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   Chapter 4 No.4

The Pacha of Many Tales By Frederick Marryat Characters: 47450

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


The next day the Spanish slave was summoned to continue his narrative.

"Your sublime highness of course recollects where I lest off yesterday evening," commenced the slave.

"Perfectly well," replied the pacha, "you left off at the beginning of your story; but I hope you will finish it this evening, as I have already forgotten a great deal of what you said."

"Your highness may recollect that I was seated-"

"Yes, in our presence," interrupted the pacha; "such was our condescension to a Giaour. Now go on with your story."

"With due submission to your highness, I was seated on a sofa, between my mother Donna Celia and my mistress Donna Clara."

"Very true; I recollect now that you were."

"A hand clasped in the hand of each."

"Exactly," replied the pacha, impatiently.

"And was about to tell a story of my own invention, to deceive the old lady my mother."

"Anna Senna! curses on your mother!" cried the pacha, in an angry tone. "Sit down and continue your story. Is a pacha nothing? Is the lion to be chafed by a jackall? Wallah le Nebi! By God and the Prophet! do you laugh at our beard? The story!"

"The story requested by your highness," replied the slave, with great coolness, "was commenced in the following words."

STORY OF THE MONK.

What occurred during my infancy, my dearest mother, I do not recollect; but I can retrace to the age of seven years, when I found myself in company with a number of others, from the squalling infant of a few days old, up to about my own age. I also recollect that our fare was indifferent, and our punishment severe.

"Poor child!" exclaimed Donna Celia, pressing my hand which was still locked in hers. I continued there until the age of ten, when an old lady who came to the Asylum, took a fancy to me; for I often heard it remarked, that I was a very handsome boy, although I have rather grown out of my good looks lately, Clara.

A pressure of my other hand, and a negative smile, was the answer; and I proceeded-

The old lady Donna Isabella, who was of the noble family of Guzman, wanted a page, and intended to bring me up in that capacity. She carried me to her house, where I was clad in a fancy dress. I used to sit by her side on the carpet, and run upon any message which might be required; in fact, I was a sort of human bell, calling up every body and fetching every thing that was wanted; but I was well fed, and very proud of a little dagger which I wore in my girdle. The only part of my education to which I objected, was learning to read and write from a priest, who was domiciled in the family, and who had himself as great an aversion to teaching as I had to learning. Had the affair rested entirely between us, we might have arranged matters so as to please both parties; but as the old lady used to prove my acquirements by making me read to her, as she knotted, we neither of us could help fulfilling our engagements. By dint of bullying and beating, at last I was sufficiently enlightened to be able to read a romance to my mistress, or answer an invitation-note in the negative or affirmative. My mistress had two nieces who lived with her, both nearly grown up when I entered the family. They taught me dancing for their own amusement, as well as many other things, and by their care I improved very much, even in reading and writing. Although a child, I had a pleasure in being taught by two pretty girls. But it is necessary that I should be more particular in my description of these two young ladies. The eldest, whose name was Donna Emilia, was of a prudent, sedate description, always cheerful, but never boisterous; she constantly smiled, but seldom, if ever, indulged in a laugh. The youngest, Donna Teresa, was very different-joyous and light-hearted, frank and confiding in her temper, generous in disposition: her faults arose from an excess of every feeling-a continual running into extremes. Never were two sisters more fond of each other: it appeared as if the difference between their dispositions but added to their attachment. The serious character of the elder was roused to playfulness by the vivacity of the younger, and the extravagance of the younger was kept in due bounds by the prudence of the elder. As a child I liked Donna Emilia, but I was devotedly fond of Donna Teresa.

I had been three years in this situation, when legal business required the presence of Donna Isabella at Madrid. The young ladies, who were both very handsome, and remarkably like each other in person, were much admired by the cavaliers. Two had gained the victory over the rival candidates-Don Perez was the favoured suitor of Donna Emilia, while Don Florez was proud to wear the chains of the lively Teresa. Donna Isabella had, however, no intention that her nieces should quit her for the present, and aware, by the serenading which took place every night, that there were pretenders to her nieces' smiles, she hastened back to Seville sooner than she had intended.

Although I had not been trusted by either, I had an idea of what was going on; but with more prudence than most boys of my age, I made no remarks either to my mistress or to the young ladies. We had returned to Seville about a month, when Donna Emilia called me aside, and said, "Pedro, can you keep a secret?"

I told her-"Yes, if I was paid for it."

"And what do you want to induce you to keep it, you little miser?"

I replied-"From her, only a kiss."

She called me a little rogue, gave me the kiss, and then told me, that a cavalier would be under the window a little after vesper bell, and that I must give him a billet, which she put into my hand. Of course, having received my payment before hand, I consented. At the time mentioned I looked out of the gate, and perceiving a cavalier under the window, I accosted him, "What ho, Senor, what is it you expect from a fair lady?"

"A billet, my little page," replied he.

