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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Last Look: A Tale Of The Spanish Inquisition - Chapter 5. The Storm Breaks
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The Last Look: A Tale Of The Spanish Inquisition - Chapter 5. The Storm Breaks Post by :trevorjoy Category :Long Stories Author :William H. G. Kingston Date :May 2012 Read :1049

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The Last Look: A Tale Of The Spanish Inquisition - Chapter 5. The Storm Breaks


The advocate Herezuelo returned one afternoon to his lodgings in good spirits. He had been pleading an important cause, which he had gained-- right against wrong--the cause of a widow and her children; on one side helplessness and poverty, on the other power and wealth. It had been held that the widow had no prospect of success till the young advocate undertook her cause.

Leonor rejoiced with her husband. He had been prompted by no expectation of fee or reward; but simply from a desire, through love of his blessed Master, to assist the distressed. It was a happy evening to both of them. They sat in a balcony overlooking an orange-grove, the soft air they breathed made fragrant by the sweet-scented flowers. The stars shone brilliantly in the clear sky; and as, their hands clasped together, they gazed upwards into the immeasurable space, they felt what happiness would be theirs, could they be allowed to wing their flight in company to that blessed region where all is peace, and quiet, and joy.

"But we may yet have work to do on earth in our Master's service, dear one," observed Antonio. "Let us be content to remain till He calls us, and let our earnest prayer be that He will then, in His loving mercy, summon us together. It would be grievous to be parted from you, my beloved Leonor, even for a brief season."

"I pray that, through God's mercy, that day may never come," said Leonor, looking with deep affection at her husband. "Oh, let us not think even such an event possible."

They were interrupted by the arrival of a visitor. Several other friends had called to congratulate Herezuelo on his success. The fresh visitor was in the garb of a laic; but when he threw back the cloak which concealed his features, the advocate and Dona Leonor saw before them their friend Don Domingo de Roxas, the well-known prior and preacher, a son of the Marquis de Poza.

"I have come to bid you farewell, dear friends," he said. "It may be for a short time--it may be for ever. This is no safe country for one who has preached the truth openly as I have done, and I have, therefore, resolved to escape to Geneva, where I hope to remain till happier times come for our poor benighted Spain. On my way I must visit our beloved brother, Don Carlos de Seso, and, it may be, induce him to accompany me, for I fear that neither is he safe while the inquisitors are seeking for victims to satisfy their thirst for blood."

"We may say, rather, that while those miserable slaves to the tyranny and superstition of Rome think that any remain who have been freed from that hideous system they will endeavour, by every cruelty they can devise, to destroy them, if they cannot bring them back to slavery," observed Herezuelo. "Of all the men in existence, I pity the officials of the papal system, and more especially the inquisitors and their families, be they cardinals, bishops, or other ecclesiastics, however wealthy and powerful. While we endeavour to counteract their designs, and to escape from their power, let us pray that their hearts may be turned from darkness to light, and that they may learn to know, love, and imitate that same Jesus whom they now persecute."

"Amen! I pray for them likewise," said Don Domingo. "But I must not delay. I came to advise you, my friend, to quit Valladolid. It is no longer a safe place for you, for even were your religious opinions not suspected, you have made mortal enemies of those whom you so signally defeated at law this morning."

"You are right, my friend; and we purpose, God willing, leaving this city for Toro to-morrow morning by daybreak," answered Herezuelo. "We shall not be out of danger even there; but I have duties to perform at that place, and I shall at all events be at my post."

"I wish you had arranged to start to-night," said Don Domingo. "The delay of a few hours is dangerous. If, indeed, you can discover an excuse for leaving the country altogether, let me entreat you to do so. The storm I see coming may blow over; but you are a man of note, and as the tallest trees are the most quickly blown down, you would be the first assailed."

"I have no fancy for fleeing from danger, and feel disposed rather to face my enemies, and argue the case with them," observed the advocate.

"The only arguments they trust to are the rack and the stake," answered Don Domingo. "Against them your eloquence will avail you nothing. Trust not to any one of the Romish priesthood, nor to those under their influence; they are sworn foes of true religion and liberty, and the more enlightened they believe you to be the more eager they will be for your destruction."

These and other arguments used by Don Domingo at length induced Herezuelo to agree to set forth on his journey immediately that he could procure a conveyance for his wife and her attendant. Don Domingo himself offered, indeed, to remain and assist them; but of this the advocate would not hear, and the friends departed, the former taking the road for Calahora, where he hoped to meet with De Seso.

Don Domingo, who was dressed as a Spanish cavalier of rank, attended by a servant, pushed on at a rapid rate. He was no coward, but he knew full well what the Inquisition had in store for him should he be taken, and he wished to escape their treatment. He avoided as much as possible all inns and places resorted to by the public, and kept, when he could, out of the high road. He hoped thus to reach De Seso, and to persuade him to bear him company in his flight.

Calahora was reached without interruption. The noble De Seso was very unwilling to believe the reports which Don Domingo brought him.

"You go, my friend; but I cannot carry my wife and young children, and will not desert them," he answered.

No arguments would move him. He did not even think that the inquisitors would venture to interfere with persons in his position.

Reluctantly Don Domingo left his friends to proceed on his journey. Hoping to avoid observation, he turned out of the high road, with the intention of continuing his journey during the moonlit hours of the night. He had not gone far when he saw approaching him a man riding a tall mule, and leading a string of five or six pack mules.

