A 'Price One Penny' Edition

July 5, 1845

Up: The Mysteries of the Inquisition. Previous: June 28, 1845 Next: July 12, 1845

A Grand Festival at Seville

It was the day of a grand gala at Seville.

The balconies were spread with silks and with the fine carpets of Grenada. A general holiday prevailed; the people received viands from the gates of the public institutions: even the kitchens of the monasteries gave something better than the wretched melopia upon that occasion. From sunrise, Pajaretan wine86 had flowed from the fountain on the Esplanade.

The gipsies, mendicants, and the monks, had reaped an ample harvest; for, in Spain, on festival days, the people were denominated, according to a proverb, the “milch-cow of the monks and gipsies.” Each of these grades knew how to turn the credulity and goodness of the mass to advantage,—the former by means of relics, and the latter by fortune telling.

The imagination of the people,—that magician which is so powerful in burning climes,—never disappointed the intriguing mendicants of those classes on such occasions.

The beautiful Andalusian city had put aside, for at least one day, the mourning which it usually wore. Many hearts doubtless bled: profound griefs and bitter resentments dwelt in the souls of the Andalusians: nevertheless, those reckless children of the most beautiful country in the universe,—those votaries of pleasure who are more poetical and dramatic in nature, without knowing it, than the greatest writers or the first songsters of the age,—now indulged in draughts of rich wine and in the voluptuous dance. The Inquisition was forgotten—death was forgotten—the sbirri were forgotten—terror was forgotten: the Sevillians, become poets, musicians, and dancers, sang and leaped in a delirium of joy:—they only lived for the present moment;—and yet, strange to say, that festival was given in honour of the Inquisition!

The noble city of Seville celebrated the arrival of the Duke of Medina-Cœli within its walls. This nobleman was the “standard bearer of the faith,” and had come to take his place at the royal auto-de-fa which was to be offered up in the Andalusian capital to celebrate one of the innumerable triumphs of Charles the Fifth.87

Evening was now come—beautiful and starlight as ever. The brisk and perfumed air, the excitement of the dance and the wine of the fountain, and the soft whisperings of lover’s tales, filled every heart with the most exalted delight. Never had the fandango, the bolero or the jacara been danced with so much spirit; never had the cana been chaunted with such voluptuous abandonment.88 It was true that the Duke of Medina-Cœli, who paid for the festival from his own private resources, had exhibited himself in the light of a great and generous lord: he had copiously supplied the means of drinking exquisite wine to the hidalgos, the semi-moors, and the loungers of the great city.89

Sweet were the songs that echoed through the streets of Seville upon this occasion. Of that bewitching vocal music let the following be taken as a specimen:90

Where the clustering olives fling
Shadows on the sun-lit ground,
Dark-eyed maids of Seville sing,
Darker lovers gathering round,
Now they join with heart and hand,
While the castanets are sounding,
Round and round a merry band,
In the gay bolero bounding.
Spanish peasants throng the lawn,
Love and laughter crowning day,
With the footsteps of the fawn,
Leaping on their path of play.
Panting now—they pause to breathe,
As the golden sun is setting;
And the moon comes out to wreathe;
Silver smiles at their coquetting.
Dews of crystal gem the flowers,
Spanish mothers gather there!
“Daughter, these are vesper hours!”
“Daughter, this is time for prayer!”
Homeward then they gaily stray,
When bright eyes, in beauty closing,
Wait the serenading lay
That may lull their soft reposing!

Or here, in some more retired spot, a young musician, having just bade farewell to the maiden of his heart, thus warbled to his guitar:—

How sweet at twilight’s peaceful hour,
When night flowers greet each rising star,
Alone, in some secluded bower,
To touch the silver-toned Guitar.
Companion of the exiled brave,
Beloved alike in peace and war,
The peasant wakes thee, and the slave
Weeps fondly o’er his mute Guitar.
Dream of the long forgotten dead,
Whose notes remind of scenes afar,
The scattered leaves of roses shed,
Thy numbers breathe, my lone Guitar!
Whene’er the festive song I wake,
Forgetting that e’en mirth may mar
Its own enjoyment, should I break
One feeling string, my own Guitar,—
I’ll take the moral to my breast,
Nor ever strain a chord so far
As wound a heart, which, rudely prest,
Would break like thine, my loved Guitar!