"Then here you have it," replied I, pulling it out of my vest. He put a doubloon in my hand, and immediately disappeared.

I liked the gold very much, but I preferred the other payment more. I put the money into my pocket, and returned into the house. I had hardly come into the hall, when Donna Teresa, the other young lady, accosted me. "Pedro, I have been looking for you-can you keep a secret?"

"Yes, if I am paid for it," replied I, as before.

"And what must it be that will keep that little tongue of yours from chattering?"

"From you," replied I, "it must be a kiss."

"Oh! you little mannikin-I'll give you twenty;" and she did so, until she almost took away my breath. "And now," said she, "there is a senor waiting below for a note, which you must take him." I took the note, and when I came to the gate, found a cavalier there, as she had mentioned. "Oh, Senor," said I, "what are you waiting for, is it a billet-doux from a sweet lady?"

"It is, my pretty boy," answered he.

"Perhaps this will interest you," replied I, handing him the note. He snatched it from me, and would have departed. "Senor," said I, "I cannot allow my mistress to be affronted. Her favours are beyond all price, but still they are always coupled with gold. Since you are so poor, and gold must pass, here is a piece for you," and I offered him the doubloon which I had received from the other cavalier.

"You are a witty boy," replied he, "and have corrected my negligence, for it was nothing more, I assure you. Add this to the other,"-and he put a quarter-doubloon in my hand and disappeared. I returned to the house, and as I had been some time away from my mistress I went into the saloon-where she was sitting alone.

"Pedro, come hither, child, you know how good I have been to you, and how carefully I have brought you up. Now tell me, can you keep a secret?"-"Yes, madam," replied I, "I can keep yours, for it is my duty."

"That's a good child; well then, I have an idea that my two nieces are followed by some of the gay cavaliers, who saw them at Madrid, and I wish you to find out if it is true.-Do you understand?"

"Oh, yes, madam," replied I; "I do perfectly."

"Well then, do you watch,-and Pedro, here are two reals for you, to buy sugar-plums."

Thus did I enter in one day into the real occupation of a page. I added the two reals to the gold, and, as you may suppose, meant to serve as I was paid. But, as I found out afterwards, I had made a terrible mistake with the two billets-doux. That of Donna Emilia I had given to Don Florez, who was Donna Teresa's admirer; that of Donna Teresa I had given to Don Perez, who was the lover of Donna Emilia; but I had better explain to you, before I go on, what did not come to my knowledge until the dénouement took place. Don Perez, the lover of Emilia, was a young man who was entitled to large property, at the death of an uncle, to whom he was heir by entail. Don Florez, on the contrary, was in possession of a splendid fortune, and able to choose for himself. From fear of discovery, the notes were both in a disguised hand, and not signed by the respective Christian names of the ladies. Donna Emilia's ran thus:-"I found your note in the spot agreed, but my aunt has taken away the key of the shrubbery, and is I believe suspicious.-Why are you so urgent?-I trust your affection, like mine, will but increase from delay. It will be impossible to meet you to-night; but I have entered the page in my service, and will write soon." That of Donna Teresa, which I put in the hands of Don Perez, ran as follows:-"I can no longer refuse your solicitations for an interview. My aunt has locked up the shrubbery, but if you have courage enough to scale the garden-wall, I will meet you in the saloon which opens upon the garden; but not a word must be said, as the servants are continually passing the door-neither can we have a light-I must trust to your honour."

Don Perez was delighted at Donna Emilia's having at last yielded to his entreaties for a meeting; and Don Florez, as much annoyed at the reserved conduct of his mistress, went home accusing her of coquetry. At the appointed hour, Don Perez met his supposed mistress in the saloon. The two sisters were confidantes, and as I was in their secret, they made no scruple of talking before me. The next day, when their aunt left the room, they began arguing upon the personal merits of the respective cavaliers. After a good-humoured controversy, they appealed to me. "Come, Pedro," said Teresa, "you shall decide.-Which do you think the handsomest cavalier?"

"Why," answered I, "I think that your senor is, for a fair man, the handsomest I ever saw-but still the beautiful dark eyes of the Donna Emilia's cavalier are equally prepossessing."

"Why Pedro, you have mistaken the two," said Emilia, "it is Don Perez, the fair one, who is my admirer, and the dark senor is Don Florez, who is in love with my sister." I perceived that I had made a mistake when I delivered the notes, and Teresa coloured up. But I had sense enough to answer-"Very true, madam, you are right, I now recollect that I am confounding the two."

Shortly afterwards the aunt came into the room, and Teresa quitted it, beckoning me to follow her. As soon as I had joined her, she said, "Now, Pedro, tell the truth: did you not make the mistake that you stated, and deliver my note to the fair cavalier, Don Perez."

