The Vale of Cedars eBook

Grace Aguilar
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 347 pages of information about The Vale of Cedars.
under her protection, she said—­an erring indeed, but an unhappy young creature, who, by her very confession, had thrown herself on the mercy of her Sovereign—­and she would not deliver up the charge.  In vain the Prior urged the abomination of a Jewess residing under her very roof—­the danger to her soul should she be tempted to associate with her, and that granting protection to an avowed and blaspheming unbeliever must expose her to the suspicions, or, at least the censure of the church.  Isabella was inexorable.  To his first and second clause she quietly answered as she had done to her own attendants; his third only produced a calm and fearless smile.  She knew too well, as did the Prior also, though for the time he chose to forget it, that her character for munificent and heartfelt piety was too well established, not only in Spain but throughout Europe, to be shaken even by the protection of a Jewess.  Father Francis then solicited to see her; but even this point he could not gain.  Isabella had, alas! no need to equivocate as to the reason of his non-admission to Marie.  Reason had indeed returned, and with it the full sense of the dangers she had drawn upon herself; but neither frame nor mind was in a state to encounter such an interview as the Prior demanded.

The severity of Father Francis originated, as we have before remarked, neither in weak intellect nor selfish superstition.  Towards himself indeed he never relented either in severity or discipline; towards others benevolence and humanity very often gained ascendency; and something very like a tear glistened in his eye as Isabella forcibly portrayed the state in which Marie still remained.  And when she concluded, by frankly imparting her intention, if health were indeed restored, to leave no means untried—­even to pursue some degree of severity if nothing else would do—­to wean her from her mistaken faith, he not only abandoned his previous intentions, but commended and blessed the nobler purpose of his Sovereign.  To his request that Marie might be restrained from all intercourse with the younger members of Isabella’s female court—­in fact, associate with none but strict and uncompromising Catholics—­the Queen readily acceded; and moreover, granted him full permission to examine the mansion of Don Ferdinand Morales, that any books or articles of dangerous or heretical import might be discovered and destroyed.

With these concessions Father Francis left his Sovereign, affected at her goodness and astonished at her influence on himself.  He had entered her presence believing nothing could change the severity of his intentions or the harshness of his feelings; he left her with the one entirely renounced, and the other utterly subdued.

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The Vale of Cedars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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