The Project Gutenberg eBook of Don Sebastian

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Don Sebastian

or, The house of the Braganza: An historical romance. vol. 2

Author: Anna Maria Porter

Release date: July 28, 2022 [eBook #68608]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1809

Credits: Sonya Schermann and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


[Image of the book's cover unavailable.]


Some typographical errors have been corrected; a list follows the text.

(etext transcriber's note)




J. M‘CREERY, Printer,
Black-Horse-Court, Fleet-Street, London.








Take Physic, Pomp!
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
So shalt thou shake the superflux to them,
And shew the Heavens more just.
King Lear.




[Pg 1]





The first day on which Gaspar was able to walk out, Sebastian obtained leave for him to breathe the air of the gardens in the cool of evening: all the slaves were retired to supper, when the grateful soldier hesitatingly accepted the support of his King, and slowly proceeded from his chamber.

“At moments like these,” whispered he, “I cannot believe myself awake.—So[Pg 2] supported—so attended,—oh sire! in Portugal this would have been impossible.”

“Only because in Portugal I should not have known your value.” Sebastian could not forbear sighing as he spoke—but quickly smiling, he added, “Trust me, Gaspar, I shall not feel less a King when again seated on the throne of my ancestors, for having administered to your sufferings and shewn my gratitude for your rare attachment. I take your heart as a sample of all my people’s; and the reflections your generous sensibilities have given rise to, shall teach me to respect their feelings, though at the expense of my own extravagant desires.”

They now moved slowly on: a gentle breeze just stirred the leaves of the umbrageous plane trees, mingling their murmurs with the cooling sound of fountains and water-falls; a balmy smell from fruits and flowers delighted the senses of Gaspar; his eyes wandered with pleasure over the beautiful gardens, and the con[Pg 3]sciousness of reviving health diffused through his heart and over his face an air of grateful complacency. His pale cheek and feeble frame presented an interesting contrast to the yet vigorous youth of Sebastian: like a young cedar of Libanus, flourishing in eternal spring, his manly beauty seemed formed for duration.

Having conducted Gaspar into the labyrinth, the King laid him down upon one of its mossy couches; fearing to exhaust him by conversation, he took out his flute, and played several soft airs.

The music, the profound tranquillity, and his extreme weakness, by degrees stole upon the senses of Gaspar; and he dropt to sleep: Sebastian observed it in silence; then fearing to awake him, rose to seek some other slave who might assist in conveying him to his chamber.

For this purpose he quitted the labyrinth: the pale evening star twinkling through innumerous boughs, alone lighted him on his way. Glowing with bene[Pg 4]volent and friendly joy, he trod with a lighter step, and looked even in the gardens of El Hader as he had done in the magnificent precincts of Xabregas: though wrapt in a homely dress, the kingly air was still visible. There is a gracefulness of mind which ennobles the meanest habit; that grace now gave picturesque grandeur to the coarse drapery of Sebastian. His neck and head were bare; but the crown of Portugal itself, could not have added majesty to that commanding brow, nature’s hand had encircled it with a crown: his dark brown hair glowing with living gold, hung in glossy curls over his forehead and his cheek, discovering at intervals, as the breeze lifted it, those eyes and that mouth whose sweetness had once been proverbial in a court.

Hastening onwards, he was startled by the sight of Kara Aziek standing alone, as if she had been listening to the sound of his flute: after an instant’s confusion, the impetuous monarch flung himself at her[Pg 5] feet, and uttered in Moresco a hasty expression of gratitude, then remembering what Hafiz had said of her accomplishments, and fearing to be overheard, he changed his accent, and spoke to her in Italian.

She answered him courteously, though not fluently, in the same language; but her soft voice was so broken by timidity, so mixed with sighs, and interrupted by hesitation, that she was scarcely intelligible. Sebastian remained at her feet, and she had time to recover herself.

