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.
their offering—­a golden vase filled with precious stones—­accepted, and the seal put to their loyal excitement by receiving from Isabella’s own lips, the glad information that she had decided on making Segovia her residence for the ensuing year, and that she trusted the loyalty which the good citizens of Segovia had so warmly proffered would be proved, by their endeavors in their own households to reform the abuses which long years of misrule and misery had engendered.  She depended on them, her people, to aid her with heart and hand, and bade them remember, no individual was so insignificant as to remove his shoulder from the wheel on plea of uselessness.  She trusted to her citizen subjects to raise the internal glory of her kingdom, as she did to her nobles to guard their safety, elevate her chivalry, and by their untarnished honor and stainless valor, present an invincible front to foreign foes.  Isabella knew human nature well; the citizens returned to their houses bound for ever to her service.

Don Luis Garcia had joined the train of Morales when he set forth to meet the sovereigns.  His extraordinary austerity and semblance of lowly piety, combined as they were with universal talent, had been so much noised abroad as to reach the ears of Ferdinand and Isabella; and Morales, ever eager to promote the interests of a countryman, took the earliest opportunity of presenting him to them.  He was graciously enough received:  but, though neither spoke it, an indefinable feeling of disappointment took possession of their minds, the wherefore they knew not.  Don Luis had conversed well, both as to the matter and the manner; but neither Ferdinand nor Isabella felt the smallest inclination to advance him to any post about themselves.  In virtue of his supposed rank, however, he of course mingled with the courtly crowd, which on the appointed evening thronged the mansion of Don Ferdinand.

Tremblingly as Marie looked forward to that evening, she spared no pains to gratify her husband in the choice of her toilet.  Sorrow had never made her indifferent, and she sought to please him even in the most trifling occurrences of life.  Her beautiful hair still lay in soft, glossy bands against the delicate cheeks, and was gathered up behind in a massive plait, forming, as it were, a diadem at the back of the exquisitely shaped head, from which fell a white veil—­rather, perhaps, a half mantle, as it shaded the shoulders, not the face—­of silver tissue, so delicately woven as to resemble lace, save in its glittering material.  A coronet of diamonds was wreathed in and out the plait, removing all semblance of heaviness from the headgear, and completely divesting it of gaudiness.  Her robe, of blue brocade, so closely woven with silver threads as to glisten in the light of a hundred lamps almost like diamonds, had no ornament save the large pearls which looped up the loose sleeves above the elbow, buttoned the bodice or jacket down the front, and richly embroidered the wide collar, which, thrown back, disclosed the wearer’s delicate throat and beautiful fall of the shoulders, more than her usual attire permitted to be visible.  The tiny white silk slipper, embroidered in pearl, a collaret and bracelets of the same beautiful ornament, of very large size, completed her costume.

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The Vale of Cedars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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