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Women of the Romance Countries By John R. Effinger Characters: 39550

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


The Women of the Sixteenth Century

The wealth which had come to Spain as the result of her conquests in Moorish territory, and, far more, the treasure which was beginning to pour into the country from the new Spanish possessions beyond the seas, brought to the old peninsula a possibility for lavish and brilliant display in dress which was by no means disregarded. All Europe, in this same period of the Renaissance, had been undergoing to a greater or less degree this social transformation, but the looms of Valencia and Granada furnished the silks and brocades which other countries bought with eagerness, and Spain may be considered very properly as the home of all this courtly show. The wonderful gold cloths which were woven by the deft fingers of the Moriscoes were everywhere prized by fine ladies and ardent churchmen, for there was no finer material for a fetching robe of state in all the world, and no altar cloth or priestly robe could possess excelling beauty and not owe a debt to Spain. Someone has said that women are compounds of plain-sewing and make-believe, daughters of Sham and Hem, and, without questioning the truth of the statement, the same remark might be applied to both the clergy and the women of this period at least, if "fine-sewing" be substituted for "plain-sewing" in the epigram. Isabella herself, in spite of her well-known serious character, dressed in a way which was magnificent beyond belief, and the smallest provincial court was a marvel of brave array. Never had the women adorned themselves so splendidly before, the fashions were made and followed with much scrupulous precision, and so great was the sum of money expended by people of all classes, high and low, that the far-seeing and prudent began to fear the consequences. It is said that on more than one occasion the Cortes deplored the prevalent extravagance and the foolish pride which made even the laboring classes vie in richness of dress with the nobility, "whereby they not only squander their own estate, but bring poverty and want to all." When, however, Fernando and Isabella discovered that gold was being used in large amounts in the weaving of these costly tissues, they issued an order which not only prohibited the wearing of this finery, but inflicted heavy penalties upon all those who should import, sell, or manufacture any textures containing gold or silver threads!

While Her Most Catholic Majesty was issuing edicts of this kind relating to the material affairs of life, it must not be supposed that she was in any way neglecting the humanities, for the truth is quite the contrary. Never before had such encouragement been given to learning by a Spanish sovereign, and never before had there been so little jealousy of foreigners in the matter of scholarship. Isabella was the leader in this broad movement, and from all parts of Europe she summoned distinguished men in science and literature, who were installed at her court in positions of honor or were given chairs in the universities. The final expulsion of the Moors had brought about an era of peace and quiet which was much needed, as Spain had been rent by so much warfare and domestic strife, and for so many years, that the more solid attainments in literature had been much neglected, and the Spanish nobles were covered with but a polite veneer of worldly information and knowledge which too often cracked and showed the rough beneath. Isabella endeavored to change this state of affairs, and by her own studies, and by her manifest interest in the work of the schools, she soon succeeded in placing learning in a position of high esteem, even among the nobles, who did not need it for their advancement in the world. Paul Jove wrote: "No Spaniard was accounted noble who was indifferent to learning;" and so great was the queen's influence, that more than one scion of a noble house was glad to enter upon a scholarly career and hold a university appointment. It may well be imagined that in all this new intellectual movement which was stimulated by Isabella, it was the sober side of literature and of scholarship which was encouraged, as a light and vain thing such as lyric poetry would have been as much out of place in the court of the firm defender of the Catholic faith as the traditional bull in the traditional china shop. Isabella, under priestly influences, favored and furthered the revival of interest in the study of Greek and Latin, and it is in this realm of classical study that the scholars of the time were celebrated.

