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   Chapter 41 TRULY WONDERFUL.—A FORTUNATE MAN HATH A MEMORY.

The Fair God; or, The Last of the 'Tzins: A Tale of the Conquest of Mexico By Lew Wallace Characters: 2826

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


Two canoes, tied to the strand, attested that the royal party, and Io' and Hualpa, were yet at Chapultepec, which was no doubt as pleasant at night, seen of all the stars, as in the day, kissed by the softest of tropical suns.

That the lord Hualpa should linger there was most natural. Raised, almost as one is transported in dreams, from hunting to warriorship; from that again to riches and nobility; so lately contented, though at peril of life, to look from afar at the house in which the princess Nenetzin slept; now her betrothed, and so pronounced by the great king himself,-what wonder that he loitered at the palace? Yet it was not late,-in fact, on the horizon still shone the tint, the last and faintest of the day,-when he and Io' came out, and, arm in arm, took their way down the hill to the landing. What betides the lover? Is the mistress coy? Or runs he away at call of some grim duty?

Out of the high gate, down the terraced descent, past the avenue of ghostly cypresses, until their sandals struck the white shells of the landing, they silently went.

"Is it not well with you, my brother?" asked the prince, stopping where the boats, in keeping of their crews, were lying.

"Thank you for that word," Hualpa replied. "It is better even than comrade. Well with me? I look my fortune in the face, and am dumb. If I should belie expectation, if I should fall from such a height! O Mothe

r of the World, save me from that! I would rather die!"

"But you will not fail," said Io', sympathetically.

"The gods keep the future; they only know. The thought came to me as I sat at the feet of Tula and Nenetzin,-came to me like a taste of bitter in a cup of sweets. Close after followed another even stronger,-how could I be so happy, and our comrade over the lake so miserable? We know how he has hoped and worked and lived for what the morrow is to bring: shall he not be notified even of its nearness? You have heard the sound of the war-drum: what is it like?"

"Like the roll of thunder."

"Well, when the thunder crosses the lake, and strikes his ear, saying, 'Up, the war is here!' he will come to the door, and down to the water's edge; there he must stop; and as he looks wistfully to the city, and strains his ear to catch the notes of the combat, will he not ask for us, and, accuse us of forgetfulness? Rather than that, O my brother, let my fortune all go back to its giver."

"I understand you now," said the prince, softly.

"Yes," Hualpa continued, "I am to be at the temple by the break of day; but the night is mine, and I will go to the 'tzin, my first friend, of Anahuac the soul, as Nenetzin is the flower."

"And I will go with you."

"No, you cannot. You have not permission. So farewell."

"Until to-morrow," said Io'.

"In the temple," answered Hualpa.

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