A 'Price One Penny' Edition

July 19, 1845

Up: The Mysteries of the Inquisition. Previous: July 12, 1845 Next: July 26, 1845

Candour and Hypocrisy

From the banks of the Guadalquiver might be obtained, at the time of which we are writing, a beautiful view of one portion of the inquisitorial palace of Seville: we mean that division of the building that looked upon the gardens wherein was situate the splendidly-decorated portion which was the scene of the ecclesiastic orgies so often presided over by Peter Arbuez. But as men wandered upon the banks of that shining river, and beheld the towers spires, and vaulted roofs which marked the site of that palace and its adjoining prisons, little did they dream that within the vast pile, whose solemn Moorish architecture met the eye, the lord of that spacious tenement was not to be envied by even the lowest Garduno or gypsy that crawled through the city of Seville.

Yet such was the case!96

In spite of the fatigues of the long ceremony, which had lasted until half-past two in the afternoon, the Lord Arbuez, when he had retired to the inquisitorial palace, was unable to enjoy any repose. The undistinguishable ardour of that despotic and impassioned soul imposed upon his body a constant craving after bustle and activity. His soul was a gulf, at the bottom of which was an insatiable fire that ever cried, like the horse-leech of Scripture, “More! more!”97

Joseph, silent and sorrowful, turned over the leaves of a Latin Bible in a corner of the room. A dark presentiment seemed to agitate him. He knew not that the daughter of Don Manuel Argoso had disappeared from the house where he had placed her, under Juanna’s care; and yet a vague alarm of some impending misfortune or approaching evil tidings filled his mind.

For the first time, the Grand Inquisidor hesitated to confide a secret to his favourite. Every now and then a smile of joy and triumph played upon the lips of Arbuez: and Joseph regarded him, at intervals, with surprise and dread.

Evening came: the Grand Inquisidor and Joseph partook of supper alone together. But midnight arrived ere Peter Arbuez could prevail upon himself to abandon the wine-crowned goblet: and then he anxiously awaited the moment when Joseph should retire, in order that he might hasten to see Dolorez. But Joseph pertinaciously maintained his seat at the festal board, and even drank a cup or two of wine upon the occasion.

At length the Grand Inquisidor could restrain his impatience no longer.

“I am fatigued now, Joseph,” he said, rising from his seat: “retire, my son, and I also shall seek my couch.”

“I can assure your Eminence that I am not in the least weary,” answered Joseph.

“Your zeal is great, my dear Joseph. Accordingly, I hope that, when the death of that aged and venerable lord, the Archbishop Alphonso Manrico shall instal me in the post of Inquisidor General of the province, I shall be enabled to obtain for thee the appointment of Grand Inquisidor of Seville.”

“I thank you, my lord,” meekly replied Joseph then, within himself, he said, “He has, evidently, some project in his mind.”

“The royal auto-de-fa is near,” added the Grand Inquisidor: “the prisons are encumbered with heretics already condemned to be judged; and we have much labour yet upon our hands.”

But it was easy to perceive that Peter Arbuez spoke only with his lips and not with his soul; for his imagination was wandering elsewhere. Nevertheless, Joseph had no further pretence to remain: he accordingly received the Grand Inquisidor’s blessing, and withdrew.

The moment he was gone, Peter repaired to his bed-room, whence he gained the street by a secret stair.

Instead of retiring to his own apartment, Joseph descended into the court, and there concealed himself behind a large shrub. It was the hour when Peter Arbuez frequently went abroad, accompanied by four familiars or inquisitorial body guards; and, by dint of spying and eaves-dropping, he detected many a “heretic”—and the Inquisition received, in consequence, many an additional victim!

Ordinarily, Joseph accompanied the Grand Inquisidor in these peregrinations: thus, when the youthful ecclesiastic saw that his master went out, leaving him behind, he said to himself, as he drew cautiously beneath the shade of the friendly laurel, “Let me see whither he is going without me.”

