, two heavy rounds of artillery, and immediately after that, about twenty arquebuses or light guns. They were answered from shore by joyful shouts, as a sign of peace, which was all they could do, since artillery they had none wherewith to return the salute.

Chapter XII.

Wherein is related from whence came the Ship and who the Persons were that came in her.

THE salute on both sides, land and sea, having passed as I already told, the ship came to an anchor and lowered her boat. The first person who got into it (after four sailors had arranged carpets and prepared their oars) was an old man, apparently about seventy years of age, dressed in a robe of black velvet which reached to his feet, and girded round the waist with a silken sash; on his head he wore a high crowned hat, lined with plush. A lively graceful lad of about four-and-twenty, dressed like a sailor in black velvet, with a golden-hilted sword in his hand, and a dagger in his belt, leaped into the boat next, and seated himself. Immediately after, a man, heavily laden with chains, and a woman also bound with him, and entangled in the same fetters, were flung down into it from the ship. The man seemed about forty years of age; the woman looked about fifty. He was of an animated and indignant aspect; she melancholy and dejected. The sailors plied their oars, and soon reached the shore. The old man, the youth, and the two prisoners, were carried to land by the seamen and archers who guarded the prisoners. Transila, who with the rest had attentively watched the arrival of the strangers, turning to Auristella, said, “I pray you, lady, to cover my face with the veil you have upon your arm; for, unless I greatly mistake, there are persons in yonder boat whom I know, and by whom I am known.” Auristella did as she desired; at the same moment the strangers came up to them, and met with a very courteous reception from all. The old man, in velvet, walked straight up to Transila, saying: “If my science deceives me not, and fortune does not prove unkind, this meeting will show that I am favoured by her.” So saying he lifted the veil from Transila’s face, and fell fainting into the arms she extended to save him from falling to the ground. It cannot be doubted that an event, so new and so unexpected, struck the bystanders with wonder and amazement. Still more, when they heard Transila say, “O my beloved father! what a meeting is this! what can have brought your venerable grey hairs and your great age into lands so distant from your own?”

“What should have brought him here,” interposed the eager youth; “but to seek for the happiness he had lost with you. He and I, sweetest lady and my betrothed wife, came seeking in the north our only guide for a port wherein to rest. Thanks be to Heaven we have found it here! Hasten, lady, to recall your father Maurice to life, and make me a sharer in his joy, by acknowledging him as your father, and me as your lawful husband. Maurice revived, but only to see Transila in her turn sink down in a swoon. Auristella came to help her, for Ladislaus (so was the young stranger called) ventured not to assist, so great was the respect he owed to Transila. However, as swoons, caused by joy, are seldom of long duration, Transila soon recovered, and the master of the inn now said, “Come, sirs, and let me lead you to a place where, more conveniently and with less cold than here, you may give some account of your adventures.” They took his advice and followed him to the house, which they found capacious enough to lodge a whole fleet.

The two chained prisoners were lifted on their feet, the archers who guarded them helped to support their fetters. Some persons hastened to the ships, and with as much haste as good will brought thence refreshments, and all that was needed. They got lights, set the tables, and before anything else was thought of they all began to satisfy their hunger, more with various kinds of fish than meat, for of that there was none, except some birds which are found in these parts in great numbers, so numerous in fact, that being a wonderful and remarkable thing, I think it necessary to give some account of it.

They fix some sticks into the edge of the sea, and among the hidden rocks where the water covers them, which sticks, in a short space of time all that are covered by the water are converted into hard stone, and those that remain out of water are putrified and corrupted, from which corruption is engendered a little bird, which, flying to land, becomes large, and is so savoury to eat that it is considered one of the best eatables known. They are most plentiful in the countries of Hibernia and Ireland. The bird is called a barnacle.

The great desire which all felt to learn the history of the new arrivals, made them think the meal long; when it was finished, the old man, Maurice, gave a loud knock upon the table, as a signal to demand attention; all ceased speaking directly, silence sealed their lips, and curiosity opened their ears, which Maurice perceiving he raised his voice and spoke thus:

“In one of seven islands which are not far distant from Hibernia I was born; my family is as ancient in its origin as the Maurices, for in giving this name I enhance its antiquity as much as I can. I am a Catholic Christian, and not one of those who go about denying the true faith. I was educated in the study of letters, as well as arms, if that may be called a study. I was fond of astrology, a science in which I have obtained some renown. As soon as I was of age, I married a beautiful and well born lady of the same city as myself, who brought me this daughter you now see here present. I followed the customs of my country, at least all those that seemed to me agreeable to reason, and such as were not I made a semblance of observing, since dissimulation is sometimes prudent. This girl grew up under my care, for she lost that of her mother two years after her birth, and I lost her who should have been the companion of my old age, and the care of bringing up the daughter fell upon me. To relieve myself of this charge, which is a difficult one to the weary and the aged, as soon as she was old enough to be married, I looked about in order to bestow upon her a companion, and a protector, and the youth I fixed upon was this brave lad you now see with me, — he is called Ladislaus, — first having consulted my daughter’s inclinations; for to me it appears both convenient and suitable that parents should marry their daughters according to their own liking, since the companion we give them is not merely for a day, but for a whole life. And from not doing this, have followed, follow, and will follow, millions of inconveniences which often times end in disastrous accidents. Now you must know that in my country there is an old custom, which is, that when the marriage is settled and the wedding-day arrived, the bridegroom and his brothers, if he has any, with all his nearest relations, come to fetch away the bride.

“Now it happened that on this occasion among the kindred of the intended bridegroom were some who, having seen my daughter once or twice, had unhappily conceived for her an ardent passion. How it happened I do not rightly know, only that as this little band of young men were escorting the bride through the city, an attempt was made, on the part of one of her disappointed admirers, to carry her off by force. Upon this a tumult arose, and a fierce combat ensued. In the midst of which Transila, who had at the commencement of the confusion snatched a spear from the hands of an attendant, contrived to escape, and never from that hour have I been able to obtain the smallest tidings of her alive or dead.”

At this part of the story Transila arose, and taking up the tale as her father paused, she spoke as you will read in the ensuing chapter.

Chapter XIII.

Wherein Transila ends the Story her Father had begun.

I WENT, as my father has told you, dressed in my bridal garments, escorted by all the brothers and near kinsmen of my intended husband. Among these was one I knew only too well, and feared him for his violent and fierce disposition. He contrived to be next me in the procession, and just as we reached a place where a street led towards the seashore, he whispered in my ear that he could not endure to see me the wife of another, and, seizing me by the arm, he endeavoured to hurry me away in the direction of the street I have mentioned, having previously arranged so, as to have some friends of his own favourable to this wicked enterprise; who, crowding about me, hindered the rest of the party from perceiving what was going on; but the forcible resistance I made, and my loud cries for succour, speedily called Ladislaus and his friends to my rescue. Thereupon a furious and bloody combat ensued, in the midst of which I contrived, unperceived, to make my escape, and rushing through the streets I ran till I came to the seaside, where I flung myself into a small boat that seemed as if sent by Heaven to my assistance, and plying the two little oars it contained, I rowed as far away from land as I could. Heaven seemed to favour my desire of escape, the wind arose and carried me and my small bark fast and far into the open sea. By nightfall the wind had driven me many miles, and at length it drove me ashore upon an unknown coast, where some fishermen received me, and offered me hospitality and lodging. They also offered me a husband from among them, if I was unmarried; but avarice, which reigns everywhere, even among the rocks and wild sea caves, and amidst rough and untaught men, entered that night into the breasts of these rude fishermen, and they agreed, that as I was the property of all alike, and yet could only be the prize of one, and as I could not be divided, that I should be sold to some pirates, whom they had discovered not far off from their fishing grounds. Accordingly, when morning dawned, the pirates having come nearer, I was taken on board their ship, and sold for I know not what sum of money, having first despoiled me of all the jewels I wore in my bridal attire. The pirates treated me kindly, and told me not to be melancholy, for they would carry me to a place, where I should be, not a slave, but a queen, and possibly the queen of the whole world, if certain prophecies should prove true. How I arrived at the barbarous isles, the reception I there met with, how I learned their language during the time I dwelt among them, and the history of their rites and ceremonies, and the vain result of their prophecies, and the finding of these noble gentlemen and ladies, with whom I am; also the burning of the island, and how we obtained our liberty, I will tell at some future time. I have now said enough, and I wish to hear from my father, what chance has brought him hither, when I least expected it?” Here Transila ended her discourse, leaving everybody enchanted by the sweetness of her voice, and her exceeding beauty, which was surpassed alone by that of Auristella.

Then Maurice, her father, said, “Thou already knowest, beloved daughter, how in my studies and occupations, among many others, good and praiseworthy, that of astrology carried me very far, as it often does those who, when they follow it, are impelled by the natural wish of knowing, not only all things past and present, but also those that belong to the future.

“Seeing thee, then, lost, I marked the hour, consulted the stars, examined well the situation of the planets, noted the positions and the houses which were necessary for my desire, since no science is so deceitful as this — the deception being owing to the ignorance of those who practise it; and astrology is principally deceptive from the rapid motions of the heavenly bodies, which have more influence in some places than in others, and thus the astrologer hits by chance in his judgments sometimes, in order to come to the most probable point, and the best of all astrologers is the devil; although even he, is now and then himself deceived; for not only does he look into futurity through his own knowledge, but also by premises and by conjectures, and as he has a long experience of things past, and so much acquaintance with things present, he easily discovers how to judge about the future, which students in the art cannot do, and they must always judge doubtfully and with no certainty. Thus it was, however, that I discovered that your loss must go on for two years, and that I should recover you on this day, and in this place, to renew my youth, rejoice my grey hairs, and to give thanks to Heaven for the restoration of my lost treasure, making my heart glad with thy presence; although I know that it must be mingled with some fears still, since for the most part good fortune does not come without a counterpoise of misfortune, which is permitted, that we may know no good is eternal, nor is evil suffered to last for ever in this world.”

“It will surely please Heaven then to send us a prosperous voyage,” said Auristella, who had been long filent.

Chapter XIV.

Some Account of the two Persons who came in Chains.

I OMIT this chapter, as it is quite unnecessary for the story, and an absurd relation concerning the two prisoners who came in the English ship with Maurice. The woman, who is called Rosamund, is a very abandoned and wicked person; and at last, in consequence of the excessive infamy of her conduct, she has been sentenced to banishment, and ordered to be set on shore on a desert island, in company with Clodio, a man, whose crimes do not appear to be of a nature that would have brought him to punishment in the present day. “I have,” says he, “a certain satirical spirit, and a backbiting one, a ready pen, and a free tongue, I delight in malicious wit, and for a bon mot, would sacrifice, not only one friend, but a hundred. Prisons could never silence my tongue, nor exile move me; threats could not intimidate, nor punishment mend me.”

He thought being chained in company with Rosamund, the worst part of his sentence, and declared that death would have been preferable; whilst she, on her side, assures him, that she would have thrown herself into the sea to escape from him, had she not been deterred by the reflection, that she must have carried him into the other world with her, which would greatly increase her punishment there. “Far better,” said she, “had it pleased the king to take away my life in my own country, than to make me expiate my crimes by the wounds thy tongue inflicts at every step, and from which not even angels or saints are safe.”

Chapter XV.

Arnoldo comes to the Island where are Periander and Auristella.

WHILST they were all discoursing thus, a sailor rushed into the inn, crying out, that a large ship, in full sail, was making straight for the harbour; “ and no signal has she made,” said he, “by which we can discover what she is, or whence she comes. Hardly had he spoken these words, when their ears were deafened by the roar of many pieces of artillery, which the ship discharged as she entered the port; but all harmless, and not laden with shot — signals of peace, and not of war. The English ship returned the salute, and all the soldiers on board fired off their arquebuses. At the same instant, everybody in the inn hastened to the seashore. As soon as Periander saw the newly arrived vessel, he knew her to be that of Arnoldo, prince of Denmark, which gave him no pleasure whatever; his heart beat very quick, and his spirit was troubled within him. Auristella shared the very same terrors in her turn, for well she knew by long experience how Arnoldo loved her, and she could not settle it satisfactorily in her mind, how the inclinations of the prince and Periander could go on together, without the sharp and bitter dart of jealousy entering into their souls.

Arnoldo was already in the boat, and had nearly reached the shore, when Periander advanced to meet him; but Auristella moved not from the spot, where she first placed her foot, and almost wished that there she might take root, and be transformed into twisted boughs, as was the daughter of Peneus, when pursued by the light-footed Apollo.

Arnoldo, who saw Periander, knew him at once, and without waiting till his men could lift him ashore, he sprang with one bound from the boat into the arms of Periander, which were open to receive him. “If,” he cried, “friend Periander, I could be so blest as to find thy sister, Auristella, with thee, I should have nothing left on earth to wish for, nor any evil upon it to fear.”

“She is here with me, noble prince,” replied Periander; “Heaven, that loves to favour the good, has preserved her for you, pure as she deserves to be.”

By this time it began to be rumoured among the new comers, and the persons that were on the island before, who the prince was that had come in the ship, and still Auristella remained where she was, immoveable; near her were the beautiful Transila, and the two seeming barbarians, Riela and Constance. Arnoldo came up to them, and falling on his knees before Auristella, he said, “Thou art well found, my polar star, thou that guidest my thoughts; thou beacon that hast brought me to that harbour where my wishes rest.”

To all which Auristella answered not a word, but tears gathered in her eyes, and began to bathe her lovely face.

Astonished and confounded, Arnoldo knew not what to think, nor whether this reception proceeded from joy or grief; but Periander, who marked it all, and never lost sight of a single motion made by Auristella, relieved him from his doubts, saying to him, “My Lord, the tears and the silence of my sister are the offspring of joy and surprise; surprise at beholding you so unexpectedly, and tears of joy to see you again. She is grateful, as a well-born maiden should be, and knows the greatness of the obligation she is under to you for the courteous and princely treatment she has ever met with at your hands.”

They then went together to the inn: once more the table was spread with viands, and hearts were made merry, for the cups flowed with the most exquisite wines; better could not have been found though you were to sail from one extremity of the globe to another; no nectar ever equalled these wines. This second supper was for the Prince Arnoldo. Periander related to him all that had happened in the barbarous isle, with the finding of Auristella, and all the events and adventures that we have already heard; whereat Arnoldo was much surprised, and all present were anew delighted and astonished.

Chapter XVI.

They all determine to quit the Island, and pursue their Voyage.

NOW,” said the master of the inn, “I know not that I ought to say that I feel sorry for the fair weather which all the signs in the sky seem to promise at sea. The sun shines clear and bright, far and wide one cannot perceive the smallest cloud. The waves murmur on the shore with a gentle sound, and the birds are scattered abroad over the ocean, all which are signs of fair and durable weather; a fact which will cause me to be soon left alone by the noble guests whom fortune has brought to my inn.”

“Even so will it be,” said Maurice, “for however agreeable and pleasant your company has been, the desire of returning home will prevent our enjoying it much longer. For my part, I must say, that I think of sailing to-night at the first watch, if the opinion of my pilot, and that of the officers who are in the ship, should agree with mine.”

To which Arnoldo rejoined: “The loss of time is irrecoverable; but, most of all, loss of time at sea can never be remedied.” In short, there was but one opinion amongst the whole party — that they should sail that night for England, to which all were bound.

Arnoldo rose from table, and taking Periander by the hand, drew him out of the inn; and when they were alone, and out of hearing of any one, he said, “It is impossible, friend Periander, but that your sister, Auristella, must have told you of the inclination I had for her during the two years that she was in the power of the king, my father; but so much did I respect her, that no word ever fell from my lips, that could disturb her modesty. I never wished for more of her history than she chose to tell me; picturing her in my imagination, not as a person of ordinary or low estate, but as if she was queen of the whole world; because her modesty, gravity, and exceeding great discretion, prevented all possibility of thinking otherwise. A thousand times I offered to marry her, and with the full consent of my father, and yet I thought the offer short of her merits; but ever she made answer, that until she was in the city of Rome, where she had a vow to accomplish, she could not dispose of herself. She never would tell me her quality, nor that of her parents, nor did I, as I said before, ever importune her on that point, for she herself, independent of all nobility of birth, deserved not only the crown of Denmark, but that of every kingdom upon earth.

“I have told you all this, Periander, because I consider you as a person of understanding and discretion, and because the happiness is not small which I ask at your’s and your sister’s hands, asking her of you for a wife; and promising to fulfil this offer, when and where she pleases; here, beneath this humble roof, or in the gilded halls of Rome; and I also swear that I will conduct myself towards her in all respect and decorum, until this desired hour shall arrive.”

Here Arnoldo ended his discourse, and listened attentively to what Periander would say in reply, which was— “I know well, valorous Prince Arnoldo, the obligations which both my sister and myself are under to you for the many favours you have shown us; and for that you now anew offer to us, of receiving me as your brother, and her as your wife; but, although it seems like madness for two poor miserable pilgrims cast out of their own country, not at once to accept the good that is offered to them, yet I must say that it is not in our power to receive it as we ought to do. Impelled by destiny, my sister and myself seek the city of Rome, and till we see ourselves there, we feel that we are not at liberty to use our own free will; if Heaven permits us ever to touch the blessed ground, and adore the holy relics there, we may then be able to dispose of our own hitherto shackled inclinations, and then mine will be entirely devoted to your service. Also, I will own to you, that if you ever reach the accomplishment of your wishes, you will obtain a bride born of illustrious lineage, and a brother-in-law who will be a brother indeed. And now to the many favours that we have both received, I pray you to add yet another, which is that you will not ask me more concerning our home and our life, that I may not be obliged to tell you untruths, and invent false and lying chimeras, to avoid telling you our true history.”

“Dispose of me as thou wilt, O my brother,” answered Arnoldo, “consider me as the wax, and thyself the seal, to impress on me whatever thou shalt desire; and let us, if it seems good to thee, depart this night for England, as we can more easily pass from thence to France, and to Rome; and in this voyage I will accompany you, if it is agreeable to you that I should do so.”

Although Periander was much disturbed at this last offer, he yet accepted it, trusting to time and delays, which sometimes cause events to turn out better than is expected; and the two intended brothers embracing one another, returned to the inn to prepare for their departure.

Auristella had seen Arnoldo and Periander go forth together, and greatly feared what might be the result of their conversation; and although she well knew the modesty of Prince Arnoldo, and the great discretion of Periander, still a thousand vague alarms oppressed her heart. To her it appeared that as Arnoldo’s power was equal to his love, he might try to obtain what he desired by force; since sometimes, in the bosoms of rejected lovers, tenderness is converted into wrath, and courtesy into rudeness; but seeing them return so amicably together, and in such peaceful guise, she recovered her spirits again.

Clodio, the backbiter, who knew now who Arnoldo was, fell, at his feet, and entreated that he would interfere in his behalf to get him freed from the company of Rosamond. Maurice related to him the story of their crimes and punishment. Moved by compassion, Arnoldo ordered that Clodio should be released from his chains; and he promised to speak in his behalf, seeing that he was a great friend of his sovereign. Upon which Clodio said, “If all great people occupied themselves like you, sir, in doing good, nobody would wish to speak ill of them; but how can he who does evil, expect that men should speak well of him? And if good and virtuous deeds are often calumniated by human malice, why should the wicked escape? Take me with you, O prince, and you shall see how I will sing your praises up to the very skies.”

“No, no,” replied Arnoldo, “I do not desire to be praised for the good which it is natural to me to do; and besides, praise is only valuable from the good; it is worth nothing to be praised by the vicious and the bad. Praise is the reward of virtue, if he who bestows it is virtuous; from the vicious, praise is blame.”

Chapter XVII.

Arnoldo relates what befell Taurisa.

AURISTELLA longed greatly to know what had passed between Arnoldo and Periander, when they went forth from the inn, and waited for an opportunity to ask Periander; and also to hear from Arnoldo what he had done with her maid, Taurisa; and, as if he guessed her thoughts, he said to her, “The misfortunes you have gone through, O beautiful Auristella, have made you forget those who would wish to have a place in your memory. Among these, I myself am one, who could live happy only with the imagination and remembrance, which has so long been all I have had to live upon. That destiny which has made me your’s, has left me no other choice, than to obey you in all things. Your brother, Periander, has related to me much of what has happened since you were stolen away from my kingdom; which recital has excited in me wonder, astonishment, and alarm. I perceive also that your distresses have been so great as to blot out of your memory some recollections that should be strong; you have neither asked after my father, nor for Taurisa, your maid. I left her in good hands, longing that I should seek and find you. I brought her with me in the intention of selling her to the barbarians, that she might serve me as a spy, and discover if fortune had thrown you into their power; but how your brother, Periander, came to me, and what we agreed upon together, he will have already told you. Although I have often wished to return to the barbarous isle, yet contrary winds have always prevented my doing so; and now I was intending to return hither, in the same desire and intention, which Heaven has accomplished with ample and perfect satisfaction, seeing that I am in your presence, O thou cure of all my sorrows. It is two days since I delivered Taurisa into the care of two gentlemen, friends of mine, whom I happened to fall in with amongst these seas; they were going to Ireland in a fine vessel, for Taurisa had fallen sick, and her life was in danger, and as this ship of mine is more like that of a corsair than of a king’s son, and contains neither medicine nor food proper for sick persons, I sent her under their care to Ireland, and committed her to the governor of that country, that he should protect, cure, and take care of her, until I should myself come and fetch her away.

“I have this day settled it with your brother, that we depart to-morrow, either for England, or for France or Spain, and whichever it shall please you to make choice of, I promise you perfect security to carry the pious intentions, of which your brother has informed me, into effect; whilst I, meanwhile, will support my hopes upon the shoulders of my patience, sustained by the trust I put in your understanding of my wishes. And now, lady, think well, I implore and entreat you, whether your inclinations agree with ours, for if it be ever so little displeasing to you, it shall not be carried into execution.”

“I have no will but my brother Periander’s,” answered Auristella, “nor will he, if he is wise, wish to differ at all from yours.”

“Then,” returned Arnoldo, “so let it be, and I do not desire to command, but to obey; for none shall say that I wish to take any advantage of my rank in taking the lead in anything.”

This is what passed between Arnoldo and Auristella; the latter repeated it all to Periander. And that night Arnoldo, Periander, Maurice, Ladislaus, and the two captains, with all those who came from the barbarous isle, held a council together, and arranged their departure in the following manner.

Chapter XVIII.

How Maurice foresees, by his astrological Knowledge, that an evil Accident will befall them at Sea.

ALL the persons who had escaped from the barbarous isle dungeons, embarked in the vessel which brought Maurice and Ladislaus, along with the officers and soldiers who guarded the prisoners. And in Arnoldo’s ship were accommodated Periander, Auristella, Ricla and Constance, and the two Antonios, father and son, Ladislaus, Maurice, and Transila. Nor would Arnoldo permit Clodio and Rosamund to be left on the island; Rutilio, too, had a berth in his vessel. They took in water that night, and brought from the host of the inn all the provisions they could collect. Having prepared on all points for the departure, Maurice said, that if good fortune preserved them from a disaster that threatened them, the voyage would be a prosperous one; and that this evil which threatened, although on the water, would not, if it happened, proceed from any tempest or hurricane, but from treason, forged and devised by wicked and treacherous intentions.

Periander, who was always in fear when in Arnoldo’s company, began to be alarmed lest this treason should be devised by the prince, in order to obtain the lovely Auristella, since he might easily carry her off when on board his own ship; but then he opposed to this, the generous nature of the prince, and would not believe it could be as he feared, since treachery lurks not in noble breasts. But, nevertheless, he failed not to ask and question Maurice very closely, touching the quarter from whence the threatened danger might be expected. Maurice answered, that this he could not tell; only he knew that the thing was to be, for certain, although he softened the severity of the evil, by assuring them that none of those who sustained it would lose their life, but only their peace of mind would suffer, because they would find their plans and designs frustrated and the failure of their best arranged hopes. To which Periander suggested, that their departure might be delayed a few days, as possibly the evil influences of the stars might change, or moderate with time. “No,” replied Maurice, “ better will it be for us to meet this danger, since it does not affect our lives, than to wait for perhaps some other which may prove more fatal.”

“Then,” said Periander, “since the Fates will have it so, let us depart directly, and let Heaven do as it pleases, since nothing we can contrive will avert its wrath.”

Arnoldo satisfied their host with magnificent and liberal gifts for his hospitality, and some in one ship, some in another, each one according to what best suited him, left the harbour, and made sail.

Arnoldo’s ship went out of port bravely decked, and adorned with light streamers, and banners, and flying pendants: when she weighed anchor, the mist was dispersed by a salute of artillery; the joyous sounds of the clarion, and other musical instruments, filled the air; voices were heard repeating again and again, “a happy voyage; a happy voyage.” Yet all the while did Auristella sit musing, with her head sunk upon her breast, full of sad presage of ills to come. Periander and Arnoldo kept looking at her, again and again; both holding her dear as the apple of their eye, the end of their thoughts and beginning of their joys.

The day closed in, and night came on, clear and serene: a gentle breeze dispersing the fleecy clouds which seemed else as if they would have met together, Maurice fixed his gaze upon the heavens, and seemed to be again reading there, in imagination, the signs of what he had foretold; and to confirm anew the danger which impended; but nothing could he discover of the quarter from which it should come. In this disturbed state of mind, he fell asleep on the deck; and in a short time after awoke in a fright, crying out loudly, “Treason, treason, treason; awake, Prince Arnoldo, we are killed by your people.”

At this cry, the prince, who was not sleeping, because he was in the same berth with Periander, rose, and coming up to Maurice, said, “What ails you, friend Maurice? Who has offended us? or who will kill us? Are not all in this ship our friends? Is not the crew composed of my own vassals and servants? Is not the sky clear and serene? The sea tranquil? And is not our ship sailing steadily, without touching any shoal, or sunken rock? Does any obstacle detain us? If there is nothing of all this, what are you afraid of, that you alarm us thus by your sudden terrors?”

I know not,” replied Maurice; “ but, my lord, I pray you let the divers go down, and see that all is safe in the hold; for unless it was a dream, I thought we were about to sink.” Hardly had he spoken, when four or five seamen let themselves down into the bottom of the ship, and searched it thoroughly, for they were experienced divers. They found neither hole nor opening of any kind through which the water could enter, and returned to the deck, saying, that the ship was safe and sound; and that the water, in the hold was thick and stagnant, a clear proof that no fresh water had made its way into the ship. “Then,” said Maurice, “it must needs be, that I, like an old man, (since age is often fearful,) have been scared by a dream; and Heaven grant it may be only a dream; for I would rather appear a fearful old man, than be a true prophet.”

“Then” said Arnoldo, “compose yourself, my good Maurice, for such dreams as these affright the ladies.”

“I will if I can,” he replied; and returned to his place on deck to lie down. In the ship an anxious silence prevailed.

Rutilio, who was seated at the foot of the mainmast, invited by the serenity of the night, and the quiet of the hour; or because he had a very fine voice, and that the sweet sounds of the wind, that gently murmured among the sails reminded him of music, began to sing the following words in his own Tuscan tongue, which, if translated, run thus ——

The Patriarch in days of yore

Fled from th’ avenging hand,

Which, to a wide destruction doom’d

The whole offending land;

But to his servant warning gave,

Himself and all his kin,

The little remnant of mankind,

Rest safe the ark within.

Asylum blest! secure abode!

Which ‘scaped th’ inevitable death

That then embrac’d each living thing,

All creatures that drew breath.

And there, within that wondrous ark,

The lamb and lion dwell

In friendship, and the gentle dove

Sits by the falcon fell.

And so we see in these our days

It often does befall,

Such things there are, although there be

No miracle at all;

The most discordant souls on earth

In friendship will agree;

If in one common peril joined,

In fellowship they be.

Antonio, who best understood the words Rutilio sung, cried, “Well sung, Rutilio, if thou hast thyself composed those verses, thou art no bad poet; though I do not know how a dancing master can be a good one; nevertheless, I am wrong in saying this, for I remember well that in my own land of Spain, there were poets of all professions.” Maurice overheard him speak thus, and so did the prince and Periander, who could not sleep; and Maurice said, “It is very possible for an artizan to be a poet; poetry lying not in the fingers, but the mind; and the soul of a tailor is as capable of poetic feeling as that of a gentleman; for souls are all of equal rank, and of the same nature originally, but formed and fashioned by their Maker, and ac cording to the temperament and disposition of the body in which each is enclosed, so appear they more or less learned and wise, and inclined to study and know the arts and sciences, and other things to which their stars dispose them. But in speaking of a poet, one generally says that he is nascitur, born such. I see no reason, then, to wonder at Rutilio being a poet, although he is a dancing master.”

“And so great a one,” said Antonio, “that he has cut capers in the air, even beyond the clouds.”

“Even so,” answered Rutilio, who was listening all this time; “ I made them even up in the sky, when I travelled in the witch’s mantle from Tuscany to Norway, where I killed her when she changed into a wolf, as I have before told you.”

“That tale about men and women being turned into wolves, is a great error,” said Maurice, “although it is believed by many.”

“How is it, then,” asked Arnoldo, “that it is generally said, and held as a fact, that in England, troops of wolves go about the fields, who are human creatures that have been so transformed?”.

“In England,” Maurice replied, “such things could not be, because not only are there no wolves in that fertile and cultivated country, but no noxious animals whatever, such as serpents, vipers, toads, spiders and scorpions; also it is a well known fact, that if any poisonous animal is brought thither from other parts, when it arrives there, it dies; and if the earth of this island be carried to any other place, and a viper be surrounded with this earth, it dares not leave the circle so made in which it is imprisoned, and runs round and round until it dies.” (Note 3.)

“All we can understand about the transformation of persons into wolves is, that there exists a complaint or disease, which is called by physicians the wolf-mania; its nature is, that the person afflicted with it fancies himself changed into a wolf, and howls like one; and, joining with others who are similarly afflicted, go ranging about the country in parties, barking like dogs, and howling like wolves; tearing down trees, killing any one they meet, and devouring the raw flesh of the dead. And, at the present time, I know that there are in Sicily, which is the largest of the Mediterranean isles, people of this sort, called by the Sicilians, Lobos menar, were wolves, or loups garoux.

“These persons know and feel when this terrible infirmity is about to seize them, and they warn those who are about them, that they may fly from and avoid them; or that they may tie them fast, or lock them up; because, if not prevented, they will tear anything that approaches them to pieces, and destroy them with both their teeth and nails, uttering frightful and hideous howlings; and so true is this, that where there is a question of marriage on foot, inquiry is made to ascertain that there is no touch of this complaint in the family; and if on good authority they discover it even afterwards, the marriage may be dissolved.

“Pliny also tells us, in Book viii chap. 22, that among the Arcadians there is a kind of people who, in passing a certain lake, hang their garments upon an ilex, and go naked into the inland country, where they join with others they find there of their own lineage, in the form of wolves, and are with them for nine years, at the end of which they return and pass the lake, and recover their lost figure.

But all this is probably fiction and lies; and if there is anything in it, it is in the imagination, and not real.”.

“I do not know,” said Rutilio, “as to that; all I know is that I killed the she-wolf, and found dead at my feet, the sorceress.”

“This might very well be,” replied Maurice; “for the power of the enchantments of those accursed witches is such, that they can make us see one thing for another; and I am perfectly satisfied that there are no people whatever who change their own first form for any other.”

“I have a great desire,” said Arnoldo, “to know the truth of this; for I too have always been one of those who believed these things; and I should like also to know if it is a fable what is said of King Arthur of England having been changed into a crow, a thing so much believed by that wise nation that no one will kill a crow throughout the island.”

“I know not,” answered Maurice, “whence arose this saying, so generally believed, and so ill imagined.”

In such discourse the night passed away. The day dawned brightly, the sea continued calm, the wind fair. Constance, the fair barbarian, observed that all was fair and prosperous; but that the dreams of the worthy Maurice had so disturbed her, she really thought the vessel was about to go down with them all at once.

“Truly, lady,” answered he, “if I was not a good Catholic, and did not remember that which is said in Leviticus, ‘Be ye not diviners, nor give belief to dreams, because it is not given to all to understand them,’ I should venture to try and explain the dream which put me in so great a fright: according to my way of thinking, it did not come from any of the causes that dreams are usually occasioned by. For when they are not divine revelations, or illusions of the evil one, they proceed either from over eating, which ofttimes disturbs the brain, or owing to what has chiefly occupied one in the day-time. The dream which disturbed me, did not belong to astrological observation; because, without observing the stars, taking observations, marking the points of the compass, or seeing figures, it appeared to me that I could visibly see that we all were in a large wooden palace, that rays came down from heaven, which opened, and through the openings, the clouds discharged not one, but a thousand oceans of water; so that, believing I was going to be overwhelmed, I cried out, making such gestures as persons naturally make when about to sink among the waters. And I confess, I cannot yet shake off the terror I felt then; and as I know there is no astrology so certain as prudence, from which the clearest deductions spring, it may be, that sailing in a ship built of wood, I fear rays from heaven, clouds of the sky, and waves of the sea. But that which most confounds and perplexes me, is the knowledge that if a danger threatens us it will not proceed from the elements, but from the forge of treachery lurking in some wicked breast.”

“I cannot believe it,” said Arnoldo, “of any that are now sailing in this ship; the blandishments of Venus, or the lures of her false son, cannot enter here. To the honourable and chaste, the greater the peril and fear of death, the stronger is the incentive to keep to a virtuous life, and shun all dishonest deeds.”

This Arnoldo said, that Periander and Auristella might understand, and all the rest who were aware of his love for her, that he meant fully to let all his actions be directed by virtue and honour; and he went on to say, “A good prince lives securely amongst his vassals; treasons spring from the fear of injustice.”

“That is true,” said Maurice, “and it is right it should be so; but let this day pass, and if the night arrives without any alarms, I will give a reward for the good tidings.”

The sun sank to rest in the arms of Thetis; the sea was as calm as before; the wind was fair and steady, not a cloud was to be seen that could alarm a mariner. The skies, the sea, the wind, all promised a prosperous voyage; when Maurice cried aloud, in a voice of terror, “Without a doubt, we are sinking; we sink, without a doubt.”

Chapter XIX.

Wherein is given an account of what two Soldiers did, and how Periander and Auristella were separated.

To which cries, replied the prince Arnoldo, ‘How is this, O learned Maurice? where are these waters which overwhelm us? where the waves that assail us?” The answer was given by a sailor, who rushed on deck with gestures of terror, water running from his mouth and eyes, and in affrighted and scarcely articulate accents, exclaimed, “The ship’s sides are opening everywhere; the sea is rushing in fast — you will soon see it cover the deck! let every man see to his safety, and look best how to save his life. Get the skiff out, or the barge, O Prince Arnoldo, and take the things you value most with you, before these cruel waves swallow up all!”

The ship was now motionless from the weight of water in her. The pilot set all the sails with skill. Every one in fear and terror hurried to seek for some remedy, some means of escape. The prince and Periander got out the smaller boat, and launched it into the sea; they placed Auristella, Transila, Ricla, and Constance in this. Finding that nobody thought of her, Rosamund joined herself to the party, and after her, Arnoldo made Maurice follow.

Now there were two soldiers lowering the barge which was hung on the ship’s side, and one of them seeing that his comrade wished to be the first to get into her, drew a knife from his belt, and plunged it into the other’s heart, crying, “Since our crime has been committed to so little purpose, let this serve for thy punishment and my expiation at least during the short time I have to live.” So saying, without attempting to avail himself of the means of escape the boat offered, he desperately flung himself into the sea; but before he sank, he uttered these half-articulate words: —

“Hear, O Prince Arnoldo, the truth from a traitor; at such a moment he may well be believed. I and he whom you have just beheld slain by my hand, made holes and openings all through this vessel, with the intention of letting it sink, and ourselves making our escape in the skiff with Auristella and Transila, whose beauty we had no power to resist, and we determined at all hazards to carry them off; but having seen our plans defeated, contrary to our expectation, I have taken away the life of my companion, and now resign myself to death:” and with this last word he let himself sink into the depths of the sea, which soon stopped his breath, and buried him in eternal silence. Although all were in confusion and haste, each seeking safety in the general danger, yet Arnoldo heard clearly the words of the dying ruffian; and he and Periander had recourse to the barge, having before they entered it, directed that Antonio, the younger, should go in the skiff, without remembering to put in any provisions whatever.

The prince, Ladislaus, the elder Antonio, Periander and Clodio got into the barge, intending to join the skiff, which had already left the vessel, over which the waves had now entirely closed, and nothing remained above the waters but the mainmast, as a mark to show that she was there entombed.

Night came on before they could reach the skiff; from which the voice of Auristella could be distinctly heard calling for her brother, Periander, who answered by repeatedly uttering her beloved name.

Transila and Ladislaus did the same, so that the air resounded with the mingled sounds of, “Dearest! my beloved! lover! brother! bride! and sister! whose hopes were all frustrated, and whose prospects were changed from the impossibility of joining one another, owing to the increasing darkness of the night, and the wind beginning to rise, and blow from a different quarter; so that the barge and skiff were separated, and the former being lighter, and less heavily laden, flew over the waves, as the wind impelled it. The latter, from the weight of its cargo, seemed as if determined not to move; and when night shut in darker than ever, they felt their fears revive afresh — in an unknown sea, exposed to the inclemency of the weather, and in want of every necessary of life; without oars, and without provisions, though at present their anxiety prevented them from feeling hunger.

Maurice who had gone with the party, in the capacity of captain of the skiff, knew not how or whither to guide its course; and from the tears, and groans, and lamentations of his fair companions, it was to be feared they would themselves cause it to upset. He watched eagerly for the stars, and although they were scarcely visible, yet from time to time they showed themselves through the darkness, and gave hopes of the night becoming clearer, but still they did not show in what parts they were now voyaging.

The anguish they were in was too great to allow of the relief of sleep; so they passed the night in watching. Day came at last; not, however, bringing with it any comfort, but only more sorrow, because it presented to their view the prospect of sea as far as the eye could discern on every side; and though they gazed anxiously, hoping to catch a sight of the barge, which bore with it their very hearts away; or even some other ship or boat, to give them succour in their sore distress, yet nothing could they discover but an island on the left hand, the sight of which gave them both joy and fear — joy to see land so near, fear lest they should be unable to reach it unless the wind drove them ashore.

Maurice felt more confident on the subject of their safety than anybody; because, as I before told you, he knew by his astrological science that this misfortune did not portend death, but only very great inconvenience to those who had to undergo it.

And so it happened, that at length, by the favouring winds, and the mercy of Heaven, the little boat reached the island, and they came ashore in a spacious bay. Not a human being appeared, nothing but snow which covered the face of everything. Miserable and fearful indeed are the perils of the ocean, since they who had experienced them could rejoice to change them for the worst the land could offer. The snows of this desert coast to them seemed a pleasant prospect; and even its very solitude was welcome.

They disembarked. The boy, Antonio, carried the ladies safe to land; Maurice followed; and the party collected together under the shelter of a large rock that was not far from the bay, in which they landed, having first carefully drawn their boat on shore, since in it, under God, lay their hope of escape.

Antonio, aware that hunger must be at work among them, and that unless food could be obtained, they must perish; prepared his bow which was always slung upon his shoulder, and said that he would go and see if any living creature existed in the island; or anything wherewith to relieve their necessities. With a light and active step the youth set out on his expedition; but nothing did he see, nothing but snow, frozen hard, so that he felt as if he was walking on the sharpest flints.

Fearing that if he prosecuted his search further, he might lose his way; at last, with a heavy heart, he returned to his companions. Maurice said that they must needs venture out to sea again, since nothing was to be hoped for in this inhospitable and lonely isle.

Chapter XX.

A singular Adventure that befell in the Snowy Isle.

WHILST they were considering about this, afar off they discovered a ship, the sight of which revived their hopes; she came near, her sails were furled, her anchors lowered, and speedily a small boat appeared, making for the bay where the mournful little party were in the act of embarking in the skiff. Auristella advised that they should delay awhile, in order to learn who these people might be. The boat approached, and ran in upon the frozen snow. Two fine strong-looking young men sprang out, seemingly of brisk and gay temperament; they lifted from the boat the fainting and nearly exhausted form of a young woman, who looked as if she could hardly live to reach the shore.

They called aloud to the party who were already in the skiff, and desired that they would stop to witness an event that was about to take place.

Maurice answered, that they had no oars to manage their boat with, unless they could lend them some of theirs. The sailors, who belonged to the newly arrived boat, brought them some, and then returned to trample the snow. Then the two young men, each being armed with a wooden buckler to protect his breast, and each with a short sword in his hand, again leaped on shore. Auristella, full of terror with the foreboding of some new misfortune, hastened to assist the fainting damsel, and the others followed her. The two young men exclaimed, “Stay one moment, ladies and gentlemen, and hear what we have to say.”

“This gentleman and myself,” said one of the two, “are engaged to fight for the possession of yonder weak damsel who lies there; the death of one of us can alone decide the question of which is to have her, since we have no other means of settling our dispute, unless she herself would choose which of us she would prefer for a husband, in which case we would sheathe our swords, and calm our spirits. What we ask of you is, that you do not in any way interrupt our quarrel, which we shall carry to extremity without fear of hindrance, unless it should be from you; as you may perceive in these deserts there is nothing we can obtain wherewith to restore the life of this damsel, who is about to cost one of us our own. We are too much hurried to find time to ask you who you are, or how you came to be in this desert island, without even oars to guide your boat, so that you cannot depart from a place which seems uninhabited even by animals.”

Maurice replied that they would do as they desired in all respects; and immediately the two drew their swords, and without waiting for the damsel to pronounce her decision, began the combat; thus rather wishing to let their quarrel be determined by the chance of arms than the inclination of the lady.

The two combatants fought without observing rules; after a few passes the sword of one entered his opponent’s body, and pierced his heart through and through, whilst the stroke of the other cleft his rival’s head. He had just life enough left to approach the damsel, and lay his face near her’s; saying, I have conquered, lady, mine thou art, and although I have but one brief moment, wherein to call thee so, I yet consider myself the most fortunate of men. The blood of the wounded man bathed the face of the lady, but she was senseless, and returned no answer. The two sailors who had rowed the boat to land, now hastened to assist the wounded man. He who had been run through the body, was quite dead; the other, whose head was cut across, joined his lips to those of the bride he had so dearly bought, and breathed his last sigh.

Auristella, who had been observing all this attentively, but who had not yet seen closely the face of the lady, now drew near, and wiping away the blood which had flowed from the wounds of the man now lying dead by her side, she recognized in the damsel her own maid Taurisa, who was with her when she was in the hands of the Prince Arnoldo; and he had told her that he had committed her to the care of two gentlemen, who would convey her safely to Ireland. Auristella stood looking upon her, astonished and wondering, and sadder than sadness itself; yet her sorrow increased, when it became manifest that Taurisa was no more. Alas! alas! she cried, how does Heaven continue to mark my unfortunate existence with the most extraordinary events: if it were pleased now to finish my misfortunes by ending my life, I should be happy; for the sorrows which find an end in the grave can then trouble one no more, and death may be considered as a boon. What is this net with which my sad destiny obstructs every path that leads to peace and rest? What improbable adventures are these I meet with at every turn? But tears and grief are useless now, and lamentations are of small avail; let us devote the time we have to spare in giving burial to the dead, and let me not afflict the living.” Then she entreated Maurice to ask the sailors who belonged to the ship, to return thither, and bring proper implements for making a grave. Maurice did as she requested, and went with them to the ship, in order to make some arrangements with the captain, or persons in command, that they might receive the party on board, and take them to whatever place they might be bound to.

Meantime, Auristella and Transila prepared the corpse of the ill-fated Taurisa for burial. Their Christian piety and decorum would not allow of her being undrest. Maurice returned with the necessary implements, having also made his arrangements for their departure with the ship. They performed the ceremony of interment for Taurisa, but the mariners refused, as good Catholics, to pay the like respect to the bodies of the two young men, who had died in mortal combat.

Chapter XXI.

They leave the Snowy Island in the Pirate’s Vessel.

THE ship sailed, some among her crew lamented much the death of the two young officers. Another captain was chosen from among them, and they pursued their voyage without letting it be known what course they meant to take. In fact, the vessel was a privateer, and did not belong to Ireland, as Arnoldo was led to suppose, but to an island in rebellion against England.

Maurice felt somewhat ill at ease, and not quite contented with the company they had got amongst; fearing some harm from their free manners and loose habits of living. He feared that the extreme beauty of Auristella; the great comeliness of his own daughter, Transila; the youth and charms of Constance, with her uncommon style of dress, might awaken evil thoughts among these lawless men. He and the young Antonio served as Arguses, and kept a close and anxious watch over their fair charge. Rosamund, who had been in a declining state for some time, died; the wide sea served for her sepulchre, and her companions, though they could not grieve for her as a loss, yet felt her death with true Christian compassion.

Often did they intreat that they might be conveyed to Ireland, if it was not agreeable to the corsairs to go to England or Scotland; but they answered, that until they had taken a valuable prize, they should not touch at any land whatever, unless to take in water or necessary provisions. Ricla had sufficient wealth in her golden ingots to have bribed them to do as they wished; but she durst not discover her riches, lest they should take them away by force.

The captain assigned to his guests a cabin of their own, and behaved with much respect and attention, protecting them in all ways from the rude insolence of the crew.

And thus, for three months they continued to voyage about — sometimes touching at one island, sometimes at another, and scouring the seas, after the fashion of corsairs in search of gain.

The captain, when the weather was tranquil, and his ship becalmed, tried to entertain his guests with many a tale and history, and Maurice did the same; but the beautiful mourners were in general more occupied in thinking of their lost beloved ones, than in attending to either. Nevertheless, it happened one day that they lent an attentive ear to a story, related by the captain, which you will read in the following chapter.

Chapter XXII.

In which the Captain gives an account of the great Festivals which were held, in the Dominions of King Polycarp.

AN island, which is situated not far from Ireland, is my native place. It is large enough to be called a kingdom, but is not hereditary, nor does it go by succession. The people elect their sovereign by their own pleasure, always trying to secure the best and most virtuous man they can find; and without any intermediate treaties and negotiations, without either bribes or solicitations, the king is chosen by the common consent of all, and takes the sceptre of absolute command for life, or whilst his life continues unchanged in virtues. Thus, those who are not kings, try to be virtuous in hopes of becoming such, and those who are kings, continue good, for fear of losing their dignity; ambition is restrained, and covetousness annihilated. The people live in tranquillity, justice and mercy shine brightly forth. The former is not to be obtained or frustrated by bribes, nor by the claims of kindred. It is a land where none need fear insolence or wrong, and where every man may enjoy his own in peace.

“This custom, which is in my opinion a good and wholesome one, placed the sceptre of the kingdom in the hands of Polycarp, a worthy and renowned man, famous both in arms and learning; and he had, when he ascended the throne, two daughters of remarkable beauty; the elder is called Polycarpa, and the younger Sinforosa. They have no mother, which was a loss he hardly felt, except as a companion, for her virtues and good qualities were revived in her daughters, giving a bright example to the whole kingdom. They and their father, are beloved and admired by every one.

“The sovereigns of this country conceiving that evil thoughts are engendered among their subjects by melancholy, tried to encourage mirth and amusement, and established public festivals, and sometimes plays were performed. The principal of these festivals is held on the anniversary of the king’s accession, when there is a revival of what were, by the heathens in ancient days, called Olympic Games, in the best manner they are able. Prizes are given to the swiftest runners; honours adjudged to the most successful in fencing; crowns to the best archer, and rewards for wrestling. These games take place in a spacious plain, near the sea-shore; the spectators are sheltered from the sun by an infinite quantity of green boughs intertwined together. In the midst is a sumptuous theatre, in which are seats for the king and royal family, who are always present to survey the games.

“One of these days had arrived, and Polycarp desired to celebrate it with greater magnificence than had ever before been known. He and his daughters, with all the greatest in the land, were already seated; the sound of musical instruments, both warlike and pacific, had given the signal that the sports were about to begin; already four youths, light and active in make, were ready to start for the race, only waiting till a cord should be withdrawn which served as a line of restraint till the signal should be given; when, just at this instant, a boat was seen approaching, with her sides white, as if newly painted, and impelled through the waters by six oars on either side, in the hands of twelve graceful youths, of robust and finely formed make, ample shoulders, broad chests, and strong arms. They were dressed in white, all but the one who steered, and he was in the scarlet dress of a mariner. The boat flew rapidly over the waves, and to run her ashore, and all the men in her to leap on land, was the work of an instant. Polycarp commanded that the race should not begin till it was ascertained who these new comers were, and what they came for, as it was possible they were coming to assist at the festival, and prove their skill and prowess in the games.

“The first who advanced to speak to the king, was he who had steered the boat; a very young man, whose smooth skin was fair as snow, his curling hair like rings of gold, and every feature of his face so perfect, his whole form so beautiful, that it was a wondrous sight to look upon. His beauty instantly won all hearts, and I, among the rest, felt directly attracted to love and admire him. He addressed the king, saying, ‘Sire! these my companions and myself, having heard the fame of these games, come to offer our services, and to assist at their celebration. We are not come from a far country, but from a ship, which we left in the Isle of Scinta, which is not very distant. As the wind did not suit to bring her here, we got the boat ready, and manned her ourselves. We are all of noble birth, desirous to win honour; and what we come to demand of you as a king, is, that you will allow us, strangers, to show our strength, or skill, or ingenuity, so as to obtain renown ourselves, and afford pleasure to you.’

“‘Certainly, my agreeable young gentleman,’ answered the king, ‘you make your request with so much grace and courtesy, that it would be difficult to refuse it; you will honour my festival by your presence. Do all you please, and leave to me the charge of bestowing the rewards on those who deserve them; and if I am to judge from what I see, I should say few will have a chance of winning the first prizes while you are present.’

“The beautiful youth gracefully bent his knee, and bowed his head in thanks, respectfully, and with an air of high breeding. In two bounds he stood before the cord by the side of the four runners; his twelve comrades placed themselves on one side as spectators of the race. A trumpet sounded, the cord was loosed, and the five sprang forwards at full speed; but they had not run twenty paces, when the new corner was more than seven paces a head; at thirty paces he had gained nearly fifteen; finally he left them half way behind, as if they had been made of stone, to the admiration of all beholders, especially of Sinforosa, who followed him with her eyes, whether he ran, or whether he stood still; for indeed the beauty and grace of the youth was enough to attract every eye, and win the hearts of every one that looked upon him. I observed all attentively, because I had my eyes fixed upon Polycarpa, the lovely object of my affections, and thus I remarked also the motions of her sister. Envy began to rise in the breasts of those who were intending to try for the prizes, when they saw the ease with which the stranger had won the race. The second trial was that of fencing; the boy took the foil, and of seven who encountered him, he hit one on the mouth, the nose of another, closed the eyes of a third, and gave blows about the head repeatedly, whilst not one of his adversaries ever succeeded in touching so much as a bit of his clothing.

“With one accord, the public voice adjudged the first prize to him.

“Then six men prepared for wrestling; and the boy, with more grace than ever, bared his broad shoulders, his wide and ample chest, and the nerves and muscles of his strong arms, and with incredible address and dexterity, he shortly made each antagonist measure his length on the ground. Next he lifted a heavy iron bar, which was driven into the earth, because he was told that throwing this was the fourth trial of strength. He swung it for a moment, and then making signs for the people who were before him to stand aside, that he might have space for the throw, he flung the bar without turning his arm round, with such force, that, passing the bounds of the shore, the sea received it, and there it lay buried. This surprising feat dismayed his opponents, and none dared so much as to enter the lists in this contest. They next gave him a crossbow, and some arrows, and showed him a very high and smooth pole, at the top of which was fastened part of a lance, on which a dove was sitting, tied by a slight packthread. Those who were to make this trial, were only permitted a single shot. One, who was esteemed a very skilful marksman, stepped forward, hoping I believe to knock the dove over, before the other could try; he drew his bow, and the arrow struck the end of the lance, the affrighted bird rose into the air; immediately another, not less confident than the first, aimed with such dexterity, that he divided the string which tied the dove, and released from its bonds, it soared free into the sky; but the youth, who had already gained every first prize, let his arrow fly, and, as if he had given it its mandate what to do, and it understood him, it went whistling through the air, and divided the bird in two, arresting at once its flight and its life. Then the cries and acclamations of the spectators were renewed, and all praised the stranger, who in the race, the fencing-match, wrestling, throwing the bar, and drawing the cross-bow, with sundry other exercises which I have not mentioned, was unrivalled, and bore away every first prize, leaving it to his Companions to make their essay, after he had tried each once.

“It was twilight when the games finished; and when the king Polycarp arose from his seat, with the other judges, who were there to pronounce who were the conquerors, and was preparing to reward the victorious boy, he saw him kneeling before him, and saying, ‘Our ship is left unprotected and deserted; the night is coming on; whatever prizes I have to hope for, coming from your hand, will be highly esteemed by me: but, great king, let me pray you to leave them for another time, when, at more leisure, and with more convenience, I may return to offer my services, and claim them at your hands.’

“The king raised and embraced him; asked his name, and he told him he was called Periander. Then the beautiful Sinforosa took a garland from her head, and placed it on that of the noble youth, and with sweet and modest grace, she said as she crowned him, ‘ When my father is so fortunate as to see you return, you will find that you do not come to serve him, but to be served, in every way that is in his power.’”

Chapter XXIII.

How Auristella became a prey to jealousy when she found that it was her Periander who won all the Prizes at the Festival.

O MIGHTY power of jealousy! O infirmity, that art so planted in the heart, that thou canst only be uprooted thence with life itself! Ah! beauteous Auristella, stay and reflect ere you allow yourself to become a prey to this cruel suffering! But who can restrain thought within bounds, which is so light and subtle, that bodyless it passes through stone walls, enters human bosoms, and penetrates the deepest recesses of the soul?

I have said this, because, when Auristella heard the ‘ name of Periander pronounced, and having before heard the praises of Sinforosa, and now hearing of the favour she had shown to him by placing her garland on his head, suspicion entered her heart, her patience failed, and uttering a deep sigh, she embraced Transila, and said, “O dear friend, I pray to Heaven that thou hast not lost thy beloved Ladislaus, as I lose my brother Periander. Dost thou not hear from the lips of this worthy gentleman, that he is honoured as conqueror, crowned as the victor, and more attentive to win the favour of a fair lady, than to take the trouble of seeking after the wandering steps of his poor sister? He goes about seeking laurels and trophies in foreign lands, and leaves her among the wild rocks and mountains, and perils of the angry ocean, who by his advice and for his pleasure, am placed amid all these dangers.”

The captain of the ship listened to these words with great attention, and knew not what conclusion to draw from them. He was about to speak, but the words that were going to be uttered were arrested suddenly, for the wind rose all at once with such fury, that he was forced to leave Auristella without an answer, and call to his sailors to mind the sails, reef and secure them. All hands hastened to the work. The ship began to fly before the wind, over a tremendous sea; Maurice, with his companions, retired to their cabin, to leave the deck free for the mariners. There, Transila asked Auristella what meant the sudden alarm that had seized her, caused, as it seemed, by only hearing the name of her brother, Periander; and she could not conceive why the praises and successes of a brother should give her so much disquiet.