We cannot resist the opportunity of turning into English verse a lay which was chaunted extempore, on this occasion,—warbled by a handsome youth beneath the balcony of her whom he loved, and whose eyes, it would appear, had transfixed his heart:—

I would not if I might recall the days,
Ere I had learnt the magic of thine eyes:
I know the fascination of their rays:
I feel the penalty, and still I gaze.—
I am not wise;
Soothly thou thinkest;—yet would I be near,
Where’er thou art, to linger round the spot
Better were death than absence, Lady dear!
A brief wild hour of anguished rapture here—
Than see thee not!
Like eastern sunsets—fugitive as bright,
The burning moments flee when thou art nigh:
Spirit of loveliness, and joy, and light,
’Mid the fierce transport of thy dazzling sight.
Thus, let me die!

Not less pathetic was the extemporaneous address of a poetical youth to a lady whose eyes were of a hue somewhat more tender than that of the generality of Andalusian damosels:—

O eyes of violet! deeply blue,
So fondly, purely bright:
Sweet types, in gentleness and hue,
Of summer’s balmy purple night;
Beautiful violet eyes!
Suns of the soul, as bland and clear
As glance of the gazelle:
Lights of a world, within whose sphere
All holiest feelings seem to dwell.
Beautiful violet eyes!
Twin-stars of hope! Oh! shed on me
Your amaranthine rays;
For dearly eloquent are ye,
Of fatherland and happy days.
Beautiful violet eyes!

But while the people thus gave vent to their joy, their love, their hope, or their aspirations, in the streets and squares of Seville, the great lords and the wealthy citizens were not backward on the score of festivity.

But principally were the saloons of the Count of Mondejar, the nephew and son-in-law of the Duke of Medina-Cœli, brilliant with light.91 After a sumptuous banquet, which had taken place in the palace of the Count, the guests retired to the magnificent drawing-rooms, where, reclining upon large divans of oriental luxury, they sipped delicious wines or iced sherbets, and indulged in animated discourse.

No ladies had been admitted to this gorgeous festival at the dwelling of the Count of Mondejar.

“This is a glorious triumph which our most Catholic monarch has obtained over the Protestants in Germany,” observed a young Castillian noble, the favourite of the Count, and now addressing himself to Don Rodriguez, an old man, whose dirty and shabby appearance contrasted strangely with the brilliant garbs of the other guests.

Nevertheless, in spite of his mean and threadbare attire, that old man possessed great ease of manner, and his dress seemed to be purposely designed by a proud cynicism, rather than the result of actual poverty.

He turned slowly towards the young man who had addressed him, and surveyed him without giving any reply to his remark.

“We shall have at least a month of festivity and public enjoyment,” continued the young nobleman,—“without reckoning the royal auto-de-fa, which will certainly be a splendid thing, if we may believe the programme.”

“Do not alarm yourself,” answered the old man, in a tone which the other took for approbation, but which was in reality filled with irony and bitterness.

“Nothing can be finer than an auto-de-fa,” continued the young man, whose name was Don Carlos, “and I understand that on the present occasion the Grand Inquisitor has reserved for us Don Manuel Argoso, the former governor of Seville.”

“A true Christian,” said the old man gravely.

“Ah!” exclaimed Don Carlos. “He was the intimate friend of Don Stephen de Vargas, who always gave himself the airs of a philosopher. He deserves the faggot—does he not, Don Rodriguez de Valero?”92

“Don Stephen is a noble youth, but he has enemies,” was the calm reply. “He never would agree to serve in the militia of the Holy Office. But you, Don Carlos,—you who are to marry the daughter of the Count of Mondejar,—are you prepared to enter that same service?”

“Not quite,” answered Don Carlos, in a melancholy tone. “I intend to speak upon the subject this evening to his lordship the Duke of Medina-Cœli.”

“The opportunity is a good one,” said the old man sarcastically: “pray do not lose sight of it.”

“What!” ejaculated Don Ximenes, an Arragonese nobleman: “are you about to become a familiar of the Holy Office?”

“Certainly. Can I otherwise aspire to the hand of Donna Isabella, the daughter of the Count of Mondejar?”

“I should not like such an employment,” said Don Ximenes, with an ominous shake of the head.