Presently, he beheld the Grand Inquisidor, clad in a Spanish cloak and broad-brimmed hat, cross the court, attended by his four familiars, whom he invariably took with him in his nocturnal rambles, in case his life should be threatened by private treachery or public hatred. Scarcely had the gate, leading into the street, closed behind Arbuez and his attendants, when Joseph, who possessed a master-key to all the premises, followed them by the same path. In a few minutes the Grand Inquisidor and the familiars reached the prison of the Inquisition. Arbuez knocked in a particular manner: the door was opened, and Joseph glided into the building after the Inquisidor. The gaoler, accustomed to see him in attendance upon his master, allowed him to enter without opposition. The familiars remained outside in the street.

Joseph seated himself upon a bench in the passage; and Peter Arbuez hurried along the corridor to the staircase, upon a step of which the gaoler’s lamp was standing. Arbuez took the lamp in his hand, and hurried up the stairs; the gaoler retired to his lodge; and Joseph hastened, in the dark, after the Grand Inquisidor.

The lord Arbuez ascended to the Chamber of Pity, in which Dolorez was confined. The unhappy maiden was seated upon the side of the bed, her head reclining upon the pillow, when the Grand Inquisidor entered the room.

From the moment of her entrance into the prison, she had not divested herself of her garments; but, after a night and a day of ineffable agony, she had yielded to weariness and weakness, and had fallen into a light slumber. Thus, bending over the bed of snowy whiteness, the black garments of the young lady delineated a form of admirable contour and touching grace. The border of her dress had been modestly dropped as far as possible over her feet, the extremities of which were alone visible; one of her arms supported her head; the other fell negligently over the bed. Her forehead, so pale and so lofty that it resembled fine marble, was of a dazzling whiteness, marked with delicate blue veins towards the temples. The shade of her long black lashes, now projecting over her pallid cheeks, bestowed upon that noble countenance the most profound expression of sorrow and despair. It seemed as if she had fallen asleep in the midst of thoughts of suffering and of death!

Beholding her thus,—more lovely in her days of mourning than ever she had been in those of her prosperity,—the terrible Inquisidor stopped short—as if he trembled to perpetrate a sacrilege. An inexplicable emotion,—a kind of remorse,—caused that man, who recognised no other master than his passions, to tremble.

The most profound silence reigned throughout the chamber: naught was heard save the equal and peaceful respiration of the young maiden. Nevertheless, Peter Arbuez felt, for a moment, afraid!

“I am mad!” he at length exclaimed, shaking off this access of terror; and he seated himself upon a chair by the bed.

Dolorez was still asleep.

Peter Arbuez had leisure to contemplate her for some moments, and to feast his eyes with the view of her charming countenance, until his passion became of a wild and indomitable nature, he inclined his head and imprinted upon her snowy hand a burning kiss.

At that contact Dolorez shuddered from head to foot, and opened her eyes; but when she caught sight of the well-known features of the Grand Inquisidor, she uttered a cry of horror, and covered her countenance with her hand.

“You are, then, afraid of me?” said Peter Arbuez, gently.

“Oh! my lord, my lord—why persecute me thus?” she exclaimed.

“Daughter,” answered the Inquisidor, in his professional cant, that was habitual,98 “the shepherd seeks the strayed sheep until it be found and brought back to the fold!”

“The wolf also seek the sheep to devour it,” answered Dolorez, with a bitter smile.

“Maiden!” ejaculated the Grand Inquisidor, irritated to find that his hypocrisy failed in the presence of that young lady’s candour and frankness. I perceive that you are tainted with the abominable heresy of reform. Those who have faith in God have faith in his ministers; and you have none in me.”

“Be just and good like God,” said the courageous young lady; “I will obey the servant, when he follows the precepts of his divine Master. But what do you ask of me, my lord? To worship the hand which, when it strikes, falls always on an innocent head! You hope that I shall bless him who has made my father—my noble father—a living corpse!”

“Poor child! you are indeed lost when you entertain such sentiments as these. Know you not that we strike the perishable body, in order to save the immortal soul?”

“Ah! my lord, if those be your ways, abandon them at once—for they make poor suffering mortals doubt the justice of God!”