“Alas! my friend,” replied Auristella, “so it is, that I am forced to keep perpetual silence over this pilgrimage I am upon; which seems doomed to be endless, unless life should end first; I am obliged to keep it. If you knew who I am (would to heaven that you might know!) you would see the exculpation of my fears, for you would know then what has given them birth; you would see misfortunes unlooked for, and labyrinths, from whose mazes you would not conceive it possible to escape — you would see how strong can be the bond of fraternal love.

“You would see how natural it is for lovers to be jealous, if I, with great propriety, am jealous of a brother. This captain, my friend, does he not exaggerate the beauty of Sinforosa? and do not you see her crowning the head of Periander? Yes, doubtless; and this brother of mine, have not you seen how beautiful and brave he is? Then, how likely it is that he has awakened feelings in the heart of Sinforosa, that have made him forget his sister?”

“Remember, lady,” answered Transila, “that all this which the captain has been relating, happened before the time of the captivity in the barbarous island, and that since then you have both seen and discoursed with your brother, and have you not found that he loves nobody as he loves you, and cares for nothing but to please you. And I do not believe that jealousy can ever be so strong as to divide a sister from a brother.”

“Daughter,” said old Maurice, “the effects of human love are often as different as they are unreasonable. Do you endeavour to be prudent and discreet enough, not to try and fathom the thoughts of others, nor desire to know more than they choose to tell you of themselves. Curiosity about one’s neighbour’s affairs is to be censured and avoided.”

Auristella heard Maurice say this, and it made her determine to keep her own secret, and hold her tongue; for Transila, who was a little indiscreet, might soon have contrived, to draw from her, and make public, all her history.

The wind abated, without having caused the danger which the sailors feared, or disturbing the passengers. The captain came to visit them, and to finish his story, for he was very anxious to learn what could be the cause of Auristella’s disturbance on hearing the name of Periander. Auristella, on her part, wished much to hear more of the history, and to learn from the captain whether Sinforosa had bestowed any other favours upon Periander, besides that of crowning him with her garland; and, accordingly, she asked him the question very modestly, and with caution, lest he should suspect her motive.

The captain replied, that Sinforosa had no opportunity to bestow more favours (since that was the word for the civilities of ladies) on Periander, but that in spite of the excellence of Sinforosa, he thought that she kept him much in her imagination; for after he was gone, when any one spoke of his graces and charms, she praised them up to the skies; and she had persuaded her father to send out a vessel in search of him, and make him return to his court, which more confirmed his suspicions.

“What! is it possible,” said Auristella, “that highborn maidens, daughters of kings, whom fortune has set in high places, should humble themselves so much as to suffer their secret thoughts to be discovered by their subjects? And seeing that it is a truth, that greatness and majesty do not agree well with love, it follows of course that Sinforosa, a princess, beautiful and free, ought not to have been captivated at first sight, by an unknown boy, whose rank could not be very exalted, when he came, the steersman of a boat, with twelve half-naked companions, as all rowers are.”

“Auristella, my daughter,” said Maurice, “be silent, there are more miracles displayed by love than by any other human passion; so many and so wonderful are they, that they pass in silence unnoticed, however remarkable they may be. Love joins the sceptre with the shepherd’s crook; greatness with low estate. It makes possible the impossible, renders different ranks equal, and is powerful as death. You, lady, well know, and so do I also, the fine qualities and rare beauty of your brother Periander; and it is the privilege of beauty to attract and subdue all hearts. Such characters as his, the more they are known, the more are they loved and esteemed; so it would be no miracle if Sinforosa, all princess though she is, should love your brother; because it is not as the simple Periander alone, that she loves, but as one in whom beauty, valour, dexterity, activity, in short every merit and accomplishment is centred.”

“What, then,” cried the captain, “Periander is this lady’s brother?” —

“Yes!” answered Transila, “for whose sake she lives in perpetual sadness, and all of us, her friends who love her and wish her well, and who know him also, in grief and bitterness. Then they related to him the whole story of the wreck and loss of Arnoldo’s ship; the separation of the barge and skiff, with all else that was necessary to make him understand what had happened up to the present moment. And at this part of their history the author of the first volume leaves them and passes to the second, wherein things will be related which although they do not surpass truth, yet go beyond what one could conceive, since they could scarcely enter into the most lively and expansive imagination.

Book II.

Chapter I.

Wherein it is related how the Ship was turned upside down, with all that were in her.

IT would seem as though the author of this history was more of a lover than an historian; for nearly the whole of the first chapter of his Second Book is spent in a definition of jealousies, caused by that which was shown by Auristella, on account of the story told by the captain of the vessel. But, as it appears to me to be prolix, I — shall omit it in this translation, and come to facts, which were as follows: —

The wind changing, and the clouds gathering, night came on very dark and gloomy, and the thunder sending forth the lightning as messenger, disturbed and bewildered the mariners. Then began the tempest with a fury that no power or skill could withstand, for it came all at once and without warning; but nevertheless each man was at his post, doing the work that was necessary if not to save, at least to prolong life. The boldest got planks, that they might have something to support them like a raft, in case the ship should go to pieces. Maurice held his daughter, Transila, in his embrace; Antonio clasped in his, his mother and sister. The sad Auristella alone remained without anyone to support her. She had no hope but in death, and would gladly have even sought it, if her religion had not forbidden this, and religion was now her only resource; so she took refuge with the others, and they in a knot, or rather one might say a heap, lay crouched in the most hidden corner of the ship, to escape the fearful sound of the thunder, and the flashes of the lightning, and the confused cries of the mariners. In this sort of prison they were at least spared from seeing the ship lifted one instant almost up to the clouds, and at another sweep with her very topmast the depths of the ocean below. They closed their eyes, expecting death, fearing it, though they could not see the shape in which it was to come.

The storm increased so as to baffle the skill of the mariners and the care of the captain, and finally the hope of all on board. No voice was heard now, giving orders for this or that to be done; but cries, and prayers, and vows to Heaven for aid, and so extreme was their misery, that Transila thought not of her Ladislaus, nor Auristella of Periander. One of the powerful effects of approaching death, is to blot from the memory all things that belong to this life; and if it is able to make the jealous heart forget its pangs, one may indeed say it can do even the impossible. There was no hour-glass to mark how time passed, nor compass, nor any means of discovering what place they were in. All was confusion; all were crying, sighing, and praying. The captain was dismayed; the mariners gave up all exertion; human strength was of no avail. The general despair at last made all silent. The rude sea broke over the very deck, and even over the highest masts, which, as if in revenge for the insult, struck as it were into the very sands below. At break of day, if so it could be called, when there came no light with it, the ship remained water-logged and immoveable, which is one of the worst disasters that can befall a vessel. At length a furious hurricane lifted her up, as though by some machinery, burying the topmasts in the depths of ocean, and leaving her keel turned up to the skies, making her a tomb for all who were within her.

“Adieu to all the chaste thoughts of Auristella! adieu to all her pious intentions! Rest in peace, honoured and holy one; no other mausoleum, no other monument canst thou expect, except a few poor frail planks. And thou, O Transita, bright example of maiden purity, though thy bridal bed will not be shared with thine espoused Ladislaus, yet wilt thou in the arms of thy wise and aged parent find that hope which will guide thee to a far happier resting-place.

“And thou, O Ricla, clasp in thy arms Antonio and Constance, thy children, and commit them to Him who now takes away your lives, only to give you a far better one in Heaven.”

Such were the words of the author of this most remarkable and pitiful history, in consequence of the upsetting of the ship, and the certain death (as might be supposed) of all who were in her; and what more he says, will be seen in the following chapter.

Chapter II.

An extraordinary Event.

THE ship was, as I have said, buried in the waters, and within her were the dead bodies sepulchred, as it seemed without a hope, and destitute of aid. But pitying Heaven, which sometimes helps the unfortunate, when at the last extremity, so ordered it, that the vessel was cast ashore by the waves in an open bay, which seemed as if it served as a safe harbour, from its tranquillity. Not far off was a port capable of containing many vessels, and in these waters, as in a clear mirror, might be seen reflected the buildings of a large and populous city, which reared its head on the summit of a lofty hill.

The people in the city saw the wreck, and thought that it was a whale or some other large fish that had been encountered by the tempest. A good number sallied forth to see, and ascertaining it to be a ship, the news reached the ears of the King Polycarp, for he was the lord of this city; and accompanied by many persons, amongst whom were his two beautiful daughters, Polycarpa and Sinforosa, he went out to give orders that with capstanes, windlass, and with boats to row round the ship, she should be brought into port. Several men jumped upon the wreck, and told the king that they could plainly hear a sound of knocking within, and they almost fancied of human voices. An old knight, who was standing near the king, said, “I remember, Sire, having once seen in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Gulf of Genoa, a Spanish galley, that in shortening sail had upset like this vessel before us, and remained bottom upwards. Before they turned her over, having first heard a noise, as they say they hear in this, they sawed an opening in the hull, so that they might look into the inside; and upon the light being admitted, they discovered the captain of the vessel and four of his crew all alive therein. I saw this, myself, and the details of the story are given in many Spanish histories. The persons who were thus brought into the world a second time, from the womb of the vessel, are yet living, and if here the same thing should happen, it need not be esteemed a miracle, but a mystery, for miracles are events that occur out of the order of nature, and mysteries are things that seem to be miracles, but yet are not so, only of very rare occurrence.”

“What then do we wait for?” said the king. “Let us open this vessel instantly, and see the mystery, but if this should disgorge anything living, a miracle I shall consider it to be.” Great was the haste they made to open the hull, and great the anxiety of all present to see the bringing forth. At last a pretty wide opening was made, — many bodies, seemingly dead, lay within; but one man laid his hands on the body of a woman whose heart still beat, and showed symptoms of life; others did the same, and each man brought out a body, some dead, some living.

All the fishermen were not equally lucky. Those who yet breathed when brought into the air and light, and their faces washed and restoratives given, began to move their limbs and gaze around them, as if awakened from a deep sleep. Auristella found herself in the arms of Arnoldo, Transila in those of Clodio; Ricla and Constance were carried out by Rutilio and the elder Antonio. As for Antonio, the son, nobody carried him, for he walked out by himself, and Maurice did the like. Arnoldo was more full of surprise and wonder than even the newly restored ones, and almost as senseless as the dead corpses. Auristella looked at him, but without recognition. The first words she uttered were, (and she it was who first broke the universal silence,) “Is the beautiful Sinforosa here by chance among these persons, O my brother?”

“Great Heavens! what is this I hear?” said Arnoldo to himself; “what means this strange inquiry after Sinforosa, at a moment when she ought only to be thinking of returning thanks to Heaven for her wonderful preservation?” Nevertheless he answered that she was there present, and asked how she knew anything about her, for of course he was ignorant of all that Auristella had learned from the captain of the vessel touching Periander and his success at the games; and he could not divine the reason of Auristella inquiring for Sinforosa. Had he divined it, such is the force of jealousy, that it would have pierced into the inmost recesses of his enamoured heart like a knife, and would almost have separated soul and body.

As soon as the resuscitated ones had a little recovered from their terror, and those around from their astonishment, they began confusedly asking questions one of another; how those they found on land had come there; and they in their turn, how these had been in the wrecked vessel. Polycarp, seeing that she had filled with water through the aperture which had been made, now commanded that she should be towed into the harbour, and drawn ashore by means of machinery, which was speedily done. All the people who had been in the hull now came ashore, and were received by the king and his daughters, and all the principal citizens, with as much joy as admiration; but what chiefly excited this, especially in Sinforosa, was the incomparable loveliness of Auristella. Transila, too, was very much admired; and the odd, but becoming dress, the youth and grace of the fair barbarian, Constance, (not to mention the comeliness of her mother, Ricla,) did not pass unnoticed.

The city being near, without more ado they all went thither on foot.

Periander had, during this time, found an opportunity of speaking to Auristella, Ladislaus to Transila, and Antonio to his wife and children; all were relating their adventures to one another; only Auristella was silent, occupied entirely in looking at Sinforosa. But at length she said to Periander, “Is that very beautiful lady, who is walking yonder, by chance the king’s daughter; and is her name Sinforosa?”

“She is,” answered Periander, “one in whom beauty and courtesy unite.”

“Very courteous she ought to be,” replied Auristella, “for she is very beautiful.”

“Even if she were not so much so,” he rejoined, “the obligations I owe to her, my sweet sister, would make her seem fair in my eyes.”

“If you go by obligations, and if they help to enhance beauty, mine must then seem the greatest on earth to you, according to those you owe me.”

“We cannot,” said Periander, “compare things divine with things human. Praise and hyperbole, however excessive, has each its limit. When one says a woman is more beautiful than an angel, it is a kind of exaggeration by courtesy; in thy case alone, O sweetest sister mine, rules fail, and truth only gathers strength from speaking of thy beauty.”

“If my sufferings and my miseries have not injured mine, O my brother, I might perhaps believe that the praises you bestow upon it are true; but I put my hope in a compassionate Heaven, that my sorrows may at last be one day turned into joy, and my troubles into prosperity. Meanwhile, I implore you, never to let what you owe to me be erased from your memory by any other charms or obligations whatsoever; but that mine may satisfy your heart, and fill the vacuum there, if you find that the beauty of my mind and person, such as it is, offers a compound of charms that can satisfy your wishes.”

Periander was confounded to hear Auristella speak thus. He saw that she was jealous, a new thing in her; since in all his experience of her character, he had never known her before to depart from the bounds of politeness: never before had her lips opened to express any but the purest and most modest thoughts. Never had she uttered a word, that might not have been spoken to a brother, in public as well as in private.

Arnoldo, on his side, was discontented and jealous of Periander. Ladislaus was rejoiced to have again his betrothed Transila; Maurice was satisfied with his daughter and son-in-law; Antonio happy to be restored to his wife and children; Rutilio, with the reunion of the whole party; and the gossip-loving Clodio with the fair opportunity that offered itself of having a fine and marvellous story to tell, wherever he went, of such remarkable events as these.

They reached the city, and the generous Polycarp treated his new guests royally, and lodged them all in his palace; honouring most Arnoldo, whom he now knew to be the heir of Denmark, who had left his country for love of Auristella; and as soon as he had looked upon her lovely face, he confessed that he found there full and sufficient excuse for him.

Polycarpa and Sinforosa assigned to Auristella a lodging in their own apartments; Sinforosa could never take her eyes off from looking at her, thanking Heaven that she was the sister, and not the beloved, of Periander; and adoring her, both on account of her excessive beauty and of her relationship to him. She could not bear her to be out of her sight a single instant; she watched closely her every action, attended to every word she spoke, admired her graceful motions, and took delight even in the very tones of her voice.

In the same manner, and as closely did Auristella watch and observe Sinforosa, but with very different feelings. Auristella’s observations were excited by her jealousy, Sinforosa’s by simple benevolence and love.

They remained in the city many days, reposing after all their sufferings; and Arnoldo was now beginning to plan a return to Denmark, or wherever Auristella and Periander might approve, showing as he had always done, that he had no will but theirs.

Clodio, always idle and inquisitive, had watched Arnoldo closely, and saw how much he had at heart the love of Auristella. One day, being alone with him, he said, “I, who have always been accustomed to find fault with princes publicly, without preserving the respect due to their high rank, would now fain, in private, speak my mind freely to you. What I ask of you is, that you will hear patiently the advice I am about to give, and let my motive plead my excuse, if it is unpleasing to you.” Arnoldo was puzzled, not knowing what Clodio was going to say; however, he determined to hear him, and so told him he might say freely what he pleased; and Clodio, satisfied with this safe conduct, proceeded thus:— “My lord, you love Auristella. I may say more, you adore her; and, as I understand, you know no more of her history, nor who she is, than what she has been pleased to tell you; and that is — nothing! You have kept her in your power more than two years, during which, I have heard, you took all the pains possible to conquer her severity, and gain her heart, wishing to make her your’s by lawful marriage, and yet that she is as cold and immoveable now, as she was the first day you spoke to her; whence I argue, that she is as deficient in understanding, as you are superabundant in patience; and it is worthy of consideration, whether there may not exist some great mystery, causing a woman thus to refuse a kingdom, and reject a prince so worthy of being loved. Likewise, it is mysterious to see a wandering damsel, her rank unknown, accompanied only by a youth, who though he calls himself her brother, may yet not be so, going about from one country to another, from island to island, exposed to the inclemency of the weather, and to the rude treatment and dangers of the land, as well as of the ocean. Honour is dearer than life itself. A wise man should permit reason to moderate his pleasures, and ought not to give way to his own desires.” Clodio was here about to enter upon a philosophical and serious tirade, when Periander came in, and interrupted his oration, greatly to his annoyance, and also to that of Arnoldo, who wished to hear him out. Maurice, Ladislaus, and Transila also came in, and with them Auristella, supported by Sinforosa, so ill, that it was necessary to convey her to her bed; her illness causing such agonies of alarm in the bosoms of Periander and Arnoldo, that they stood nearly as much in need of a physician as Auristella.

Chapter III.

Sinforosa reveals her love to Auristella.

THE instant that the king heard of Auristella’s illness, he sent his physicians to visit her. They discovered that her ailment proceeded more from the mind than the body. Arnoldo and Periander had partly guessed this, and Clodio better than anybody.

The physicians ordered that she should never be left alone, and that they should try and divert her mind with music, if she took pleasure in hearing it, or with any other cheerful amusement. Sinforosa took upon herself the care of the invalid, and bestowed her company upon her continually — a kindness which Auristella could willingly have excused, seeing that it was keeping the very cause of her illness always before her eyes. She could not expect a cure, because she was resolved not to tell what ailed her.

She was at length left alone in her apartment with only the two princesses; Sinforosa soon found an excuse to get rid of Polycarpa; and hardly did she see herself alone with Auristella, than embracing her, and pressing both her hands closely in her own, with deep and heavy sighs, she seemed as if she wished to translate her own soul into the body of Auristella, who was greatly disturbed by her emotion, and said, “What ails you, lady, what mean these signs of suffering; as if you, more than myself, required the aid of a physician? Tell me how I can help you, or serve you; for although my body is weak, my will is strong.”

“Sweet friend, how much your offer gratifies me,” answered Sinforosa, “and with the same readiness you show in obliging me, I will reply, without any affected politeness, or frigid compliments. My sister, for I must call you by that name whilst life endures, my sister! I am in love; very much in love; but shame, and being what I am, restrain my tongue. Must I die in silence? Is there any miracle that can cure my complaint?”

Sinforosa said all this, with so many sighs and tears that Auristella was moved to dry her eyes and embrace her, saying, “Do not die, O most afflicted lady, with thus constraining your tongue to silence. Cast away for a time shame and bashfulness, and confide your secret to me; for griefs communicated, if not healed, are at least alleviated; if, as I guess, your sorrows are those of love, well do I know that you are made of flesh and blood, although you look like alabaster; and as I also know that our hearts are formed to be restless, and that they cannot help loving those whom their stars have decreed they must love, whether they will or no. Tell me then, lady, who it is you love; for, as it is not probable that you have, like some in ancient story, taken a bull, or a shower of gold and silver for the object of your worship, it must needs be some man that you adore; and this will not cause either fear or amazement in me, for I am woman as you are, and have my own inclinations and feelings; and though they have never escaped from my lips for maiden shame, yet they might well have done so in the unconsciousness of fever. But the hour will come at last when all disguise must cease; and it may be that in my last will, you will learn the cause of my death.”

Sinforosa kept looking at her all the while she spoke, and treasured every word she uttered as if it were an oracle.

“Ah, me! sweet lady,” said she, “I believe that you were sent hither through such extraordinary ways, by Heaven itself, miraculously sent to this land to comfort and console me in my sorrows; and that you were out of the dark hold of the vessel restored to the light of day, to bring light to my darkened soul, and rescue it from the trouble it has been in; and so, not to keep you or myself longer in suspense, you shall know that to this island came your brother, Periander and then she detailed in regular succession the facts of his arrival, the triumphs and honours that he had won, and the difficulties he had conquered, as we have already described. She further told how the grace and beauty of Periander had awakened in her mind a sort of feeling that at first was not love, but simple kindness and admiration; how in time, with idleness and dwelling upon the subject, and accustoming herself to contemplate his graces, love began to represent him to her, not as a simple individual, but rather as a prince, that if he was not one, he deserved so to be. “This idea weighed upon my mind, and unthinkingly I suffered it to rest there, without making any resistance; and so by little and little I came to like him, to love him, and even to adore him as I have told you.”

She would have said more, if at this instant Polycarpa had not returned, desirous of amusing Auristella, with a small harp in her hands to which she was singing. Sinforosa was agitated; Auristella thunderstruck; but the emotion of the one, and the stupor of the other did not prevent them both from lending an attentive ear to the incomparable musician, who sang the following words in her own language, which Antonio afterwards translated thus —


If nothing, Cynthia, can avail

To win thy lost heart back again,

Give way to grief, relinquish life,

’Tis nothing worth, why not complain?

The maiden pride with which thou fain

The fatal passion would subdue,

Itself will strike the murd’rous blow,

Too late shalt thou thy silence rue.

Poor broken heart! thy latest sigh

Shall breathe at last thy secret woe;

Far wiser had it timely told

Its tale of sorrow long ago.

Lamenting thee, the world shall learn

How deep the love thy heart had cherished,

And some perchance may vainly grieve

To think how true a heart has perished.

Nobody understood Polycarpa’s verses so well as Sinforosa; her sister was acquainted with all her wishes; and although she had determined to bury them in silence, she now desired to follow her advice by telling her thoughts to Auristella as she had already begun to do. Many times did Sinforosa visit Auristella, giving her to understand that it was more from civility than inclination: at length she one day resumed the subject of their previous conversation, saying, “Hear me once more, dear lady, and do not be weary of my discourse; my heart will burst if I do not speak; and the fear of this in spite of shame, forces me to tell you that I must die if I cannot obtain your brother’s love; his virtues have so enslaved my heart, that, without knowing what may be his birth, country, or means of living, I only see the liberal gifts with which nature has endowed him. For himself alone, I love him; for himself alone, I desire to marry him; and I beseech you not to think amiss of my hasty passion, but do me all the good in your power.

I have immense wealth left me by my mother, unknown to my father. What I am, you see; I may not deserve his love, but do I merit his aversion? Give me your brother as my husband. Be my sister; I will divide my riches with you. I will find a husband for you, who may be one day elected king of this country.” Sinforosa held Auristella’s hands in hers, bathing them with her tears, as she poured forth her love-sick soul. Auristella wept also; judging by her own feelings what must be the conflict of an enamoured heart; and, although she saw a rival in Sinforosa, still she pitied her; and the more that she had never offended her in any way that could demand vengeance; her fault was the same as her own, her wishes the same. She could not condemn the princess without finding herself guilty of the same crime. What Auristella was most anxious to discover was, if she had ever bestowed any favours on Periander, even of the smallest kind; or whether by word or look she had ever betrayed her tenderness to him. Sinforosa replied, that never once had she possessed boldness enough to raise her eyes to those of Periander, or look at him but with the reserve she owed to her high rank and station; and that the license of her tongue had not exceeded that of her eyes. “I believe you, truly,” said Auristella; “but is it possible that he has never shown you any signs of love? If he loves you, and he surely must, for I do not think he has a heart of marble, beauty such as yours must have touched and softened his. It is my opinion that before I can get over this difficulty, you must try to speak with him, and find an occasion to bestow some modest favour upon him; for sometimes unexpected and unsought favours will arouse and inflame the most lukewarm and careless hearts. If once he answers to your feelings, it will be easy for me to make him satisfy you in all things. The beginning, my friend, is the only difficulty in all things; in love affairs, especially, most difficult. I do not advise you to be either precipitate or forward; for the favours of a maiden to him she loves, however chaste they may be, never appear so; and you must not venture honour for the sake of pleasure. Discreet conduct may do much; and love, subtle master of the art of conveying thoughts, offers opportunity and time to the most troubled, that they may exchange them without any danger.”

Chapter IV.

Wherein is continued the History of Sinforosa’s Love.

THE enamoured Sinforosa listened attentively to the prudent counsels of Auristella; but without replying to them, she returned to take up again the thread of their past discourse, saying, “You shall see, my friend, to what extremities this love for your brother has brought me; it made me send a captain, one of my father’s guard, in search of him; and to bring him back to my presence, either by force or by his own good will. The vessel in which he embarked is the same in which you arrived hither, for his body was found among the dead.”

“Very probably,” answered Auristella, “for I heard from his lips a great part of what you have told me; insomuch, that I had already a notion, although somewhat confused, of your feelings towards him; which, if it be possible, I wish you to calm and compose, till you are able to discover them to my brother, or till I can undertake to find a remedy for you, which shall be as soon as you have told me what is the result of your interview. You cannot fail in finding an opportunity shortly.” Sinforosa renewed her thanks to Auristella, and she in return anew expressed her sympathy.

Meantime, whilst this was passing between the Princess and Auristella, Arnoldo was in the company of Clodio, who was dying to disturb or destroy, if possible, the tender sentiments he entertained for Auristella, and finding him alone (if a man can be said to be alone whose soul is continually occupied with one image) said to him, “I told you, my lord, the other day, how little dependence was to be placed on the volatile nature of woman; and after all Auristella is a woman, though to you she seems an Angel. And Periander is a man, although he is her brother. Now, I am far from wishing to excite evil suspicions in your breast, but merely to create a little prudent caution, and if you think what I suggest is reasonable, I wish you sometimes to consider who you are, the loneliness of your father; how much your presence is wanted by your vassals; the chance that may happen of even losing your kingdom, which is as a vessel deserted by its pilot! I would have you observe that princes are usually obliged to marry, not merely for beauty, but for high birth; not for riches so much as for virtue and noble qualities, that they may give good successors to the kingdom. It lessens the respect which a people owe to the sovereign, if they see him demean himself in an alliance; and it is not enough to say that a king stands so high and is so great himself, that it matters nothing if the wife he selects be of low degree. Therefore, my noble lord, either return to your kingdom, or look well and with caution that you are not deceived; and pardon this boldness in me, for although I have the character of being an evil-speaker and a backbiter, I do not wish to be thought bad intentioned; with you I would fain find a shelter, and beneath the shield of your valour I would spend my life, fearing no more the storms of fate, for already a better star seems dawning to amend my character and life, hitherto so depraved.”

“I thank you, Clodio,” replied Arnoldo, “for your good advice, but I cannot profit by it or accept it. Auristella is virtuous; Periander is her brother; and I cannot doubt this, because she has herself said so; and for me, her word is truth. I adore her; there is no denying that the infinite measure of her beauty raises her so far above my desires, that I exist only in her, and for her alone has been, is, and will be, life desirable. Therefore, O Clodio, counsel me no more; for your words are only scattered to the winds, and my conduct will prove how useless is all your advice.”

Clodio shrugged his shoulders, hung his head, and left the prince’s presence, resolved to attempt no more to be his adviser; because, to be so, requires three qualities, the first is authority, the second prudence, and the third is to be acceptable, and the counsel desired. These amorous struggles and distresses were busy in the palace of King Polycarp and the bosoms of the lovers. Auristella jealous;! Sinforosa, love-lorn; Periander, uneasy; Arnoldo, pertinacious; and Maurice busy arranging plans for returning to his own country, sorely against Transila’s inclination, who had no wish to go back to a place of which the customs and manners were so rude and barbarous; her husband, Ladislaus, neither dared nor desired to contradict her. The elder Antonio was dying to see himself, his wife and children in Spain; and Rutilio sighed after Italy, his native land. Each had wishes, yet was not a single one of them accomplished; this is the lot of humanity, which though God created it perfect, was by our sin made imperfect; and this imperfection we must endure until we cease to wish for anything.

It happened, then, that Sinforosa almost purposely gave Periander an opportunity of being alone with Auristella, wishing to afford her a means of opening the subject of her case, the sentence of which would be to her that of life or death. The first words Auristella said, were, “This, our pilgrimage, my lord and brother, so full of sufferings and surprises, threatening so many dangers, daily and hourly, leaves me in fear of death; and I wish we could form some plan to make life more secure, by remaining quiet in some place; nowhere shall we find one better than this where we are now, for here are riches offered you abundantly, not only promises but in reality. And, moreover, a nobly born and most beautiful wife, worthy of being wooed instead of herself wooing you, offers her hand to your acceptance.”

Whilst Auristella thus spoke, Periander regarded her so attentively that he never moved his eye-lashes; he followed her rapid discourse to discover whither her reasoning was going to lead to; but soon going on, she relieved him from his confusion, saying, “My brother! for by this name I must call you, let your condition be what it may, I say that Sinforosa adores you, and wishes to marry you. I say, that she has immense riches and immense beauty; I say, immense, for it is such that it can hardly be exaggerated; and as far as I have seen, she is well-conditioned, of quick intellect, and of manners discreet and modest. According to present appearances, such an alliance would not come amiss to you; we are far away from our native country; you, persecuted by your brother, and I, by my hard fate. As to our journey to Rome, the more we try to accomplish it, the more do difficulties increase; my intentions are unchanged, but I tremble, and I do not wish death to surprise me amidst terror and danger; therefore I think of ending my life in a religious house, and I wish you to finish yours in prosperity.”

Here Auristella ceased speaking, and began to shed such floods of tears, that they contradicted and blotted out all she had said. She drew her arms modestly out of the coverlet, and turned her head to the opposite side from that where Periander was; who seeing things at such an extremity, and having heard her last words, remained without power to speak or move; the sight left his eyes, his breath failed, and he sunk upon his knees on the floor, his head resting upon the bed. Auristella turned hers, and seeing that he had fainted, she put her hand upon his face, and bathed his cheeks with her tears, which fell drop by drop without his being conscious of it.

Chapter V.

What passed between the King and his daughter Sinforosa.

THERE are in nature many things, of which we do not know the cause. Some persons have their teeth set on edge when they see a loaf cut with a knife; sometimes a man trembles at sight of a rat; I have seen another shudder over the cutting of a radish: and others leave the table, at a formal dinner, on seeing olives placed upon it. Ask the cause? no one can tell it; and they who fancy they can best solve the mystery, say, that the stars have a certain antipathy with the temperature of the man, inclining him to certain actions, fears, and aversions, touching the before-mentioned things, and others similar that occur every day. One of the definitions of man, is to say that he is a laughing animal, for man only laughs, and no other animal; and I think that we may also say, he is a weeping animal — an animal that weeps.

It is lawful for a wise man to weep for three things. For having committed a sin; when he asks pardon for it; and for jealousy. No other tears suit the dignity of a grave man.

Let us return then to the fainting Periander; and although he weeps neither as a sinner nor as a penitent, he sheds the tears of a jealous lover; but he lacks not one who will both excuse his tears, and even wipe them away, as Auristella did, who had thrown him into this condition more from artifice than honestly meaning all she said. He at length recovered his senses, and hearing steps in the apartment, he turned his head and saw beside him Ricla and Constance, who were come to visit Auristella. He seized the opportunity of departing, not finding words wherewith to answer his mistress, so he retired to consider the advice she had given him.

Sinforosa, meanwhile, was longing to hear the sentence that had been pronounced in the court of love, on the first hearing of her suit; and she would, doubtless, have been first to visit Auristella instead of Ricla and Constance, but that she was prevented doing so, by receiving a message from the king her father, who required her immediate presence. She went to him, and found him alone. Polycarp made her sit near him; and, after a few moments’ silence, in a low voice (as if he feared being overheard) he said, “Daughter, although thy tender youth has probably kept thee in ignorance of that passion which is called love; and although my maturer age might well preserve me from its jurisdiction, yet nature will sometimes deviate from its regular course, lighting up the flame of love in the bosom of a mere girl, and consuming with its blaze the dry heart of the old man.”

When Sinforosa heard her father speak thus, she never doubted but that he knew her wishes, nevertheless she was silent, not liking to interrupt him, until he should have spoken more clearly; in the meantime her heart was beating quickly. Her father went on, saying, “After I lost your mother, O my daughter, I devoted myself to the study of your gratification and comfort. I have done in all things as you advised, and as you well know have hitherto preserved strictly and carefully the state of widowhood, as much for the sake of my own character as to keep the Catholic faith which I profess; but since the arrival of these new guests in our city, all the former regularity of my mind has been disconcerted, and the steady course of my life has been disturbed; and, finally, I have fallen from the summit of my boasted discretion, to the very lowest abyss of I know not what desires, which I must die of, if I keep silence, and if I declare them I am disgraced. No longer will I keep you in suspense, daughter, no longer will I be silent. If you would hear further, know that I am dying for love of Auristella; the rays of her bright beauty have penetrated even to the depths of my dried-up heart. I would wish, if it were possible, in giving to you and your sister a step-mother, that her great merits should excuse my so doing; if you agree with me, I care for nothing else that will be said; and as to that, if people think me mad, I will leave my kingdom, and reign only in the heart of my Auristella. There would then be on earth no monarch who could be compared to me. Now, daughter, it is my wish that you should tell her of this, and learn from her what is very important for me to know, (although I do not believe she will make many difficulties,) whether her prudence will esteem my station and authority enough counterpoise to my age, and whether my riches may be set against the difference of our years. It is a great thing to be a queen; it is a great thing to command. Honours are enjoyable things; and amusement and pleasure are not only to be found in marriages where the ages are equal. In reward for this embassy that I employ you in, I am thinking of improving your own condition; if you are as wise as I think you are, you will scarcely desire anything better. Look you, now, there are four things which a person of high rank requires; these are, a good wife, a good house, a good horse, and good armour. The two first are equally necessary for a woman, and even more so, for the wife does not raise her husband, but the husband does raise the wife; so, Auristella, let her be who she may, being my wife will become a queen; and her brother, Periander, being my brother-in-law, and I giving him to you as a husband, and honouring him with the title of my brother, you will be as great in being his wife, as in being my daughter.”

“But,” said Sinforosa, “how do you know, Sire, that Periander is not already married, and even if he is not, that he wishes to marry me?”

“I think,” said the king,” that one may presume he is unmarried, from his wandering life through foreign countries, a thing incompatible with domestic life. That he will love you, I feel assured, both from his well known sense and prudence, which will point out the advantages of such an alliance; and since the beauty of his sister makes her a queen, it would not be wonderful that yours should make him wish to be your husband.”

With these last words, and with this fair prospect, did the king delight Sinforosa’s fancy; thus gratifying all her desires; and she, without crossing those of her father, promised to undertake his negotiation of a marriage with Auristella, and accepted the offer of the yet unnegotiated one with Periander; only she said that it was best to be cautious in giving him to her as a husband; for even if the qualities of his mind equalled his valour, it would be as well not to be too hasty till the experience of a few more days should have confirmed their opinion; and yet at this moment, to obtain him for a husband, she would have given all she had or desired to have in the world; so in the case of illustrious ladies, the tongue says one thing while the heart feels another.

While this was passing between Polycarp and his daughter, in another room a conversation was going on between Rutilio and Clodio. “Look you, now, friend Rutilio, what is this Arnoldo doing here, following Auristella like her shadow, and leaving his country to the care of his old father, who is nearly in his dotage — almost beside himself at one moment, overwhelmed at another, weeping here, sighing there, and bitterly complaining of the fate he himself has worked out? What are we to think of this Auristella and her brother; a pair of vagabonds, concealing their birth, perhaps, to make it doubtful whether they may not be of an illustrious family; for he who quits his country, and goes where nobody knows him, may easily give himself any parentage he pleases, and even if he be sufficiently skilful may pretend to come from the sun or moon. I don’t deny that they are both worthy of being admired and praised, but they may be this without prejudice to a third person. Honour and praise are due to virtue, but not to deceit and hypocrisy. Who can he be, this wrestler and fencer, this runner and leaper, this Ganymede, this charmer, who is bought here and sold there, who acts as an Argus to the delicate Auristella, and will hardly let anybody look at her too near? No one knows who they are, or whence they came, or where they are going? But that which disturbs me most of all is, that, by the eleven heavens, which they say there are, I swear to you, Rutilio, I cannot persuade myself they are brother and sister; even if they are, I cannot divine why they are journeying about by sea and land; they have nothing to spend but what comes out of the wallets and sacks full of golden ingots that belong to the barbarians, Ricla and Constance. It is true that the diamond cross and the two pearls, which Auristella wears, are an immense treasure, and of great value, but they are not things to be changed or pledged by little and little. Then to think that they always find kings to give them hospitality, and princes to make favourites of them, as if they were privileged ones! And then, Rutilio, what are we to think of the fancies of Transila and of the father, who imagines himself the first astrologer of the age? I would lay any wager that Ladislaus would gladly be at home in his own country, in peace and quiet, instead of being forced to live upon the charity of others. And this our Spanish barbarian, whose arrogance is so excessive, I would lay anything that if Heaven should restore him to his own country he would be a fine boaster, going about showing his wife and children in their skin dresses, making plans and pictures of the barbarous isle, and pointing out with a rod the place where he was shut up for fourteen years; the dungeon of the captives; and telling the whole history of the ridiculous ideas and expectations of the barbarians, and the sudden conflagration of their island. He would just do like those who, when freed from Turkish slavery, carry their chains on their backs, having got rid of them on their legs, and relate the tale of their misfortunes with piteous voices, and humble prayers for charity in Christian lands. But this shows that although it appears as if they told us very improbable things, yet that the human race is subject even to greater perils, and the histories that are related by exiles, however marvellous, are yet credible.”

“To what does all this lead, O Clodio:” said Rutilio.

“I was going on to show thee, O Rutilio, that in these regions thou canst not well avail thyself of thy profession, where the inhabitants neither dance nor enjoy any other pastimes save such as Bacchus offers in his jocund cup and wanton drinks: It seems to me, that having by the blessing of Heaven and the courtesy of Arnoldo, escaped death, I would neither thank one nor the other, till I had tried to amend my lot, although it should be at the price of displeasing the latter. Friendship may endure between the poor, for equality of fortune helps to link hearts together. Between the rich and the poor friendship can never last, there is too much difference between them.”

“Thou art a philosopher, Clodio,” said Rutilio, “but I cannot imagine what means we can take to amend our lot, as thou sayest, supposing it to have been bad from our birth.

I am not so learned as thou art, but I plainly see that those who are born of lowly parentage, if Heaven does not sufficiently aid them, very seldom rise to any very notable situation, unless their own great virtue and merit assists them. Now, how canst thou expect such assistance, if thine consists chiefly in speaking ill of thy fellow men? and what is to elevate me, when the utmost that I can do is to cut a caper? I am a dancer; thou art a backbiter. I, condemned to the gallows in my own country; thou, banished from thine for evil speaking. How can we expect to improve our condition?”

Clodio was silent, and paused before he replied; with which pause the author ends this chapter of his history.

Chapter VI.

Sinforosa makes her Father’s wishes known to Auristella.

EVERY one of our party had somebody with whom to exchange confidential conversation — Polycarp with his daughter; Clodio, with Rutilio; but the astounded Periander held converse with himself alone; for the discourse that Auristella had held so bewildered him, that he knew not where to turn for relief to the trouble of his mind. “O Heaven!” he said to himself, “what can this mean? Has she forgotten our agreement? Has she lost her senses? Auristella, my betrothed wife? what have I to do with Sinforosa? What kingdoms, what wealth could make me leave my Sigismunda, unless I cease to be Persiles?” As he uttered these words, he bit his lips, and looked around to see that no one heard what he said, which having ascertained, he went on, saying, “Doubtless, Auristella is jealous, and the jealous can imagine anything, and be jealous of the very wind that blows, the sun that shines, the ground you tread upon. O lady mine, be careful what you do; injure not your own worth, nor your beauty, nor deprive me of the glory of my constancy, the honesty and strength of which is weaving for me an inestimable crown as a true lover. Beautiful, rich, and highborn is Sinforosa; but, compared with you, she is ugly, she is poor, she is low-born; consider, lady, that love is engendered either by choice or destiny. The love which is fated always comes to pass in its own time. That which is from choice, may increase or diminish as the causes which excited the affection increase or diminish; and this being true, for true it is, I feel that my love for you has no bounds wherewith to measure it, no words wherein to express it.

I may almost say, I have loved you since I was in the swaddling clothes of my infancy. That proves it was my destiny; but as I grew in years and in understanding, that love grew also, with the qualities in you that made you so loveable. I saw them, I contemplated them, I knew them, and I engraved them upon my heart, and from your heart and mine there was formed one, so single and united that it can only be divided again by death. Talk no more, then, my beloved one, of Sinforosas, nor offer to tempt me with beauty, or wealth, or kingdoms. Still let the sweet name of brother sound in mine ears all that I am now saying to myself I would fain say to you; but it would be impossible, for the glances of those bright eyes, especially when they are angry, disturb me and chain my tongue. It is better to write, for the words will be the same and you can read them over and over again, and ever find in them one same truth, one constant faith, and an earnest desire to be believed. I resolve then to write to you.” And with this determination he became calmer, and the more that he felt he could better express his feelings by the pen than by speech. We will leave Periander to write his letter, and go to hear what passed between Auristella and Sinforosa, who was longing to know what Periander had said, and therefore sought to see her alone, and at the same time to break to her father’s wishes; believing that they need only be declared to be accepted, since riches and honours are rarely despised especially by women, the greater number of whom are by nature avaricious, as they are also for the most part proud and haughty.

Auristella felt very little pleased to see Sinforosa, for she did not well know what to say to her, not having seen Periander again. However, Sinforosa before entering upon her own affairs, wished to settle those of her father; imagining that with these news, which she thought so calculated to give her pleasure, she should have her on her side, on which she thought her success would depend; so she said, “Without a doubt, most beautiful Auristella, Heaven favours you; for it appears to me that it would shower prosperity upon your head. The king, my father, adores you, and has told me to say, that he desires to take you for his wife; and, as a recompense for the hoped for ‘Yes!’ that I am to bring him, he has promised Periander to me as a husband. You are already, lady, a queen, already is Periander mine; already riches pour upon you; and, if you do not object to the gray hairs of my father, you will find pleasure in the authority you will have over the subjects and vassals who will be eager to serve you. I have told you much, dear lady, and much have I to expect at your hands; for when a thing is of great value, one cannot expect less than a great gratitude. Let us begin to consider ourselves as two sisters-in-law, who love each other dearly, and tell me now what your brother said in reply to what you told him of me? I feel confident that the answer is favourable, for it is natural that your words should be received as oracles by him.”

To all this Auristella answered, “My brother is grateful as a gentleman, and discreet as a pilgrim, who has seen and read much; and watched the ways of men. The sufferings and troubles we have experienced have made us know fully the value of quiet and repose; and since what is now offered to our acceptance is such, I do not doubt that we shall have to agree with it; but as yet Periander has never said a word, nor do I know anything from him that can either forward or depress your hopes. Allow him time, O beautiful Sinforosa, and let us consider well these offers; for although we quite appreciate their value, yet a step that we can only take once, can never be retaken if it happen to be an error. Marriage is one of these actions; therefore it is desirable that we should consider it thoroughly before resolving upon it. Go, I pray you, my sister, and let Periander be sent for to me, for I could wish to let him know this joyful news that you have just told me, and take counsel with him how it will beseem me to act; for I owe respect and obedience to him as an elder brother.”

Sinforosa made no reply, but embraced and left her, to go and give orders that Periander should be sent for. He, meanwhile, had been shut up alone and had taken his pen, and after many beginnings and blottings out, and addings to, he had at length completed a letter which ran thus: —

“Not daring to trust to words, I use the pen; not, however, that I trust even to this, for how can he who is momentarily in fear of death write anything to the purpose.

II — have just learned that even the wise and prudent do not always know how to give advice. Forgive me if I cannot accept yours. It seems to me that either you do not know me, or you have forgotten yourself. Be yourself again, dear lady, and do not allow a vain emotion of jealousy to transport you beyond the bounds of reason and the use of your own fine understanding. Think well who you are, and do not forget who I am. In yourself you will see the epitome of all that is valuable or to be desired; and in me all that can be conceived of true love and constancy. Trusting in this, fear not that any other charms can inflame my heart, nor believe that any other can come before your virtue and beauty. Let us proceed on our journey, let us fulfil our vow, and cast aside all fruitless jealousies and baseless suspicions. With the more eagerness and speed would I entreat you to leave this country, because it seems to me that in quitting it I shall escape from the purgatory of torment I now endure, and enter the glorious heaven which will re-open for me, when I no longer see you a prey to jealousy.” —

Thus wrote Periander, after having made six copies, and folding the paper, he went out to see Auristella, having received her message.

Chapter VII.

How Rutilio, being enamoured of Polycarpa, and Clodio of Auristella, wrote Letters declaring their Love; Rutilio, perceiving be has done wrong, burns his Letter without showing it, but Clodio determines to present his to Auristella.

RUTILIO and Clodio, the pair who were disposed to try and mend their fortunes; one, trusting to his abilities, and the other to his impudence; thought themselves worthy of aspiring, one to Polycarpa, the other to Auristella. The sweet voice and lively air of Polycarpa pleased Rutilio infinitely, and the peerless charms of Auristella no less delighted Clodio.

They sought an opportunity to unfold their wishes without getting into any scrape by the declaration, for assuredly it was a bold thing for a low-born man to give utterance to that which it was daring even to think of. However, it does sometimes happen that the inclinations of a high-born, though not virtuous lady, may embolden a low-born man to declare his wishes; but certainly in the present case, the boldness of these two gentlemen did not spring from any encouragement or want of reserve on the part of their ladies, spring whence they might. Rutilio at last wrote a letter to Polycarpa, and Clodio to Auristella, as follows: —

Rutilio to Polycarpa.

“I am, lady, a foreigner; and, although I should tell you my birth was illustrious, as I can bring no witnesses to confirm it, possibly it might find no belief in your mind; but as a proof that my family is noble, suffice it that I am bold enough to tell you I adore you; ask what proofs you please, to show the truth of this. It is for you to ask, for me to give them. And since I desire to obtain you for my wife, imagine that I desire according to what I am, and that I deserve that which I desire; for noble minds aspire to noble things. Let your eyes give an answer to this letter; and by the mildness or severity of their glance, I shall judge whether it is the sentence of death or life.” Rutilio put up this letter, intending to give it to Polycarpa the first opportunity. He showed it, however first to Clodio, and Clodio gave him the letter he had written to Auristella, which ran thus: —

Clodio to Auristella.

“Some persons are entangled in the chains of love by the bait of beauty; others, by that of lively and pleasing manners. Some, by the merit they discover in her who has subdued them; but I have put my neck into the yoke, and lost my freedom through compassion. It must indeed have been a heart of stone, O beauteous lady, that felt not pity in seeing you bought and sold and placed in such sad circumstances that your last moment often seemed at hand. The pitiless steel has threatened your throat; the flames have reached even your very garment. The cold snow has frozen you, and hunger has enfeebled and faded the bloom upon your cheeks, and lastly the sea engulphed and then cast you forth. What aid in all these sufferings have you had unless it be the slight assistance of a wandering prince, who follows you only for his own ends, or that afforded by your brother, (if indeed he is such,) that can relieve you from your miseries. Trust not lady, to distant promises, but cling to succour which is near at hand, and accept a means of safety which Heaven offers to you. I am a bachelor; I have abilities that will avail me even in the most remote corners of the world. I will form a plan to remove you from this land, and the importunities of Prince Arnoldo, and taking you from this Egyptian bondage, will bring you into a land of promise — Spain, France, or Italy (as I cannot live in England, my own dear and beloved country). I here then offer to be your husband; and from this moment I accept you as my bride.”

Rutilio having read this letter, said, “Truly, I think we have both lost our wits to suppose we can fly without wings, our own pretensions being to crawl like the emmet. In my opinion, Clodio, it will be best to destroy these letters, for we are neither of us really in love, and only an idle and absurd fancy has urged us to write in this way.! Love must have some foundation to rest upon, or it cannot exist; failing this, it fails entirely. Now what have we to expect for our pains but the rope to our necks, or the knife to our throats, the more, because in this declaration of love we are traitors as well as ingrates. Dost thou not see the immense distance that exists between a dancing-master, who mended his means by becoming apprentice to a silversmith, and the daughter of a king? And that which exists between a banished backbiter and one who refuses and scorns a crown? Let us forget our folly, and repent that necessity should have brought us to such a pass. At any rate, this letter of mine shall go into the fire, or be cast to the winds ere it reaches Polycarpa.”

“You may do as you please with your’s,” answered Clodio; “as for mine, whether I give it to Auristella or not, I intend to keep it as a sample of my cleverness; but I doubt if I do not give it to her that I shall find my conscience reproach me during the rest of my life for having repented; it does not always follow that when one makes an attempt one is to be punished for it.”

This conversation passed between our two pretended lovers, but in fact impudent knaves. In the meantime Periander had succeeded in having a private interview with his Auristella. He entered her room intending to give her the letter he had written, but when he saw her, forgetting all the discourses and exculpations, which he had prepared, he said, “Lady, look at me, am not! Periander, who was Persiles; and am I not that Periander whom you loved? Can anything untie the knot that binds us two together but death? and if it be so, what can you mean by giving me advice so much against truth? By the bright heaven above us, and by thine own brighter self, I implore thee to name Sinforosa no more, nor imagine that either her beauty or her riches can avail to make me forget thee and thy incomparable charms both of body and soul. This body of mine, which only breathes for thee, I once again offer to thee, although not possessing more advantages now than when I first offered it to thy acceptance. Try to recover your health, dearest lady, that we may quit this country, and I will try to contrive that we may pursue our journey; for although Rome is the Heaven upon earth, still it is not in the skies; and neither danger nor suffering shall prevent us from reaching it at last, however we may be delayed in doing so.”

Whilst Periander was speaking, Auristella was regarding him with tenderness, and with tears of mingled compassion and jealous feeling; but, finally, his lover-like pleading and the truth that shone through every word, had their effect upon her jealous spirit, and she answered in a few words, thus; “I do believe thee, beloved one, and have nothing to desire but that thou wilt as speedily as may be take me from this place. In another land I may hope to recover from the fever of jealousy that has confined me to this bed.”

“If,” said Periander, “I had given the smallest cause for your thus suffering, I would patiently hear your complaints, and you would find in my exculpations a remedy for your sorrows; but as I have never offended you in anything, I know not how to excuse myself. But I will hasten to do as you require, and we will leave this country as soon as possible.”

“Would you know something that concerns you nearly?” she replied. “Then hear the flattering offers which I have just received, the least of which is a kingdom. Polycarp, the king, wishes to have me for a wife; he sent to tell me this by his daughter, Sinforosa, and she hopes through my good offices (I being her mother-in-law) to obtain you as a husband. You know best whether this can be. If we are in any danger, think well over it, and take what remedies you think proper for the case: and pardon me for those doubts and suspicions whereby I have offended you; love will excuse such faults as these.”

“It is said,” answered Periander, “that love cannot exist without jealousy, and jealousy is often caused by the most trivial things. All I ask of you, and which you owe to an understanding like yours, is, that henceforth you should view my conduct with more candid and less punctilious eyes, (with eyes more beautiful would be impossible,) but not making of any small fault of mine, small as a grain of mustard-seed, a mountain which reaches the skies, from which jealous fancies spring; and for the rest, use your own judgment in dealing with the king and Sinforosa, and do not offend her, but feign to give hopes that may lead them to expect what they desire. And now I will leave you, that our long interview may not lead to any suspicion.” So saying, Periander departed, and in leaving the room he met Clodio and Rutilio. Rutilio had just torn up the letter he had written to Polycarpa, and Clodio had folded up his and put it into his breast. Rutilio had repented of his folly, but Clodio was satisfied with his own cleverness and proud of his boldness: however, the time will come when he would gladly give half his life (supposing a life to be divideable) not to have written that letter.

Chapter VIII.

What passed between Auristella and Sinforosa. All the Strangers resolve to quit the Island.

KING Polycarp greatly enlivened by his amorous intentions, and quite confident and secure as to what Auristella’s decision would be, set himself already to plan the festivals and rejoicings, which should celebrate the approaching wedding; in all which he never paused to consider the great disparity between his age and the intended bride’s — the enormous distance of seventeen years and seventy; and even had he been sixty, the difference would still have been too great. Thus are even the wisest of men led away by the follies that love leads them into. Thus, are they who have not power to resist their amorous inclinations, subdued and carried away by the soft influence of the tender passion. Quite different was the case of Sinforosa, who felt no ways certain of what her fate would be; for, as is most natural, they who hope much, fear much; and those things which might have given weight to her hopes, such as her beauty, rank and station, and great merits, she considered as nothing, for it is a peculiar property of true love to make its votaries fearful that they are not worthy of the beloved object. Love and fear are so coupled together, that one is always to be found with the other; and true love is not arrogant, as some say, but humble, timid and retiring; and the more precious and inestimable is the thing beloved, the more does the lover tremble, lest by some fault of his own he should lose it. The fair Sinforosa considered all this quite differently from her father, and agitated between hope and fear, she went to seek Auristella, and learn from her what she had to expect. When she found herself with Auristella, and alone, as she desired to be, so anxious was she to know whether the tidings she had to impart were good or bad, that without uttering a single word, she fixed her eyes earnestly on her face, in order to discover there, the verdict of life or death. Auristella understood her meaning, and half-smiling, as if in token of encouragement, she said, “Although, lady, it does not seem that fear need put an axe to the root of your tree of hope, to cut it down; yet true it is that both your happiness and mine will have to be delayed some time, though it may at last come to pass; for there are certain impediments in the way of your desires, but not enough to make you despair of ever attaining them. My brother says, that such is your merit and beauty, they must perforce win the love of any man, and he is very sensible and grateful for the preference you honour him with, and for your wish to become his wife; but before this desirable event can be realized, it will be necessary to deprive the Prince Arnoldo of his hopes of obtaining me as his wife, and without doubt, this must be done if you should marry my brother; for you must know, my sister, that I can no more exist apart from Periander than can a body exist without a soul. Where he dwells, there must I too dwell; he is the spirit that animates me — and this being so, if he marries in this country, how could I live in Arnoldo’s land, and my brother absent?

“Now, to escape this misfortune that threatens me, it is settled that we are to go with him to his kingdom, and from thence we shall ask leave to go to Rome, for the performance of a vow, to fulfil which, brought us from our own country, and I well know by experience that he will refuse me nothing I desire. Once at liberty, it will be easy to return to this island, and, by cheating his hopes, accomplish our own; I, marrying your father, and you, my brother.”

To which Sinforosa answered, “How shall I thank you sufficiently, sweet sister, for all you have said; and so I will leave it as it stands, for I know not how to express myself. But what I would now wish to say, you must take more as a warning than a counsel; you are at present in this country, where my father rules, and he both can and will defend you from the whole world; and I do not think it would be well to place your safety in doubt. Would it not be very possible for Arnoldo to carry both you and your brother off by force; and is it not indispensable, if you agree to my father’s wishes, that he should retain you in his own kingdom and house? Only give me the assurance that you willingly become my father’s wife, and that your brother disdains not to be my lord and husband; and I will speedily smooth away all the difficulties that can possibly arise on Arnoldo’s part.”

