A 'Price One Penny' Edition

October 4, 1845

Up: The Mysteries of the Inquisition. Previous: September 27, 1845

Joseph’s Manuscript

“Eight years ago,” began Joseph’s manuscript,137 “Peter Arbuez was elevated to the rank of Grand Inquisidor of Seville. He was young, handsome, and insinuating; and, in spite of the horror which the Inquisition had always inspired in Spain, it was for a moment hoped that Peter Arbuez would be less cruel than his predecessors. This hope was of short duration.

“The persecutions continued with more rigour than ever; and, as in the latter days of the sway of Torrequemada, those men who bore the noblest names in Spain did not blush to exercise the profusion of spies and informers in order to insure the safety of their own property and lives.

“Those citizens who led the purest lives were daily placed at the mercy of the Inquisition by means of false witnesses. At that epoch, there lived at Seville a Catholic family of the best nobility in Spain. This family consisted of an old man (a widower), his three sons, a daughter, and a young orphan girl (a distant relative). Two of the brothers embraced religious orders: the third was named Fernand, and was brave and handsome as the Cid himself.138 The young orphan girl, whose name was Paula, loved Fernand, and was beloved in return.

“In a castle which the old man possessed at a short distance from Andujar, a Catholic chapel had been built, and certain pious hermits were engaged to attend it. The mother, when she was alive, had built this chapel to serve as a place of family sepulture: she would not that those who loved each other in life should be separated in death. While yet young, she was the first who was conveyed to that funereal rendezvous.

“At her death she left an immense property which she had received from her ancestors; and of this fortune the Inquisition determined to possess itself.

“The Inquisidors accordingly declared that she had died in heresy, and with sentiments contrary to the true faith, although, on her death-bed, she gave the most unequivocal marks of her attachment to that religion which was always her own.

“It was nevertheless necessary to accuse her of something!

“False witnesses were produced; and they declared that she was in heart a heretic. Then in spite of the protestations of her husband and children the inquisitorial authorities exhumed her corpse, razed the castle to the ground, and confiscated all the fortune which she had left.

“The old man died of grief during this frightful proceeding. The sons and the daughter, who dared to exclaim against the iniquity, were thrown into the prisons of the Inquisition. One person was alone spared: that was the orphan Paula, who was betrothed to Fernand; and she took refuge with the old nurse who had reared her.

“The two eldest sons and the lovely daughters were all consigned to the flames. Fernand was so young, that Peter Arbuez did not dare then deliver him up to the funeral pyre: he designed him for a royal auto-da-fe—such an one as that which took place a few days ago.

“Paula, the orphan who loved him, conceived the project of saving him. She was twenty years of age; and what woman of twenty despairs of the clemency of a man—especially when that man was a Grand Inquisidor and a Peter Arbuez?

“It was a year since that unhappy family had been thus uprooted, when a rumour of a royal auto-da-fe was current. Paula, overwhelmed with anxiety on behalf of him whom she so tenderly loved, one day adopted a grand resolution. Arming herself with all her courage, and well weighing all the chances which her conduct incurred, she reflected that the most fatal result of all must be death—and death she did not fear!

“It was the middle of the day, and the sky was so overclouded that it was nearly as dark as night. There had been a total eclipse of the sun on that occasion. Paula, silent and determined, escaped from the vigilance of her nurse, the only friend remaining to her in the world—save Fernand. Enveloped in her veil, she proceeded to the palace of the Grand Inquisidor.

“A ferocious band of familiars guarded all the avenues; and when Paula approached the gate, they stopped her. But after some trouble she obtained access to the lord Arbuez. The Grand Inquisidor was then in all the glory of his youth; and his countenance was handsome, in spite of the expression of cruelty which characterized it. Paula shuddered when she found herself in the presence of that man. Nevertheless, throwing her veil back, she advanced towards him.

“Peter Arbuez considered her with admiration. She fell upon her knees before him, and, joining her hands in a suppliant manner, exclaimed, ‘Mercy, mercy, my lord Arbuez,—mercy for him to whom I am betrothed, and who is innocent. Oh! restore him to me, I conjure you!’

“The countenance of the Grand Inquisidor fell. ‘Who is the individual you allude to?’ he said.

“‘Fernand de Cazallo,’ answered Paula, in a faint tone; for the severe—almost savage countenance of the Grand Inquisidor had affrighted her.

“But at the name of Cazallo, the brows of Peter Arbuez lowered yet more darkly; and he contemplated that young lady, who, with so much audacity, had dared to throw herself at the feet of the Grand Inquisidor to demand the life of a man accused of heresy.

“Paula was then beautiful—oh! very beautiful; and her fine form might have served as a model for Diana the huntress.139 ‘Rise,’ said Peter Arbuez, extending his hand towards her: ‘and speak to me without fear. The laws of the Inquisition are terrible: but I feel myself softened in your behalf.’

“‘Oh! may heaven bless you, my lord,’ exclaimed Paula, a ray of hope now penetrating her soul: ‘you will save Fernand, will you not, my lord?’