I answered, "that I had, as I had already delivered Emilia's note to the dark gentleman." Donna Teresa put her hands over her face and wept bitterly,-"Pedro, you must now keep this secret, for it is of the greatest importance.-My God, what will become of me?" cried she, and for some time she was in the greatest distress: at last she wiped her eyes, and after much reflection, she took up paper and wrote a note.-"Pedro, take this note to the direction; recollect it is for the dark cavalier that it is intended." Teresa had read the note of Emilia to Don Perez, which had been received by Don Florez-in consequence her present note ran thus:-"You may think me harsh for having refused to see you last night, but I was afraid. Do not accuse me with trifling with your feelings, I will meet you in the saloon that leads to the garden, which was last night occupied; come at ten this evening."

I went out with the note and gave it into the hands of Don Florez. "My dear boy, tell Donna Teresa I will not fail; I know now why she could not receive me last night; I only hope I may be as fortunate as Don Perez." He put a doubloon in my hand, and I went away. I had not quitted the street when I met Don Perez.

"Ah! my little page, this is indeed lucky; just step to my rooms while I write a note to Donna Emilia." I did so, and he gave me a quarter-doubloon as before. "I thank you, senor," replied I; what with the doubloons of Don Florez and your quarter-doubloons, I shall soon be a rich man."

"How say you," replied he, "Don Florez give you doubloons-then he spoils the market; but I must not allow him to pay you better than I do, or I shall not be served so faithfully.-Here's a doubloon and a half, which, with what you have already received, will make the accounts square." I made my bow, and with many thanks withdrew.

Young as I was, I had an idea that something had occurred at the mistaken meeting of last night, which seriously affected Donna Teresa. As I was much more partial to her than to her sister, I resolved not to deliver the note of Don Perez to Emilia, until I had consulted Donna Teresa. On my return, I beckoned her into her chamber, and told her the answer of Don Florez, with his observation, "that he hoped he should be as fortunate as Don Perez was last night." She coloured with shame and vexation; and I then told her how I had met Don Perez, and what had passed. I then gave her the note, and asked whether I should deliver it or not. She hastily tore it open-it ran as follows:-"How can I sufficiently express my gratitude to my adored Emilia, for her kindness to me last night? Tell me, dearest angel, when am I to have the pleasure of meeting you again in the saloon? Till you once more grant me the favour, life will be a blank."

"Pedro," said she, "you have indeed done me a service-you have been my preserver. How can I ever repay you?"

"Give me a double allowance of kisses, this time," replied I.

"I will give you a thousand," answered she, and she kissed and blessed me while tears ran down her cheeks; she then took some paper, and imitating the hand-writing, wrote as follows:-"I must submit to your wishes, Donna Emilia; and while your sister blesses Don Florez, must yield to the severity of your disposition. Still I hope that you will relent-I am very miserable; write to me, if you have any love still remaining for your adorer.--Perez."

"Take this to Emilia, my sweet child.-What can I do to reward you?"

"Why you must take care of my money," said I, "for if my mistress finds it out, I shall never be able to tell how I came by it." She smiled mournfully as she received my doubloons, and locked them up in a trinket-box. "I will add to your wealth, Pedro," said she.

"No," replied I, "only kisses from you." I told her why her aunt gave me the two reals, and we separated. I delivered the note to Donna Emilia, who in the afternoon put an answer into my hand; but I would not act without Donna Teresa knowing what took place, and it occurred to me, that it would be very possible to repair the mischief, which my mistake had occasioned. I therefore took the answers of Donna Emilia to her lover to Donna Teresa, and told her what I thought, "My dear Pedro, you are indeed a treasure to me," replied Teresa.

She opened Emilia's note, which ran as follows:-"You accuse me of unkindness, which I do not deserve. Heaven knows my heart is but too yielding. I will arrange a meeting as soon as I possibly can; but as I before said, my aunt is suspicious, and I cannot make up my mind, like Teresa, to run the risk of discovery."

Teresa tore up this note, and wrote as follows:-"If a woman has the misfortune to yield too much to the solicitations of her lover, he becomes arrogant, and claims as a right, what only can be received as a favour. I consider that what passes in darkness should remain as secret in the breast, and as silent in the tongue. I now tell you candidly, that I shall consider it as an insult, if ever you refer to the meeting of last night; and to punish you for your arrogant request of another, shall treat you with the same reserve as before. Recollect that the least intimation of it, however private we may be, will be the signal of your dismissal. At the same time, expecting implicit obedience to this command, I shall punish you no further, if you offend not again. When I feel inclined to see you, I will let you know. Till then, Yours, etc."

I took this note to Don Perez, whom I found at his lodgings drinking in company with Don Florez, for they had no secrets from each other. Perez opened the note, and appeared a little astonished.-"Read this, Florez," said he, "and tell me if woman is not a riddle."

"Well, now I like her spirit," replied Florez, "some women would have been dying with apprehension at your leaving them: she, on the contrary, considers that you are under greater obligations than before; and assumes her dominion over you. I recommend you to comply with her injunctions, if you wish to retain her love."

