Imágenes de página

kings, let me remind thee,'surely I may be treated | daughters in the world, begotten by him under here with as much deference and solemnity as one the same serpentine form, although unknown to priest uses toward another,

common mortals. Priest. Certainly with no less, O king! Since Alerander. Indeed ! thou hast insisted that I should devise the best Priest. I declare it unto thee. means of persuading the world of this awful verity, Alexander. I can not doubt it then. thou wilt excuse me, in thy clemency, if my re- Priest. Not all indeed of thy comeliness in form marks and interrogatories should appear prolix. and features, but awful and majestic. It is the

Alexander. Remark anything; but do not inter- will of Jupiter, that, like the Persian monarchs, rogate and press me : kings are unaccustomed to it. whose sceptre he hath transferred to thee, thou I will consign to thee every land from the centre marryest thy sister. to the extremities of Africa ; the Fortunate Isles Alexander. Willingly. In what land upon will I also give to thee, adding the Hyperborean : earth liveth she, whom thou designest for me? I wish only the consent of the religious who offi- Priest. The Destinies and Jupiter himself have ciate in this temple, and their testimony to the conducted thee, O Alexander, to the place where world in declaration of my parentage.

thy nuptials shall be celebrated. Priest. Many thanks! we have all we want. Alexander. When did they so ?

Alexander. I can not think you are true priests Priest. Now; at this very hour. then ; and if your oath on the divinity of my de- Alexander. Let me see the bride, if it be lawful scent were not my object, and therefore not to be to lift up her veil. abandoned, I should regret that I had offered so Priest. Follow me. much in advance, and should be provoked to Alexander. The steps of this cavern are dark deduct one half of the Fortunate Isles, and the and slippery; but it terminates, no doubt, like greater part of the Hyperborean.

the Eleusinian, in pure light and refreshing Priest. Those are exactly the regions, 0 king, shades. which our moderation would induce us to resign. Priest. Wait here an instant: it will grow Africa, we know, is worth little : yet we are as lighter. well contented with the almonds, the dates, the Alexander. What do I see yonder ? melons, the figs, the fresh butter, the stags, the Priest. Where? antelopes, the kids, the tortoises, and the quails Alexander. Close under the wall, rising and about us, as we should be if they were brought to lowering, regularly and slowly, like a long weed us after fifty days' journey through the desert. on a quiet river, when a fragment hath dropped

Alexander. Really now, is it possible that, in a into it from the bank above. matter so evident, your oracle can find any Priest. Thou descriest, 0 Alexander, the daugh. obstacle or difficulty in proclaiming me what I am? ter of Jupiter, the watchful virgin, the preserver

Priest. The difficulty (slight it must be acknow- of our treasures. Without her they might be ledged) is this : our Jupiter is horned.

carried away by the wanderers of the desert ; Alexander. So was my father.

but they fear, as they should do, the daughter of Priest. The children of Jupiter love one an- Jupiter. other : this we believe here in Lybia.

Alexander. Hell and Furies ! what hast thou Alerander. And rightly: no affection was ever been saying? I heard little of it. Daughter of 80 strong as that of Castor and Pollux. I myself Jupiter ! feel a genuine love for them, and greater still for Priest. Hast thou any fancy for the silent and Hercules.

shy maiden? I will leave you together ... Priest. If thou hadst a brother or sister on earth, Alerander. Orcus and Erebus ! Jove-born, thou wouldst embrace the same most Priest. Be discreet ! Restrain your raptures ardently.

until the rites are celebrated. Alexander. As becomes my birth and heart. Alexander. Rites ! Infernal pest! O horror!

Priest. O Alexander ! may thy godlike race abomination ! A vast panting snake! never degenerate !

Priest. Say "dragon," O king! and beware how Alexander. Now indeed the Powers above do thou callest horrid and abominable, the truly beinspire thee.

gotten of our lord thy father. Priest. Jupiter, I am commanded by him to Alexander. What means this ? inhuman traitor! declare, is verily thy father.

