Page images

The emissaries of the inquisition having at last traced Pedrosa to Lisbon, and there gained intelligence of his having entered on board the frigate, our captain had no sooner turned into the porch of the hotel at BuenosAyres, than he was accosted by a messenger of state, with a requisition from the prime minister's office, for the surrender of one Nicolas Pedrosa, a subject of Spain, and a criminal, who had escaped out of the prison of the Inquisition in Madrid, where he stood charged of high crimes and misdemeanors.-As soon as this requisition was explained to our worthy captain, without condescending to a word in reply he called for pen and ink, and writing a short order to the officer commanding on board, instantly dispatched the midshipman, who attended him, to the barge, with directions to make the best of his way back to the frigate, and deliver it to the lieutenant: then turning to the messenger, he said to him, in a resolute tone

That Spaniard is now borne on my books, and before you shall take him out of the service of my king, you must sink his ship.'-Not waiting for a reply, he immediately proceeded, without stop, to the house of the British Minister, at the further end of the city: here he found Pedrosa's intelligence, with regard to the governor of Quito, expressly verified, for the order had come down even to Lisbon on the chance of the Spanish frigate's taking shelter in that port: to this minister he related the horrid tale which Pedrosa had delivered to him, and with his concurrence it was determined to forward letters into Spain, which Don Manuel should be advised to write to his lady and friends at Madrid, and to wait their answer before any further discoveries were imparted to him respecting the blacker circumstances of the case: in the mean time it was resolved to keep the prisoner safe in his as lum.

The generous captain lost no time in returning to his frigate, where he immediately imparted to, Don


Manuel the intelligence he had obtained at the British minister's. This, indeed,' cried the afflicted Spaniard, is a stroke I was in no respect prepared for; I had fondly persuaded myself there was not in the whole empire of Spain a more friendly heart than that of the inquisidor's; to my beloved Leonora he had ever shewn the tenderness of a paternal affection from her very childhood; by him our hands were joined; his lips pronounced the nuptial benediction, and thro' his favour I was promoted to my government: grant, Heaven, no misfortune hath befallen my Leonora! surely she cannot have offended him and forfeited his favour. As I know him not,' replied the captain,


I can form no judgment of his motives; but this I know, that if a man's heart is capable of cruelty, the fittest school to learn it in must be the inquisition.' The proposal was now suggested of sending letters into Spain, and the governor retired to his desk for the purpose of writing them; in the afternoon of the same day the minister paid a visit to the captain, and receiving a packet from the hands of Don Manuel, promised to get it forwarded by a safe conveyance according to direction.

In due course of time this fatal letter from Leonora opened all the horrible transaction to the wretched husband:

The guilty hand of an expiring wife, under the agonizing operation of a mortal poison, traces these few trembling lines to an injured wretched husband. If thou hast any pity for my parting spirit fly the ruin that awaits thee, and avoid this scene of villany and horror. When I tell thee I have borne a child to the monster, whose poison runs in my veins, thou wilt abhor thy faithless Leonora; had I strength to relate to thee the subtle machinations which betrayed me to disgrace, thou wouldst pity and perhaps forgive me. Oh agony ! can I write his name?-the Inquisidor is my murderer.My pen falls from my hand.-Farewell for ever!

Had a shot passed through the heart of Don Manuel, it could not more effectually have stopt its motions, than the perusal of this fatal writing: he dropped lifeless on the couch, and but for the care and assistance of the captain and Pedrosa in that posture he had probably expired. Grief like his will not be described by words, for to words it gave no utterance; 'twas suffocating silent woe.

Let us drop the curtain over this melancholy pause in our narration, and attend on the mournful widower now landing upon English ground, and conveyed by his humane and generous preserver to the house of a noble earl, the father of our amiable captain and a man by his virtues still more conspicuous than by his rank. Here amidst the gentle solicitudes of a benevolent family, in one of the most enchanting spots on earth, in a climate most salubrious and restorative to a constitution exhausted by heat, and a heart nearly broken with sorrow, the reviving spirits of the unfortunate Don Manuel gave the first symptoms of a possible recovery. At the period of a few tranquillizing weeks here passed in the bosom of humanity, letters came to hand from the British minister at Lisbon, in answer to a memorial, that I should have stated to have been drawn up by the friendly captain before his departure from that port, with a detail of facts deposed and sworn to by Nicolas Pedrosa, which memorial, with the documents attached to it, was forwarded to the Spanish court by special express from the Portuguese premier. By these letters it appeared that the high dignity of the person impeached by this statement of facts had not been sufficient to screen him from a very serious and complete investigation; in the course of which, facts had been so clearly brought home to him by the confession of his several agents, and the testimony of the deceased Leonora's attendants, toge, ther with her own written declarations, whilst the poison was in operation, that though no public

sentence had been executed upon the criminal, it was generally understood he was either no longer in existence, or in a situation never to be heard of any more, till roused by the awakening trump he shall be summoned to his tremendous last account. As for the unhappy widower it was fully signified to him from authority, that his return to Spain, whether on exchange or parole, would be no longer opposed, nor had he any thing to apprehend on the part of government, when he should there arrive. The same was signified in fewer words to the exculpated Pedrosa.

Whether Don Manuel de Casafonda will in time to: come avail himself of these overtures time alone can prove as for little Nicolas, whose prize-money has set him up in a comfortable little shop in Duke's-place, where he bleeds the veins and cleanses the bowels of his Israelitish brethren in a land of freedom and toleration, his merry heart is at rest; save only when with fire in his eyes and vengeance on his tongue, he anathematizes the inquisition; and struts into the synagogue every sabbath with as bold a step and as erect a look, as if he was himself High Priest of the Temple, going to perform sacrifice on the re-assembling of the. scattered tribes.



source inexhausted of all that's

precious in our joys or costly in our sorrows!— thou chainest thy martyr down upon his bed of straw -and 'tis thou who liftest him up to heaven- eternal · fountain of our feelings!-'tis here I trace thee !—and this is "thy divinity which stirs within me"-not that, in some sad and sickening moments, "my soul shrinks

back upon herself, and startles at destruction"-mere pomp of words!-but that I feel some generous joys and generous cares beyond myself all comes from thee, great-great sensorium of the world! which vibrates, if a hair of our head but fall upon the ground, in the remotest desert of thy creation.-Touched with thee, Eugenius draws my curtain when I languishhears my tale of symptoms, and blames the weather for the disorder of his nerves. Thou givest a portion of it sometimes to the roughest peasant who traverses the bleakest mountains-he finds the lacerated lamb of another's flock-this moment I beheld him leaning with his head against his crook, with piteous inclination looking down upon it!-Oh! had I come one moment sooner!—it bleeds to death-his gentle heart bleeds with it.

Peace to thee, generous swain! I see thou walkest off with anguish-but thy joys shall balance it—for happy is thy cottage-and happy is the sharer of it,— and happy are the lambs which sport about you.




GENEROSITY! what a source of joy art thou to thyself and others! Thou art the sun of the soul: the clouds of distress flee from before thee; the storms of misery are dispersed; and as thy impartial beam spreads comforts and blessings on every side, thou appearest only to shine the brighter, in proportion to the felicity that is thus benignly extended. Continue then, oh! continue to illume my bosom : let this hand forget its employment, and this heart cease its motion, when it ceases to feel thy amiable energy!

« PreviousContinue »