"I don't know but what you are right, Florez; and as we are lords and masters after marriage, it is but fair, that they should hold their uninterrupted sway before. I feel more attached to her than ever, and if she chooses to play the tyrant, why she shall. It shows her good sense; for keeping us off, is the only way to induce us to go on."

I returned home, delivering a note from Don Perez to Emilia, stating his intention to abide by her wishes, and stated to Donna Teresa all that had passed between the cavaliers.

"Thanks to your prudence and sagacity, my dear little Pedro, all as yet is well; but it may yet be discovered; for I will now confide to you, that the tenderness last night, intended for Don Florez, was by your mistake, and the darkness and silence prescribed at the meeting, lavished upon my sister's admirer. But all will I trust be well, and I shall not suffer for an unintentional misfortune."

That evening Don Florez was received by Teresa in the saloon; and the next morning, I was sitting as usual by my mistress, when she asked, "Well, Pedro, have you discovered anything?"

"Yes, madam," replied I.

"And what is it, child?"

"Why, madam, a gentleman asked me to give a letter, but I would not."

"Who was it for, child?"

"I don't know, madam, for I refused to take it in my hand."

"Well, Pedro, you were right; the next time he offers you a letter take it, and bring it to me."

"I will, madam," said I.

"Here are two reals for you, child-have you spent the last I gave you?"

I left the room-when Donna Emilia met me outside, and put a note into my hand for Don Perez. I first took it to my friend Teresa, who opened it:-"At last my affection has borne down my resolution, and I consent to see you. There is no other way but in the saloon. Be careful not to offend me, or it will be for the last time."

"This may go, Pedro," said Teresa, "and you may call at Don Florez' lodgings as you pass by."

I delivered the note to Don Perez, and before he had finished it, Don Florez entered the room.-"Congratulate me, my dear friend," said he. "I was received as kindly as I could wish."

"And my fair one has not taken long to relent," answered Perez, "for I have an appointment with her this evening. Pedro, tell your mistress, that I do not write, but that I bless her for her kindness, and shall not fail to meet her.-Do you understand? Well, what are you waiting for? Oh! you little rogue, I understand," and he threw me a doubloon.-"Florez, you give that boy too much money, and I am obliged to do the same." Florez laughed, and I again took my departure.

Thus did I continue in my vocation for some time, when the old lady fell sick and died. She divided her fortune between her two nieces, and as they were now independent, they married their respective lovers; but the old lady forgot to mention me in her will, and I should have been turned adrift on the world had it not been for Donna Teresa, who immediately appointed me as her own attendant. I was as happy as before, although no more doubloons fell into my hands, after the marriages took place. It appears that Don Perez was so much afraid of offending Donna Emilia, that he never ventured to speak of the meeting, which he supposed he had had with her in the saloon, until after marriage: then, feeling himself quite at liberty, he had laughed at her on the subject. Donna Emilia was all astonishment, declared most positively that it had not taken place; and although he at first ridiculed the idea of her denial, yet recollecting that he still had her notes in his possession, he brought them out, and showed her the one in which she had prohibited him from speaking on the subject. Donna Emilia protested that it was not her writing, and was confounded at the apparent mystery. She stated that Teresa had agreed to meet Don Florez in the saloon that night.

"On the contrary," replied Don Perez, "he received a letter from Donna Teresa, refusing him a meeting, at the same time that I received this from you, giving me the assignation."

Donna Emilia burst into tears. "I see how it is," replied she, "the page by mistake has given the note which I wrote you to Don Florez, and Teresa's note fell into your hands. You have taken an unworthy advantage of the circumstance, and have met my sister. Never make me believe, Don Perez, that you were not aware of the mistake, when she received you in the saloon-or that she could not distinguish you from Don Florez. Cruel sister, thus to rob me of my happiness! Treacherous Don Perez, thus to betray your friend and me!"

Don Perez tried all he could to pacify his wife, but in vain. Her jealousy, her pride, and her conscientious scruples were roused, and she would not listen to any reasoning or protestations. Although he was almost certain, that the fact was as his wife had stated, he determined to make sure by referring to me. He came to Don Florez' house, and after staying a little while with him and his wife, during which he appeared so uneasy that they asked him whether he was unwell, he went away making a sign for me to follow him. He then entered into all the particulars, and asked me about the delivery of the notes. I took it for granted, that an explanation had taken place between him and his wife-my only object was to save Donna Teresa.

"Senor, whether what Donna Emilia says is true, I know not," replied I; "but, that it was not Donna Teresa who met you, I can certify, for I was in her room with her that night till she went to bed, playing at piquet for sugar-plums."

"Then who could it be," observed he.

"I know not, senor, for I did not go downstairs, where my mistress was, because she had sent me to bed, and I knew that I should have been scolded for being up. Therefore I cannot say whether Donna Emilia was with you or not."