Open the door again : lead me back. Are my Alexander. He owns me then ! he owns me! conquests to terminate in the jaws of a reptile ? What sacrifice worthy of this indulgence can I Priest. Do the kings of Macedon call their offer to him?

sisters such names ? Priest. An obedient mind, and a camel-load of Alexander. Let me out, I say ! nard and amomum for his altar.

Priest. Inconstant man! I doubt even whether Alexander. I smell here the exquisite perfume the marriage hath been consummated. Dost of benzoin.

thou question her worthiness ? prove her, prove Priest

. It grows in our vicinity. The nostrils her. We have certain signs and manifestations of Jupiter love changes : he is consistent in all that Jupiter begat this powerful creature, thy parts, being Jupiter. He has other sons and elder sister. Her mother hid her shame and con


fusion in the desert, where she still wanders, and Alexander. If such is my folly, what is that of looks with an evil eye on everything in the form of others ? Thou wilt acknowledge and proclaim me

The poorest, vilest, most abject of the sex, the progeny of Jupiter. holdeth her head no lower than she.

Priest. Ay, ay. Alexander. Impostor !

Alexander. People must believe it. Priest. Do not the sympathies of thy heart in- Pri TL only doubt will be among the form thee that this solitary queen is of the same shrewder, whether, being so extremely old and lineage as thine ?

having left off his pilgrimages so many years, he Alexander. What temerity! what impudence ! could have given our unworthy world so spirited what deceit!

an offspring as thou art. Priest. Temerity! How so, Alexander ! Surely Come and sacrifice. man can not claim too near an affinity to his Alexander. Priest! I see thou art a man of Creator, if he will but obey him, as I know thou courage : henceforward we are in confidence. Take certainly wilt in this tender alliance. Impudence mine with my hand : give me thine. Confess to and deceit were thy other accusations : how little me, as the first proof of it, didst thou never shrink merited! I only traced the collateral branches of back from so voracious and intractable a monster the genealogical tree thou pointedst out to me. as that accursed snake ?

Alexander. Draw back the bolt: let me pass : Priest. We caught her young, and fed her on stand out of my way. Thy hand upon my shoulder! goat's milk, as our Jupiter himself was fed in the Were my sword beside me, this monster should caverns of Crete. lick thy blood.

Alexander. Your Jupiter ! that was another. Priest. Patience ! O king! The iron portal is Priest. Some people say so : but the same cradle in my hand : if the hinges turn, thy godhead is serves for the whole family, the same story will extinct. No, Alexander, no ! it must not be.

do for them all. As for fearing this young perAlexander. Lead me then forth. I swear to sonage in the treasury-vault, we fear her no more, silence.

son Alexander, than the priests of Egypt do his Priest. As thou wilt.

holiness the crocodile-god. The gods and their Alexander. I swear to friendship; lead me but pedagogues are manageable to the hand that feeds out again.

them. Priest. Come; although I am much interested Alexander. Canst thou talk thus? in the happiness of his two children whom I Priest. Of false gods, not of the true one.

Alexander. One! are there not many? Some Alexander. Persecute me no longer; in the dozens ? some hundreds ? name of Jupiter !

Priest. Not in our vicinity; praised be HamPriest. I can hardly give it up. To have been mon! And plainly to speak, there is nowhere the maker of such a match! what felicity! what another, let who will have begotten him, whether glory! Think once more upon it. There are on cloud or meadow, feather-bed or barn-floor, many who could measure themselves with thee, worth a salt locust or a last year's date-fruit. head to head ; let me see the man who will do it These are our mysteries, if thou must needs with your child at the end of the year, if thou know them; and those of other priesthoods are embracest with good heart and desirable success the like. this daughter of deity.

Alexander, my boy, do not stand there, with Alexander. Enough, my friend! I have de- thy arms folded and thy head aside, pondering. served it; but we must deceive men, or they will Jupiter the Ram for ever! either hate us or despise us.