“It is that apostate monk, John of Avila, who hath taught thee these abominations!” cried Peter Arbuez. “Thou hast yet to learn that the tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, must be hewn down and cast into the fire!99 Upon this sublime principle is the Inquisition established. But, you, young maiden—wilt thou not be converted?”

“I am a Christian, my lord, in soul and heart: why do you persecute me?”

“Oh! my dear daughter, why will you not understand my real sentiments?” exclaimed Peter Arbuez, advancing towards the maiden, who drew towards her the skirt of her dress, against which the ecclesiastical gown of the Inquisidor had come in contact: “do you hate me, then?”

“Mercy, mercy, my lord!” cried Dolorez, joining her hands together. “Restore my father to me—give me my liberty—I implore you in the name of God—in the name of the Saviour who died for us?”

“Oh! if thou wouldst but smile upon me,” said the Grand Inquisidor, regarding her with impassioned admiration.

Dolorez shuddered, and turned deadly pale; she knew that she was in the power of the Grand Inquisidor.

“Sweet girl,” continued Peter Arbuez, “how thou shouldst be loved—how happy thou shouldst be! No lady in Seville—no, nor in all Spain—should have a brighter lot than thine!”

With these words, the Grand Inquisidor rose, his burning glances fixed upon the affrighted maiden, who shrank back in horror as he advanced towards her.

“I love thee—I love thee.” answered the Grand Inquisidor; and he extended his arms towards her. She clung to the bed-post as if for protection; and Peter Arbuez fell upon his knees before her.

Dolorez uttered a terrible cry.

“My lord!” exclaimed Joseph, entering the room at that instant.

Peter Arbuez rose hastily from his suppliant posture, crying, “What means this intrusion?”

“My lord,” answered Joseph calmly, “I came, like your Eminence, to convert the heretics.”

“Art thou tired of life, that thou thus throwest thyself in my way?”

“Your lordship knows not the zeal of your faithful servant,” replied the favourite in a tone of humility, not unmixed with irony; “but the servitor has nothing to fear from so good a master, and Joseph, the Inquisidor, need not tremble at the Inquisition, which has no power over its own votaries.”

Dolorez beheld the young Dominican with surprise; but a rapid sign which he conveyed to her implored her not to recognise him.

“Depart,” cried the Grand Inquisitor.

“Only with your Eminence,” answered Joseph; “rumours of revolt circulate in the city, and there are reports of conspiracies against your lordship’s precious life.”

“Is that true?” demanded Peter Arbuez, now really alarmed.

“’Tis true, my lord; I will accompany your Eminence; for, in case of need, this excellent Toledo blade should defend your lordship against your enemies;” and as he spoke he drew from beneath his scapular a long bright dagger.

Peter Arbuez, yielding, in spite of himself, to the influence of Joseph, whom at that moment he detested with all his heart and soul, approached Dolorez, and said, in a low tone, “I hope tomorrow to find you in a better mood.”

“I abominate you,” replied Dolorez, averting her head with ineffable disgust. “Let me die with my father—it is the only favour I demand of you.”

Joseph led the Grand Inquisidor from the room.

“Oh, to avenge myself on her!” murmured Peter Arbuez, his countenance black with rage. “How can I subdue her proud disposition?”

“Send her to the Chamber of Penitence, my lord,” answered the favourite meekly.

But Joseph had his private reasons for offering this advice.

The Chamber of Torture Again

No one can fail to imagine the rage and disappointment of the Grand Inquisidor, when he thus perceived his machinations against Dolorez followed by a signal failure. In spite of his attachment towards Joseph, for whom he really entertained a feeling of the most sincere friendship—the only sentiment of his breast that was not selfish—he could scarcely forgive him for his intrusion at a moment so critical. Not that he suspected, in the least degree, the real motive of interest in the fate of the young lady which had prompted Joseph’s conduct; he thought that Joseph’s interference was really produced by fears of revolt and conspiracy; he could not for a moment believe that Joseph would act in opposition to his wishes.

