A 'Price One Penny' Edition

June 7, 1845

Up: The Mysteries of the Inquisition. Previous: May 31, 1845 Next: June 14, 1845

A Miracle

How beautiful is the City of Seville! With its Moorish architecture, its mighty monuments of ancient times, its relics of a proud age of chivalry, and its numerous churches whose tall towers and spiral heights seem to bury their heads in the blue sky,—it presents to the eye as fair a sight as man could wish to gaze upon. But, alas! though beautiful in the sixteenth century as it is now, it deserved not then the denomination of the “gay and laughing City,” for its very vitals were the prey of a malignant serpent swathed in fire—the INQUISITION.67

It will be remembered that Henriquez, Governor of Seville, by the grace of his lordship Peter Arbuez, was a familiar of the Holy Office ere he attained that high and exalted dignity. It was not therefore very probable that he would allow the opportunities afforded him by his new functions, to pass away without manifesting his zeal in behalf of those interests which were so closely identified with his own. He accordingly entered upon his career by effecting several arrests amongst the principal inhabitants of Seville.

Many very remarkable men, learned and pious doctors in theology, talented women, and lovely girls, whose only fault was their repugnance to surrender themselves to the arms of the licentious priests that confessed them, languished in the prisons of the Inquisition—the general accusation being a suspicion of Lutheranism.

Alarmed—not for himself, but for those whom he loved—by this recommencement of persecutions, the Apostle had advised Stephen de Vargas to depart for a short time from Seville; he himself being also anxious to visit the circumjacent villages. They accordingly departed together, and proceeded toward St. Lucar.68

This was the reason why Dolorez had found no one at the house of the Franciscan.

It was the custom of that man of God to make occasional excursions amongst the numerous villages of Andalusia, his tolerance admitting no distinction between one sect and another—one profession or another, and therefore welcoming Jews and Christians, Moorish descendants and Gipsies. Some he consoled—others he led away from evil courses—all he encouraged, and over all he shed the dew of his charity.

Throughout Andalusia the name of the Apostle was a magic talisman: it was sufficient to pronounce it to behold every mouth smile, and all eyes turn up to heaven with an expression of gratitude.

Thus, wherever the rumour spread from one village to another, that he had commenced his tour, the roads were speedily lined with women carrying their children in their arms. They awaited the progress of the saint, in order to be the first to receive his blessing; and when they had touched the hem of his garment, they considered themselves absolved from all sins and saved from all evils.

Vainly did the Apostle say to them, in a tone of gentle authority, “It is not to me that you must render homage: I am dust like you; and it is the Almighty above who addresses you by means of my voice.”

The people, always somewhat pagan in their adoration, considered it much more simple to prostrate themselves at the feet of that man whom they saw, than before God whom they did not see.

“My son,” said the Apostle to Stephen, who was astonished at the docility of those rude persons in the presence of the holy man, “behold how easy it is to render men submissive and pious, if, instead of brutalizing them by terror and irritating them by torture, the intelligent portion of the world would make use of kindness and call generosity to their aid. Instead of that, the religious teachers fill the heads of those poor ignorant creatures with vain superstitions: they torment them so much, and they do them such little good, that they think of nothing else than Satan and Hell, of which they receive so terrible a foretaste on earth. Deprived of consolation, hope and happiness, they become fanatic, cruel, and weak.”

“How can it be otherwise?” demanded Stephen. “Those poor creatures possess nothing—the monks have taken everything away from them; and each day the Inquisition deprives them of the only thing which remains to them—liberty of conscience. And yet how easy would it be to impart happiness to a people so ardent—so docile—and so unpretending!”

“And more than that—brave and intelligent,” said the Apostle. “The Spanish character is a singular admixture of gaiety, sharpness, and natural good sense which renders all serious meditation easy to them. The Spanish people are capable of comprehending life in its most extensive and elevated aims. And, alas! those men, so brave, so affectionate, so frank, and so open, have been converted into cowards and hypocrites—worse, into denouncers of the innocent! Even I owe my security only to the habit which I wear. Had I been a layman, I would have endeavoured to render them the same services—I should have preached to them the same morality,—they might have taken me for a Lutheran, and I should have paid with my life my zeal for their happiness.”

