Page images

Sovereign. Let the Calvinistical iconoclasts tremble. Let those who pity them beware!

“ You will be cursed-hated-abhorred.”
“ These grey hairs only demand fear!
“ Kindness-

" “ I know not the word. Kindness is weakness; and by your want of courage you have augmented the difficulty of my mission.”

“ You have an obstinate but a brave people to deal with—a people tired of tyranny ! Liberty still haunts their breasts."

“ A truce to this. You have not succeeded by persuasion. I shall see what can be done by terror!”

“ Then this day I shall demand my recall.”

As your Highness pleases," said the Duke, rising At this moment Fernando entered.

By the by, I have a boon to ask,” said the Duke, turning from our hero to the Duchess.

“A boon! your Grace commands—why should he stoop to ask ?

“To conquer ! But since your Highness leaves me to ordain, why, from this moment,

[ocr errors]

as the

Don Fernando Alcantara enters my service-I require his__”

“And would Alcantara leave me, when oppressed by sorrow ?” asked Margaret.

Fernando replied not. He raised his eyecaught that of the Duke, and was silent.

The Duke of Alba then bowed-Fernando imitated his example—both left the roomand Margaret to solitude. As soon door was closed she burst into tears. That very day she wrote to her brother for her recall.

"What news, Fernando?” demanded the Duke, as they descended the stairs.

“The burgomasters, sheriffs, and other notables from many towns, are desirous of presenting their homage.”

“ Ah! Let us go to receive it.”

Whilst Margaret was writing to the King, Alba was receiving the representatives of the people. He was kind and affable, luring them by promises of pardon, and inspiring them with hopes for the future—while he was mark



ing them as victims. The deluded folk departed, fully persuaded that he was not such a monster as the world had made him. Bertrand, the friend of Robert of Normandy, was right

in saying,

“ Faiblesse humaine,

Que l'on enchaine,
Que l'on entraine
Par des bienfaits.”


“ ISSIP. E l'ardir del mio volto era timore.

Ro. Anch'io

Se tardi amica,
Vana è la cura.”


The bells in the lofty spire of Notre Dame were chiming harmoniously. At last their sounds ceased, and a solemn toll succeeded, striking the tenth hour, which spread itself along the deserted streets of Antwerp. The citizens had long left their taverns, and were obliged to seek amusement at home. They feared to show themselves much after sunset; they, who only a few months prior, cared not whether they returned home before midnight, and sometimes daylight, much to the annoyance of the “gude woman of the house!” Now, wistfully looking at their timepieces, at the hour of ten, they drained their home-brewed cider, and put on their nightcaps.

Suddenly the bars of a door were drawn back-the heavy gate flew open-and three females stood on the threshold. Two of them were wrapped in their mantles; whilst the third, evidently the mistress of the house, earnestly entreated them, although her guests were in the street, not to venture out alone.

“Do not alarm yourself, Señora Valdez,” said one of the sweetest voices that ever was repeated by echo.

“ I again beseech you not to go alone. My husband will soon be here. I cannot conceive what he has to do so long at Count Lodrona's. Oh these husbands! I suppose it is that gay Montalvan that keeps him. Do you know Don Juan?"

“No. I never heard of him.”

« Not heard of him ! Without exception, he is one of the handsomest men I ever saw. So engaging! He wears his beard with such good taste—and his hair curls so naturally.

« PreviousContinue »