The morning dawned upon that eventful night, and Joseph entered the Grand Inquisidor’s room, as usual. But Peter Arbuez frowned upon his favourite.

“Has your lordship any commands for me this morning?” demanded Joseph meekly.

“Your audacity is great, thus to present yourself before me!” said the Grand Inquisidor.

“My lord, this is the day on which the question is to be administered, and I have the special orders of your Eminence to attend upon you on such occasions.”

“I thought that Joseph was faithful, and I find that Joseph spies my actions and throws himself in my way.”

“Joseph heard rumours affecting your Eminence, and rested not until he had discovered whither your Eminence had gone,” replied the favourite.

“Are we, then, so feeble and weak that we must tremble at the idea of a few Jews and heretics in rebellion?” cried Peter Arbuez, haughtily.

“My lord, the serpent coiled in the brake is sometimes more dangerous than the prowling lion.”

“But Dolorez Argoso—Dolorez Argoso,” murmured the Grand Inquisidor—“shall she be the only woman who dares resist me?”

“Dolorez Argoso is not a woman like others,” answered the favourite; “she will devote herself, body and soul, to save those whom she really loves, but she abhors those who persecute her and her relations.”

These words were uttered with a bitterness which made a profound impression upon the Grand Inquisidor; Joseph appeared to gloat upon the tortures in which he thus plunged the soul of that man over whom his influence was so great.

“Come,” exclaimed Peter Arbuez suddenly, “let us go to the torture-rooms! How many are there to be submitted to the question this day?”

Then, as if he endeavoured to stifle his own mental sufferings in the horrible delight of contemplating the tortures inflicted on others, he counted aloud the names of the victims whom he was about to submit to the question.

Accompanied by Joseph, he proceeded to the prisons of the Inquisition.

When they reached the Chamber of Torment, the same young woman whom we have seen subjected to the “question of water,” on a former occasion was brought in. But how changed was she. Reduced to a mere skeleton—haggard, dirty, bent, and feeble—she could scarcely drag herself along.

“Daughter,” said the Grand Inquisidor, averting from her his eyes as he spoke, “why do you still persist in your iniquitous calumnies against me?”

“My lord,” answered the young woman, a slight glow of animation tinging her ghastly cheeks, “I declare before God—I avow in the presence of my Saviour—that I was pure and virtuous until you became my confessor, and that my child is yours!”

“Monstrous!” ejaculated Peter Arbuez, his face becoming purple with rage and shame.

“My child! my child!—your child!—where is he:” shrieked the miserable mother.

On a sign from the Grand Inquisidor, a gag was placed between the teeth of the hapless creature, and she was then strapped to the horrible instrument whereon she was to endure a second administration of the question by water.

Then the gag was removed, and the torture commenced in the manner before described.

Joseph, with his face buried in his hands, and in an attitude of the most profound meditation, shed bitter, bitter tears. His heart was swollen ready to break; and, when he now and then raised his head, his countenance, seen by the uncertain glare of the torches, was as livid as death.

For nearly an hour did the tormentors pour the water, drop by drop, down the throat of the victim; but by degrees the convulsions of her body became less violent, and at last they ceased altogether.

“My lord,” said the physician, “this woman can endure no more.”

“Release her!” exclaimed Peter Arbuez; “the question is suspended until fresh orders.”

The torturers drew the linen from the mouth of the patient; but when they removed the thin cords which had bound her wrists, they perceived that the flesh had been cut through to the very bone.

Joseph advanced, with horror depicted upon his countenance; and, having contemplated the woman for a few moments, said, “My lord, the question is finished for ever with regard to her—she is dead!”

“Do you think so?” demanded the Grand Inquisidor.

The torturers raised her; a convulsive movement agitated her limbs, she breathed the words “My child!” and expired.

“God have mercy upon her soul!” murmured Peter Arbuez.

“My lord, if that poor creature were innocent?” murmured Joseph.

“Then, in that case, you would believe the calumny which she dared to utter against me,” said Arbuez, fixing his dark eyes significantly upon the favourite.