Alexander. Glory to Jupiter the Ram ! Priest. Now thou talkest reasonably. I here Priest. Thou stoppest on a sudden thy prayers pronounce thy divorce. Moreover, thou shalt be and praises to father Jupiter. Son Alexander ! the son of Hammon in Libya, of Mithras in art thou not satisfied? What ails thee, drawing the Persia, of Philip in Macedon, of Olympian Jove back of thy hand across thine eyes ? in Grecce : but never for the future teach priests Alexander. A little dust flew into them as the new creeds.

door opened. Alexander. How my father Philip would have Priest. Of that dust are the sands of the desert laughed over his cups at such a story as this ! and the kings of Macedon.

Priest, Alexander ! let it prove to thee thy folly.


[ocr errors]

DON FERDINAND AND DON JOHN-MARY-LUIS. Ferdinand. My brother and cousin ! hem! Ferdinand. Document! it is worse. Why hem! Before we enter on the concerns of both could not the fool of a fellow write at the bothemispheres..

tom, or in the margin, what two hemispheres John-Mary. Heyday! Do not, your majesty, he meant? I have played him a good trick frown and stamp, crumpling and tearing and however. biting the paper : it may be a document.

John-Mary. Your majesty dances admirably.

[ocr errors]


Ferdinand. Kyrie eleison ! kyrie eleison ! Gra- | athwart his shoulders, and bruised her wrist in tiæ plena! I have left a note behind me, such a manner that it was useless (I found) for whereby I dismiss the rogue. I shall now have three days. Macañez had the impudence to rea clean new ministry.

mind me, that I received the greater part of the John-Mary. A new one indeed is to be col- money paid into his hands for every appointment, lected in any posada, where there is a pack of civil and ecclesiastical: on which indiscretion I cards, or a good appetite, or å siesta nibbled in imprisoned him forthwith, and will detain him two by the fieas : but a clean one ... egad! we for life in my royal fort of Sant-Antonio at Coruña, must catch the members of it at the baptismal praying Sant-Antonio to drive out of his memory font, and keep them in the swaddling-clothes we the sums he has paid me for my share ; and find them in.

never to let him dream of Melissa Petit, without Ferdinand. Every day, when I change my shirt the accompaniment of an ebony staff over the I change my ministers : they have not any time right shoulder, and the divulsion of a good to be scoundrels.

handful of hair. John-Mary. Nor any interest to be honest John-Mary. The girl is a pluralist by profes.

sion, your Majesty by mischance : Macañez has Ferdinand. Brother and cousin ! no interest | only one appointment; which, however, it appears, will make men honest. Would you believe it? is for life. If your Majesty should be graciously I gave a japan jar of Havanna snuff to one, and a pleased to accept his resignation, I doubt not commandery to another : the one sneezed in my Sant-Antonio would endow him with a peculiar face, the other begged his dismissal. I am sorry gift of forgetfulness, very desirable in this prediI gave the snuff and the jar: they were sold and cament. His dreams require no spiritual interthe money spent before night: but the comman- vention. Your Majesty is unsatisfied still. dery has a friar in the inside, a lawyer on the out- Ferdinand. That is not the business. side, and a volunteer of the faith for sentry. John-Mary. What is then ?

John-Mary. It is then in a fair condition to Ferdinand. I promised Sant-Antonio I would reward a long series of deserving friends. reward his services with a swine in silver, weigh

Ferdinand. I am now in spirits : I can go on ing half a quintal. Now, cannot I make Macañez without the paper. A few private matters must pay the pig-money? precede the public.

John-Mary. Certainly. John-Mary. Of course; that is diplomatic. Ferdinand. But when I have taken all he pos

Ferdinand. There is a question, my brother sesses, how can I ? and cousin! to which I never could obtain a direct John-Mary. Your Majesty must pray again to and satisfactory answer. Can you solve it ? Sant-Antonio for another miracle.

