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own agitating thoughts, two respectable females, court arc invited, and at which his majesty himself preceded by a huntsman, advanced towards her. I will be present."

"Madam,” said the more elderly of the women, “I have seen the preparations, which are on a "a carriage waits at a short distance from this. magnificent scale," said the other duenna; “the I have his majesty's commands to conduct you splendours of ancient chivalry are not to be comto Madrid. Will you deign to follow me ?” pared to them. Don Alonzo every day invents

"I am ready,” answered she, hastily drying her some new gallantry for his betrothed.” tears.

"He is then much in love with her ?” asked the maiden in an agitated voice.

“He has done that for her sake which proves

it. It is said that he rode all the way from CHAPTER XII.

Seville to Madrid, merely to see her on her balcony MADRID.

at the last auto de , and returned again the same Tas young girl, faint and tired, sunk into a corner evening," answered the duenna. of the carriage. The two female attendants took “Alas !” murmured she, and again sunk back their seats opposite her, and they drove off. The without once speaking till the carriage arrived at road from Aranjuez to Madrid was long, dusty, and Madrid, and stopped at the door of a small but wearisome. Nevertheless, it was crowded with cheerful house, situated in one of the most private people who were all bound for the same place ; | walks of the Prado. some in carriages, and others on horseback, many “You are at home, madam," said one of the of them wearing the king's livery. Ministers, duennas, as she assisted the young girl to alight, ambassadors, and elegant cavaliers, with their and then, leading the way into the house, she suites of pages, grooms, and valets, passed our showed her up stairs to a room elegantly and youthful traveller on their way to the great city. tastefully furnished. With a timid glance of sur

"Santa Maria! one would think there was prise and admiration at the magnificence which some grand procession to-day, there is such a surrounded her, Louisa (as we must now call her) motley crowd on the roads of Aranjuez," said one followed her conductress from that to an inner of the duennas, putting her head out of the window apartment. Here everything bespoke the late on her side.

presence of some soft luxurious beauty, whose "All these people are returning from the Count only occupation was that of love and pleasure, and Dake's levee," replied the other; “the greatest only cares those of the toilet. Its walls were signor in Spain thinks it an honour to pay court to hung with pale pink satin, fluted from the top to bim. He is more king than the king himself." the bottom, where it terminated with a rich border

" In his late majesty's reign the grandees did of embossed silver. Rare paintings, in costly gilt not thus haunt the ante-chamber of the Prime frames, ornamented the spaces over the doors and Minister. See, there goes the Duke of Arcos, the mantelpiece. The carpet, which covered the with his attendants; he has not been of the king's room, was of rich white velvet ground, bordered hunting party, neither has the Marquis of Penafiel, with wreaths of flowers, whilst in its centre was a por the Count de Montollano, nor a great many basket of fruit, exquisitely painted, and tastefully others, who are only to be seen in the apartments grouped. The chairs were white and gold, and of the Count. Duke. Even the Medina Sidonias ranged in regular order round the room, not disare amongst his most assiduous courtiers.” persed as they are in these days in the studied

At the sound of this name the stranger, who confusion of an upholsterer's wareroom. A centrehad appeared to be asleep, started, and turning table, of lapis-lazuli, mounted in ormulu, stood in deadly pale, asked in a voice, tremulous with the middle of the apartment, and close by it were deep emotion, “If the Duke de Sidonia was at two easy chairs, also mounted in gold, and covered the court ?"

| with white satin, embroidered in coloured silks. “Yes, madam; the Duke seldom leaves the state, Before one of the windows, which opened out where he rules like a viceroy; and more absolutely upon a verandah filled with flowers, was a toilet-God pardon me than the king bimself. His table covered, to match the hangings, with pink son, Don Alonzo de Guzman, is also at the court; satin, over which was thrown a point-lace coverlet. but he arrived only a few days ago, on account of A circular looking-glass, set in filigree silver, surhis marriage."

mounted this, and on each side of the mirror were "Married, is he ?” interrupted the girl, making chandeliers filled with wax tapers, that shed a an effort to smile.

perfume and a softened light through this elegant "No, madam ; but he soon will be, for there and luxurious apartment. are grand preparations making for the wedding." To this table was the young stranger conducted

"And pray, who is the noble lady destined to by the duenna; but recoiling from it in dismay, wear the ducal coronet of the Sidonias ?"

