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subsisted between these youths; they always contended for the same prize, and were each by turns successful candidates.
Emulation, without envy, is an admirable spur to . industry. Their mutual desire to excel each other advanced both to the highest reputation, for diligence and perseverance, which soon raised them far above their fellow students in their class. In every amusement that depended upon skill, the same contest for superiority was visible; and such was the interest it occasioned, that the daily diversions of their companions were tasteless, unless they were opposed to each other.
An accident, that at first appeared unfortunate, con•verted the rivalship into the most lasting friendship. As they were one day performing the military exercise, and going through the manœuvres of a mock fight, the adverse parties being commanded by the two rivals, the button came off the foil that Don Sebastian had in his hand, and entered just above the left eye of Don Ferdinand. The extreme agony produced a high fever, and for some days, not only endangered his sight, but his life.
The generous mind of Sebastian was immediately disarmed of every feeling of jealousy. He thought only of the injury he had inflicted, and of the merits of the sufferer. He hastened to procure the first medical assistance, watched night and day by his side, and attended him with all the assiduity of the tenderest affection. Ferdinand was not willing to be outdone in generosity of sentiment. He was not con
tented with merely expressing his forgiveness ; he even suppressed his complaints, however exquisite the pain, lest he should add to the self-reproaches of Sebastian.
Each admired the conduct of the other. Esteem succeeded to emulation, and friendship to the desire of superiority. From that time, all rivalship ceased, but the desire of excelling each other in acts of kindness and attachment.
The painful time of separation arrived, when they were to exchange the studies and recreations of the college, for that grand theatre of action, the world ; where each might have temptation to resist, and difficulties to encounter, that required the counsel and attachment of a friend.
Solemn promises were made, on both sides, to fulfil that sacred office in all its relations; but particularly on the part of Sebastian, who was more ardent in vows of service, from a consciousness of the superior opportunity he possessed, in still enjoying the protection of a parent, who added to the greatest desire of obliging him, powerful ascendency at court; whilst Ferdinand was an orphan, who, though descended from ancestors as noble as those of his friend, inherited a paternal estate that, from various accidents, was so much reduced, as to be very insufficient to support the dignity of his rank.
It is not always the privilege of riches, or the power attached to eminent situations, to confer the most important acts of kindness ; favorable opportunities, and a disposition devoted to do good, sometimes enable persons, in different circumstances, to preserve
the life or honor of those to whom they are attached. On leaving Salamanca, they took different routes.
Sebastian went to Madrid, to meet his father, and having spent some time with him, gained permission to travel for a few months, in order to visit some relations in the eastern provinces of Spain. Ferdinand retired to a romantic castle, almost in ruins, situated on a high rock in the southern part of Grenada, which commanded an extensive prospect of the Mediterranean Sea ; where he was welcomed by a silver-haired old man, who was his steward, and who shed tears of joy at his return.
This venerable man had been a faithful servant to his father before Ferdinand was born, and with several of the ancient domestics was retained out of a principle of gratitude, though no longer capable of fulfilling the duties of their respective offices. He had not been settled in the paternal mansion many months, when, as he was indulging his reflections in a solitary evening walk along the sea-shore, he observed many indications of an approaching storm. The sky was red and lowering, the atmosphere sultry and oppressive; the sea-birds screamed, and skimmed the agitated surface of the swelling waves; the wind whistled with a hollow sound, and the gloomy appearance of all nature warned him to return without delay.
The tempest carne on with the approach of night, and raged with great violence for several hours. Awful peals of thunder reverberated through the air, and the lightning darted from every quarter of the heavens. In the midst of this war of elements, Ferdinand seve
ral times fancied that he heard the sound of a distant gun, which he apprehended to be the signal of a ship in distress. The idea was too affecting to permit him to sleep, though it was impossible to afford assistance till the dawn of day.
As soon as it was sufficiently light to distinguish one object from another, he hastened with his servants to the edge of the water, when they beheld the wreck of a vessel that had struck upon the rocks. Some of the people still clung to the shrouds ; the dead bodies of others were driven ashore by the impulse of the waves; and one young man, lashed to a plank, floated on the water. Every possible means of relief was immediately exerted, to rescue the survivors from their dangerous situation ; and many of them, being accustomed to the hardships of a sea life, seconded the efforts of those on shore, to effect their own preservation.
One of the first, who got safe to land, appeared under great agitation of mind, for the safety of the youth who had been tied to the plank, exclaiming, that he should never dare to see the face of his old master, if Don Sebastian was lost. At this, Ferdinand started; and, upon making a more minute inquiry, was convinced that the pitiable object before him was his beloved friend. He no longer trusted to the assistance of his servants, but instantly stripped, and plunged into the water, at the imminent risk of his own life.
He was actuated by solicitude for his friend, rather than judgment how to direct his attempt for his preservation. Being a good swimmer, he presently reached the plank. The emotions of both were distressing.
Ferdinand heard the moans of Sebastian, but wanted force to bring the frail bark that supported him to shore. He used his utmost efforts to guide it, but without effect, for the sea was still very tempestuous. .
“ Leave me,” said Sebastian, “and save yourself;" seeing his friend very much exhausted, and likely to be overpowered by a huge wave, that was advancing towards them, which threatened destruction to both. — “ Never,” said Ferdinand, “ let us sooner perish together, than that I should abandon thee at such a moment."
Sebastian's servant, having offered a large reward to any who should endeavor to save his master, a boat, with two experienced sailors in it, pushed off, notwithstanding the roughness of the water, and reached the struggling friends, just in time to deliver them from their perilous situation. Every means was used to recover Sebastian, to which the tender attentions of his friend contributed in no small degree. i
When his mind was sufficiently calm, he informed Ferdinand that the motive of his voyage was pleasure ; but being driven out to sea further than he intended, he had been overtaken by the storm, which had wrecked the vessel, and compelled him to take refuge under his roof, contrary to the express command of his father, who having been made acquainted with their intimacy, had laid him under a most severe injunction, not to visit him, or maintain a correspondence with the descendant of a person, against whom he had a mortal grudge.
The cause of this quarrel was an attachment to the