John-Mary. Not easily, Don Ferdinand, unless Ferdinand. A pretty ally! a pretty counseller! I hear it. I am no Frenchman.

you raise two difficulties where I could find but Ferdinand. My confessor did indeed give me one. Will he perform it, think you, before I have absolution ; but he declared that never a girl of settled for the first ? low extraction, whose ancestors had neither made John-Mary. Oh! that is indeed the question. war upon the Moors, nor been familiars of the Miracles of this kind are not the miracles for our Holy Inquisition, could properly be engaged in days, my brother! There is ne'er a saint in paraprocuring an episcopacy for anyone ; that the plea dise that will set his shoulder to them. People, was futile; and that having slept with an anointed one would imagine, begin to have a notion of king, did not authorise such a person to take in honour, even in heaven. hand a higher charge than a canonicate.

Ferdinand. So much the worse : but let them John-Mary. Slept with an anointed king ! who? look to it. We may live to see the morning when a strumpet ?

neither saint nor saintess shall have pantaloon or Ferdinand. Not so bad as that.

petticoat to chine. What a mighty fine figure John-Mary. An unmarried girl ! one without will they make, when the paltriest cherub in pinalliances ! No wonder she overstepped the bounds feathers shakes his collopped sides and gilt gamut, of decency.

putting his hand (if he has one) upon the place! Ferdinand. Melissa Petit had, conditionally, To this another time: we have several more my royal permission to negotiate for places. subjects for our royal consideration. My revenues

John-Mary. Frencher and frencher, every word! are reduced, my valets, my pages, my cooks.

Ferdinand. She transacted the business through John-Mary. I condole with your Majesty from Macañez, at that time my valet and minister of the purest sympathy, on the straits to which your state, who, to smoothen his scruples, took a most catholic and royal household has been reduced, perverse view of the subject, and fancied, with by the intemperance of your vassals. Well do I heretical pravity, that, if both king and minister know what it is to want the necessaries of life. had possession of her, she might, without censure My kitchen, which formerly had been somewhat from holy mother Church, or any great scandal, plenteously supplied, at the expenditure of four creep from canonicates up to bishoprics. I my thousand dollars a day, was suddenly cast down to self caught them in this preliminary function, three thousand five hundred; and, unless I had and, not weighing his motive, laid my stick sold a box of diamonds, I must have starved. Your Majesty is reported to have always found a John-Mary. Would it not be better to call a solace in the company of your diamonds, such as reader ? a great king of antiquity hath expressed of them Ferdinand. Oh! I can read : you would wonder (Solomon I think it was), saying, “Delectant domi, how well. non impediunt foris ; pernoctant nobiscum, pere- John-Mary. I believe your Majesty : I have grinantur, rusticantur.”

heard it asserted so positively and so warmly, Ferdinand. What may that mcan, my brother that I ceased to doubt it long ago. But the paper and cousin ?

is a whole leaf; and one may fall upon a word John-Mary. O for shame! to ask a secular what here and there rather hard and slippery. Of late the Bible means ! Mary forbid we should ever be years several such have been read to me: I rememsuch heretics as to enter into scrupulous inquiries. ber one in particular, which the minister or secreI learnt the words by heart, like the rest my good tary who transcribed it should not have taken just friars have taught me: the meaning lies with as he received it from the dancing-master, but I them and upon their consciences. I always suppose he had not had a good siesta. slept with my diamonds; and they abstracted Ferdinand. What word is that? my mind from carnal thoughts and irreligious John-Mary. False position. vagaries. I declare upon my holy faith, I would Ferdinand. By Santiago! the word false among rather cohabit with them than the fairest dame the old Castilians used to draw blood : but the of honour in the palace, or even than my great-word position here is of great service : like a gout aunt.

cordial, it brings down the peccant matter from Ferdinand. A great-aunt is no light matter : the head to the feet. Why does your faithful but one may have one's preferences.

Majesty simper, and pull my button, and ogle and Brother and Cousin ! pray is it true that you wriggle so ? hung one of your finest brilliants in the right ear John-Mary. Brother and brother-in-law Ferdiof Saint Sebastian, according to a vow.

nand, tell me now, who said that? John-Mary. True enough.