Louisa at first refused to take her seat before it. "The richest heiress in the kingdom-Donna « This is not prepared for me," said she. Maria de Giron, the only daughter of the Duke “Whose room is it? who lives in this house ?" d'Ossuna. It is said that there is to be a splendid “Only yourself, madam. It was inhabited by ball given on the occasion, to which the whole Donna Clara Calderon."

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“And who is that lady ? does she belong to the Tovalito shook his head at this, and Paco recourt ?"

sumed “No, madam," replied the duenna, with a Come, what is it thou dost want for? Da strange smile ; "she was a beautiful person, whom we not enjoy all the profits of our calling ? Hare the king once loved."

we not enough to cat and drink, aye, and more “Indeed;

and she being a subject he could not too than we want. I allow tbat wealth and homarry her, and which obliged them to forget each nours are not showered upon us ; people do not other, I suppose ?” said the young girl, with in. take off their hats when we pass; we do not wear genuous compassion.

the feather over our ear, nor the sword by our The same peculiar smile again crossed the sea. sides ; the young girls do not peep at us from tures of the duenpa.

behind their fans; but we do not want for the No, madam, not quite that; but the king dis- comforts of this life, nor a few of its pleasures? covered that he had a rival, and in his anger he Are we not exempt from all employments, labour

, shut her up in a convent."

and anxiety ? And have we not the wherewithal As this reply was rather ambiguous, Louisa put to bury us when we are dead? Hurrab, then, her own innocent construction upon it, and suffered for the life of a mendicant! I would not change herself in silence to be disrobed, when she retired my condition with the canon of San Isidio." to her silken couch, and soon sell into a decp re. “ Thou mayest well be happy ; thou hast neither freshing slumber.

remorse nor hatred in thy heart,” replied Topalita

, A little before daybreak she suddenly started gloomily. “Thou hast no thirst for revenge!" and sat up; she fancied that she heard the convent "By Saint André !" answered Paco Rosales, bell ring for matins, and she was on the point of "such feelings only lead to a bad end. The aim rising to joiu the other nuns in the chancel, when of thy revenge is too high for thee ever to attain the rich bangings of her bed, and its silken coverlet, it.” caught her eye, and recalled her to a sense of the “Who knows that ?" said Toralito, putting his reality.

hand to his belt—not that he felt for his daggerThe duenna who slept at her feet, aroused by bnt for some papers which he kept concealed the scream she gave when she awoke, asked her if beneath the broad leather girdle round his waist

. there was anything the matter with her.

“ And thou dost still hope to make some graad “Yes," replied she, “ I have had a bad dream." stroke with those papers ?" said Paco; “ but thou

Coinpose yourself, madam. It is the effects of shouldst first make out their contents ; now, since your long fatiguing journey."

neither thou nor I know a single letter of the alphabet, we might look for an hundred years at all those fly-blots and hair.strokes, without making

out one word of them; it was not worth thy while CHAPTER XIII.

to charge thy conscience with such a theft."

“ As for that, friend Paco, my conscience won't About fifteen days later, Paco Rosales and his keep me awake. I knew the man who had these friend Tovalito were to be seen parading up and papers in his bosom ; he was

a grey friar, who, down the fashionable walk of the Prado. It was like myself, carried letters and messages to Lisbon not then, as it is now, wide and regularly planted at the time when the Medina Sidonias conspired on each side; but straggling, uneven, and broken, against the King our master." with here and there a few trees growing at irregu- “But all that is past,” interrupted Paco Rolar distances, having been planted without regard sales, "I understand nothing of State affairs—and to order or picturesqueness. The two mendicants, I care as little for them ; but it appears to me fatigued with walking, lad seated themselves in that if the Duke de Medina Sidonia plotted rebel. the most retired part of the Prado, opposite a lion, he would not have sent his son to Madrid, house whose red roof was partly concealed by the to espouse the Duchess of Ossuna.” thick foliage of the sycamores in which it was "A fine proof, truly, of his allegiance; to form embosomed.