Don Perez meditated some time, and then came to the conclusion that his wife was ashamed of having been too indulgent to him in an unguarded moment, and would not acknowledge it. Still he was far from being satisfied. He returned home to explain what he had gathered to his wife, but found that she had left the house some time before, without stating whither she was going. As soon as Don Perez left the house, I hastened to my mistress, to acquai

nt her with what had passed, and what I had told him.

"I thank you for your kind intention, Pedro, but I am afraid that all will be discovered. It is a judgment on me for my folly and indiscretion."

In the meantime, Donna Emilia, who had taken refuge in a neighbouring convent, sent for Don Florez. He found her in the convent-parlour in tears. Convinced by her jealousy, that her sister had an attachment to Don Perez, and that there had been a mutual understanding, she stated to Don Florez the whole of the circumstances, and pointing out to him how treacherously they both had been treated, acquainted him with her intention to retire from the world.

Don Florez, stirred to madness by the information, exclaimed-"It was for this, then, that she put me off on that night, and was kind to me the next. Cursed dupe that I have been; but, thank heaven, it is not too late to be revenged. Don Perez, you shall pay dearly for this." So saying, he quitted Donna Emilia, uncertain whether he should first wreak his vengeance upon Don Perez or his wife. But this point was soon decided, for at the convent gate he encountered Don Perez, who had been informed whither his wife had retreated.

"You are the person I have been anxiously wishing to see, Don

Perez-treacherous villain, void of all honour."

"Not so, Don Florez. I am an unfortunate man, who is half mad by a cruel mistake which has occurred. Recall your words, for they are unjust."

"I do not intend to recall them, but assert the truth with the point of my rapier. If you are not as great a coward, as you are a villain, you will follow me."

"Such language will admit of no reply. I am at your service," cried Don

Perez.

The two brothers-in-law walked in silence, until they reached a field hard by, where they threw off their cloaks, and fought with the fury of demons. Victory was decided in favour of Don Perez; his sword passed through the heart of his adversary, who never spoke again. Don Perez viewed the body with a stern countenance, wiped his sword, took up his cloak, and walked straight to the house of Don Florez. "Donna Teresa," said he (I only was present), "I call upon you, as you value salvation in the day of judgment, to tell me the truth. Was it you, that, by an unfortunate mistake, I met one night in the saloon, and were those caresses, intended for Don Florez, bestowed upon me?"

There was a wildness, a ferocity in his air that frightened her; she stammered out at last-"for my sins, it is true; but you know, too well, that I never was false in heart, although when I found out my mistake, I attempted to conceal my indiscretion."

"Had you, madam, been as virtuous as your sister, all this mischief would not have happened-and your husband would not now be lying a corpse, by the hand of his brother."

Donna Teresa fainted at the intelligence, and Don Perez immediately quitted the house. I hastened to her assistance, and succeeded in restoring her to life.

"It is but too true," said she, mournfully; "crime will always meet with punishment, in this world, or in the next. By permitting my love to overcome the dictates of virtue, by being too fond of my husband, I have murdered him. Oh God! I have murdered him, and rendered the lives of two others as much a burden to them as my own will ever be. My poor, dear sister, where is she?"

I tried all my powers of consolation, but in vain: all she requested was that I would find out where her sister was, and let her know. I set off upon my melancholy task, and met the people bearing in the body of Don Florez. I shuddered as it passed by, when I recollected how principal a part I had acted in the tragedy. I soon gained the information, and brought it to Donna Teresa. She dressed herself in deep mourning, and, desiring me to follow her, knocked at the convent gate, and requesting to see the superior, was admitted. The superior came out of the parlour to receive her, not wishing that any one should enter, while Donna Emilia was in such a state of misery and despair.

"It is my sister that I come to see, madam, and I must not be refused; lead me to her, and be witness of the scene, if you please."

The superior, who was not aware that Emilia would have refused to see

Donna Teresa, led the way, and we were ushered into the presence of

Emilia, who, looking up as Donna Teresa entered, turned away from her as

if in abhorrence.

"Emilia," said my mistress, "we are born of the same mother, we have lived as children, and we have grown up together; never did we have a secret from each other, till this unfortunate mistake occurred. On my knees, I request you to listen to me, and to believe what I say."

"Plead your cause with your husband, Teresa; it is more necessary to pacify him than me."

"I have no husband, Emilia; he is now pleading his own cause with

God-for he has fallen by the sword of yours."

Donna Emilia started.

"Yes, Emilia, dear, dear sister, it is but too true, and still more true, that you have caused his death. Do not kill me too, Emilia, by refusing to believe what I declare, as I hope for eternal salvation,-that I never was aware of the mistake, until the boy discovered it to me, on the ensuing day. If you knew the shame, the vexation, the fear of discovery which racked my frame, when I was but too sure of it, you would forgive my having tried to hide a fault, the knowledge of which would make others miserable, as well as me. Say you believe me-say you forgive me, Emilia. Oh! Emilia, cannot you forgive a sister?"