The power of example is a wonderful thing always, and in the present instance the direct results of Isabella's interest in education may be seen in the fact that many of the women of her day began to show an unusual interest in schools and books. The opportunities for an education were not limited to the members of the sterner sex, and it appears that both men and women were eager to take advantage of the many new opportunities which were afforded them at this epoch. A certain Do?a Beatriz de Galindo was considered the greatest Latin scholar among the women of her time, and for several years her praises were sounded in all the universities. Finally, Do?a Beatriz was appointed special teacher in the Latin language to the queen herself; and so great was her success with this royal pupil, that she was rewarded with the title la Latina, by which she was commonly known ever after. According to a Spanish proverb, "the best counsel is that of a woman," and surely Isabella acted upon that supposition. This is not all, however, for not only was a woman called to give lessons to the queen, but women were intrusted with important university positions, which they filled with no small credit to themselves. Good Dr. Holmes has said: "Our ice-eyed brain-women are really admirable if we only ask of them just what they can give and no more," but the bluestockings of Isabella's day were by no means ice-eyed or limited in their accomplishments, and they managed to combine a rare grace and beauty of the dark southern type with a scholarship which was most unusual, all things taken into consideration. Do?a Francisca de Lebrija, a daughter of the great Andalusian humanist Antonio de Lebrija, followed her father's courses in the universities of Seville, Salamanca, and Alcala, and finally, in recognition of her great talents, she was invited to lecture upon rhetoric before the Alcala students. At Salamanca, too, there was a liberal spirit shown toward women, and there it was that Do?a Lucia de Medrano delivered a course of most learned lectures upon classical Latinity. These are merely the more illustrious among the learned women of the time, and must not be considered as the only cases on record. Educational standards for the majority of both men and women were not high, as a matter of course, and, from the very nature of things, there were more learned men than learned women; but the fact remains that Isabella's position in the whole matter, her desire to learn and her desire to give other women the same opportunity and the same desire, did much to encourage an ambition of this kind among the wives and daughters of Spain. The queen was a conspicuous incarnation of woman's possibilities, and her enlightened views did much to broaden the feminine horizon. Where she led the way others dared to follow, and the net result was a distinct advance in national culture.

In spite of all this intellectual advance, the game of politics was still being played, and women were still, in more than one instance, the unhappy pawns upon the board who were sacrificed from time to time in the interest of some important move. The success of Spanish unity had aroused Spanish ambition, Fernando and Isabella had arranged political marriages for their children, and the sixteenth century was to show that, in one instance at least, this practical and utilitarian view of the marriage relation brought untold misery and hardship to one poor Spanish princess. In each case the royal alliances which were contracted by the Spanish rulers for their various children were the subject of much careful planning and negotiation, and yet, in spite of it all, these measures constitute the most conspicuous failure in all their long reign. Particularly pathetic and distressing is the story of the poor Princess Juana, whose prospects were most brilliant and whose destiny was most cruel. Juana was married in 1496 to the Archduke Philip of Austria, Governor of the Netherlands and heir to the great domain of his father, the Emperor Maximilian, and the wedding had been celebrated in a most gorgeous fashion. It was in the month of August that a splendid Spanish fleet set out from Laredo, a little port between Bilbao and Santander, to carry the Spanish maiden to her waiting bridegroom. As is usual in such affairs, the beauty of the girl had been much extolled, and the archduke, then in his eighteenth year, was all aglow with hope and expectation. Watchmen had been posted to keep a lookout for the ships from Spain, and when they finally came in sight with their glistening white sails and their masts and spars all gay with flags and streamers, salutes were fired and they received a royal welcome. The Spanish admiral in person led the Princess Juana to meet her affianced husband, and soon after, in the great cathedral at Lille, the two young people were married in the midst of great festivities. It seems almost pitiful to think of the human side of all this great and glittering show. Juana was barely seventeen years of age, alone, without mother or father or sister or brother, in a strange land, in the midst of a strange court, where all about her were speaking a strange language, and the wife of a youth whom she had never seen until the eve of her marriage! For a few long weeks Juana was somewhat reserved in her new surroundings, and in her heart she longed again for Spain; but as the days passed she became accustomed to her new home, took pleasure in the greater liberty which was now accorded her as a married woman, and soon, neglected by her parents, so far as any show of affection was concerned, she learned to grow indifferent to them and to all their interests. By the year 1500, however, Juana had become a most important person, as death had claimed her brother and her older sisters and she now remained the rightful heir not only to Aragon, but to her mother's realm of Castile as well. This fact caused much uneasiness in Spain, as such an outcome was most unexpected. Secret agents who had been sent to Flanders to inquire into the political and religious views of the archduchess brought back most discouraging reports. It was asserted that she was no longer a careful Catholic, that she "had little or no devotion," and that she was "in the hands of worthless clerics from Paris." As a matter of fact, Juana, once freed from the ecclesiastical restraints which had been imposed upon her in her younger days by her pious mother, did what it was most natural for her to do,-she went to the opposite extreme. Spain, at that time, with its Inquisition and its fervid zeal for Rome, was the most religious country in Europe, while in the Netherlands there was a growing liberal spirit which attracted the archduchess. It must have been annoying to her to feel that her mother, Isabella, was in a constant fret about the condition of her soul, while otherwise she was treated with a distant formality, entirely devoid of a mother's love, and it is no small wonder that she refused to accept a spiritual director and father confessor who had been sent from Spain to save her from perdition.