“‘Did I tell you that, young lady?’ demanded the Grand Inquisidor, with the smile of a tiger. He played with his prey!

“‘Oh! my lord, do not retract the compassionate words which you ere now uttered!’ said Paula: ‘you took pity upon me—spare him to whom I am betrothed!’

“‘And if I spare your lover, maiden, what wilt thou do for me?’ demanded Peter Arbuez.

“‘Oh! my lord, my life shall be at your disposal. But what can I, a humble woman, do for one so extolled as thou? Speak, my lord.’

“‘You are very beautiful. Paula!’ cried Arbuez, with a look which made her shudder;—and yet she dared not show that she was afraid. The Grand Inquisidor made her a sign to take a seat, upon the divan, by his side. She obeyed with fear and trembling.

“‘Don Fernand de Cazallo,’ he said, in a severe tone, ‘belongs to a family that was convicted of Lutheranism, and that is for ever dishonoured both in those of its members who live as well as in those who have died.’

“‘That family is also mine, my lord,’ said Paula. ‘If Fernand die, grant me permission to die with him.’

“‘What an ardent affection!’ cried the Inquisidor: ‘what would I not give to inspire such a passion!’

“Paula cast down her eyes in the presence of the priest who dared to address her in these terms.

“‘Do you know,’ said Arbuez, ‘that Don Fernand is destined for the next auto-da-fe, and that in the meantime he must be put to the torture?’

“A terrible cry issued from the lips of the unhappy Paula: the torture—that was more frightful than the scaffold!

“‘What ails you?’ demanded the Grand Inquisidor.

“‘The torture, my lord!’ was all that Paula could say in reply.

“‘I can spare him,’ observed the lord Arbuez.

“‘My lord, can I not die with him?’ asked Paula, enthusiastically.

“‘No—do not die—but live!’ ejaculated the Grand Inquisidor, taking Paula’s hands in his own. ‘Do you not know that Fernand can be saved by you alone?’ he added.

“‘I!—I save Fernand!’ ejaculated Paula: ‘Oh! my lord, tell me the means.’

“Peter Arbuez whispered the condition in the maiden’s ear.

“‘Oh! no—my lord—no,’ she cried, sinking on her knees; ‘you would not thus plunge me into disgrace and infamy.’

“But Peter Arbuez, so far from being affected by her ineffable grief, experienced a brutal passion which agitated his breast like a sea beneath the storm of heaven.

“‘Be mine, and I will save Don Fernand!’ he said.

“‘I will be yours—if you will save Fernand,’ she replied.


“A month from that day, a young female,—pale, thin, and bent beneath the weight of an indescribable sorrow—the sorrow of despair—was standing at the gate of the prison of the Holy Office. That miserable creature was Paula!

“On the very day in question was to be celebrated the royal auto-da-fe, already announced by rumours. The official list had stated that there were thirteen victims for the stake; but Peter Arbuez had promised Paula that there should be but twelve, and that the thirteenth should be represented as dead, and restored to her in the evening after the ceremony,

“Paula was now waiting to see the victims appear, and assure herself that the Grand Inquisidor had kept his promise.

“An immense crowd was hurrying towards the great square; and the multitude extended from that place to the very doors of the prison. At length those doors opened, like the gates of hell: the procession issued from the inquisitorial dungeons; and the victims commenced their sorrowful march to death!

“Paula was in front of the crowd: and anxiously did she watch the melancholy cortege. The first victim who appeared was an archbishop—a holy prelate revered throughout Spain. Next came two nuns, condemned to death for having read a Lutheran bible. The fourth victim was a Moorish youth, doomed for practising the worship of his ancestors. Several citizens followed:—Paula counted them all—one after the other, until at length the twelfth had issued from the door.

“But, oh! heavens—there was a thirteenth; and he was a pale and livid spectre, whose limbs had been dislocated by torture. Two priests and two familiars supported him—for he could not walk!

“Paula did not for a moment recognise him—so changed was he! A young man of twenty-one seemed to be overwhelmed with decrepitude and age.

“But he—at the sight of that maiden whom he had so tenderly loved,—he extended his arms with difficulty towards her, and in a faint voice invoked a blessing upon her head.

“‘Paula, Paula! may the Almighty protect thee, beloved one!’—and then he fell, almost senseless, into the arms of the familiars.

“A cry of despair emanated from the lips of Paula: she would have flown towards him, but a familiar brutally repulsed her. Then, animated by a sudden idea, she made her way with marvellous rapidity through the crowd, to the gate whence Peter Arbuez was that moment issuing with his colleagues and attendants.

“‘Mercy, mercy, my lord!’ she cried.

“‘Keep back that woman,’ said the Grand Inquisidor: ‘I know her not!’

“Paula fell senseless upon the ground; and no one succoured her. When she awoke to consciousness, she hastened to the great square: the flames ascended to heaven, mingled with volumes of smoke. All was over!