“Take care, holy father,” said Stephen: “the Archbishop Alphonso Maurico and the lord Arbuez may not always respect your habit, and more than the Grand Inquisidor Torréquemada did that of the bishops of Calahorra and Segovia69.”

“Torréquemada was a cruel man—a very cruel man,” said the Apostle, with a sigh; “but at least to his brutal fanaticism and his inexorable cruelty, he did not join the most infamous debauchery.”

As they thus conversed together, the Apostle and his companion reached a little village built upon the summit of a mountain, as many hamlets are in Spain. Low houses, painted with red and green colours, formed two tortuous lines upon the crest of the eminence, thus constituting one street, ending with a little church, whose pointed spire rose to a height of forty feet above the houses.

When the two travellers reached this village, everything was calm. It was nearly night; and the villagers, just returned from their work, occupied themselves in silence with the repast of the evening.

As they passed by a very low, long dwelling, whose dilapidated appearance announced the extreme of misery, they stopped simultaneously, struck by the sounds of numerous voices joining in a hymn. There were evidently many persons in that house, where some strange event was apparently taking place.

The travellers listened for some time; and suddenly they heard a shrill feminine voice exclaim, “Poor Pablo! He was so well this morning.”

“There is some one here who requires our aid,” said the Apostle; and he pushed open the door.

Stephen entered with him.

In a miserable hovel whither the light could scarcely penetrate and the unequal and damp earth-floor of which was covered with rags and tatters of all kinds, about twenty gipsies, men and women—children and young girls, surrounded a man seated on a chair in his holiday garments, and in a graceful attitude.

The man was very pale and seemed to sleep.

The queen of this strange assembly of Bohemians presided on the occasion.

On the arrival of the Apostle and his companion, the circle of gipsies did not change its position; but the queen beckoned the Apostle to take a seat on a low stool—the only one that there was in the place. Stephen remained standing.

“What does this mean?” he demanded of the Apostle.

“That man is dead; and these are the funeral ceremonies.”

A gipsey advanced towards the dead man, and placed a lute in his arms. He then began, in a loud tone, to accuse himself of all the crimes which he had committed since the death of the last gipsey who had paid the debt of nature in that cabin previous to Pablo.70

When he had ended his strange confession, the gipsey called upon the corpse, saying, “Play—and if I have acted badly, let your music render me deaf; and if I have not done wrong, move not, and I shall consider myself absolved.”

As the reader may well imagine, the corpse did not obey the first injunction of the gipsey.

“What barbarism!” whispered Stephen, as the man withdrew to his place in the circle, delighted with the result of his adjuration.

“Wait a moment, my son,” said the Apostle; “this is not all.”

Each of the gipsies made his confession in turn; and the whole crew remained completely assured that the dead body had granted them absolution. They were therefore now as innocent as doves.

Several gipsies then lighted torches of fir-wood. The Apostle, who for the time in which he lived, possessed a deep knowledge of medicine, examined the dead attentively.

“The members of that corpse are very supple,” he said to Stephen; “and his features have not undergone the least change, he is only very pale.”

“That is true,” replied Stephen, who now examined him in his turn.

But in a few moments it was no longer possible to continue that scrutiny; for a young girl, with a dark brown face, brilliant white teeth, and long flowing black hair, placed herself in front of the deceased, and began to dance a lascivious and animated fandango. Gradually all the members of the gipsey conclave imitated her example, one after another; the room actually oscillated with the steps of the dancers; they took each other by the hand, and whirled in a circle round the dead.

They commenced with a measured and slow movement, as if they were anxious to practise the dance: then their career gradually became more rapid, until it grew into a perfect whirl—so that at length it seemed as if a troop of demons were hurried round by some invisible agency.

Suddenly that furious troop stopped, uttering loud cries. The corpse had been thrown from its seat, and had fallen in the middle of the circle, against a young girl who, more nimble than the rest, had caught her scarf in the metal buttons on the garments of the corpse. The gipsey drew back with a movement of horror; and the corpse fell with its face on the floor.