With all these facts in mind, Isabella was greatly troubled, for the thought that the indifferent Juana might some day reign in her stead and undo all that she had done with so much labor for the glory of the Church was naturally repugnant to her devout nature. Finally, after a son was born to Juana, Charles, who was to become at a later day the Emperor Charles V., the queen decided upon a somewhat doubtful procedure to avert, for a time at least, the impending catastrophe. The Cortes, under royal pressure, was induced to provide for the government after Isabella's death, in case Juana might be absent from the kingdom, or in case of her "being present in Castile, but, unwilling or unable to reign." Under any or all of those circumstances, it was provided that Fernando should act as regent until her son Charles had reached his twentieth year, a rather unusual age, at a time when young princes were frequently declared to have attained their majority at fifteen or sixteen. Isabella's intention in all this was too obvious, for it was plainly a part of her plan that Juana should never have any share in the government of the country of which she was the rightful heir. The whole transaction smacks strongly of duplicity of the worst kind, for at the very time that the Cortes was being prevailed upon to do this, Juana was being given a royal welcome in both Aragon and Castile, for she had been induced to come home for a visit; and she was even being given public recognition as the future queen of these two countries. There were feasts and tournaments given in her honor, Fernando and Isabella introduced her to their subjects with apparent pleasure, and yet under it all was this heartless trick which they had planned in utter defiance of the law. Still, the law in Spain at this time was almost synonymous with the wish of the sovereign; and so powerful was Isabella and so great was her influence with her legislative body, that there was little dissent to the plan for usurpation which had its origin in her fertile brain. The reasons for this action will never be definitely known, perhaps. It would hardly seem that Juana's lukewarm Catholicism would be sufficient to warrant so radical a step, and it is difficult to give credence to the vaguely circulated rumor that Juana was insane.

Whether this alleged insanity was real or not, it served as a pretext for the action taken, and the report regarding the unhappy princess was soon common property. When Isabella drew her last breath in 1504, Fernando artfully convoked the Cortes, formally renounced any interest in the succession to the throne of Castile, and caused Juana and Philip to be proclaimed as successors to Isabella and himself. Within two months, however, Juana's claims were completely disregarded, it was officially announced that she was not in her right mind, and Fernando was empowered to take control of the Castilian government and rule as regent, according to the terms of the decree which had been arranged by Isabella some years before, and was to remain as a de facto sovereign until Charles had reached the specified majority. The statements which were made to support the claim as to her insanity were not altogether clear, and to-day at least they do not seem convincing. Her attitude of indifference toward the extreme point of view taken by her mother in regard to religion may have been scandalous, as no doubt it was at that time, but it was hardly evidence of an impaired intellect. During her last visit to Spain before her mother's death, Juana had resisted with violence when she was imprisoned for a time and had not been allowed to go to her husband, and such resistance was quite natural in a high-spirited young woman who was being treated in a high-handed and illegal manner; but because her jailer had been the Bishop of Burgos, and because she had been detained by royal order, her action was considered as a certain indication of mental derangement. Again, it was asserted that on one occasion, soon after Juana's return to Flanders from the place of her imprisonment, she gave unmistakable signs of insanity in the course of a court quarrel. It seems that during her absence a certain lady in waiting at her ducal court had succeeded in winning the favor of Philip, and had received such marked attentions from the archduke that the affair was soon gossiped about in every nook and corner of the palace, from scullery maid to the lord high chamberlain. Juana was given a full account of the whole affair before she had been in the palace twenty-four hours, and it so enraged her that she sought out her rival in her husband's affection, and, after a terrible scene, clipped the golden locks of the fair enchantress so close to her head that, for a time at least, her beauty was marred. This was not dignified action, and it might well have been the act of any angered woman under those circumstances, but in Spain the one terrible word "insanity" was whispered about and no other explanation could or would be accepted. Her sanity had never been questioned in Flanders, and, in spite of her quick temper and many unreasonable acts, no one had ever thought to fasten this terrible suspicion upon her. The game was worth the candle, however; Isabella had been unwilling to take any chances, and the ambiguous clause, "being present in Castile, but unable or unwilling to reign," gave the hint which Fernando had been only too willing to act upon, and the trumped-up charge of insanity was an easy thing to sustain.