“On the contrary—the service is an excellent one!” ejaculated Don Rodriguez de Valero, in a loud voice. “To be a familiar of the Inquisition, Don Ximenes, is to sit astride upon the very wheel of fortune! What families in Spain enjoy such wealth and influence as those of Medina-Cœli and Mondejar? Believe me, that if Don Manuel Argoso and Don Stephen dc Vargas had belonged to the Holy Office, they would not now be the one on the point of roasting alive, and the other compelled to wander amidst mountains and valleys;—and if Donna Dolorez had only chosen Peter Arbuez, or even his favourite Don Joseph, as her confessor, that charming heretic would not now be poor and friendless, without perhaps a stone to serve as her pillow!”

“Silence, Don Valero: you will endanger your own safety,” said Don Ximenes.

“Never fear,” was the reply, “they take me for a madman.”

The other guests were all too much occupied with their own discourse to pay any attention to Don Rodriguez de Valero.

“In Spain, now-a-days,” continued the old man, “there is only one kind of honour—and that is to belong to the master; and you know well that the master is the Inquisition.”

“Don Rodriguez, if you continue in this manner,” cried the Arragonese, “I would not give a maravedi for your head.”

“Don Rodriguez is privileged, and can say what he chooses,” observed Don Carlos.

“I am not worth the trouble of a denunciation,” said Don Rodriguez; and with these words, he quitted the assembly abruptly.

At that moment the Grand Inquisidor, accompanied by the Duke of Medina-Cœli, entered the room.

The Duke was a very old man, with a yellowish complexion, and a sharp piercing black eye. His habits were ascetic; his step was uneven, his voice hoarse and strong for so delicate a looking man; and his head was constantly turning about, with a nervous movement on his shoulders.

This great nobleman and Peter Arbuez saluted the assembly; then the Duke addressed himself to Don Carlos, saying, “Young man, my son-in-law, the Count of Mondejar, has spoken to me of a certain wish which you have expressed. I have said a word to his Eminence, the Lord Arbuez, and I hope that he will not refuse you the favour you demand.”

“Don Carlos,” said the Grand Inquisidor, “I am delighted to behold your zeal in the service of religion.”

“Do not be timid,” exclaimed the Duke; “his Eminence knows your merit; he is aware that your blood is pure.”

Don Carlos made no reply. That young nobleman, who, two days previously, would have given all he possessed in the world to become a Familiar of the Holy Office—the condition upon which the Count of Mondejar had promised to accord him the hand of his daughter—was now ashamed of the situation on which he was thus to enter.

The Duke of Medina-Cœli did not comprehend this hesitation; and, turning towards the Grand Inquisidor, said, “My lord, this young cavalier will become a staunch defender of the holy Catholic religion.”

Peter Arbuez presented his hand to Don Carlos to kiss, and observed, in a dulcet tone, “Tomorrow, after grand mass, fail not to be at the cathedral, to receive your initiation from my own hand.”

Don Carlos bowed without making any reply.

At that moment a domestic entered, and announced Donna Dolorez Argoso.

The Damsel’s Supplication

Great was the astonishment of the Grand Inquisidor as this name fell upon his ears, introductory as that announcement was to the entrance of the daughter of the late governor of Seville; but, suddenly perceiving the door of an adjacent apartment to be open, he led the Duke of Medina-Cœli hastily along with him into that room.

At that moment Donna Dolorez entered the apartment which they had thus abruptly left.

When her eyes caught sight of so many persons, the young lady became confused, and glanced around in search of the master of the house.

The Count of Mondejar had risen at the mention of her name; but, perceiving the Grand Inquisidor disappear with the Duke of Medina-Cœli, he was so afraid of offending Peter Arbuez, that he had scarcely power to advance to meet the daughter of his old friend; he remained standing close by the seat from which he had risen, and muttered a few words of common-place politeness.

Dolorez advanced towards him with an air at once noble and touching.

A murmur of admiration circulated throughout the assembly, in spite of the terror which they experienced at the sight of “a heretic,” so great was the effect produced by that almost superhuman beauty, united to dignity of soul.

“My lord,” said Dolorez, perceiving the Count of Mondejar grew pale and trembled at her approach, “is the presence of a fugitive so fatal at your mansion, that she should change into sorrow the joy which animates this noble assembly?”

The Count pointed to a seat without making any reply; and, when Dolorez had thrown herself, almost exhausted with fatigue and despair, upon the richly-sculpted ottoman, she remained for some minutes without uttering a word. The count also maintained a profound silence—a silence at once constrained and embarrassed.