“Jesus!” exclaimed the queen of the gipsies; “what a misfortune! Poor Marica—that Pablo should have fallen upon you!”

“Yes,” said several others; “and now great misfortunes await her, unless she will consent to pass the night by the side of the corpse.”

“I pass the night with the corpse!” ejaculated the gipsey in alarm;—“to see all the devils come and dance round him, and perhaps carry him off!”

“I would stay with you willingly, poor Marica,” said a tall young man, casting a tender glance upon the gipsey: “but then your vigil would be useless.”

“Oh! I am afraid—I am afraid to pass the night alone by his side,” cried the young damsel, weeping bitterly. “I would rather die if Pablo will have it so.”

While the gipsies were thus debating together upon this grave point, the Apostle had advanced towards the corpse; and, stooping down to raise him, he perceived that Pablo had received a slight wound on the forehead, which was bleeding.

“Silence, my children!” he exclaimed. “This man is not dead!”

The cries ceased as by enchantment; and all the gipsies remained enchained to the spot by a sort of stupid astonishment. They had danced without fear around the corpse: they were now afraid of the man whom they expected to see recover from the jaws of death.

Aided by Stephen, the Apostle seated Pablo on the stool; and, taking from his pocket a flask which never quitted him, he made the gipsey inhale the strong salts which it contained, while De Vargas rubbed his hands briskly between his own.

At the expiration of a few moments, Pablo opened his eyes: his countenance suddenly became flushed; the reaction menaced him with an attack of apoplexy.

The monk then irritated the wound on Pablo’s forehead to make it bleed copiously, and desired Stephen to rub his lower extremities with vigour. The invalid shortly respired freely, opened his heavy eyes once more, and cast his looks around him with stupid astonishment.

He was saved! He had merely experienced a fainting fit, followed by a profound lethargy, occasioned by an excess of drunkenness.

But, in seeing him resuscitated whose funereal rites had just been celebrated, the gipsies fell upon their knees; and the youngest rushed out into the street, exclaiming that the saint had just performed a miracle. The resuscitated individual himself, still feeble and scarcely able to maintain himself on his seat, seized the Apostle’s hand, and covered it with kisses, saying, “I was dead—and you have recalled me to life.”

“It was not I,” answered the Apostle; “it was God.”

“Holy father,” said Don Stephen de Vargas, in Latin, so as not to be understood by those who surrounded them; “why do you permit these poor creatures to believe that the man was dead, and is resuscitated?”

“My son,” answered the Apostle, “these people are not yet fitted for the truth. If we were to endeavour to explain to them in a natural manner the phenomenon which has just been accomplished, they would declare that we were sorcerers who operated by magic. Leave them in their harmless and ingenuous belief—it is their only consolation.”

By this time the rumour that a miracle had been accomplished, had induced the inhabitants to leave their dwellings: the little children themselves left their evening meal of olla podrida;71 and everyone rushed to the spot where a saint had just raised the dead.

Having distributed some trifling alms among the gipsies, and exhorted them to renounce their avocations of plunder and murder,—exhortations which they always heard with respect and emotion, but which they speedily forgot in consequence of their savage nature, the principles of which were deeply rooted in their souls,—the Apostle, accompanied by Don Stephen, left them, in order to carry succour and impart consolation to those poor creatures in the village who might stand in need of either.

The two travellers were not compelled to take the trouble to enter the houses. A compact crowd precipitated themselves around them; but that mass of human beings opened respectfully to make way for the holy man. And he, stopping before each, made kind enquiries after their families, their wants, and their sufferings: to those who seemed ill or afflicted, he gave remedies and consolation; and to those who were badly clothed, he gave money to purchase raiment.

But to all he preached equally obedience and resignation; for, he said, that the murmurs and irritations of the soul amended nothing, and only rendered the ills of life the more onerous.