The muleteer was jogging on, to all appearance, carelessly singing what sounded like one of the plaintive ditties then become common in Spain, though learned from the Moors. There was something, however, in the tone, and in a few of the words that reached the ear of Don Domingo, which made him look hard at the muleteer.

"My friend, if I mistake not, Julianillo!" he exclaimed. "What brings you this way?"

"Evil times, Don Domingo; for I know you in spite of your disguise," answered Julianillo. "I received notice from a trusty friend that all the passes are guarded, and that I shall not have a chance of escaping, nor will you. For the present, if we would be safe, we must lie concealed. Come with me; we shall not be the first Christians compelled, for the truth's sake, to take shelter in the caves of the earth; nor shall we be the last. I wish that we could give notice to more of our brethren, who might join us."

The arrangements proposed by Julianillo were now concluded; and, followed by Don Domingo, he led the way down a road, or bridle path rather, which branched off to the right. Scarcely had he turned aside when the noise of horses' feet coming rapidly along the road was heard. Don Domingo's servant, who was some little way behind, came spurring on crying out, "Flee, master, flee! They are officers of justice! They are in pursuit of us!"

The advice was followed, but the path was rough. Don Domingo's horse stumbled, and in another instant he and his servant found themselves in the power of the officers of the Inquisition. Their mouths were instantly gagged, and a dark cloak and hood were thrown over their heads, completely concealing their figures and features. Some of the horsemen pushed on, but after a short time returned, and Don Domingo had the satisfaction of believing, from some of the expressions they let fall, that Julianillo had escaped. As far as he could judge, his steps were retraced till the party reached the neighbourhood of Calahora; they were then joined by another band of horsemen escorting prisoners. He had too much reason to fear that his friend De Seso was one of them. Among the prisoners were several females--of that he was certain. He longed to ascertain if his suspicions were correct. So strictly, however, was each individual prisoner guarded, that he might never have ascertained the truth, had not a storm suddenly burst on the heads of the escort. Shelter was not far off, and while the horsemen were pushing on to gain it, one of the party made a bold attempt to escape. He had grasped the rein of one of the female's horses, when a flash of lightning made it rear, and he had great difficulty in saving the rider from being thrown to the ground. In doing so, his hood became disarranged, and the features of De Seso were revealed. The officers of the Inquisition immediately seized him and secured him more carefully, while he and the lady were separated.

"Alas! my noble friend is in the same condition as myself," thought Domingo. "May God in His mercy support him; but he suffers not alone. He will feel the sufferings of his beloved wife even more than his own. And we, alas! alas! are but a few, perhaps, out of many hundred Christians now in the power of these monsters of the Inquisition."

The unfortunate prisoners were allowed no rest, were permitted to communicate with no one, but were hurried on till they reached the portals of that mansion of horror and despair--the Inquisition. But was it to them an abode of despair? No! A power more than human supported them. That strength which never fails those who put their faith in God held them up; for God has promised that His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will be with them who trust in Him in all their troubles and afflictions.

As soon as they passed through the gates, each of the prisoners was conducted blindfolded to separate cells. Into these dark and foul holes delicate women and men, accustomed to all the refinements the age afforded, were thrust indiscriminately. No couch, no chairs, even, were allowed them; when weary of standing, they were compelled to sit down on the hard, cold and damp flag-stones. Scarcely a ray of light was admitted into their dens; the only sounds which ever reached their ears being occasionally the groans and cries of their companions in suffering. The system pursued by the inquisitors was too generally known to allow them a ray of hope that they would escape without the most fearful torture, or the alternative of giving evidence to condemn those nearest and dearest to them.

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The Last Look: A Tale Of The Spanish Inquisition - Chapter 6. The Arrest The Last Look: A Tale Of The Spanish Inquisition - Chapter 6. The Arrest

The Last Look: A Tale Of The Spanish Inquisition - Chapter 6. The Arrest
CHAPTER SIX. THE ARREST Antonio Herezuelo and his wife Leonor knelt in prayer after their friend had left them. On rising from their knees, they decided not to make the attempt to escape. "We cannot flee from the country, and the alguazils of the Inquisition can as easily find us at our house as in the city of Valladolid, should they suspect us of holding to the true faith," said Antonio, calmly. "Our Heavenly Father knows what is best, and He may require us to testify to the truth of the doctrine we have learned of Him through the teaching

The Last Look: A Tale Of The Spanish Inquisition - Chapter 4. Signs Of Danger The Last Look: A Tale Of The Spanish Inquisition - Chapter 4. Signs Of Danger

The Last Look: A Tale Of The Spanish Inquisition - Chapter 4. Signs Of Danger
CHAPTER FOUR. SIGNS OF DANGER Two years had passed away. Leonor de Cisneros had become the wife of Antonio Herezuelo, the advocate; they had settled at Toro, but occasionally made visits to Seville and to Valladolid they enjoyed the society of other Protestants--many of them illustrious, both by birth and talents, among the nobles of Spain. The year 1558, fearfully memorable in Spain, at length commenced. Philip was about to return to his paternal dominions. Charles the Fifth was in his retirement in the convent of Saint Juste. The Inquisitor-general, Valdes, became more than ever certain that