Emilia answered not, and Teresa, clinging to her knees, and embracing them, sobbed hysterically. At this moment, Don Perez, who had obtained admittance to see his wife, came into the room, and walking up to the part in which the two unfortunate ladies remained in the attitudes described, said,-"You, Teresa, who have been the original cause of this unhappy business, I mean not to reproach again. Your punishment has been greater than your offence. It is to you, madam, I must address myself, who, by not believing in the words of truth, have caused me to slay my dearest friend and brother, and, after having unwittingly wounded him in the tenderest point, add to the injury by taking away his life. Are you yet satisfied, madam? Are you satisfied with having embittered my days by your injustice and unworthy suspicions-by having reduced your unfortunate, yet not guilty sister, to the state of an unhappy, lonely woman, now suing in vain for pardon at your feet; by having been the occasion of the death of your brother by marriage-her husband and my friend? Say, madam, are you yet satisfied, or will you have more victims to your unbelief?"

Emilia answered not, but continued with her face averted.

"Be it so, then, madam;" replied Don Perez; and, before any one was aware of his intention, he drew his sword, and fell upon it. "Now, Emilia, let the sacrifice of my life be a proof to you of my sincerity. As I hope for pardon, I have told the truth;" and Don Perez fell on his back, and was dead.

Emilia started round when he fell, and threw herself down by his side in horror and amazement. The film that passion had thrown over her eyes was removed, as she witnessed the last melancholy result of her unbelief. When Don Perez ceased speaking, she threw herself on his body, in an agony of grief.-"I do, I do believe-Perez, I do, I do! Oh! indeed I do believe-speak to me, Perez-O God, he is dying!-Sister, Teresa, come, come, he'll speak to you-he's not angry with you-Sister, sister, speak-O God! O God!" screamed the unhappy woman, "he's dead-and I have murdered him!"-and she dashed her head upon the floor. Teresa hastened to her sister, and held her in her arms, while the tears poured fast. It was some time before reason resumed her seat; at last, exhausted by the violence of her feelings, she was relieved with a flood of tears.

"Who is it?-you, Teresa-kind sister, whom I have used so ill-I do believe you-I do believe, Teresa; God forgive me! kiss me, sister, and say that you forgive me-for am I not punished?"

"It is all my fault," answered Teresa, bursting into tears: "Oh! how wicked, how foolish have I been!"

"No, no, sister, your fault is small, compared to mine; you allowed your passion to overcome you, but it arose from an excess of love, the best feeling in our nature-the only remnant of heaven left us since our fall. I too have allowed my passion to overcome me; but whence has it arisen?-from hatred and jealousy, feelings which were implanted by demons, and which create a hell, wherever they command. But it is done, and repentance comes too late."

The unfortunate sisters embraced each other and mingled their tears together; and I hardly need say, that the Lady Abbess and I could not restrain our meed of pity at the affecting scene. As the evening closed, they separated, each to attend to the same mournful duty, of watching by the bodies of their husbands, and bedewing them with their tears. A few days after the interments took place, Emilia sent for her sister, and after an affectionate interview, took the veil in the convent to which she had retired-endowing the church with her property. Donna Teresa did not take the veil; but employed herself in the more active duties of charity and benevolence-but she gradually wasted away-her heart was broken. I stayed with her for three years, when she died, leaving a considerable sum to me, and the remainder of her wealth to beneficent institutions. This is about five years ago, since when I have been living on the property, which is nearly all expended by my extravagance. The stigma on my birth is, however, the only subject which has weighed upon my spirits-this is providentially removed, and I trust that I shall not disgrace the mother who has so kindly acknowledged me, or the dear girl who has honoured this faulty person with her attachment.

* * * * *

My mother and Clara thanked me when I had concluded my narrative, and we remained unto a late hour entering upon family affairs, and planning for the future. My mother informed me that upon the estates she had only a life interest, as they were entailed, and would revert to a cousin; but that she had laid by a considerable sum of money, intending it as a dowry for my Clara, and that she hoped to increase it before she died. As I was anxious to quit Seville, where I feared daily discovery, I proposed that we should retire to the estate near Carthagena, by which not only a considerable expense would be saved, but I should feel more happy in the company of Clara and herself. My mother and my intended gladly consented to the proposal, not only for the above reasons, but because she was aware that the questions which might be asked about me would tend to the injury of her character. In less than a fortnight the establishment at Seville was broken up, and we retired to the country, where I was made happy by the possession of my Clara. I now considered myself as secure from any discovery, and although I had led a life of duplicity, meant by future good conduct to atone for the past. Whether Donna Celia was my mother or not, I felt towards her as if she was, and after some time from habit considered it an established fact. My Clara was as kind and endearing as I could desire, and for five years I was as happy as I could wish. But it was not to last; I was to be punished for my deceit. My marriage with Clara, and the mystery attached to my birth, which was kept secret, had irritated the heir of the estate, who had been in hopes, by marrying Clara himself, to secure the personal as well as the real property. We occasionally met, but we met with rancour in our hearts, for I resented his behaviour towards me. Fearful of discovery, I had never paid any attention to music since my marriage; I had always pretended that I could not sing. Even my wife was not aware of my talent; and although latterly I had no fear of the kind, yet as I had always stated my inability, I did not choose to bring forth a talent, the reason for concealing which I could not explain even to my wife and mother, without acknowledging the deception of which I had been guilty.

