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Grace Aguilar
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The Vale of Cedars.

But the excitement of the city ceased not with the conclusion of the trial:  not alone the populace, but the nobles themselves, even the Holy Fathers and Associated Brethren were seen, forming in various groups, conversing eagerly and mysteriously.  The interest in the prisoner had in some measure given way to a new excitement.  Question followed question, conjecture followed conjecture, but nothing could solve the mystery of Donna Marie’s terrible avowal, or decrease the bewilderment and perplexity which, from various causes, it created in every mind.  One alone, amongst the vast crowds which had thronged the trial, shunned his fellows.  Not a change in the calm, cold, sneering expression of Don Luis Garcia’s countenance had betrayed either surprise at, or sympathy with, any one of the various emotions stirring that vast multitude of human hearts; he had scarcely even moved his position during the continuance of the trial, casting indeed many a glance on the immediate scene of action, from beneath his thick and shadowy eyebrows, which concealed the sinister gaze from observation.  He shunned the face of day; but in his own dark haunts, and with his hellish colleagues, plans were formed and acted on, with a rapidity which, to minds less matured in iniquity, would have seemed incredible.

CHAPTER XXI.

  The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
  It droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven
  Upon the place beneath.  It is twice blessed,
  It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes;
  ’Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
  The throned monarch better than his crown.

  SHAKSPEARE.

The interest attending a trial, in which royalty had evinced such powerful sympathy, naturally extended to every member of Isabella’s female train:  her anxiety as to the issue had been very visible, notwithstanding her calm and quiet demeanor.  The Infanta Isabella and the Infant Don Juan were with her during the morning as usual; but even their infantile caresses, dearer to her true woman’s heart than all her vast possessions, had failed to disperse the anxiety of thought.  Few can peruse the interesting life of Isabella of Castile without being struck by the fact, that even as her public career was one of unmixed prosperity for her country and herself, her private sorrows and domestic trials vied, in their bitterness, with those of the poorest and humblest of her subjects.  Her first-born, the Infanta Isabella, who united all the brilliant and endearing qualities of her mother, with great beauty, both of face and form, became a loving bride only to become a widow—­a mother, only to gaze upon her babe, and die; and her orphan quickly followed.  Don Juan, the delight and pride and hope of his parents, as of the enthusiasm and almost idolatry of their subjects, died in his twentieth year.  The hapless Catherine of Arragon, with whose life of sorrow and

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