Philip III. of Spain.
Duke of Lerma.
Roderigo Calderon, Count Oliva, Marquis de Siete Iglesias.
Fray Louis de Aliaza, a renowned Jesuit and confessor to the king.
Duke d’Uzeda, son of the Cardinal Duke.
Don Felix de Castro, an old noble.
Don Diego Sarmiento de Mendo.
Martin Fonseca, a brave soldier of an ancient but impoverished house.
Philip, the Infant of Spain.
Beatrix Coello, a young actress, daughter of Roderigo and hie wife Inez.
Don Juan de la Nuza.
Gaspar de Guzman, a gentleman of the Prince’s chamber.
It was midnight, in the chapel of the convent.
The moonlight shone with exceeding lustre through the tall casements and lit into a ghastly semblance of life the marble images of saint and martyr, that threw their long shadows over the consecrated floor. Nothing could well be conceived more dreary, solemn, and sepulchral, than that holy place: its dis-tainted and time-hallowed walls; the impenetrable mass of darkness that gathered into those recesses which the moonlight failed to reach; its antique and massive tombs, above which reclined the sculptured effigies of some departed patroness or abbess, who had exchanged a living grave for the Mansions of the Blest. But there — oh, wonderful human heart! — even there, in that spot, the very homily and warning against earthly affections, and mortal hopes — even there, couldst thou beat with as wild, as bright, and as pure a passion as ever heaved the breast, and shone in the eyes of Beauty, in the free air that ripples the Guadiana, or amidst the twilight dance of Castilian maids. — Chap. 8.
EXECUTION OF RODERIGO CALDERON.
An immense crowd, one bright day in summer, were assembled in the place of execution. A shout of savage exultation rent the air as Roderigo Calderon, Marquis de Siete Iglesias, appeared upon the scaffold. But when the eyes of the multitude rested — not upon that lofty and stately form, in all the pride of manhood, which they had been accustomed to associate with their fears of the stern genius and iron power of the favorite — but upon a bent and spectral figure, that seemed already on the verge of a natural grave, with a face ploughed deep with traces of unutterable woe, and hollow eyes that looked, with dim and scarce conscious light, over the human sea that murmured and swayed below, the tide of the popular emotion changed; to rage and triumph succeeded shame and pity. Not a hand was lifted up in accusation — not a voice was raised in rebuke or joy. Beside Calderon stood the appointed priest, whispering cheer and consolation. “ Fear not, my son,” said the holy man. “ The pang of the body strikes years of purgatory from thy doom. Think of this, and bless even the agony of this hour.”
“ Yes! ” muttered Calderon; “I do bless this hour. Inez thy daughter has avenged thy murder! May Heaven accept the sacrifice! and may my eyes, even athwart the fiery gulf, awaken upon thee! ”
With that a serene and contented smile passed over the face on which the crowd gazed with breathless awe. — Chap. 11.
Table of Contents:
Chapter I. The Antechamber
Chapter II. The Lover and the Confidant
Chapter III. A Rival
Chapter IV. Civil Ambition, and Ecclesiastical
Chapter V. The true Fate of Morgana
Chapter VI. Web upon Web
Chapter VII. The open Countenance, the concealed Thoughts
Chapter VIII. The Escape
Chapter IX. The Counterplot
Chapter X. We reap what we sow
Chapter XI. Howsoever the Rivers wind, the Ocean receives them All