It happened that one evening at a large party I met my cousin, the heir of the entailed estates. We were very joyous and merry, and had drunk a good deal more than usual. The wine was powerful, and had taken effect upon most of us. Singing was introduced, and the night passed merrily away, more visitors occasionally dropping in. My cousin was much elated with wine, and made several ill-natured remarks, which were meant for me. I took no notice for some time, but, as he continued, I answered with such spirit, as to arouse his indignation. My own blood boiled; but the interference of mutual friends pacified us for the time, and we renewed our applications to the bottle. My cousin was called upon for a song; he had a fine voice and considerable execution, and was much applauded.

"Now, then," said he, in an ironical tone, "perhaps Don Pedro will oblige the company; although perhaps the real way to oblige them will be by not attempting that of which he is not capable."

Stung with this sarcasm, and flushed with wine, I forgot my prudence. Snatching the guitar from him, after a prelude which created the greatest astonishment of all present, I commenced one of my most successful airs: I sang it in my best style, and it electrified the whole party. Shouts proclaimed my victory, and the defeat of my relative. Some embraced me in their enthusiasm, and all loudly encored; but as soon as there was a moment's silence, I heard a voice behind me observe-"Either that is the monk Anselmo's voice, or the devil's."

I started at the words, and turned round to the speaker, but he had mingled with the crowd, and I could not discover who it was. I perceived that my relative had followed him on; and I now cursed my own imprudence. As soon as I could, I made my escape from the company, and returned home. As I afterwards found out, my relative had immediately communicated with the person who had made the observation. He was one of the priests who knew me at Seville. From him, my cousin gained the information that brother Anselmo had left the convent about five years ago, and not having returned, it was thought that an accident had happened to him. But a discovery had since been made, which led them to suppose, that brother Anselmo had, for some time, been carrying on a system of deception. You may remember I stated, that when I resumed my worldly apparel to introduce myself as the son of Donna Celia, I changed the dress at my lodgings. I locked up my friar's dress and the false tonsure in the chest, intending to have returned, and destroyed it; but I quite forgot it, and left Seville with the key of my lodgings in my pocket. The landlord waited until his rent was due, when, not hearing anything of me, he broke open the door and found the chest. This he opened, and discovered the false tonsure and friar's gown. Knowing the monastic order to which it belonged, and suspecting some mischief, he took it to our convent, and all the habits of the monks being numbered in the inside, it was immediately recognised as mine: the false tonsure also betrayed that I must have been breaking through the rules of my order, and the most rigorous search after me was made for some time without success. Possessed of this information, my vindictive relative repaired to Seville to ascertain the exact date of my quitting the convent, and found that it was about a fortnight previous to Donna Celia having quitted Seville. He then repaired to the landlord for further information. The landlord stated that the lodgings had been taken by a monk, for his brother, who had occupied them. He described the brother's person, which exactly corresponded with mine; and my relation was convinced that the monk Anselmo and Don Pedro were one and the same person. He immediately gave notice to the Inquisition. In the mean time, I was in the greatest consternation. I felt that I should be discovered, and reflected upon my conduct. I had lately abjured all deceit, and had each day gained a step in the path of virtue. I acknowledged with bitterness, that I deserved all that threatened me, and that sooner or later, vice will meet with its reward. Had I at first made known my situation to Donna Celia, she would have had interest enough (believing me to be her son), to have obtained a dispensation of my vows. I then might have boldly faced the world-but one act of duplicity required another to support it, and thus had I entangled myself in a snare, by which I was to be entrapped at last. But it was not for myself that I cared; it was for my wife whom I doted on-for my mother (or supposed mother), to whom it would be the bitterness of death. The thoughts of rendering others miserable as well as myself drove me to distraction-and how to act I knew not.

After much reflection, I resolved as a last resource, to throw myself upon the generosity of my adversary; for although inimical to me, he bore a high character as a Spanish cavalier. I desired to be informed the moment that he returned from Seville; and when the intelligence came, I immediately repaired to his house, and requested an audience. I was admitted, when Don Alvarez, for that was his name, addressed me.

"You wish to speak with me, Don Pedro-there are others at your house by this time, who wish to speak with you."