To which Auristella answered, “Prudent men look to the future as well as to the present and the past. To inculpate your father in any forcible act of detention, would awaken the wrath of Prince Arnoldo, and he is a powerful prince, at least as great as your father; and a deceived and disappointed monarch soon thinks of vengeance, and thus instead of your gaining comfort by allying yourselves with us, we should only bring you evil, involving your country in war: and if you tell me that this will happen the same afterwards, whether we remain now or return later, reflect that Heaven never sends misfortunes without in time also offering a remedy. Therefore I am of opinion, that we go with Arnoldo, and that you discreetly and prudently solicit our departure, and in so doing you will shorten our absence, and hasten our return; and here, if it be not so large a country as Arnoldo’s, we may at least hope to enjoy peace and quiet more securely — I, with your venerable and wise father, and you with my good and handsome brother, without dividing us.”

Sinforosa, on hearing her speak thus, quite beside herself with joy, flung her arms round Auristella’s neck, kissing her on the lips and eyes. At this instant, the two seeming barbarians, Antonio and his son, with Ricla and Constance, entered the room; and immediately after, Maurice, Ladislaus and Transila followed, all wishing to see and speak to Auristella, and learn what had caused her illness.

Sinforosa took leave, more joyful and even more deceived than when she came. They who love, readily believe and catch at even the shadow of a promise of what they wish.

After exchanging with Auristella the usual questions and answers that pass between invalids and their visitors, Maurice said, “If even the very beggar, when banished from his native land, where he leaves nothing but the soil whereon he trod, feels regret, what must they suffer who have left behind all that fortune could promise? I say this, lady, because I am old and rapidly approaching my latter end, which makes me wish earnestly to return home to my own country, where I have friends and kindred who will close my eyes, and pay the last honours to my remains. To attain this desirable end concerns us all equally, for we are all foreigners and exiles, and all of us, I imagine, find a charm in our own country we do not meet with in any other. If you, lady, will solicit the king to assist our departure, or at least agree that we shall try to effect it, it will be well; we cannot bear to think of leaving you, for such is the power of your rare beauty and great prudence that we consider you as the loadstone attracting us all.”

“At least,” said the elder Antonio, “I can answer for myself, for my wife and children, that we would rather lose our lives than the company of the lady, if she does not disdain ours.”

“I thank you, gentlemen, replied Auristella, “ for the obliging things you are pleased to say; and although I can not respond to them as I ought, yet I will try all that I can to carry your wishes into effect, both with the prince Arnoldo and my brother, if my health, which is already improving, does not prevent me. Till then the happy day of our departure arrives, cheer up your hearts, do not give way to melancholy, nor trouble yourself with the thought of sorrow to come, for since Heaven has carried us through such great dangers, let us trust it will restore us to our beloved homes without encountering more, for those evils that are not sufficient to destroy life, ought not to destroy our patience. They all admired Auristella’s answer, which showed her admirable wisdom and the piety of her soul, but at this moment, entered King Polycarp in high good humour, having learnt from his daughter the flattering result of her communications; with him came Arnoldo and Periander. The King felicitated Auristella on her amended health, and informed her that in token of the joy all felt at this happy news, there were to be illuminations in the city, and festivities and rejoicings for a week together.

Periander acknowledged the compliment as a brother should, and Arnoldo as a lover and intended husband.

‘ Polycarp laughed in his sleeve as he thought how finely he had deceived Prince Arnoldo, who, charmed with Auristella’s amendment, and little dreaming of the designs of the king, only sought how he could effect soonest a means of departure from the city, since the longer this departure was delayed the longer was delayed the accomplishment of his hopes. Maurice, hoping to return to his native country, had recourse to his science, and there learnt that great difficulties would impede the departure. He consulted with Periander and Arnoldo, who were both made acquainted with the wishes and intentions of the king and princess, which gave them much anxiety, knowing how many difficulties must arise from this mighty passion having got hold of such great personages, since they well knew that in these cases all sense of justice and generosity yields to the one overpowering feeling, and that neither promises nor words are to be trusted. The three then agreed that Maurice should hire a vessel from among the number now in the harbour, to convey them secretly to England, and that they should not appear to suspect the intentions of Polycarp. All this was communicated to Auristella, who approved of it, and was anxious to regain her health for her own and all their sakes.

Chapter IX.

Clodio gives his letter to Auristella, and is killed by the younger Antonio in a mistake.

OUR history goes on to relate, that the insolence, or rather one should say, the shamelessness of Clodio, rose to such a height that he had the boldness to place the letter he had written in Auristella’s hands, deceiving her into the belief that it contained some devout verses, worthy of her perusal and admiration. She opened the letter, and curiosity impelled her to read it to the end. As she was about to close it, her eyes fell upon Clodio, but instead of the love-darting beams that they usually emitted, they now shot forth sparks of angry fire, as she exclaimed, “Hence, and quit my presence, accursed and shameless man, and if I could believe this madness on thy part had been caused by any conduct of mine — if it had been produced by any incautious act or word of mine derogatory to my honour and character, I would chastise myself for this thy insolence, which will not go unpunished, unless I should take pity and treat thee as a madman.”

Clodio was surprised, and would now have given half his life not to have been so daring. A thousand terrors oppressed his spirit, and he saw that his life would not be worth much, if Arnoldo or Periander came to know what he had done. He cast down his eyes, and quite crestfallen, he turned his back upon Auristella, and left her alone to conjure up a new and not unreasonable fear, which was that Clodio, rendered desperate, might turn traitor, and profit by the intentions of Polycarp, if he should chance to learn what they were. She resolved, therefore, to make Arnoldo and Periander acquainted with the whole story.

In the meanwhile it happened that the boy Antonio, being in his room alone, a woman entered. She was about forty years of age, but there was a vivacity in her air that might make her pass for ten years younger. She was drest, not according to the fashion of the country they were in, but after the Spanish mode; and Antonio, although he was ignorant of any customs but those of the barbarous isle, saw at once she was a stranger in this place. He arose from his seat to receive her courteously, for though a barbarian he had been well brought up. The lady, after fixing her eyes intently on his countenance for some time, spoke thus— “It probably may seem strange to thee, O young man, to see me here, since thou art doubtless unaccustomed to receive visits from ladies, having as I am told been educated in a barbarous island, not amongst barbarians but amongst rocks and stones, from whence, as thou hast derived thy beauty, so also mayst thou have imbibed from them hardness of heart, which may, I dread, prove contrary to my wishes. Fear not, have no suspicions, and do not be alarmed; I am not saying anything very monstrous, but that which accords with our human nature. Thou dost perceive that I speak the Spanish tongue, the language which thou speakest, which similarity should engender friendship between us. I am called Zenotia, and am a native of Spain, born and bred in Alhama, a city of the kingdom of Grenada; my name is well known there, and throughout all Spain, for my renown is so great that it cannot remain in obscurity. It is four years since I left my native land, flying from the vigilance of those watchful mastiff dogs, who there keep guard over the Catholic flock. My race is descended from Hagar, my religion is that of Zoroaster. Behold yonder sun, now shining upon us; if thou wouldst desire to see a sign of the power I possess, wish that those beams may be obscured, and I will instantly command thick clouds to cover them and a dark night to succeed to this brightness; or wouldst thou see the earth tremble, the winds blow, the ocean rage, mountains bow down, and wild beasts howl, or any other terrible signs representing the primæval chaos; only speak the word and it shall be done. Further, know, that in the city of Alhama there has always lived a woman of my race, who with the name of Zenotia has inherited the knowledge which makes us witches, as men call us, but we are in truth enchantresses or magicians, names more appropriate; witches never do anything that is of use or profit, and they exercise their tricks upon small trifles. They play with that they understand not; and if sometimes things turn out as they pretend, it is not by virtue of their art, but that God permits the Evil One to deceive them as their punishment; but we who bear the name of enchantresses and magicians are persons of a higher quality. We read the stars, contemplate the position of the heavens, know the virtue of all plants and herbs, of stones and words, and, joining the active to the passive, we seem to work miracles whereat men wonder — and hence our good and evil fame; good, if we work for good; evil, if we do ill with our knowledge; and as human nature is more prone to evil than to good, we do not always restrain our inclinations within proper bounds; who shall say that the angry spirit will not be led sometimes to avenge an affront? who will say that slighted lovers would not if it were possible, make themselves beloved where they were abhorred? for as to changing the natural disposition, and oversetting or counteracting the free-will, this is what no science can do, no virtue of herb or drug effect.”

Antonio listened to all the Spanish lady said with wonder and curiosity to know how it would end. She went on thus, “Finally, O most discreet barbarian, I would have thee understand that it was the persecution of those who are called Inquisitors in Spain that tore me from my native land; for when one is driven away by force one may call it being as it were torn up by the roots. I came to this island through many perils and strange adventures, I became known to the predecessor of King Polycarp, performed some wonderful deeds, whereby I greatly amazed the people, and so well did my art avail me, that I became the possessor of great wealth; contented with my gains, I have lived a chaste and virtuous life, and might have continued to do so, had not my good, or it may be evil fortune brought thee hither. My destiny is in thy hands, if I am not fair in thine eyes, I will so contrive that thou shalt think me so. If the gold I offer thee be too little, thou hast but to say what thou wouldst desire, and I will satisfy thee. For thy use I will fetch the pearls of the ocean; the birds of the air I will tame to come at thy bidding. From the secret abysses of the earth I will bring the most precious things for thee. I will make thee invincible; feared in war, mild in peace. Thou shalt be the envy of all, and have nothing to wish for. In return for all this, I ask not to be thy wife, but thy slave; so shall I be most happy. Be pleased, O noble youth, to give me thy hand, in token that thou wilt agree to my desire.” So saying, she rose and advanced as if to embrace him; Antonio, seeing this, confused and alarmed, hastily retreated a step or two, and snatched the bow that never was far from him; fitting an arrow to it, he aimed straight at Zenotia, who, on perceiving the threatening attitude of the boy, bent her body quickly, and avoided the dart that was directed at her heart. It flew, however, and not in vain; for at that instant the unfortunate Clodio entered the room, it pierced through mouth and tongue; thus fearfully punishing the very member with which he had most offended. He died without uttering a word. Zenotia turned her head, and saw the mortal blow struck; in terror lest a second arrow should follow, she fled precipitately without staying to avail herself of her boasted power, with, however, a full intention of revenging herself upon the cruel and hard-hearted boy.

Chapter X.

How the younger Antonio fell sick.

ANTONIO remained not very well satisfied with himself for the deed he had done, for although assuredly a mistaken one, as he knew nothing of Clodio’s faults, and did know and sec very clearly that Zenotia was a witch, he was inclined to regret that his aim had not been more sure. He went up to Clodio, to ascertain whether he was really dead, or if any life remained: but saw that he was beyond help in this world.

At this instant his father entered the room, and seeing the blood, and the dead body of Clodio, he knew at once by the arrow that it was his son’s work. He asked if it were so; and was answered, Yes! he inquired the cause, and was told it.

Astonished and indignant, he cried, “Savage Boy! if thus thou treatest those who love thee, what wilt thou not do towards thy enemies?”

The young Antonio listened with downcast eyes, abashed and penitent. “I knew not what I did,” he answered, “and it grieves me sorely to have committed this deed. I will try to amend my ways in future, and not prove myself a barbarian, even when I fancy I am seeking to be virtuous and resisting the temptations of the evil one.”

They then took measures about burying Clodio, and paying all possible respect to his remains. The news of his death was soon spread through the palace by Zenotia, although she concealed her share in it; but she declared that the young barbarian had slain Clodio, no one knew why.

It reached the ears of Auristella, who still held Clodio’s letter in her hand, with the intention of showing it to Periander or Arnoldo, in order that he might be chastised for his boldness; but seeing that Heaven had sent the punishment by other hands, she tore the letter, and thought it best to let the errors of the dead remain hidden from sight, which was both a prudent and a Christian measure.

Although Polycarp was much disturbed at the accident, he would not investigate the deed, but placed it in the hands of the Prince Arnoldo, who at the entreaty of Auristella and Transila, pardoned Antonio, and sent orders to have Clodio buried, believing the story to be true which Antonio told; but he concealed Zenotia’s share in the catastrophe, that he might not act entirely a barbarian’s part.

Thus the rumour died away; Clodio was buried; Auristella avenged, if indeed her gentle bosom had ever nourished thoughts of vengeance, as did Zenotia’s, who was eagerly considering within herself how she might avenge the wrongs inflicted by the hard-hearted archer.

In the course of two or three days he began to feel ill and to droop. He then took to his bed, and declined so rapidly, that the physicians said he would certainly die, and that they could not discover the cause of his illness. His mother, Rida, wept; his father was full of grief. Auristella and Maurice sorrowed much; Ladislausand Transila were equally afflicted. Seeing this, Polycarp sent for his adviser and confidante, Zenotia, and desired that she would try and find some remedy for Antonio’s malady, since it seemed beyond the physician’s skill. She gave him good hopes, assuring him that it would not be mortal, but that the cure would be a slow one. Polycarp believed her like an oracle.

Now all these events disturbed Sinforosa very little, seeing that they were a means of detaining Periander; his presence alone was a relief to her full heart; for, although she wished him to go, because unless he went he could not return to her, yet so great was the delight she took in looking upon him, that she could not bear to think of his departure.

It so happened that an opportunity offered itself, when Polycarp and his two daughters, Arnoldo, Periander and Auristella, and all their company, including Rutilio (who, ever since he wrote the letter to Polycarpa, although he had destroyed it, yet continued melancholy and thoughtful as much as if all who were around him had known of his folly). This company, I say, met in the sick room of young Antonio, having come to visit him by Auristella’s desire, for she loved and esteemed him and his parents, and was grateful for the aid the young barbarian had given when he saved them from the fire, and took them to his father’s dwelling; for in misfortune and danger friendships are more firmly knit, than in common every day life; and a very warm one had sprung up between her and Ricla, in whose company she had been so long, and also for Constance and the two Antonios.

Being then assembled, as I have already said, Sinforosa coaxingly asked Periander if he would relate some of the passages of his life to them; most especially she longed to know from whence he came the first time that he visited their island, when he carried off all the prizes, at all the games that were played and the feats that were performed, at the festival which commemorated the anniversary of the election of her royal father.

To this Periander answered, that he would do as she desired, if he might be permitted to begin his history where he pleased, and not from the beginning; for this he could reveal to no one, until he should be with his sister Auristella safe at Rome. They all said that he might do according to his own pleasure; they should hear gladly anything he had to tell them; and the best pleased of all was Prince Arnoldo, thinking that he might possibly now discover who he was, from what Periander would relate. These preliminaries settled, Periander spoke in the following manner.

Chapter XI.

Periander relates the Events of his Voyage.

If you desire, sirs, to know the preamble and beginning of my story, I would tell it thus: Imagine me and my sister, with an old nurse of her’s, on board a ship, the master of which, instead of being, as he seemed, a merchant, was a notorious pirate. We coasted the shores of an island, that is, we were so near it that we could clearly distinguish, not only the trees that grew on it, but the various kinds. My sister, who was tired of having been at sea many days, wished to land by way of refreshing herself. She asked the captain’s permission, and as her requests are always held to be commands, he agreed that she should be allowed to do so; and they landed us in the ship’s smallest boat — my sister, myself, and Clelia, which was her nurse’s name, with only a single sailor. When we approached the shore, we saw that a little river fell into the sea, paying its humble tribute thereto. On either bank grew a quantity of verdant and leafy trees, affording shade, to which the crystal waters served as a mirror. We desired the sailor to steer for this place, as the spot looked inviting. He did so, and we began to work up the river; having lost sight of the ship, throwing down his oars, he stopped short, and said, ‘Look you, Sir, and consider this small boat, which we have taken away to-day, as your vessel; for you will not return to that which is awaiting you in the sea, unless you wish to endanger the safety of this lady and your own life.’ He then told me how the captain had intended to kill me, and carry off my sister; that till we could remedy our situation, he would follow and accompany us wherever we might go, happen what might. Let him who meets with evil where he expects kindness, judge whether or no we were disturbed at hearing this. His counsel pleased us, and we promised to reward him when we should be once more in safety. ‘It will be in our power,’ said Clelia, ‘for I have my lady’s jewels with me.’ Then all four of us took counsel together as to what was to be done. The sailor recommended that we should go further up the little river, and we might perhaps discover some place in which we could be protected, if perchance any of those who belonged to the ship should come in search of us. ‘But they will not come,’ said he, ‘for the inhabitants of these isles think every ship that comes near their coasts is a corsair; and if they see a ship or ships, immediately fly to arms to defend themselves. Therefore, unless it be a secret attempt by night, we need not fear any attack from the ship yonder. What he said seemed good to me. I took an oar and helped him in his work; we had gone about a couple of miles up the stream when our ears were saluted by the sound of many and divers instruments, and our eyes beheld a forest of moving trees, which seemed to cross from one bank to the other. When we came nearer we found that these were boats covered with branches of trees which had deceived us, and that the music proceeded from the persons who were in the boats. The moment they perceived us, they came up and surrounded our boat; my sister rose up, with her beautiful hair falling down her shoulders, confined only on the forehead by a sort of lion-coloured ribbon or band. This sudden apparition was so divinely beautiful, that, as we afterwards learnt, the people in the boats took her for a divinity, for the sailor heard them saying to one another, ‘Who can this be? what goddess can it be who deigns to visit us, and bring a blessing upon the nuptials of the fisherman Carino and the peerless Silviana? They then entreated that we would leave our boat and come ashore, not far from the place where we at first met them.

“Hardly had we set foot on dry land, when a troop of fishermen, as their dress showed them to be, crowded around us, and one by one full of respect and admiration, came to kiss the hem of Auristella’s garment; who, in spite of her terror, looked so divinely lovely, that I could scarcely wonder at the mistake of those who took her for a goddess. Not far from the river’s bank there was a bower formed of thick juniper boughs; and sweet smelling flowers served as a carpet. At the same instant, two men and two women rose up from their seats in the bower — the latter were young girls, the former youths; one of the girls extremely beautiful, and the other extremely ugly. One of the young men, handsome and gay, the other of plain appearance. All four came and knelt down before Auristelia; and the handsome youth said, “O thou, whoever thou art, that canst only be of heavenly birth, my brother and I, with all our hearts, thank thee for the favour thou hast shown to us, in honouring our poor (but henceforth rich) marriages. Come, lady, and if, instead of the crystal palaces which thou hast left in the depths of the sea, thou findest only roofs of shells, and walls of osiers, or rather, I should say, walls of shells and roofs of osiers, in our huts; yet wilt thou meet with golden wishes and pearl-like dispositions to serve thee; and I make this comparison, which perhaps sounds strange, because, what is there richer and better than gold — what more beautiful than pearls?’ Auristella bent down graciously to salute him; and by her gravity, courtesy, and beauty, she confirmed his notion of her being a deity.

“The other fisherman, and the least good-looking of the two, then left them to give directions that all the instruments of music should sound, and all voices be raised in praise of the newly arrived stranger. The two damsels came and humbly kissed Auristella’s hand, and she embraced them with great kindness.

“The sailor who had come with us, well pleased with this event, told the fishermen, about the ship which lay out in the offing, saying that the crew were corsairs; and that we feared lest they should gain possession of the lady who they saw there, and who was the daughter of a king. This story he judged it best to tell, in order to incline their hearts to defend her. They no sooner heard this than the sounds of rejoicing music ceased, and the warlike instruments which succeeded, seemed like a cry ‘to arms, to arms,’ on either shore.

“Night now came on; we took refuge in the cabin of the newly-betrothed lovers. Sentinels were posted along the banks of the river, even as far as its mouth. The nets were cast in, the baskets baited, all with a view of regaling us, their new guests; and the more to show us honour and respect, the betrothed couples put off the solemnization of their marriage, leaving their cabins to Auristella and Clelia, and to the two brides; whilst they and their friends, with the sailor and myself, kept watch and guard over them. There was more than sufficient light in the sky, and also that afforded by the rising moon; and all around, the bonfires were still blazing, that had been lighted for the rejoicings over the wedding festival. It was resolved that the men should sup in the open air, the women in the cabins; so abundant was the food, that it seemed as if earth desired to surpass ocean, and ocean, earth — the one offering its flesh, the other its fish. “Supper ended, Carino took me by the hand, and walking with me along the river side, after manifesting various signs of an impassioned heart, with convulsive sighs he thus spoke: ‘It surely must be by some miracle that thou hast been brought hither at this time and conjuncture, so as to delay my nuptials, and I feel as a certainty that my woes may find a cure through thy counsels. Therefore, although, doubtless, thou wilt deem me mad, or at least a person of singularly bad taste; yet, I wish thee to know that of the two fisher maidens whom thou sawest, the one ugly, the other beautiful, it has fallen to my lot to have the beautiful one for my wife, whose name is Silviana. I know not what thou wilt say, nor do I know how to account for my choice, but I adore Leoncia, the ugly maiden, beyond the power of doing otherwise; and I would have thee know that in my eyes, Leoncia from her many virtues is the loveliest of women. Moreover Solercio, the other bridegroom, is, I more than suspect, dying for Silviana. Thus are the inclinations of all four crossed, and this because we all desired to obey our parents and friends, who arranged the marriages for us; but I cannot think it reasonable for a man to consent that a burthen, which must endure for life, should be fixed upon his shoulders not by his own choice but for the pleasure of others. And although this very day we were to have given our consent and pronounced the ‘Yes!’ which was to enslave us for ever, it has been prevented, not designedly, but by the interposition of Providence, for such I believe thy coming has been, so that there is still time left for our fortunes to amend, and for this I ask thy advice. Being an impartial stranger, thou mayst best counsel me; for I have resolved, if I can discover no means of escape or remedy for my ills, to quit this place and never return to it, whilst life lasts, or parents vex, relations annoy, and friends fatigue me.’

“I listened to him with attention, and instantly a remedy came into my head, and these words to my tongue, ‘ No, my friend, do not go away, at least till I have spoken to my sister, Auristella, the beautiful lady whom you have seen; her wisdom is such that you would almost deem her superhuman in mind as well as person.’

“We then returned to the huts, and told my sister all that the fisherman had said. She readily devised a means of making my words true, and of satisfying every one. She took Silviana and Leoncia aside, and said to them, ‘Know, my friends, that to-day you will become more truly such than ever, for Heaven has endowed me with a clear and sharp penetration, so that by only looking into the countenance of a person, I read their inmost soul, and guess their thoughts. As a proof of this, I here call you both to witness — you, Leoncia, love Carino, and you Silviana, sigh for Solercio; maiden bashfulness keeps you dumb, but my tongue shall break your silence. Say nothing, but leave all to me; either I know nothing, or I promise you a happy end to your secret wishes.’

“They answered not a single word, but covered her hands with kisses innumerable, and closely embracing her, proved how truly she had divined the real state of their affections.

“Night passed away, and day dawned rejoicingly. All the fishing boats appeared decked with fresh green boughs, music again filled the air with merry sounds, and there arose from many voices gay and lively songs, in honour of the day. The bridegrooms went forth to place themselves in the bridal bower, where we had found them on the preceding day. Silviana and Leoncia, were again arrayed in their bridal attire; my sister adorned herself in the best manner she was able with the garments she had, and she placed a diamond cross upon her lovely breast, and pearls in her ears, jewels of inestimable value. Then taking the two brides by the hand, and placing them in the centre of the bower, she called Carino and Solercio to draw near. Carino approached, confused and trembling, not knowing what I had arranged about his wishes, and the priest being ready to join their hands, according to the Catholic ritual, my sister made a sign that she wished to be heard; and instantly there was a silence so profound that not a breath stirred. Seeing, then, that every one lent a willing ear, she said, in a loud and sonorous voice, ‘This is the will of Heaven’ — and taking Silviana by the hand, she gave her to Solercio; then she took the hand of Leoncia, and gave her to Carino. ‘This, my friends,’ she continued, ‘is what Heaven has ordained, as I said before, and is not mere accidental caprice, but suits well the happy betrothed ones, as you may plainly see by their joyful countenances, and the willing ‘Yes!’ that their tongues pronounce. The lovers embraced each other; seeing which, the spectators approved the exchange, and were more than ever confirmed in the idea of my sister’s supernatural qualities, now that by her command alone, the nearly completed marriages had been thus altered.

“The festival and entertainments now began.”

Periander was thus speaking, when suddenly Antonio, the sick youth, fell into a deep swoon. At this sight his father, as if he had divined the cause, left the room, and went, as will be afterwards seen, to seek Zenotia: what followed will be told in the next chapter.

Chapter XII.

How Zenotia left off the Sorceries that had bewitched Antonio, so that he might recover; but advised King Polycarp not to let Arnoldo and his companions go.

IT appears to me that unless patience had been supported by the pleasure which Arnoldo and Polycarp had in only looking at Auristella, and Sinforosa in gazing upon Periander, they must have lost it in listening to so tedious a story, touching which Maurice and Ladislaus were of opinion, that it was much too long and very little to the purpose, for instead of a narration of his own misfortunes, he had been detailing the pleasures of other people. Nevertheless, they liked to listen to him, and were willing to hear his tale to an end, so agreeable was his manner and style in relating anything.

Meanwhile Antonio had sought out Zenotia, whom he found in the royal apartments. The moment he saw her he approached with an unsheathed dagger in his hand, and seizing her by the right arm, and lifting his dagger on high, he cried, “Sorceress! instantly restore my son to me alive and well, or thy last hour is at hand. Perfidious creature! in what collection of eyeless needles, or headless pins, dost thou hold his life enwrapped; or hast thou hidden it in some nook or secret corner thou only knowest where?” Zenotia was terrified, seeing her life threatened by a furious Spaniard, with a dagger drawn in his hand, and trembling, she promised to restore life and health to his son. She would have readily promised to give it to the whole world, had he required it of her, so completely had he filled her whole soul with terror; so she said, “Loose me, O Spaniard, and put thy weapon into its sheath; it: was owing to thy son’s over-readiness to use his, that has brought him into his present state. Thou knowest that women are naturally revengeful, and most when we are aroused to vengeance by scorn and disdain. Marvel not, then, if thy son’s harshness should have hardened my heart; advise him henceforth to treat with more humanity those who humble themselves before him, and not to repulse those scornfully who only implore his pity. Go in peace, for to-morrow thou shalt see thy son restored to health.”

“And if it should not be so,” answered Antonio, “depend upon it, I shall not want means to seek thee out, nor shall I fail to take thy life.” So saying, he left her, and she was so overpowered with fear, that forgetting her affronts, she drew from behind the door, the incantations which she had prepared, little by little to consume away the life of the hard-hearted boy, whose grace and beauty had so entirely captivated her affections.

No sooner had Zenotia thrown away her infernal preparations, than Antonio recovered his lost health, the colour returned to his cheek, his eyes regained their lustre, and his limbs their strength, to the joy of all his friends.

When his father was alone with him he said, “I wish to bestow upon thee some advice my son, which is — never offend God in any way. During the fifteen or sixteen years of thy life I have taught thee the law which my parents taught to me, and that is the Catholic faith, the true one by which alone we can be saved, and which has saved all who have ever embraced it, and will save all who desire to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This law teaches us that we are not to chastise all who offend us, but to advise them to amend their faults; punishment belongs to the Judge, but we may all give reproof and counsel. Whenever thou art tempted to do anything that is contrary to the service of God, thou need’st not bend thy bow, nor launch thy arrows, nor use injurious words, but reject the evil counsel and retire from the opportunity. Thou wilt then come off conqueror, and wilt be safe from again incurring such peril as I have now seen thee in. Thou wert bewitched by Zenotia, and with such potent enchantments, that in less than ten days thou wouldst, little by little, have lost thy life, if God and my good speed had not prevented it. Now, come along with me, and rejoice our friends with the sight of thy recovered health, and we will hear the adventures of Periander, which he is to finish to-night.”

Antonio promised to attend to his father’s counsels with God’s help, in spite of all the snares that might beset his path through life.

Meanwhile, Zenotia, affronted and grieved by the scorn of the son and the anger of the father, sought how she could avenge her injuries through the means of others, without depriving herself of the presence of her unloving barbarian; and thus meditating, she went to King Polycarp, and said, “ you know, sire, that ever since I entered into your house and service, I have tried to serve you with the greatest zeal and attention: you know also, that trusting to my fidelity and truth, you have made me the depositary of all your secrets; and you know well how prudent I am in all peculiar cases, especially if a love affair be in question, and it is on this account I wish to tell you that, in allowing Arnoldo and all his party to go away, you are acting imprudently and unwisely. Tell me, if when present, you cannot gain Auristella’s consent, how are you to gain it when she is absent?

‘‘And how is it likely she will keep her word, and return to marry an old man, as you in fact are, (for we cannot conceal such truths from ourself,) when she has Periander with her, who may or may not be, her brother; and Arnoldo, a princely youth, who desires nothing more ardently than to make her his wife? Do not, sire, let slip the opportunity that you now possess: you can take the present one, which offers itself for detaining them, saying that it is necessary to punish the monstrous barbarity of one of the company, who has slain the man they call Clodio, even in your own palace.”

Polycarp listened with attention to the advice of the malicious Zenotia; every word she uttered went straight through his heart, as if each had been a sharp nail, and he would fain have gone directly to carry her advice into effect. In fancy he beheld Auristella in the arms of Periander, not as her brother, but as a lover. In fancy he beheld her seated on the throne of Denmark, and Arnoldo making a joke of him and his amorous intentions; in fine, jealousy took possession of his whole soul in such a manner that he could scarce refrain from giving it utterance, and vowing vengeance upon those who had never offended him. But Zenotia, when she saw that her words had taken effect, and how ready he was to do all she wished him to do, advised him to remain quiet for the present, for that Periander was to finish his story that night, and it would give them time to consider what would be most convenient to be done. Polycarp agreed, and she, still hopelessly enamoured of the young Antonio, gave loose to her imagination how best to accomplish the king’s wishes and her own.

The night came on, and Polycarp, with his daughters, joined the company as they had done before; Periander took up his history where he had left off after the wedding festivities.

Chapter XIII.

Wherein Periander pursues his pleasant narrative.

IT was the beautiful Sinforosa who hung with the greatest delight upon the words of Periander, such was the charm and grace of his manner in relating his adventures.

“That night,” said he, “we all went over to a small island in the middle of the river, invited by its verdant appearance, and the tranquillity of the spot. The newly married couples, without openly showing their satisfaction, were diligent, and anxious, to give all the pleasure in their power to those to whom they owed their present happiness; and they gave orders that in this little islet of the river the festivities should be renewed, and should continue for three days.

“The season of the year, which was summer, the beauty of the place, the brilliant moonlight, the murmuring of the stream, the fruit covered trees, the fragrance of the flowers, each of these separately, and altogether, invited us to resolve that we would remain here whilst the festivities lasted; but scarcely had we reached the isle, when from a little grove, which was in it, rushed forth a band of fifty men, lightly armed, like those who rob and run away; and as the unwary when attacked, are overcome through their surprise, almost without attempting to defend ourselves, — bewildered by the suddenness of the assault, we gazed upon the robbers instead of attacking them, who, like hungry wolves that have beset a flock of innocent sheep, carried off, if not in their mouths, yet in their arms, my sister Auristella, her nurse Clelia, and Silviana, and Leoncia, as if it was only for them that they came, for they left many other women who were extremely beautiful.

“I, whom the strangeness of the event had rendered furious rather than stupified, rushed after the robbers, following them with loud cries, insulting them as if they were men capable of feeling insults, in the hope that by irritating them I might move them to return and take vengeance for it; but intent only on their prey, they neither seemed to hear or to wish for revenge, but disappeared with their prizes. Then the bridegrooms and myself, with some of the principal fishermen, took counsel together what we had better do to recover our lost ones; one said, ‘it is not possible but that there must be in these seas some vessel belonging to these robbers, and in some place from whence they have easily landed, perhaps being aware of our meeting and festivities; if it be thus, as I imagine, the best remedy will be for some of our boats to go out and offer any ransom for the captives that they may require without any reserve.’

“‘This business shall be mine,’ I then exclaimed, ‘for to me my sister is worth more than anything else in the whole world, and Carino and Solercio said the same. They wept openly — I was raging inwardly. When we had come to this resolution, it was beginning to grow dark; nevertheless the two bridegrooms and I, got into a boat with six oars, but when we reached the open sea, night had closed in, and we could distinguish no ship at all in the darkness. We resolved to wait for daylight, in the hope of then discovering some vessel. It so happened that we did see two, one that was just leaving the shore, and another that was approaching it; I knew that the one which was departing, was the very same ship in which we had come to the island, for her flags as well as her sails were all marked with a red cross, the other had hers, green, and both were pirates.

“Then, as I imagined, that the ship which was leaving the shore was the one which contained our robbers and their prizes, I put a white flag on the end of a lance, and came near the ship’s side to treat about the ransom, being careful not to be taken myself. The captain appeared on the deck, and when I was about to raise my voice and speak to him, I must confess I was startled and disturbed at being cut short in my attempt by a loud and frightful noise, proceeding from a discharge of artillery; this came from the vessel that was outermost, and was a message of defiance to the other vessel that was near the land; it was quickly answered by a return not less tremendous, and then began a cannonading between the two ships, like two fierce and furious enemies.

“We withdrew our little boat from the scene of combat, and from a distance we surveyed the fight. After the firing had lasted an hour, the two ships grappled one another with unexampled fury. The men of the outermost vessel, either more daring or more valiant, leapt into the other ship, and cleared her decks in a few minutes, killing all, without sparing a single soul on board; then, finding themselves masters, they proceeded to pillage the ship of everything valuable that she contained, which was not much, seeing that she was only a pirate vessel, but in my estimation she held what was more precious than anything else in the whole world, for they got possession of my sister and Clelia, and Silviana, and Leoncia, thus carrying a rich cargo to their own vessel, for they saw that the beauty of Auristella would ensure an unheard-of ransom. I wished to row near the ship, and speak to the captain of the conquerors — but the winds have been ever to me a source of misfortune, — a land breeze sprung up, which carried the ship rapidly away, and made it quite impossible for me to reach it, or to offer impossibilities as a ransom for their prize.

“Thus then were we obliged to return hopeless of recovering our lost ones, and knowing nothing of her course except that she had gone before the wind. We knew nothing of whither she was bound, or who were the pirates, so as to judge from a knowledge of their country what hopes remained of any remedy. With downcast and dejected hearts we entered the river, where all the fishermen in their boats were expecting us.

“I know not if I ought to tell you what is, however, indispensable to be told, that a certain feeling then arose within me which, without changing my being, yet made me feel as if I was more than man; and rising up in the boat I addressed myself to all the men who were gathered around us, and who listened attentively to my words. “Misfortunes,” I said, “are never mended by sitting down idly to lament them — good luck never befriends the pusillanimous soul; we are ourselves the fabricators of our own fortunes, and there breathes not a man who has not the capability of raising himself. The cowardly, though born rich, are always poor, like the miserly beggar. I speak thus, my friends, in hopes of exciting and impelling you to better your lot, to quit these poor nets and fishing tackle, and small boats, and go in search of the treasures that are to be gained by noble enterprises. I call such enterprises noble as are undertaken for high and great ends. If the man who tills the earth by the sweat of his brow, hardly obtains enough for the day’s sustenance, and gains no fame, why does he not take a lance instead of a spade in his hand, and without the fear of the heat of the sun, or the inclemencies of the weather, seek to win, besides his daily bread, fame which can place him high among his fellow men? War, though but a step-mother to cowards, is a true mother to brave men, and for them she has rewards that surpass all calculation. Then arouse yourselves, my friends; cast your eyes towards yonder ship which bore away the beloved prize from the arms of your companions, ye valiant youths. She lies on the shore, and seems left to us as by the peculiar ordonnance of Heaven. Let us take possession of her, and become pirates, not for love of gain like most pirates, but to redress our wrongs: we are all skilled in navigation; in that ship we shall find everything we need to manage her, for she was despoiled of nothing but the women, and if our injury is great, very great also is the opportunity that offers itself of avenging it. Follow me then who will, I entreat you, and Carino and Solercio ask you also, for well I know that they will not leave me to undertake this noble enterprise alone.’

“Hardly had I ceased speaking, when a murmur of many voices arose among all the boats, — the men were asking each other what they should do, — and then from the crowd a voice exclaimed, ‘Embark, generous guest, and be our captain and our guide, for we will all follow thee.’

“I took this sudden resolution as a good omen, and fearing that delay in carrying my plan into execution might give their zeal time to moderate, I immediately steered my boat towards the ship, followed by about forty others. We reconnoitred the vessel, boarded her, examined every part, noted what she had and what she needed, and found all I could desire that was necessary for a voyage; I advised that nobody should return to land, to escape the lamentations of the women and dear children, which I feared might weaken their gallant resolution of departing. They did as I counselled, and took leave in imagination of parents, wives, and children; so wonderful is this, that I feel I shall need all your courtesy to give credit to what I say; not a man returned to land, or wished for more clothing than he had on when he came on board the ship, in which all served as mariners and pilots, except myself, who was unanimously appointed as their captain, and commending myself to God, I instantly began to exercise my new office. The first order I issued was, to have all the dead corpses thrown overboard that had been killed in the late affray, and to cleanse the ship from the blood that stained her decks; I then ordered all the arms to be sought for, and distributed them among the men, giving each what I thought best suited to him; I next inspected the provisions, and calculated how much would be necessary for each person, and for what number of days.

“This done, and having offered our prayers to Heaven to implore that our voyage might be propitious, and that our intentions might have a blessing upon them, I gave the word of command to set the sails, for they were all made fast to the yards, and to take advantage of the wind, which as I before said, blew off shore; and gay as gallant, and gallant as determined, we followed in the same track that we had seen the pirate vessel take with her prey.

“You, my friends, who are listening to my history, behold me turned now into a fisherman and match-maker, rich in the possession of a beloved sister, next robbed by pirates, and poor, deprived of her, raised to the rank of a captain in order to regain my treasure, and say whether the changes of my fortune have not reached a point almost unparalleled and boundless, so as to fatigue your patience in listening to them.”

“Not so, my friend,” said Arnoldo, “for if you are not weary of relating your adventures and misfortunes, we shall not be tired of hearing them, be they ever so numerous.”

“If possible,” answered Periander, “I will bring my story to an end to-morrow night, although it is yet hardly begun.”

All agreed that they would meet again for the purpose of hearing him relate it, in the same place on the following evening.

Chapter XIV.

He tells of a singular Circumstance that happened at Sea.

THE health of the bewitched Antonio was now quite restored, and with his recovered beauty, increased Zenotia’s passion, and made her more and more desirous of detaining him; for even those whose cases are most desperate, never give up deluding themselves with hope, so long as the beloved object is before their eyes: therefore with all the means her active mind could suggest, she cast about to throw impediments in the way of the departure of the guests, and went again to advise Polycarp on no account to let the daring crime of the barbarous homicide go unpunished, or at least that he should keep a threat of punishment hanging over his head.

Polycarp was not, however, disposed to comply with the advice, “for,” said he to Zenotia, “it will be an interference with Prince Arnoldo, under whose protection this youth is, and it will vex my beloved Auristella, who considers him as her brother; besides, his crime was accidental, and proceeded not from malice, but mischance; moreover, no one demands justice, and all those who know the man, affirm that he well deserved his death, for that he was the worst evil speaker and slanderer that ever lived.”

“How is this, sire?” cried Zenotia, “after having settled the other day together that he was to be punished as an excuse for detaining Auristella, — you now seem averse to the measure. They will go, and she will not return; then will you lament your ill-advised consent to allow of her departure, when tears and lamentations will be of no avail. By giving up this boy to justice, and then acting towards him mercifully, you will preserve your character for a good and just king.”

Thus did Zenotia counsel Polycarp, who was now in one mind, now in another, as to what he should resolve to do, and how he could continue to detain Auristella without offending Arnoldo, whose power and valour he feared greatly.

In the midst of all these considerations, and in the midst of those which Sinforosa was on her side also indulging, arrived the hour when Periander was to go on with his history, which he did in the following manner: —

“Lightly Hew our ship as the winds impelled her — not a single man amongst us wished it otherwise — leaving our course to be as fate directed us.

“Having sailed all that day, at the dawn of another the sentinel, on the topmast-head, cried aloud, ‘A ship! a ship!’ I asked what her course was, and how large she might be; he replied that, ‘she was the same size as our own ship, and that she was ahead of us.’

“‘Then, my friends,” said I, ‘arm yourselves, and if these are pirates, show the valorous spirit which has led you to abandon your nets in search of fame.’ We crowded all our sails, and in less than two hours were alongside the ship, which, as if taken by surprise, offered no resistance: about forty of my men boarded her, but found no occasion to use their swords, as she contained only the mariners and some serving men. Looking about, we found in one of the cabins, two persons, closely confined by the neck in a sort of iron stocks, and separated from each other scarcely two rods; one was a man of good mien; the other, a woman possessing a considerable share of beauty. In another apartment we found a rich couch, on which lay a venerable old man, whose air and manner at once commanded respect. He could not leave his couch, but he raised his head a little, and said, ‘Sheathe your swords, gentlemen, for in this ship you will find none to resist you; necessarily then you must try your fortune in this exercise in some other quarter; but your coming will be fortunate for you, not because the ship has wealth wherewith to enrich you, but because I sail in her, I, who am Leopold, king of Norway.’

“On hearing him speak thus, I felt a desire to know what events could have happened to bring a king into such a defenceless situation; going to him, I asked if this was true that I heard, for although his appearance and noble demeanour well agreed with his words, yet the scanty equipage of his vessel made it difficult of belief. ‘Sir,’ replied the old man, ‘order your people to be quiet, and listen to me, for in a few words you shall hear great things.’ I commanded silence, and my companions and I listened attentively to what he wished to say, which was this: —

“‘It pleased Heaven to make me king of Norway; my ancestors, likewise, were kings of that land, and they had ruled as their forefathers did, without tyranny or any other innovations. Early in life I married a wife, who was my equal in rank; she died, and left me childless. Time went on, and still I remained contented in my widower’s state; but for my sins at length I became enamoured of a lady who had been one of the attendants of my late wife, and who might now be a queen, instead of a prisoner in those stocks, where you must have seen her fastened. She then, thinking it would be unjust not to prefer the curling locks of one of my servants to my grey hairs, fled with him, and not only felt a pleasure in thus dishonouring me, but conspired also with him to take away my life; so that, had I not been timely informed of her plots and machinations, my head would have been oft’ my shoulders in the twinkling of an eye, and theirs crowned, as sovereigns in my place.

“‘I discovered their treason in time; but they also obtained the information that I had found it out; and one night they got on board a small bark, which was ready to sail, and fled from my wrath. I, hearing of this, flew on the wings of my just anger to the seashore, and found that they had been gone about twenty hours. Blind with fury, and full of a desire for vengeance, without waiting to take any counsel or prudent consideration, I embarked in this vessel, and followed them, not with the authority and paraphernalia of a monarch, but as a private enemy. I found them at the end of ten days in an island, called the Isle of Fire; I had them seized and immediately confined in the manner you have seen, to convey them back to Norway, and deliver them up to the punishment due to their crime. “‘ This is the plain truth. Those are the delinquents; I am a king; and I promise to give you as my ransom one hundred thousand pieces of gold; not that I have them with me, but I give you my word of honour to send them wheresoever you please; and as a security, if my word suffices not, take me along with you in your own ship, and let some of your people go in mine until they reach Norway, and fetch the money, to carry it whither it pleases you. I have no more to say.’

“My companions looked one on the other, and gave me time to answer for all, which, as their captain, I had a right to do; but, nevertheless, I wished to take the opinion of Carino and Solercio, and some of the others, that they might not think I presumed upon the command they had themselves given me over them; and so the answer I gave the king was to say— “My lord, these men you see before you are not in arms for lucre of gain, nor for any of the ambitious ends which commonly influence people; we are in search of robbers, we are seeking to chastise some ruffians, and to destroy some pirates, and as you are none of these, your life is safe with us; but if we can serve you in any way, you have only to ask us: and, although we thank you for the rich ransom you offer, we absolve you from giving any, since, as you are not a prisoner, you cannot be obliged to act like one. Follow your own course in peace, and all that I would ask of you is, to beseech your pardon for the offenders, as the greatness of a king shines forth more in acts of mercy than even of justice. He would fain have humbled himself at my feet, but I prevented this, and begged that he would give us some powder and divide his provisions with us, which he did immediately. I also said to him, that in case he did not like to forgive the two criminals entirely, I would advise him to allow me take them away in my vessel, and I would convey them to a distant land, where they could never more offend him. He agreed to this, for he said that the presence of the guilty pair would always revive the memory of their crime. I then gave my command that we should return to our ship, with the provisions and the powder, that the king had given us, and was going to send for the two prisoners, already free from their confinement, when a fresh breeze suddenly sprung up which prevented this: it quickly separated the two vessels without a possibility of their coming again together. I stood upon the deck, and cried aloud, ‘Adieu!’ to the old king, who had ordered himself to be lifted from his bed, and supported in the arms of his servants, he waved his farewell to our ship — and I also must take my leave of you for the present, as I shall need rest before I begin upon my next adventure.”

Chapter XV.

He relates what passed concerning Sulpicia, the Niece of Cratilius, King of Lithuania.

THE agreeable way in which Periander told the story of his strange adventures, gave pleasure to every one of his hearers, except Maurice, who, when he was alone with his daughter, said to her, “It seemeth to me, Transila, that Periander might relate the events of his life in a few less words, and less diffusely than he does. I do not see why he need detail, so very minutely, all about the fishermen and their festivals, nor yet their marriages, for though episodes may be admitted to ornament a tale, they should not be as long as the original story itself; but the fact, I suspect, is, that Periander likes to show the cleverness with which he can relate, and what fine language he can use in his descriptions.”

“It may be so,” said Transila, “but all I know is, that whether he dilates, or whether he is succinct in what he tells us, all is charming and gives one pleasure to hear it, but to none of us does it give more delight than to Sinforosa, as I believe I told you before; she hangs on every word that drops from Periander’s lips, as if her very soul went along with them.”

The perpetually changing thoughts of Polycarp prevented him from lending much attention to Periander’s discourse, and he wished that there might not be a great deal more to relate; but Sinforosa had so great a desire to hear the end, that she entreated him to return the next day, which he agreed to do, and continued his history thus:— “You must consider, Sirs, that my crew of mariners were men more rich in valour than in gold, and for my part I began to feel some doubts whether my liberality had quite pleased them, and although allowing the King Leopold to go away free was done by their consent, as well as my own, yet as the dispositions of all men are not the same, I suspected that they were not quite satisfied, and that it would not be easy to make them amends for the hundred thousand pieces of gold which Leopold offered for his ransom, and this moved me to speak to them thus; ‘My good friends, do not allow yourselves to regret the recollection of the large treasure you have lost, which was offered to us by the king, for I would have you know that one ounce of honourable fame is worth more than a pound of pearls. And this you cannot feel until you have begun to taste the sweets of having won that renown which is gained by great and good deeds. The poor man, enriched by virtue, may become famous, whilst the rich one, if vicious, can never know anything but infamy. Generosity is one of the most pleasing virtues in him who aspires to renown; and so true is this, that you will never find an ill-conditioned person liberal; an avaricious or covetous man cannot be so.’ I was proceeding thus in my discourse, seeing that they lent an attentive ear to me as their countenances showed, when I was interrupted by discovering a ship which was not far from our own — indeed hard a Ice upon our course: we flew to arms, and gave chase with all the sails we could set. In a short time II — ordered a shot to be fired as a signal to bring her to; we did so, and she slackened sail. On coming near, we beheld one of the strangest sights imaginable: hanging to the yards and the rigging were more than forty men strangled. I marvelled greatly at this; and going alongside, some of my men boarded her without meeting any opposition. They found the deck deluged with blood, and covered with the bodies of men dead and dying, some with their hands cut off, some with their heads cleft asunder, some bleeding, some just expiring; one man was sending forth the most dismal groans, another uttering shrieks of agony. All this death-scene seemed to have taken place after a repast, for divers articles of food swam amidst the blood, and mingled with these were drinking cups and bottles still half full of wine. But now, treading over the bodies of the dead and dying, my mariners passed on to the stern cabin, where they found a party of a dozen beautiful women: foremost amongst them stood one who seemed to be their captain, armed with a white corslet, so clear and polished that it might almost have served as a mirror; she wore a throat piece, but no armour on her arms or legs; on her head was a helmet of curiously twisted workmanship, ornamented with an infinite variety of differently coloured stones; she held a javelin in her hand, all studded over with golden nails, and a large knife of shining and sharp steel. She looked in this array so spirited and graceful, that her bare aspect was enough to make the men, as they entered, stop short and gaze upon her with wonder and awe.

“I, who had been looking on for some time from our own vessel, now came on board the other, to see better what was going on. I arrived just in time to hear her saying to my men, ‘ I can well suppose, O soldiers, that the sight of this little army of women rather inspires you with wonder than with fear. As for us, after the vengeance we have taken for our wrongs, nothing can ever excite fear in us again. Attack us, if ye are thirsting for blood, and shed ours; we freely give our lives so that we preserve our honour. I am Sulpicia, the niece of Cracilio, king of Lithuania; my uncle gave me in marriage to the great Lampidio, as noble in lineage as he was rich in the gifts of nature and fortune. We were going to visit the king, my uncle, secure, as we imagined, among our own vassals and servants, all of whom were beholden to us for some act of kindness or other with which we were constantly loading them, but all these obligations were forgotten.

One night, after they had drunk deeply, although half stupified by wine, they dared to lay their wicked hands on my husband, and deprived him of life, as the first beginning of their abominable designs; but we resolved to defend ourselves, and at least not to die unavenged. Availing ourselves of the state of drunkenness they were in, and the little sense they had left, we armed ourselves as well as we could, and with the help of four servants, who remained true to us, and had not joined the guilty conspiracy, we performed the work of death which you have witnessed on the deck, and carrying our vengeance further, we made the masts and rigging bear the fruit which you now behold hanging thereon. Forty men are strangled there, and if there had been forty thousand they would have shared the same fate, so weak were they and unable to defend themselves, so fierce in our wrath were we. I possess riches, which I can distribute among you, although, perhaps, I might rather say, that you can take them. I will only add that I give them up to you willingly; take them, gentlemen, and do not molest us.’

“Even if I had been a real pirate, the words of Sulpicia would have softened my heart; one of my fishermen said, ‘May I die if here is not another King Leopold offering riches to us, with whom our noble captain may show his high breeding. Look you, my lord Periander, the lady Sulpicia may go free, we ask no more than the glory of having conquered our selfish desires.’

“‘And so it shall be, my friends,’ I replied, ‘since you desire it, and I truly believe that Heaven never lets such acts go unrewarded, any more than it surely punishes the deeds that are evil: now clear this bad fruit from the rigging, and clean this deck, and then offer with their liberty your services to these ladies.’

“They did as I commanded, and the fair Sulpicia, full of gratitude and admiration, fell at my feet like one who could not entirely believe all that she heard.

“She tried to answer and return our kindness in some measure, and bade one of her women bring the coffers, where she kept her jewels and money. The lady to whom she spoke did as she was desired, and in a moment, as if suddenly rained down from above, I saw spread before me, four coffers full of gold and precious jewels. Sulpicia opened and displayed these before the eyes of my fishermen; perhaps the sight blinded the eyes of some of them to the generous intentions they had avowed, for there is a great difference between giving up a thing when it is before your eyes, and renouncing only the hope of possessing it. Sulpicia drew forth a rich necklace of gold, glittering with precious stones, which were set in it, and said, ‘Accept this, O noble captain, as a gift from me, to show my gratitude. It is the offering of a poor widow, who yesterday saw herself at the height of happiness and prosperity, blest in the possession and protection of a beloved husband; and today subject to the will and pleasure of these men of yours, who may divide my treasures among them; — there is power in gold to soften the very rocks.

“‘The gifts of so high and noble a lady,’ I replied, ‘are not to be lightly valued,’ and taking the necklace, I turned to my companions and said, ‘this jewel is given to me, my friends, and therefore I can dispose of it as my own property; as its value seems inestimable, it is not fit that it should belong to one man only. Let him who pleases take and keep it, and when he can meet with a purchaser, divide the price among you all, and do not touch one single other thing of the noble lady’s possessions, so shall your fame be sounded even to the skies.’

“‘We would have wished,’ answered one among them, ‘O great captain, that you had not given us the counsel you did, that you might have seen how entirely we feel as you do. Restore the lady her necklace; the fame we seek shall need no collar to restrain or limit its bounds.’

“I was very well pleased with this reply, and Sulpicia marvelled at their disinterestedness. Finally she asked if I would give her twelve of my men to protect her, and some mariners who could take charge of the ship, and steer her to Lithuania; I agreed, and the men I selected were well pleased to be able to do so kind an action.

“Sulpicia gave us some excellent wines, and the most exquisite sweetmeats. The wind blew fair for both her course and our own, for which as yet we knew no positive destination or haven. We took our leave of her — she knew my name, and also that of Carino and Solercio; — she pressed our hands in hers, and with her eyes she thanked the rest, and bade them adieu. She shed many tears, caused by the mingled feelings of sorrow and thankfulness; sorrow for her husband’s death, and joy in finding herself safe and free from the hands of those she had supposed were pirates, and thus we parted. I forgot to mention that I returned the necklace to Sulpicia, who received it with reluctance, and only because of my absolute refusal to accept it; she even seemed half to consider my returning it as an affront.

“I then held a consultation with my men as to what course we should take, and decided to go as the wind impelled us, because we were thus more likely to fall in with other vessels.

“The night came on serene and clear, and I, calling one of the fishermen who was a mariner, and who served as the master and head pilot, to take the helm, seated myself on the forecastle, and began to watch the heavens with deep attention.”

“Now would I lay any wager,” said Maurice, aside to his daughter, “that Persiles is going to give us a description of the celestial hemisphere, as if it signifies to us, one atom, what the motion of the heavenly bodies might be; for my part I heartily wish he would bring his story to an end, for the desire that I have to get away from this place is such, that I really cannot trouble myself with knowing which are fixed, and which, wandering stars, and the more because I myself know everything on that subject that he can possibly tell me.”

Whilst Maurice and Transila were speaking thus in a whisper, Periander, who had paused to take breath, went on with his tale.

Chapter XVI.

Periander continues his Narration, and relates a singular Dream.

SLUMBER had begun to take possession of the senses of my companions, and I began to question the one who was keeping watch with me, upon many matters important to mariners, and needful for them to know, when it suddenly began to rain, not in drops, but as if whole clouds were at once emptying their contents upon our ship, so that it appeared as if the sea had risen into the sky, and from thence was overflowing upon our vessel. All awoke in great perturbation, and looking about on every side, saw a clear unclouded sky, and no signs of storm or tempest, a thing which struck every one with awe and dread: whilst they were gazing around, the man who had been with me, said, ‘I have no doubt but that this rain proceeds from the nostrils of those monstrous fishes which are called wreckers, and if it be so, then are we in the greatest peril, and it will be necessary for us to discharge all our guns, for the noise will sometimes terrify them.’ As he spoke, we saw the neck and head of a terrible serpent rise and enter the ship: it seized, and instantly swallowed at a mouthful, one of our seamen before our eyes. ‘Yes, they are “Wreckers,”’ cried our pilot; ‘we must make haste to fire, no matter with or without shot, for it is from the noise alone we can hope for help against these monsters.’