In spite of her courage, Dolorez experienced that natural timidity which, in a young lady, who finds that she is not encouraged to speak, speedily degenerates into actual suffering! Her brow became suffused with a burning glow! she felt her heart beat violently in her bosom, and her trembling lips could not articulate a word.

Those who beheld that strange scene, awaited the event with a species of breathless anxiety.

Perceiving Dolorez in that state, the Count of Mondejar experienced a deep compassion for that lovely and youthful creature, formerly so brilliant, now so poor, so friendless, and who presented herself to him in the humble garb of a daughter of the people. But the Grand Inquisidor and the Duke of Medina-Cœli were in an adjoining room, the door of which had windows covered with a silk curtain, and whence they could therefore perceive all that took place. The life and fortune of a Spanish nobleman was as dependent upon the Inquisition, as the fate of the meanest hind; and the Count of Mondejar was not exempt from that profound terror of the dread tribunal, which destroyed all the natural chivalry of the Spanish character.

Dolorez murmured to herself, “My father is lost!”

Then, calling all her courage to her aid, she rose from her seat with the most admirable modesty, and with an air of nobleness which made a deep impression upon those present.

“My lord,” she said, addressing herself to the Count of Mondejar, “I see how painful my presence is to you, and I cannot feel vexed with you on that account, as I am also aware how dangerous it is. Misfortune is contagious; but I dare not retreat from the presence of an imperious duty! My father languishes in the prisons of the Inquisition—calumniated, oppressed, he will become a victim to a dread fate, unless his friends come to his aid. Once has he been subjected to the torture; again was he to have been examined—the day was fixed for the second ordeal, but his weakness compelled the postponement of that terrible test. You were his friend once, my lord; you are great and powerful—oh! save my father!”

“Even if I should be desirous to do so,” answered the Count, “I have not the power.”

Then Dolorez turned towards the assembly, and exclaimed, “My lords, you have all been the friends of my father; save him—save him!”

A dead silence prevailed, and Dolorez clasped her hands in despair.

At that moment Don Rodriguez de Valero, who had overheard all, entered the room abruptly, and, advancing courteously towards the young lady, exclaimed, “Lady, I will appear as a witness in favour of your father, if the Lord Mondejar will consent to be another.”

“Oh, thank you—thank you!” cried Dolorez; “may heaven reward you.”

At that moment a satanic and awe-inspiring laugh echoed through the apartment; the glass door opened, and the Grand Inquisidor advanced, exclaiming, “Don Rodriguez, we do not receive the testimony of madmen.”

At sight of Peter Arbuez, Dolorez uttered a loud scream, and fainted.

The Count of Mondejar, pale and embarrassed, knew not how to act. The Grand Inquisidor looked at him in a particular manner; the Count recovered his presence of mind, and rang the bell.

Two valets answered the summons.

“Transport that lady hence in my own litter,” he said, in a loud tone.

The valets obeyed; and Dolorez, still insensible, was borne away in the arms of the two servants.

The Count left the room by another door. At the expiration of a few moments he returned, a deep blush upon his countenance.

“My lord of Mondejar,” said the Grand Inquisidor, “whenever it shall please God to call unto himself his Grace of Medina-Cœli, you shall succeed him as standard bearer to the Holy Office.”

“My lord,” said Don Rodriguez, advancing, “God defend me from going to Paradise if you are to exercise the office of Grand Inquisidor there!”

Pajaretan wine Pajarete is a sweet fortified wine.
Duke of Medina-Cœli ... standard bearer of the faith In 1534, when the novel is set, the title bearer was Juan de la Cerda y Bique de Orejón (1485-1844). The name is now spelt Medinaceli.