I guessed that he meant the officers of the Inquisition, but pretending not to understand the remark, I answered him: "Don Alvarez, the enmity that you have invariably shown towards me has, I am sure, proceeded from the affront, which you consider that your noble family has received, by your cousin having formed an alliance with one of unknown parentage. I have long borne with your pointed insults, out of respect for her who gave me birth; I am now about to throw myself upon your generosity, and probably when I inform you, that I am the unhappy issue of the early amour of Donna Celia (which of course you have heard of), I may then claim your compassion, if not your friendship, from having at least some of the same noble blood in my veins."

"I was not indeed aware of it," replied Don Alvarez, with agitation; "I would to heaven you had confided in me before."

"Perhaps it would have been better," replied I, "but permit me to prove my assertions." I then stated my having been the friar Anselmo, the discovery of my birth by accident, and the steps which I had taken. "I am aware," continued I, "that I have been much to blame, but my love for Donna Clara made me regardless of consequences. Your unfortunate enmity induced me, in an unguarded moment, to expose myself, and it will probably end in my destruction."

"I acknowledge the truth of your remark, and that no power can save you. I lament it, Don Pedro; but what is done cannot be undone. Even now the officers of the Inquisition are at your house." As he uttered these words, a loud knocking at the door announced that they had followed me. "This must not be, Don Pedro," said Don Alvarez, "step this way." He opened a panel, and desired me to go in-and he hardly had time to shut it before the officers came into the room.

"You have him here, Don Alvarez, have you not?" inquired the chief.

"No, unfortunately," replied he, "I tried to detain him, but suspecting some discovery he forced his way out, sword in hand, and has gone I do not know in what direction; but he cannot be far-saddle all the horses in my stable and pursue the sacrilegious wretch. I would sacrifice half my worldly wealth, that he should not escape my vengeance."

As Don Alvarez was the informant, and uttered these words with the apparent violence of rage, the inquisitors had no suspicion, but hastened to comply with his request. As soon as they had departed, he opened the panel and let me out.

"So far, Don Pedro, have I proved the sincerity of my assertion; but now, what remains to be done?"

"But one thing, Don Alvarez, to conceal the truth from my poor wife and mother. I could bear it all with firmness, but for them" (and I fell on a sofa and burst into tears). Don Alvarez was much affected.

"Oh, Don Pedro! it is too late now, or I should say, 'What a warning this ought to be to us-that honesty is the best policy!' Had you communicated to me the mystery of your birth, this never would have occurred. Instead of having been your persecutor, I should have been your friend.-What can I do?"

"Kill me, Don Alvarez," replied I, baring my breast, "and I will bless you for the deed. My death may afflict them, but they will recover from their grief in time; but to know that I am murdered by the Inquisition, as a sacrilegious impostor, will bring them to their grave with shame and mortification."

"Your observation is correct, but kill you I must not. I will, however, so far comply with your wishes, that I will bear the news of your death, and their hatred of the deed, rather than the family should be disgraced." He then went to his scrutoire, and taking out a bag of one thousand pistoles-"This is all the money that I have at present-it will serve you for some time. Put on one of my servant's dresses, and I will accompany you to a seaport and secure your safety before I leave you. I will then state, that I met you in a fair duel, and will bribe the officers of the Inquisition to hold their tongues about the circumstances which have been communicated."

The advice was good and I agreed to it; following him as a servant, I arrived safely at Carthagena, whence I took a passage for New Spain. We sailed, and before we were clear of the Straits of Gibraltar, we were attacked by one of the cruisers of the state. We fought desperately, but were overpowered by numbers, and they took possession after we had lost more than half of our crew. They brought us into this port, where, with the rest, I was sold as a slave.

* * * * *

"Such is my history," ended the Spaniard, "which I trust has afforded some amusement to your sublime highness."

The immediate answer of the pacha was a loud yawn.

"Shukur Allah! Praise be to God you have done talking. I do not understand much about it," continued the pacha, turning round to Mustapha, "but how can we expect a good story from an unbelieving dog of a Christian?"

"Wallah Thaib! Well said, by God!" replied Mustapha; "who was Lokman, that they talk of his wisdom? Are not these words of more value than strung pearls?"

"What was the name of the country?" demanded the pacha.

"Spain, your sublime highness; the infidel tribes which you allow to remain there, are employed in cultivating the olive for true believers."

"Very true," rejoined the pacha; "I remember now. Let the Kafir taste of our bounty. Give him two pieces of gold, and allow him to depart."

"May the shadow of your sublime highness never be less," said the Spaniard. "I have here a manuscript which I received from an ancient monk of our order when at the point of death. At the time of my capture it was thrown on one side, and I preserved it as curious. It refers to the first discovery of an island. As your highness is pleased to be amused with stories, it may be worth while to have it translated." The Dominican then handed from his breast a discoloured piece of parchment.

"Very good," replied the pacha, rising. "Mustapha! let it be put into Arabic by the Greek slave, who shall read it to us some evening when we have no story-tellers."

"Be Chesm! Upon my eyes be it," replied Mustapha, bowing low, as the pacha retired to his harem.

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