“Our men were flying in confusion to hide themselves, none dared stand up, lest they should become the prey of these horrible enemies; but at this some flew to the guns, some shouted aloud, and others turned to the pumps to get rid of the water, which overflowed our deck. We set every sail, and fled as though we were escaping from a whole fleet of enemies; our present extreme danger was the greatest, in that it was one we had never yet seen or even heard of. The next day we found ourselves about dusk on the shore of an island unknown to any of us, and with the intention of watering here, we resolved to stay till the following morning close to the land; we, therefore, took down the sails and anchored, having done which, we resigned our weary bodies to sleep, which we greatly needed: sweet and grateful were our slumbers.

“When we had refreshed ourselves with this welcome rest, we landed and sauntered along the delightful shore, the sands of which (without any exaggeration) were all of grains of gold and minute pearls. We penetrated more inland and saw meadows, the grass of which was not merely green, but of the brightest emerald colour. The brooks and rivulets ran not like simply sparkling streams, but like liquid diamonds; and appeared, as they meandered through the meadows, like crystal serpents. Then we came to a wood of various kinds of trees, so beautiful that we stood transfixed with wonder and delight. From the boughs of some, hung bunches of cherries, that looked like rubies; from others, apples, the cheeks of some like roses, of others like topazes. There were pears, of exquisite fragrance and colour, like the setting sun; in fine, there was every species of fruit we know, all here to be found in perfection, without being confined to any particular season. All here was spring, summer, autumn, in one, — heat without being oppressive, agreeable and delightful beyond belief.

“All our senses were gratified, our eyes revelled in the beauty that lay around us, our ears were enchanted by the soft murmuring of the rivulets, and the singing of an infinite variety of small birds, which, hopping from tree to tree, and bough to bough, seemed as if they were detained as captives who wished not to be free; our sense of smell was regaled with the fragrance that exhaled from every herb, flower, and fruit, and our taste with the delicious proof they afforded of their excellence and sweetness; and it was pleasant to the touch to have them in our hands, so that we seemed to possess the pearls of the South, the diamonds of India, and the gold of Tebir.”

“It is a pity, methinks, that Clodio is dead,” whispered Ladislaus to his father-in-law, “for in truth Periander would have given him something to talk about.”

“Hold your tongue,” said Transila, “you cannot say that he does not tell his story well.”

While these whispers were passing, Periander had paused to take breath, but soon he continued his narration thus:— “All this that I have told you,” said he, “is nothing to what is to come; I shall require all your courtesy to believe the things I shall narrate; your eyes would open wide, gentlemen, and yours too, fair ladies, if you were to see what we saw proceed from the bosom of a rock, with our own eyes, so that there was no deception. I say that out of the aperture of a rock, there came forth, first, a most melodious noise that arrested our attention, then a sound of divers instruments; then issued forth a car, — I hardly know how to describe its form, but something resembling a ship; —— it was drawn by twelve enormous apes, and in the car was a very beautiful lady, arrayed in a gorgeous robe of many colours, crowned with oleanders; she leant upon a black stick, in which was fixed a kind of tablet, or shield, with the word ‘ Sensuality’ thereon; behind her followed other beautiful women, each with a musical instrument in her hand, producing a melody now gay, now mournful, altogether singularly pleasing.

“My companions and I were so astonished that we stood as if transformed into stone statues. The beautiful lady came straight to me, and in a voice half sweet, half angry, she said, ‘It has cost thee dear, O noble youth, being my enemy,’ and so saying, she passed on, and the musical damsels seized, and carried off, as it were, seven or eight of my mariners, and following their mistress, disappeared again through the aperture of the rock. I then turned to my comrades, and was about to ask what they thought of all this that we had seen, when the sound of other voices reached our ears, very different from the first, more agreeable and even more melodious, and then appeared a band of lovely women. They preceded my sister Auristella: no words can express her more than mortal beauty; — she was between two damsels, one of whom stept forwards, and spoke to me thus:— ‘Virtue and modesty are inseparable companions, and ever accompany chastity, who is here under the semblance of your beloved sister Auristella, nor will they ever leave her until her peregrinations come to a happy termination in the holy city of Rome.’ Then I, enraptured with those happy tidings, and wondering at the lovely sight before me, so new and strange an adventure, would fain have raised my voice, and exclaimed, ‘O ye bright comforters of my soul; O rich reward granted for my welfare —— sweet and joyful now and ever to me.’ So great was the energy with which I strove to utter these words, that I awoke from my dream, and the lovely vision vanished; I found myself in the ship with my companions, — all were there, none of them missing.”

“Then,” exclaimed Constance, “my lord Periander, you were only dreaming?”

“I was,” he answered, “all my happiness has ever been but a dream.”

“Truly,” she rejoined, “I was going to ask the lady Auristella where she had concealed herself all the time before she appeared to you.”

“My brother,” said Auristella, “has related his dream in such a manner, that I really felt a doubt whether it was truth or not, that he was telling us.”

To which Maurice added, “These things are owing to the force of imagination, which represents things sometimes in so varied a way, that they cling to the memory, and remain there till we hardly know whether they are truth or not.” —

Meanwhile Arnoldo kept silence; he was considering in his mind the vivacity and warmth of expression that Periander had used in relating his story, and could not help indulging some of the doubts and suspicions which had been infused into his mind by the deceased Clodio, as to whether Periander and Auristella were really brother and sister.

However, at length he said, “Go on with your story, Periander, but leave out your dreams, for weary and overworked minds often engender confused and strange fancies, and here is the peerless Sinforosa longing to have you come to the time of your first appearance in the island, when you went away crowned as conqueror in the games which take place on the anniversary of her father’s election.”

“The pleasure that my dream gave me,” replied Periander, “made me unaware of the tiresome and fruitless nature of such digressions in a narrative, which should be concise and not amplified.”

Polycarp, whose eyes were entirely occupied with looking at Auristella, and his mind in thinking about her, said nothing. It mattered very little to him whether Periander spoke or held his tongue, and he, who began to perceive that some of his hearers were tired of his long story, determined to shorten the rest, and to finish it in as few words as he could, and so he spoke as follows.

Chapter XVII.

He continues his Story.

I AWAKENED from my dream, as I told you, and held a council with my companions what course we should take, and it was resolved to go still as the winds should guide us, for as we were in pursuit of pirates, who never sail against the wind, we should be certain to find some; such was my folly, that I asked Carino and Solercio whether they had seen their wives among the number of those who followed Auristella, as I had seen in my dream. They laughed at my inquiry, and desired, and even forced me, to relate to them what I had dreamt.

“For two months we continued cruising about these seas without meeting with any adventure of importance; but we purged them from more than seventy pirate ships, and appropriated the spoil, filling our vessel with immense wealth, which greatly delighted my companions, and they did not regret having exchanged the trade of fishermen for that of pirates, for they were only robbers of the robber, and stole nothing but what was stolen before.

“It happened that the wind blew so obstinately from one quarter, that without slackening sail or altering our course, it drove us forward in such a manner, that for more than a month we sailed on in the same direction, insomuch that my pilot, taking the altitude of the pole, and measuring the knots we made in an hour, and calculating the number of days we had been sailing thus, found that we had gone four hundred leagues, more or less. Again our pilot took his observations, and found that we were on the coast of Norway; then raising his voice in sorrowful accents, he cried, ‘ Unhappy that we are, if the wind does not change shortly, our lives will be ended here, for we are in the icy sea; I say we are in the frozen ocean, and if the frost comes here, we shall remain, petrified, and fast in these waters.’ He had hardly spoken, when we felt that the ship’s sides and keel were knocking against moving rocks, as it seemed, by which we guessed that the sea was beginning to freeze, and these ice mountains thus formed underneath obstruct the vessel’s course. We lowered the sails at once, lest they should be torn by touching them, and all that day and night the water froze and pressed around us, so that it held us fast enclosed, like a stone that is set in a ring; and now all at once the frost began to benumb our bodies, and sadden our spirits, till fear took possession of us, and we, seeing the imminent peril of our situation, could only look forward to our lives lasting for just as many days as we had food in the ship to sustain them. From this moment we put ourselves on an allowance, and the measure appointed for each was so small that we soon began to feel the pangs of hunger. We looked around on every side, but met with nothing that could afford the slightest hope, unless it might be a dark bulky object, which appeared to us about seven or eight miles distant. But this we supposed likely to be some other vessel, which the ice held imprisoned like our own.

“Our present danger surpassed all the former ones which I had ever experienced, because a protracted dread, and a continued expectation of death, is more trying than a speedy one, which spares us all those horrors and agonies which are far worse than death itself. Seeing then that we were threatened with starvation, we came to a resolution, which was rash at least, if not quite desperate; and considering that the human mind can conceive no death more terrible than that by hunger, we determined to leave our vessel, and travel across the ice, to see if we could discover in the one we had seen in the distance, anything we could avail ourselves of, either by fair means or force.

“We carried this purpose into effect, and in a few minutes on the frozen waters was formed a squadron, small, perhaps, but composed of brave men, who, with myself as their leader, rolling, falling, and getting up again, reached at last the other vessel, for so it was, and pretty nearly the same size as our own. There were men in her, who, seeing us, and guessing our intentions, called out aloud, ‘What do ye come here for, desperate men? what do ye seek? are ye come to hasten our death, or to die with us? Return to your ship, and if ye lack food, gnaw the rigging, and fill your stomachs with the pitchy wood, for if ye hope to have aid here, the hope is vain, and against the precepts of charity, which begins at home; for the two months during which this frost will last, we have one fortnight’s provisions, and whether it is likely that we shall divide these with you, we leave you to consider upon.’

“To which I answered, ‘In extreme cases we cannot stop to reason; receive us into your ship with good will and divide with us your provisions, which we come in quest of, and which we need: let us eat together in friendship, or we shall be obliged to have recourse to our arms, and to use force.’ I answered in this manner because I did not believe that they spoke the truth about the quantity of provisions they had on board, but they, seeing themselves superior in numbers, and having the advantage in position, neither feared our threats nor listened to our entreaties, but flew to arms, and prepared to defend themselves. My men, who were rendered more courageous than common by desperation, attacked the ship, and succeeded in getting on board, and making themselves masters of her without any one even receiving a wound. A voice from amongst our company proposed that all the men should be put to death to lessen the number of mouths requiring food. I, however, could not agree to this, and, perhaps in order to help my wish of preserving their lives, Heaven came to our assistance, as I shall tell you by and bye; for first I must inform you, that I found this vessel to be the very pirate ship that had robbed me of my sister, and the fishermen of their young brides. Hardly had I made the discovery than I cried out, ‘Ha, robbers? where have ye hidden those who are dear as our own souls? where are our beloved ones, whom ye have stolen from us? What have ye done with my sister Auristella? and where are Silviana and Leoncia, the young wives of my good friends, Carino and Solercio?’

“One of the pirates answered me, ‘Those women whom you speak of that belonged to the fishermen, were sold by our captain, who is now dead, to Arnoldo, the prince of Denmark.’”

“That was true,” said Arnoldo, “for I did buy Auristella, and her nurse Clelia, and two other very beautiful girls, from some pirates, who sold them to me at a price far below their value.”

“Good Heavens” exclaimed Rutilio, “and by what circumlocutions, and through what curious links have you carried your wandering history, O Periander!”

“Out of kindness to yourself,” added Sinforosa, “we would fain have you shorten your tale, which is as interesting as it is true.”

“I will do so,” said Periander, “if it is possible that great events can be narrated in a few words.”

Chapter XVIII.

The treacherous conduct of Polycarp in consequence of Zenotia’ s advice. He loses his Kingdom, and she her Life. His Guests quit the Island, and land on the Isle of Hermits.

All this delay, owing to the length of Periander’s history, was so contrary to the wishes of Polycarp, that he could neither lend it his attention, nor mature his thoughts as to what he should do in order to keep Auristella without prejudice to the character he desired to preserve, of a generous and just king. He considered how high was the rank of some of his guests; first and foremost stood Arnoldo, the prince of Denmark, not by election, but hereditary right. In every word and action of Periander, in his noble and spirited demeanour, he plainly discerned some high-born personage; and in the lovely Auristella, an equally illustrious lady: he would willingly have accomplished his desire easily, without any circumlocutions or artifices, smoothing all difficulties by the veil of marriage, although his advanced years were, he could not conceal from himself, rather against it. His ideas were participated in and urged on by the artful Zenotia, with whom he arranged and agreed that before he gave Periander another audience, their plan should be put in execution. This was, to have a feigned alarm raised in the city, in which the palace should be set on fire in two or three places, which would force its inmates to seek for shelter, and throw everybody into confusion, in the midst of which, Auristella and the young Antonio were to be carried off by persons prepared on purpose, and the lady Polycarpa was directed to warn Arnoldo and Periander of the danger which threatened them, without discovering the intention of a robbery, but showing them a way to save themselves by getting to the shore, where in the harbour they would find a small vessel ready, in which they might make their escape.

The night on which this was to happen, arrived, and at three o’clock in the morning the alarm began, which threw the whole city into confusion and terror. The flames began to blaze out, only equalled by those burning in the royal breast. Meanwhile the princess went calmly and composedly to warn Arnoldo and Periander of the designs of her treacherous and enamoured father, which, however, she did not reveal to the full extent of his dishonourable intentions.

Arnoldo and Periander on hearing it, called Auristella, Maurice, Transila, Ladislaus, the two Antonios, Ricla, Constance, and Rutilio, and thanking Polycarpa for her advice, they assembled their little party, and putting the men in front, went as she had counselled them to do, and made their way to the harbour without any interruption, where they embarked instantly on board the little vessel, the master and pilot of which had been prepared, and paid beforehand by the king to set sail the moment the persons arrived, who seemed intending to take to flight, and not to stop till they reached England, or some other yet more distant place.

Amid the continued cries of “To arms! to arms!” and the shouts of the crowd assembled at the fire, which blazed as though it knew it had the full permission of the master of the palace to do its utmost, Polycarp went forth secretly to look after the theft he meditated — the carrying off Auristella, — and the sorceress Zenotia as anxiously watched for the accomplishment of hers — the detention of Antonio; but finding that all the party had made their escape, and that not one was left behind, orders were given to all the batteries, and to all the ships that were in the harbour, to fire at the little vessel which was seen taking to flight. This only added to the uproar and confusion, and terror of the inhabitants of the town, who could not divine or imagine what enemies were assailing them, or what all this frightful clamour could mean.

Meanwhile the lovesick maiden Sinforosa, who was utterly ignorant of the cause of all this disturbance, made her way with hurried and trembling steps to the top of one of the highest towers in the palace, which seemed likely to be safe from the fire that was consuming the rest of the building. Her sister Polycarpa went to shut herself up with her, and then she told her how their guests had fled; on hearing this news, Sinforosa fainted away, which made Polycarpa repent of what she had done.

Morning dawned at last — welcome to those who hoped to discover with the daylight the cause of the calamity, — but in the bosom of King Polycarp was darkest night, and the deepest sadness that can be imagined. Zenotia wrung her hands, and cursed her deceiving art, and the promises of her accursed masters. Poor Sinforosa still lay in her swoon, whilst her sister wept over her and lamented her sorrows, but continued to use every effort to restore her to life and sense. At last she revived, and casting her eyes towards the sea, she saw the vessel which bore away the other half of her soul, or at least its better part, and like another Dido deceived and abandoned, complaining of another fugitive Eneas, she sighed, wept, and cried aloud in such words as these; “O lovely guest, who hast come to these shores for my misfortune; thou hast never deceived me, it is true, for I have never been happy enough to hear words of love from thee that might have beguiled me; Oh, that I could slacken thy sails, and arrest thy speed, so that these eyes might yet a little longer space behold thy ship, the very sight of which is consolation, since it containeth thee. Alas! my lord, thou fliest from one who would fain follow thee. Thou hatest one who adores thee; I who am daughter of a king, would gladly be thy slave. The flames that burn this city, if thou wouldst return, might serve as an illumination to show our joy; I have riches safely placed where the fire cannot touch them, for Heaven will preserve them for thee.” Then she would turn to her sister, and say, “Dost not thou think, my Polycarpa, that the ship slackens in her course? Seemeth it not to thee that she sails less swiftly? Ah, Heavens! if he should have repented.”

“Alas, my sister,” answered Polycarpa, “deceive not thyself, our wishes often go hand in hand with delusions. The ship sails on, and thy desires have no power to detain her as thou thinkest, but rather the breath of thy continual sighing impels her on her way.”

And now came unto them the king, who, like his daughter, wished to gaze from the high tower upon the vessel which was bearing away, not half, but all his heart’s delight. She was, however, no longer visible. Those who had lit up the conflagration by his orders had now to extinguish it. The citizens learnt the cause of the disturbance, and the folly of their sovereign, also the evil counsels and intrigues of the sorceress Zenotia. On that same day they deposed him from the throne, and condemned her to be hanged. Sinforosa and Polycarpa were treated with the same respect as before, and their fortunes were equal to their merits, although Sinforosa did not obtain the happiness she sought, for higher still was the fortune that awaited Periander.

Meanwhile the fugitives on board the little vessel finding themselves all safe together and free, were never weary of returning thanks to Heaven for their successful escape. They were informed afterwards of the treacherous designs of Polycarp, but the horror they felt at his treason was not so great but that they could find some excuse for him, in that it had been caused by love, — love which forms the excuse of so many errors, since when once that passion gains entire possession of a heart, no power can restrain it, and it sets all reason at defiance.

The weather was fine, and though the wind was fresh, the sea was tranquil. They steered their course for England, where they intended to decide upon what plan would be best for them to pursue, and their voyage was so peaceful and prosperous, that no fear or suspicion of evil came across them. For three days this calm endured, and during three days the wind was fair, but on the fourth, it began to blow hard, and the sea to rage, so that the mariners feared a great tempest was at hand. The uncertainty of life is well typified by the sea, in each we cannot promise ourselves security or endurance in anything long; however, it pleased Heaven that just when they were beginning to be alarmed, they perceived that they were near an island, which the mariners immediately knew, and said, that it was called “The Hermit’s Isle,” and that it possessed two bays capable of sheltering twenty vessels and more, from all winds; they were, in fact, as good as harbours. They added, moreover, that in one of the hermitages there lived a hermit, who had once been a French gentleman of good family, called Renato; and that in the other hermitage lived a French lady, called Eusebia, and that the history of these two persons was one of the most remarkable ever heard of.

A curiosity to see these hermits joined to the necessity of sheltering from the storm, made all desirous of going directly to the island; they, therefore, steered for it straight, and entered one of the little bays, where they anchored unquestioned by anybody; and Arnoldo having ascertained that the isle contained no inhabitants except the hermits alluded to, ordered the boat to be made ready to land Auristella, and the others who were much fatigued with their voyage, and also Maurice, Rutilio, and Periander, who thought it would be best for them to pass the night on shore, that they might rest in peace after the motion of the waves. It was also agreed that Antonio and his son, and Ladislaus, should remain in the ship, as they had not as yet had sufficient experience of the mariners to know if they were to be trusted implicitly; it was therefore decided that they should stay with the seamen, to whom no land is so pleasant as the planks of their ship, and sweeter to them is the scent of oil and fish, pitch and tar, than to others would be the odours of the most fragrant flowers of the garden.

Under a rock, sheltered from the wind, they settled themselves for the night, making a fire with some branches and bits of wood they found about, to keep themselves warm; and all the party being pretty well accustomed to such shifts as these, past the night pleasantly enough, and the more so, as Periander, being urged by Transila to take this opportunity of concluding his story, and her entreaty followed up by the general voice, went on in the following words.

Chapter XIX.

Of the kind Reception they met with in the Isle of Hermits.

IF it be true, as I think it is, that we find a pleasure in listening to the storm without, when we are comfortably sheltered at home; and in recalling the perils of the past battle in times of peace; or in health, remembering our late weakness; then is it sweet to me to tell of all my wanderings and troubles in this calm and peaceful place of rest, where, although I may not as yet consider that I am quite free from care, I may say I am enjoying repose for the present: and happy in feeling this, I will now return to tell you about the ship wherein I was left with our conquered enemies, and where I learnt, as I have already told you, the particulars of how my sister and Clelia, and the two fishermen’s brides, had been sold to the prince Arnoldo here present.

“Whilst my people were busily investigating and weighing the provisions that were in the icebound vessel, I perceived that on the side nearest the land, a body of armed men, about perhaps four thousand in number, was approaching; a sight such as this left us even more frozen than that icy sea. We prepared our arms, but more that we might stand up like men, than with any thought of defending ourselves. They moved along the ice only on one foot, giving with the right a touch against the left heel, and thereby impelling their bodies, and sliding with the other over the sea for a long space, and then immediately renewing the blow again, made another slide for a great distance, in which manner of travelling they were with us speedily, and soon surrounded us on every side. One of the party who was, as I afterwards learnt, the commander of the party, came near enough to the ship to make himself heard by us, and announced that they came with peaceable intentions, by displaying a white flag, which he carried on his arm: he spoke in a loud voice in the Polish tongue, and said, ‘Cratilius, King of Lithuania, and lord of these seas, has a custom, which is to dispatch armed men to all those ships that are detained in the ice, and to take from them the persons and merchandize that they contain, repaying himself for the kindness by taking the latter for his own; if you choose to accept this arrangement without resistance, you shall enjoy both your liberty and your lives, for we have no wish to take you prisoners.’

“The brevity and determination of his manner pleased me. I replied, ‘that I must take counsel with my people,’ and my fishermen said, ‘that of all evils the worst and the last was to lose one’s life, which we must preserve by all the means we could devise, unless it were by infamy, and that, as in the terms now offered, there was none, and that on the other hand, we were certain of losing our lives, as to defend them was more than doubtful; it would be best to submit to the misfortune that pursued us, since we might thus be preserved for a happier fate at some future time.’ I returned pretty nearly all this answer to the commander of the squadron, and in an instant they assailed the ship, in a way that had certainly more the appearance of war than peace. She was completely gutted in a very short time, and all that she had contained, even to the guns and rigging, was transferred to some ox-hides, which they spread upon the ice, and then tying them securely together, they drew them along by means of ropes, without losing a single article; in a similar manner they plundered our own ship, and then, placing us upon some other hides, they set up a loud shout of rejoicing, and drew us all along with them to land, which might be perhaps about twenty miles distant. To me it did appear truly wonderful, and a sight to see so many people travelling over the surface of the water, without any trouble, and without any miracle. —

“That evening we reached the shore, where we remained until the following morning, when we found it thronged with a multitude of persons, who were come to look at the prize of the frozen and petrified ships. Among them, mounted upon a beautiful horse, was the King Cratilius: we easily recognized him to be so by the insignia of royalty that adorned him; by his side, also mounted on horseback, was a very handsome woman, arrayed in white armour, which was nearly covered by a large black veil. She attracted my attention by her appearance, as also did the noble and gallant bearing of the king, and looking at her attentively, I knew her to be the beautiful Sulpicia, who had so lately been restored to the liberty she now enjoyed by the courtesy of my companions. The king came up to us to look at the persons who had been brought from the ships, and the captain taking me by the hand, brought me forward, and said, ‘ In this young man alone, O noble king, I present to you what appears to me the richest prize that human eyes have ever seen.’

“‘Merciful Heaven!’ here exclaimed the fair Sulpicia, springing from her horse to the ground, ‘ either I cannot see aright, or this is my deliverer Periander!’ and so saying, she threw her arms round my neck, and closely embraced me, at which extraordinary demonstrations of affection, Cratilius thought himself obliged to dismount also, and to greet me with the same tokens of pleasure. Until now all hope of anything like good fortune had been lost by my poor companions; but at the sight of all this joyful reception which they now witnessed, they took courage; joy beamed from their eyes, and from their lips came words of gratitude to God for this unexpected happiness.

“Then Sulpicia said to Cratilius, ‘In this youth, sire, you see one in whom an excess of courtesy and generosity dwells supreme, and although I have learned this by my own experience, I wish you to believe it to be true by the very nobleness of his appearance. (In this you will perceive she only spoke like a very grateful person, and deceived herself.) It was he who did not despise, but would not take my treasures. He received my gifts to return them to me with a kindness that made them doubly valuable: if he could he would have given me more. It was he who knew how to dispose his people’s minds, so that his will was theirs. He bestowed twelve of them upon me, who are even now accompanying me, and I have them here before thee.’ You will easily believe that my cheeks burned with blushes at these praises, so extravagant and unmerited.

I could do no more than bend my knee before the king, asking leave to kiss his hand; he gave it, but not for that purpose, only to raise me from the ground.

“Meanwhile the twelve fishermen who had gone to guard Sulpicia, went amongst the crowd to seek for their former companions, embracing one another, and joyfully recounting each their tale of bad and good fortune; the sea party exaggerating their frost, the land party their riches. One said, ‘The lady Sulpicia has given me this chain of gold;’ another, ‘And I have got a jewel, worth two of your chains.’

‘She has given me heaps of money,’ cried a third; whilst another declared that he had a diamond ring which was of more value than all the rest put together: but all these discourses were stopped by a noise that was heard in the crowd, which was caused by a very magnificent wild horse, whose bridle was held by two grooms, who could not succeed in taming him; he was jet black, with white spots, which made him singularly beautiful. He was without a saddle, for he would not suffer any one to saddle him but the king; however, this submission lasted only till it was put on, for he placed a thousand impediments in the way of mounting him, which vexed the king greatly, and he would willingly have given a whole city to anybody who could cure him of his vicious habits. All this was told me briefly by the king, and I as quickly made up my mind to do what I am going to tell you.”

At this part of Periander’s story, Arnoldo heard a sound on the other side of the rock where they had sheltered themselves, like footsteps approaching; he rose hastily and put his hand on the hilt of his sword, to be prepared for the event. Periander was silent; the women were silenced with fear; the men in eager expectation, especially Periander, awaited the result, and by the faint light of the moon, which was partly hid by clouds, they saw two dark figures coming towards them, but could not distinguish what these could be, when a clear and pleasing voice said, “Let not our unexpected visit alarm you, whoever you may be, we only come to offer you our services; this apartment of yours is but a cold and rude accommodation, and we think we can afford you a somewhat better shelter in our dwelling, which is at the top of this hill; there you will at least have light and fire and food, which, though simple, will refresh you, and be wholesome and good.”

“Are you then by chance, Renato and Eusebia?” inquired Periander; “that pair of true and faithful lovers of whom fame, with her many tongues, has said so much and praised so highly?”

“If,” replied the dark figure, “you had said, the unfortunate lovers, I should have answered that we are those persons; however, we are those of whom you spoke, and offer sincerely all the hospitality our narrow means afford.”

Arnoldo thought it would be wise to accept their offer, since there was every appearance of rough weather; they all therefore rose, and following Renato and Eusebia, who acted as their guides, reached the summit of a small mountain, or hill rather, where they saw two hermitages, more suitable for persons who were to pass their lives in poverty than attractive by their elegance or rich adornment.

They entered the first dwelling and the largest, which was lighted with two lamps, by the aid of which they could distinguish what was within; this was, an altar, with three images thereon: one was, the image of the Saviour of the World dead and crucified; another was the Queen of Heaven, and Lady of Joy, seated sorrowfully at the feet of Him who has the whole world under his feet; and the third was of the beloved disciple, who in his sleep saw more than any eyes will ever behold, though they were more numerous than the stars of Heaven.

They knelt and said a prayer with profound respect, and then Renato led them into an adjoining apartment, to which they entered through a door that was close to the altar. Finally, since such simple matters do not need a long history, I will not dwell upon all that passed, nor on the frugal supper which was plentiful only in the ample welcome they received from the hermits, whose poverty was too apparent from the mean and humble clothing they wore: they seemed to be on the verge of old age, yet still there might be seen in Eusebia the remains of beauty, which must once have been very great.

Auristella, Transila, and Constance, remained in this apartment, where beds were prepared for them of dry rushes and sweet smelling herbs. The men were accommodated in the hermitage in different places, — some as hard as they were cold, and as cold as they were hard. Time passed as it usually does — the night flew by, and the day dawned clear and mild; the sea lay before them so calm and still that it seemed as if inviting them to return and enjoy it by embarking once more, and this they would doubtless have done, if the pilot had not come up to say, it would not do to trust to the signs of fine weather, for though the present promise was fair, he thought it would turn out quite otherwise.

They determined to abide by his opinion, for they well knew that in such matters the simplest mariner is better skilled than the most learned philosopher in the world. The ladies left their herby beds, the men their hard resting-place, and all sallied forth to view from the summit of the hill the smiling prospect that lay around them. The little island was hardly twelve miles in length, but so full of fruit trees, so well watered, so verdant, and so flowery, that in one and the same moment all the five senses might be gratified.

The day was not far advanced when the two venerable hermits came to see their guests, and spreading upon the floor of the hermitage green and dry rushes, they made a carpet, more beautiful, perhaps, than may often be seen in kings’ palaces. They placed thereon a great variety of fruits, both fresh and dried, and bread, not very newly baked, but almost like biscuit. The board was adorned with vases or cups, made of cork, curiously worked, filled with the clearest water; the repast and the pure water, which showed its clearness even in spite of the dark hue of the cork cups, aided by hunger, made them all gladly seat themselves round the table; and as soon as they had finished their short and pleasant meal, Arnoldo entreated Renato to tell them his history, and what could be the cause of his being brought to such a life of poverty and privation. Now, as Renato was of noble birth, to which order courtesy ever belongs, he, without waiting to be asked a second time, began to relate the history of his life in these words.

Chapter XX.

Renato relates the History of the Events that led him to the Isle of the Hermitages.

WHEN past sufferings are described in present prosperity, there is often greater pleasure in telling of them than there was pain in their endurance, but this cannot be said in my case, for I am not out of the trouble, but still in the depth of my sorrows.

“I was born in France, and I belong to a noble family, rich and worthy; I was brought up” in the performance of all knightly exercises, and taught to regulate my thoughts by my condition; but nevertheless, I was bold enough to fix them upon the lady Eusebia, a lady belonging to the queen’s household, but it was only with my eyes that I ever gave her to understand that I adored her, and she, either from prudence or because she was not aware of it, never let me think, by word or look, that she understood me; and although disdain and indifference generally put an end to love, in its beginning for want of hope to sustain and feed it, in my case it had a contrary effect, for the silence of Eusebia lent wings to my hopes, which bore me up to the very Heavens to try and deserve her. However, the jealousy or undue curiosity of another gentleman, also a Frenchman, named Lisomir, not less favoured by fortune than by birth, discovered my secret feelings, and instead of viewing them with sympathy or pity, he felt nothing but envy and malice. It should have been quite otherwise, for there are two great griefs in love, which reduce one to the last extremity; one is, to love and not be beloved in return; the other, to love and be abhorred; neither absence nor jealousy can equal these. One day Lisomir went to the king, though I had never given him any cause of offence, and told him that I and Eusebia entertained a secret and illicit correspondence, offending against their majesties, and ‘ against my vow as a loyal and true knight.

“The king on hearing this was greatly disturbed; he sent for me and told me what Lisomir had said; I declared my innocence, and to prove it, and clear the honour of Eusebia, and also as the most suitable way in which to give my enemy the lie, I referred the proof to single combat. The king would not allow any spot of ground to be selected in his kingdom for our purpose, because it was forbidden by the Catholic law, but he allowed us to take one of the free cities of Germany as the scene of our encounter.

“The appointed day for the combat arrived; I appeared on the spot, with the weapons that had been determined upon, which were a sword and a shield. The judges and the seconds arranged the ceremonial according to the usual custom in such cases. The ground was measured, and they left us. Knowing that I had the right on my side, I entered the lists, confident and in good heart; my adversary, I well know, met me more full of pride and arrogance than of a good conscience. But O ye inscrutable ways of Providence; I did my utmost; I put my hope and trust in God, and in the innocence of my cause, I was neither overcome by fear, nor was my arm weak, nor were its motions irregular; yet how it was I know not; I suddenly found myself on the ground, with my enemy’s sword threatening me with instant death. ‘Strike,’ I exclaimed, ‘O thou who hast conquered more by luck than valour, and let loose the soul that has so ill defended the body in which it dwells; but hope not that I am subdued, or that I shall confess a crime I have never committed. Many are the sins for which I deserve punishment, but I will not add to them by bearing false witness against myself; better far, death with honour, than to live dishonoured.’

“‘If thou dost not yield, Renato,’ answered my enemy, ‘this sword shall pierce thy brain, and with thy blood I will make thee confess my truth and thy guilt.’

“But here the judges interfered, and supposing me dead, they declared my adversary conqueror. He was borne by his friends in triumph from the field, and I was left alone with my shame and my sorrow; more grief than wounds, and yet not grief enough, since it was insufficient to destroy the life my enemy’s sword had spared.

“I was sought out and removed by my servants; I returned to my own country, not daring to raise my eyes from the earth, so heavy was the sense of my dishonour, and the weight of my infamy: in the looks of my friends I fancied I read their condemnation; the Heavens themselves seemed obscured for me. Hardly could two or three neighbours meet to chat together in the street, but I fancied their discourse must be about my disgrace; and at length I grew so oppressed with melancholy and my sad fancies, that to escape from, or at least alleviate their bitterness, I determined to quit my native land, and renouncing my inheritance in favour of a younger brother, to banish myself entirely from my native country and home. I went away in a vessel, with a few servants, and came to these northern parts, to seek some spot where the story of my shameful defeat should be unknown, and where my name might be buried in obscurity.

“By chance I found this little isle — its appearance pleased me; with the assistance of my servants I built this hermitage, and shut myself up in it; I then dismissed them, but desired that once in each year they would come and see me, in order to bury my remains. The love they bore me, and the gifts which I bestowed on them, made them willingly obey my requests, for I will not call them commands. They departed, and left me to my solitude, wherein I found such pleasant company in these trees, herbs, and flowers, clear streams, and babbling brooks, that I lamented I had not sooner escaped from my sorrows. O sweet solitude! friend of the unhappy! O silence, how welcome art thou, without fear of the voice of the flatterer, or the slanderer. How much could I not say, sirs, in favour of this holy solitude and wholesome silence; but I must stop myself to tell you, how in a year my servants returned, and brought with them my adored Eusebia, whom you see in this sister hermit. She had heard from my servants of the retreat which I had found; and in recompense for my love, and compassion for my disgrace, she resolved to bear me company in my trouble, as we had both been innocent of all guilt, and had not been companions in crime: so embarking with them, she left her home and her country, her wealth and comforts, and what was more than all, she left her good name and honour to become the public talk, since by her flight she confirmed the report of our mutual fault.

“I received her as she had hoped I should, and the beauty and solitude of this place, instead of increasing those wishes and thoughts I had once indulged, had now a contrary effect. Thanks to Heaven, and to her purity and goodness, we consider ourselves as lawfully husband and wife, and in peace and love; like two living statues, have we dwelt here for ten years, during which time, not one has passed without a visit from my servants, bringing us the necessaries which in this desert place we require; and sometimes they are accompanied by a priest, who confesses us. We have in our hermitage everything proper for celebrating the holy offices; we sleep apart, take our meals together, and converse upon heavenly things, despise the world, and, trusting in God’s mercy, we look forward with hope to life eternal.” Here Renato ended his discourse, and all his hearers expressed their pleasure and admiration at the incidents he had related, not because it seemed a new thing that Heaven should send chastisements contrary to human expectations, since they knew that these are sent frequently for two causes; — to the wicked as punishment, and to improve and try the good, amongst whom they considered Renato, and bestowed on him many kind and consolatory words, nor did they omit to do the same by Eusebia.

“O life of solitude!” here exclaimed Rutilio, (who had listened to the hermit’s story with most profound attention,) “O solitary life; holy, free, and safe, are they who embrace thee, choose thee, and enjoy thee!”

“True, friend Rutilio,” said Maurice, “but only in certain cases, for there is no great marvel if a humble shepherd retires into the solitude of the country; nor when a poor wretch, who is half starved in a town, takes refuge in a retreat where he knows he shall find sustenance. These ways of living are often only a means of fostering idleness and sloth, and it is no small idleness if a man leaves his troubles to be remedied by others. If I were to see a Carthaginian Hannibal leave the world to shut himself up in a hermitage, as we have seen a Charles the Fifth retire into a monastery, I should feel astonishment and admiration; but if a plebeian goes into obscurity, or a poor unknown being retires from society, I neither wonder nor admire. However, Renato is not one of these, since it was neither poverty nor necessity that led him into these solitudes, but his own good feelings; here he finds in scarcity, abundance, and in solitude, society, and lives the more securely, having but little to lose.”

“And,” added Periander, “if I was old instead of very young, so many perils and dangers have been my share, that I should look upon a peaceful hermitage as the extreme of felicity, and in the tomb of silence to bury my name; but I cannot relinquish the object for which I have hitherto lived, nor change the mode of life I was following at the time when the horse of King Cratilius appeared, where my history left off last.”

They heard him say this with great delight, for they perceived by his manner that Periander was willing to return to his so oft begun and never ended story, which in fact he did, as follows.

Chapter XXI.

He relates what happened with the Horse that Cratilius valued so highly, and which was so far famed.

THE size, beauty, and spirit of the horse I have before described, made Cratilius value him very highly, and as desirous of having him tamed as I was to seize the opportunity of doing him a service; I thought that this was a fair means sent by Providence, through which I might make myself useful and agreeable in the eyes of him who was now my Master, and in some degree show that I deserved the praise bestowed on me by Sulpicia; and so, with more haste than prudence I went up to the horse, and leapt upon his back, without placing my foot in the stirrup, for there was none to use. He started off with me without any power in the rein to direct or restrain him, and made his way towards a rock that overhung the sea; urging him on with my feet much against his wish, I made him leap off the rock into the sea below.

“In the midst of our flight, it occurred to me that the sea was frozen, and therefore we should in all probability be dashed to pieces with the shock, so I considered my death and his as certain; but it was not so; — providence, that for its own good reasons watches over and preserves me, was my guard. The limbs of the powerful animal withstood the fall without any other damage than shaking me off, and rolling along the slippery surface for a considerable space. There was not a single person among the spectators on the shore who did not fully believe and think that I must be killed; but when they saw me rise up, although they thought the event a miracle, yet they considered my daring act to have been downright madness.”

Very hard it was to old Maurice, to lend his belief to this tremendous leap of Periander’s, so much did it go beyond all the bounds of probability; at least, he thought, there should have been three or four legs broken, that the courtesy of the hearers might not have been so severely tried in listening to so very outrageous a performance. However, so great was the credit which Periander had with them all, that they did not even express a doubt, for as it is one of the inconveniences of lying, that even when a liar speaks truth he is not believed, so it is the glory of the truth-teller to be credited, even when he exaggerates a little; and as Maurice’s private thoughts did not interfere with the discourse, Periander went on, saying, “I returned to shore with the horse — I even mounted him again — and tried to incite him a second time to renew the feat he had just performed, but it was impossible, for, fixing himself firmly on his haunches on the point of the rock, he broke the reins, remaining as if nailed to the ground. He was covered with a profuse sweat from head to foot, and so s thoroughly frightened, that he was changed from a lion into a lamb, and from a savage beast into a noble horse, so that when the grooms came to handle him, they found that they could caparison and mount him, and ride him with the most entire security, and he showed such activity and such perfect paces, that the king was quite enchanted, and Sulpicia was pleased to see my actions support her words.

“The frost lasted three months, and during this time a vessel was finished building which the king had begun, and which was intended to navigate these seas, and clear them of the pirates, enriching himself with the spoil.

“In the meantime I was of service to him in various hunting parties, when I proved myself experienced and sagacious, and hardy in bearing fatigue and hardships, for the chase is something like war, and to it belong fatigue, hunger, and thirst, sometimes even death. The liberality of the Princess Sulpicia was unbounded to me and my companions, and the kindness and courtesy of the king equalled it. The twelve fishermen who had gone with Sulpicia were already rich; those who had been with me were become so. The ship was finished, and by the king’s orders it was amply supplied with everything necessary, and I was appointed to command it, with free liberty to do exactly what I pleased; so after having kissed his hands for this very great benefit, I told him that I wished to obtain his leave to go and seek for my sister Auristella, who, as I had heard, was in the power of the King of Denmark. Cratilius gave me permission to do all I wished, saying that I had obliged him for ever by my good conduct; thus speaking like a king whose gracious acts are always enhanced by affability, and in Sulpicia also I found the same: her gentle breeding was accompanied by the most lavish generosity, so that I and all my people, enriched and well content, embarked without leaving a single one behind. Our first course was straight to Denmark, where I hoped to find my sister, but all I found there, was the intelligence that she and some other women had been stolen away from the seashore by some pirates. Thus my wanderings were to begin anew, and my grief and lamentations renewed, in which I was joined by Carino and Solercio, who imagined that their young wives shared the fate and captivity of Auristella.”

“Their suspicions,” said Arnoldo, interrupting him, “were well founded.”

“We swept all these seas,” continued Periander, “circumnavigated nearly every island round about, everywhere inquiring for tidings of my sister. It seemed to me, and doubtless may be thought of every great beauty, that charms such as hers could not remain long concealed, and that the light of her loveliness must shine out, let the place where she was confined be ever so dark; and her exceeding great prudence, I trusted, would be the clue whereby to extricate her from any labyrinth.

We took pirates, released prisoners, restored property fourfold to the right owners, and also enriched our own ship with all sorts of wealth. At length my companions felt a wish to return home to their nets and families; Carino and Solercio fancied that it was possible they might find their wives there, since they were to be discovered nowhere else. Before this, however, we had come to the island, the name of which is, I believe, Scinta, where we heard of the festival and games given by King Polycarp, and we felt a desire to join in them, but our ship could not get near, owing to the contrary wind; so dressing ourselves as rowers, we manned the boat, and went off to the appointed place. There I won the prizes; there I was crowned as victor in all the contests, and thence sprang Sinforosa’s curiosity to know who I was, as you have seen by the eagerness with which she sought to discover my history. We returned to our ship, and my companions were resolved to leave me; I asked them to let me keep the boat as a reward for all the perils we had encountered together. They would have given me the ship too if I had wished it, and said, ‘They would not have left me, but that it seemed my own desire to be alone in fine, accompanied by six of my fishermen, who would not quit me, perhaps in consequence of the recompense I offered them, I embarked in the boat they had given me — embraced and bade adieu to my friends — and steered towards the barbarous isle, for I had heard the account of the customs of its inhabitants, and of the false and foolish prophecy by which they were deluded, which I need not repeat, as you already know it. We crossed the island, were taken prisoners and thrown into the dungeon, where their captives were buried alive. I was one day dragged from it, in order to be sacrificed; then followed the tempest, which dispersed the rafts they used as boats, and drove me out into the open sea on a portion of one of them, tied hand and foot, and fast bound to it. Then I fell into the compassionate hands of Prince Arnoldo; and afterwards, by his order, I went ashore again to the island, disguised, that I might discover if Auristella was there, he being then ignorant that she was my sister; and there I found her, just about to be sacrificed, the barbarians supposing her to be a man: I knew her, and prevented her death, by declaring her to be a female, as Clelia told you. As to the history of how they got there, that she herself must relate when it pleases her. All that afterwards befell us in the island is well known to you; and now with this and what my sister has still to tell, you will rest satisfied with having heard all that you desired to know of our adventures.”

Chapter XXII.

Sinibald, Renato’s brother, arrives with good news from France. He comes to convey Renato and Eusebia home, and takes in his Ship, Arnoldo, Maurice, Transila, and Ladislaus. In the other vessel, Periander, Auristella, the two Antonios, Ricla, and Constance, embark for Spain, and Rutilio remains behind in the Hermitage.

I DO not know that I can positively affirm that Maurice, and some others among his hearers, were glad when Periander came to the end of his history; but very often those extremely long stories, although they may be of great importance, are nevertheless somewhat tiresome. It is even possible that Auristella was herself of this opinion, for she was not disposed to follow up his hint and begin the story of her adventures, although they could not have been many between the period of her being carried off from Arnoldo, and her being discovered by Periander in the barbarous isle, yet still she wished to wait for some other opportunity; and as it happened, she would have been prevented if she had wished it, for a ship in full sail appeared in the open sea, evidently making for the island; and very soon she had entered one of the little bays already described, and was recognized by Renato, who said, “This, sirs, is the ship in which my servants and friends occasionally visit me;” and, in fact, they heard the singing out of the seamen, as they let go their anchor, and a boat full of people directly after left the ship, and made for the shore, where Renato and all his guests were awaiting them. About twenty persons landed, among whom was one of noble appearance, who seemed master of the rest. As soon as he saw Renato, he came up to him with open arms, saying, “Embrace me, brother, in reward for the good news I bring yon!” Renato embraced him, for he had recognised his brother Sinibald, and he said, “No news can be pleasanter to me, dear brother, than your presence, for there is nothing that can give me joy in my unhappy situation, only the sight of thee is always an exception to the common rule of my misfortunes.” Sinibald then turned to embrace Eusebia, saying, “You too, lady, must permit me to embrace you, for you also owe me a reward for the news I bring, and I will delay no longer telling you what it is, to put you out of suspense. Know, then, that your enemy is dead, of an illness, which deprived him for several days of speech, but Heaven mercifully restored it for a few hours before he died, during which space he expressed a deep repentance, and confessed the sin he had committed of having falsely accused you. He confessed that envy and jealousy were the cause, and finally made all the declarations possible to avow his crime. He said it was owing to the hidden secrets of Providence that his unjust cause had gained the victory over your good one, and was not satisfied only with this spoken confession, but had a written declaration and acknowledgment made, which he signed; and when this became known to the king, he also had a similar instrument published, openly declaring your innocence and untarnished honour, and also acknowledging Eusebia’s perfect innocence and purity. He then gave orders to have you sought for, and when found, to bring you into his presence, that he might try and make you some amends for all you have suffered, by ample and magnificent bounties. If these are tidings likely to give you pleasure or no, I leave to your own consideration.”

“They are such,” said Arnoldo, “that nothing else in life can surpass, nor any acquisition of the most unhoped for riches approach; for honour lost, and so fully and perfectly restored, is a blessing the whole earth can never offer the equal of. May you, my lord Renato, enjoy it for many long years, and may the peerless Eusebia enjoy it with you, like the ivy to the wall, the mirror of your delight and the pattern of virtue and excellence.”

Then all the others, though in different words, paid the like compliments to the hermits, and afterwards proceeded to inquire what news there was in Europe, or in other places, which they, having been so long on the seas, were ignorant of.

Sinibald answered, “That the news most talked of was, the calamity which threatened the old King of Denmark, by means of the King of Norway, and other allies who favoured him.” He also told how people murmured that by the absence of the Prince Arnoldo, the heir of Denmark, his father was in danger of losing his crown. It was said of the prince, that he was fluttering, butterfly-like, in the sunshine of the bright eyes of some fair captive of his, so utterly unknown as to family and birth, that no one knew whose daughter she was. He told also of wars in Transylvania, and of some movements made by the Turks, the common enemy of the human race. He also gave an account of the glorious death of Charles the Fifth, King of Spain, and Emperor of the Romans, — the terror of all the enemies of the church, and dread of the followers of Mahomet. Other matters he spoke of, more trifling, some amusing, and some surprising, all of which gave great satisfaction to everybody except the pensive Arnoldo, who, from the moment that he heard of his father’s trouble, sat with his cheek resting in his hand, and his eyes fixed on the ground. After remaining in this attitude for a considerable space, he raised his eyes from the earth and looked up towards Heaven, saying aloud, “O love! O honour! O filial duty! what a struggle ye make within my soul! Love, if I depart and leave thee, can I be forgiven? Honour, ought I to cease to follow thee, because I love. Thou, O my father, desirest my return, and ye, my vassals, expect me; for love does not render a man a coward, nor will I prove myself one in defending you, although I am the most enamoured of all mortal men. For my peerless Auristella’s sake I go to regain that which is mine own; for being a king I may seem more deserving of her than I can hope to be simply as a lover. The poor suitor unfavoured by fortune’s gifts, has little chance; as a king I may pretend to her, as a king I may serve her, as a simple lover I can only adore her; but should I fail with all united to win her, I shall blame my own ill fate, and not her.”

All the bystanders were much surprised at hearing these words from Arnoldo; but the most astonished of them was Sinibald. Maurice had told him that this was the Prince of Denmark, and had pointed out Auristella as the captive by whom he was said to be enslaved. Sinibald looked more particularly at her, and instantly decided that what had been called madness, in Arnoldo, was very good sense, for the beauty of Auristella, as I have often said before, was such, that it won the hearts of everybody who looked upon it, and therein found sufficient excuse for every fault or folly committed for her sake.

It was now decided that Renato and Eusebia should return to France, and take Arnoldo with them in their vessel, to leave him in his own country. He wished Maurice, Transila, and Ladislaus, to go with him, and that Periander and Auristella, the two Antonios, and Ricla and Constance should proceed to Spain in the vessel they had come in, and continue their voyage as they had desired. Rutilio was expecting to hear to which division he should belong; but before anything was settled, he went up to Renato, and kneeling before him, entreated that he would make him heir to his property in this island, and permit him to stay behind there, in order that there might never fail one to tend the light, which served as a guide to mariners: for here it was his wish to end well, a life that had hitherto not been a very good one. His Christian-like petition met with a general approval, and the good Renato, who was as kind as he was generous, granted all he desired, saying that he only wished the property he left was of more value, seeing it consisted only of the necessaries of life.

Arnoldo promised that if he found things tolerably peaceful in his own country, he would send a ship yearly to his assistance. Rutilio would fain have thrown himself at the feet of his protectors and friends, but they would not suffer it, and embraced him; many of them even wept to see the pious disposition of the new hermit, for although we may not be ourselves prepared to lead new lives and amend our ways, it nevertheless gives us pleasure to see others do so, unless our stubbornness has arrived at such a pitch that we desire to see all fall into the same abyss as ourselves.

Two days were spent in arranging and preparing for the voyages, and at the final parting they all took affectionate farewells of one another, especially Arnoldo, Periander, and Auristella: although there was great warmth in Arnoldo’s manner, and although the excess of his affection was very evident, yet it was expressed in so graceful and delicate a way, that it did not offend Periander. Transila wept, nor were the eyes of old Maurice dry, nor those of Ladislaus; Ricla sighed, and Constance was much affected, whilst her father and brother did not remain unmoved: Rutilio, already arrayed in his hermit robe, went from one to another, bidding adieu to each, and mingling his sobs and tears with theirs. At length, invited by the calm weather and favouring gales, (for the wind served equally well for both the voyages,) they embarked, set sail, and Rutilio, from the hermitage hill, watched their departure, and followed them with a thousand blessings.

And here the author of this wandering story ends his second book.

Book III.

Chapter I.

AS our minds are ever in perpetual motion, and can neither stop nor rest except by God, who is our centre, and for whom we are created, it is no marvel that our thoughts should change, — that this should take, that, leave; one should go on, another forget; and he who is the most quiet, will go on best, if he be not so from want of intellect.

I have made these observations as an excuse for the conduct of Arnoldo, and the apparent facility with which he relinquished in one moment the object that had occupied him so long; though one can hardly say that he relinquished it, for he only put it off for a time, because honour, the ruling feeling of all human actions, called him away; and this he explained to Periander on the night before their parting, talking with him apart from the others in the hermitage island. There he entreated him (for he who asks for a thing he greatly needs rather begs than asks) to look well after his sister Auristella, and preserve her for him, to be the queen of Denmark; and that if fortune should prove adverse, and he should not recover his kingdom, but lose his life in the endeavour, Auristella should be considered as the widow of a prince, and as such should choose a husband; and frequently he repeated, as he had often done before, that she well deserved to be the greatest queen in the world.

Periander said not one single word of all this to Auristella, for the lover delights in bestowing upon a beloved one praises from himself, and not as coming from another. He has no desire to make her in love with the charms of any one else; his own are all that he wishes her to see: if he cannot himself sing well, he will not bring to her a friend who can: if he is not handsome, he will not visit her in the company of a Ganymede; and, in fine, I am of opinion that if he has faults, he will not mend them by the merits of others; however, these things cannot apply to Periander, who was so richly endowed with nature’s choicest gifts, and in those of fortune, was inferior to few.

A favouring gale wafted the two vessels on their different ways, for this is one of the mysteries of the art of navigation. They went on their course, cutting the not crystal but the dark blue waters. The sea was calm, for the wind, treating it with respect, only ruffled the surface, and the ship just seemed gently to kiss its lips, and then bound over it so lightly, that it scarcely appeared to touch it. In this manner, and with the same continued serenity and success, they sailed for seventeen days, without having occasion once to shorten sail, a great felicity for those who are on a sea voyage, to which, if it were not from the dread of tempests and coming storms, no pleasure in life is equal.

At the end of these or a few more days, early one morning, a boy on the top mast-head cried out, “Land! a reward sirs, a reward; I ask a reward, and deserve it, too; land! land!” although he might rather have said, Heaven!

Heaven! for we were without a doubt within sight of Lisbon, the news of which brought tears — tender and joyful tears — into the eyes of all, but more especially of Ricla, the two Antonios, and Constance, for it seemed to them as if they had now reached the promised land that they so much desired to see. Antonio clasped them in his arms, and cried, “Now you shall learn, my beloved barbarians, how we serve God, and many other things more fully, although not differently from what I have taught you. Now you will see the rich temples in which we worship Him; you will see the Catholic ceremonies with which we serve Him; and you will see what Christian love is. Here, love and modesty join hands and walk together; courtesy repels arrogance, and courage sends cowardice far away: all the inhabitants are civil, courteous, liberal, and loving. This is the greatest city in all Europe, and the one that has most trade. In her the riches of the East are poured out, from her they are scattered over the universe. Her harbour is capacious, and holds countless navies like forests; the beauty of her women is everywhere admired; the gallantry of her men is a wonder to all, and finally, this is the land which pays to Heaven a holy and abundant tribute.”

“Say no more, Antonio,” observed Periander, “but leave our eyes something to discover for ourselves; let something remain for us to see and admire anew, thus our pleasure will in the end be all the greater for coming by degrees.”

Auristella was delighted to think she should soon set her foot on terra firma again, without having to go from port to port, isle to isle, subject to all the inconstancies of wind and weather; and still more pleased was she, when she heard that she might, if she liked, go on dry land from hence to Rome, without embarking again.

It was mid-day when they arrived at Sangian, where the ship was to be registered, and where the governor of the castle, and all who came on board the ship with him, wondered greatly at the exceeding beauty of Auristella, the graceful air of Periander, the barbarian attire of the two Antonios, the comeliness of Ricla, and the agreeable looks of Constance. They learned that they were foreigners and pilgrims going to Rome. Periander magnificently rewarded the mariners who had brought them hither, with some of the gold that Ricla had carried away with her from the barbarous isle; they had changed some of it into money, in King Polycarp’s dominions. The mariners wished to go to Lisbon, in order to make some bargains in the way of merchandize.