“The Grand Inquisidor was sitting upon his throne, calm and collected. Then Paula raised her arms to heaven, and, with a glance of mingled despair and fury at the monster, exclaimed, ‘Arbuez, I curse thee! Arbuez, beware of my vengeance!’ But the din of the crowd drowned the voice of Paula; and no one took heed of her.

“Six months afterwards a young man presented himself at the convent of Dominicans in Seville. This young man was anxious to become a priest. He was a little more than twenty years old, and knew not a word of Latin; but he possessed a fine intellect, and in less than three years after his admission was so well versed in the Latin tongue that he was instructed in theology. He then entered his noviciate. At that time Peter Arbuez observed him, and, by one of those caprices which are so common amongst men of a fanatic nature, took a liking to him. Joseph—such was the young noviciate’s name—became his favourite; and so much ingenuity and cunning did this favourite practise, that he rendered himself necessary to the happiness of Peter Arbuez. Joseph had become the slave, in order to become the master of the Grand Inquisidor; and at length Peter Arbuez did nothing without consulting him.

“Then Joseph constantly urged the Grand Inquisidor to the most monstrous deeds, in order to make his character more horrible, his memory more atrocious. And in Joseph’s hands the Grand Inquisidor became a very demon who could expect no pity upon earth, and no mercy in heaven. At length the last royal auto-da-fe—the most terrible of all which Peter Arbuez had ever superintended or devised—was the crowning stone of the colossal edifice of that man’s enormity. Then was the time to cut him off in the acme of his infamy; and the hand of Joseph became the instrument of the justice of heaven.

“Thus Paula was avenged; for Paula and Joseph were one and the same being!”


At one of the numerous taverns which overlook the port of Cadiz, three persons were assembled in a private apartment.

These were the Count and Countess de Vargas and John of Avila.

For a fortnight they had awaited the arrival of Joseph, who had promised to join them there; and their uneasiness at his prolonged absence was enhanced by the mysterious conduct of Juanna, who had suddenly disappeared when only a short distance from Seville.

A sailor now entered to take the baggage of the Count and Countess on board a vessel which was about to sail. But Dolorez retained near her the little bag which contained the ashes of her father.

Scarcely had the sailor retired, when two persons entered the room. Great was the surprise of Stephen, Dolorez, and John of Avila, when they recognised Joachim and his sister Graciosa.

“What are you doing at Cadiz?” inquired the apostle kindly.

“We come to seek my lord De Vargas, and her ladyship, in order to offer them our services, and follow them whithersoever they go. Mandamiento acquainted us with the route you had taken: he knew that we were faithful.”

“Thanks for your devotion,” said Stephen; “but I am nothing more than a poor exile, and shall have to toil in a foreign land for our bread.”

“Not so poor as your lordship imagines,” said Joachim.

“And Don Joseph—what has become of him?” demanded Dolorez, interrupting that strange observation.

Joachim and Graciosa hung down their heads and wept.

“Speak! has aught happened to him?” cried Stephen.

Then Joachim related all the sad events which had occurred at Seville. John of Avila, Dolorez, and Stephen were stupefied by the terrible tale.

“Oh! I knew that Joseph was a martyr!” exclaimed Dolorez, weeping bitterly.

“That is not all, my lady,” continued Joachim, drawing from his doublet the little pocket-book which Paula had confided to him: “this is for you!”

“For me!” said Dolorez, in astonishment.

“For your ladyship,” answered Joachim: “it contains the poor victim’s fortune!”

Dolorez kissed Paula’s gift affectionately, and placed it in her bosom.

A mariner now entered to say that a boat was in readiness to convey the party on board the ship, which was about to sail for England, a fair breeze having sprung up.

“Your lordship will not refuse to take us with you?” said Graciosa, clinging to her brother.140

“No,” answered Don Stephen: “we will not leave you behind in this unhappy land.”

Then Dolorez approached the apostle, and said, “Holy father, you too will accompany us?”

“No, daughter,” answered John of Avila; “the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed in Spain have need of me. But I bless thee, Dolorez—I bless thee, Stephen; and to you, also,” addressing himself to Joachim and Graciosa, “I give my blessing!”

“Adieu, holy father!” cried the four persons on whom the blessings of that excellent man were thus conferred with so much sincerity: “adieu! and may heaven recompense you for all your goodness!”

John of Avila wept in concert with those who were about to quit their native land for ever; and he did not leave the port of Cadiz, on his road back to Andalusia, until the ship which wafted them away was out of sight.


Joseph’s manuscript The French text has Joseph deliver the following revelations during his trial, before his execution. By restructuring the end of the tale, Reynolds has prolonged the suspense regarding the priest’s secret.
the Cid Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (1043-1099), known as El Cid Campeador, was a mercenary Castilian military leader, celebrated as a hero of the Reconquista though he previously fought alongside the Moors against Christians whilst in exile for financial gain.
Diana the huntress ‘An ancient Italian female divinity, the moon-goddess, patroness of virginity and of hunting; subsequently regarded as identical with the Greek Artemis’ (OED).
sail for England ... take us with you In the French text, they board a Dutch vessel with, in addition, Manofina and Culevrina.
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