an alliance which will render them masters of the “The city of Madrid pleases me,” said Paco two most considerable towns of Andalusia. I tell Rosales, " it has so many resources for rich peo. thee what, Paco, I have my own surmises. The ple, and if you were of my mind, friend Tovalito, monk whom we met at Notre Dame de Guadaloupe we would spend the remainder of our lives in it.” | with these letters came from Madud."

“Be it so, then," replied Tovalito, "let us stay “Dost thou think he would contiuue his jourhere ; it matters but little to me where I dragon ney after having lost them on the way?

por inter my miserable life with this mutilated body, which rupted Paco. is so much the envy of those of our fraternity "No, certainly; for if he were discovered, bis whose infirmities are artificial.”

gown would not save him, and his cord of Saint Yes, thou hast a great advantage over them Fraucois might serve to hang him." there,” answered Paco Rosales, gravely; "thou “But who can we trust to decipher these shouldst endeavour to profit more by it, and, papers ?" above all, follow thy trade with a slouter licart.” " We will see," said Tovalito.

THE PRADO.

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me.

Verily, Don Alonzo is not the same man at “ Approach, Paco," at length cried she, in a Madrid that I saw him at Valencia,” observed voice of suppressed emotion,“ dost thou rememPaco Rosales, "things are changed since then, and ber me p” this marriage does not resemble the one to which “Yes, Donna ; who could forget Theresa de we were to have been the witnesses.”

Vasconcellos, who had once seen her ?” "Look !" suddenly interrupted Tovalito, " dost “I see thou knowest me. But on thy salvation thou not perceive some one behind those blinds, never pronounce my name again, it is that of one making signs to us to approach ?"

dead. Paco, I once trusted thee, I have a secret " It's some charitable person,” said Paco, taking which I an about to confide to thee. Wilt thou off his bat ; and going towards the balcony, he keep it inviolate ?" began to recite his usual formula. Immediately, a “ Trust me, lady; I will keep it faithfully ; on delicate female hand drew the blind partially aside, the word of a Spaniard,” said Paco Rosales, putand threw him out a handful of reals ; and a voice, ting his hand on his heart. wbich was too familiar to be mistaken, cried, “It is not long since I saw thee,” resumed she. "My poor Paco, say a prayer for me at Notre “It was one morning during high-mass at the Dame de las Nieves."

convent of L'Etroit Observance.“ Holy Father ! who speaks to me," cried Paco “I also saw you, lady, but you then wore the in astonishment.

black veil and the crown of thorns.” "Return here to-morrow, at the same hour," “Yes," replied she, in a gloomy voice; “but I answered the voice. "God preserve thee. Go!” have fled from my convent. I have violated my and the blind was again closed.

vows." When Paco Rosales returned to his comrade, “God have mercy on your soul, then, poor lost the expression of his countenance was that of be. creature," cried Paco, in a tone of sincere pity. wildered amazement.

“And here I am surrounded by everything that “What dost thou think, Tovalito?" stammered can flatter the pride and seduce the senses. All be; “I cau hardly credit my senses ---but I knew that thou seest around thee is mine. My wishes, her voice the instant she spoke-her very words my caprices, are sovereign laws. All here obey too, and see here—this bandful of money.”

This soft brocade replaces the serge. My “Thou art demented, friend Paco, thy travels body is no longer mutilated with the stripes of affect thy brain; it cannot be her—it is impos. mortification. I no longer rise from my hard sible.”

couch at midnight, to kneel on the cold flags of a "I tell thee it is either her or her appari- dark chapel; but am I happy ? Oh, God! no, tion."

no. Regrets, remorse, despair gnaw at my heart, “Still more improbable. What! the ghost of and steep my soul in horror." a pun haunt the abode of the King's mis. “You still think of Don Alonzo, Donna ?" said tress. Ha ! ha! ha!”