The impetuous Stephen, in spite of his philosophical doctrines which tended towards principles of the most active reformation, could not help admiring the wisdom of that man. Indeed, it was a touching scene—the passage of the Apostle in the midst of that oppressed and enthusiastic population! It was like a ray of the sun falling upon the darkness of those simple but ardent souls!

“Maria,” said a young man to his wife, “our child will be beautiful and good, for the Apostle looked upon him and kissed his little hand.”

“The next harvest will be good,” exclaimed another; “the Apostle has come amongst us with a blessing.”

“The thunder and lightning of heaven,” cried a third, “will respect my house: the Apostle stopped as he passed by the door!”

“God will bless you, because you are good,” answered the saint; “and you will be happy, so long as you injure no one.”

“Holy father,” cried a young woman, who, carried twins, still infants, in her arms, “they have put my husband into the prisons of the Inquisition, because he was a converted Moor, and because he did not go to mass on the day when I brought these children into the world.”

“Have patience, my daughter,” said the Apostle, raising his eyes to heaven; “God will console you—and I will do all I can to assist you.”

“He is really a saint,” whispered an old woman: “he is not afraid of the Inquisition.”

“Woman,” said the Apostle, who had overheard her, “those who really believe in God, are afraid of nothing.”

Thus terminated that day’s labours.

Stephen and his guide accepted of some provisions, which they placed in their wallets, and for which they paid a hundred-fold: they then repaired to a little cottage, where a good old shepherd was accustomed to afford hospitality to the excellent Apostle. There they reposed for the night, and in the following morning they continued their tour.

Joseph Again

Events of a different nature from those we have just narrated, compel us to return to Dolorez, whom we left on her way to the tavern in Gipsie’s Alley.

Arrived in the filthy street, she speedily recognised the humble place of entertainment.

There were but few persons in the public room when she entered it. Two or three monks were employed in emptying a flask of wine, and indulging in a chat:—at another table a man and woman miserably clad, were making a meal off some black bread, raw onions, and a measure of the commonest wine;—and in a corner sate a familiar of the Inquisition, dozing.

The little tapers were lighted around the room, and threw a dubious lustre upon the obscurity of the apartment. The tranquillity which reigned throughout the place somewhat reassured the trembling maiden. She however hesitated at the threshold for a few moments, for she did not see Graciosa, and she knew not precisely how to ask for her. But presently Graciosa appeared at the door of her little kitchen. Then Dolorez, arming herself with all her courage, entered the tavern, and hastily advanced towards the young female.

When she had come quite close up to Graciosa Dolorez drew aside her mantilla from her face and was immediately recognised by the pretty hostess. But Dolorez, on her part, had also recognised the young woman who had been sent as a messenger to her on the occasion of the horrible plot from which she had escaped so providentially, when the Gardunos overpowered the sbirri near the gate of the Giralda.

Graciosa regarded her with a suppliant air; and, with a presence of mind truly Andalusian, took her enthusiastically by the hand, and pretended to kiss her on both cheeks.

“Ah! is it you, my dear Anna,” she cried in a joyful tone. “How delighted I am to see you, my sweetest cousin. But come, Anna,” she continued, leading Dolorez into the little apartment adjoining the public room; “come, and let us talk of my dear aunt and your good brothers. Oh! how delighted I am to see you!”

During this volume of words, Graciosa had conducted Dolorez beyond the prying eyes of the inmates of the tavern; and the young lady, who could scarcely sustain herself, so deeply was she excited, threw herself on a chair in one corner of the room.

“Reassure yourself, senora,” said Graciosa in a whisper; “and fear nothing. I will give my life to save yours.” Then, perceiving that Dolorez was acquiring confidence, she added, “Pray affect to converse familiarly with me: we must deceive spies.”

At that moment a monk asked for a flagon of wine: Graciosa, nimble and active, hastened to serve him.

“My dear little cousin,” she said to the young woman who was supping at the table off bread and onions, “has come on a visit to me.”

But the woman to whom Graciosa addressed herself, was the sole person there to whom Dolorez was not unknown: that woman was Culevrina, and at the moment when the young lady had entered the tavern, the serena had recognised her. Manofina,—for he was the man with whom she was supping,—had not so good a memory. Women alone possess that perspicacity of a glance rapid as the thought.