Ferdinand. I said it, and say it still. Ferdinand. And is it also a matter of fact that, John-Mary. But.. ah you facetious and roguish when you were about to return to Europe, you man! who said it first? snatched it out again, at the risk of tearing the Ferdinand. I was the first that said it: I had said ear from gristle to tip?

it direct from Perez Pinalta. John-Mary. That also is very true : it bled a John-Mary. Viva Don Perez! I wonld have little.

given him a pair of diamond earrings for it, and Ferdinand. Only a little ?

a fine solitaire in a truss. John-Mary. In the night it swelled and looked Ferdinand. No exportation of wit, in my life angry; and at matins the prior could not conceal time, nor importation neither : there is roguery from me the traces of blood, which appeared the enough in segars. fresher the moment he would have removed it John-Mary. None of my ministers ever utter with his handkerchief. However, no sooner had such sentiments, or bring to me those who can. I made an offering of nine thousand crusadoes, Ferdinand. Nor mine neither: I doubt whether than it suffered itself to be wiped quite dry, and they ever go to the barber's to pick up sharp I hope and believe, continues so to this hour. things. My valet Runez, a barber's boy some Ferdinand. I should have been afraid.

years since, on being reproached by one of them John-Mary.. And I was. But I never had dedi- about his former occupation, said, "My froth cated it to Saint Sebastian in a regular form ; and made folks cleanlier; yours only sticks upon yourthe moment the blood was dry and the crusadoes self and hardens your dirt." I laughed heartily accepted, fearing he might on second thoughts when his meaning was explained to me, which exhibit some signs of ill will, I devoted it regu- (such is my quickness in apprehending wit) was larly to all the saints in heaven; so that none done sooner than a text in the scriptures could be. could fairly claim it for himself; and, if Sebastian Let us now proceed to business ; for there is a had said another word about it, they would have full day's work before us in this paper. drowned his voice with their clamours.

John-Mary. I am all ear. Ferdinand. What was it worth ?

Ferdinand. “His Catholic Majesty, Don FerJohn-Mary. Hush ! hush! you may raise his dinand the Seventh, King of Spain and of the curiosity if he should happen to be listening ; and, Indies, &c. &c. &c., and his Faithful Majesty, Don on hearing the estimate, he might slily pluck out John-Mary-Luis, King of the united kingdoms of an arrow from his side, and play me a spiteful Portugal, Brazil, and Algarve, of Guinea, Ethiopia, trick with it.

Arabia, Persia, and India”... What are you Ferdinand. Let us converse then rather on the counting? affairs of Europe, in which neither he nor any of John-Mary. I think they have missed one. the others appear to take the least interest. Ferdinand. Which?

And now, my dear brother and brother-in-law, John-Mary. I cannot recollect; but, faith! I Don John-Mary-Luis, we will read together what do verily think one is missing. the French and Russian ministers have written Ferdinand. Look sharp then; for our brothers for us to sign.

the Holy Allies may divide it among themselves,

[ocr errors]

as they did Poland. They cut up a kingdom with | niece ! nay, is rather to make the same proposal as little ceremony as an orange, and suck it dry in to an utter stranger! I do not wonder at hearing as little time.

that the northern nations went a thousand miles John-Mary. Ha ! ha! ha! your Catholic Ma- in search of a country, when they would go the jesty has taken another pinch (I see) from the same distance, even now, in search of a wife, box of Don Perez. Why! what a stupendous rather than take one from their own table and knave the knave is! Have we reached the end nursery. of the Declaration ?

