« PreviousContinue »
Nicolas within himself, “ well said, inquisidor! He took the vial with all possible respect, and was not wanting in professions of the most inviolable f delity and secrecy" No more words friend Na “ las," quoth the inquisidor, "upon that score : “ do not believe thee one jot the more for all the “ promises, my dependance is upon thy fears an “ not thy faith; I fancy thou hast seen enough " this place not to be willing to return to it once for *all." Having so said, he rang a bell, and ordered Nicolas to be forthwith liberated, bidding the med senger return his clothes instantly to him with all that belonged to him, and having slipt a purse ints) his hand well filled with doubloons, he bade him bey gone about his business, and not see his face again till he had executed his commands.
Nicolas boulted out of the porch without taking leave of the altar, and never checked his speed till he found himself fairly housed under shelter of his own be loved brass basin.--- Aha!" quoth Nicolas, “my " lord inquisidor, I see the king is not likely to gain “ a subject more by your intrigues: a pretty job you 66 have set me about; and so, when I have put the
poor lady to rest with your damned sedative, my
tongue must be stopt next to prevent its blabbing: “ but l'll show you I was not born in Andalusia for * nothing." · Nicolas now opened a secret drawer, and took out a few pieces of money, which in fact was his whole stock of cash in the world; he loaded and primed his pistols, and carefully lodged them in the housers of his saddle, he buckled to his side his trusty spada, and hastened to caparison his mule. " Ah, thou impof the old on?,' quoth he, as he entered the stable; “ art not ashame to look me in the « face ? But come, hussey, thou owest me a good o turn, methinks, stand by me this once, and be 66 friends for ever! thou art in good case, and if 65 thou wilt put thy best foot foremost, like a faithin
ful beast, thou shalt not want for barley by the way.” The bargain was soon struck between icolas and his mule, he mounted her in the happy oment, and pointing his course towards the bridge Toledo, which proudly strides with half a dozen fiy arches over a stream scarce three feet wide, he und himself as completely in a desart in half a ile's riding, as if he had been dropt in the centre Arabia Petræa. As Nicolas's journey was not a vur of curiosity, he did not amuse himself with a eep at Toledo, or Talavera, or even Merida by the ray; for the same reason he took a circumbendibus ound the frontier town of Badajoz, and crossing a
ttle brook, refreshed his mule with the last draught - Spanish water, and instantly congratulated himself pon entering the territory of Portugal. • Brava!” quoth he, patting the neck of his inule, “thou shalt
have a suppet this night of the best sieve-meat that 4 Estramadura can furnish: we are now in a country where the scattered flock of Israel fold thick and *** fare well.” He now began to chaunt the song of Solomon, and gently ambled on in the joy of his heart.
When Nicolas at length reached the city of Lisbon, he hugged himself in his good fortune; still he recollected that the inquisition has long arms, and he was yet in a place of no perfect security. Our adventurer had in carly life acted as ase sistant surgeon in a Spanish frigate bound to Buenos, Ayres, and being captured by a British man of war and carried into Jamaica, had very quieily passed some years in that place as journeyman apothecary, in which time he had acquired a tolerable acquainttance with the English language: no sooner then did as discover the British ensign flying on the poop of an English Itigate then lying in the Tagus, than he cagerly caught the opportunity of paying a visit to the surgeon, and finding he was in want of a mate, offered himself and was entered in that capacity for
a cruize against the French and Spaniards, wik whom Great Britain was then at war. In this secure asylum Nicolas enjoyed the first happy moments kel had experienced for a long time past, and being lively good-humoured little fellow, and one th touched the guitar and sung sequidillas with a toles able grace, he soon recommended himself to his ship mates, and grew in favour with every body on board from the captain to the cook's mate.