The serena smiled, but made no reply. A few moments afterwards Manofina rose to depart: Culevrina then drew near Graciosa, who had stepped to the front door to see if her brother were coming.

“Graciosa,” said the Culevrina, “take great care of your cousin; and if she require our aid,—I mean mine and Manofina’s,—you know where to find us.”

The young maiden opened her eyes with astonishment.

“I know your cousin,” continued Culevrina, with peculiar emphasis on the word cousin.

“Culevrina, do not mention this,” said Graciosa imploringly.

“Not I,” was the answer: “I should scorn to do so. But what have you to fear; is she not under the guardianship of the Apostle? I love her as much as you do on that account. The Apostle taught Manofina and me what virtue is. But remember what I have told you. Farewell.”

The ex-member of the Garduna and his companion took their departure.

“Let us see your cousin, Graciosa,” said a fat monk, already overtaken by the fumes of wine: “is she as pretty as you?”

“Oh; poor girl, leave her to herself,” cried Graciosa; “she is as timid as a lamb.”

“But that does not prevent her from being pretty.”

“You shall see her to-morrow, when she is not fatigued,” was the answer.

The arrival of a numerous band of workmen, who came to sup, put an end to this colloquy. The monk continued to drink. Graciosa having served everybody with a vivacity and alertness quite remarkable, profited by the general occupation which always followed the commencement of a repast, and the noise which the clatter of knives and forks made on the plates, to converse in the inner room, in a low tone, with Dolorez.

“Graciosa,” said the young lady, “do you know Father Joseph?”

“Certainly, senora: he is a saint—although he wears the dress of the Inquisition. He came yesterday evening, and told me that if you asked for him I was to go and fetch him.”

“Oh! then he has not deceived me,” said Dolorez breathing more freely.

“And have you pardoned me?” exclaimed Graciosa, weeping.

“Yes, I pardon you, although you did me a great deal of harm.”

“I knew not what I was doing: I obeyed—and that was all! Oh! if you were only aware how much one must do to save one’s life!”

“Poor creature!” ejaculated Dolorez: “do not think of me now—attend to your customers—they are calling you.”

Graciosa returned to the public room, served the inmates, and then hastened back to Dolorez. The young lady was very pale: she had taken nothing all day save the fruit in the Apostle’s garden.

“Give me something to eat,” she said; “I am dying for wont.”

“Heavens! why did you not speak before?” ejaculated Graciosa; “everything I have here is at your service.”

The young hostess spread a clean napkin on a little round table, and placed thereon meat, bread, and chocolate. Dolorez partook slightly of the repast; and had scarcely concluded, when a strange noise was heard in the other room. Every one there had risen by a spontaneous movement of respectful deference; for the favorite of the Grand Inquisidor had just entered the tavern!

Joseph passed, with head erect, and with a haughty air, in the midst of the crowd, for whom his lip expressed the most profound contempt. He repaired straight to the kitchen. Dolorez raised towards him her beautiful countenance, on which were expressed painful emotions of suspense and a faint ray of hope.

“Here already?” said Joseph, recognising her.

“Already!” repeated Dolorez. “Holy father, that word sounds like a reproach.”

“Do not think so, dear sister,” answered Joseph. “I am only surprised, because yesterday you told me that you had an asylum.”

“I thought so; holy father; but I am accursed, like Cain. Him whom I sought was gone—or perhaps is dead. I passed the night in a garden —and this day also. It was with difficulty I procured these humble garments to disguise me.”

“You acted prudently in so disguising yourself,” said Joseph. “You are indeed exposed to danger; but I will watch over you. No one will ever suspect Father Joseph of the Inquisition of having given you an asylum.”

“Holy father, what course would you recommend me to pursue?” enquired Dolorez hastily.

“Do you mistrust me, senora?” asked Joseph, fixing upon her a glance full of frankness and benevolence.