‘The inquisition was not content with debasing the people, reducing them to beggary and making a troop of slaves of them; this was not enough, it did every thing to render them infamous. In order to succeed in this, the inquisition began by speaking and acting in the name of God, then it required every citizen to become a spy; those who declined this ignoble office were liable to be burned. The next step was to ennoble the trade of an informer. It procured indulgences from the pope for all who had virtue enough to denounce the enemies of the faith, and a plenary indulgence and assurance of heaven to every one who was good Christian enough to accuse a relative, a son, a brother, and even a father or mother. In addition to these, it demanded special privileges from the kings for its familiars. Thus Charles V. exempted from all imposts and taxes every one who had denounced ten heretics, Moors, apostates, or Judaizers, or who enrolled himself in the militia of the holy office, and became a familiar. The nobleman who was not a familiar was suspected of heresy. So far did the inquisition carry its audacity, that it demanded and obtained for the house of Medina Cœli, from pope Adrian, ex-inquisitor general of Spain, the honourable title of standard bearer of the faith, and the privilege [still held in 1820] of bearing this gloomy standard in solemn auto da fés, that is, such at which the king was present. The family of Medina Cœli is still the nearest to the throne: in default of royal issue, the crown reverts to the oldest son of Medina Cœli.’ (p. 264‡-265 [French text p. 239, translated by the editor])

fandango ... bolero ... jacara ... cana Jácaras are Spanish songs of Arab origin as an accompaniment to many types of dance. Caña is historically the most important form of flamenco songs. The translator has added references to fandango and bolero, a lively couples dance and a slow-tempo dance performed either by a soloist or a couple. However, these appear in the 18th century, rendering them anachronistic in the 16th century setting of ‘The Mysteries of the Inquisition’.
the hidalgos, the semi-moors, and the loungers A hidalgo is ‘One of the lower nobility; a gentleman by birth [...] entitled to the appellative Don’ (OED). The French text reads respectively ‘mauresques’ (Moorish) and ‘truands’ (crooks) instead of ‘semi-moors’ and ‘loungers’. All these factions of society are thus opposed to ‘the people’.
In the following section, Reynolds intercalates four ‘songs’ which are actually poems lifted from magazines he edited. The first two are pieces from the Monthly magazine: the ‘Song of Seville’ by Frederic William Naylor Bayley (1808-1853), published in September 1837 and Mrs. L. Miles’s ‘The Guitar,’ published in the next issue and retitled ‘The Spaniard’s Guitar’ for ‘The Mysteries of the Inquisition’’s purposes. ‘The Sevillian Lover to his Mistress’, written by John William Carleton (d. 1856), was published in The Teetotaler, in the issue dated 7 November 1840, with the title ‘To Inez’. I have only found ‘Beautiful Violet Eyes’ in a later reprint, in an 1872 issue of Bow Bells, which Reynolds edited in the 1860s. It could have been published in Chambers’s London Journal, which he briefly edited in 1843.
Count of Mondejar The title of Marqués de Mondéjar was introduced in 1512. None of the title-bearers was related to the Duke of Medinaceli nor did they own a palace in Seville.
‘Rodriguez de Valero is an historical personage, whose true character, the author has preserved. Only, this person did not live at Seville. Rodriguez de Valero was an Aragonese nobleman, a contemporary of Charles V. and Jean d’Avila. During his youth, he led a dissolute life; but all at once he reformed, [and] applied himself with ardour to the study of the holy scriptures. From having been a rake, he became one of the most zealous preachers of Lutheranism, and carried his boldness to such an extent that wherever he found monks or priests, he accosted them, and reproached them for having strayed from the pure doctrines of the gospels. Fortunately, the inquisition supposed him to be deranged, and did not prosecute him. For a long time, profiting by this belief on the part of the inquisition, he preached in the street and squares, where the people were fond of hearing him, and assembled in order to listen to him; but the inquisition at last grew weary of his sermons, caused him to be arrested, and condemned him as a heretic, apostate, and false apostle, to perpetual imprisonment and the loss of all his property.

Valero was very miserably and meanly clothed, but he made numerous converts, amongst whom, the most remarkable was Dr. Egidius, a man of exemplary conduct and pure morals, an eloquent preacher and a learned theologian. Egidius was first arrested by the inquisition and condemned to do penance of suspicion of Lutheranism. Some time afterwards the emperor Charles V. nominated him to the bishopric of Tortosa; an appointment which procured him the persecutions of the monks, and the hatred of the inquisition. The latter again imprisoned Egidius in its dungeons. The emperor, who was much attached to him, undertook his defence, and wrote several times in his behalf to the inquisitor Valdès, who at last let him go. Egidius died almost immediately after his release.—(History of the Inquisition.)’ (p. 237*)

In English, they are better known as Rodrigo de Valero and Egidio.

Up: The Mysteries of the Inquisition. Previous: June 28, 1845 Next: July 12, 1845
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