Fernando's assumption of the regency, however, and the action of the Cortes, which virtually disregarded the claims of Juana to the throne, angered her and her husband still more, and they set out by ship for Spain, after some delay, to demand an explanation. Fernando went to meet them at the little village of Villafafila, and there, after an audience with the archduke which took place in the little parish church and which lasted for several hours, it was agreed between them that Juana, "on account of her infirmities and sufferings, which decency forbids to be related," was to be "refused under any circumstances to occupy herself with the affairs of the kingdom," and it was mutually agreed that Juana was to be prevented by force, if necessary, from taking any part in the government of Castile! What happened in that interview no man can ever know exactly, but it certainly appears that the wily Fernando had been able by some trick or mass of false evidence to convince Philip that Juana was really insane, and yet he had been with his wife almost continually for the previous two years and had not thought of her in that light, and Fernando had not even seen his daughter within that same space of time! But then and there the fate of the much-abused princess was definitely decided. Juana, self-willed as she had shown herself to be, was not a woman of strong character or any great ability, and her husband had so regularly controlled her and bent her to his will that he found little trouble in the present instance in deposing her entirely, that he might rule Castile in her stead. When Philip died suddenly two months after he had assumed the reigns of government, Juana was stricken with a great grief, which, it is said, did not at first find the ordinary solace afforded by tears. She refused for a long time to believe him dead; and when there was no longer any doubt of the fact, she became almost violent in her sorrow. She had watched by her husband's bedside during his illness, and was most suspicious of all who had anything to do with her, for she thought, as was probably the case, that Philip had been poisoned, and she feared that the same fate might be reserved for her. In any event, Juana was treated with little or no consideration at this unhappy moment; the Cardinal Ximenes, who had been made grand inquisitor, assumed control of the state until Fernando might be summoned from Naples, whither he had gone; and, all in all, the rightful heir to the throne was utterly despised and disregarded. She was allowed to follow her h

usband's body to its last resting place, and then, after a brief delay, she went to live at Arcos, where she was well watched and guarded by her jealous father, who feared that some disaffected nobles might seek her out and gain her aid in organizing a revolt against his own government. While in this seclusion, Juana was sought in marriage by several suitors, and among them Henry VII. of England; but all these negotiations came to naught, and in the end she was sent to the fortress of Tordesillas, where she was kept in close confinement until the time of her death.

There is no trustworthy evidence to show that Juana was mad before the death of her husband, and all her eccentricities of manner could well have been accounted for by her wayward, jealous, and hysterical character, but after her domestic tragedy there is little doubt but that her mind was to some degree unsettled. Naturally nervous, and feeling herself in the absolute power of persons who were hostile to her interests, she became most excitable and suspicious, and may well have lost her reason before her last hour came. The story of her confinement in the old fortress at Tordesillas is enough in itself to show that stronger minds than hers might have given way under that strain. This palace-prison overlooked the river Douro, and was composed of a great hall, which extended across the front of the building, and a number of small, dark, and poorly ventilated rooms at the back. In addition to the jailer, who was responsible for the prisoner, the place was filled with a number of women, whose duty it was to keep a close watch upon Juana and prevent her from making any attempt to escape. The use of the great hall with its view across the river was practically denied to her, she was never allowed to look out of the window under any circumstances, for fear she might appeal to some passer-by for aid, and, in general, unless she was under especial surveillance, she was confined, day in and day out, in a little back room, a veritable cell, which was without windows, and where her only light came from the rude candles common to that age. Priests were frequent visitors, but, to the end, Juana would have nothing to do with them, and it is even said that on more than one occasion she had to be dragged to the prison chapel when she was ordered to hear mass. No man can tell whether this unhappy woman would have developed a strong, self-reliant character if the course of her life had been other than it was, but, accepting the facts as they stand, there is no more pathetic figure in all the history of Spain than this poor, mistreated Juana la Loca, "the mad Juana," and to every diligent student of Spanish history this instance of woman's inhumanity to woman will ever be a blot on the scutcheon of the celebrated Isabella of Castile.

