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.
language; a brief address, and the grave was filled up; the noble dead left with his kindred, kindred alike in blood as faith; and ere the morning rose, the living had all departed, save the few retainers of the house of Henriquez and Morales, to whose faithful charge the retreat had been intrusted.  No proud effigy marked those simple graves; the monuments of the dead were in the hearts of the living.  But in the cathedral of Segovia a lordly monument arose to the memory of Ferdinand Morales, erected, not indeed for idle pomp, but as a tribute from the gratitude of a Sovereign—­and a nation’s love.

CHAPTER XVII.

  ANGELO.  We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
  Setting it up to fear the birds of prey;
  And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
  Their perch, and not their terror.

  ESCALUS.  Ay, but yet
  Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,
  Than fall and bruise to death.

  SHAKSPEARE.

On the evening preceding the day appointed for the trial, Isabella, unattended and unannounced, sought her husband’s private closet; she found him poring so intently over maps and plans, which strewed the tables before him, that she spoke before he perceived her.

“Just come when most wished for, dear wife, and royal liege,” was his courteous address, as he rose and gracefully led her to a seat beside his own.  “See how my plans for the reduction of these heathen Moors are quietly working; they are divided within themselves, quarrelling more and more fiercely.  Pedro Pas brings me information that the road to Alhama is well nigh defenceless, and therefore the war should commence in that quarter.  But how is this, love?” he added, after speaking of his intended measures at some length, and perceiving that they failed to elicit Isabella’s interest as usual.  “Thy thoughts are not with me this evening.”

“With thee, my husband, but not with the Moors,” replied the Queen, faintly smiling.  “I confess to a pre-occupied mind; but just now my heart is so filled with sorrowing sympathy, that I can think but of individuals, not of nations.  In the last council, in which the question of this Moorish war was agitated, our faithful Morales was the most eloquent.  His impassioned oratory so haunted me, as your Grace spoke, that I can scarcely now believe it hushed for ever, save for the too painful witness of its truth.”

“His lovely wife thou meanest, Isabel?  Poor girl!  How fares she?”

“As she has been since that long faint, which even I believed was death; pale, tearless, silent.  Even the seeing of her husband’s body, which I permitted, hoping the sight would break that marble calm, has had no effect, save to increase, if possible, the rigidity of suffering.  It is for her my present errand.”

“For her!” replied the King, surprised.  “What can I do for her, apart from thee?”

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The Vale of Cedars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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