“What is it I can do for thee, amiable Christian?” she resumed, “my heart is touched with thy situation.—So young, so brave, so generous as I hear thou art, thou must have many friends in thine own country, the remembrance of whom increases thy present sorrow: would I could restore thee to them! but I cannot; my power extends only to ameliorating thy condition.—What is it I can do for thee?[Pg 6]

“Alas, nothing!” exclaimed the King, pierced with disappointment, “banished from my country, without hope of return, I no longer desire life. I was born, lady, in the midst of power, riches, and honors; I had the means and the will of blessing multitudes; I was surrounded by relations and friends. I am now a slave! if forced at last to abandon the hope of release, do you imagine that any thing can reconcile me to such a destiny? To your heavenly goodness I already owe all the comfort of which my miserable fate is susceptible: ah! could I persuade you to pity me yet further—to procure for me permission to inform one friend of my captivity, and so be ransomed from the Almoçadem!”

“Christian!” said Kara Aziek, after a pause, “thy noble disregard of selfish considerations since thou hast been under the charge of Hafiz, deserves the exertions of all who love virtue; be assured, from this moment, that thou hast made a[Pg 7] friend in Kara Aziek: she will continue to protect thee, she will cautiously labour to obtain thy release; but thou must not be impatient if the time be long, and the object lost. My father will not bear either too frequent or too earnest urging: if I would serve the Christians, I must do it prudently.”

Sebastian put the embroidered hem of her kaftan to his lips: “You are my guardian angel, he exclaimed, and there are hearts in Portugal worthy of knowing yours, that shall one day bless you!”

The young monarch’s emotion interested Kara Aziek, she wished to see him again more distinctly, and for this purpose lifted up her veil; the instant their eyes met, she dropt it with a modest blush. But her soft beauty, like that of the summer moon, instantaneously changed the impetuous ardour of Sebastian; a serene and delightful admiration succeeded to his agitation; her shape, her voice, her countenance, were all lovely, they breath[Pg 8]ed the tenderness and the purity of an angel, and though the radient image of Donna Gonsalva outshone the Moorish Beauty in splendor, it could only have been preferred by a lover.

Every thing in Gonsalva was gay, resistless, triumphant; in Kara Aziek, touching, yielding, and humble; the one seemed a divinity to be worshipped, the other a tender creature to be loved.

Every endearing quality of woman’s fond and faithful heart, beamed from the dewy eyes of Kara Aziek; those eyes bespoke a soul capable of wholly losing itself in the happiness and honour of one beloved object; they promised heroic devotedness, disinterested goodness, virtuous submission: they had never yet known how to express disdain, anger, or desire of rule. It was sufficient to have beheld Kara Aziek but for a moment, to be convinced that she was the sweetest and the gentlest of human beings.

Lost in the remembrance of a counte[Pg 9]nance so engaging, the young King did not remark that his companion heaved several deep sighs: at length, she spoke to him again. “It is then to Portugal that thou wishest to return? It was my mother’s country—perhaps thou hast a mother and sisters there—or a wife—art thou married, Christian?—”

Sebastian answered in the negative with a sigh deeper than her own; Aziek eagerly resumed. “If thou, hast neither mother, sister, nor wife, thou should’st not be so very unhappy at thy present misfortune: think how much keener would have been thy sorrows, had they been increased by the memory of such beloved relations. Learn to be grateful, Christian, to the Great Being for his smallest mercies!”

Sebastian was about to own that Portugal contained one as dear to him as a wife, when she asked after his sick countryman; on hearing that he was then in[Pg 10] the labyrinth, she grieved at having detained his friend, and bade him pursue his way to the house. “Pray warn this poor fellow,” she added, “never again to attempt so rash an enterprize: he may get beyond my father’s walls ’tis true, but wherever he goes he must encounter Moors, or perish for want among solitary places.—Adieu, Portuguese! endure patiently, pray often, hope constantly.”—So saying, the lovely Moor turned away, leaving Sebastian standing where they had first met.

