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.

During Alfonso’s brief career, Ferdinand Morales displayed personal qualities, and a wisdom and faithfulness in his cause, well deserving not only the prince’s love, but the confidence of all those who were really Alfonso’s friends.  His deep grief and ill-concealed indignation at the prince’s mysteriously sudden death might, for the time, have obtained him enemies, and endangered his own life; but the favor of Isabella, whom it was then the policy of the confederates to conciliate in all things possible, protected and advanced him.  The love borne by the Infanta for her young brother surpassed even the tenderest affection of such relatives; all who had loved and served him were dear to her; and at a time when so much of treachery and insidious policy lurked around her, even in the garb of seeming devotion to her cause, the unwavering fidelity and straightforward conduct of Morales, combined as it was with his deep affection for Alfonso, permitted her whole mind to rest on him, secure not only of his faithfulness, but of vigilance which would discover and counteract every evil scheming of seeming friends.  Her constantly chosen messenger to Ferdinand, he became known and trusted by both that prince and his native subjects.  His wealth, which, seemed exhaustless, independent of his preferments, was ever at the service of either Isabella or her betrothed; he it was from whom the necessary means for her private nuptials were borrowed.  At that scene he was, of course, present, and, at his own desire, escorted Ferdinand back to his own domains—­an honorable but most dangerous office, performed with his usual unwavering fidelity and skill.  That one so faithful in adversity should advance from post to post as soon as dawning prosperity permitted Isabella and Ferdinand to reward merit as well as to evince gratitude, was not surprising; but no royal favor, no coveted honors, no extended power, could alter one tittle of his single-hearted truth—­his unrestrained intercourse with and interest in his equals, were they of the church, court, or camp—­his gentle and unassuming manner to his inferiors.  It was these things that made him so universally beloved.  The coldest natures, if thrown in contact with him, unconsciously to themselves kindled into warmth; vice itself could not meet the glance of that piercing eye without shrinking, for the moment, in loathing from itself.

Until Isabella and Ferdinand were firmly established on the throne, and Arragon and Castile united, there had been little leisure amongst their warriors to think of domestic ties, otherwise it might perhaps have been noticed as somewhat remarkable that Ferdinand Morales appeared to stand alone; kindred, indeed, he claimed with four or five of the noblest amongst the Castilians, but he seemed to have no near relative; and though he mingled courteously, and to some young hearts far too pleasingly, amongst Isabella’s court, it seemed as if he would never stoop to love.  The Queen often jested him on his apparent insensibility,

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The Vale of Cedars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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