Paco Rosales. "Keep thy merriment for another occasion, To. Yes, I still think of him," replied she with a valito," quietly answered Paco, “we shall see to- bitter smile ; " can I forget him ? He who has morrow which of us is in the right.”

been my ruin. He who has plunged me into an The next day, at the appointed hour, the door abyss of shame and crime. And whilst I suffer of the mysterious house opened, and a duenna ap. these torments, he is happy, he loves, and is loved peared and beckoned to Paco, who had been again. Paco, dost thou not understand what I already parading before it for the last hour and wish, what I want of thee?" more, to enter. He obeyed her summons with Yes. I understand you, Signora,answered" alacrity, and followed her up the richly carpetted he, with a meaning smile. staircase to the first landing, where she left him “The risk and danger will be great,” replied for a few moments, and then returning again, she; “ but a cautious, determined mau, with a ushered him into the presence of her mistress. firm hand and resolute courage, is always master

Un a satin couch, in a half reclining posture, sat of another man's life. I will reward thee beyond a young woman arrayed in rich white brocade, thy most sanguine hopes. I will enrich-ennoble which fell in graceful folds around her slender thee, if thou wilt.” form. No fictitious ornaments disfigured or con- “I fear that I have misunderstood, thee, lady," cealed her natural beauty, but a simple diamond said Paco Rosales, in a tone of incredulous egret looped up the sleeves of her dress, and thus surprise. exposed her fair, rounded arm, above the elbow ; “I repeat,” answered she, “that I will make a her dark glossy hair falling in long ringlets over gentleman of him who shall kill Don Alonzo de her white shoulders, completed her attire. But Guzman.” in the midst of all this luxury, the lovely brow of “To seek a man, and when he is alone, striko the young woman was clouded with deep thought him behind his back, would be no such difficult and anxious care, and for some time she remained matter," said Paco Rosales, coldly; “it is a re. in silent contemplatiou of the mendicant, who stood veuge easily accomplished, but it is soon over. I staring around hin, dazzled by the sight of so am acquainted with a man who is the enemy—the much splendour and magnifice:ce,

i implacable enemy of Don Alonzo, and yet he would

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not do it. There may, perhaps, be another means perhaps still more by the singular and mysterious of revenge ; more slow, more terrible.”

charm of her manner and intellect, sat gazing upon “What dost thou mean ?” interrupted Theresa. her in fixed and silent admiration for some time

“This may explain my meaning, noble lady," before he spoke. said Paco, as he drew forth a sealed packet from “Of what art thou thinking, fair lady ?” said his bosom where he had concealed it, and handed he at length, as he took her soft hand in his own. it to her.

I am thinking, Sire, of these papers which “What is this ?" said she, astonished, “papers have fallen by chance into my possession, and I to the address of Don Gaspar Alonzo Perez de should like to know their contents.” Guzman, Marquess, Count, and Signor of San “What are they ?” said the King, taking them Lucar de Barameda, gentleman of the chamber of in his hand ; "a correspondence in cipher? This is his Catholic Majesty! Who gave thee these ?" strange; and who gave thee these letters ?”

“ They were found in the wallet of a poor “A poor pilgrim, Sire, on whom I bestowed Franciscan friar who had dropped it on his way some alms. Can your Majesty read them ?" from Lisbon to Madrid. They may, perhaps, con- “Not I, by my soul,” replied the King, rather tain the proof that Don Alonzo de Guzman is a surprised; “but there are persons who can decipher traitor and a rebel to the King, our master.” this kind of writing.”