The religious fanaticism which was responsible in part at least for the fate of Juana soon took shape in a modified form as a definite national policy, and the grandson and great-grandson of Isabella, Charles V. and his son, King Philip, showed themselves equally ardent in the defence of the Catholic faith, even if their ardor did not lead them to treat with inhumanity some member of their own family. Spain gloried in this religious leadership, exhausted herself in her efforts to maintain the cause of Rome in the face of the growing force of the Reformation, and not only sent her sons to die upon foreign battlefields, but ruthlessly took the lives of many of her best citizens at home in her despairing efforts to wipe out every trace of heresy. This whole ecclesiastical campaign produced a marked change in the character of the Spanish people; they lost many of their easy-going ways, while retaining their indomitable spirit of national pride, and became stern, vindictive, and bigoted. In the process of this transformation, the women of the country were perhaps in advance of the men in responding to the new influences which were at work upon them. The number of convents increased rapidly, every countryside had its wonder-working nun who could unveil the mysteries of the world while in the power of some ecstatic trance, and women everywhere were the most tireless supporters of the clergy. It was natural that this should be the case, for there was a nervous excitement in the air which was especially effective upon feminine minds, and the Spanish woman in particular was sensitive and impressionable and easily influenced. Among all of the devout women of this age living a conventual life, the most distinguished, beyond any question, was Teresa de Cepeda, who is perhaps the favorite saint of modern Spain to-day.

Teresa's early life resembled that of any other well-born young girl of her time, although she must have enjoyed rather exceptional educational advantages, as her father was a man of scholarly instincts, who took an interest in his daughter's development and sedulously cultivated her taste for books. When Teresa was born in 1515, the Spanish romances of chivalry and knight-errantry were in the full tide of their popularity; and as soon as the little girl was able to read, she spent many hours over these fascinating tales. Endowed by nature with a very unusual imagination, she was soon so much absorbed in these wonder tales, which were her mother's delight, that she often sat up far into the night to finish the course of some absorbing adventure. At this juncture, her father, fearing that this excitement might be harmful, tried to divert her mind by putting in her way books of pious origin, wherein the various trials and tribulations of the Christian martyrs were described in a most graphic and realistic style. Soon Teresa was even more interested in these stories than in those of a more worldly character, and the glories of martyrdom, which were described as leading to a direct enjoyment of heavenly bliss without any purgatorial delay, made such a profound impression upon her youthful mind that she resolved at the early age of seven to start out in search of a martyr's crown. Prevailing upon her little brother to accompany her in this quest for celestial happiness, she started out for the country of the Moors, deeming that the surest way to attain the desired goal. While this childish enthusiasm was nipped in the bud by the timely intervention of an uncle, who met the two pilgrims trudging along the highway, the idea lost none of its fascination for a time; and the two children immediately began to play at being hermits in their father's garden, and made donation to all the beggars in the neighborhood of whatever they could find to give away, depriving themselves of many customary pleasures to satisfy their pious zeal. With the lapse of time, however, this morbid sentiment seemed to disappear, and Teresa was much like any other girl in her enjoyment of the innocent pleasures of life. Avila, in Old Castile, was her home, and there she was sent to an Augustinian convent to complete her education, but without any idea that she would eventually adopt a religious life for herself. This convent, indeed, seemed to make little impression upon her, and it was only after a chance visit made to an uncle who was about to enter a monastery, and who entreated her to withdraw from the vanities of the world, that she seems to have gone back with undimmed ardor to her childish notions. In spite of her father's opposition, Teresa, in her eighteenth year, left home one morning and went to install herself at the Carmelite convent of the Incarnation, which was situated in the outskirts of her native city. The lax discipline and somewhat worldly tone of the place proved a great surprise to her, as she had imagined that the odor of sanctity must be all-pervasive in a religious house; but she evidently accommodated herself to the conditions as she found them, for she made no decided protest and gave evidence of no special piety until twenty years after she had formally given up the world. Then, saddened and sobered by her father's death, Teresa began to have wonderful trances, accompanied by visions wherein Christ, crucified, appeared to her time and time again. Although in later times these unusual experiences have been adduced to prove her saintship, at the time of their occurrence they were not looked upon in the same light, and there were many who said that Teresa was possessed of devils. She was more than half inclined to this view of the case herself, and the eminent religious authorities who were consulted in the matter advised her to scourge herself without mercy, and to exorcise the figures, both celestial and infernal, which continued to appear before her. The strange experiences continued to trouble her, however, in spite of all that she could do, and to the end of her days she was subject to them. Constantly occupied with illusions and hallucinations, she soon became a religious mystic, living apart from the world and yet deeply interested in its spiritual welfare. One of her visions in particular shows into what a state of religious exaltation she could be thrown. She imagined herself a frameless mirror of infinite size, with Christ shining in the middle of it, and the mirror itself, she knew not how, was in Christ!