“Oh! no—no,” she exclaimed, joining her hands together, “that kind look—”

“Poor innocent creature! have you no other guarantee of my good faith than my kind looks! Do you not know that beneath a calm exterior I might conceal the heart of a tiger? Is there no presentiment that tells thee that thy cause is mine, and that I will defend thee as if thou wast mine own sister, and the same breast had nourished us?”

“Do with me as thou wilt,” said Dolorez, now completely reassured by the tone and manner of that strange young priest.

Two tears—bitter, corroding tears,—tears which had been long, long restrained,—started from the eyes of Father Joseph.

“You weep, my friend,” exclaimed Dolorez. “Oh! thou shouldst not have been born in this iron age!”

“God casts us here when he willeth, and for what he willeth—that we may either persecute others, or suffer ourselves.”

“Oh! how your sorrow grieves me! And yet I will trust you—I will go whithersoever thou wilt conduct me. And then,” she added, with a little hesitation, “I had something more to ask you.”

“Speak,” said Joseph.

“I was affianced to Don Stephen de Vargas, and—”

“I know it,” answered Joseph, stifling a melancholy sigh. “Take courage—Don Stephen is in safety.”

“And you have saved him also!” cried Dolorez joyously.

“No—the eternal justice of God protected him. God commands—I obey.”

“Oh! holy father, may that same Almighty bless thee for having preserved Stephen de Vargas!” exclaimed the maiden clasping her hands together.

All this conversation was carried on in a low tone in the kitchen of the little tavern. Graciosa came and went, distributing meat and wine to her customers; and such was the respect in which the Holy Inquisition in general and the inquisidors in particular were held, that no one ventured a single observation upon that long conversation between the young monk and the cousin of Graciosa.

In the meantime Joachim, Graciosa’s brother, returned to the tavern.

Joseph took him aside, and said, “While your sister is occupied, follow me with that young lady to the confines of the city.”

“Your Reverence shall be obeyed,” answered Joachim. “But will you pass through the room together, since it is full of guests?”

“No—you and I will go out that way,” said Joseph; “and the young lady will leave by the little back door of your inner apartment.”

Adjoining the kitchen was a small room, which served as Joachim’s sleeping apartment, and which had a door at the end, opening into another street.

The Dominican left the tavern, accompanied by the respectful salutations of the assembly. Joachim followed him into the alley. They then repaired to the next street, where they found Dolorez waiting for them. She said farewell to Graciosa, and followed Joseph who acted as guide; for neither Joachim or herself knew whither he was going.

“You are not afraid now?” said Joseph, pressing the trembling hand of Dolorez Argoso.

“Oh! no—no,” she cried, supporting herself upon his arm with a noble confidence.

They all three continued their way together.

How beautiful is ... the INQUISITION. Reynolds added the entire paragraph 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.
St. Lucar Sanlúcar la Mayor is situated 18 km to the west of Seville.
Calahorra and Segovia ‘These two bishops were the sons of baptized Jews, but they enjoyed general esteem. The inquisitor Torrequemada caused them to be put on trial, although according to the apostolic canons, bishops were not under the jurisdiction of the inquisition. The two prelates repaired to Rome to appeal to the pope. The sovereign pontiff referred the affair to other bishops, whose decision was favourable to the accused. As indemnity for the persecutions which they had experienced, the pope nominated the bishop of Segovia as ambassador to Naples, and the bishop of Calahorra to Venice. The inquisitor was not disheartened. Torrequemada found means to bring a new process to bear against them, in which he succeeded in proving that these bishops had fallen into heresy, and in causing them to be confined in a castle, where they died after having been deprived of all their property, and degraded from the episcopal dignity.—(Llorente, History of the Inquisition.)’ (p. 90*)
paid the debt of nature Died.
olla podrida ‘The puchero is a [pot-au-feu, i.e. thick soup], composed of several kinds of meat, [vegetables], and chick-peas. Rich people add to it el chorizo, sausage, and la morcilla, black pudding. The puchero is then called olla podrida.’ (p. 91*)
Up: The Mysteries of the Inquisition. Previous: May 31, 1845 Next: June 14, 1845
Victorine Subervic and Manuel de Cuendías. Date: 1 July 2013