Theresa eagerly broke the seals, but the let- “Well, then !" cried Theresa with singular ters were written in cipher.

vivacity, “I wish to have them explained immedi“Alas !" cried she, in dismay, “who can read ately; can it be done, Sire ?" these po

Certainly, if it is thy pleasure, fair one,” replied “Not I," cried Paco, bitterly disappointed. he smiling; we will send for our secretaries, our

“Never mind. Leave them with me ; to-mor- state council, and even for the Count-duke bimself, row I shall know their contents," said Theresa ; our prime minister." and taking a velvet purse from the little table “Do not jest, Sire !" cried she, “these papers before her, she emptied it into his hat.

contain treasonable matter--some plot." “Oh!"' exclaimed Paco, dazzled by the sight of “ Thou art turning politician, art thou ?" interso much gold, "this is too great an alms. I have rupted the King, laughing, “take care ; don't never received more than a doubloon at a time, meddle with the affairs of State, or I will hand and that but seldom."

thee over to the Count.duke." “I wish to make thee comfortable for the rest Sire, I implore you, gratify my wish," said of thy life; I wish thee to return to our dear city she, holding out the papers to him. of Valencia, and there to pass the remainder of “Thy will shall be accomplished this instant, thy days in rest and competence.”

my sweet petitioner. Fortunately, Pizarro knows “ It is thus I have always lived,” observed he, how to solve these kind of enigmas; we will comingenuously.

mand him to translate them into good readable “ Yes ; but thou needest no longer beg; thou Spanish. Will that satisfy thee?" in thy turn, mayst bestow charity. It requires a "Thank you, Sire," said she fervently. great many good works, Paco, to atone for our Pizarro was one of those gentlemen who accomsins."

panied Philip IV. of Spain in his nocturnal per“My conscience is clear enough,” answered he, ambulations, the secret of which was so strictly closing his eyes and putting his hand upon his maintained that it was unknown even in the palace breast.

except to the few initiated who kept guard around Theresa relapsed into her melancholy pre-occupa. his person, and watched for him during the bours tion; the papers lay scattered on her lap, and she that he spent in this amusement. Pizarro and appeared not to notice that Paco had left the bis companions were quarrelling over the dice, in

the antechamber, when the duenna bronght him the King's orders, which, on reading, he imme

diately obeyed, and followed her into the apartCHAPTER XIV.

ment where his Majesty and Theresa were both impatiently—although from different motives

awaiting his arrival. The table was already preThat same evening, Theresa sat alone in her pared with the necessary materials for writing, the boudoir when the King was announced. The papers lay open upon it, and Pizarro sat down habitual melancholy that shaded her beautiful before it and began his work. According as be countenance had given place to a kind of feverish progressed in bis translation of the cipber, his excitement which lighted up her large dark eyes countenance assumed a serious and perplexed exwith unusual brilliancy, and tinged her pale cheek pression, and when he had finished the whole of with a flush of animation that heightened the the papers, after an hour's hard labour, he handed beauty of her exquisite features, and lent an irre- them with a look of deep horror and astonishment sistible and additional charm to the graces of her to his master, who, not perceiving his private youthful face. Philip IV., subdued and enthralled secretary's agitation, threw the paper with a careby the rare loveliness of this young girl, and I less satisfaction into Theresa's lap, who, seated

room.

THE PLOT DISCOVERED.

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next to the King, had watched Pizarro with in-proclaim the new King. This letter, addressed to tense impatience and anxiety.

Don Alonzo de Guzman, discovers the whole plot ; "There, lovely inquisitive one,” said he, “read but tell me, sweetest, how it fell into thy hands ?" and satisfy thy sex's curiosity.

