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.
by the body of his victim.  The sight horrified and bewildered him yet more, and he crept behind a low wall, resolved on remaining there till the tempest had at least partially subsided, and then fulfil the remainder of his instructions; knowing that to fail in any one point, would be the signal of his own destruction.  Fortune, however, so far favored him, as to send the young English Senor to the very spot, and there was therefore no occasion for his further interference.  He tarried till he had seen Stanley’s arrest, and had heard the loud execrations of all proclaiming him the murderer—­and then returned to his employers.

The education of the familiars had so far failed with him, that, though aware of its danger, thoughts would enter his mind, as to how Don Ferdinand Morales could have offended the dread power which he served, and why the foreign Senor should be thus implicated in the deed.  He hoped to have concealed these doubts; but from the issue, he imagined that some unguarded word spoken to a companion, must have betrayed him.  He was chosen by the Grand Inquisitor as his companion, on some secret expedition two days after the trial, unsuspicious of the danger awaiting him, till the desolate scene on which they unexpectedly entered flashed terror on his mind.  His superior had there paused, told him that from the witness of Beta, the servant girl, it was quite evident he had disobeyed part of the instructions given, or his return to Arthur’s lodgings would have been heard by her as well as his departure and thus at once have implicated the Englishman as the real murderer; that though chance had thrown equal suspicion upon him, it did net remove his disobedience, and so he was doomed to death; and the blow, instantaneously given, felled him insensible to the ground.  When he recovered his senses, he found himself lying in a deep pit, where he had evidently been thrown as dead.  The wounds and contusions received in the fall, as far as he could recollect, by producing a most excruciating sense of pain, roused him from temporary insensibility, and he was convinced he heard his murderer’s voice—­though he could not see him—­exclaim distinctly, as if he were leaning over the mouth of the pit, “There goes my last doubt:  other men might call it their last fear, but I know not the word!  Three victims for the possession of one—­and who will now dare to brand me?  I had slain that faltering craven without his disobedience, he dared to think upon his deed.”

Almost insensible from agony as he was, these words had impressed themselves indelibly; causing the burning desire to live and be revenged.  And the opportune succors of the villager, Perez, with a party of woodmen; the completely hidden site of the village to which, he had been conveyed; and the, at first, favorable healing of his wounds, appeared to give him every hope of its accomplishment.  He had resolved on communicating his tale to none save to Ferdinand himself, or to the Chief Hermano, under strict promise to reveal it to the Sovereign:  but his intense anxiety had evidently prevented the attainment of his desire, by producing fever; and thence arose his wild and almost maniac cravings to make confession, and bind some holy monk, by a solemn vow, to convey it to the King.

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The Vale of Cedars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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