Ferdinand. They are still fierce and barbarous, Ferdinand. End! look here!

and wander like wild cats in their amours. Our John-Mary. Mercy on us ! surely they have holy religion has not reclaimed them; and even said the principal things.

the Catholics among them are slow to double the Ferdinand. That is likely ; but some remon- threads of consanguinity, and to tie the knot at strances follow. "&c. &c. &c., wishing to main the end. tain the peace of Europe, announce their John-Mary. Prejudices of ignorance! Proofs determination to suppress by force of arms, and however that what the wiser have confessed, is by such further means as the Holy Indivisible true; namely, that genius can no more ripen in Trinity has entrusted them with, all secret socie- the north than pomegranates can, and that they ties whatever; and their said Majesties, his Catho- never will be like us. lic and his Faithful, adopting the principles laid Ferdinand. No fear of that. Beside, who is there down by their Majesties of the Holy Alliance, and to teach them? fellows in boots and gilt buttons, recognised by every state in Europe as necessary hoodless and collarless and bandless, so ignorant to its order and repose” .. your Faithful Ma- that not one in a thousand could sustain a decent jesty snores "are resolved to appoint in the thesis on the immaculate conception. They call first instance such commissioners as in their it philosophical to be incredulous on holy things, wisdom shall seem fit and effectual,"

and they are the most credulous in the world on John-Mary. What shall we do with 'em ? where profane ones. In the war of the intruder against shall we send them? That requires long consi- me, a man of letters (such as theirs are) happened deration. As for appointing, the business is soon to be, from some silly zeal or idle curiosity, at done.

Santander. It was in the month of August, at Ferdinand. If your Majesty will listen, you will mid-day, when the sun would have broiled a find that our brothers leave no trouble whatever bonito in five minutes, and when the cormorants for us : they tell us what to do, and they do the were sitting fast asleep on the rocks in the harbest part of it themselves ... "in order to pacify, bour, and letting their wings drop lower than their to the glory of God, the loyal and catholic kingdom legs, and careless what names the sailors called of Ireland.”

them for not rising at their approach, that an John-Mary. The Irish are not my people: they Englishman hired a launch and six rowers to would take it ill to be pacified by me.

conduct him to Santillana. Ferdinand. We must hold out a saving hand John-Mary. The English, frog-hearted as one to them. The king of Great Britain, whose would fancy them, are desperate for the women. subjects they are, is invited to assist us.

I hope she would not listen to the lewd heretic. John-Mary. Then indeed we may safely.

Ferdinand. Who listen? Ferdinand. “ It having come to the knowledge John-Mary. The Señora. of their Catholic and Faithful Majesties, that a

Ferdinand. What Señora ? faction, supported from without by malcontents John-Mary. Donna . your Majesty did not and heretics, blind men, led astray by their pas- mention her baptismal name ...

. . Santillana. sions, have, contrary to the wishes and interests Ferdinand (aside). O you tiresome old fool of the majority"

of a Majesty! Santillana is the name of a village John-Mary. Fine writing! very fine writing ! on the coast . . town I believe it was once His most Christian Majesty said the very same which a lying Frenchman has fixed upon as the thing about your Majesty's rebellious subjects; birth-place of one Gil Blas, corrupting all the docuand I presume that for the future it will always ments he had found on some such person. This form a part of every state-paper, be the subject Englishman walked up and down the streets, quite

alone; the dogs on the shady side did not give Ferdinand. "built residences and churches; themselves the trouble to bark ; the few that and, not contented therewith, have used the same growled did it so indolently as not to arouse the for the purpose of disseminating their wild and next. The leaves of melons, grapes, and figs, pernicious doctrines"

brought thither in the morning and cast from the John-Mary. Would you believe it? they are windows, crackled under-foot. The sailors covered perverse enough, I know not whether there or in their faces with their sombreros and fell asleep. England, to say openly that a niece ought not to The only things appearing to move in God's unisleep with her uncleor great-uncle, norauntorgreat- verse, were the swallows and the flies and this aunt with her nephew. If a man can not sleep Englishman. The very lizards panted for breath, with bis own relations, with whom can he ? An and hardly clung against the wall. The ships uncle forsooth is not to ask in marriage his little upon the sea, as was told me, lay still. It was

what it may.

« AnteriorContinuar »