He could not forbear ejaculating a thanksgiving for this fortunate meeting, which licensed him in all those sanguine expectations that otherwise had been fantastic: he blessed the amiable Aziek repeatedly, while hastening to the hall of the household slaves, he procured an assistant, and returned for Gaspar.

The motion, in carrying him, quickly awakened Gaspar, but Sebastian would[Pg 11] not rouse him further by speaking then of his adventure, and shortly afterwards left him to repose for the night.

The next time Kara Aziek saw the King of Portugal, it was again in the gardens, supporting his still-languid friend: she stopt in the midst of her women and asked after the invalid.

Sebastian seized this opportunity of describing his delicate constitution, and beseeching her to order him some less hazardous labour than that of working through all weathers in the open air: at the same time he ventured to solicit indulgence for some other sick captives. Kara Aziek fixed her luminous eyes on him through her veil, with a look of soft admiration.

“How is it,” she said, “that thou dost never ask any thing for thyself?—hast thou been taught to live solely for others?”

“It was the first lesson I ever learnt,” replied Sebastian, “would to God, that I had always practised it! but my heart,[Pg 12] lady, has not room at present for minor wishes; I languish for liberty. While I am a slave, every personal good is indifferent to me.”

“I pity thee, Christian, indeed I pity thee!” said Aziek in a tone of touching sincerity, “if I were the sole arbiter of thy fate, of all fates, there is not a Christian groaning throughout Africa that should remain in his bonds—but, though my father indulges me beyond what any other parent allows, he does not leave me absolute. I must win favours from him by degrees; while thou askest these indulgencies for others, thine own suit remains unurged: choose then between them and thyself! am I to plead for their comfort, or thy freedom?”

“For them! for them!” cried Sebastian.

“Generous Christian!” she exclaimed, extending her arm by an involuntary impulse: Sebastian threw himself at her feet, and ventured to seize and kiss her hand; it was a hand so lovely soft, that it[Pg 13] seemed to melt in the pressure: though his ardour was chastized by respect, Kara Aziek drew back in confusion. “I will learn of thee to be generous,” she added, “to be so, I must risk something, conquer my timid nature, and be importunate for thy sake.” She then earnestly besought Sebastian to concert some mode of ameliorating the condition of all the slaves, and yet rendering them useful to El Hader: if a plan were formed, embracing a variety of objects suited to different degrees of strength and ingenuity, she thought its profitableness would recommend it to her father, and make a strong argument for her to use in urging its adoption.

Delighted with her benevolent idea, Sebastian readily promised to sketch such a plan with Hafiz, and then to submit it for her approval: he accompanied this promise with an animated eulogium upon her mind and heart. At this she blushed timidly, telling him that she owed her thoughtfulness to a few good books which[Pg 14] her mother had taught her to read, and which perhaps might now be a solace to him: the King was gladdened by this offer, and gratefully accepted it.

He then ventured to ask whether Kara Aziek could give him any information about the state of Portugal; she replied with benevolent minuteness. From her answers he learnt that his throne was filled by the Cardinal, Don Henry, and that his own supposed body (obtained through the King of Spain) had been buried at Belem, with royal honours. “Do they lament their late king?” asked Sebastian, with extreme emotion.

“I hear he was in many things worthy to be regretted,” replied Aziek, “but his ill-advised enterprize nearly desolated Portugal; for of the few families he left in it, there was not one that has not lost some relative, either on the field, or by captivity. In this weight of private grief, I suppose a public loss is scarcely felt. Thou didst love thy monarch, I think,[Pg 15] that starting tear honours his memory.” The eyes of the gentle Moor filled with answering tears while she spoke.

Overcome by her obvious remark, Sebastian stifled a groan: again he saw the bloody plain of Alcazar, and again conscience accused him of countless murders. Heart-wrung, even to torture, he leaned in silent agony upon the shoulder of Gaspar, who being ignorant of Italian (in which they spoke) was now surprized and disturbed at his sovereign’s agitation. Kara Aziek regarded him with a mixture of terror and pity.