In the midst of these experiences Teresa began to wonder what she could do for the real advancement of the Church, and her first thought was that there must be reform in the convents if the cause of religion was to prosper. Discouraged by the members of her own convent, who looked upon any reform movement as a reflection upon their own establishment, Teresa was nevertheless encouraged to go on with her work by certain far-seeing ecclesiastics who were able to appreciate its ultimate value. It was her plan to establish a convent wherein all the early and austere regulations of the Carmelite order were to be observed, and, by working secretly, she was able to carry it out. There was violent protest, which almost led to violence, and it was only after full papal approval that she was allowed to go about her business unmolested. The reorganizing spirit of the Counter-Reformation which was now at work within the Catholic Church gave her moral support, and the remaining years of her life were devoted to the work of conventual reorganization and regeneration which she had begun with so stout a heart. It was her wont to travel everywhere in a little cart which was drawn by a single donkey, and winter and summer she went her way, enduring innumerable hardships and privations, that her work might prosper. Sixteen convents and fourteen monasteries were founded as the result of her efforts; and as her sincerity and single-mindedness became more and more apparent, she was everywhere hailed by the people as a devout and holy woman, and was even worshipped by some as a saint on earth. Disappointment and failure were her lot at times, and she found it difficult to maintain the stern discipline of which she was such an ardent advocate. On one occasion, it is said that her nuns in the convent of Saint Joseph, at Avila, went on a strike and demanded a meat diet, which, it may be added, she refused to grant; and a prioress at Medina answered one of her communications in a very impertinent manner and showed other signs of insubordination; but Teresa was calm and unruffled, in her outward demeanor at least, and found a way by tactful management, and by a judicious show of her authority, to settle all differences and disputes without great difficulty. When death overtook her in 1582, miracles were worked about her tomb, and when the vault was opened, after a period of nine months, it is asserted that her body was uncorrupted. Removed to a last resting place at Avila at a somewhat later date, her bones were finally carried off by pious relic hunters, who believed them to possess miraculous properties. In the forty years which followed her death, Teresa was so revered throughout her native land that she was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. in 1622. To her exalted spirit were joined a firm judgment and a wonderful power of organization, and in placing her among the saints she was given a merited reward for her holy labors.

The harsh intolerance which came with the Spanish Counter-Reformation manifested itself oftentimes in acts of cruelty and oppression which are almost beyond belief. So eager were the zealots for the triumph of pure and unadulterated Catholicism, that no consideration whatever was shown for the Moriscoes, or Spanish Moors, whose form of belief was Catholic, but tinged with Moslem usages, and even women and children were made to suffer the unreasoning persecution of the Christians. One offensive measure after another was adopted for the discomfiture of the thrifty sons of the Prophet, and finally, with the purpose of wiping out all distinctions of any kind which might lead to a retention of national characteristics, it was decreed in 1567 that no woman should walk abroad with a covered face. Such a measure was certainly short-sighted. For hundreds of years this Oriental custom had been common in southern Spain; it was significant of much of their idea of social order and decency, and any attempt to abolish it with a single stroke of a Catholic pen was both unwise and imprudent. According to Hume, "this practice had taken such a firm hold of the people of the south of Spain that traces of it remain to the present day in Andalusia, where the women of the poorer classes constantly cover the lower part of the face with the corner of a shawl. In Peru and Chili (originally colonized by the Spanish) the custom is even more universal." Yet it was this firmly rooted habit that the Christians tried to destroy! As the result of this order, the majority of the Spanish women showed themselves in public as rarely as possible, and then they tried to evade the law whenever they could. Other measures, equally severe and equally impossible, which were enacted at the same time, ended finally, as might have been expected, in a desperate revolt. A horde of Moslem fanatics, goaded to desperation, swept down upon the Christians of Granada, and there was a terrible massacre. This was all that was necessary to start the Spaniards upon a campaign which was still more cruel than any which had preceded it, for now the avowed object was revenge and not war. Six thousand helpless women and children were slaughtered in a single day by the Marquis de los Velez, and this is but a single instance of the bloodthirsty spirit which was rampant at the time.