When they were out upon their cruize hovering on the Spanish coast, it occurred to Nicolas that the inquisidor general at Madrid had told him of the expected arrival of the president of Quito, and having impart. ed this to one of the lieutenants, he reported it to the captain, and, as the intelligence seemed of importance, he availed himself of it by hawling into the track of the homeward-bound galleons, and great was the joy, when at the break of the morning the man at the mast-head announced a square-rigged vessel in view : the ardor of a chace now set all hands at work, and a few hours brought them near enough to discern that she was a Spanish frigate, and seem. ingly from a long voyage: little Pedrosa, as alert as the rest, stript himself for his work, and repaired 10 his post in the cock-pit, whilst the thunder of the guns rolled incessantly overhead; three cheers from the whole crew at length announced the moment of victory, and a few more minutes ascertained the good news that the prize was a frigate richly laden from the South Seas, with the governor of Quito and his suite on board.
Pedrosa was now called upon deck, and sent on board the prize as interpreter to the first lieutenant, who was to take possession of her. He found every thing in confusion, a deck covered with the slain, and the whole crew in coria sternation at an event they were in no degree prepared for, not having received any intimation of a
He found the officers in general, and the pas
sengers withont exception, under the most horrid impressions of the English, and expecting to be plundered, and perhaps butchered without mercy. Don Manuel de Casafonda the governor, whose countenance bespoke a constitution far gone in a decline, had thrown himself on a sofa in the last state of despair, and given way to an effusion of tears; when the lieutenant entered the cabin, he rose trembling from his couch, and with the most supplicating action presented to him his sword, and with it a casket which he carried in his other hand; as he tendered these spoils to his conqueror, whether through weakness, or of his own will, he made a motion of bend. ing his knee; the generous Briton, shocked at the unmanly overture, caught him suddenly with both hands, and turning to Pedrosa, said: aloud--- Con 66 vince this gentleman he is fallen into the hands of « an honourable enemy.'
"_" Is it possible !"' cried Don Manuel, and lifting up his streaming eyes to the countenance of the British officer, saw humanity, valour, and generous pity so strongly charactered in his youthful features, that the conviction was irresist. ible. “ Will he not accept my sword ?" cried the Spaniard. “ He desires you to wear it, till he has " the honour of presenting you to his captain." 6. Ah then he has a captain," exclaimed Don Manu. el, “ his superior will be of another way of think« ing; tell him this casket contains my jewels; they so are valuable; let him present them as a lawful s prize, which will enrich the captor ; his superi66 or will not hesitate to take them from me." bl If they are your excellency's private proper" ty," replied Pedrosa, “I am ordered to assure
you, that if your ship was loaded with jewels, no 36. British officer in the service of his king will take " them at your hands; the ship and effects of his & Catholic Majesty are the only prize of the captorsk *s the personals of the passengers are inviolate.'
“ Gencrous nation!” exclaimed Don Manuel, “ how s greatly have I wronged thee!"— The boats of the British frigate now came alongside, and part of the crew were shifted out of the prize, taking their clothes ani trunks along with them, in which they were very cordially assisted by their conquerors. The barge soon after came aboard with an officer in the stern-sheets, and the crew in their white shirts and velvet caps, to escort the governor and the ship's captain on board the frigate, which lay with her sails to the mast awaiting their arrival; the accommodation ladder was slung over the side, and manned for the prisoners, who were received on the gang-way by the second lieutenant, whilst perfect silence and the strictest discipline reigned in the ship, where all were under the decks, and no inquisitive curious eyes were suffered to wound the feelings of the conquered even with a glance; in the door of his cabin stood the captain, who received them with that modest complaisance, which does not revolt the unfortunate by an overstrained politeness; he was a man of high birth and elegant manners, with a heart as benevolent as it was brave: such an address, set off with a person finely formed and perfectly engaging, could not fail to impress the prisoners with the most favourable ideas, and as Don Manuel spoke French fluently, he could converse with the British captain without the help of an interpreter: As he expressed an impatient desire of being admitted to his parole, that he might revisit friends and connections, from which he had þeen long separated, he was overjoyed-to hear that the English ship would carry her prize into Lisbon; and that he would there be set on shore and permitted to make the best of his way from thence to Madrid; he talked of his wife with all the ardor of the. most impassioned lover, and apologized for his tears by imputing them to the agony of his mind and the infirmity of his health under the dread of being long