The governor of Sangian sent the news of the arrival of the strangers, to the governor of Lisbon; this office was then held by the Archbishop of Braga, in the absence of the king, who was not in the city at this time. He told him of the incomparable beauty of Auristella, and added praises of that of Constance, whose barbarian attire, heightened the effect of her charms. He even exaggerated the excessive liberality and gracefulness of Periander, and extolled the behaviour of them all, who were, he said, much more like courtiers than barbarians.

The ship came up to the town, and they went on shore at Belen, for Auristella wished to visit the holy monastery first, having heard of its fame. She desired devoutly to adore there, the only true God, freely and unembarrassed by the distorted ceremonies of her own land. Crowds of people came down to the shore to see the strangers disembark at Belen. They all ran thither full of curiosity to see the novel sight.

The phalanx of beauty had already left Belen; Ricla was only moderately well looking, but her strange garb became her extremely: Constance looked charming in her dress of skins; the elder Antonio in his wolf skin, with bare legs and arms; his son in a similar array, only that he carried his bow in his hand, and his quiver full of arrows was hung at his shoulder. Periander was dressed in a green velvet tunic, and trousers of the same, like a mariner; on his head he wore a high pointed cap, which could not conceal the bright ringlets of golden hair which escaped beneath it. Auristella was arrayed in the richest and most superb attire, according to the fashion of the north, displaying all that can be imagined most lovely in features, most graceful in form; altogether they created an immense sensation of wonder and admiration; but the graces of Periander and Auristella excelled all the rest.

They went to Lisbon by land, followed by crowds of people of all ranks; they were taken to the governor, who, after having looked at them with admiration, was never weary of asking, “Who they were, whence they came, and whither they were going?” to all which Periander answered, for he had already got his answer ready prepared for similar questions, as many such were to be expected; and so, when he liked or when it seemed advisable to do so, he told his history at length, but always concealing his parentage, so that he satisfied all questions, giving them, if not the whole, at least a great part of his history in a few words.

The viceroy gave orders that they should be lodged in one of the best suites of apartments in the city, which happened to be in the house of a great Portuguese nobleman; so many persons flocked thither in order to look at Auristella and her companions, (the fame of their beauty having got abroad,) that Periander was of opinion it would be better for the barbarians to change their dress for that of pilgrims, as he thought the novelty and strangeness of the garb they wore, was the chief cause of their being so much followed, and even persecuted by the vulgar crowd, and the other would be very much to the purpose of their intended journey to Rome. They all agreed to do as he proposed, and in two or three days the whole party was curiously pilgrimized.

It happened one day as he was going out of the house, that a Portuguese fell at Periander’s feet: calling him by his name, and embracing his knees, he cried, “By what good fortune, my lord Periander, do I see you here? Be not surprised that I call you by your name, for I am one of the twenty who were set at liberty in the conflagration of the barbarous isle, where you also was a prisoner. I was present at the death of Manuel de Souza Coutino, the Portuguese gentleman; I partook with you and yours of the shelter of the inn, at the time when Maurice and Ladislaus arrived in search of Transila, the wife of one, and daughter of the other; my good fortune brought me home to my own country, where I told the story of the poor lover’s death, to his relations, and they would have believed me, even if I had not seen it with my own eyes: it is a not uncommon thing for the Portuguese to die of love. A brother who inherited his property had his obsequies performed; and in a chapel belonging to his family he had a tomb of white marble erected, as if he was buried beneath, and thereon an epitaph, which I hope you will all come and see, for I think you will be pleased with it.”

Periander knew well by all he said that the man spoke the truth, although he could not recollect ever having seen his face; however, they went to the church of which he spoke, and saw the chapel and the tomb, upon which was engraven in the Portuguese language this epitaph, which, read by Antonio the father, in Castilian, ran thus: —

To the Memory of the deceased



Who, had he not been Portuguese, might still be living.

He died, not by any Castilian hand, but by that of all powerful Love.


If you knew the history of his life, you would think his death a blessing.

Periander thought the Portuguese had good reason to praise the epitaph, in the composition of which that nation have great skill.

Auristella asked him, how the nun, that the deceased loved, had felt when she heard of her lover’s death. “A few days after she heard of it,” he replied, “she passed into a better world; whether owing to the austerities of her way of life, or to the news of the unexpected event, was never known.

They then proceeded to the house of a celebrated painter, where Periander gave directions to have a very large piece of canvass, painted with all the different events of his history. On one side there was to be the Barbarous Isle in flames; near it the Prison Island, and a little lower, the raft on which he was found by Arnoldo, and brought into his ship. In another part of the picture was the Snowy Island, where the enamoured Portuguese died. Then came the ship, which was perforated by the two soldiers, and near it was depicted the separation of the skiff and boat. Here was to be the duel between the two rivals for Taurisa, and their death. There, the hull of the vessel that was turned upside down, and which was so near being Auristella’s tomb, and that of all who were with her. Then the pleasant isle wherein Periander had his dream, and saw the two squadrons of virtues and vices; and close to this the ship, when the sea monster, carried off the two seamen, and gave them a sepulchre in his belly. Nor was the frozen sea forgotten, wherein the vessel was imbedded — the assault upon her from the people who came over the ice, — nor the delivering of them all to Cratilius: also, there was to be painted, the tremendous leap of the fiery Courser, which turned him from a lion into a lamb. Then, in a corner, was a sketch of King Polycarp’s Festival, and himself there, crowned as victor. He was resolved not to pass by one single incident of importance that had happened up to their arrival in Lisbon, and their disembarkation in the same dresses they had worn when they arrived. Also, on the same canvass, was to be seen the fire that burnt King Polycarp’s palace; Clodio transfixed by the dart of young Antonio; Zenotia hanging; Hermitage Isle, and Rutilio in his holy garments. This canvass was to be a summary of everything, and was to serve in the place of a continual repetition of the story, for Antonio the younger was to explain the pictures and events when any one came to look at them; but the master-piece of the artist was Auristella’s portrait. They stayed ten days in Lisbon, and spent the time in visiting the churches, and giving their souls a help to the right road into salvation; at the end of which time, with the viceroy’s permission, and proper passports, and descriptions of who and what they were, and whither bound, they took leave of their host, the Portuguese nobleman, and of the brother of the ill-fated Manuel, from whom they had received great caresses and kindness, and set forth on the road to Castile. This departure was performed at night, from a fear of the crowd that would have followed and impeded them, although the change of dress had done something towards decreasing the wonder.

Chapter II.

The Pilgrims begin their Journey through Spain; new and extraordinary Adventures happen to them.

THE tender years of Auristella, the yet tenderer years of Constance, and the middle age of Ricla, might well have called for all the pomp and luxury of equipages for so long a journey as the one they were about to undertake; but the pious devotion of Auristella had made her vow, that from the moment she arrived on terra firma, she would make her way to Rome on foot, and the others not willing to be behind her in devotion, all with one consent, both men and women, were of the same opinion that the journey should be performed on foot, adding, if necessary, that they would beg from door to door; therefore they put by Ricla’s wealth, and Periander determined not to dispose of the diamond cross that Auristella wore, but to keep it, as well as her invaluable pearls, for a future occasion; all they did was to buy a baggage mule, to carry what was too heavy for their own shoulders. They provided themselves with walking sticks, as much for support as defence; and some small swords; and in this humble and lowly array they quitted Lisbon, rich only in their beauty and prudence, the fame of which was the universal subject of discourse; and in every circle and assembly there, nothing was talked of but the extreme and extraordinary loveliness and wisdom of the foreign pilgrims.

In this way, travelling between two and three leagues a day, they arrived at Badajoz, the governor of which had already heard from Lisbon that the new pilgrims were to come that road. They, upon entering the city, took up their lodging in a house in which already a company of comedians had taken their quarters, who were going to rehearse this very night, a piece they were about to perform in public at the house of the Corregidor. The moment they saw Auristella and Constance, they were struck, as all were at first sight, with surprise and admiration; but the most enchanted of the party was a poet, who came with the company on purpose to help and patch up and mend old plays, and also write new ones, an occupation that brought him more work than profit, and more amusement than honour. However, good poetry is always like clear water; it improves all unclean things; like the sun it passes over all impurities without being defiled by them. It is a gleam of light that shines forth from a dark corner, not burning, but illuming all it meets with. In fine this poet, whose necessities had compelled him to exchange Parnassus and the Castalian springs for the stagnant pools and channels of roads and inns, was the one who was most struck by Auristella’s beauty, and he immediately set her down as good for the company, and fit to be an actress, without inquiring or knowing whether she could speak the Castilian language or not. Her form and figure pleased him; her graceful manner delighted him; he saw her at once in imagination, apparelled in the short coat of a man; then as rapidly she appeared to his mind’s eye drest as a nymph; but almost in the same instant he had robed her in all the majesty of a queen. There was no part grave or gay in which he did not place her; in each he figured her to himself, serious, lively, prudent, quick, and above all, virtuous; extremes which seldom are to be found in an actress of low comedy.

Ye Heavens, with what facility does the poet’s imagination disperse a thousand impossibilities: what grand chimeras does he not build upon the weakest foundations! He can do anything, all is easy and plain; hope can support him even when fortune fails. Thus it was with this our present poet; when he by chance saw the picture in which all the adventures of Periander were portrayed. He there saw, more than he had ever conceived in his whole life, and thereupon he felt a strong desire to write a drama about it, only he was puzzled whether to make it a tragedy or a comedy, or a tragi-comedy; and if he knew the middle, he did not know either the beginning or the end. But what troubled him most was, how he could possibly introduce a lacquey, a merry-andrew personage amongst all these islands and seas, fires, and snows; nevertheless, he did not despair, he would still make the play, and bring the merry-andrew in, in spite of all the rules of poetry and the drama; and so fully was he taken up with his idea, that he found an opportunity to speak to Auristella, and open his intention to her, consulting her as to what part she would take if she became an actress, telling her that she would find the theatre a mine of gold, for the princes of that age were like alchymists, who changed your copper into gold; that she might have her garments all of cloth of gold, for all the gentlemen would be at her feet. He represented the pleasure of the journeys she would make, and how she would carry in her train two or three young nobles in disguise, who would be her servants as much as her lovers; and, above all, he extolled up to the very skies the honour and glory she would have in representing all the first parts, and he wound up all, by telling her, that if one thing more falsified than another the old Castilian saying, “That honour and money are seldom found together,” it was in the life of a beautiful actress.

Auristella replied that she had not understood a single word of all he had been saying, for that she was ignorant of the Castilian language, as he might plainly see; but when it was explained to her, she said, her views were very different, and that she had other prospects to look forward to, if not so agreeable, at least more suited to her taste.

The poet was in despair at this reply, which at once destroyed all the castles in the air he had been building in his folly and vanity.

They all went that evening to the Corregidor’s house, who, having heard of the arrival of the beautiful pilgrims in the city, sent to invite them to come and see the play, which was to be performed, and to accept his best endeavours to be of any service to them, in consequence of all that he had heard from Lisbon in their praise.

Periander, by the desire of Auristella and the elder Antonio, who he obeyed as his superior in age, accepted the invitation. There were many ladies of the city with the wife of the Corregidor, when the fair pilgrims, with Periander and the two Antonios, entered the room: all were amazed and confounded at the surprising beauty and grace of the strangers, which increased the desire of every one to show them all possible kindness and civility; and their host forced them to take the highest places at the entertainment, which was the representation of the fable of Cephalus and Procris, when she, from an undue jealousy, lost her life by the dart too incautiously thrown by him, to his eternal sorrow. The verse bordered on perfection, as it was composed, they say, by Juan de Herrera de Gamboa, nicknamed El Maganto, or the Spiritless, whose genius soared to the highest order of poetry.

When the play was over, the ladies examined the beauties of Auristella minutely, and each feature separately, and found that they composed a whole, that might well be named “perfection” without a blot. The men said as much of Periander, and all agreed in praising highly the beauty of Constance and her brother.

They stayed in the city three days, during which the Corregidor and his lady showed every possible kindness to the pilgrims, and loaded them with gifts. They in return promised to send the history of their adventures, and of all that should befall them, to their kind friends.

They left Badajoz, and travelled on to our lady of Guadaloupe. After a journey of three days, in which they had gone five leagues, night overtook them on a mountain, which was covered with Ilexes, and other trees: it was that pleasant season of the year when there is an equal balance between the two equinoxes — neither too hot nor too cold — and in case of necessity, just as pleasant to spend the night in the open air as in a village; and therefore being far from any inn, it was Auristella’s desire that it should be passed in one of the sheepfolds of the herdsmen that they saw were near. They did as she wished, and had hardly gone above two hundred steps into the wood, when the darkness came on so fast that they paused to look for the light that shone from the herdsmen’s fold, which served as their polar star, for fear of losing their way; the extreme darkness, and a sound that was heard at a distance, made them slacken their pace, and the boy Antonio began to think of his bow, his constant companion; at this instant a man on horseback came up to them and said, “Good people, do you belong to this place?”

“Certainly not,” answered Periander, “but to one very far distant; we are foreign pilgrims, going to Rome, but at present to Guadaloupe.”

“If,” said he of the horse, “there is charity and courtesy in foreign lands, there may also be compassionate souls from thence.”

“Why not?” said Antonio. “Look you here now, sir, whoever you are; if you want any help from us, speak, and you will see whether you are right or not in your conjectures.”

“Take then,” said the horseman, “take this chain of gold, which should be worth two hundred crowns; and take also this thing, which is priceless, at least I cannot name its value, and carry it to the city of Trujillo, where you will give it to one of two gentlemen, who are well known both there and elsewhere: one is called Don Francisco Pizarro, and the other, Don Juan de Orellana, both bachelors, both free, both rich, and both extremely generous;” (thus saying, he placed in Rida’s arms, who, like a compassionate woman, stepped forward to receive it, a baby, which was beginning to cry, wrapt in clothes that might have been rich or poor, they could not tell which;) “and,” continued he, “you will bid them keep it; and say, they shall soon know who it is, and the misfortunes that have brought it to them, if it ever comes there, and forgive my saying more, for I am pursued by my enemies; if they come up with you, and ask if you have seen me, tell them you have not, since there is no occasion for you to say you have seen me, or if you prefer it, you may say that three or four men on horseback have gone by, who went crying, ‘For Portugal! for Portugal!’ and now please God, I must not delay, for if fear lend spurs, sharper yet are those of honour,” and so, touching the horse’s sides with his, he vanished like a flash of lightning, not, however, before he had returned, rapidly exclaiming, “It is unbaptized,” and then resumed his flight.

Behold our pilgrims now, Ricla with the baby in her arms, Periander with the chain about his neck, and the boy Antonio with his bow ready strung, his father also holding in readiness the sword which was concealed in his staff; Auristella confounded and astonished at the strangeness of the adventure, and altogether wondering at it, and what would come forth from it.

Auristella advised that they should make haste and find the herdsmen’s fold, as there they might procure food to nourish this new born infant, for by its small size and weak cries they guessed it could not be many hours old. They had hardly reached it, after many wrong turnings, and many stumbles and falls, when before they could ask whether the herdsman would give them a shelter for the night, a woman came up weeping, but not aloud, for she showed by her suppressed moans that she tried not to let her voice be heard. She was but half dressed, though the garments she had on, evidently proved her to be a person of some consequence.

By the light of the fires, in spite of the care with which she tried to conceal her face, it was plainly seen that she was as beautiful as she was young, and as young as she was beautiful. Ricla, who was the best judge of ages, guessed that she might be from sixteen to seventeen years old. The herdsmen and shepherds asked her if she was pursued, or if anything had happened to her that required a speedy help; to which the unhappy girl replied, “The first help I need, sirs, is to be put under ground, or I had better say that I may be hidden somewhere, so that no one can find me; the second, that you will give me some food, for I am well nigh expiring from fatigue and fright.”

“We will show that we have charity,” said an old shepherd; and he went quickly towards the hollow trunk of a tree — the ruin of a once noble oak — and placing within it some snowy fleeces of sheep and goats, he made a sort of bed, good enough for the present necessity; then taking the young lady in his arms, he hid her in the old tree, and then brought her some milk; (he would have given her wine had she wished it;) then he covered her up closely with more sheep-skins, and hung them also about the tree, as if to dry them.

Ricla, who watched all this, speedily conjectured that this must be the mother of the baby that she held in her arms. She went up to the old shepherd, saying, “Let not your charity, good sir, stop here, but extend it to this infant, which is perishing of hunger;” and she quickly explained how they had come by it. Answering more to her wants than words, the old shepherd called to one of the other shepherds, and bid him take the child to the sheepfold, and put it by one of the goats in such a manner as to enable it to suck: he had hardly done this, and hardly had the last wailing cry of the baby ceased, when a troop of horsemen rode up to the fold, and asked if they had seen anything of a fugitive young woman, or of a man on horseback. But as no one gave them any intelligence of what they demanded, they passed on with extreme speed, which not a little rejoiced the charitable protectors of the woman and child; and the night passed away more quietly than the pilgrims expected, and more merrily to the herdsmen and shepherds, who had not looked for so much good company.

Chapter III.

The Damsel in the Tree gives an account of herself.

VERY much did they all wish to know what causes had brought the unhappy fugitive lady into such a plight; and also the forsaken infant; but Auristella thought it would be better not to ask any questions till the next day, because after a great fright, nobody feels much inclined to talk even of some pleasant event, far less of a sad one, and though the old shepherd often visited the tree, he asked its tenant no questions, except about her health, to which she replied, “ That although she had every reason to be ill, she felt easy, because she had escaped from those who pursued her, who were her father and brother.” The shepherd covered her up again, and returned to the pilgrims.

Before they allowed themselves to seek in sleep a little repose after their fatigue, they settled with the shepherd that he, who had found a nurse for the babe already among the she goats, should carry it to the house of a sister of the aged shepherd’s, which was about two leagues off, in a small village. They gave him the gold chain to take with it, and desired that it might be nursed secretly, saying that it came from a distant place. This was done, hoping by these means to elude suspicion, if by chance anyone should return hither in search of the lost one. After settling these matters and satisfying their hunger, they suffered sleep to close their eyes and wrap their senses in forgetfulness. So passed the night, and day dawned brightly upon all, unless it were for the terrified creature in the old tree, who scarcely ventured to look out upon the sun’s clear rays. Nevertheless, having first, far and near, placed sentinels at different intervals to give warning if anybody approached, they persuaded her to come out of her hiding-place, and breathe the fresh air, hoping to hear something from her; and now, in the full light of day, they saw that she was very lovely, so much so, that it was a doubt whether to give the second place to her or to Constance: Auristella, of course, came first, for nothing in nature could ever be found to equal her. They prayed her much to tell them the cause of her distress, and she, willing to gratify their desire, after asking them to excuse her weakness, in a feeble voice thus began: — Although, sirs, I shall be forced to reveal such faults in making you acquainted with my history, as will, perhaps, cause me to lose your good opinion, yet I would rather by obeying show my gratitude than seem unwilling to please you. I am called Feliciana of the voice; my home is in a town not far hence; my parents more noble than rich, and my beauty, although now faded, has been esteemed great by some people. Near the town where I lived, there lived also a rich gentleman, whose conduct and many virtues made him greatly esteemed and respected. He has a son, who bids fair to be the heir of his father’s virtues, as well as of his wealth, which is very great. In the same village there lived another gentleman, who also had a son, more well born than rich, but possessed of a sufficient mediocrity, so as to be neither too humble nor too proud. My father and my two brothers wished me to marry this second young gentleman, turning a deaf ear to the entreaties of the rich neighbour, who asked me for a wife; but I unhappily gave myself away to him secretly, and without the knowledge of my relations. I have no mother, to my sorrow; we frequently saw each other in private, for opportunity is rarely wanting in such cases. From these secret interviews arose my shame, if it be shame, for two espoused lovers thus to meet; and at this juncture, unknown to me, my father and brothers agreed to carry into effect my marriage with the young gentleman of their choice; and so bent were they upon having it accomplished, that one night they brought him to our house, accompanied by two of his own near relations, purposing that the ceremony should take place directly. I was much surprised when I saw Louis Antonio, for that is the name of the young nobleman, and still more, when my father desired me to go into my own apartment and adorn myself with more than ordinary care, because I was to give my hand in marriage to Louis Antonio this very moment. Now I was far advanced in pregnancy, and the time was nearly at hand which nature assigns for bringing forth a child. I felt as if I had received my death-blow at this most unlooked-for command, and saying that I would go and dress myself, I hurried into my own room, where throwing myself into the arms of my maid, who was the confidante of my secret, I cried, whilst my eyes were like fountains, ‘Alas, my Leonora, I verily believe my last hour is come; Louis Antonio is waiting for me in the ante-chamber, to receive my hand in marriage. What condition can an unhappy woman be in, more utterly deplorable than this? Have you no weapon with which to pierce my heart before I die of shame? alas, my friend, I am dying, my life is departing;’ and then uttering a deep sigh, I brought into the world an infant, which sight so took us both by surprise, that all I expected was, that my father or my brothers should come in, and, instead of leading me to my bridal, should carry me to my grave.

“Can you, sirs, conceive a more terrible situation than I was in this night — my intended husband expecting me in the parlour below, whilst his rival was waiting in the garden to speak with me, ignorant of the strait I was in, and of the arrival of Louis Antonio; — I, nearly senseless at the unexpected event; my maid greatly troubled with the infant in her arms; my father and brothers sending word to me to make haste, and come to these unhappy nuptials.

“It was enough to upset stronger minds than mine: I know not that I can tell you more than, that whilst I lay almost senseless, I heard my father say, as he entered my room, ‘Come girl, finish your adornments, or come as you are, and your beauty shall supply the place of rich attire.’ At this instant, I imagine, the cry of the child reached his ears, which my maiden had contrived to conceal, or was giving it to Rosanio, the name of him whom I had chosen for my husband. My father was disturbed, and, with a candle in his hand, came to look at my countenance, and perceived my state of dismay and confusion; the sound of the infant’s cry seemed again to strike his ears, and drawing his sword, he hastened to the quarter whence the voice had proceeded.

The sight of the naked weapon, and the terror that filled my soul, made me, with the natural instinct that prompts one to save one’s life, endeavour to find a means of doing so; and, hardly had my father turned his back, when, just as I was, I hastened down a winding staircase to the lower apartments of the house, thence with ease I gained the street, and from the street, the fields, and then by roads, I know not where, I ran, impelled by fear, as if I had wings to my feet, faster than you could suppose my feeble strength would have allowed. A thousand times I felt a wish to throw myself into some river or pond, and end my life; and sometimes I felt as if I could lie down on the earth, and let any one find me who chose; but at last seeing the light from your huts, I tried to reach them, in hopes of finding some help and shelter for my misery, and so it happened as you saw, and so it is that I am now alive, thanks to your kindness and charity.”

Thus the unhappy Feliciana ended her relation, which filled her hearers with surprise and pity. Periander then described the finding of the baby, the gift of the chain, and I all that had happened with the gentleman on horseback, who gave them.

“Alas!” said Feliciana, “if this precious gift should indeed be mine, and if it should be Rosanio who brought it! perhaps, if I could see it, if not by its features, which I never looked upon, still, by the clothes in which it is wrapped, I might recognize it, for my maid could only have taken things that were in my room to wrap it in, which I should know again, and even if I should not, perhaps the force of nature would do its work, and a secret feeling speak to me, if it is mine.”

The old shepherd said, “The child is in our village with my sister, and a niece of mine; I will send and tell them to bring it here, and then, beautiful lady, you can try the experiment you desire. In the meantime, calm your spirits, and I and my fellow shepherds, and this old tree, shall serve as clouds in which to keep you hidden from the eyes of those who seek you.”

Chapter IV.

IT seems to me, my brother,” said Auristella to Periander, that troubles and perils are to be met with not only on the sea, but all over the earth; and that misfortunes and distresses are to be found among those who are set up high on the mountains, as well as amongst people who are hiding in corners. That which is called fortune, of which I — have frequently heard, and of which it is said that it gives and takes away good things, when and how it pleases, ought indeed to be represented as blind and capricious, since it raises those who have grovelled upon the earth, and puts down others who have aspired to high places. This lady, who says she is called Feliciana of the voice, and now she has hardly voice enough left to relate the story of her own misfortunes; — think of her but a few hours ago, in her own home with her father, brothers, and servants, hoping to find some help or remedy for her imprudent conduct; and now, behold her, hiding in the hollow of a tree, fearing the insects of the air, and the crawling worm of the earth. It is true she has not sprung from a princely race, but yet hers is an example for all young maidens who live secluded from the world, and wish to live a virtuous life: all this moves me to entreat that you, O my brother, will watch severely over my conduct, for ever since the hour in which I left your mother and home, I have placed my honour in your hands, and although experience has proved well your virtue, alike in the solitude of deserts, or the company of cities; yet still I fear that as days move on, so also may change come across your thoughts. My honour is yours, one sole wish rules us both, and the same hope supports us: our path is a long and weary one, but there is an end to everything, unless idleness and laziness intrude; Heaven has already brought us into Spain, and (for which we should be grateful) released us from the dangerous company of Arnoldo.”

“O my sister,” answered Periander, “how dost thou prove every moment the greatness of thy wisdom and prudence! I plainly see thou fearest as a woman, and feelest as a discreet and prudent one; gladly would I do anything to calm thy new-born suspicions. We have no occasion to stay longer in this shepherd’s fold, and as to Feliciana, we can do no more than bestow upon her our pity; but we should carry the child to Truxillo, as we were charged to do by him who gave us the chain, as it seemed, for payment.”

They were still talking together when the old shepherd came up to them, with his sister and the infant which had been sent for, to see whether Feliciana would recognize it, as she had requested.

She took it in her arms, and looked at it again and again, removed its swaddling clothes, but there was nothing by which she could be certain it was the child she had brought into the world; nor yet, which was remarkable, did she experience the yearnings of a mother towards the child, which was a boy. “No,” said she, “these are not the cloaks that my maid wrapt it in, nor did I ever see this chain in Rosanio’s hands. This precious creature must belong to some one else. Too fortunate should I be, if I could think it mine. Although I have heard Rosanio speak of having friends in Truxillo, yet I cannot remember their names.”

“After all,” said the shepherd, “since the person who gave the child to the pilgrims, desired that it might be taken to Truxillo, I suspect that it was Rosanio; and it is my opinion that it will be best for my sister and some of our shepherds to carry the child thither, and see whether either of the gentlemen, whose names were mentioned, will receive it.”

Feliciana only answered by her sobs, and throwing herself at the feet of the old man she embraced him warmly, — signs that she much approved of the proceeding he had advised; and the pilgrims also approved of it, and made all easy by giving the chain of gold to them. The shepherd’s sister was provided with one of the mules belonging to the fold, (she having only recently recovered from a lying-in,) and she had directions given her, to pass through her own village and leave her own baby in concealment, whilst she went with the other to Truxillo.

It was all to be done directly, because the urgency of the case admitted of no delay. In silent gratitude, Feliciana showed how much she felt the kindness of those who were thus active in her service; and having heard how these pilgrims were bound for Rome, charmed by the beauty and prudence of Auristella, the courteous manners of Periander, the loving and affectionate ways of Constance and her mother, and the agreeable behaviour of the two Antonios, after weighing it in her mind, and pondering thereon in the short space of time that they were together, she felt that it would be desirable to quit a place where her disgrace must be public, and entreated that they would allow her to go with them as a pilgrim to Rome — that, as she had wandered from the ways of virtue, she would gladly now be a wanderer in search of grace, if she might be allowed to join their company.

Scarcely had she uttered her desire, than Auristella hastened to grant it, being full of pity and anxiety to relieve her from the terror and alarm she was enduring. The only difficulty that remained was — how could she, who had so lately been delivered of a child, undertake a journey? But the old shepherd said, that there was no real difference between the bringing forth of a woman and that of a cow, — that the cow immediately after her delivery is exposed to the inclemency of the weather; and thus the woman might perfectly well return to her usual habits of exercise, if custom had not taught them to use the luxurious precautions and repose that are common with lying-in women. “I am sure,” said he, “that when Eve brought forth her first-born son, she neither kept her bed, nor secluded herself from the air, nor took any of the precautions that women adopt in these days. Take courage, lady Feliciana, and follow up your intentions, which are both holy and Christian-like;” to which Auristella added, “You shall not want a pilgrim’s dress, for I had two made, upon setting out on this pilgrimage, and one of them shall be given to the lady Feliciana of the voice, on condition that she tells me the reason why she is so called, unless it is really her true name.”

“It was not mine by lineage, but simply because every one who knew me and heard me sing, declared that I had the finest voice that ever was heard, so I was generally called Feliciana of the voice; and I would readily give you proof of this if I was not more in a mood for crying than singing: however, if better times come, and my tears cease to flow, I will sing, if not merry songs, at least dirges and doleful ditties.”

Now after Feliciana had spoken thus, they were all seized with a strong desire to hear her sing immediately, but no one ventured to ask it of her, because, as she had said, it was not the proper time. The next day Feliciana took off all her attire, except what was absolutely necessary, and put on the pilgrim’s dress, which was given her by Auristella. She took off a pearl necklace and two rings, which, if ornaments betokened a person’s quality, would at once have proclaimed her rich and high born. They were taken into the care of Ricla, as treasurer of the property of everybody; and Feliciana took her place as second among the pilgrims, Auristella being first, and Constance third; although upon this point, opinions were divided, and there were some who gave the second place to Constance, Auristella alone stood unrivalled.

As soon as Feliciana was dressed in her new garb, she felt eager and anxious to be off: Auristella knew this, and by general consent, they took leave of the hospitable old shepherd, and the rest of the herdsmen, and departed, taking the road to Caceres. When at any time any one of the women became weary, the baggage mule afforded her a means of rest, or they sat down by the side of some murmuring stream, or sparkling fountain, or the verdure of some pleasant meadow invited them to repose. —

And so they journeyed on, being weary and resting alternately; but as it rarely happens that good intentions are carried into effect without any hindrances, it pleased Heaven that this charming party (one in intention, although many in number) should meet with the obstacle of which you shall now hear.

The green herbage of a delightful meadow had offered a pleasant retreat to the travellers: the clear and sweet waters of a little rivulet that trickled through the grass, had refreshed their faces; a number of thorns and brambles formed a wall, and shelter all round them. It was an agreeable spot to rest in, when all of a sudden, breaking through the thick and tangled branches, a youth, in the dress of a traveller, rushed in among them; his back was pierced through with a sword, and the point came out at his breast. He fell down before them, and as he fell, exclaimed, “God be with me;” and so saying, he expired. It happened all in one moment; and although at so strange a sight, every one had risen in confusion, Periander was the first to fly to his assistance, and seeing that he was quite dead, he tried to draw out the sword. The two Antonios leaped over the bushes to look if any one was to be seen who could have committed this treacherous and cruel murder, for it was clearly a traitor’s deed, seeing that the blow had been dealt from behind, but they saw nobody. They returned to the rest, and the great youth and noble appearance of the murdered stranger increased the pity they felt for his death. They examined the body minutely, and found, under a loose jacket of grey velvet, over the doublet, a chain of four links of gold, from which was suspended a crucifix, also of gold; and between the doublet and the shirt, they found, in an ebony case richly worked, the portrait of a very beautiful woman, round which were these lines: —

She freezes, she burns,

She looks and speaks,

O miracle of beauty!

Such power your face possesses

Even in a picture.

Periander, who first read these lines, judged thereby that some love affair had caused his death: they carefully investigated his dress, hoping to find some indication by which to discover who he was, but could find none; and whilst they were making this scrutiny, four men appeared suddenly, armed with cross bows, who were instantly recognised by Antonio the elder, as members of the holy Brotherhood; one of whom cried out, “Stop, thieves! murderers! highwaymen! your work of spoliation, which we are just come in time to punish as it deserves.”

“Rogues, there are none here,” said the younger Antonio, “nor are we robbers, but enemies of all such persons.”

“Truly, so it appears,” replied the archer, “with a dead corpse before you; his property in your hands, and his blood upon your clothes; witnesses of your crime, robbers ye are, and murderers, and as such shall be punished; nor shall that pilgrim garb which you have put on to conceal your misdeeds, avail you anything.”

To this, the young Antonio replied by fitting an arrow to his bow, and aiming at the arm of the archer; the others seeing this, either alarmed or in order to make the capture more secure, turned round hastily, and called lustily for help. “Help for the holy Brotherhood!” In an instant, as if by miracle, they were joined by more than twenty archers, who, aiming their arrows at the party, took them all prisoners, without respect even for the beauty of Auristella; and carrying the dead body along with them, brought the party to Caceres, the Corregidor of which was a knight of the order of St. Jago, who, on seeing the dead body, and the wounded archer, and hearing the account given by the others with the additional proof of Periander’s bloody appearance, was immediately disposed to put them all to the torture; but Periander declared the true state of the case, showing, in proof of his assertions, the papers and passports that he had brought from Lisbon, by way of security on his journey. He also showed the picture of his adventures, which were well described by the younger Antonio; and all these proofs were sufficient to have shown clearly the innocence of the pilgrims.

Ricla, the treasurer of the party, who knew little or nothing of what lawyers and notaries are, offered one of them a quantity of money secretly, to take their case up for them; but she was in danger of losing all she had, for the gentlemen of the law smelling out that the pilgrims had money, would gladly have shorn them close, according to their usual fashion, even to the very bones; and without a doubt, would have done so, if it had not pleased Heaven to let the might of innocence overthrow the attempts of malice. It happened that a certain innkeeper of the place, having seen the dead corpse that had been brought with the pilgrims, recognized it, and went to the Corregidor, and said to him, “My lord, this man who has been brought in dead by the holy Brotherhood, left my house yesterday morning, in company with another person, who seemed to be a gentleman. A little before he went away, he shut himself up in a room with me, and with great caution he said, ‘Mine host, I pray you as a good Christian, if I do not return hither within six days, to open this paper which I give you, before the court of Justice:’ so saying, he gave me this paper, which I now deliver to your worship, conceiving that it may probably explain something that will touch upon this strange affair.” The Corregidor took the paper, and opening it, he found the following words written therein: —

“I, Don Diego de Parraces, left the palace of his majesty on such a day, (and here the date was given,) in company with my relation, Don Sebastian de Soranzo, who asked me to go a certain journey along with him, which concerned both his honour and his life. I, not wishing to confirm some false suspicions which he harboured respecting me, and trusting in my innocence, consented to accompany him: it is my belief that he means to kill me; if this should happen, and my body is found, let it be known that I am slain by perfidious hands, and that I die guiltless.


The Corregidor sent off this letter with all speed to Madrid, where the greatest diligence was exerted to trace out the murderer; but he arrived at home the very day when the search was made, and, discovering how matters were, instead of alighting, he gave his horse the rein, and disappeared altogether. Thus the crime remained unpunished: the dead man was not to be restored to life; the prisoners were set free, and some of the links of the chain that Ricla kept, were employed to pay the expenses of justice. The Corregidor kept the portrait to please himself. The archer of the holy Brotherhood received ample satisfaction for his wound.

The younger Antonio began anew to describe the story of their picture, and left the people all wondering greatly thereat.

The whole time the investigation had been going on, Feliciana kept her bed under pretence of illness, that she might not be seen. They took the road to Guadaloupe, talking, as they travelled, over their strange adventure, and hoping that some chance might occur to allow them to hear Feliciana sing. She willingly consented to give them this pleasure, since there is no sorrow that does not soften With time, only that she might keep up the proper decorum due to her misfortune and sad condition: her songs were dirges, and her voice, mournful; but this diminished a good deal after meeting the shepherd’s sister on the road, returning from Truxillo, where she told them she had left the infant in the care of Don Francisco Pizarro, and Don Juan de Orellana, who felt convinced that the child must belong to their friend Don Rosanio, judging by the place where he was met, for they knew of no one else in all the neighbourhood who would have so confided in them; “and,” said the good woman, “they told me that he should not be deceived in his expectations by trusting them thus. So you perceive, sirs, that the child is placed according to your desires at Truxillo: if there is anything else you wish me to do to serve you here, I am ready to do it, and here is the chain, for I have not parted with it yet, since what I have done was from Christian kindness, and that weighs more heavily with me than gold.” To which Feliciana answered, that she wished it might remain many years in her possession before she found herself under the necessity of parting with it, for rich trinkets do not stay long with the poor. The shepherd’s sister then took leave of them, and they sent a thousand kind messages to her brother and the other shepherds. In process of time, little by little our pilgrims reached the saintly walls of Guadaloupe.

Chapter V.

SCARCELY had our devout pilgrims set foot on one of the two entrances that lead to the valley, which is formed and enclosed by the lofty mountains of Guadaloupe, than at each fresh step they found new subjects of admiration; but their admiration reached the highest possible point when they saw the noble and sumptuous monastery, the walls of which contain the blessed image of the Queen of Heaven; that blessed image, which gives freedom to the captive, cleanses his sins, and relieves his distress; that blessed image, which gives health to the sick, comfort to the afflicted, which is a mother to the orphan, and a defence from all misfortune. They entered the church, and where they expected to find walls adorned with the Tyrian purple, the damask of Syria, the brocades of Milan, in their place they saw, crutches left by the cripple, wax eyes that had belonged to the blind, arms hung there by the maimed, shrouds cast aside by the dead, all, who after having been cast down by misery, now living, healthy, free and happy, loudly return thanks to the Mother of mercies, who in this small space, makes intercession with her blessed Son for his infinite mercy.

So strong an impression was made upon the hearts of the devout pilgrims by all these miracles, that they gazed around them, fancying that they saw in the air the captive in his chains, coming to hang them up on the holy walls. The lame and infirm trailing their crutches along with them, the dead corpse its winding-sheet, seeking where to place them, and not finding space left, so great was the number those walls already held.

This sight, which had never been seen before by Periander, Auristella, Ricla, Constance, or the young Antonio, filled them with awe and wonder; and they were never tired of gazing, nor of admiring; so with devout and humble minds they knelt down to adore the Saviour, and implore the intercession of his holy Mother. But what most deserved notice was, that Feliciana, on bended knees, and with clasped hands, pressed to her breast, whilst tears of tender sorrow bathed her cheeks, almost without appearing to move her lips, or make any sign of being a living creature, raised her voice, and sang some verses which she knew by heart, and which afterwards she gave them in writing. Her sweet and most melodious singing enchanted the senses of all her hearers, and well proved that she had not praised her own voice too highly, fully satisfying the strong wish of all the pilgrims to hear her.

She had sung about four stanzas, when some strangers entered the church, who knelt down, as they were induced to do both by custom and devotion. They were also struck by the voice of Feliciana, who went on singing; and one among them, who seemed rather advanced in years, turning to the person nearest him, said, “Either that is the voice of some angel in Heaven, or it is that of my daughter Feliciana.”

“Who can doubt it?” replied the other. “There she is, but there she shall not be long, if my arm can strike a sure blow so saying, he grasped his poignard, and with hurried steps, white with passion, he was approaching the spot where Feliciana knelt. The venerable old man followed, and drawing him back hastily, said, “This is no place, my son, for punishment. Take time, for now this traitress cannot escape from us, and do not, in seeking to chastise the fault of another, bring down a judgment upon thine own head.”

These words, and the disturbance altogether, had stopped the mouth of Feliciana, and put the pilgrims into some consternation, and also every one else in the church. They were not able to prevent the father and brother of Feliciana from dragging her out of the church into the street, where they were very soon joined by a crowd of people, with the officers of justice, who released her from the grasp of those who seemed more like executioners than father or brother.

Things being in this confusion, the father demanding his daughter, and the brother his sister, whilst the magistrate refused to give her up to them until he could learn the state of the case, a little party of horsemen entered on one side of the open place, two of whom were immediately recognised by most of the persons present, as Don Francisco Pizarro, and Don Juan de Orellana. They came up to the spot where the tumult was, and another gentleman with them, whose face was covered with a veil of black taffeta, and inquired the cause of all this disturbance. They were told that nobody knew what was the matter, except that the officers of justice were defending a pilgrim, whom two men, calling themselves her father and brother, wanted to kill. Don Francisco and Don Juan were listening to this account, when the muffled cavalier, leaping from his horse, drew his sword, and uncovering his face, placed himself at Feliciana’s side, and cried aloud, “It is from me, sirs, that you must take the satisfaction that you desire for Feliciana’s fault, if it be a fault that deserves death for a lady to marry against her parents’ consent. Feliciana is my wife, and I am Rosanio, as you see, not so humble in condition as to be undeserving that you should give me openly that which I chose secretly. I am of noble birth, of which I can show you the proofs: I am rich enough to support her as my wife; I do not think it right that what I have gained by good fortune should be taken from me by Louis Antonio, at your pleasure; and if you think I have offended you by that which I have done without your consent, pardon the fault, which was caused by the all-powerful force of love, and the finding you already so well inclined towards Louis Antonio, which made me forget the duty I owed you, for which once more I entreat your pardon.”

Whilst he spoke thus, he held Feliciana clasped close round the waist, all trembling and full of terror, but still all beautiful. Before her father or brother could speak a word, Dun Francisco embraced the former, and Don Juan the latter, who were their intimate friends. Don Francisco said to the father, “Where is your prudence gone, Senor Don Pedro Tenorio? Is it possible that you desire to do what is so much against your own interests? Do not you see that this offence brings its own excuse along with it? What is there in Rosanio undeserving of Feliciana, or what will become of her in future if she loses Rosanio?”

The same or similar arguments were used by Don Juan with the brother, adding more, for he said, “Don Sancho, passion never ends well, and an angry spirit rarely hits correctly: your sister chose a good husband for herself; you would do ill to take vengeance, because they failed in the proper ceremony and respect that was due to you.

“Look you, Don Sancho, I have in my house at home, a nephew of yours you cannot disown, unless you disown yourself, he is so like you.”

The answer of the father was to go to his son and take away the poignard from his hands, after which he embraced Rosanio, who fell at the feet of his father-in-law and embraced them a thousand times. Feliciana also fell on her knees, half fainting, at her father’s feet, amid a flood of tears and sighs.

The bystanders were delighted; the father got credit for his conduct: the son also, and the two friends, for their prudent advice. The Corregidor invited them all to his house; the prior of the monastery showed them great hospitality; the pilgrims visited all the relics, which are very numerous, holy, and rich. They confessed themselves, received the Sacrament, and during the time they stayed, Don Francisco sent for the child, which the shepherd’s sister had brought him, and which was the same that Rosanio delivered to Periander. It was so lovely, that the grandfather, when he saw it, forgetting all his cause for anger, exclaimed, “A blessing on the mother who bore thee, and on thy father also;” and taking it into his arms, he covered it with kisses and tears.

Feliciana, with her father, brother, and husband, returned home, taking the child with them, all well pleased with the happy conclusion of the business.

The pilgrims stayed four days at Guadaloupe, during which they began seeing the monastery. I say they began to see it, because, to come to the end of seeing its many wonders, would be impossible. They next went to Truxillo, where they met with a most friendly reception from the two noble gentlemen, Don Francisco Pizarro and Don Juan de Orellana. There, the story of Feliciana was again discussed, and her voice and conduct met with due praise, as well as the kind behaviour of her father and brother. From Truxillo they went, after about two days’ stay, to Talavera, where they found preparations making to celebrate the great feast of the world, whose origin began many years before the birth of Christ, and which Christians have brought to so good a conclusion, that what the Heathens did in honour of the goddess Venus, is now devoted to celebrate the praise of the blessed Virgin. They would much have liked to see this, but not wishing for any delay, they went on without satisfying their desire.

Chapter IX.

THE spirits of Antonio rose when he breathed again his native air. Ricla and her two children rejoiced to think that they soon should see, — she, her father and mother-in-law, and they, their grand-parents, for Antonio had discovered that they were yet living, in spite of the grief that his absence had given them. He also heard that his adversary had inherited his father’s estate, and that he had died in amity with his (Antonio’s) father, because it had been proved, from many circumstances, that what Antonio did was not an affront, because they were words spoken in the heat of a quarrel, and with drawn swords, and that the glitter of steel takes away the strength of words, and such words as are spoken with the sword drawn are not affronts, though they may be aggravating: so he who wishes to avenge himself for them, has only to chastise an offence, and not to satisfy himself for an affront as happened in this case. Let us suppose that I mention a fact which is as clear as the day; I am answered that it is an error, that I lie, and shall lie every time I repeat the said fact; and this is supported moreover by the person who utters it clapping his hand on the hilt of his sword, by way of maintaining his assertion.

I, who am thus given the lie, have no need to return to the fact I mentioned, which cannot be denied, but I am obliged to chastise the person who gave me the lie for his want of respect; else he who has had the lie direct given to him, could not meet any one in the field till he has received satisfaction: as I before said, there is a great difference between an affront and an injury; in short, I say that Antonio knew that his father and his former enemy were friends, and that since they were so, they must have considered all the circumstances of his case thoroughly.

Pleased and contented with this good news, he set off again on his journey with his companions, to whom he told all he had heard of his affairs, and that a brother of the man he had considered his enemy, had inherited the estates, and was living on the same friendly terms with his father as his deceased brother had done. It was Antonio’s wish that none of them should do anything but as he ordered, as he intended to make them known to his father, not suddenly, but in some circuitous way, so as to increase the pleasure of the discovery, for sometimes too sudden a joy will kill like a sudden grief.

About three days’ more travel brought them at dusk to his father’s house. The father and mother were sitting at the door of their house, enjoying the freshness of the evening air, for it was the summer season. They all approached together, and Antonio spoke first to his father. ‘‘Is there by chance in this place a hospital for pilgrims, sir?” he asked. “As our inhabitants are good Christians,” replied the father, “every house is an hospital for pilgrims, and if no other should be so, mine, as far as it goes, may serve for you all.”

“Is not this place called Quintanas de la Orden, sir,” asked Antonio; “and does not a person live here called by some a gentleman of the name of Villasenores? I ask you this, because I knew a man of this name in far distant countries, and if he was here, neither I nor my companions need go anywhere for a lodging.”

“And what was the name of this Villasenores of whom you speak?” asked the mother.

“He was called Antonio,” replied Antonio, “and his father’s name was, if I remember right, Diego de Villasenor.”

“Ah, sir!” cried the mother, rising from her seat, “and to my sorrow it is now seventeen years that he has been missing from his native land. How many tears, sighs, and prayers, have been exhausted for his restoration to me; would to God that these eyes may ever again behold him, before they are closed in eternal night. Tell me, is it long since you saw him? is it long since you left him? was he in good health? did he talk of returning home? does he remember his parents, to whom he may now come back, for he has no enemies to hinder his doing so. Those who caused his departure from his own country, are now friends.”

The old father listened to all these words, and then called aloud to his servants to bring lights, and to admit into the house the pilgrim guests, and going up to his as yet unknown son, he embraced him closely, saying, “For your sake alone I would gladly give you all lodging, even though it were not my custom to receive pilgrims, but now this glad tidings that you have brought increases my inclination to do so, and makes me doubly desirous to serve you.”

By this time the servants had brought lights, and shown the pilgrims into the house; and from the middle of a spacious court, which they entered, came forth two pretty and well-mannered young girls, sisters of Antonio, who had both been born since he went away. They were charmed with the beauty of Auristella, and the loveliness of Constance, their niece, also with the pleasant looks of their sister-in-law, Ricla. They could not sufficiently load them with blessings and embraces; but when they expected to see their father enter with the new guests, they saw a confused crowd of people come in also, bringing on their shoulders, upon a seat, a seemingly dead man, whom they knew at once to be the count, who had inherited the estates of him who once had been their brother’s enemy. The tumult of the crowd, the confusion that their parents were in, and the care of receiving their new guests embarrassed them so much that they knew not whom to turn to, nor whom to ask for the cause of all this disturbance. Their parents had the count brought in; he was shot through the shoulders with a ball in an affray between two parties of soldiers, who were lodged in the town, and the townspeople; the ball had passed through into his breast, and on seeing himself wounded, he had ordered his servants to carry him to the house of Diego de Villasenor, his friend, and he was brought thither exactly at the very moment when he was about to offer hospitality to his son, his daughter-in-law, and his two grand-children, and to Periander and Auristella. She, taking Antonio’s sisters by the hand, prayed that they would take her away from all the tumult, and allow her to rest in some apartment where she might be alone. They did as she desired, not without again admiring her peerless beauty.

Constance, who felt the force of kindred blood animate her heart, neither wished nor would separate from her aunts, who were both of the same age, and of equal beauty. The same feelings actuated the boy Antonio, who, forgetful of all the laws of good breeding and the obligations he owed to his hosts, was so bold in his delight as to embrace one of his aunts, which a servant of the family seeing, said, “For your life, sir pilgrim, keep your hands quiet, for the master of this house is not a man to be trifled with, and you will have to beat a retreat in spite of your shameless behaviour.”

“By Heaven, my friend,” answered the boy, “this that I have done is very little to what I intend doing, if Heaven favours my wish, which is to be at the service of these fair ladies, and all those of the house.”

Meanwhile the wounded man had been placed in a rich bed, and two surgeons called in, who staunched the blood and examined the wound, which they pronounced mortal, and beyond all human remedies. The whole town was in arms against the soldiers, who had marched out into the country in battle array, ready to fight if the people came out to attack them. For some time, little availed the anxiety of the commanding officers to restore peace, nor the Christian cares of the priests and monks of the town, the people of which, a light cause will easily excite and rouse into commotion. However, day came, and the soldiers were made to march off by their officers, and the townspeople were persuaded to remain within the town, in spite of the bad feeling and anger the soldiers had excited.

By slow degrees, little by little, Antonio discovered himself to his parents, and presented to them their two grandchildren and daughter-in-law, whom they received with many tears. The beauty of Auristella, and the grace of Periander, gained admiration from all eyes and hearts. This pleasure, as unexpected as it was great, — this unlooked-for arrival of his son and his family, interrupted, and for a time almost did away with the sad misfortune of the count, who grew worse and worse every hour; however, he presented his children to him, and anew offered him the services of the whole family, and everything that could be required for his comfort and convenience; for although he had wished to remove to his own house, it would not have been possible, so slight were the hopes of his recovery.

Auristella and Constance never left his bedside, but, moved by Christian compassion and kindness, made themselves his nurses, against the desire of the surgeons, who ordered him to be left alone, or at least not attended by the women. But Heaven, that directs and disposes all things in a manner which we cannot fathom, so ordered it in this case, that the count’s last hour drawing nigh, he one day, before he took a final leave of them all, sent for Diego de Villasenor, and when they were alone together, spoke to him thus:— “I left home intending to go to Rome this year, in which the supreme Pontiff has opened the ark of the Church’s treasure, and made known to us as in a holy year, the infinite graces that are to be obtained thereby. I meant to travel expeditiously, but as a poor pilgrim, rather than as a rich gentleman. I entered this town, found an affray going on, as you have heard, between the soldiers who were lodging in it, and the inhabitants: I mingled with them, and in trying to save the lives of others, have lost my own, for this wound so treacherously dealt, as I may say, will in a short time end my existence. I do not know by whose hand it was given, for in these popular tumults all is confusion.

My death will not grieve me, unless it should be the cause of that of others, either for justice, or to avenge mine. Nevertheless, to do all that is in my power, I here say that I forgive my murderer, and all who may have been guilty with him; and I also desire to show my gratitude for all the kindness I have received in your house, and the mark I wish to give will be the very greatest you can possibly imagine. In the two chests, which you see here, which contain my wardrobe, I believe I have as much as twenty thousand ducats in gold and in jewels, which do not take up much room; and if this sum, instead of being so small, was as great as the mines of Potosi contain, I would do the same with it as I am now doing. Take it then, or rather make the lady Constance your grand-daughter, take it, for I give it to her in earnest as a marriage portion; and further, I desire to espouse her myself; so that although she will be speedily a widow, she will be at the same time honoured as a wife and a maid. Send for her hither, and fetch a priest to perform the ceremony. Her merit, her beauty, and her Christian virtues, make her worthy to be queen of the whole world. Do not be surprised, sir, at what you hear, and believe all I say, for it will be no such monstrous novelty for a nobleman to marry a poor gentleman’s daughter, in whom unites every quality that can make a woman desirable. Heaven wills it — my own wishes lead me to it. Go then, be discreet, and without answering a word, fetch some one who can perform the marriage ceremony between me and your grand-daughter, and also some one who can draw up the writings about the money and jewels, so that no slander can ever undo that which I bestow on her.” Villasenor was greatly astonished at this discourse, and believed that without a doubt the count’s senses were bewildered, and that his death was near at hand, since at that moment, for the most part, men either say very fine things or very great follies; and so he answered thus:— “My lord, I trust in God that you will recover your health, and then you will more clearly see; and when no pain disturbs you, more plainly feel what you are about as to the way you wish to bestow your wealth; and the wife you will choose, my grand-child, is not your equal. She is very far from deserving the honour of being your wife; and I am not so greedy as to wish to buy the honour you would do me, with what vulgar tongues would surely say (always ready to believe evil). It seems to me that it would be said that I had you in my house, that I worked upon your mind, and did all this from avarice.”

“Let the world say what it likes,” said the count; “if the vulgar portion of it will deceive itself, then let it be deceived in what it thinks of you.”

“Well then,” said Villasenor, “I will not be so foolish as to set myself against the good fortune that offers itself to me;” and so saying, he left the room, and related what the count had said, to his wife and grand-children, and to Periander and Auristella, who were of opinion that without delay the offer should be accepted, and a person sent for to bring the affair to a conclusion.

He did so, and in less than two hours Constance was married to the count, and the gold and jewels in her possession, with all the securities and confirmations that could possibly be made. There was no music at this wedding, only sighs and tears, for the life of the count was ebbing fast away. On the day that followed the marriage ceremony, they all received the Sacrament, and the count expired in the arms of his wife, the countess Constance, who, covering her head with a black veil, fell on her knees, and raising her eyes to Heaven, she began to say, “I vow;” but hardly had she begun to speak, when she was stopped by Auristella. “What are you going to vow?” said she. “To become a nun,” replied the countess. “Stay and consider this,” answered Auristella; “those things we would do to serve God ought not to be done in haste; nor as if they were impelled by some sudden accident; and as it is owing to your husband’s death that you are about to make this vow, which afterwards, perhaps, you may not wish to fulfil, leave your will in the hands of God; and your own discretion, and that of your parents and relations, will be able to advise and direct you in the path it will be best to take, and give orders for the interment of your husband; and trust in God, that since you have been so unexpectedly made a countess, it may please him to bestow some other title and honour that will be more lasting than this is.” The countess yielded to this reasoning, and gave directions concerning the funeral of the count. A younger brother arrived, to whom the news had been sent at Salamanca, where he was studying. He wept for his brother’s death, but the expectation of his inheritance helped to dry the tears. When he heard what had been done, he embraced his sister-in-law, and did not contest the gift. He buried his brother so as to remove him afterwards to his own place, and set out for the king’s court, to demand justice against his murderers. He gained his suit, — the captains were beheaded, and many of the townspeople received punishment. Constance remained with the rank and title of countess.

Periander began to think of continuing their journey, in which the elder Antonio no longer wished to bear him company; neither did his wife Ricla, weary of such long pilgrimages and wanderings, which had not, however, tired their son Antonio, nor the young countess, who could not exist separate from Auristella and Periander.

