Changed as was her estate, from her lovely home in the Vale of Cedars, where she had dwelt as the sole companion of an ailing parent, to the mistress of a large establishment in one of the most populous cities of Castile; the idolized wife of the Governor of the town—and, as such, the object of popular love and veneration, and called upon, frequently, to exert influence and authority—still Marie did not fail performing every new duty with a grace and sweetness binding her more and more closely to the doting heart of her husband. For her inward self, Marie was calm—nay, at intervals, almost happy. She had neither prayed nor struggled in vain, and she felt as if her very prayer was answered in the fact that Arthur Stanley had been appointed to some high and honorable post in Sicily, and they were not therefore likely yet to meet again. The wife of such a character as Morales could not have continued wretched unless perversely resolved so to be. But his very virtues, while they inspired the deepest reverence towards him, engendered some degree of fear. Could she really have loved him as—he believed she did—this feeling would not have had existence; but its foundation was the constant thought that she was deceiving him—the remorse, that his fond confidence was so utterly misplaced—the consciousness, that there was still something to conceal, which, if discovered, must blight his happiness for ever, and estrange him from her, were it only for the past deceit. Had his character been less lofty—his confidence in her less perfect—his very love less fond and trusting—she could have borne her trial better; but to one true, ingenuous, open as herself, what could be more terrible than the unceasing thought that she was acting a part—and to her husband? Often and often she longed, with an almost irresistible impulse, to fling herself at his feet, and beseech him not to pierce her heart with such fond trust; but the impulse was forcibly controlled. What would such confession avail her now?—or him, save to wound?
Amongst the many Spaniards of noble birth who visited Don Ferdinand’s, was one Don Luis Garcia, whose actual rank and office no one seemed to know; and yet, in affairs of church or state, camp or council, he was always so associated, that it was impossible to discover to which of these he was allied; in fact, there was a mystery around him, which no one could solve. Notwithstanding his easy—nay, it was by some thought fascinating manners, his presence generally created a restraint, felt intuitively by all, yet comprehended by none. That there is such, an emotion as antipathy mercifully placed within us, often as a warning, we do most strenuously believe; but we seldom trace and recognize it as such, till circumstances reveal its truth.