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Grace Aguilar
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The Vale of Cedars.
neglect every reader of English history is acquainted, though they sometimes forget her illustrious parentage; her sorrows indeed Isabella was spared, as she died before Henry the Eighth ascended the English throne.  But it was Juana, the wife of Philip, and mother of Charles V., whose intellects, always feeble, and destroyed by the neglect and unkindness of the husband she idolized, struck the last and fatal blow.  And she, whom all Europe regarded with unfeigned veneration—­she whom her own subjects so idolized, they would gladly have laid down a thousand lives for hers—­she fell a victim to a mother’s heart-consuming grief.[A] Who then, after perusing her life, and that of how many other sovereigns, will refuse them, the meed of sympathy, because, raised so far above us in outward things, we deem the griefs and feelings of common humanity unknown and uncared for?  To our mind, the destiny of the Sovereign, the awful responsibility, the utter loneliness of station, the general want of sympathy, the proneness to be condemned for faults or omissions of which they are, individually, as innocent as their contemners, present a subject for consideration and sympathy, and ought to check the unkind thoughts and hasty condemnation, excited merely because they are placed in rank and circumstances above us.  A King of kings has placed them there, and a Universal Father calls them His children, even as ourselves.

[Footnote A:  Isabella had been previously attacked by dangerous indisposition, from which, however, the natural strength of her constitution would have enabled her in some degree to rally; but the springs of life had been injured by previous bereavement.  Her lungs became affected, and the symptoms of decline rapidly and fatally increased from continual affliction of mind.—­History of Spain.]

Isabella had not seen Marie that morning; her trusty attendant, Donna Inez de Leon, had alone been with her, and had reported that she was calm and composed, and more like herself than she had been since her bereavement.  Time passed but slowly, and Catherine Pas, the same high-spirited maiden mentioned in a former chapter, perceiving that the Queen’s anxiety evidently increased as the hours waned, quietly left the chamber, unbidden, and even unseen.  A brief interval saw her return, and with a countenance so expressive of horrified bewilderment, as to excite the astonishment of all.

“Oh, madam!” she exclaimed, as she flew to the Queen’s seat, regardless of either decorum or rebuke; “Oh, madam, it has killed her; she is dying!”

“Dying!” repeated Isabella, and the whole strength of her character was put forth, to prevent her starting from her seat.  “Dying!—­who is dying?  Speak out, in Santa Maria’s name!”

“Donna Marie—­the poor, unhappy Marie; she has been borne from the hall!  Don Felix had her in his arms; I saw her; I followed them, and she looked dead, quite dead; they would not let me go to her at first, till I called them hard-hearted wretches!  And I have tried to rouse her, but I could not.  Oh, save her, gracious madam!  Do not let her die!”

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