Joseph made no reply, but crossed himself meekly.

Two sbirri removed the corpse, and another victim was brought into the inquisitorial presence.

She was an old woman, with snow-white hair, and of a very great age. Her charity towards the industrious classes had obtained for her the honourable name of “Mother of the Poor;” for this was Maria de Bourgogne, who, it will be remembered, was arrested on the day that the riot occurred at Seville, her immense fortune constituted her only crime, but the Chambers of Pity and Penitence had failed to extort her treasures from her; she was, therefore, now doomed to the torture.

“My sister,” said Peter Arbuez, “will you confess to the crime of heresy, and obtain pardon?”

“You know that I am innocent. Instead of confessing any crime, you wish me to divulge the secret of the spot where my wealth is deposited,” answered the old lady firmly.

“Reflect upon what you dare to assert in our presence!” said Peter Arbuez.

“I have reflected, and I adhere to the statement!”

“Proceed!” cried the Grand Inquisidor, pointing towards a burning chafing dish, which lighted one corner of the dungeon.

The sbirri precipitated themselves like tigers upon the aged female, and tore her garments from her. When she was almost in a state of nudity, they were about to carry her in their arms towards the place of torture, but she said, firmly, “I can walk.”

Maria de Boulogne directed her steps towards the burning grate, and reclined herself upon a horizontal bench standing near, in obedience to a sign from the torturers. These wretches then fastened her to the bench with cords, in such a manner that she could not move a limb.

The venerable “Mother of the People” offered no resistance.

The torturers then placed the bench so that the feet of the victim came within an inch of the burning charcoal.

The patient uttered a sigh as the fire suddenly struck her with its vivid heat; and this was the only symptom of pain which characterised her horrible sufferings.

“We have forgotten something,” suddenly ejaculated one of the executioners, perceiving the feet of the victim become excessively red, and then turn white, like a sheet of parchment which scorches.

“True,” said another: “I had forgotten it.”

The torturers then took a jar of oil from a shelf; and, by means of a sponge at the end of a stick, they rubbed it upon the patient’s feet.

The action of the fire, excited by the presence of the greasy substance, became in a few moments so penetrating, that the skin split, as it were, in several places: the flesh contracted; and the nerves, tendons, and bones were left exposed. The Inquisition was gifted with a horrible faculty of invention!

Nevertheless, Maria de Bourgogne maintained an heroic firmness; and when the pain became intolerable, she exclaimed, in the words of the Saviour, “Lord, forgive them—for they know not what they do!”

Maria was removed to her dungeon, where she prayed for her persecutors.

Joseph, overcome with horror, and scarcely able to sustain himself upright, said to the Grand Inquisidor, “My lord, I am very ill; the charcoal suffocates me!”

“You are as delicate as a woman, Joseph,” answered the Inquisidor.

“No, my lord; I possess all the courage of a man,” rejoined the favourite, in a tone of profound seriousness.

“We shall see that when the time of trial comes,” observed the Inquisidor.

“Oh, yes, my lord, be well assured that you shall some day have striking proofs of my courage.”

From the banks of the Guadalquiver ... Yet such was the case! Reynolds added the first two paragraphs to introduce the woodcut which heads the instalment in the London Journal, one of the four which have not been copied from the French edition.
cried, like the horse-leech of Scripture, “More! more!” Reference to Proverbs 30:15: ‘The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough’. Though all Bible translations at the time read ‘Give, give’, nineteenth-century textual allusions can take the form of ‘More, more’. Horse-leech in this context means horse-doctor.

The French text rather refers to Proverbs 27:20: ‘Hell and destruction are never full’ (‘never full’ can also be translated as ‘insatiable’).

the Inquisidor, in his professional cant, that was habitual The French text reads instead ‘Pierre Arbues, restored to his character of inquisitor, by the terror which he inspired’ (p. 173).
the tree which ... the fire! Matthew 7:19.
Up: The Mysteries of the Inquisition. Previous: July 12, 1845 Next: July 26, 1845
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