• They were brought to me by a poor mendiShe took the paper, and as she eagerly glanced cant who was on his way from Notre Dame de over its contents, a deadly pallor overspread her Guadaloupe ; he picked them up in the road where countenance; her quivering lips became livid; her they had been dropped by a Franciscan friar who eyes flashed beneath their long dark lashes, and had preceded him on the way." her bosom rose and fell with the loud throbbings We can easily verify all these l'acts," said the of her heart, as she absolutely rocked upon her King, “but we must first secure the traitors. This chair from the violence of her emotions. When same night they shall be arrested. High as their she had read it through, the document fell from heads may be placed my justice shall reach them. her hands, and she fell back in her seat in a dead I now see why Don Alonzo's marriage was to be fainting fit.

so hastily concluded. He counted on taking posThe King, surprised and alarmed, caught her in session of a kingdom. By my soul, he shall find his arms, and thus supported her, whilst the secre. his crown upon the scaffold.” tary Pizarro, who had waited in the room for fur. “I have arrived in time for his marriage feast," ther commands, and whom the King now called to murmured Theresa. his assistance, sprinkled her face with the contents of a scent bottle, which was on the table, and rubbed her hands, until she revived from her

CHAPTER XV. swoon. When she opened her eyes and met the King's anxious and inquiring gaze as he bent ten

THE ROYAL AUDIENCE. derly over her, she turned away with a couvulsive The following day a strange report circulated in shudder, and pointing to the paper which lay un. the streets of Madrid. It was said that Don heeded at her feet, faltered out, “the letter, Sire, Alonzo had been arrested the night before for high it concerns your Majesty !"

treason. The friends of the house of Guzman “What can it be?” said he, as he took it up, were in a state of the utmost consternation and and hastily cast his eye over the first few lines; anxiety, and awaited in fear and dismay some terbut as he went on he read with deeper attention, rible example of the Sovereigu's justice. and when he came to the end, astonishment, rage, The Duke d'Ossuna, by order of the King, imand disappointment so convulsed his features, that mediately repaired to the palace, and after a private Theresa could hardly recognise him, and for the audience with his Majesty, he publicly proclaimed the first time since she knew him she shrunk and marriage between his daughter and Don Alonzo to be trembled before his terrible anger and indignation. broken off. Soon after this, the disgrace of the Duke

"What !” cried be, as he violently threw the de Medina Sidonia became public news. The King, fatal document to the ground, " am I for ever to having deprived him of the government of Andameet with none but ingrates and rebels ? The lusia, confiscated his estates, and stripped him of example of the Duke de Braganza is now bearing his titles. The town of San Lucar de Barameda, its fruits. The revolted Catalonians have already and some other places belonging to this powerful called the stranger to their succour, and aided the family, reverted to the Crown, and the proud, amFrench to pass the Pyrenees; to-day Andalusia is bitious duke, thus despoiled of his wealth and also ready to rise, and the Duke de Medina Si- princely honours, was either obliged to fly to donia wants to make it an independent kingdom. Portugal, and hide his proscribed head in shame, By Santiago ! the time will come when there will ignominy, and poverty, or to humiliate himself and be as many sovereigns as there are provinces in sue for mercy and forgiveness from the Sovereign the peninsula. The powerful arms of Ferdinand he had betrayed. Don Alonzo · was strictly and Isabella will have vainly united so many guarded. His confessor alone was allowed access States under one sceptre. But no, no. This great to his prison. Whatever might have been his Spanish monarchy shall not fall thus while there is crime, he could only be tried by his peers, and the one drop of blood in these veins. Thank God ! I members of the council of Castile ; and every one will die as I have lived, King of all Spain, and awaited with curiosity and anxiety the hour of his not King of Castile, like Henry the Impotent." trial.

“ The service which thou hast just rendered the The two mendicants who, by a strange chance, State," said the King, in a softened voice, as he had discovered this unheard of plot with the took one of her hands and pressed it between both enemies of the State, had been munificently rehis own, “is immense ; these letters contain the warded, and it only remained with themselves to proof of a great conspiracy which is ripe for make a respectable figure in the world; but they execution. The Duke de Medina Sidonia and his were unaccustomed to afluence, and felt themson have plotted it. My galleons, seized on their selves rather embarrassed than otherwise by its arrival, are to furnish the means for the expenses possession. of the war. Cadiz is to be delivered up to the In the meantime Theresa waited with gloomy Portuguese, and the same day all Andalusia is to impatience the dénouément of thris drama, in which

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