All this time Antonio had never shown his grandfather the canvass on which their history was painted. One day he was displaying it, and telling the story, he observed that one part was still wanting — that of how Auristella got to the barbarous isle, when she and Periander had met in changed attire; she, in that of a man, and he, dressed in female garments — a strange metamorphosis — to which Auristella answered, “That it would be told in a few words, that when the pirates stole her and Clelia, with the two young wives of the fishermen, from the shores of Denmark, they came to an uninhabited island, in order to divide their spoil, and not being able to do this equally, one of the chief among them said, ‘He should be satisfied with herself as his share,’ and even added gifts to those of the others to make them more equal. Thus,” said she, “was I thrown into his power alone, and deprived of a companion to alleviate my misfortunes. He made me put on the dress of a man, and thus I accompanied him to many different places, serving and obeying him in all that was consistent with honour. At length we arrived at the barbarous isle, there we were surprised and made prisoners by the barbarians. He died in the affray, and I was thrown into the prison cave, where I found my beloved Clelia, who by other not less unfortunate adventures had been brought hither. From her I learned the history of these barbarians, the vain superstition that they held, and the ridiculous and false prophecy. She also told me that she had great reason to believe that my brother Periander had been in the same dungeon, but she had not been able to speak to him, from the haste the barbarians were in to drag him out to be sacrificed. I wished to accompany Clelia to ascertain the truth, as I was in the dress of a man, and in spite of her entreaties, who would fain have prevented my doing so, I willingly delivered myself to be sacrificed by the barbarians, persuaded that it would be infinitely better to end my life at once, than to be perpetually in danger of losing it day after day. And now I have nothing more to say, since you all know well what followed after this.”

The old Villasenor wished this also to be added to the picture, and all agreed that it should be done, and that the history of such wonderful and unheard-of adventures ought not to be merely depicted upon a perishable canvass, but should be written on tables of bronze, and graven on the memories of men.

Meanwhile Villasenor desired to keep the picture, if only to look upon the well portrayed likenesses of his children, and the unequalled beauty of Periander and Auristella.

In a few days the departure was determined upon, that they might accomplish their vow at Rome. Antonio, the father, remained at home, but the younger Antonio would not stay behind, nor his sister, the young Constance, whose affection for Auristella was such, as I have said before, that it would have carried her, not only to Rome, but if it could be done together, she would gladly have accompanied her to the other world.

The day of parting came, and they had tears, and embraces, and grievous sighs, especially from Ricla, who felt in losing her children as if her very heart went with them. The grandfather bestowed his blessing upon them all, for the blessing of an old person is a thing that avails much in such undertakings.

They took one of the servants of the house along with them to be of service on the journey, and set out, leaving the parental home sorrowful; and half in joy, half in sadness, went on their way.

Chapter X.

LONG pilgrimages involve various events, and as this variety is composed of different things, so also must the causes be different. Our history shows this well; the thread of it is broken by the incidents that occur, making us doubt whether to relate them, because all that happens is not good to be narrated, and may be passed over without notice, and without lessening the interest of the story. There are some actions although great, yet upon which we ought to be silent; others so small they are not worthy of being described; for the excellence of this history is, that everything therein written has the relish or seasoning of the truth that goes along with it, which a fabulous history has not. It is necessary in it to suit the events with correct taste, and with so much probability, that in spite of the fiction which would clash with the understanding, the whole may be harmonious.

Profiting then by this truth, I will tell you how the lovely little band of pilgrims, pursuing their journey, arrived at a place, neither very large nor very small, the name of which I forget; and in the midst of the open place of the town, through which they must necessarily pass, they saw a crowd of persons, all attentively listening to, and looking at, two young men, in the garb of recently freed captives, who were describing the story of a painting that lay on the ground before them. It appeared that they had taken off two heavy chains that were near them, — proofs and witnesses of their misfortunes; — and one of them, who appeared about four and twenty years old, spoke in a clear voice, and very eloquent tongue, ever and anon cracking a sort of whip that he held in his hand, in such a way as to make a sound in the air like what a coachman makes when he chastises or threatens his horses, by cracking his driving whip over their heads.

Among those who were listening to the long story, were the two Alcaldes of the town, both old men, but one rather younger than the other. The freed captive was thus saying:— “Here, gentlemen, you may see the picture of the town of Algiers, that bugbear and terror of all the shores of the Mediterranean Sea; the harbour of all pirates; the shelter and refuge of thieves and robbers, who, from this little port you here see pictured, go forth with their vessels to disturb the world, for they are bold enough even to pass the ne plus ultra of the pillars of Hercules, and attack and pillage the scattered islands that lie up and down in the immense ocean, fancying themselves secure, at least from the Turkish ships. This vessel, which is here painted so small because the size of the painting obliges it to be reduced, is a galley of two and twenty oars; — the master and captain of her is the Turk you see there, standing up in the gangway with an arm in his hand that he has just cut off from the body of the Christian you see there also, and which he is using as a whip or a rope’s end for the other Christians who are bound fast to the benches. He is fearing lest those four galleys that you perceive here giving chase, should reach him. This first captive of the foremost row of benches, whose countenance is disfigured by the blood that has dripped over it from the severed arm, is myself, who served as stern-rower in this galley. The other who is next to me, is my companion, less bloody, because less wounded. Listen, gentlemen, and pay attention, and you may possibly hear the threats and abusive words uttered by this Dog, Dragut, for that is the name of the captain of the galley. A pirate as famous as he is cruel, and as cruel as Phalaris, or Busiris, the Sicilian tyrants, I seem to hear now sounding in my ears, the fierce Moorish oaths which he was then uttering with the air of a demon; Moorish oaths and words, all expressing contempt and abuse against the Christians, calling them Jews, worthless, vile, and faithless, and to make the terror and horror greater, he beat the living bodies with the dead arms severed from them.”

It seems that one of the two Alcaldes had been an Algerine captive for a long period, and in a low voice he said to his companion, “This captive has seemed to speak the truth so far, and so appears to be really what he says he is; but I will examine him in a few particulars, and we will see how he can answer me, for I would have you know that I was in this very galley, and I do not recollect any man as first oar, except one Alonzo Moclin, a native of Velez Malaga,” and turning to the captive, he said to him, “Pray tell me, friend, whose galleys were those that chased yours? and did you obtain the freedom you desired by their means?”

“The galleys,” answered he, “were Don Sancho de Leiva’s; we did not obtain our liberty, for they did not come up with us. We gained it afterwards, for we fell in with a ship, bound to Algiers from Sargel, laden with wheat. We came in her to Oran, and from thence to Malaga, from whence my companion and I set out for Italy, in the intention of serving his majesty (whom may God preserve!) as soldiers.”

“Tell me, friends,” said the Alcalde, “you two captives, were you taken to Algiers at first, or to any other part of Barbary?”

“We were not made prisoners together,” replied the other captive, “for I was taken near Alicant in a vessel laden with wool, going to Genoa, — my companion in the Percheles of Malaga, where he was a fisherman. We became acquainted in a dungeon at Tetuan; we have been friends and shared the same fortune for a long while, and for ten or twelve quartos, which is all you have offered us, we have given full information to my lord Alcalde.”

“Not much, my young gentleman,” replied the Alcalde, “you have not gone through the whole ordeal of the question yet. Listen to me, and say, how many doors are there in Algiers? how many fountains, and how many wells of sweet water?”

“A foolish question,” answered the first captive. “As many doors as houses; — I do not know how many fountains, and so many wells, that I have not seen half; and the troubles I underwent there have gone nigh to take away almost the memory of myself; and if my lord Alcalde wishes to be uncharitable, we will gather up our pence, and strike our tent and say adieu, for there’s as good bread to be got elsewhere as here.”

Then the Alcalde called to a man among the bystanders looking in, who held the office of the town’s crier sometimes, and sometimes that of executioner when needful, and said, ‘Gil Berrueco, go and fetch me here the first two asses you can catch; for by the life of our lord the king, I will make these two captive gentlemen ride through the streets, who have taken the liberty of usurping the alms of the charitable, which belong of right to the real poor, and, telling lies and inventions, whilst they are all the time as whole and sound as an apple, and more able and fit to use their spades than to be flourishing whips senselessly in the air. I was a slave in Algiers five years, and I know that they have said no one thing to show they ever were there.

“Body o’ me!” cried the captive; “is it possible that my lord Alcalde can expect that poor as we are in worldly gifts, we should be so rich in those of memory, and that for a folly not worth three farthings, he will put to shame two such insignificant students as ourselves, and deprive his majesty of two brave soldiers on their way to Italy and Flanders to rout and destroy, and wound and kill, all the enemies of our holy Catholic faith that we may encounter. For if we must needs tell the truth, who is of heavenly birth, my lord Alcalde must know that we are no captives, but students from Salamanca, who, in the midst of our studies, felt a desire to see the world, and to know a little of the life of a soldier, as we were acquainted sufficiently with a peaceful life. To carry our scheme the better into effect, we happened to light upon a party of captives, who might be true, or false, like ourselves; I cannot say if they were or not. From them we bought the canvass and picture, and obtained information respecting Algiers, and such things as seemed necessary to us to render our fraud credible. We sold our books and our furniture at a low price, and laden with this apparatus, have travelled thus far, and we think of going on, if your worship does not forbid it.”

“What I am thinking of doing,” said the Alcalde, “is to give each of you a hundred lashes, and in lieu of the pike you talk of wielding in Flanders, put an oar into your hands to work with at the galleys, with which you may perhaps be as serviceable to his majesty as you would be with the pike.”

“I could wish,” rejoined the young man, who had been the principal speaker, “that my lord Alcalde was an Athenian legislator, and that the severity of his office reached the ears of the other lords of the council, where, obtaining credit from them, they would hold him as a severe and rigid judge, and commit to him matters of importance, wherein he might show his severity and his justice. But my lord Alcalde knows that ‘Summum jus summa injuria.’”

“See how you talk, friend,” replied the second Alcalde; “here there is no justice without reason; but all the Alcaldes of this place, have ever been, are, and will be, pure and faithful, and it will be better for you to talk less.”

At this instant the crier returned and said, “My lord Alcalde, I can find no asses in the place, only the two magistrates, Berrueco and Crespo, who are taking their ride.”

“I sent you for asses, not magistrates, blockhead! but go and bring them hither, whether they will or no; I wish to have them present at the pronunciation of this sentence, which shall be given notwithstanding, and is not to fail for want of asses, of which, thank God, we have plenty in this place.”

“You will never have them in Heaven, my lord Alcalde,” said the youth, “if you go on thus severely. Please to consider that we have stolen nothing; we have hardly gained a miserable sustenance by our trick, which is laborious enough, like the business of a day labourer, or any workmen. Our parents taught us no trade, thus we were obliged to have recourse to our wits. Punish those who are guilty of bribery, of house-breaking, highwaymen, false witnesses, disaffected or disloyal men, the idle and the good-for-nothing, but let alone the poor fellows who go straight forward to serve his majesty, with their best right hand, and their sharpest ingenuity. There are no better soldiers than those who are transplanted from the seats of learning to the fields of war. None ever left his studies to be a soldier who was not a super-excellent one, for when strength and intellect meet and join, they make a marvellous composition, with which Mars rejoices, peace is maintained, and the country aggrandized.”

Periander and most of the bystanders admired much what the young man said, and the fluency of his discourse. He proceeded thus:— “Let us examine closely into this matter, my lord Alcalde. Look, and look again, and scrutinize the seams of our garments; if you can find six reals, not only you may give us a hundred, but six hundred lashes. Let us see then if the acquisition of so small an amount of gain deserves to be punished with dishonour, and martyred with the galleys. And again I say that my lord Alcalde should think better of this, and not overhastily do that which may perhaps give him reason to repent by and by. Discreet judges punish, but do not take vengeance upon faults. The prudent and compassionate mingle equity with justice, and between rigour and clemency prove their excellent judgment.”

“By Heaven,” said the second Alcalde, “but the boy talks well, although he talks too much, and I not only will not consent that they be flogged, but I will have them carried to my own house, and help them on with their journey, on condition that they go straight forwards, for if they are to be wandering here and there, it will prove them rather vicious than necessitous.”

The first Alcalde, already tamer and becoming compassionate, more mildly said, “I will not have them go to your house, they shall go to mine, where I will give them a lesson upon the state of things at Algiers, so that for the future nobody shall be able to catch them tripping in their pretended story.”

The two lads thanked him. The bystanders praised this kind intention of the Alcalde’s, and our pilgrims were delighted with the result of the affair.

The first Alcalde then came up to Periander, and said, “And you, friend pilgrims, have you got any picture with you to tell us about? Have you any history to relate, and make us believe it true, although falsehood herself may have composed it?”

Periander made no answer, for he saw Antonio pulling out the passports, licenses, and dispatches that they carried with them, and placing them in the Alcalde’s hands, he said, “Your worship may see by these papers who we are, and where we are going, but we do not think it necessary to produce them, as we ask no alms, and have no need to ask any. Thus, you perceive, you may let us pass on freely.” The Alcalde took the papers, and because he did not know how to read, he gave them to his companion, who knew as little as he did, and so they passed on into the hands of their clerk, who, glancing over them rapidly, returned them to Antonio, saying, “My lord Alcalde, there is as much worth and goodness as there is beauty in these pilgrims: if they wish to remain here to-night, my house shall serve them for an inn, and I shall attend to their wishes to the utmost of my power.”

Periander thanked him; they staved there that night, as it was late; and they were accommodated at the clerk’s house with kindness, abundance, and cleanliness.

Chapter XI.

DAY came, and with it the thanks of hospitality received, and once more the pilgrims were on their way. As they were leaving the town, they fell in with the false captives, who told them that they had been instructed by the Alcalde in such a way that they could never again be caught in a falsehood as to Algerine matters: “So that sometimes,” said one, (he who was the chief spokesman) “sometimes one may rob by authority of the magistrate, — I mean that sometimes a bad minister of justice connives at delinquency for the sake of interest.”

They travelled on together till they came to where the road branched off in two separate directions. The captives took that which led to Carthagena, and the pilgrims that to Valencia.

Now had Aurora come forth from her eastern balconies, blotting out the stars, and adorning the path whereon the sun was to take his accustomed course. Bartholomew, for so I think the lad who had the baggage mule in charge was named, seeing so bright and beautiful a sunrise tinging the clouds in the sky with such a variety of hues, so that nothing ever was seen more lovely and pleasing, exclaimed, “That man who used to preach in our town said what was very true, when he told us that heaven and earth declared the glory and greatness of God; and if I did not know God as I have been taught to do, by my parents and by the priests at home, I think I should trace and know him now, by seeing the glory of that sky which seems to tell how great He is; and by yonder sun that lights us, which although it looks no bigger than a shield, is many times larger than the whole earth; and as they tell me also, even more than that, he is so active, that in twenty-four hours he can travel more than three hundred thousand leagues; whether this be true or no, I know not, but many wise men say so, and therefore I believe it, although it is rather hard to understand; but the thing that makes me wonder most is, that underneath us there are other people whom they call Antipodes, so that we above have our feet upon their heads, — a thing that seems to me quite impossible, — for to support so great a load their heads must need be made of iron.”

Periander smiled at the rustic learning of the boy, and said to him, “I would fain seek for such words, O Bartholomew, as should show you the error you are labouring under, and the true form of the earth, to understand which it is necessary to go back to the beginning; but to assist your comprehension, I must limit my explanation, and tell you only one thing, which is that you must understand that the earth is the centre of the heavens; I call the centre an indivisible point, to which all the lines of its circumference go: you can but little comprehend this, and so you must be satisfied to know that the earth has everywhere the sky above it; and in whatever part of it a man may be, he will always have the sky over his head; and so as that sky you see above covers you, does it also cover the Antipodes, without hindrance, and as it is ordained by Nature, who is the head servant or steward to God, the Creator of Heaven and earth.”

The boy was well pleased to listen to Periander’s words, which also gave pleasure to Auristella, to the countess, and her brother.

With these and other things, as they travelled, Periander instructed and entertained them, when they heard behind them, a cart accompanied by seven archers on foot and one on horseback, with a musket hanging to his saddle-bow. He came up to Periander and said, “If you should have any cordial or restorative among you, Sir Pilgrims, as I think you possibly may, since, from your appearance, I should judge you rather to be rich gentlefolk than poor pilgrims; I entreat you to give me some for a poor fellow who is lying in a swoon in yonder cart, condemned to the galleys for two years with twelve more soldiers, who, for having been present at the death of a nobleman, some days ago, and found guilty thereof, are condemned to the oar, and their commander, as more guilty, I believe, has been beheaded.”

The fair Constance, on hearing this, could not restrain her tears, for she recognised in this story the death of her short-lived husband; but, listening rather to the dictates of humanity than to thoughts of revenge, she ran to the baggage mule, and took out a case of cordials, and going to the cart, she asked, “Where is the fainting person?” One of the soldiers answered, “He is there, lying in that corner, his face anointed by the grease that is used for the wheels, because he does not wish to be a pretty corpse when he dies, and that will be soon, if he continues obstinate in refusing to eat anything.”

The youth raised his head on hearing these words, and removing from his face an old hat which covered it entirely, showed it to Constance, all begrimed with dirt and grease, and, stretching out his hand to receive the cordial she held, he took it, saying, “Heaven reward you, lady.” He then pulled his hat again over his eyes, and returned to his melancholy and to the corner where he wished to die. There was some further talk between the pilgrims and the guards of the cart, which ended by their taking different roads.

In a few days our pilgrims reached a place which was inhabited by the Moors. It was about a league from the sea, in the kingdom of Valencia. They found here no inn where they could lodge; but at all the houses they were hospitably invited to come in, which Antonio seeing, said, “I do not know what they mean by speaking ill of these people, they all seem to me saints.”

“Our Saviour,” said Periander, “was received at Jerusalem with palms, by the very same people, who, in a short time after, crucified him. Now ’tis well, we will trust to God and take our chance, as they say. Let us accept the invitation of this good old gentleman who has offered us hospitality.”

So it was, an old Moor almost forcibly drew the pilgrims by their long garments into his house, and seemed anxious to treat them not as Moors, but truly in a Christian manner. His daughter came forward to offer her services, dressed in the Moorish fashion, and so lovely she looked in it, that the most graceful Christian would have been happy to look like her, for Nature in bestowing charms is as prodigal to the barbarian of Scythia as to the citizen of Toledo.

This beautiful Moorish damsel then, taking Auristella and Constance by the hands, led them into a room on the ground-floor, looked cautiously all round her as if fearful of being overheard; and when she had assured herself that she was quite safe, she said, “Alas! dear ladies, why is it that you have come here like simple lambs to the slaughter-house? Do you see that old man, whom I with shame and sorrow call my father? Do you note the extraordinary kindness of his reception? Know that he means nothing else than to be your executioner. It is intended that this night seventeen Barbary pirate vessels are to carry off all the people of this place with all their property, not leaving a thing behind that shall make any one desire to return in search of it. These unfortunate creatures imagine that in Barbary they shall find both pleasure for their bodies and salvation for their souls, without recollecting that of many towns, the inhabitants of which have gone over almost entirely, no news have been received but that they have repented. The Barbary Moors cry up the glories of their land, and those of this country run thither to see them, and are caught in the nets of their misfortune. If you would escape from this, and would preserve the liberty you were born to, leave this house at once, and hasten to the church; there you will find a friend to give you shelter. He is the priest of the place; he and the notary are the only Christians here; you will also find there Iarife, the (Jadraque), who is my uncle, a Moor only in name, but Christian in everything else.

Tell him what is doing, and say that Rafaella told you so; you will then be believed and protected; and do not treat it as a jest, unless you wish to find at your cost there is no greater deception than a too late discovery of one.”

The earnestness with which Rafaella spoke went to the hearts of Auristella and Constance, and they believed her words, and only replied by thanks. They immediately called Periander and Antonio, and told them what had passed. Then, without seeming to do anything particular, they all went out. Bartholomew objected much to the move, for he felt more in need of rest than a change of abode; but he obeyed his masters, and they reached the church, where they were well received by the priest and the Jadraque, to whom they related all Rafaella had told them. The priest said, It is some days, gentlemen, since the arrival of these vessels has disturbed us, and although it is customary for them to come, yet I have felt uneasy. Come in hither, my children, the church is a good castle, and has strong and good doors, not easily burnt or destroyed.”

“Ah,” said the Jadraque, “if that my eyes may but see, before they close for ever, this land freed from the thorns and the briers that oppress it. Ah! when will the time come, foretold by my grandfather, who was a learned astrologer, when Spain shall see herself entire and firm in the Christian religion, for she alone is the corner of the earth where the true faith is most acknowledged and revered. I am a Moor, sirs, and you hear that I deny it not, but not for this am I the less a Christian, for God gives his grace to all who serve him, and as you know, he makes his sun shine alike upon the good and the bad, and bestows his rain equally on the just and the unjust. I say, then, that this grandfather of mine used to foretell that, about this time, there would reign in Spain a king of the house of Austria, who would conceive in his soul the difficult resolution of expelling the Moors from the country, as one flings from one’s bosom a serpent that is devouring one’s entrails, or rather, as one who separates the wild flowers from the wheat, and pulls out the weeds from the growing grain. Come, then, brave youth, and prudent king, and execute this decree of expulsion; let not the fear of rendering this country desert and depopulated, deter thee, nor even the consideration that there arc many who have been baptized whom it would not be well to expel; for, although these are fears that deserve to be considered, yet the carrying so great a work into effect would make them not worth thinking of. Soon the land would be re-peopled by Christians, it would again be fertile, and more so than it is now: it would have its lords, and, if not so many or such humble vassals as now, yet they would be good Catholics, under whose protection their roads would be secure, and peace would reign, and riches increase without fear of robbers and highwaymen.”

After having thus spoken, he made the doors fast, and fortified them by putting all the seats and benches against them. They then mounted to the top of the tower, taking up a portable ladder, or steps. The priest carried up with him the holy vessels belonging to the sacrament, provided a store of stones, and armed himself with two loaded guns. They left the baggage mule at the door relieved of its burden, and Bartholomew shut himself in with his masters.

With watchful eyes, ready hands, and resolute hearts, the little party awaited the hour of assault, of which the Moorish maiden had given them warning.

Midnight passed, the priest knew it by the stars; they looked out upon the sea which lay before them, and not a cloud passed over in the moonlight, but they fancied it a Moorish bark, and, applying themselves to the bells, they began to raise a peal so loud and vigorous that every valley and all the shores resounded again; at which sound the officials in the harbour assembled together, and ran here and there, but their haste was of no use in preventing the vessels approaching the shore and taking away the people from land; those in the place who were expecting them, went out laden with their most valuable property, and were received by the Turks with loud cries and shouts, and the sound of musical instruments.

They set fire to the place, and also to the church doors, not meaning to enter in, but simply to do all the harm they could. Bartholomew was left, to go afoot, for they carried off his mule, demolished a stone cross that stood at the entrance of the town, called aloud upon Mahomet, and gave themselves up to the Turks, a dishonest and thievish nation; Several times, and perhaps not always in vain, did Periander and Antonio fire their guns; many a stone did Bartholomew throw, always to that quarter whence the mule was stolen, and many an arrow was shot by the Jadraque; but more than all were the tears that were shed by Auristella and Constance, praying to God to deliver them from the danger they were in, and that his temple might not be injured by the fire, which it was not: it did not escape, however, by a miracle, but because the doors were of iron, and the fire not very strong.

It was nearly day when the ships laden with their prizes went to sea with shouts of triumph and raising the Moorish war cry, and the joyful sounds of atabals and trumpets.

Two persons were now seen running towards the church, one from the shore, the other from the land side; on their nearer approach, the Jadraque knew one to be his niece Rafaella, who, with a cane cross in her hand, came, crying out, “Christian, Christian, and free, free by the grace and mercy of God!”

They recognized in the other the notary, who had by chance been out of the town that night, and at the sound of the alarm bell came to see the disastrous events, which he deplored, not for the loss of wife or child, since he had none, but for that of his house, which was plundered and burned.

They waited till the day was far advanced, and the ships began to disappear in the distance, and the coast guardians had taken measures to protect the coast, then they descended from the tower, and opened the church, which Rafaella entered with her face bathed in joyful tears, and her beauty heightened by her emotion. She knelt and offered her prayers to the images, and then embraced her uncle, first having kissed the hands of the good priest. The notary neither said a prayer nor kissed the hand of anybody, for his whole soul was occupied with the thoughts of his lost property.

The first alarm having subsided, the fugitives recovered their spirits, and the Jadraque recovering breath, began afresh to think about his grandfather’s prophecy as being undoubtedly inspired from above.— “Ah! noble youth! ah! invincible king, trample down and destroy all impediments, and make Spain clear and free from my bad race, which now infests and injures her. Ah! prince, as wise as thou art illustrious, thou new Atlantis, who supportest the weight of this kingdom, aid, and make easy with thy wisdom this necessary expulsion; fill the seas with thy galleys laden with the useless crowd of the Hagarene generation; cast upon the opposite shores the brambles, weeds, and thorns that hinder the growth and abundance of a Christian population; for, if the few Hebrews who went over into Egypt multiplied so exceedingly, that, when they went away, they were in number more than seven hundred families, what is not to be feared from those who are more numerous and live more idly? Religion does not gather any under her wing, none are cut down by the Indies; war does not diminish their numbers; all marry, all, or most, have children; hence it is to be inferred that they must increase and multiply innumerably. Again, I say, arise, O king! arise, and set to work, and leave the history of thy reign bright as the sun, and clear as the blue sky above us.”

Two days more the pilgrims stayed in this place. They provided themselves with all they wanted; Bartholomew got a new baggage mule; they thanked the priest for his kindness, and praised the Jadraque for his right way of thinking, and, embracing Rafaella, took their leave of all, and went on their way.

Chapter XII.

AS they travelled, they amused themselves by talking over the past dangers, the good feeling of the Jadraque, the gallant conduct of the Priest, the zeal of Rafaella, whom they had forgotten to question as to how she had escaped from the power of the Turks when the assault was made. However they guessed that she must have concealed herself somewhere in order to gain her desire of living and dying a Christian.

They reached Valencia, but would not enter the town for fear they should be detained there; but they could not fail of admiring its noble situation, the excellence of its inhabitants, of which they had heard so much, the pleasantness of its environs, and, finally, all that makes it beautiful and rich beyond all other cities, not only in Spain, but in all Europe; and chiefly they admired the beauty of the women, and the pure and graceful language so sweet and pleasant, that none but the Portuguese can compete with it in sweetness and pleasantness.

They determined to go on and to lengthen their days’ journeys, even at the risk of being fatigued, to reach Barcelona, where they heard they might find vessels in which to embark for Genoa without going through France.

Nothing of any importance happened on the way to Barcelona, unless that they saw afar off the holy mountains of Montserrat, which they worshipped with Christian devotion without designing to go there, as it must have detained them.

They arrived at Barcelona at the moment when four Spanish galleys were just entering the port, which fired a salute of heavy artillery. Four boats were let down, one of which was adorned with rich carpets from the Levant, and crimson cushions, and in it was seated a young lady, richly dressed, with another older lady, and two young girls, neatly attired. A crowd of people came out of the city, as is usually the custom, both to look at the galleys and the persons who had come in them; and curiosity led our pilgrims so near the boats when they landed, that they nearly touched the lady as she stepped out of the boat. She, casting her eyes around when she had got ashore, they lighted upon Constance, and she said, “Come hither, lovely pilgrim, and accompany me to the town, I have a debt to pay to you of which you little think. Let your companions come likewise, for there is no reason why you should leave such good company.”

“Yours, as far as I can see, is so good,” replied Constance, “that it would indeed be senseless to refuse it; let us go where you please, my friends will follow, for they never leave me.”

The lady took Constance by the hand, and escorted by many gentlemen, who had come out of the city to receive her, and by some of the people who had landed from the galleys, they proceeded together to the town. During their walk, Constance never took her eyes off her, trying, but in vain, to remember where she had ever seen her before.

They took up their lodging in one of the best houses, and would not suffer the pilgrims to go elsewhere. As soon as an opportunity occurred, this discourse took place between them: —

“I would fain relieve you, my friends, from the wonder you must be feeling, as to the cause I have for wishing to be of service to you, and so I will inform you that my name is Ambrosia Agustina, and my birth-place a city of Arragon. Don Bernardo Agustina is my brother, and he commands those galleys that lie in the bay. Contarino de Arblanchez, a knight of the order of Aleantara, during my brother’s absence, secretly and unknown to my relations, fell in love with me, and I, led by my destiny, or, perhaps, by my too great weakness, with the title of wife, made him master of myself and my whole heart. The same day on which I gave my hand to him, he received an order from the king instantly to set off and conduct a regiment of Spanish infantry (just come from Lombardy to Genoa) to Malta, where it was expected that the Turks would make a descent. Contarino obeyed without delay the orders he received; without being moved by my tears, he departed. I felt as if the sky had fallen upon my head, and that my heart was pressed down between it and the earth. A few days passed, when as one scheme after another entered my brain, I resolved to put one into execution, the accomplishment of which had well nigh cost me both life and honour. I left my home in the disguise of a man, the dress of a young page which I took, and engaged myself as servant to a drummer in a regiment about eight leagues off; I soon learned to beat the drum as well as my master, and to play the part of a buffoon like those of my profession. Another regiment joined ours, and both together marched to Carthagena, in order to embark in the galleys commanded by my brother.

It was my intention to go over to Italy, and seek my husband, from whose affection I hoped that my rash conduct would escape censure, and that he would not find fault with my wish to see him, which made me so blind that I never considered the risk I ran of being discovered, if I embarked in my brother’s galley; but as no difficulties deter an enamoured heart, and it sees none which it cannot conquer, no fears it cannot oppose, no roughnesses it cannot make smooth, I resisted all these, and hoped even in a kind of desperation. But, as the event of things often turns out different to what we expect, so mine, as ill considered as it was imprudent, placed me in the situation you soon shall hear. The soldiers of the regiments I mentioned, engaged in a cruel affray with the people of a town in La Mancha, about lodgings, the result of which was, that a certain count of some place, the name of which I do not know, received his death-wound. There was an enquiry made by the court, the captains were taken into custody, the soldiers separated, and some, among whom I, for my misfortune, was one, though quite guiltless of any fault, condemned to the galleys to work two years at the oar. In vain I lamented my fate, seeing how all my plans were frustrated; I would gladly have died, but the fear of a yet worse fate in another world made the knife drop from my hand, and the rope from my throat; all I did was to endeavour to deform my face, and make myself as ugly as I could, and then shut myself up in a cart we were put into, with the intention of weeping so much and eating so little, that grief and hunger might do what the cord and the knife had left undone. We reached Carthagena, where the galleys were not yet arrived; we were put into a house and well guarded, and there in fear and trembling I awaited my fate. I know not, sirs, if you recollect a cart which came up with you near a small inn, when this lovely pilgrim (pointing to Constance) helped to restore a fainting prisoner with some cordials.”

“Yes,” said Constance, “I remember it well.”

“Then know that it was I whom you assisted,” said the lady Ambrosia. “From the place where I lay in the cart I could see you all, and admired you, for your appearance was such that it was impossible to look and not admire.

“The galleys came in at last with a Moorish brigantine that they had taken; the same day the soldiers were put on board in irons, the clothes they wore were taken off, and they were dressed in those worn by the rowers. A sad and miserable change, yet light, for the hardship that does not destroy life, custom will at last alleviate. They came to undress me, the boatswain ordered them to wash my face, for I had not strength to lift an arm; the barber who attended the crew looked at me and said, ‘I shall spoil but few razors with this beard. I wonder what they have sent us this boy for, who looks as if he was made of china ware, as if our galleys were made of gingerbread, and our oars of sweetmeat. Eh, boy, what crime hast thou committed to deserve this punishment? I doubt not but that thou art brought to this by the sins of others;’ and then continuing his discourse to the boatswain, he said, ‘Truly, master, it would be much better to send this boy to the general with a chain to his leg, for at the oar he wont be worth a farthing.’

“This talk, and the thoughts of my misfortune, which now seemed to have reached its climax, so overcame me that I fell down in a swoon, and lay as if dead. I have been told that it was four hours before I came to myself, during which time they had done everything in their power to restore me to my senses, and what I should most have felt, if I had been conscious, was, that they must have discovered I was no man, but a woman, I recovered at last, and the first thing I saw was the face of my brother and of my husband, the latter held me in his arms. I do not know’ how it was that I did not die that moment; I do not know how it was that my tongue did not cleave to the roof of my mouth; all I know is, that I knew not what they said to me; but, I heard my brother say, ‘What means this dress, my sister?’ and my husband said, ‘What is this disguise, my soul? If I did not know so well your virtue and honour, my sweet wife, this dress should be exchanged only for a shroud.’

‘Your wife?’ said my brother, ‘this seems as strange a story to me as it is to find her thus disguised; but if it be true, it would be a sufficient recompense for the trouble it causes me to see her thus.’

“At this instant I had begun to recover my scattered senses, and I remember that I said, ‘Dear brother, I am Ambrosia Agustina, thy sister, I am also the wife of Senor Contarino de Arbolanchez; Love, and thy absence, O my brother, gave him to me as a husband; but, on the wedding day he left me, and I, rash, desperate, and inconsiderate, set off to seek him in this disguise. Then I told them all the story I have already narrated, and I had the good fortune (for now my fortune was beginning to amend) to find that they believed me, and pitied me. I then heard that my husband had been taken prisoner with one of the two vessels in which he had sailed for Genoa, and that it was only two days ago that he had recovered his liberty, and had had no time or opportunity to see my brother till the moment of my fainting. Events so strange are hardly credible, yet it is all as I have said. In these galleys the lady whom you saw with me was going to Italy with her two nieces; her son has the charge of the royal patrimony in Sicily; they supplied me with the dress I now wear, and my husband and brother sent us on shore to refresh and amuse ourselves, and see the friends that they have in this city. If you are going to Rome, I will make my brother convey you to the nearest seaport. The case of cordials I would fain repay with the best I possess; and if I should not myself go to Italy, I would ask my brother to take my debt upon him. This, my friends, is my history; if you should find it hard to believe I cannot wonder; but there is a common saying that it is courtesy to believe, and, in yours, which must be great, I place my credit.”

Thus the fair Ambrosia ended her story; and now her hearers began to express their interest and admiration, and to discuss the different circumstances of the case; and then Constance and Auristella began embracing Ambrosia, who was to return to her home by her husband’s desire, because, however charming and lovely she may be, the company of a wife is embarrassing in times of war to a husband.

That night the sea ran very high, so much so that it was necessary to loosen the galleys that were anchored in the bay, which in this part was not safe for them. The courteous Catalans, a people terrible when angry, and most supremely courteous when at peace, to maintain both which qualities they almost outdo themselves, which is therefore outdoing all other nations, visited and feasted the Lady Ambrosia as much as was possible.

Auristella, who had learned by experience what it was to encounter a storm at sea, would not embark in the galleys, but determined to go by way of France, which was then quiet. Ambrosia returned to Arragon. The galleys continued their voyage, and the pilgrims their journey, entering France by way of Perpignan.

Chapter XIII.

OUR party wished to take Perpignan as their first entrance into France. The adventures of Ambrosia furnished them with conversation for some days, her great youth forming some excuse for her many errors, and they all were disposed to find pardon for her rashness in the great love she bore her husband. She had, as I before said, returned home to her own country; the galleys had gone on their voyage, and our pilgrims on their journey.

They travelled through the land of France, and passing through Languedoc, entered Provence, where, in an inn at which they rested, they found three ladies of such extraordinary beauty, that, had not Auristella been in the world, they might have borne away the palm of beauty. They seemed to be of high degree, judging by their retinue and attendants. They, on seeing the pilgrims, were struck by the grace of Periander and the peerless beauty of Auristella and Constance; they went up to them, and, with smiling countenances and courteous demeanour, asked who they were in the Castilian tongue, for they perceived that they were Spanish pilgrims; and in France there is neither man nor woman but learns the Spanish language. Whilst the ladies were waiting for Auristella’s reply, to whom they had addressed themselves, Periander had stepped aside to converse with a servant, who appeared to belong to the illustrious Frenchwomen, asking him who they were, and whither going; and he answered, “The Duke de Nemours, who is of the blood-royal in this country, is a gallant and very prudent gentleman, but withal he loves his pleasures; he has lately come into possession of his inheritance, and is resolved to marry, not to please others, but to choose for himself, even though he is offered great increase of wealth and property, and although he is acting contrary to the king’s commands; but, he says, that kings may give what wives they choose to their vassals, but he does not choose that they should give one to him. With this fantasy, or folly, or wisdom, or whatever you please to call it, he has despatched some of his servants to different parts of France in search of women, who must, besides being of high birth, be beautiful, for him to select a wife from among them. He does not care for wealth, but is satisfied to let her portion be her qualities and her beauty. He had heard of these three ladies, and sent me, who am in his service, to see them, and have their portraits taken by a famous painter, who travels with me; all three are free from any engagement; all are young, as you perceive; the eldest, who is called Delicia, is very sensible, but poor; the middle one, whose name is Bellarmina, is high-minded and witty, and moderately rich; the least of the three is called Felicia Flora, she is much the richest of all. They are all acquainted with the duke’s desire, and I have a conjecture that each lady would gladly be the chosen one. Having an opportunity to go to Rome for the jubilee of this year, which is the Centenary, so kept according to custom, they have left their homes, and mean to go to Paris and see the duke, hoping, perhaps, that this may be of some avail. But, Sir Pilgrim, since you have come here I have determined to carry my master a present, which will entirely put an end to any hopes these ladies may have conceived, for I intend to take him the portrait of this fair pilgrim who is with you, for she is the sole queen of all earthly beauty; and if she was but as highly born as she is beautiful, my master’s servants would have no further to go, nor he anything more to desire. Tell me, sir, on your life, if this pilgrim is married, what is her name, and what her parentage?” To which Periander tremblingly replied, “Her name is Auristella; she is on her way to Rome, and who her parents are, she has never told anybody; that she is free and unmarried I can assure you, for that I know without a doubt; but there is another thing to be said, which is, that she is so independent and mistress of her own will, that she will never submit it to any earthly prince, because, she says, that she will submit it only to a heavenly one; and to convince you that this is the truth, learn that I am her brother, and acquainted with her most secret thoughts; so it will be of no use at all to have her picture taken, but would serve only to disturb the mind of your master, if by chance he should feel disposed to overlook the humble birth of our parents.”

“Notwithstanding this,” said the other, “I must have the picture if only for curiosity, and that France may be made acquainted with this new miracle of beauty.”

So saying, they took leave of each other, and Periander wished to quit the place directly, that the painter might not have time to take Auristella’s portrait. Bartholomew had to get the mule ready afresh, and again began to be out of sorts with Periander for being in such a hurry to move.

The duke’s servant, seeing that Periander meant to depart immediately, came to him and said, “I would fain, sir, have entreated you to stay a short time in this place, if but until night, that my painter might have time and space to take the likeness of your sister; but you may go in peace, for the painter assures me that though he has only seen her once, her image is so fixed in his imagination that he can paint her by himself quite as well as if he was looking at her.”

Periander cursed the rare skill of the artist in his heart, but not the less for this did he wish to be gone; taking leave directly of the three charming Frenchwomen, who embraced Auristella and Constance warmly, and offered to take them to Rome along with their party, if they pleased. Auristella thanked them in the most polite manner she knew, telling them that she obeyed her brother Periander in all things, and that neither she nor Constance could stay behind, since her brother Antonio and Periander were going. So they departed, and in about a week they arrived at a place in Provence; what happened there will be told in the next chapter.

Chapter XIV.

HISTORY, poetry, and painting resemble one another, and so it appears that in writing history, one paints a picture; in painting, one composes a story; history does not always treat of weighty matters, neither does the painter always choose great or magnificent subjects for his pencil; poetry is not always in the clouds; history must treat of base deeds; painting has grass and furze in her pictures, and poetry exalts humble things. These truths are shown in our history.

It was noon, the sun’s rays shot down vertically upon the ground, and the heat was very great; many pleasant looking houses were scattered over the peaceful plains through which they were now travelling, where the gentry of this country passed the greater part of the year, seldom quitting them for a town life. Our travellers had arrived near one of these, which was a little distant from the high road; the shadow cast by a tall tower of the dwelling, invited them to take their siesta there, as the heat threatened to be great. The careful Bartholomew unloaded his mule, and spread a carpet on the ground; they seated themselves in a circle, and prepared to make their repast upon the provisions that Bartholomew had taken care to provide, which were welcome, for they were beginning to feel hungry; but, hardly had they raised their hands to their mouths, when Bartholomew, looking up, cried out, “Get away, gentlemen! ladies, get away quickly! here is something tumbling down from the skies, I know not what, but it will not be well to have it fall on us.” They looked up, and saw a figure coming down from above, which, before they could tell what it was, fell almost at Periander’s feet. The figure proved to be a very pretty woman who had been thrown from the top of the tower; but, her clothes serving as a bell, supported her like wings, and she got up unhurt, a thing quite possible without any miracle. However, the event left her in a state of great agitation and fright, as also was the state of those who had seen her fall. In the tower, loud shrieks and screams were heard from a woman whom they saw struggling with a man, and it seemed as if each was endeavouring to throw the other over.

“Help, help!” cried the woman, “Help me, gentlemen, for this madman wants to throw me down from the tower!”

The flying woman, now somewhat recovered, said, “If any of you are bold enough to go up through that door, (pointing to one at the foot of the tower,) you might save my children and other helpless creatures from the mortal danger they are in.”

Periander, impelled by his generous feelings, instantly went in, and, in a few minutes they saw him on the top of the tower engaged with the seeming madman, from whom he had taken a knife, and was trying to defend himself; but fate had determined that the tragedy of the man’s life should end here, and both fell together from the height on the ground below. The madman had stabbed himself with the knife that Periander held, and Periander’s eyes, nose and mouth were streaming with blood; for as he had no petticoats to sustain him, the fall took its effect, and he lay lifeless upon the earth.

Auristella, seeing him thus, immediately supposed him dead; she threw herself upon his body, and, without caring who saw her, she pressed her mouth to his, as if she expected to receive some last breath or last token; but although there had been any such, she would not have received it, because the firmly-closed teeth would have denied its exit. Constance was in no condition to lend her aid, for she stood as if transfixed on the spot, her feet glued to the ground, as though she was taking root there, or as if she had been a marble statue. Antonio flew to assist the sufferers, and to separate the living from those he believed were dead corpses. Bartholomew was the only one of the party whose eyes expressed the grief that he felt in his heart, and he was weeping loudly.

All being in this deep affliction, whilst as yet no one had uttered a word of speech, it was seen that a troop of people was approaching, who had probably from the high road perceived the persons falling from the tower, and came to ask what had happened. It was the travelling party of the three beautiful French ladies, Delicia, Bellarmina, and Felicia Flora. As soon as they came up, they recognized in Auristella and Periander the two pilgrims, whose marvellous beauty left an impression never to be forgotten by any one who had ever seen them. Scarcely had their compassion caused them to alight, in order to give some assistance if possible to the distress they saw before them, when they were assailed from behind by seven or eight armed men, who fell suddenly upon them; at sight of this, Antonio seized his bow and arrows, which were never far off, and which he always kept ready for defence or offence. One of the ruffians had seized upon Felicia Flora, and placed her on his saddle before him; then, turning to his companions, he said, “It is done, this one will do; let us be off.” Antonio, who saw this discourteous act, fitted an arrow to his bow, extended to the utmost his left arm, and drew the string with his right till it touched his right ear, so that the two extreme points of the bow almost met, then, taking the robber who held Felicia Flora as his mark, let fly his arrow; without touching Felicia Flora, except a portion of the veil which covered her head, it pierced the ruffian through the body: one of his companions hastened to avenge him, and, without giving Antonio time to fit a second arrow to his bow, he dealt him so violent a blow on the head, that he fell to the ground senseless. At this sight, Constance left off being a statue, and flew to her brother’s assistance. The force of kindred blood was such that it warmed hers, which had frozen at the sight of a friend’s sorrow; both, signs of strong affection.

By this time people had come out of the house armed, and the servants in the suite of the three ladies, who were unarmed, had collected stones, and came to the defence of their mistresses. The robbers, who saw their leader dead, and that so many persons were collected, began to think they should gain nothing by the enterprise, and that it would be madness to risk their lives for one who could no longer reward them; they therefore turned their backs and fled, leaving the field free. Hitherto, in this affray, few sword strokes had been heard; no warlike instruments of music had sounded, the wail of the living over the dead had not yet been heard, but in bitter silence the sorrowing ones kept their grief within their lips, only some sad moans and sobs had issued from the breasts of the miserable Auristella and Constance, each one closely embracing her brother, without being able to utter those complaints which relieve the breaking heart. But, at length, heaven not having ordained that they should die thus suddenly, and without complaint or lamentation, untied their tongues, which had been cleaving to the roof of their mouths, and Auristella burst forth in these words: —

“Unhappy that I am, how am I to seek for any breath in a dead body, or how should I be able to feel it, if I am so deprived of it myself that I know not whether I can speak or breathe. Alas, my brother! and what a fall was this, that has so destroyed all my hopes; alas! and could not your high lineage save you from this misfortune? But would it have been so great if you were not so high? The highest mountains attract the lightning, and where it meets with most resistance it does the greatest harm; you were a mountain, but a humble mountain, for you concealed yourself from the eyes of men in the shade of your wisdom and your ability; you were going to seek your fortune in mine, but death has cut short the intention, and mine is going with it to the tomb. What will the queen, your mother, do, when the news of your unexpected death reaches her ears? Alas! woe is me, once more alone in a foreign land, like the poor ivy torn from her natural support.” These words about queens, and mountains, and greatness, caught the attention of the listening bystanders, and increased their wonder; Constance, who held her wounded brother in her lap whilst the compassionate Felicia Flora tried to staunch the blood with her own handkerchief, spoke thus: —

“Alas!” she said, “my protector, what avails it that fortune has raised me if misfortune is to destroy me. Return to me, O my brother! if you wish that I should return to my senses; or, if not, ye pitying heavens, let our eyes be closed in death together, and one grave receive our bodies, for the good fortune I met with so unexpectedly can bring no better boon than a speedy end.” So saying, she fell fainting on the ground; and Auristella was no better off, so that they seemed more dead than the wounded ones.

The lady who fell from the tower, the chief cause of Periander’s fall, ordered her servants, several of whom had come out of the house, to carry him to the bed of Count Domicio, her lord and husband; she likewise commanded them to take his body up that it might receive burial; Bartholomew took the young Antonio in his arms; the ladies had charge of Auristella and Constance, and, in mournful procession and with slow steps, they moved along to the almost regal looking mansion.

Chapter XV.

THE sage advice that the three French ladies gave to the two mourners, Constance and Auristella, was of small avail, for in a recent grief there is no room for consolation. In the agony of a sudden disaster we cannot accept at once of any comfort, however wisely it may be administered; a fresh wound is painful till it is closed, and it takes time to heal before it is again opened; therefore, whilst one weeps, whilst one groans, whilst one is under the influence of the grief that causes one’s lamentations and sighs, it is not discreet at all to offer remedies. Let us then leave Auristella still to weep, and Constance to lament, and both to shut their ears to all consolation, whilst the fair Clarice relates the cause of her husband’s madness.

She told the French ladies, that, before he married her, he was in love with a relation of his own, who had every expectation of marrying him. “My lot seemed to promise fair, only to become the darker in the end,” said Clarice; “for Lorena, (so this relation was called,) concealing the anger she felt at our marriage, used to load him with a variety of presents, the most agreeable and pleasing, rather than costly; among which, she sent him once, much as the false Dejanira sent the shirt to Hercules, I say she sent him some shirts of the finest linen and of beautiful workmanship. Scarcely had he put one on, when he became senseless, and for two days lay like a corpse, although we directly took it off, fancying that it had been bewitched by a slave of Lorena’s, who was supposed to be a dealer in magic arts. My husband was restored to life, but his mind was so disturbed and upset, that everything he did was like the act of a madman, and not a quiet madman, but so cruel, furious and wild, that it became necessary to chain him; and, to-day, I being in the tower, he contrived to escape from his place of confinement, and flung me through the upper windows, but I was preserved by my wide garments, which bore me up, or rather, I ought to say, by the mercy of God, who protects the innocent.” Then she told how the pilgrim had gone up into the tower to the assistance of another woman, one of her attendants, whom he was also trying to throw over, and with her were two little children whom he wished to strangle, but that the event was that the count and the pilgrim had been dashed down from the tower to the ground below, the count, wounded mortally, and the pilgrim having a knife in his hand, which it appeared he had wrested from the madman, his wound was such that it needed not the fall to kill him, the wound was enough in itself.

Meantime, Periander still lay senseless on the bed where they had placed him, and where the surgeons came to see him and set the dislocated bones. They gave him medicines proper for his case, felt his pulse, and, by degrees, he came a little to himself, and knew some of the persons who stood round him, especially Auristella, to whom, in a scarcely audible voice, he said, “Sister, I die in the holy Catholic faith, and I die loving you.” He could say no more, and did not speak again at that time. They bled Antonio, and the surgeons having examined his wound, demanded a reward for the good news they were able to give his sister, that it was deep, but not mortal, and that they would promise to cure him by the help of heaven. Felicia Flora rewarded them handsomely first, and Constance afterwards; and the surgeons, not to be over scrupulous, took it from both.

It took a month and rather more for the invalids to be cured: the French ladies would not hear of leaving them, so great a friendship had sprung up between them and Auristella, and Constance and their two brothers; Felicia Flora, especially, could not quit Antonio’s bedside, loving him with a gentle affection, so delicate, that it only seemed kind feeling and gratitude for the deed he had done in saving her when his arrow freed her from the grasp of Rupertino, who was, she told them, a gentleman, lord of a castle not far from her own, and that he, impelled by a desperate passion, not by real love, had long followed and persecuted her to marry him; but that she knew well both by experience and by the voice of common fame, which seldom lies, that the character of Rupertino was harsh and cruel, and that his disposition was changeable and capricious, for which reason she had refused his suit. She guessed, therefore, that furious at her disdain, he had made this attempt to seize her person by force, since she would not give herself to him willingly; but the arrow of Antonio had cut short his wicked designs, and that for this she felt most grateful.

When at length the moment came that the invalids felt health returning, and by their reviving strength showing signs of this; also, with health, revived their wish to pursue their journey: they therefore set to work to provide all things necessary for this. As I before said, the French ladies would not separate from the pilgrims, and already began to treat them with more respect and admiration, since, from the words that were uttered by Auristella in her wild grief, they had an idea of their being persons of very high quality, for sometimes majesty clothes itself in sackcloth and grandeur conceals itself in humility. In fact, they regarded them with perplexity; the poor retinue they had, looked as if they were persons of middling condition, but the grace and elegance of their manners, and their extreme beauty, made them seem of almost heavenly birth. Thus they continued to be in doubt with respect to their real rank and quality. It was decided by the French ladies that they should travel on horseback, because Periander’s fall had made it impossible for him to go on foot. The grateful Felicia Flora would not quit the side of Antonio, and discoursing upon the daring act of Rupertino, whom they left dead and buried, and of the strange history of the Count Domicio, whom his cousin’s fatal gifts had first deprived of reason, then of life, and also of the miraculous flight of his wife, more wonderful than credible; they arrived upon the banks of a river which was fordable with some trouble. Periander was of opinion that they should seek a bridge, but all the rest objected to this, and, just as a flock of sheep when all crowded in a narrow space, one makes itself a way out and all the rest directly follow, so Bellarmina dashed into the stream, and all followed her example; Periander, however, never quitting Auristella’s side, nor Antonio that of Felicia Flora, his sister, Constance, being also close by him. Now fate so willed it that the rapid motion of the water affected Felicia Flora’s head, so that she fell off her horse into the middle of the river; but, quick, as thought, the gallant Antonio darted after her, and upon his shoulders bore her, like a second Europa, safe to the opposite shore. She, seeing his quick action, said, “Thou art very courteous, Spaniard.” To which Antonio replied, “If my courteous deeds did not spring from your dangers, they might be estimable; but, born as they are of them, they rather grieve than gladden me.”

The party at last all passed over, and reached at nightfall a farmhouse, which was also an inn, in which they found lodging to their liking; and what happened to them here demands a new style and a new chapter.

Chapter XVI.

THINGS sometimes happen in this world, that if people were beforehand to devise or project them, they never could succeed in so doing, and so from that and their rarity they pass as apocryphal, and are not believed to be as true as they are, and it is necessary to help people’s belief by swearing to the truth, or, at least, it requires that the relator should be a person of good credit, although, for my part, I am of opinion that it is best not to tell them at all, according to the advice in the old Castilian adage, —

“Very wonderful things

Should never be told,

For it is not every one

That can enter into them.”

Our pilgrims had not been long in the inn when Bartholomew came and said, “Make haste, sir, and come and see the most extraordinary sight you ever saw in your life!” He said this in such a scared and frightened manner, that, thinking they were going to see some very strange thing, they followed him, and in a part of the house at some distance from that in which the pilgrims and the ladies were lodged, they saw through some matting an apartment entirely hung with black, the murky darkness of which prevented them from seeing distinctly what was in it. Whilst they were looking at it, an old man, also dressed in black, came up to them, and said, “Gentlemen, if you wish to see the Lady Ruperta without her seeing you, I will contrive it so that you shall be gratified; in about two hours after midnight you will have an opportunity of seeing what will surprise you, both as to her beauty and behaviour.”

“Sir,” said Periander, “our servant, that you see here, brought us to see a wonder, but we have seen nothing yet, except a room hung with black, which is not wonderful at all.”

“If you will return hither at the hour I have named,” replied the man in black, “you shall see what will surprise you; for you must know that in this apartment lodges the Lady Ruperta, who was, not quite a year ago, the wife of Earl Lambert, of Scotland, which marriage cost him his life, and has placed her in danger of losing it every hour; for Claudio Rubicon, a gentleman of very good family in Scotland, whose great wealth and ancient lineage rendered him proud and overbearing, and he being also of a warm temperament, loved my mistress when she was a maiden; but she, whether she disliked him or not, at any rate, rejected him, and showed her disdain of his addresses by marrying the earl my master. This hasty act of hers seemed as if it was a proof of contempt and aversion to Rubicon, as if the fair Ruperta had not parents who fixed and directed her choice, and, added to which, the years of the husband chosen for her, were far better suited to her own; and it is no doubt desirable that this should be considered in a marriage, although it is good for the husband to have the advantage in point of age. Now Rubicon was a widower, and far from young, and he had a son of about twenty or one-and-twenty years old, a young man extremely amiable, and of a much better disposition than his father, indeed, had it been he who had offered himself, my master might be still alive, and my mistress happier.

