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he had set his heart—and that at the suggestion of his mother's trusty adviser, who, it may well be supposed, had frequent occasion to exert his influence against the insolent rashness of the three princes. Had every minute circumstance been mentioned, the fact would have appeared in aftertimes, without any character of improbability. But the rude and artless writers of those ages had not even a suspicion that a display of motives, and circumstances, which were obvious and familiar to every man in their days and country, would be required at a future period. Such cautionary descriptions, indeed, never occur in history, till the customs, which alone can elucidate an otherwise doubtful and suspicious narrative, are becoming obsolete, and strike the writers themselves as something curious and worth mentioning. Don Rodrigo, Archbishop of Toledo, whom we have more than once quoted, thought it necessary, about the middle of the 13th century, upon relating the story of Elvira and her sons, to observe that, in those times, the value set upon an excellent horse, and the necessity of having it always at hand, to be in readiness against a sudden incursion of the Moors, induced the kings and noblemen to build the stables close by their ladies' chambers.* Few, indeed, will require being reminded that Andromache is represented by Homer as in the habit of feeding ber husband's horses.
Having thus endeavoured to remove the critical doubts of the reader, we will now give him the conclusion of our story.
The day for the trial of the queen being come, the lists for the combat were opened before the castle of Naxera, where she was kept a prisoner. It was feared by those who knew the courage, power, and revengeful spirit of Prince Garcia, that the accused would hardly find a champion among the nobility of her kingdom. But the herald had scarcely proclaimed the trial by battle, when a knight, armed at all points, rode boldly towards the high scaffold on which the king and the judges were seated, and flung his gauntlet almost in the accuser's face. It was Ramiro, his half-brother, who swore he would either wash the stain fixed upon the queen, in the blood of her recreant sons, or seal with his own the high opinion he had of her virtue.
The Master of the Field † had already examined the armour and weapons of the combatants, and placed them so as to avoid either of them being dazzled by the sun, in the encounter f, when a holy man, who inhabited a solitary cell in the fastnesses of the neighbouring mountains, broke through the surrounding multitude, and rushing fearlessly between the levelled lances, loudly called upon the king to stop the combat. The authority of austere sanctity was never disowned among the warlike Spaniards. At the monarch's command, the Master of the Field, who had backed his horse towards the barrier, darted, at one leap, between the combatants; their lances were raised, and all hung breathless on the emaciated lips of the Hermit. " Lady," cried he to the queen, who, veiled from head to foot in a black scarf, sat on a low
* “ Tanta erat tunc temporis infestatio Arabum, quod Milites, Comites, et etiam Reges, in domibus, ubi uxorum thalami ornabantur, equis stationein parabant, ut quacumque hora clamor invadentium insonaret, ad equos et arma possent sine dilatione aliqua festinare."-Lib. v. c. xxvi. + Maestre de Campo.
This was called Parlir el Sol, dividing the sun, and was never oniitted among the Spaniards.
stool below the platform, "Lady, look up to Heaven, and fear not that He who sits far higher than that throne from which thou dreadest the blind award of man, hath left thee to perish in thine innocence. And thou, credulous king, canst thou thus cast thy best jewel to be trampled upon, because the foul breath of calumny dared for a moment to dim its lustre ! The wrath of Heaven fall.... but God forgive me, for thus forgetting the meekness of him whose minister I am. Look not, O king, for satisfaction to your doubts, from human blood. By that which was shed on the cross I swear, thy queen is innocent. The villainy of her accusers was buc last night avowed to me by one of them, under the sacred seal of sacramental confession. I cannot_Heaven itself cannot save them from the shame, which is due to their felony. But no other punishment may be inflicted upon them. The word of a priest has been pledged to the repentant sinner, when kneeling at my feet in voluntary confession of his crime. I cannot reveal the name of him who now saves his mother's life and honour; and it would be unjust that he suffered with the obdurate and impenitent. Beware, therefore, O king, of a fresh error, worse and more impious than thy first. Beware of sealing up the lips of sinners by thy severity, and stopping their only access to the seat of mercy. Pardon thy sons, O king. I charge thee, pardon them as thou wilt have forgiveness."_“I will pardon them, holy man," said the king, half-choked with contending feelings, but can you, you my injured wife, pardon either them or me ?" "I have already done it: I forgave them hefore I left my prison, when I implored forgiveness and protection for myself," answered Elvira, raising the corner of her black veil, and looking with a peaceful and composed countenance on her husband. A shout of enraptured admiration rang round the lists. The sound of popular acclamation seemed to breathe an air of dignity over the mild and serene features of the queen. She flung the scarf, at once, upon her shoulders, and turning first to the people, then slightly inclining her majestic figure towards the king, "Sir," she said, “my forgiveness would be as full and unconditional as that which I desire from Heaven, if I alone were concerned. My..sons.. yes, they shall still hear that name., My sons have been appointed heirs to your vast dominions, each to wear an independent crown. Let this your will remain unaltered. Yet I owe a sacred duty to my subjects of Castille. The proud inheritance which Providence has placed in my hands must not have reason to accuse me of having neglected its honour. One alone of my sons has evinced a true sense of his guilt. Who it is must for ever remain sealed up in the bosom of the holy priest who hcard his confession. But certain it is that the disclosure, which has saved me from dishonour, could not come from the author of the conspiracy. No: my Castillian subjects shall never do homage to Garcia. Would that I had the power to reward, with that crown, my noble, my generous champion ! But I will not involve these kingdoms in a destructive quarrel merely to gråtify my private feelings. All I demand is that the portions of the inheritance be differently allotted. Since one of the three must have Castille, let it be given to my son Fernando. A mother, next to God, can see into the hearts of her children. I well remember when last he hung upon my neck-I still feel his last kiss, and it tells me he could not have joined his mother's encmics but in the hope to save her.” At these words,
