The Vale of Cedars eBook

Grace Aguilar
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The Vale of Cedars.
She seemed to cling yet closer to Stanley, and knelt with, him to receive the blow; when, at that moment, the scaffold shook violently, as by the shock of an earthquake, a dark chashm yawned beneath their feet, in the centre of which stood the spectral figure of her husband, his countenance ghastly and stern, and his arm upraised as beckoning her to join him.  And then he spoke; but his voice sounded unlike his own:—­

“Marie Henriquez Morales! awake, arise, and follow!”

And with such extraordinary clearness did the words fall, that she started up in terror, believing they must have been spoken by her side—­and they were! they might have mingled with, perhaps even created her dream.  She still lay on her couch; but it seemed to have sunk down through the very floor of the apartment[A] she had occupied, and at its foot stood a figure, who, with upraised arm held before her a wooden cross.  His cowl was closely drawn, and a black robe, of the coarsest serge, was secured round his waist by a hempen cord.  Whether he had indeed spoken the words she had heard in her dream Marie could not tell, for they were not repeated.  She saw him approach her, and she felt his strong grasp lift her from the couch, which sprung up, by the touch of some secret spring, to the place whence it had descended; and she heard no more.

[Footnote A:  I may be accused in this scene, of too closely imitating a somewhat similar occurrence in Anne of Geirstein.  Such seeming plagiarism was scarcely possible to be avoided, when the superstitious proceedings of the vehmic tribunal of Germany and the secret Inquisition of Spain are represented by history as so very similar.]

CHAPTER XXIV.

  “Isabel.—­Ha! little honor to be much believed,
  And most pernicious purpose—­seeming, seeming. 
  I will proclaim thee, Angelo! look for’t;
  Sign me a present pardon—­
  Or, with an outstretch’d throat, I’ll tell the world
  Aloud what man thou art.

  “Angelo.—­Who will believe thee? 
  My unsoil’d name, th’ austereness of my life,
  My vouch against you, and my place i’ the State,
  Will so your accusation overweigh
  That you will stifle in your own report
  The smile of Calumny.”

  SHAKSPEARE.

When Marie recovered consciousness, she found herself in a scene so strange, so terrific, that it appeared as if she must have been borne many miles from Segovia, so utterly impossible did it seem, that such awful orgies could be enacted within any short distance of the sovereigns’ palace, or their subjects’ homes.  She stood in the centre of a large vaulted subterranean hall, which, from the numerous arched entrances to divers passages and smaller chambers that opened on every side, appeared to extend far and wide beneath the very bowels of the earth.  It was lighted with torches, but so dimly, that the gloom

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The Vale of Cedars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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