“It chanced then that my lady and her husband being at a country seat of his where they had gone to enjoy themselves together, one day, in a lonely spot, they suddenly met Rubicon, attended by a strong party of his servants. At the sight of my lady all the fury he had felt at the injury he conceived she had done him, was aroused, and, instead of love, hate and rage sprang up in his soul, and a desire to revenge himself on her; and as the revenge of a despised lover far surpasses the offence given, so Rubicon, enraged and desperate with jealousy and hate, drew his sword, and ran the earl my master through the body, crying, ‘If this be cruelty, far greater has been that of thy wife to me, for her disdain has tortured me a hundred thousand times!’

“I was present during this scene, these ears heard his words, and these eyes saw the blow given, and with these hands did I endeavour to close the wound. I heard the lamentations of my mistress which pierced the air. We returned to the spot afterwards to remove the body for burial, and by her command the head was cut off, and, in a few days, by dint of certain applications used, all the flesh was removed from the skull. She had a silver case made to hold it, and, placing her hand thereon, she made the following vow: but I forgot to mention that the cruel murderer, either from forgetfulness, or in his fury, or possibly from the hurry of mind he must have been in, left his sword sticking in my lord’s body; and his blood even now looks fresh upon the blade. I was going to tell you that she pronounced these words: —

“‘I, the hapless Ruperta, to whom God gave the fatal gift of beauty, make this vow before high Heaven: with my hand placed on these sad relics, I swear to revenge my husband’s death by all the means in my power, and with all diligence, though I were to risk therein my miserable life a thousand times. No dangers shall scare me, no entreaties shall avail to soften me, and until I have succeeded in effecting this my just, if not Christian resolve, I swear that my apparel shall be black, my apartments hung with the same gloomy hue, my attendants shall wear mourning, and I will have no company, but live in solitude; at every meal I will have these relics present, which keep up the torment of my soul; this head, which shall, without a voice, command me to revenge its injury; this sword, on which I seem to see the yet streaming blood, shall, by kindling mine, leave me no rest until I am avenged!’

“After speaking thus, her tears seemed to flow less incessantly, and her sighs and complaints became more moderate. She then began to arrange a journey to Rome, to obtain there from some powerful personages, aid and protection against the murderer of her husband, who still threatens her.

“Now, sirs, you will see what I have told you if you come in about two hours from this time; if you are not moved and astonished by it, either I have told my story ill, or your hearts must be of marble.”

Here the mourning squire ceased speaking, and the pilgrims, even without having seen Ruperta, were filled with wonder and compassion for her case.

Chapter XVII.

ANGER is said to be a revolution of the blood about the heart, which warms up at sight of the object which inflamed it, and sometimes with the bare recollection of the offence. It hath for its final goal and resting place, vengeance, which, when it is taken upon the offender with or without reason, calms the ire. This would lead us to suppose the beautiful Ruperta passionate and vindictive, and with so strong a desire to be revenged upon her enemy, that even if she knew that he was dead, her hatred would extend to his descendants, of whom she would not wish to leave one alive, for the wrath of a woman is boundless.

The hour came when the pilgrims were to see her, themselves unseen. They saw her extremely lovely, with a long and flowing white veil, which reached from her head to her feet, as she was seated before a table, on which was placed the head of her murdered lord in its silver case, the sword that had deprived him of life, and a shirt, which was all stained with his blood.

All these melancholy memorials reawakened her anger, which needed no arousing, for it never slept; she arose from her seat, and putting her right hand upon the head, she began to renew the vow of which the mourning squire had told them; showers of tears rained from her eyes, enough to have bathed the sad relics in, sighs burst from her heart, which filled the air far and near; to the usual form of her vow she added words of more intense hatred, so that at times it almost seemed as if fire instead of tears sparkled in her eyes, and from her mouth proceeded smoke instead of sighs, such a slave was she to her passionate desire for revenge — see her weep, see her sigh, see her beside herself, see her brandish the murderous steel, see her kiss the bloodstained shirt, and hear the sobs that impede her words; but, wait only till the morrow, and you will see things that would give you something to talk of for a thousand years, if you were to live so long.

Ruperta was still in the midst of her passionate grief, when one of her attendants entered like a dark phantom, for he was clad in deep mourning vestments, and, in trembling accents, he said, “Lady, the son of your enemy has just alighted with several servants at the door of this inn, Croriano, the gallant, as he is called. Think whether it is your pleasure to discover your being here to him, and if you wish he should know it, or what you like to do, whilst you have time to consider it.”

“Let him know nothing about my being here,” answered Ruperta; “and warn all my servants that they take care not to mention my name, nor discover me to him.” So saying, she gathered up her tokens, and commanded the room to be closed, and that no one should enter it.

The pilgrims returned to theirs; she remained alone and very thoughtful. I cannot tell how it came to be known that she spoke aloud to the following effect, but so it was, in these, or very nearly these, words: —

“Behold now, O Ruperta, how Heaven in its justice has brought hither, like a victim to the sacrifice, the very soul of thine enemy; for sons, and most of all, an only son, are like a part of their father’s self. Forget, O Ruperta, that thou art a woman, and if thou canst not forget that, then think that thou art a justly incensed one, and that thy husband’s blood cries to thee for vengeance; and this poor speechless head is saying, ‘Revenge me, sweet wife, on him who murdered me, guiltless as I was of all offence! Remember Judith who was not afraid of the brave Holofernes.’ It is true that my case is different from hers; she chastised an enemy of her God, and I would punish one who is not even mine own enemy; love of her country placed in her hands the steel, and love of a dead husband places it in mine; but why do I delay, making these senseless comparisons? What have I to do but to shut my eyes and bury the steel deep in this boy’s heart; the more innocent he, the greater will my vengeance be. Let me then exalt the avenger’s name, and let come what may, I must accomplish my task, and do the deed, even though it should be my own death.”

Having thus resolved, she took measures to get admittance into the chamber where Croriano slept. She easily gained this by means of one of his servants, who was won over by her gold, thinking also that he was not doing any very ill office to his master in bringing so beautiful a lady into his apartment. She concealed herself in a part where she could not be seen, and committing her fate to Heaven, buried in the profoundest silence, she awaited the moment of her long desired revenge.

She had taken, as the instrument whereby to effect this, a sharp knife, which she thought would be the least embarrassing and most handy weapon she could choose: she also had with her a small lamp, in which burned a wax light. She hardly dared to breathe. What will not a furious woman dare to do? what heaps of difficulties will she not trample under foot? what enormous cruelties will not seem to her like the gentlest deeds?

At length the hour arrived; — Croriano entered his room, and fatigued with his journey, went immediately to bed, giving himself up (little dreaming of death so near) to repose.

Ruperta listened attentively to ascertain whether Croriano slept or no, and having satisfied herself that he slept, both from the length of time that he had been in bed, and from certain long-drawn breaths, which none but sleepers give, she opened her lamp to find her way across the room, and without either crossing herself, or invoking any Saint to assist her, she made her way to the bedside. Ah, beauteous murderess, lovely fury, charming executioner, now satisfy thy fierce wrath: strike the blow and blot out thy injury for ever; for there he lies before thee, on whom thou mayest wreak thy long desired revenge. But pause an instant, O beautiful Ruperta, and take one look before thou strikest, or rather do not look upon that most lovely Cupid who lies sleeping there, for in a moment that sight will effect a change in the whole tenour of thy thoughts.

She reached the bed, and with a trembling hand removed the coverlet from the face of Croriano, who was buried in a profound sleep Medusa’s head which changed the gazer into marble, never produced a more sudden effect. Struck by the sight of so much beauty, she let fall the murderous knife, and this afforded her time to reflect for a moment upon the deed she was about to commit. The exceeding beauty of the youth dispersed the shades of death that hung over him, as the sun’s rays melt the snow, and he no longer appeared to her in the light of a victim to a cruel sacrifice, but rather as a holy peace offering.

“Ah!” said she to herself, “noble youth, thou art fitter far to be my husband than the object of my vengeance; what part hast thou in thy father’s crime? why shouldst thou be punished who hast done no fault? Live and be happy, thou lovely youth, and my revenge and cruelty shall sleep within my own breast: a better name it will make for me to be called the forgiving instead of the revengeful.” As these thoughts passed through her mind, troubled and repentant, she let her lamp fall from her hand upon the sleeper, who awoke. The light was extinguished, and Ruperta hoped to escape in the darkness, but could not find her way out. Meantime Croriano called aloud for his attendants, and snatching up his sword, leaped out of bed. He soon found and seized Ruperta, who trembling, said, “Do not kill me, Croriano, though I am a woman who not an hour ago could have killed thee, and now I am reduced to beg my life at thy hands.”

At this crisis the servants rushed in with lights, and saw Croriano, and recognized the beautiful widow, who looked like the resplendent moon enveloped in white clouds.

“What can this mean, lady Ruperta?” he asked; “is this the vengeance you have sworn to execute; and do you desire that I should pay for my father’s injustice? What means this knife I see? what can it mean but that you came to be my executioner? My father is already dead, and the dead can no longer afford satisfaction for the offences they have committed; the living can, and I, who now represent my father, will gladly make any amends in my power for the injury he did to you; but first let me touch you, and see whether you are indeed flesh and blood, or a phantom sent to kill or to delude me, or it may be, sent for my good.”

“And for thy hurt,” said Ruperta, “if indeed Heaven can find a sadder fate for me than I have hitherto experienced. You came to this house; I did not see you, but I heard your name, which aroused my angry feelings, and incited me to vengeance. I bribed one of your servants to admit me into your sleeping apartment. I came here, prepared as you may see, and in the full intention of taking your life. When I found that you were asleep, I left my hiding-place, and by the light of the lamp which I had brought with me, I uncovered and saw your face, which filled me with feelings of respect and reverence, so that it blunted the steel which I held, and my desire for vengeance died away. I let the lamp fall — it awoke you — you cried out. I remained in great perplexity; hence all that you have seen. I no longer feel the desire for revenge, nor to remember my injury. Live in peace; I wish to be the first to ask forgiveness myself, if I have not already pardoned you for the fault you never committed.”

“Lady,” answered Croriano, “my father wished to marry you, but you rejected him. In his anger he slew your husband: — he is dead, and his crime has gone with him to another world. I am left as a part of him to do what I can for the good of his soul. Mine is yours if you will have it. Take me as your husband, if you are not, as I said before, a delusive phantom; so great a piece of good fortune coming thus suddenly must bring suspicion along with it.”

“Give me your hand, my lord,” answered she, “and you will find that I am no phantom, and that the heart I shall bestow on you is simple, pure, and true.” The servants were made to witness their betrothal. That night sweet peace triumphed over grim war. The field of battle was changed for the bridal bed: love sprang out of hatred, life from death, and happiness from discontent.

When the pilgrims came on the following morning to know what the mourning Ruperta had done about the arrival of her enemy’s son, of which they had been told, they learned the story of the new betrothal; and as they went to offer their congratulations to the young pair, at the entrance of Ruperta’s apartment they met the ancient squire, who had related to them her story, laden with the silver case, wherein the skull of her deceased husband was enshrined, and with the blood stained shirt and sword that had so often renewed the grief of Ruperta, and he said he was to remove them to where the sight should never again disturb the glorious present with the mournful memory of the past. He murmured at Ruperta’s inconstancy, and at that of women in general; the smallest of the faults he charged them with was caprice.

Nevertheless, both Ruperta’s and Croriano’s attendants rejoiced, and the little inn seemed changed into a royal palace fit for such great espousals.

Periander, Auristella, Constance, and Antonio had much discourse with the betrothed pair, and made them acquainted with as much of their own history as was necessary.

Chapter XVIII. — A Fire breaks out in the Inn; all the party are removed from it by an Astrologer, and carried to his cave, where he foretells happy events.

Chapter XIX.

OUR pilgrims again are on their way. They were passed on the road by about seven or eight persons on horseback; among them was a woman seated upon a rich side saddle, on a mule, and dressed in a travelling habit, all green, except her hat, the rich plumes of which floated on the breeze, and her face was covered with a green veil. They went by, and passed on before them without turning their heads, or speaking a word, but silently saluted them, and went forwards. The others did the same, they also bowed and said nothing.

One of the party remained behind the rest, and coming up to the pilgrims and their friends, asked if they could afford them a little water. They gave it, and inquired who the persons were that had gone on, and who was the lady in green; to which the traveller answered, “He who rides yonder, is Signor Alexander Castrucho, a gentleman of Capua, and one of the richest men, not only in Capua, but of the whole kingdom of Naples. The lady is his niece, the lady Isabella Castrucho, who was born in Spain, where she has left her father buried, and in consequence of his death her uncle is bringing her to Capua to be married, and I believe she is not very well pleased with this.”

“That may be very likely,” said the aged squire of the lady Ruperta, (for she and Croriano were now added to the party,) “not because she is going to be married, but because the journey is long. I hold it that no woman alive but is longing for the other half she wants, — a husband.”

“I cannot tell about these philosophies,” replied the traveller, “all I know is, that she looks very melancholy, and she probably knows why; and now I must say adieu, for my masters are much in advance,” and so spurring on, he was shortly out of sight.

The French ladies had determined to give up going to Paris, and to travel straight to Rome with the pilgrims, who had decided to leave France by Dauphiny, and crossing Piedmont and the States of Milan, visit Florence, and proceed on to Rome.

For many days they travelled without meeting any adventure worth relating. They entered Milan, admired the grandeur of the town, its wealth, its gilding, its warlike forges, as if Vulcan himself had set up there. The infinite abundance of its fruits, the size of its churches, and lastly, the sharp wits of its inhabitants. They had heard from their host that the thing best worth seeing was the Academy of the Entronados, which boasted of some of the most eminent academicians, whose subtle reasonings and arguments had gained renown for them throughout the whole world. They heard that this was a day when an argument would be held, and that it was to be, Whether love could exist without jealousy?

“It can,” said Periander. “To decide this it is not necessary to lose much time.”

“I,” said Auristella, “do not know what is meant by love, although I know what it is to love well.”

To which Bellarmina answered, “I cannot understand this mode of talking, nor the difference between love and loving well.”

“It is,” said Auristella, “that loving well may be without any very great or violent emotion, as one can love a faithful servant, or a statue, or a picture, which pleases one very much, and this does not cause jealousy, nor can give it; but the passion which is generally called love, and which is a violent emotion of the soul, even when it does not produce jealousy can cause such fears as go nigh to destroy life itself, and from this it seems to me that love cannot be free.”

“You say well, lady,” observed Periander, “for when I did there ever exist a lover, who, possessing the beloved one, does not tremble lest he should lose it? There is no happiness so secure that it may not be overturned; — no nail so strong as to stop the wheel of fortune; — and if it were not that we are anxious not to delay our journey, perhaps I might prove to-day in the academy, that love can exist without jealousy, but not without fear.”

Thus ended the conversation. They stayed in Milan four days, during which they saw a great part of its grandeur, but not all, as that would have taken them four years.

From thence they went to Lucca, a small town, but beautiful and free, which, under the wings of the empire and of Spain, looks loftily down upon the cities of the surrounding princes, who long to possess her. Here Spaniards are better received and regarded than in any other place; and here our travellers met with one of the strangest adventures that had yet befallen them.

Chapter XX.

THE inns at Lucca are large enough to lodge a whole regiment of soldiers; in one of these our pilgrims took up their abode, being directed thither by some of the guardians of the city gates, who delivered them to the host, so that on the morrow, or when they departed, he would have to give up an account of them. As they entered, the lady Ruperta saw a person coming out who looked like a doctor, and saying so to the hostess, she replied, that he was one. “I do not know, lady,” said she, “whether the young lady is mad, or possessed by the evil one, or rather whether she is not both mad and possessed; and yet I have hopes of her recovery, if her uncle is not in too great a hurry to take her away.”

“Ah! good Heavens!” cried Ruperta, “and have we then got into a house of mad and possessed people; if it be so, we had much better not enter here.”

“Your ladyship may alight without fear,” said the hostess; “and I can assure you anybody might come a hundred miles to see the sight we have in this inn.” They all alighted, and Auristella and Constance, who had heard what the hostess said, asked her what she had so very well worth seeing in her house.

“Come with me,” said the hostess, “and you shall see what you shall see, and you will say what I say.”

She led the way, and they followed her into a room, where, on a gilded bed, was lying a very beautiful girl, seemingly not above sixteen or seventeen years of age; her arms were extended on either side, and tied with fillets to the balustrade of the bedstead, to prevent her moving them. Two women, who appeared to be nurses, were going to fasten her legs in a similar way, but she cried out, “It is enough to tie my arms: my own modesty will be sufficient restraint for the rest;” and then turning to the pilgrims, she said in a loud voice, “ye heavenly creatures, ye angels in human form, I doubt not but that you come to restore me to health, for what else can I expect from your beauteous presence and Christian-like visitation. If ye be what I take ye for, command them to untie these bands, for if I do give myself four or five blows it will be all I shall do, and will not hurt me much, for I am not so mad as I seem, nor he who torments me, so cruel as to torment me to death.”

“Poor thing! poor niece!” said an old man, who now entered the apartment; “and what is be whom thou sayest will not let thee die? Commend thyself to God, Isabella, and try to eat, — not thine own fair flesh, but what thy uncle, who loves thee dearly, brings to thee: — that which flies in the air, that which lives in the water, that which feeds upon the earth, all this I would offer to thee.”

To which the girl answered, “Let me be left alone with these angels; perhaps my enemy, the devil, will fly from me, rather than stay in their presence;” and she made signs with her head that Auristella, Constance, Ruperta, and Felicia Flora should remain with her. “The rest,” she said, “might go.” This was accordingly done with willingness, and even with entreaty, by the unhappy old man, her uncle, from whom they learned that this was the lady in green who had passed them on the road, and whose name they had heard from the servant who remained behind, was Isabella Castrucho, who was going to be married at Naples.

Hardly did the sick person find herself alone with the four ladies we have mentioned, than she looked all round the room to see if there were no others remaining. Ruperta looked and scrutinized the apartment well, and assured her that there was not a creature left but themselves; thus assured, Isabella sat up as well as she could on the bed, and seemed about to speak; but first she uttered a sigh that appeared to come from the very bottom of her heart, after which she fell back on the bed fainting, and looked so nearly dead that they were forced to call for help and for some water to bathe her face.

The miserable uncle entered, carrying a cross in one hand, and in the other a sponge dipped in holy water. With him came two priests, who, thinking that she was possessed by the evil one, began to exorcise him. The hostess also entered with water, and after bathing her face she came to herself, saying, “All these ceremonies are quite unnecessary now: I shall go away soon, but it will not be at your pleasure, but when I myself think fit, and that will be when Andrew Marulo, the son of Juan Baptista Marulo, a gentleman of this city, shall arrive here, which said Andrew is now a student at Salamanca, very little thinking of what is happening here.”

All that she said only confirmed the bystanders in the opinion that she was possessed, for they could not imagine how she could know anything about Juan Baptista Marulo, or his son Andrew, and some one present hastened to tell this Juan Baptista what the fair maniac had said of him and of his son. She again entreated to be left alone with those she had before chosen. The priests crossed themselves, and left her as she desired; judging from all she had said, they concluded that she was verily possessed with an evil spirit.

Again did Felicia Flora investigate the apartment, and shutting the door, she said to the afflicted young girl, “We are alone now, lady, tell us what you wish.”

“What I wish,” said Isabella, “is first that you unfasten these ligatures, which although soft, yet fatigue me, because they restrain me.”

They did as she desired speedily, and then Isabella seated herself upon the bed, holding Auristella with one hand and Ruperta with the other, and making Constance and Felicia Flora sit as close as they could to her on the bed, forming thus a lovely group, and with a low voice and tearful eyes she thus spoke: —

“Ladies’, I am the unhappy Isabella Castrucho, whose parents bestowed on me noble birth; fortune gave me large possessions, and Heaven conferred on me the gift of some degree of beauty. My parents came from Capua, but I was born in Spain, and brought up there in the house of an uncle, whom you saw here, and who belonged to the imperial court. Ah Heavens! must I go so far back to trace the origin of my misfortunes! Living then in my uncle’s house, and left an orphan by my parents, who, dying, bequeathed me to his guardianship, it happened that there arrived at court a young gentleman, whom I afterwards saw at church, and looked at to such purpose; (and do not for this pronounce me bold and forward, ladies, but consider I am but a woman;) I looked at him in the church I repeat, and the impression I received was such, that when I returned home his image was constantly before my eyes; I could not get the recollection of his looks out of my head. It ended in my making inquiries concerning him, and what was his quality and character, and what he was doing at court, and whither he was going; and the result of my inquiries was, that I heard he was called Andrew Marulo, the son of Juan Baptista Marulo, a gentleman of this city, more noble by birth than rich in worldly goods, and that he was going to study at Salamanca. During the week he remained I found means to write him a note, and tell him who I was, and what property I possessed; as to my looks, he could form his own opinion, having seen me at church: I also told him that it was my uncle’s intention to marry me to a cousin of my own, so as to keep my fortune in the family, — a man who was neither to my liking, nor suited to me at all, which is the truth. I bade him seize the opportunity that offered itself, and not by refusing it give himself cause for future repentance; and I begged that he would not consider my forwardness as a reason for denying me his esteem. His answer was, that having seen me very frequently in church, for myself alone, without any of those advantages of birth and fortune of which I spoke, he would have preferred me to all others, and would, if it were in his power, gladly make me mistress of the whole world; and he implored me to continue firm and faithful in my feelings for him, at least until he could leave a friend of his at Salamanca, with whom he was going to that city to finish his studies.

I replied that I could promise him this, since my love was not impetuous or indiscreet — quickly kindled, and as quickly extinguished. He then parted with me at the call of honour, not wishing to desert his friend, and with many tears which I saw him shed as he was going through the street where I lived on the day of his departure, he went, yet never left me; I too went along with him, and yet I did not depart the following day; who would believe it? In how many ways doth misfortune bring about the accomplishment of her ends to the unhappy; the following day, I say, my uncle resolved to return to Italy, and take me with him; and I could devise no excuse, nor feign sickness, for my pulse was strong, and my complexion healthy; my uncle could not have believed that I was ill, but that I was averse to his matrimonial project, and so sought for means to escape going. I found a moment in which to write and tell Andrew what had happened, and that I was forced to depart, but that I would try and go by this city, where I would feign myself possessed by the evil one, and so gain time for delay to allow time for him to leave Salamanca, and come to Lucca, where, in spite of my uncle and of the whole world, he should be my husband; that my happiness and his own depended upon the haste he made. If this plan pleased him, if my letter reached him, and it must have done, for the posts are safe and certain, he will be here before three days have passed: I, on my side, have done all I could; I have a legion of devils within me, for is it not that to have an ounce of love in one’s heart, when hope afar off is flattering one’s affections? This, ladies, is my story; this, my madness, this, my illness, my love-sick thoughts are the demons which torment me; I feel no hunger, because I expect the fulfilment of every desire; nevertheless, doubt and anxiety pursue me, for as the saying is, there is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Help me, then, dear ladies, in keeping up my imposture, and assist me by persuading my uncle, if I am not better, to delay our journey further for some days; perhaps it may please Heaven to bless me with the coming of my Andrew.”

We need not ask whether the hearers were not greatly astonished at the story of Isabella, since the story was in itself a wonder, and must strike as such the ears of all who heard it. They offered their services to assist her in her devices, and to obtain delay, in hopes of soon seeing the end of them, as they were not able to wait much longer themselves.

Chapter XXI.

THE fair Isabella made haste to assume the part of a possessed one again, and her four new friends to support her by confirming the idea of her illness, and that she was verily possessed by an evil spirit; and truly love was such, since it could make a woman seem a demoniac.

Things were in this state, and evening coming on, when the physician returned to pay a second visit, and by chance he brought with him Juan Baptista Marulo, father of Andrew, the lover. As they entered the sick room, he said, “Look at this young lady, Senor Juan Baptista; is it not a pity that a demon should have possession of so fair a body, but we console ourselves with one hope, and that is, that the evil spirit said he would go away when your son Andrew should arrive, and we are expecting him every instant.”

“So I have heard,” said the Senor Juan Baptista, “and III — should rejoice if anything of mine were to be the harbinger of such good news.”

“Thanks to me and my diligence,” cried Isabella, “but for that he might be still at Salamanca doing the Lord knows what. The Senor Juan Baptista, who is here present, may believe me when I tell him he has a son who is more handsome than holy, and not so studious as he is gallant. Evil betide the fine ornaments and gay attire of those youths who commit such havoc in the republic; and ill betide the spurs that are not sharp, and the mules that do not bestir themselves.”

Thus she ran on, stringing together all kinds of dubious words, such as might convey two meanings to those who were in the secret, and the bystanders in general. These interpreted them as they were meant. Those considered them as incoherent nonsense.

“Where did you see my son Andrew, lady?” asked Marulo; “was it at Madrid, or Salamanca?”

“It was at Illescas,” said Isabella: “he was gathering cherries on the morning of St. John at day-break; but if I must speak the truth, and it is a marvel if I do so, I see him everywhere, and carry him ever in my heart.”

“Better to be gathering cherries than catching fleas,” replied Marulo, “for that is the common occupation of the students.”

“Those creatures,” she replied, “are bold, and will enter the stocking of a prince as freely as the blanket of an hospital.”

“You know everything, evil one,” said the doctor; “it seems clear that you are an old hand.” He spoke this to the devil, who, as he imagined, was inhabiting Isabella’s body.

And now, just as if Satan had ordained it, the old uncle of Isabella entered with every mark of the greatest joy, crying out, “A reward! my niece, my beloved child; a reward for the news I bring. The Senor Andrew Marulo, son of this gentleman, Senor Juan Baptista, is just arrived; and now Heaven grant that we may see the promise accomplished, which you gave of being freed from the evil spirit at the sight of him.”

Accursed demon, vade retro, exi foras, and never think of returning to this dwelling, which thou shalt see purged and purified.

“Let him come,” said Isabella. “Let this reputed Ganymede, this counterfeit Adonis, come, and give me his hand as a husband, free and unrestrained, for here am I expecting him, firm as a rock whereon the sea waves break, but cannot move.”

Andrew Marulo entered: he had already heard in his father’s house of the stranger lady’s illness, and of her expecting him to give the sign and expel the demon. The young man was discreet, and already prepared by the letters Isabella had written to him at Salamanca, for the part he was to play when he arrived at Lucca. So without changing his travelling dress he hurried to the inn where Isabella was, and entering her apartment, like one half mad or crazed, he cried, “Avaunt, avaunt, avaunt; begone, begone, begone, for here cometh the valorous Andrew, the great commander, and lord of hell.” Those who knew the state of the case were greatly amused by all this tumult and outcry; but the physician, and even his own father, said, “Why this man is as much possessed as Isabella herself;” and the uncle said, “We expected this young man would come to help us, and do good, and I think he is come to do more harm.”

“My son,” cried his father, “be composed, calm yourself; you are like a madman.”

“He will not be mad long,” said Isabella, “if he will come to me. Am not I the centre where all his wishes and thoughts rest? am not I the goal he desires to reach?”

“Assuredly thou art,” said Andrew; “thou art the mistress of my heart, my life, and my soul. Give me thy hand, and be my wife, O lady mine, and release me from the thraldom under which I labour, to chain me in thy fetters, and make me submissive to thy yoke; once more I say give me thy hand, beloved one, and exalt the humble Andrew Marulo to the high rank of Isabella Castrucho’s husband. May every evil demon who would hinder this sweet union, fly hence for ever, and let not man divide those whom God has joined together.”

“You speak well, Senor Andrew,” said Isabella, “and that no plans, machinations, or treachery may intervene, give me your hand as my husband, and receive mine as your wife.” Andrew put forth his hand to take hers, and Auristella raised her voice and said, “It is good, it should be so given that they may be made one.”

“Astonished and stupefied, Isabella’s uncle seized the hand of Andrew, and said, “Sir, what means this? Is it the custom in this country for one devil to marry another?”

“No, truly,” said the physician, “this must needs be a joke to make the devil go; it is impossible that this case now happening could be foreseen by human understanding.”

“Nevertheless,” said Isabella’s uncle, “I desire to know from their own lips, what this marriage means, a jest, or a truth.”

“A truth,” said Isabella, “for neither is Andrew mad, nor I possessed. I have chosen him, and prefer him as my husband, if he loves, and chooses me as a wife.”

“Neither mad nor possessed, but in my perfect senses, such as God has been pleased to give me;” so saying, Andrew took Isabella’s hand, and she gave him hers, and they were thus affianced.

“What is this?” cried Castrucho; “can it be that you will thus dishonour the old man’s white hairs?”

“An alliance with my family can dishonour no one,” said Andrew’s father. “I am noble, and if not rich, yet not poor enough to ask for anything from anybody. I have never engaged in any mercantile concerns: these young people have made this marriage without my knowledge, for in young heads wisdom is not measured by years, and if young heads do foolish things sometimes, yet they often make good hits, and when they do so, although by chance, they frequently succeed better than the most prudent.” Two priests who were present said that the marriage was valid, since, if it had begun under the guise of madness, it! had been confirmed in sober truth.

“And again I will confirm it,” said Andrew; and so said Isabella. On hearing all this, the uncle, heart-broken, let his head fall upon his breast, and heaving a deep sigh, turned up his eyes, and seemed to have received his deathblow. He was carried to bed by his servants. Isabella rose from hers. Andrew took her home to his father’s house, as his wife. Two days after this there came into the church a child (the young brother of Andrew) to be christened; Isabella and Andrew to be married, and the body of her uncle to be buried. Such and so strange are the events of human life. At the same moment some are christened, others married, and others buried.

Isabella was obliged to wear mourning for that which is called death, and thus closely met together the grave and the bridal bed, mourning and mirth.

Four days more did our pilgrims remain in Lucca, and they were hospitably entertained by the newly married pair, and the noble Juan Baptista Marulo. And here the author ends the third book of his history.

Book IV.

Chapter I.

Which shows what was the conversation that passed between Periander and Auristella.

MANY and long were the disputes among our little band of pilgrims, whether the marriage of Isabella Castrucho, effected by so many devices and so much deceit, was valid or not. Periander oftentimes repeated that it was so, for that it was not their business to search into the case, but the thing which had displeased him was the mingling of baptism, marriage, and funeral together, and the ignorance of the physician, who had not been skilful enough to see through the trick of Isabella, nor to perceive the danger of her uncle. Sometimes they discoursed upon these matters, at others they retraced their past dangers. Croriano and Ruperta were eagerly trying to discover who Periander and Auristella could be, but they could not succeed in this; Constance and Antonio they also knew nothing of. They had known who the three French ladies were from the first commencement of their acquaintance.

By easy journeys they reached Aqua-pendente, a place near Rome. As they approached the town Periander and Auristella went on a little in advance of the others, out of hearing, and Periander spoke thus:— “You know well, dear lady, that the reasons which made us leave our own country and our royalty were as good as they were necessary. Already is the air of Rome playing on our cheeks, and the hopes that have supported us are beating in our hearts; already it seems to me that I am in possession of the beloved object so long desired. Look well, O Lady, whether your feelings still remain unchanged; scrutinize well your heart, and see if it is still firm and true to its first intentions, or will be after you have fulfilled your vow, which I doubt not that it will, for your royal blood cannot deceive nor give false promises. Let me then hear you say, O lovely Sigismunda, that the Periander you see before you, is the Persiles that you saw in the palace of my royal father; the same Persiles who pledged his word to you to be your husband there, and who would gladly fulfil that promise in the Deserts of Lybia, should our adverse fortune take us there.”

Auristella looked wonderingly at him, listening attentively to all he said. She marvelled how Periander could doubt her truth, and said to him:— “O Persiles, in all my life I have never loved but one, that one has been yourself. It is now two years since I gave my heart to you, not perforce, but of my own free will, and it is as firm and true now as it was the first day I made you master of it. If it were possible that my affection could have increased, it would have done so among the many wanderings and dangers we have gone through together; it gives pleasure to me to hear that you are unchanged in yours for me, and in accomplishing my vow I shall willingly fulfil my promise to you; but tell me, what are we to do afterwards, since we are still bound by the same constraint, and still under the dominion of the same yoke that is about our necks? We are far distant from our homes, and known to none in these countries, without any support to cling to in our need. I do not speak thus, because I lack the courage to suffer any inconveniences or distresses, since it will be with you, but I say it because any trouble you may be in will be mine also; until now my heart has suffered alone, henceforward it will suffer for itself and for you, though I am wrong to talk of two hearts, for are not ours but one?”

“Lady,” replied Periander, “why should we not be the fabricators of our own fortune? they say every man makes his own from beginning to end. I will not answer for what I may do after our happy fate has united us; the inconvenience of our present divided state will soon be over, when we are one; there are fields enough where we can maintain ourselves, cottages wherein we may find shelter and clothes to cover us; for as to the happiness two souls made one, can feel, it is as you say unequalled by any other, and we could not enjoy this more beneath the gilded roofs of a palace. We shall find means to let my mother know where we are, and she will not fail in finding a way to help us, and in the mean time we have an inestimable treasure in our diamond cross, and the two pearls of priceless value which you possess, and which we have no fear of losing, for who would think such treasures could be hid beneath a pilgrim’s weeds?”

Here they were overtaken by the rest of their party, and the conversation ceased, which was the first they had held upon these kind of subjects; for Auristella’s excessive modesty and reserve never gave any opportunities to Periander to talk to her in private, and thus they had been able to keep up the play of brother and sister with all who knew them. The deceased Clodio, alone, had ever suspected the truth.

A part of this and the beginning of second Chapter are omitted, and Chapter II. included in Chapter I.

The travellers were now approaching Rome, the sight of which rejoiced their hearts, and the joy which filled their souls also invigorated their bodies. The hearts of Periander and Auristella beat tumultuously, as they saw themselves so near the end of all their desires. Those of Croriana and Ruperta, and those of the three French ladies were gladdened at the prospect of a happy termination to their journey, and Constance and Antonio shared in this feeling of satisfaction.

The sun had reached his meridian height, and the heat was excessively great; there was a little wood to the right of the road, and they determined to go thither and to gain a shelter from the scorching rays which threatened to be intolerable, and to remain there perhaps even for the night, as they did not wish to enter Rome till the next day. They went accordingly, and as they advanced further into the wood the pleasantness of the place and the freshness of the herbage, through which clear streams murmured, confirmed them in their first intention. They penetrated so far in, that on looking around, they found they were quite hidden from the sight of any one passing along the public road, and as they were debating where to settle themselves, from; he variety of pleasant spots which offered for their choice, all equally peaceful and inviting, Auristella, looking up by chance, perceived a picture hanging on the bough of a green willow, about the size of a quarter of a sheet of paper. It was a painting of the face only, of a very beautiful woman; on looking a little closer at the picture she saw clearly that it was her own likeness, and, surprised and wondering, she pointed it out to Periander; at the same instant Croriano exclaimed, that the ground was wet with blood, and he shewed them his feet all dyed with the crimson hue, and it was yet warm. The picture, which Periander instantly took down, and the blood which Croriano had discovered, disturbed them greatly, and made them anxious to find out the owner of the one and the cause of the other. Auristella was at a loss to divine when and how anybody could have become possessed of her picture, nor did Periander recollect that the servant of the Duke de Nemours had told him that the artist who had painted the portraits of the three French ladies, could also take that of Auristella, though he had seen her only once. If he had remembered this, he might easily have come to the conclusion which he did not guess. Croriano and Antonio followed the track of blood till they came to a sort of thicket or tuft of trees, at the foot of one of which, they saw a man of noble aspect, dressed as a pilgrim, seated on the ground with his hand pressed upon his heart, and covered with blood, a sight which distressed them very greatly to look upon, and still more when it met the eyes of Croriano, who went up to him, and raising his head, he discovered a countenance all bleeding and wounded, which, having wiped with a handkerchief, he knew to be the Duke de Nemours, for in spite of the different dress in which he found him, he recognized him at once, for they were great friends. The wounded duke, or he who appeared to be the duke, without opening his eyes, said in feeble accents, “Better, far better would it have been, O thou, whoever thou mayest be, mortal enemy of my peace, had the blow which thou hast struck been through my heart, for there thou wouldst have found a portrait still more vivid and true than the one which thou hast taken from me, and hung upon the tree, that it might not serve as a shield and defence to me in the hour of battle.”

Constance, who had now come up, being of a tender and compassionate nature, hastened to inspect the wounds of the sufferer, and to staunch the flowing blood, without attending to the complaining words he uttered. Meantime Periander and Auristella, guided also by the same bloody track, had gone on a little further, and discovered among some green rushes, another man, also in pilgrim’s weeds, and equally bloody, except his face, which was clean, and exposed to view, and was therefore instantly known by them both to be the Prince Arnoldo, who lay before them more dead than alive.

The first sign of life he gave was an attempt to rise, saying, “No, traitor, thou shalt not carry it off; the picture is mine; it is that of the beloved of my own soul: thou hast stolen it, and now wouldst take my life.”

At the unexpected vision of Arnoldo, Auristella trembled, and although the remembrance of all she owed him inclined her to hasten to his assistance, she durst not from fear of Periander, who in a kind and courteous manner took the prince’s hand, and in a low voice (lest he should perchance betray the secret of his name, which he might wish concealed) he said, “Recover yourself, Prince Arnoldo, and you will see that you are amongst friends, and that you are not so forsaken by Heaven, but that better fortune yet awaits you. Open your eyes, and you will see your friend Periander, and your grateful Auristella, as desirous as ever of serving you. Tell us about this misfortune, and all that has befallen you since we parted; on our part we promise to lend you every assistance in our power; tell us where you are wounded, and by whom, that we may try and find some remedy.”

At this Arnoldo opened his eyes, and recognizing them at once, he attempted, but with extreme difficulty, to throw himself at the feet of Auristella, whilst he embraced Periander, even at such a moment remembering to respect the modesty of Auristella, on whom he fixed his eyes, exclaiming, “Is it possible that I see thee, O lady? Can it be indeed Auristella, and not her image only, for sure no spirit ever dwelt in form so fair? Yes, thou art Auristella herself, without a doubt, and I too am that same Arnoldo who has ever adored thee; even now am I come hither in search of thee, for without thee my soul is desolate.”

Whilst this was passing, Croriano and the rest had heard of the discovery of another pilgrim, who also seemed badly hurt and wounded, and Constance having stopped the flow of blood, and bound up the wounds of the duke, now came to see if she could give any assistance to the other wounded person. When she recognised Arnoldo, she at first stood still, astonished and confused, but soon overcoming her surprise, she, without asking any other questions, hastened to inquire concerning his hurt. To which the prince replied by pointing to his left arm, where his wound was; Constance instantly removed his sleeve, and found the upper part of the arm was pierced quite through. She staunched the blood, which was still flowing in streams, and telling Periander who the other wounded man was, she advised that they should both be removed without delay to the nearest house, that they might obtain surgical aid, for the greatest danger was to be feared from the excessive loss of blood.

When Arnoldo heard the name of the Duke de Nemours, he trembled all over, and the cold freezing shudder of jealousy rushed through every bloodless vein, and almost without knowing what he said, he muttered, “Whether duke or king, neither the one nor the other can deserve Auristella;” and he added aloud, “Do not take us both to the same place, for the presence of him who has aggrieved one, will not tend to improve the condition of the sufferer.”

Some servants now came up, two of whom took up Arnoldo, and the others took charge of the duke. They had left their masters alone by their own command, and had gone on before to a place near at hand to prepare lodgings for their respective masters.

“Go,” said Arnoldo, “and look well upon the trees that are hereabouts, to see if there is a picture hanging upon any one of them, which was the cause of the combat that took place between the duke and myself. Take it down, and give it to me, for it has caused much blood, and is mine by right.”

The duke meanwhile was saying very much the same thing to Ruperta and Croriano, and those who were about him; but Periander satisfied both parties by saying that be had got the picture, and would keep it in his own care as a deposit, which should be restored to the right owner at a better opportunity.”

“Is it possible,” said Arnoldo, “that anybody can question my right to that picture? Is it not known to every one, that from the first moment I beheld the original, her image has dwelt within my heart? however, let my brother Periander keep it at present, for whilst he has it it will prevent all jealousies, anger, and ill feeling; and now take me away, for I am very faint.”

They immediately contrived the best means they could devise for the two wounded princes, whose danger proceeded more from loss of blood than the depth of the wounds; and so they were conveyed to the place where their servants had prepared the best lodging and accommodation it could afford for their masters.

Until this moment the duke had not known that his adversary was the Prince Arnoldo.

Chapter III.

They enter Rome, and lodge in the house of a Jew named Manasseh.

IT aroused the envy and indignation of the three French ladies to find how much more Auristella’s portrait was valued by the duke than theirs, which they knew had been brought to him by the servant who was sent to get their pictures for his lord, as has been already related. They heard from him that theirs were much esteemed, but that hers was idolized, a thing which dwelt very heavily upon their hearts, for it is well known that no beauty can bear to be excelled by another without mortal displeasure; they cannot even bear comparisons, for as the common saying goes, “That all comparisons are odious” in the case of rival beauty, they become doubly odious, unless friendship, relationship, quality, and high station, stand in the way of this accursed jealousy and envy, for such it may well be called.

The servant also told them that the duke, his master, enamoured of the beautiful portrait, had quitted Paris in order to seek out the pilgrim Auristella; that he had seated himself that morning at the foot of a tree, with the picture in his hand, and was discoursing with it as if it had been the living original. That, whilst he was thus occupied, another pilgrim passed by, and looking over his shoulder, could hear what the duke said; “without,” said he, “myself or the other servants being able to prevent it, for we were a good way off. We came up at last, and hastened to warn the duke that he was overheard. He turned his head, and saw the pilgrim, who, without speaking a word, snatched the picture from his hand, who, taken unawares, had not time to defend himself, and what I heard him say, at least, all I could make out, was, ‘Robber of this celestial prize, profane not with those sacrilegious hands this precious thing. Give up the picture whereon that heavenly beauty is portrayed, both because thou dost not deserve to possess it, and also because it belongs to me.’

“‘I say that it does not,’ answered the other; ‘and if I cannot now find any one to bear witness to the truth of what I say, I will leave it to be decided by the edge of the sword, which I wear concealed within this pilgrim’s staff. I am the true and sole possessor of that incomparable beauty, for in far distant lands from these where we now are, I purchased her with my treasures, and worshipped her with my whole heart, and I have served the original of that picture with faithful service, and through many perils and wanderings.’

“Then the duke turning to us, imperiously commanded us to leave them alone, and to come on here, where we were to wait for him, and we were not even to dare to turn round and look what he was about. The other pilgrim gave a similar command to the two servants who attended him.

In spite of the orders I had received, I had the curiosity to look back, and I saw the stranger pilgrim hang the picture upon the bough of a tree, and then, as I rather conjectured than actually saw, he drew out of his staff a short sword, or a weapon that looked like one, and attacked my master, who met his attack with another sword, which he also carried hidden in his staff. The servants on both sides wished to interfere and part the combatants, but I was of a different opinion, telling them that as the combat was equal, and between only two persons, without fear or suspicion of help to either side, it was best for us to go on our way, as we had been desired. We came here, prepared the apartments quickly, and in a short space of time returned to see what had been the fate of our masters. We found them as you saw, where, but for your succour, and if you had not arrived, our arrival would have been too late.”

So said the servant; and the ladies listened, and felt as if they had indeed been in love with the duke: at the same instant the plan and hope of marrying him, if ever entertained by either of them, entirely vanished, for nothing destroys or blots out love so quickly from the fancy, as finding it met by disdain or neglect in its first beginning. Disdain starves love in its infancy just as hunger affects the body. Hunger and want of sleep will reduce the bravest spirit, and disdain will kill the warmest desires. It is true that this is in the beginning only, for later, when love has gained strength, and taken possession of the heart, disdain and ill treatment only act as a spur to urge on still faster its feelings.

In about a week, the wounded princes were cured, and able to set out for Rome, from whence surgeons had been sent for to see them.

By this time the duke knew that his adversary was the heir of the crown of Denmark, and also knew of his intentions of choosing Auristella for a wife. This weighed heavily on his thoughts, which were the same as Arnoldo’s. It seemed to him that she who was deemed fit to be a queen, might be also fit for a duchess; but amidst all these reflections, jealousy was foremost, embittering every thought, and destroying his repose.

At last the day of their departure arrived, and the duke and Arnoldo each entered Rome privately, unknown to any one. The other pilgrims having reached the top of a high hill, came in view of that city, and at the sight they fell upon their knees, and worshipped, as if it were a holy thing. They entered Rome by the gate del Popolo, (having gone through the Prados de Madama,) and devoutly kissed the thresholds and edges of the gates which led to the holy city.

One of Croriano’s servants met two Jews, as he entered the town, and they inquired whether the party was prepared with lodgings, for if not they could provide some, fit to lodge a prince. “You must know, sir,” said one, “ that we are Jews; I am called Zabulon, and my companion, Abihud. Our business is to furnish and adorn houses with all things necessary, according to the rank and quality of those who hire them. The payment, of course, depends upon the sort of accommodation required.”

The servant told him that one of his fellow servants had gone to Rome the day before, with the purpose of preparing a lodging suitable to the quality of their master, and those who were with him. “May I die,” said Abihud, “if this is not the Frenchman who yesterday hired the house of our friend Manasseh, which is fitted up like a palace.”

“Then,” replied the servant, “we must go on, for my companion must be expecting our arrival, and will come to show us the way, and should the house he has provided not suit us, we will commend ourselves to you, Signor Zabulon.” So saying, he passed on, and at the entrance of the town the Jews saw their friend Manasseh with Croriano’s servant, by which they knew that his house was the one engaged, and well contented our pilgrims were guided thither. It was situated near the Arch of Portugal.

Hardly had the French ladies made their appearance in the town, when they attracted every eye, and it being a festival day the street of our Lady del Popolo was full of people; but the admiration they excited, increased prodigiously when the peerless Auristella and the graceful Constance by her side appeared, like two bright stars that shine together in the sky. A Roman who saw them (I believe he must have been a poet) said, “I will lay a wager that this must be the goddess Venus, who, as in times of old, is come to visit the relics of her loved Eneas. By Heavens! the governor is wrong not to give orders that they may cover the face of this moving idol: does he wish to make the sober ones wild, to destroy the tender-hearted, and turn the foolish youths into idolaters?”

And so amidst praises and admiration, carried even to the heights of hyperbole, passed on the lovely band, and reached the lodging which had been prepared to receive them, and which was splendid and spacious enough to have lodged a king, or a moderate sized regiment.

Chapter IV.

What passed between Arnoldo and Periander, and between the Duke de Nemours and Croriatio.

ON the following day the news of the arrival of the French ladies, and the little band of pilgrims, had spread throughout the town.

Chiefly did the general voice extol Auristella’s superhuman beauty, exaggerating it even to the utmost. The house was encompassed by persons, brought by curiosity, and the desire of gazing upon so much beauty assembled in one place, as people talked of. It rose to such a height at last that they even called out from the street to summon the ladies to appear at the windows, but they were reposing, and would not let themselves be seen. Especially they called out for Auristella, but they did not succeed in catching a sight of any one of the party.

Among the rest who appeared at the door were Arnoldo and the duke, still in their pilgrim’s dresses, and scarcely did they set eyes upon each other than they felt their jealous hatred revive, and their hearts beat wildly in their breasts.

From the windows they were seen by Periander, who told Croriano, and they instantly descended together, to prevent, as much as possible, the chance of an encounter between the two jealous lovers.

Periander went to meet Arnoldo, and Croriano, the duke. Arnoldo said, “One of the heaviest weights upon my mind, on the subject of Auristella, is to think how this French gentleman, who is said to be the Duke de Nemours, can have obtained possession of her picture, since she is under your care; it appears to have been given by her willingly, yet I possess none. Look you now, friend Periander; in this infirmity, by lovers called jealousy, but which is rather desperate rage, envy and scorn enter in, and when once they gain possession of an enamoured heart, no consideration can soothe, no remedy avail, and however small may be the causes which first engendered it, its effects are so great that at the least they can overthrow reason, and often can destroy the very life. Better is it for a jealous lover to die of despair than to live in jealousy. If he be a true lover, he is not bold enough to show his suspicions to the beloved one, and should he be perfect enough not to show it, he cannot help feeling it, he cannot feel secure, for things that are of great value keep their possessor in continual fear lest he should lose them. Thus the passion of jealousy, is one, inseparable from a heart that truly loves. I advise thee, O my friend Periander, (if I may give advice who cannot give it to myself,) to reflect that I am a king, and that I am very deeply in love; and thou must be aware from a thousand proofs, that I shall accomplish in my deeds, that which I promise in words, to receive thy peerless sister with no other portion than that she brings so largely in her virtue and her beauty, and that I care not to investigate what her origin may be, since it is clear Nature cannot deny the gifts of fortune to one on whom she has conferred so many. Never, or very rarely, are the highest virtues found in base-born subjects, and beauty of person is oftentimes indicative of beauty of soul, and to sum up all, I once again repeat what I have said so often; I adore Auristella, whether she spring from heavenly birth or from the lowest of the low; and since we are now at Rome, where she has always promised to decide my fate, be my advocate with her, and henceforth I divide my crown and kingdom with thee, and do not let me be mocked by this duke, nor scorned by her whom I adore.”

To all these speeches, offers, and promises, Periander thus replied: “If my sister had been to blame with respect to the offence you have to complain about from the duke, if I did not punish her I should at least renounce her, and that would be to her the greatest possible punishment; bur as I know she is perfectly innocent, I cannot tell what answer to make you, and as to the hopes which she permitted you to form when she should have reached this city, as I cannot tell what they were, I do not know how to answer that either. For the offers you now make, and have already made, I am as grateful as I ought to be, considering who you are, and to whom they are made; for with all humility be it said, O noble Arnoldo, perhaps this poor pilgrim’s frock may serve as a cloud, such as we sometimes see the sun hidden behind. Be still for the present and compose yourself, we only arrived yesterday, and it is not possible that, in so short a space of time, consequences should have been deduced, traces given, and chimeras removed, so as to bring everything right as we could wish. Avoid, as much as possible, all encounters with the duke, for a lover who is not encouraged, and whose hopes are weak, tries to invent and imagine what does not exist, even though it be against the beloved object herself.”

Arnoldo promised to do as he advised, and offered him money and all that could be required to furnish magnificent entertainment both for himself and all the party.

The conversation between the duke and Croriano was different, since it all ran upon the determination of the duke to recover his portrait, and to make Arnoldo confess he had no right to it. He also begged Croriano would intercede in his favour with Auristella to accept him as her husband, since, said he, his station was no ways inferior to that of Arnoldo, and his family was one of the most illustrious in Europe; in fine, he displayed great arrogance and no small jealousy, like a man very much in love.

Croriano offered to do all he could, and to let him know what answer Auristella gave to the offer he made her.

Chapter V.

AND thus the two jealous rivals and enemies departed, and took leave, the one of Periander, and the other of Croriano, both their hopes alike founded on air; each, however, being of the same mind to restrain his impetuosity and dissimulate his anger, at least until Auristella had declared which was to be the favoured one — each hoping it would be himself — since the offer of a kingdom and of a condition as high as that the duke could boast, might well be thought temptations enough to shake any previous intentions, for it is natural to love grandeur, and to aim at improving one’s condition in life, more especially this is the case with women. But Auristella took small heed of all this, as every thought of hers at that moment was centred in being properly instructed in all the truths that concerned her soul’s salvation; for having been born in a country so far off, that in it the Christian faith was not as clear and perfect as it should be, she held it necessary that hers should be purified in its true home.

She took care to instruct herself well upon every particular of the holy Catholic faith, which she had only dimly understood in her own land. She found a sure means of explaining what she wanted by the confessional, where she made her full and entire confession, and was taught and satisfied about everything she desired to know, for these confessors explained to her in the best way they could all the principal and most needful mysteries of our holy religion. They began with the envy and pride of Lucifer, and of his fall with the third part of the stars that fell with him into the abyss, — a fall which left vacant the heavenly seats, which these bad angels lost by their folly and sin. They explained the means God took to fill these empty seats, creating man, whose soul was made capable of the glory lost by these fallen angels. They discoursed upon the truths of the creation of man and of the world, and of the sacred and loving mystery of the incarnation, and with wondrous skill they sketched the deep mystery of the most holy Trinity. They told how it was necessary that the second person of the three, who is the Son, should make himself man, in order that he might, as man, redeem all mankind, and as God, might redeem as God, which hypostatic union alone could satisfy God for the infinite sin committed; and which the infinite Deity could satisfy, and finite man could not by himself alone, and God by himself alone could not be appeased, but that the two together had the property of being infinite, and thus came redemption. They spoke of the death of Christ, the labours and troubles of his life, from the hour of his beginning his work, to his death upon the cross. They exalted the strength and efficacy of the sacraments, and pointed to the second article of our duty, repentance, which alone can open the path to Heaven, which sin has closed. They showed the Saviour Jesus Christ, as the living God, seated on the right hand of the Father, in full perfection in Heaven, as he is on earth by transubstantiation in the sacrament, which holy presence no absence can divide or part, for one of God’s greatest attributes is, that he is everywhere in essence, and in presence. They assured her of the infallible coming again of the Lord to judge the world, and establish firmly his church, against which the gates or rather the forces of hell shall avail little. They told of the power of the supreme Pontiff, God’s vicegerent on earth, and who holds the keys of Heaven. At last there remained nothing to be taught, or that was necessary for Periander and Auristella to understand. These lessons filled their hearts with joy, drew them out of themselves, and raised them almost to the Heaven where their thoughts rested.

Chapter VI.

Arnoldo and the Duke de Nemours contend which shall purchase a Portrait of Auristella.

FROM this time Periander and Auristella beheld each other with different eyes, at least with other eyes did Periander look upon his Auristella, for now as it appeared to him, she had fulfilled the vow which brought her to Rome, and might freely and openly accept him as her husband.

But she meanwhile was seeking on all sides some light from above to discern what they were to do after they were married, for it was folly and madness to think of returning to their own country, because she had been destined to become the wife of Periander’s elder brother, and he, finding his hopes thus frustrated, would probably seek to avenge his disappointments on his brother and Auristella. These thoughts and apprehensions made her sometimes low-spirited, and at other times pensive.

The French ladies visited the churches, and performed the prayers of the stations with much pomp and majesty, for Croriano was a relation of the French ambassador, and nothing was wanting that was necessary to do them honour. They always took Auristella and Constance with them, and never left the house without being followed by half Rome. It chanced one day as they were passing through a street, the name of which is Bancos, they saw against a wall in one of the houses, a picture. It was the full-length portrait of a woman, with a crown on her head, which was divided in half, and at her feet a world, on which she stood. They had scarcely looked at it when they knew it was the likeness of Auristella, painted so to the life that it was not possible to doubt for an instant who it was. Auristella wonderingly asked whose the picture was, and if it was to be sold? The owner of it (who, as they afterwards knew, was a celebrated painter) said that the picture was for sale, but he did not know whom it represented. He only knew that a friend of his had made a copy of it in France, and that it was said to be a foreign lady, who was on her way to Rome in the dress of a pilgrim.

“And what,” said Auristella, “does it mean by painting her with a crown on her head, and a globe beneath her feet? and moreover, why is the crown divided in two?”