one of the knights, lifting both his hands and pressing them against his close helmet, was observed to lose his balance in the saddle and drop helpless on the horse's neck. A look of inexpressible tenderness was directed by the queen to the spot; but beckoning with her hand to hush the disturbance which the prince's attendants had occasioned to prevent his falling to the ground, -"My last and most sacred duty," she continued, “ the acknowledgment of my gratitude, remains to be performed. Thou, Ramiro, shalt henceforward be my adopted son. The states of Aragon, which, upon my marriage, the king settled upon me, shall be thy own inheritance. It is not in my power to do more. Heaven, I trust, will crown thee with such blessings, as man cannot ensure even with the gift of a throne. Strong, however, as is the impulse of my gratitude, and ardent as my prayers are for thy prosperity, I still more fervently implore mercy upon the unrepentant. But prayer is sooner heard when asking blessings, than when it attempts to stand between a hardened offender and the uplifted arm of divine vengeance."
Fernando inherited the states of Castille, raising them to the rank of a kingdom, from that of an independent earldom. By his marriage with Sancha, the only child of Bermudo, King of Leon, he ascended the throne of that kingdom. His eldest brother Garcia, the author of the conspiracy, who reigned in Navarre, engaged in war against him; but, being slain at the battle of Atapuerca, (A.D. 1054) Fernando, for the first time, joined the three kingdoms of Castille, Leon, and Navarre, and was called Emperor of Spain. Gonzalo, who had been made King of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza, fell by the hand of an assassin. His estates accrued to the noble Ramiro, the queen's champion, who joined them in perpetuity to his kingdom of Aragon.
ANNUS MIRABILIS! or, A PARTHIAN GLANCE AT 1823.
JANUARY.—Dr. Doyle, a Roman Catholic bishop, in his pastoral charge, recommends Orangemen to be civil Orangemen, and Papists not to be bigoted : nothing new under the sun : Sir Joseph Jekyll, in the reign of Queen Anne, bequeathed his fortune to government to pay off the National Debt; and a half-witted waterman, in the reign of George the Third, moored his boat to the centre-arch of London Bridge and tried to catch the tide in his bob-wig. The Duke of Sussex swallows an embrocation at Bognor that was meant for a fomentation : Royal Dukes at public dinners have swallowed stranger things and no danger apprehended. Salt-tax diminished by thirteen shillings a bushel, but still no improvement in modern comedy: new pieces generally offensive after the third night. A Chancery-suit in the good old times recorded to have lasted 120 years, Old Parr being clerk in court and Henry Jenkins solicitor. Cobbett puts up church-livings and three per cents. for sale by auction at a Norfolk meeting : Mr. Coke bids against him, but articles knocked down to the former. Clara Fisher at Drury-lane Theatre pronounced to be only nine years of age : hint taken from her patronesses the Aonian maids, who have been only nine ever since the days of Apollo. She is advertised in “Old and Young :” much curiosity excited as to which part she means to perform. Simpson and Co. successful by, mere dint of dialogue : actors much amazed, not knowing what to do for an uppergallery in the event of the sky falling. Golden axe laid to the root of the dead pantomime. Great improvements in Billingsgate-market: wholesale and retail departments kept separate : railing fixed by proper land-marks: no lady allowed to hold forth for more than five minutes at a time; and if two or more Naiads utter the same execration, oath to be put up again. Canonical clergy of Durham convivially defended by the Reverend Dr. Phil-pots: to the best of his knowledge and belief, not a stall in the diocese that does not contain an animal overworked and under-fed. Serpentine-river covered with skaiters : usual average of human heads just peeping above the slippery horizon : printed notice of the Humane Society to the public, not to venture on, actually obeyed by three individuals : one of them a woman with a child in her arms : whole mob in arms at the prodigy! Judith O'Clark prosecuted by Excise at Kilkenny for having an illicit still, which she had contrived to conceal behind her teeth for fifteen minutes ; an effort which nearly cost the poor creature her life. Robbery in the Tower : three of Henry the Eighth's ribs, Queen Mary's bowels, James the First's head, Charles the First's eyes, and Queen Elizabeth's heart not to be found : strict search making after the robbers. New winter Home circuit established : Baron Graham asks the Grand Jury if tbey do not find it very cold : in looking over the Gaol calendar his lordship overlooks the Gardener's, which advises that “old trees should be pruned" in January. Augusta, or the Blind Girl, makes her appearance at Covent-garden : not the right sort of cataract to please the public. Several sentimental ladies wish to visit Claremont : they are enticed into a notorious house in Covent-garden, and in lieu of a park are introduced to a theatrical performer who carries his cane like a rope-dancer's pole. Infallible cures for chilblains advertised : lots of hobbling boys, notwithstanding, blockading the front windows of the confectioners' shops, allured by the figure of his Majesty treading upon plum-cake. Only ninety-nine new magazines, two of which do not promise to outstrip all their predecessors.