Even among the Spanish people, the officers of the Inquisition found many victims, and women quite as often as men had to endure its rigors. In spite of the many centuries of Christian influence, there were still to be found in various parts of the country remnants of the old pagan worship which were difficult to eradicate. It was claimed that sects were in existence which not only denied the Christian faith, but openly acknowledged the Devil as their patron and promised obedience to him! In the ceremonies attendant upon this worship of the powers of darkness, women played no unimportant part, and many were the reputed witches who were supposed to be on terms of intimate acquaintance with the arch-fiend in person. As the suppression of this heresy was assumed by the Church, the Inquisition, as its punitive organ, took charge of the matter and showed little mercy in its dealings with suspected persons, for whom the rack and other instruments of torture were put to frequent use. In the year 1507 the Inquisition of Calahorra burned more than thirty women as sorceresses and magicians, and twenty years later, in Navarre, there were similar condemnations. So frequent, indeed, were these arrests for magic and sorcery, that the "sect of sorcerers," as it was called, seemed to be making great headway throughout the whole country, and the Inquisition called upon all good Christians to lodge information with the proper authorities whenever they "heard that any person had familiar spirits, and that he invoked demons in circles, questioning them and expecting their answer, as a magician, or in virtue of an express or tacit compact." It was also their duty to report anyone who "constructed or procured mirrors, rings, phials, or other vessels for the purpose of attracting, enclosing, and preserving a demon, who replies to his questions and assists him in obtaining his wishes; or who had endeavored to discover the future by interrogating demons in possessed people; or tried to produce the same effect by invoking the devil under the name of holy angel or white angel, and by asking things of him with prayers and humility, by practising other superstitious ceremonies with vases, phials of water, or consecrated tapers; by the inspection of the nails, and of the palm of the hand rubbed with vinegar, or by endeavoring to obtain representations of objects by means of phantoms in order to learn secret things or which had not then happened." Such orders led to the arrest of hundreds of women all over Spain, and many of them went to death in the flames, for women rather than men were affected by this crusade, as they were generally the adepts in these matters of the black art. That such things could be in Spain at this time may cause some surprise, but it must be remembered that superstition dies hard and that many of the things which are here condemned are still advertised in the columns of the newspapers, and the belief in the supernatural seems to have taken a new lease of life as the result of certain modern investigations. Superstition has ever gone hand in hand with civilization, in spite of the repeated efforts of the latter to go its way alone.

Witches and sorceresses, however, were far outnumbered in the prisons of the Inquisition by the numerous Spanish women who were accused of Lutheranism, for the reformed doctrines had succeeded in making great progress even here in this hotbed of popery, and many persons were burned for their lack of faith in the old formulas of belief. An auto de fé was a great public holiday, celebrated in some large open square, which had been especially prepared for the event, with tiers upon tiers of seats arranged on every side for the accommodation of the thousands of spectators; and to this inspiring performance came many noble ladies, decked out as if for a bull fight, and eager to witness each act of atrocity in its slightest detail. The names of scores of the women who perished in this way might be cited to show that from all classes the Church was claiming its victims; and even after death, condemnation might come and punishment might be inflicted. To illustrate the possibilities of this religious fury, the case of Do?a Eleanora de Vibero will more than suffice. She had been buried at Valladolid, without any doubt as to her orthodoxy, but she was later accused of Lutheranism by a treasurer of the Inquisition, who said that she had concealed her opinions by receiving the sacraments and the Eucharist at the time of her death. His charges were supported by the testimony of several witnesses, who had been tortured or threatened; and the result of it all was that her memory and her posterity were condemned to infamy, her property was confiscated, and at the first solemn auto de fé of Valladolid, held in 1559, and attended by the Prince Don Carlos and the Princess Juana, her disinterred body was burned with her effigy, her house was razed to the ground, and a monument with an inscription relating to this event was placed upon the spot.

Such is this sixteenth century in Spain, an age of strange contrasts, where the greatest crimes are committed in the holy name of Religion!

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