“These things, lady,” replied the owner, “are fancies or caprices of the artist; possibly it means that the lady merits the crown of superior beauty, and that she has the whole world at her feet. But it is my opinion that you, lady, are the original, and that you well deserve a whole crown, and not a painted world, but a real one.”

“What do you ask for this picture:” inquired Constance; to which the owner answered, “Two pilgrims are here, one of whom has offered me a thousand crowns of gold, and the other says that he will not lose it for any money.

The sale is not yet concluded, but it seems to me they must be jesting, for the exorbitant sum they offer makes me feel in doubt.”

“Yet it is not so,” said Constance, “for these pilgrims, if they are what I believe them to be, could easily give you even twice what they have promised, and pay you to your satisfaction.”

The French ladies, Ruperta, Croriano, and Periander, all stood wondering greatly to see the very image of Auristella painted on this picture. People came in to look at it, and by degrees a murmur arose, every one declaring that “The picture which is here to be sold is the same as this pilgrim in the carriage.” They wanted not only to look at the likeness, but at the original, and so began to surround the carriage in such a manner that the horses could neither move backwards nor forwards. “Therefore,” said Periander, “Auristella, my sister, conceal thy face with some kind of veil, for so much brightness is dazzling, and will not let us see our road.” Auristella did as he desired, and they moved on; yet still a great many persons followed, hoping that the veil might be withdrawn, and they might obtain a sight of what they wished to see. They had not long been gone when Arnoldo, in his pilgrim’s dress, came to the owner of the picture and said, “I am he who offered a thousand crowns for this portrait if you will part with it; bring it, and come with me now, I will count the money out to you directly in gold.” Then came the other pilgrim, who was the Duke de Nemours, saying, “Do not consider about a price, but come with me, and name any sum you please, it shall be yours at once.”

“My lords,” replied the painter, for so he was, “agree between yourselves as to who is to carry it off, and we will not disagree about the price, since I think that you are more likely to pay me in words than in fact.”

A great number of persons stood by listening to this conversation, expecting to see what would be the result, for to see thousands of ducats offered for a picture, especially by two apparently poor pilgrims, seemed a very amusing matter.

“Then,” said the owner of the picture, “let him who wishes to have it give me some pledge in hand, and I will deliver it up to him.”

Hearing this, Arnoldo put his hand into his breast, and drew forth a chain of gold, with a jewel set in diamonds suspended from it, and said, “Take this chain, which, with the jewel, is worth two thousand crowns, and deliver up the picture to me.”

“This is worth ten thousand,” said the duke, giving a diamond chain to the painter. “Bring it to my house.”

“Holy Saints!” cried one of the bystanders, “what can this picture be? and what can these men and jewels mean? This looks like a case of enchantment, and I would advise thee, friend painter, to look well at the chain, and try the reality of the diamonds before you part with your property, for both chain and jewels may be false, as one may suspect by the exaggerated account of their value.”

The princes grew angry upon this, but not being desirous of letting the whole street know their thoughts, they consented that the master of the picture should ascertain the real value of the jewels. The crowd in the street now changed their note, some admiring the picture, others asking who the pilgrims could be, others looking at the jewels, and all watching eagerly to see who would get the picture, because it seemed as if the two pilgrims would have it at any price.

Its owner would willingly have sold it for much less than they offered, if they would have let him sell it freely to either.

Whilst this was going on, the governor of Rome came by, and heard the noise the people were making; he inquired the cause, and saw the picture and the jewels. They, appearing to him to be the property of no ordinary pilgrims, he hoped to discover some secret, and ordered the jewels and picture to be taken to his house, and to take the pilgrims thither also. The painter was left in consternation, seeing all his expectations thus threatened with defeat, and his property in the power of justice, whence it seldom returns again with undiminished lustre.

The painter flew to seek out Periander, and relate to him all the story of the purchase, and of his fears that the governor would keep the picture, which he had bought, he said, in France, from a painter who had sketched it in Portugal from the original, a thing which seemed to Periander very likely, during the time Auristella had been at Lisbon. He then offered to give him a hundred crowns for it, and run the risk of recovering it. The painter was satisfied, and although the descent from a thousand to a hundred crowns was so great, yet he considered he had made a good bargain.

Whilst they were talking, the Jew Zabulon arrived, and told Periander that he wished to take him that evening to see one of the most beautiful women in Rome, indeed, in all Italy, Hippolyta the Ferrarese. Periander said he would go willingly, and this not on account of her beauty of person, nor of her quality, for the courtesy of Periander was the same whether with the high or the low, for in this had Nature cast both him and Auristella in one mould. He concealed from her that he was going to visit Hippolyta, and the Jew carried him thither more by deceit than any wish of his to go, but sometimes curiosity helps to deceive, and blinds even the most cautious and prudent.

Chapter VII.

Of a singular Adventure and Peril which befell Periander through the Malice of a fair Courtezan.

WITH good manners, great persona] charms, and a richly adorned and splendid house, many defects will be overlooked, because a well-bred person does nothing that offends the eve, and rich ornaments and beauty of person are always pleasing to look upon, and every one likes a fine house.

Now Hippolyta possessed all these things. She was a courtezan, who might have vied in wealth with the Flora of ancient days; and in courteous manners, with good breeding itself. It was impossible for those who knew her, not to love her in some degree, for her beauty enchanted them, her riches gave her power, and she made herself adored by the winning courtesy of her manners. When love meets three such charms as these, it melts even hearts of iron, opens the closest purse, and breaks through a determination, though it were made of marble, and still more, when to these three things you add deceitfulness, and a flattering tongue, — very convenient qualities for those who desire to win the admiration of all men by their charms. Is there by chance a man of such sharp wits, that seeing one of these charmers, such as I have painted, setting aside her mere beauty, would not be tempted by her winning and gentle ways. Beauty partly blinds and partly dazzles; with those it blinds, the senses are run away with; with those who are only dazzled, it is the mind that receives pleasure. None of these things were in Periander’s thoughts, as he entered Hippolyta’s house; but as Love sometimes builds his structure on a careless foundation, he now fabricated one suddenly, not in Periander’s, but in Hippolyta’s heart; for in the bosoms of such as she, it docs not require much time or trouble to light the flame.

Hippolyta had already seen Periander in the street, and his beauty, grace, and above all, the idea of his being a Spaniard, had pleased her fancy. From a Spaniard might be expected the most unheard-of liberality, and the most refined taste. She had made known her thoughts to Zabulon, and desired that he would bring him to her house, which was always in such order and so adorned, as to look more like preparations for a wedding than the reception of pilgrims.

The lady Hippolyta had a friend, called Pyrrhus, a Calabrian, a bully, of a hot temper and bad disposition, and whose living was gained by his sword, his dexterous fingers, and Hippolyta’s contrivances; for he often performed a job for her, without the help of any one. But what he gained most from was the nimbleness of his legs, which he prized more than his hands, and what he chiefly valued himself on was, that he could always keep Hippolyta in fear of him, in whatever mood he might be, amorous or severe; for these tame doves are never without hawks to pursue them, nor birds of prey to tear them to pieces, — a miserable treatment for these poor foolish creatures!

I would tell you, then, that this gentleman (of whom it is enough to know the name) happened to be in Hippolyta’s house at the very time that the Jew and Periander entered it. Hippolyta took him aside and said to him, “Go, my friend, and take with thee this chain of gold which has been sent me by the pilgrim; it was brought me by Zabulon this morning.”

“Look well what you are about, Hippolyta,” said Pyrrhus, “for, as I conjecture, this pilgrim is a Spaniard, and a chain of gold sent from his hand, worth at least a hundred crowns, without having even touched yours, seems much to me, and a thousand fears alarm me.”

“Do thou, O Pyrrhus,” said she, “take away the chain, and leave it to me to support the weight, and not to give it back in spite of thy Spanish manners.”

Pyrrhus took the chain which Hippolyta gave him, and which she had brought expressly for this purpose that morning, and stopping his mouth with it, she got him out of the house. Then, free and disembarrassed from all restraint, she hastened to meet Periander, and, with a sort of easy gracefulness, she threw her arms about his neck, saying, “Truly glad shall I be to see whether Spaniards are as brave as fame reports.”

When Periander saw this freedom of manner, he thought the whole house was upside down, and repulsing Hippolyta with his hand, he put her away and said to her, “The dress I wear, O Lady Hippolyta, forbids all profanation, at least I can permit none of any sort, and pilgrims, even if they are Spaniards, are not obliged to show their valour unnecessarily: but prove to me, lady, in what way I can show my courage without prejudice to either of us, and I will obey you without a word more.”

“It seems to me, Sir Pilgrim,” answered Hippolyta, “that you are as valiant in mind as in body; but since you say you will obey my bidding, if it be not to the hurt of either of us, enter this room with me, for I wish to show you a gallery and dressing closet of mine;” to which Periander replied, “Spaniard though I be, yet I am very fearful, and more have I to fear from you alone, than from a whole regiment of enemies. Let some one serve as a guide, and I will go with you where you please.”

Hippolyta called two of her maids and Zabulon the Jew, who were present, and ordered them to lead the way to the gallery and to throw open the saloon, which, as Periander afterwards said, was the most splendidly adorned apartment any prince on earth could possess. Parrhasius, Polygnotus, Apelles, Zeuxis, and Terriantes, some of the most perfect of their productions bought with the treasures of Hippolyta, might there be seen, and there too were the works of the devout Raphael de Urbino, and those of the divine Michael Angelo, riches such as only great princes can and ought to show. Royal buildings, superb palaces, magnificent temples, and exquisite paintings are fit and true signs of the rich and the great. They are, indeed, pledges, against which time hurries on and quickens his flight, as if they, his rivals, are showing in spite of him the magnificence of past ages.

O Hippolyta! good only for this, if among all the pictures thou dost possess, there was but one of thy own good conduct, and that thou wouldst leave Periander his, who amazed, confused and astonished, walked on, gazing at the abundance of sights which this gallery contained. From one end to the other was heard the music of many different sorts of birds, which, in splendid cages, filled the air with a mixed but pleasing melody. It seemed to verify whatever he had heard tell of the gardens of the Hesperides, of the Fairy Falerina, of the famous hanging gardens, or of any of the other celebrated wonders ever known in the world, none of which came up to the decorations of this gallery and hall; but as he went about with a disturbed and amazed spirit, wearied with the sight of so much pleasure and luxury, and troubled to find everything so contrary to his taste; setting courtesy aside, he endeavoured to leave the apartment, and would have gone away if Hippolyta had not prevented him, in such a manner that he was obliged to use some rather discourteous words. She laid hold of his pilgrim’s gown, and the doublet being opened thereby, discovered the diamond cross, which until then had escaped so many perils, and dazzled the eyes as well as the mind of Hippolyta. She, finding that he was determined to go, in spite of her gentle force, proceeded to show her intentions of detaining him still more plainly; but Periander by no means approving this, made his escape, flying from the danger and leaving his gown in the hands of this new Egyptian. He gained the street without hat, staff, belt or gown, for the best mode of coming off victor in such combats is flight. She immediately opened the window and began calling out loudly to the people in the street, crying, “Seize that robber who, entering my house under a peaceful guise, has stolen from me a precious treasure worth a whole city.”

There happened to be two of the pope’s guards in the street, who thinking they had taken him in the very act, hearing the cry of “robbers,” seized Periander and tore the cross from his breast, — a treatment which justice uses with new offenders, although the crime may not be proved.

Periander, on finding himself thus crossed, spoke to the Germans in their own language, and said, he was no thief but a person of consequence, and that the cross was his own; that they might see by its richness it could not be Hippolyta’s, and he asked to be taken before the Governor; where he hoped shortly to prove the truth of the matter. He offered them money, and with that, and with having spoken in their own tongue, which will always gain the heart even of those who know you not, the Germans paid no attention to Hippolyta, and so carried Periander before the Governor.

On seeing this she left the window, and, almost ready to scratch her own eyes out, she said to her servants, “Ah! what folly is this that I have done! I have vexed him I meant to honour; I have offended where I wished to serve. He is taken as a thief; he who has stolen my heart. What kind of caresses are these? what kindness? to attack his liberty, and to defame his honour.” And then she told them how he had been carried off by two of the pope’s guards, and ordered her coach to be got ready directly, that she might follow and exculpate him, for her heart could not bear to wound one who was the very apple of her eye; and she preferred appearing as one who had accused falsely, rather than be cruel, for there was no excuse for cruelty, though for the false accusation there might be pleaded the force of love, which so often causes a thousand follies, and offends even those it loves best.

When she arrived at the governor’s house, she found him with the cross in his hands, examining Periander on the matter, who, seeing Hippolyta, said to the governor, “This lady who is just come in, has said that the cross now in your lordship’s hands is hers, and was stolen from her by me: I will acknowledge this is the fact when she has declared of what the cross is made, what is its value, and how many diamonds compose it; for unless the angels or some spirit has revealed it to her, she cannot know, for she never saw it but in my bosom, and once only.”

“What says the lady Hippolyta to this?” said the governor, so covering the cross that she could not see it.

She answered, “I say that I am in love — blindly and madly in love — and the pilgrim is exculpated, and I await the sentence which my lord the governor thinks due for my crime.” And she related the whole of what had passed between her and Periander, which made the governor perfectly amazed, more at the boldness of her conduct than at her love, for such sudden passions are common with ladies of her class. He dismissed the case, and entreated Periander’s pardon; pronounced him at liberty, and restored his cross to him, without a line having been written about the case, — no small piece of good luck.

The governor wished to know who were the pilgrims that had offered the jewels in pledge for Auristella’s picture, and moreover, who she and he were; to which Periander answered, “The portrait is that of my sister Auristella; those two pilgrims could easily have offered far more costly jewels. This cross is mine, and when the proper time comes, and necessity forces me to do it, I shall say who I am, but at present neither I nor my sister wish to declare this. The picture which is now in your lordship’s possession is mine. I bought it from the painter at a suitable price, without any of those extravagant outbiddings, which are founded more on rancour and fancy than on reason.”

The governor said that he would gladly keep it himself, to add to the pictures in Rome one more admirable than any she now possessed.

“I will give it to your lordship,” said Periander; “for it seems to me that it will be duly honoured by giving it such an owner.” The governor thanked him, and that day he restored Arnoldo and the duke to their liberty, and gave them back their jewels, he himself keeping the picture, for it was quite reasonable that it should belong to somebody.

Chapter VIII.

Arnoldo gives an account of all that had happened since be parted with Periander and Auristella in the Isle of Hermits.

HIPPOLYTA returned home more full of confusion than repentance, thoughtful, and more enamoured than ever, for although it is a fact, generally speaking, that disdain kills love in its first beginning, yet Periander’s only added fuel to the flame that consumed her. She thought it impossible that a pilgrim could possess a heart of marble, and not soften with the gifts and kindnesses she intended to load him with: but in her heart she said to herself, if this pilgrim was poor he would not wear so rich a cross, the diamonds of which clearly denote his wealth, so that the fortress cannot be attacked on that side. Measures more bold and dexterous must be employed to subdue him. Is it not possible that his heart is elsewhere engaged? Is it not possible that this Auristella may not be his sister? Is it not possible that the force of the disdain he shows me may have its origin, and be set down to Auristella? By Heaven, if it be so, I have found my remedy. Auristella shall die, — we will discover this witchcraft, at least we shall see the true sentiments of his heart. It shall be carried immediately into effect; Auristella shall grow sick; we will take away the light of Periander’s eyes; we will see if, when her beauty fades, that first cause of love, the love itself will fade also. It may be that when he sees I possess what she has lost, he may leave her, and yield to my tenderness; at least I will try this; there is no harm in trying anything that may lead to the right track.

Somewhat comforted by these reflections, she arrived at her own house, where she found Zabulon, to whom she confided her intentions, knowing that he had a wife who was noted as the most skilful witch in Rome, and she asked him (after first loading him with gifts, and the promise of more) to assist her, not in changing Periander’s inclinations, since she knew that was hopeless, but in depriving Auristella of health, and if necessary, of life also.

Zabulon said, it would be an easy matter for a woman who possessed the skill and knowledge of his wife to effect this. He received, as the first payment, a large sum of money, and promised that Auristella’s health should begin to fail on the following day. Hippolyta not only rewarded Zabulon, but threatened him besides; and threats and gifts together, would make a Jew perform impossibilities.

Periander told his friends and Auristella the history of his imprisonment and Hippolyta’s love, and the present he had made the governor of Auristella’s portrait. Auristella felt far from pleased to hear about Hippolyta’s love, for she had heard of her being considered one of the most beautiful women in Rome, one of the freest manners, one of the richest, and one of the cleverest. To a jealous spirit, fear will represent the goblin it has conjured up, as bigger than Mount Olympus, although, in fact, it may be smaller than a fly; and when the tongue is restrained by decorum and modesty, so as to repress all complaint, the heart torments itself within the bonds of silence, till soul and body are almost ready to part. As I have before observed, there is no other remedy for jealousy but to listen to exculpation, and when this is not permitted there is no comfort in life, and life itself Auristella would lose a thousand times, before she would utter one complaint touching the fidelity of Periander.

That same evening Arnoldo paid the ladies a visit, and gave them an account of everything that had happened since they left him, and, on his return to search for them, he told how he had gone to the Hermit’s Isle, where he did not find Rutilio, but another hermit in his place, who informed him that Rutilio was gone to Rome. He told, too, how he had gone to the island of the fishermen, and found them free, happy, and contented, both the newly-married couples and the others who had embarked with Periander. He told how he had heard it reported that Polycarpa was dead, and Sinforosa had resolved never to marry. Then he told about the Barbarous Isle, that it had been repeopled, and its inhabitants were still confirmed in their belief of the false prophecy. He had heard that Maurice and Ladislaus, his son-in-law, with Transila, his daughter, had left their own country, and gone to live peacefully in England: then he related how he had been with Leopold, the king of Norway, after the war was ended; that he had married in order to have a successor to his kingdom, and that he had pardoned the two traitors whom he had taken prisoners when Periander and his fishermen fell in with his ship, and that he was very grateful for the courteous treatment he had received at their hands, and, amongst the names he mentioned in these details, sometimes the names of Periander’s parents occurred, and sometimes those of Auristella, which made their hearts beat, and brought to their remembrance alike their grandeur and their misfortunes. He said, that in Portugal, and especially in Lisbon, their portraits were much valued. He spoke of the great fame of Constance’s beauty in those parts of France she had travelled in, and also of the French ladies. He had heard, too, of Croriano, and the high character he had gained as noble, generous, and wise, in having taken the charming Ruperta to wife. In Lucca, he had heard the clever contrivance of Isabel Castrucho much talked about, and her quick falling in love with Andrew Marulo, and how, by feigning to be a demoniac, she had gained, as she believed, an angel’s lot. He had heard of Periander’s fall, which was considered a miracle, and had met on the road a young pilgrim, a poet, who did not wish to come on with him, but was taking his time and composing a play upon the adventures of Periander and Auristella, which he knew by heart, having seen a picture in Portugal, where it was all painted, and that he was firmly resolved to marry Auristella, if she pleased.

Auristella declared herself grateful for his kind intentions, and said she would give him a suit of clothes, should he require it, and if by chance his should be ragged, for the kind wish of a good poet deserves reward.

Arnoldo further told them that he had been at the house of Antonio and Constance’s parents, who were well, only uneasy in their minds at knowing nothing about the health or safety of their children, and longing for their return, and that they wished for Constance to become the wife of the late count’s brother, her brother-in-law, who wanted to follow his brother’s example and imitate his choice of a wife, either because he did not like to give her the twenty thousand ducats, or because of her own merits, which he thought was most likely.

This news rejoiced them much, especially Periander and Auristella, who loved Constance like a sister.

In the minds of all the hearers of this discourse fresh suspicions arose as to the high rank of the pilgrims. They heard now about counts and ducats, and thought the persons who belonged thereunto must needs be illustrious.

Among other things, Arnoldo mentioned having met Renato in France, the gentleman who had been vanquished in single combat against the right, and afterwards proved to have been wrongfully accused by the conscience of his enemy being awakened. In fact, but few things remained to be mentioned of the many persons whose history has been related; he brought forward everything, up to the picture of Auristella, which Periander had retained greatly against his inclination and that of the duke, though, not to offend Periander, Arnoldo concealed his displeasure.

“I should have returned it to you, my Lord Arnoldo,” said Periander, “if I had understood that it was yours. Accident, and his own exertions, gave it to the duke, from whom you took it by force, and therefore have no right to complain. A man in love must not judge his cause through the medium of his wishes, which sometimes cannot satisfy him and reason; however, I will do what I hope will please and content both you and the duke: the picture shall remain in the hands of my sister Auristella, for it belongs more to her than any one else.”

This decision satisfied Arnoldo, and also Auristella, and here the conversation ended. On the following day early, the witchcraft, venoms and incantations of the malignant Jewess began their work.

Chapter IX.

In which is related the Sickness of Auristella through the Witchcraft of the Jewess, Zabulon’s Wife.

DISEASE durst not at once, attack face to face Auristella’s beauty, afraid lest its hideousness should be alarmed at so much loveliness, and so it began by the limbs. She was seized with shiverings at dawn, which prevented her from rising as usual; these were followed by a loss of appetite; next, the brilliance of her eyes became clouded and dull; and dismay at such sudden illness filled the hearts both of Constance and Periander, who immediately apprehended the worst result.

She had not been taken ill two hours, and already the bright roses of her cheeks were of a livid purple, the carmine of her sweet lips was changed to green, and the pearllike teeth became the colour of topazes, her very hair had altered its colour, her hands stiffened, and her whole countenance changed. Nevertheless, she was still beautiful to them who saw her, not as she was now in her bed, but in their hearts, where her image lay.

Her voice, in a day or two after, could just reach their ears in feeble accents half uttered.

The French ladies joined in assisting Constance to tend and nurse her, and so great was the attention they paid, that at last they required it for themselves.

Physicians were sent for, the best that could be got, at least those who were most noted for skill, for a good opinion helps the proper medicine, and thus we as often meet with lucky doctors as fortunate soldiers — good luck and good fortune are one and the same thing — and one may find it as well in a bag of sackcloth as in a closet full of silver. But neither in silver nor in sackcloth did any find its way to Auristella, which drove Constance and Antonio to despair. Not so was it with the duke; his love had been engendered solely by the great beauty of Auristella, and thus, when that beauty was fled, his love also fled with it, which must be deeply rooted in the heart to be strong enough to follow the beloved one even to the brink of the grave. Death is very hideous, disease is near akin to it, and to love what is ugly seems something unnatural, and worthy to be called a miracle.

Auristella faded away from hour to hour. Those about her had given up all hope; Periander alone, firm and loving as ever, with a brave and trusting spirit, faced adverse fortune and even death itself, which threatened him, in losing Auristella.

Fifteen days did the Duke de Nemours wait in hopes of seeing her get better, during which time everybody was continually questioning the physicians about her health, but none could speak with certainty, seeing that none knew the cause of her illness.

The duke finding that the angel of light he had adored had changed into one of darkness, feigned a tale which might form an excuse for his conduct, at least in some degree; and one day he came to Auristella’s sick bed, with Periander present, and thus spoke: —

“Since fortune has proved adverse to my hopes, O beauteous lady! and will not permit me to indulge the desire I had of calling you my wife, before despair reduces me to such a condition as to threaten the loss of reason, (as it has well nigh taken my life,) I purpose to try my fortune elsewhere — for I know well that I have nothing to hope or expect here — although I should continue to try for it, and thus it might happen that I die miserably. I am summoned home by my mother: she has a wife in view for me; I wish to obey her. But when death assails me, there will be found engraven on my heart the memory of thy beauty and thy illness, — would to God I may not have to fay of thy death!”

His eyes were moist, and he dropped a few tears. Auristella could not answer him, or perhaps did not wish to do so in Periander’s presence: the utmost she did was to put her hand under the pillow and draw forth her picture, which she returned to the duke. He kissed her hand for so precious a gift; but Periander stretching out his, took it and said, “If it does not displease you, noble sir, and if you will be so kind as to permit it, I entreat you to lend it me that I may accomplish a promise I have given, which, without prejudice to you, will do me great harm if I accomplish it not.”

The duke resigned it with fresh protestations of being ready to give up fortune, life, and honour itself for it, and more if he had it to offer; and from this time he separated himself from the brother and sister, meaning to see them no more in Rome — a prudent lover, and not the first perhaps who has known how to seize an opportunity that offers itself to him.

All these things might have awakened Arnoldo to the perception of how much his hopes had diminished, and what danger he was in of losing the object of all his pilgrimages; and, in fact, he was quite inclined to accompany the duke, if not in his journey, at least in his intentions, and would have returned to Denmark, but love and his own generous heart forbade his doing this — leaving Periander when he needed consolation, and Auristella at the point of death.

He visited her and renewed his proposals, determined to wait in hopes of better prospects, in spite of all the suspicions that oppressed him.

Chapter X.

Auristella recovers her Health, because the Jewess leaves off her Sorceries, and makes a proposal to Periander that they shall not marry.

WELL pleased was Hippolyta to see what the arts of the Jewess had done in endangering the life of Auristella, for in a week she had become so entirely changed from what she was, as to be only recognizable by the sound of her voice, — a thing which surprised her physicians, and defied their skill. It was the wonder of all who saw her. The French ladies assisted in nursing her with as much care as if she had been their sister, especially Felicia Flora, who loved her with the warmest affection.

At length the illness of Auristella instead of being confined to herself alone, began to affect those who attended her, and as none were so constantly with her as Periander, he was the first who suffered, not because the poisons and witcheries of the wicked Jewess worked directly upon him, but because the grief and sorrow he felt to see her condition, reduced him nearly to a similar state, and thus he fell away so much, that those who were about him began to fear for his life as well as hers.

Hippolyta seeing this, and seeing that her vile practices were turning against herself, guessed at once from whence the sickness of Periander had arisen, and tried to find a remedy by giving one to Auristella, who, reduced to a shadow, livid and ghastly, seemed hovering on the very verge of death, and every moment expecting that its gates would open to receive her, desired to prepare the way for her soul’s departure by receiving the sacrament as she had been instructed in the Catholic faith, and therefore taking the proper steps with the utmost devotion in her power, she gave tokens of her good and virtuous way of thinking, and proved the purity of her manners and heart. She showed that she had learned thoroughly the lessons she had been taught since she came to Rome, and resigning herself to God’s will, she felt calm and composed in spirit, and forgot kingdoms, thrones, and grandeurs.

Hippolyta then, having as I before said, seen, that if Auristella died, Periander would die too, hastened to the Jewess to desire that she would moderate the spell which was consuming Auristella’s life, or cease the charm altogether, for she did not wish to be the cause of destroying three lives with one blow, since Auristella dying, Periander would die, and Periander dying, she also would lose her life. The Jewess obeyed, as if the health or sickness of others was in her power, as if all the evils we meet with as chastisement, did not depend on God’s will; but God, as a punishment for our own sins, permits the agency of what is called witchcraft, in destroying health, by the use of poisons and mixtures, which in process of time take away life from those they wish to kill, without any remedy to escape the danger, because the cause remains unknown, and no one can guess the reason of such mortal sickness, and so for the cure of such great evils, God’s mercy is the only medicine.

Auristella began to leave off growing worse, which was a sign she was beginning to be better. The sun of her beauty began to glimmer, and give signs that it would once more dawn upon the heaven of her countenance. Once more the roses returned to bloom upon her cheeks, and in her eyes again shone the light of gladness, dispersing the clouds of melancholy. The sweetness of her voice returned; her lips resumed their carmine hue; her teeth, which had seemed like marble, now were pearls again as before; and in a short space of time she appeared all beautiful, lovely and charming as ever, and the good effects of this quickly told upon Periander and the rest, Croriano and Ruperta, Antonio and Constance; the latter, especially in joy or sorrow, always went along with Auristella.

She, giving thanks to Heaven for the mercies she had received, both in sickness and in health, one day called Periander, and having taken care to be alone, she spoke to him in the following manner: —

“My brother! since it has pleased Heaven that I should now for two years have called you by that sweet and endearing name, without ever stepping beyond the bounds of modesty and decorum; I could wish that this happy bond should still continue, and life alone should end it, instead of looking forward to any other tie; for a happiness is good when it is lasting, and it is lasting when it is pure. Our souls, as you well know, and as you have always taught me, are for ever moving onward, and have no other end and aim but to be with God, who is their centre; our desires in this life are infinite, and linked together they form a chain, which sometimes reaches Heaven, and sometimes leads to hell. If it seems to you, my brother, that this mode of talking is not like myself, and that I am outstepping that which should be expected from my youth and early education, recollect that experience has written much upon the blank paper of my mind. Chiefly I have learned that our greatest joy is to know and be with God, and that all the means whereby we can reach this end, are good, holy, and pleasant. Such are the ways of charity, modesty, and chastity, and if I think this, you will think the same; and thinking thus together, I believe that the love you bear me is so great that you will wish what I wish. I am the heiress of a kingdom, and you know well the reason why I was sent by my dear mother to your father’s court, in order that I might be safe from the dangers of war, which threatened my country. Hence resulted my coming here with you, and being obedient to your will, in which I have never once failed in the least degree. You have been to me father and brother; you have been my shelter, my protector, and finally, my guardian angel. You have been my teacher and my master, since you brought me to this city, where I have learned to be a true Christian, and now I would fain, if possible, go to Heaven without delays, alarms, or anxieties; and that cannot be, unless you release me from the promise I myself have given to you, the promise and the wish to become your wife. Give me back, my lord, the promise, and I will try to lose the wish, even though it should be by forcible means; for in order to attain so great a gift as Heaven, one must leave all one loves best on earth, even one’s parents, and one’s husband or wife. I leave you for no other: He for whom I leave you is God, who will reward you himself, which reward far exceeds what you lose in losing me. I have a younger sister quite as beautiful as I am, if we can call anything that is mortal beautiful; you may marry her and succeed to the crown, which is my right, and thus while you are yielding to my wishes you will not be cheated of your own. Why hangs your head, my brother? ah! why do your eyes seek the ground? Does my discourse displease you? do my wishes seem to you unreasonable? Tell me; answer me, at least let me know your will; possibly I may try to moderate mine, and find out some way more to your liking, and which will agree with mine.”

Periander had listened to every word Auristella said in the most profound silence, a thousand suppositions in one brief moment rapidly forming in his imagination, all uniting in picturing the worst that could befall, for he thought that she abhorred him, as this change of life must put an end to his, since she could not but know that if she refused to become his wife, he had no longer anything to live for in this world: and this idea was so earnestly impressed upon his mind, that, without answering her a single word, he rose from his seat, and seeming as if he went to receive Felicia Flora and Constance and Antonio, who were entering the apartment, he went out and left Auristella, (I know not whether I ought to call it,) repenting, but, at all events, thoughtful, and in some confusion.

Chapter XI.

Periander quits Rome in despair at Auristella’s Proposal.

WATER that is enclosed in a narrow vessel, whilst it is in the greatest haste to escape, is slowest to pour out, because the first drops are detained by those which follow, and one impedes the other, till the current begins to rush and all the water breaks forth. So is it with the words that rush into the mind of a distressed lover, sometimes at the very tip of his tongue, yet hindered by those which follow too rapidly for utterance; till scarcely knowing which first came into his head, he is silent, and by silence he says more even than he wishes. This was shown in the small courtesy Periander displayed towards the visitors that he met entering Auristella’s apartment. He, full of thoughts and fancies, and oppressed with the imaginations that crowded into his mind, disdained and deceived, as he thought himself, went out of Auristella’s presence without knowing how, or wishing, or being able to reply to the long discourse she had held to him.

Antonio and his sister went to her, and found her like one awakening from a heavy dream, and speaking distinctly aloud to herself in such words as these: —

“Have I done wrong? But what does it signify? Is it not better he should know my intentions? Is it not better I should timely leave the crooked paths and dubious ways, and take the straight road by the shortest cut, that which clearly and distinctly shows us the happy end of our journey? I own that Periander’s company would not hinder me from going to Heaven, but also I feel that I should reach it quicker without him. I owe more to myself than to another; if to the interests of Heaven and eternal glory, those of earth and earthly ties should yield, how much more should mine when I have no relationship with Periander.”

“I must warn you, sister Auristella,” here interposed Constance, “that you are giving us an idea of things which may awaken our suspicions, and bring you to confusion. If Periander is not your brother, you have been holding a very long conversation with him, and, if he is, why should you deem his company any cause for scandal?”

By this time Auristella had a little recovered herself, and hearing what Constance said, she tried to make amends for her want of caution, but did not succeed, for it is a difficult matter to mend an untruth, and always leaves some doubts behind.

“I know not, my sister,” said Auristella, “what I have said; I know not whether Periander is my brother or not; all I know is, that he is at least as dear as my own soul; I live, I breathe only in him, in him I move, and by him I am supported, always restraining myself within proper bounds, without giving room for any other thoughts, and keeping a due decorum of manners, such as a woman of high birth ought to show to a brother as high born.”

“I understand you not, Lady Auristella,” here said Antonio, “for, in your discourse, you sometimes speak of Periander as your brother, and sometimes not; tell us who he is, and who you are, if you can tell it? For, whether he is your brother or no, at least you cannot deny that you are of high birth; and we (I speak of myself and my sister Constance) are not so inexperienced as to be astonished at anything you can relate; for, since we left the Barbarous Isle, the troubles and perils that we have seen and passed through have taught us a great deal, and, by a very small sign, we can discover the thread of the most difficult affairs, especially those of love, for it appears that they bring their own explanation with them. What if Periander should not be your brother, what if you are his lawful wife? And, again, is it not much that you have conducted yourselves with such modesty and purity of manners in the sight of Heaven, and of all who have been in your company? Love is not always rash and inconsiderate, nor are all lovers influenced by mere sensual feelings, but by the charm of the heart and mind; and it being thus, dear lady, again I entreat that you will tell us who you are and who is Periander, who seemed, as he passed us just now, to carry away a volcano in his eyes and a gag in his mouth.”

“Alas! unhappy that I am,” replied Auristella, “and far better it would have been that I had kept eternal silence, for silence would have saved him from that gag of which you speak. Women are indiscreet, imprudent, and impatient, and cannot hold their tongues. Whilst I was silent my soul was peaceful, I spoke, and my peace is gone; and now that I may lose it entirely, and so end the tragedy of my life, I will tell you (who have been sent by Heaven to be indeed a brother and a sister to me) that Periander is not my brother, neither is he my husband, nor yet my lover, at least, according to the common acceptation of the word. He is not one of those lovers who seek to dishonour the woman they love. — He is a king’s son, I am a king’s daughter, and the heiress of a kingdom. We are equal in blood. I have some advantage over him in my situation, in my inclinations none, and, withal, our wishes are the same, and our affections are honourably given to one another, only the thing which confounds and disturbs our intentions, and which forces us to wait, and places a restraint upon Periander, and distresses me, is what I cannot tell you now, my friends; but I beseech you aid me to seek him out, for since he has taken the liberty of going without my leave, he will not return unsought.

“Then,” said Constance, “get up quickly, and let us go in search of him directly, for the cords which bind lovers do not allow of their going away very far from the beloved one. Come, we shall quickly find him. Soon you will see him, and yet sooner you will satisfy him; you will forget the scruples with which you have been surrounded, and give Periander your hand as his espoused wife, thereby putting an end to all calumny and evil report.”

Auristella rose up, and accompanied by Felicia Flora, Constance and Antonio, went out in search of Periander. They who now knew her to be a princess, looked upon her with redoubled reverence, and treated her with more respect.

Periander, meanwhile, whom they were seeking, had tried to go far away from all who might go in search of him. He left Rome on foot, and alone — unless his utter disconsolateness and his sorrow may be considered as company.

His melancholy thoughts and ever varying imaginations never left him. “Alas!” said he to himself, “Most beautiful Sigismunda, queen by nature and beautiful by the bounteous gift of the same Nature, superhumanly prudent, and surpassingly charming! little did it cost thee to consider me as a brother, since never in word or thought did I belie the name — not even malice itself could affirm that I did. If it be thy wish to go to heaven alone in thy maiden pride, without dependence upon any other but thy God and thyself, do so, in God’s name! Yet I warn thee — think not that thou wilt be sinless, or that thou canst act thus without being guilty of my death. Thou hast left me, lady, loaded and oppressed with the weight of silence, and thy falseness! Wherefore didst thou not declare this earlier, when it would not have been tearing my heart from my body to give up my love for thee? It was all thine: I gave up to thee my entire will, and thou hast cast me out. Rest in peace, my beloved, and know that all I can do I have done, in leaving thee.”

Night came on, and diverging a little from the high road, which was that which led to Naples, he heard the murmuring sound of a stream which ran amongst some trees, and throwing himself down upon its margin, he ceased his complaints, but his sighs and tears were ceaseless.

Chapter XII.

Wherein it is related who Periander and Auristella are.

GOOD and evil seem to be so inseparable, that like two lines which form an angle, although they spring from different beginnings, yet both end in the same point.

Periander lay beside the tranquil stream; the clear and beautiful night and the murmuring waters were soothing companions: the trees too were company to him, and a fresh and gentle breeze dried his tears. He forgot his woes for the moment, and Auristella and the hope of finding a remedy for his sorrows, he dismissed to the winds — when suddenly a sound reached his ears; it was of a strange voice, but it caught his attention, for he heard the well known accents of his native language, without being able to distinguish whether it was muttering or singing.

Curiosity made him move nearer, and then he found that the voices proceeded from two persons, and that they were neither singing nor muttering, but engaged in deep conversation. What most surprised him was, that they talked in the Norwegian tongue at so great a distance from that country.

He concealed himself behind a tree in such a manner that the tree’s shadow and his own were mingled in one. He collected his breath, and the first words that met his ears were, “You have not to tell me, sir, that the whole year in Norway is divided into two parts, for I have been there myself some time — where my misfortunes carried me — and I know that half the year it is night, and the other half day: I know that it is so; but why it is so, I am ignorant.” To which the other answered, “If we reach Rome, I will point out to you upon a globe the cause of this wonderful fact, as natural in that country as it is in this, for day and night to be four and twenty hours long. I have also told you that near the most northern part of Norway, almost under the Arctic Pole, lies the island which is supposed to be the furthest end of the known world, at least of these northern parts. Its name was Tile, or as it is called by Virgil Thulé, in those lines that you will find in the Georgics, Book I: —

Ac tua nautæ

Numina sola colant: tibi serviat ultima Thule.

For Tile in Greek is the same as Thule in Latin. This island is nearly as large as England, rich and abundant in all things necessary for human life; still higher up is the island called Friseland, which was four hundred years undiscovered by any one. It is so large that it is called a kingdom, and not a very small one. The king of Tile is Maximin, son of Queen Eustochia, whose father died not many months ago, and left two sons, one of whom is this Maximin, of whom I spoke, the heir to his crown, and the other a noble youth, called Persiles, rich in the gifts of nature beyond all description, and beloved by his mother beyond all expression. How to praise the virtues of Persiles sufficiently I know not, and therefore I will not attempt it for fear my feeble efforts should impair their greatness; although the affection I have for him, having been his tutor from childhood, is such that I might rather be led to say too much, so it is best to be silent on that point.”

Periander, who heard all this, immediately knew that he who praised him could be no other than Serafido, his tutor; and also in the other, who was listening to him, he recognized Rutilio by his voice, as he made answers from time to time. Whether or not he was astonished at this, I leave to your good consideration, and more still when Serafido (for he it was,) said, —

“Eusebia, the queen of Friseland, had two daughters of exceeding great beauty, particularly the eldest, whose name is Sigismunda (the youngest is called Eusebia, after her mother). Nature had bestowed beauty on them all. The queen, with what design I know not, taking the opportunity of a war with which she was threatened, sent Sigismunda to Tile, to the care of Eustochia, to be brought up at that court, safe from the dangers of war, she said; but I myself believe that this was not the chief reason for sending her away, but that the Prince Maximin might fall in love with her, and make her his wife, which it was natural to suppose might happen from her extreme beauty, enough to melt a heart of marble, at least, if this suspicion of mine was a right one, for I cannot affirm that it was from experience. I know that Prince Maximin is dying for Sigismunda, but he was not in the island at the time she arrived at Tile; his mother sent him the picture of the lady, and told him of the embassy of the queen of Friseland, and his answer was, that she should be very kindly treated, and that he would marry her. This answer was like an arrow shot through the heart of my son Persiles (for by this tender name —— called him, having brought him up). From the moment he heard of it, he could get nothing to please him; he lost the vivacity of youth, and one heard no more of the gallant deeds by which he won the admiration and Jove of every one.

“Above all, he began to lose his health and give way to despair; the physicians, who were sent for, could make nothing of his ailment, for they were ignorant of its cause. The state of the pulse does not show the grief of the heart, and it is difficult and nearly impossible to comprehend the ailments which spring from that source. The mother, seeing her son dying, without being able to discover what was killing him, asked him again and again to reveal the cause of his suffering, since it was impossible that he should be ignorant of it himself, as he felt the effects: so powerful were the persuasions, so great the solicitude of the afflicted mother, that she conquered the obstinacy, or rather the firmness, of Persiles, and forced him to confess that he was dying of love for Sigismunda, and that he was determined to die rather than sin against the duty which he owed his brother. This declaration restored the queen to life, and she bade Persiles hope, telling him that a remedy might be found, and that it would be quite possible to overlook the claims of Maximin, and greater considerations even than a brother’s anger, might be waved to effect this object. Finally she went to Sigismunda herself, and told her of her son’s wishes, exaggerating all she should lose if she lost Persiles, a creature in whom all the graces and all the virtues were united; whereas Maximin was much the reverse, for the harshness of his manners made him somewhat unpopular, and she cried up the merits of Persiles to the highest extent.

“Sigismunda, who was very young, alone, and easily persuaded, replied that she had no will of her own, nor any counsellor but her own modesty; and so as she could preserve it, she left the queen to dispose of her as she pleased. The queen embraced her, and flew to carry her reply to Persiles. It was then agreed between them that they should absent themselves from the island before his brother returned, and as an excuse for their disappearance, she would say that they had made a vow to go to Rome, in order to get properly instructed in the Catholic faith, which was somewhat impaired in these northern countries, Persiles first having sworn that he would neither in word nor deed, offend against her modesty. So, loaded with jewels and advice, the queen dismissed them, and, when they were gone, she told me all that I have now related.

“It was two years and rather more before the prince Maximin returned to his own dominions, for he was engaged in the war he was continually waging with his enemies.

“He enquired for Sigismunda, and not finding her was a great vexation to him. As soon as he heard of the Voyage she had gone upon, he set out in search of her. He had great confidence in his brother’s virtue, but was not without suspicion, which a lover is never entirely free from. As his mother knew of his intentions, she called me aside, and committed to my charge the life, honour and safety of her younger son, giving me orders to set out in search of him, and, if possible, to let him know that his brother was gone to look for him and Sigismunda. The Prince Maximin set sail with two large ships, and passing through the Straits of Hercules with various changes of weather and many storms, he reached at length the Isle of Trinacria, and from thence the fair city of Parthenope. He was at the present moment not far from thence, in a place called Terracina, where he had been taken ill, and had been at the point of death. I landed at Lisbon, where I obtained news of Persiles and Sigismunda; for two pilgrims whose beauty was making a great noise there, could be no other than they, for unless they are Persiles and Sigismunda, they must be incarnate angels.”

“If their names,” answered the listener to whom Serafido spoke, “were Periander and Auristella, instead of Persiles and Sigismunda, I could give you certain news of them, for I was some time in their company, and underwent with them many perils.” He then related the adventures in the Barbarous Isle with some others.

Meantime day advanced, and Periander, that he might not be seen there, left them in order to return and give Auristella notice of his brother’s arrival, and to take counsel with her what was best to be done in order to avoid his indignation, deeming it a miracle that he should have gained this information in so retired a spot; and, full of new thoughts, he went to seek, once more, his penitent Auristella, and the hopes which he had well nigh lost.

Chapter XIII.

Periander returns towards Rome with the News of his Brother Maximums Arrival. Serafido his Tutor, and Rutilio meet with him.

THE pain and sensation of a fresh wound is hardly felt in the moment of anger and hot blood, which, after it becomes cold, causes an agony that is almost unendurable to the sufferer. It is the same with the passions of the mind; in allowing them time and space to be dwelt upon, and considered, they will often nearly vex you to death.

Auristella said all she wanted to Periander, and satisfied with having declared her desire, she expected its accomplishment, trusting to the perfect submission of Periander, who, after as we have already narrated, listening to her in silence, and by silence only, replying, quitted Rome, and the events we have related happened to him.

He recognized Rutilio, who told the history of the Barbarous Isle to his former tutor, Serafido, and added his suspicions that Auristella and Periander might prove to be Sigismunda and Persiles. He also said that they were sure to be found in Rome, and that from the first beginning of his acquaintance, he had seen that they were travelling on some secret business, and were only pretending to be brother and sister. He then questioned Serafido abundantly upon the condition and manners of the inhabitants of those distant isles, of which Maximin and the peerless Auristella were sovereigns; and Serafido again repeated how this island of Tile or Thulé, which is now vulgarly called Iceland, was the most northerly of all the islands in those seas, the other being a little further south, which, as he before said, was called Friseland, and which Nicholas Temo, a Venetian, discovered in the year one thousand three hundred and eighty. It was as large as Sicily, and, until then, unknown by the ancients. Eusebia is its queen, the mother of Sigismunda, whom I seek. There is yet another island nearly as important, and almost always covered with snow, called Greenland, at one corner of which there is a monastery, founded under the name of St. Thomas, and where there are monks of four nations, Spaniards, French, Latin, and Tuscan. They teach their different tongues to the principal people of the island, that when they leave it, they may be understood wherever they go. As I said before, the island is buried in snow; and at the top of a small mountain there is a fountain, a great wonder, and worthy to be known: it throws out and pours forth a quantity of water of such heat, that when it reaches the sea and mingles with its waves, it not only thaws the frozen water, but warms it so that in that part an incredible variety of fishes are found, which fish form the chief sustenance of the monastery and the island in general, which derives thence her revenues and profits. This fountain also engenders stones of a glutinous quality, of which an adhesive cement is made, with which they build houses, as if they were of the hardest marble.

“Other things I could tell you,” said Serafido to Rutilio, “of these isles, which you would scarcely believe, and yet which are quite true.”

All this Periander did not hear. Rutilio told it to him afterwards, and he believed the truth of all that he related, from his own knowledge of so many of the facts stated.

The day was now come, and Periander had just reached that magnificent temple and church, almost the largest in Europe, of St. Peter, when he saw coming towards him a little troop of persons on horseback and on foot; and as they came near he knew them to be Auristella, Felicia Flora, Constance, and Antonio, and also Hippolyta, who, having heard of Periander’s disappearance, would not leave the pleasure of finding him to others, and so followed Auristella, taking the road pointed out by the Jewess, Zabulon’s wife, much like one who is friendly with the evil one.

The fair squadron came up to Periander, who saluted Auristella, and looking closely at her, he fancied that her countenance was more gentle in its expression, and her eyes milder. He told them directly all that he had heard the night before between his old tutor and Rutilio, and how his brother, Prince Maximin, was at Terracina, laid up with an illness there; and how he intended coming to Rome to be cured, and with a feigned name, and concealing his rank, to search for them.

He then asked advice from Auristella and the others, as to what he should do, for he could not expect a very gentle reception from his brother.

Auristella was thunderstruck at the unexpected tidings, and in an instant vanished alike the hopes of preserving her maiden freedom, and of retaining the company of her loved Periander.

As for the rest of the party they were all busy thinking what advice it would be best to give Periander. The first who offered any was the rich and enamoured Hippolyta. She proposed to take Periander and his sister with her to Naples, and spend her hundred thousand and more of ducats with them there.

The Calabrian Pyrrhus heard this offer, for he was by, and to him it was like a death blow; for in a ruffian soul like his, jealousy is engendered, not by disdain, but self-interest, and as his would suffer with the loss of Hippolyta, despair for some moments took possession of him, during which he treasured up in his heart a mortal hatred against Periander, whose grace and beauty, great as they were, seemed magnified yet greater in his eyes, for such is the natural effect of jealousy.

Periander thanked Hippolyta, but did not accept her liberal offers. The others had no time to advise anything, for at this instant Serafido and Rutilio came up, and scarcely had they both caught sight of Periander than they ran and threw themselves at his feet, for his change of dress could not change his graceful figure. Rutilio clasped his waist, Serafido hung upon his neck, Rutilio wept with delight, and Serafido with joy and tenderness.

The bystanders watched this extraordinary and happy meeting with the warmest interest. Pyrrhus alone stood gloomily apart, his secret fury preying upon his vitals; and at last, so great was his envy and rage, to see how Periander was respected and beloved, that, impelled by blind passion, and hardly knowing what he did, he plunged his sword into Periander’s right shoulder with such force, that the point came out at his left, taking a slanting direction from side to side.

Hippolyta was the first who saw the blow given, and her shriek was first heard crying out, “Ah, traitor! ah, fatal enemy of my peace, hast thou slain him who deserved to live for ever?” Serafido opened his arms, Rutilio loosened his, all bathed in the warm blood of Periander, who sank into those of Auristella. She had no power to speak, to breathe, or even to weep. His head fell upon her breast, and his arms hung down on either side. This sudden stroke, which then appeared more fatal than it afterwards proved, filled all those who witnessed it with horror, and left them pale as death. The great flow of blood was what seemed to threaten Periander’s life, at least Auristella looked as if it was about to depart. Serafido and Rutilio arrested the assassin, and in spite of his strength and savage ferocity, they secured him, and with the help of several persons, who had by this time come up, he was taken to prison, and the governor in a few days after sentenced him to the gallows, as an incorrigible villain and assassin. His death was a great relief to Hippolyta, who henceforwards felt able to call her life her own.

Chapter XIV.

Maximin appears among them ill of a fever. He dies after joining the hands of Periander and Auristella, now known as Persiles and Sigismunda.

SO little certainty is there in all earthly joys, that no man can promise himself a moment of perfect security. Auristella repenting the declaration she had made of her wishes and intentions to Periander, now hastened to seek him out joyfully, believing that with her hand and her repentance all would come right, and according to his desire, for she believed herself to be the key of the wheel of his fortune, and the Polar star of all his hopes; nor was she deceived in this, for already had he brought himself to comply with her will. But mark the cheats of this ever changing fortune. In one short instant, as we have seen, she finds herself quite another thing from what she was of late. She meant to smile, and she weeps; she thought of happy life, and she is at the point of death; she expected to see Periander, and lo, in his place, his brother Maximin! who, with a number of equipages and a large retinue, now approaches, entering Rome by this, the Terracina road; and seeing the crowd of persons that surrounded the wounded Periander, he ordered his carriage to stop, that he might learn the cause. Serafido went to meet him, saying, “O Prince Maximin, I bring you evil tidings; yonder wounded man in the arms of that beautiful lady is your brother Persiles, and she is the peerless Sigismunda; after all your diligence you find them in a sad time and season, so that instead of rejoicings, you will only come to follow them to their grave.

“They will not go to it alone,” answered Maximin; “but I shall bear them company. Accordingly I am come; and, putting his head out of the carriage, he recognized his brother, although he was all covered with blood. He knew Sigismunda, too, although her face was pale as death, for the terror which had deprived it of colour had not altered the features. Sigismunda was all lovely before, but, if possible, she looked lovelier still in her sorrow, for, in some cases, grief only adds to beauty.”

He left his carriage, and sunk into the arms of Sigismunda — Auristella no longer — but the queen of Friseland, and, in his imagination, queen of Tile also.

These strange events all came under the name of what is called fortune, which is but another name for the ordering of a heavenly Providence.

Maximin had set out for Rome, in the hope of finding better physicians to cure him of his disease than those he had at Terracina, and they had warned him that before he could reach Rome, he would be dead, more skilful and sagacious in this matter than in finding out how to cure him: it is true that his was an illness seldom cured.

And now before the great cathedral of St. Peter, in the midst of an open plain, has hideous death stepped forth to meet the young and beautiful Persiles, and threatens him with destruction, whilst to Maximin it gives a grave. He, finding himself near expiring, with his right hand takes Persiles’ left in his own, and lifts it to his eyes, whilst in his left hand he takes Persiles’ right and joins it with Sigismunda, saying, in a faint and feeble voice, and failing breath, “Your truth and virtue, my children, and my brother, I well know: open, O my brother, those closed lids of thine, and shut these eyes of mine in eternal sleep, and with thy other hand clasp that of Sigismunda, and seal therewith my gift and wish that she should be thy wife, and let this blood that is spilt of thine, and these thy friends who surround thee, be witnesses of the marriage. Thy father’s kingdom is left for thee, and thou wilt have Sigismunda’s also. May ye both enjoy health and happiness for many years to come!”

These words, so tender, so joyful, and yet so sorrowful, revived the fainting spirits of Periander, and, obedient to his brother’s desire (on whom death had set his seal) he closed his eyes, and, in accents divided between grief and joy, pronounced the words which bound him for ever to Sigismunda as her husband.

This unexpected and melancholy event affected the bystanders strongly, and many of them shed tears, and sighs and sobs were heard all around.

They lifted up the dead body of Maximin and carried it into St. Peter’s church, and placing Persiles, only half alive, in the carriage of the dead prince, they returned with him to Rome, where they found neither Bellamina nor Delicia, both of whom had gone back to France with the duke.

Arnoldo was strongly affected when he heard of this unexpected and strange marriage; he felt deeply how many years he had wasted in this pursuit, how many deeds he had done, and actions performed, in the hope of being at last rewarded by the peaceable possession of Sigismunda’s peerless charms; and that which most vexed and disturbed his mind, was, to remember all that Clodio had said, which he would not believe, and of which he had now obtained such manifest proof. At first, indignant and disturbed, he determined to set off without speaking a word to either Persiles or Sigismunda; but, on second thoughts, considering their royal birth, and the excuse they had, and that this great piece of good fortune was reserved clearly for Persiles, he resolved that he would go to them; he did so, and was very kindly received, and, in order to console him and give him less cause to complain, they offered him the young princess Eusebia, Sigismunda’s sister, for a wife. He accepted this offer willingly, and he would have accompanied them at once to their own country, but that he thought it right to go and ask his father’s leave, since in the affair of marriage, and indeed in all serious or important matters, it is right for children to consult their parents’ pleasure. He stayed to assist in the cure of his intended brother-in-law; and when he was perfectly restored to health, he departed to join his father, and to prepare for his promised bride.

Felicia Flora had decided to marry Antonio the Barbarian; for she said she would never return to live among the friends and relations of the man who would have murdered him.

Croriano and Ruperta, their pilgrimage ended, returned to France, taking with them ample matter for discourse in the events of the feigned Auristella’s history.

Persiles had his brother buried in St. Peter’s, and took all his servants under his protection.

They visited all the churches in Rome, and loaded Constance with caresses.

Sigismunda presented her with the diamond cross, and would not part with her till she left her married to the count, her brother-in-law. Then, having kissed the Pope’s feet, her vow accomplished, and her soul at peace, she lived in sweet companionship with her husband Persiles, to see their children’s children grow up around them, their lives prolonged and blessed in their happy and numerous posterity.