February.-Several wild swans seen flying over Brighton, to the no small amazement of several tame geese who happened to be waddling along the Steine: the bills of the former said to be three inches long : those of the latter much longer. Mr. Mocatta, a defaulter at the Stock Exchange, stated to be brother-in-law to Mr. Rothschild and nephew to Mr. Goldsmidt: John of Gaunt's armour at the Tower ob. served to look blue at finding its tall proprietor thus outshone in genealogical lustre. Moore's Loves of the Angels: two omitted, viz, one at Islington and the other at the back of St. Clement's. King James's crown jewels dramatically exhibited at Covent-garden Theatre : rather too late for profit : fashion of them a little on the wane, being superseded by subsequent brilliants from the same shop. Great and expensive preparations making to prove Lord Portsmouth out of his wits: self-evident propositions being at a discount. Law changes: Daniel Whittle Harvey in his road from an attorney's office to a barrister's chambers waylaid and knocked down by a body of benchers. Oratorios during Lent: sacred beautifully dovetailed with prophane, viz. “ Ye spotted Snakes" with the “ Beautiful Maid," "Together let us range the Fields” with “ Deeper and deeper still,” and “Slow broke the Light" with “Hey! for the merry Blind Boy." Two Englishmen by mistake confined all night in the catacombs at Paris : let out next morning by means of a skeleton-key. Valentine's-day: Mr. Freeling applies to the postmaster-general for two waggons to convey the extra letters, and for permission to get them drawn by the asinine inditers, yoked two and two.
March.-Action brought by Mr. Cruickshank against proprietor of stage-coach for breaking his leg: most ungrateful return for an intended benefit. Letter in the Paris papers announcing that a young man had been kicked out of one of the Hells at the west end of London: plain proof of the superiority of the Moderns: “evadere ad auras" not so easy in Æneas's time. Lord Manners refuses to dine with the Lord Lieutenant: Qu, title in abeyance when the note was transmitted ? Mademoiselle Mercandotti is married to Hughes Ball : consequent investment of the lady with a noble birth : shrewd hints of Scottish origin : Garrick and Mademoiselle Violetti quoted as a case in point : sad consequences of the alliance in a series of epigrams in the Morning Post: the lady's original appearance alleged to have been in Pandora—the worst box in the King's Theatre. Fifty cabriolets are licensed to ply on hackney-coach stands : “We're a' nodding," in consequence, more popular than ever. Much vapouring in the French papers, which actually carry their effrontery so far as to call Hughes Ball Hughey.
April.—Month ushered in by divers hoaxes suitable to its first day: among others, Age of Bronze palmed upon Lord Byron. New London Bridge: one alderman votes in the teeth of his own convenience : another even consents to the removal of Fishmongers’-hall, notwithstanding the consequent loss of a monthly dinner there of no ordinary excellence: it is to be hoped that these instances of patriotism will meet their sweetest reward in the whisper of an applauding conscience. Old woman taken for a witch at Taunton, and Mr. ExSheriff Parkins for the Goddess Justice, in London, owing to his skill in holding a balance in hand. Smart farce written by a titled dandy: and alarm of fire given by a monkey. Mrs. M‘Kinnon executed for murder at Edinburgh : her head afterwards phrenologically compared with those of a clergyman and a good woman : assertion doubted very much, as a good woman has no head. General averment in the Scottish journals that the family of M'Kinnon is originally Irish, and not Scotch. Cork mail runs one day without being fired at from behind a hedge--" Then is doomsday near.”
May.--New London Orphan Asylum at Clapton: platform gives way, and his Highness of York narrowly escapes the ceremony of laying the first duke : subsequent dinner at the City of London Tavern on the ground-floor, "by particular desire of several persons of distinction.” House of Commons highly interested by a protracted enquiry into the conduct of the High Sheriff of Dublin. Opening of Vauxhall Gardens, and consequent rise in the price of umbrellas. Duc D'Angouleme nicknamed the Royal Ram, from having his beadquarters at Miranda. Lady Mayoress's Easter ball: great scrambling after ices in the Egyptian-hall-Query, Isis? Easter hunt: droves of unhorsed Londoners find their way as they can from Epping Forest to Bishopsgate-street—"all on foot he fights." Opening of annual exhibition at Somerset-house : great influx of one-shilling critics, who know as much of the matter as the blue checque taken at the door. More “ Portrait of a Gentleman” than