“Alas! what have I said!” she exclaimed, “that has thus afflicted thee? compose thyself, amiable Christian! thou shalt see thy country again, if Kara Aziek parts with every comfort of her life to obtain thee that felicity.”

Without waiting to receive his thanks, she withdrew hastily, leaving Gaspar to make unsuccessful attempts at soothing his royal friend.[Pg 16]

Aziek had unconsciously planted the dagger of the furies in the very bosom she would fain have shielded from every shaft: care for others, constant occupation, and ceaseless projects of escape, had lately banished from Sebastian’s mind, all self-accusing recollections; but now he saw at one glance his name forgotten or execrated in the land which he loved with parental tenderness, his throne filled by another, his people sunk in funereal gloom, and Donna Gonsalva learning to hate his name, while she wept for her murdered father!

These images were heightened to the wildest excess by a passionate imagination, fruitful in self-tormenting, and as it hurried him in thought from object to object, he sacredly vowed never again to unsheathe the sword but in defence, or for the succour of others: this virtuous vow checked the torrent of sorrow.

The last words of Kara Aziek had escaped his ear; and desperate of release[Pg 17] through her means, (since she herself was so doubtful of it,) he came to the resolution of making some personal effort for his own deliverance: warmed by this new project, he gradually recovered himself, and returned back with Gaspar.

On entering his chamber he found several volumes of Italian and Portuguese authors, which he took up and looked at, without knowing one of their titles; for his mind was otherwise occupied, and he laid himself on his pallet, not to sleep, but to think.

It was now that Sebastian found his first visit to Barbary likely to produce benefit; by it he was made acquainted with all the coast, and much of the interior, he had also acquired information from the persons he redeemed, which now promised to serve him essentially.

In those days the Emperors of Morocco had a right to every captive beyond a certain rank, taken either in battle, or on the seas, and the Moors therefore, fre[Pg 18]quently secreted their noble slaves and conveyed them privately away for the sake of high ransoms: one of these gentlemen who was the property of a low man, had been conducted by him to the castle of Massignan, by a road which the King now tried to recollect. It had lain through a track of more than a hundred miles: Sebastian calculated on being able to pursue the same route undiscovered, as it led principally through desart mountains.

It is true, that before he could reach Massignan, he must cross the river Ardea, the fords of which were all guarded by Moorish posts, for the express purpose of frustrating the escape of run-a-ways. But he had been told of a safe passage in one part where the river narrowed among the Green mountains, and which on account of its remoteness was left unwatched: once there, he might cross, and make directly down to the coast; could he gain Massignan he should be safe.

Neither the savage beasts infesting the[Pg 19] country he must thus traverse unarmed, nor the apprehension of starving, staggered the resolution of Sebastian; he felt that a mighty spirit has something of omnipotence in it; and believed that the all-seeing parent who feeds the fowls of the air, would provide for his limited wants: if he were destined to perish, better to die free, than to linger out life in slavery.

At first he thought of making Gaspar his companion, but a moment’s consideration forbade him to indulge so dangerous a wish: Gaspar could not endure the fatigue and peril to which they must be subjected during such an enterprize, and would in all probability prove the cause of their eventual re-capture: better therefore, to hasten to Masignan and from thence send a King’s offer to El Hader. Long did the generous Sebastian pause upon this obstacle: he abhorred the appearance of abandoning his friend, and would not have resolved on it at last[Pg 20], had he not justly deemed that the only method of procuring his ultimate liberation.

The next object of consideration was how to get beyond the walls of the Almoçadem: so indulged as he had long been, it seemed almost perfidious to repay the lenity of El Hader, and the reliance of Hafiz, by using them for the purpose of escape; yet liberty, sacred liberty, is the birth-right of every man; and he who would enslave his fellow-man, however softly he may weave his chains, has perhaps no legitimate claim to his fidelity.

Sebastian felt the force of this assertion: he had ever scorned dissembling his thirst for freedom, and therefore believed himself still privileged to attempt obtaining it by any bold measure. Ere he finally digested this sudden plan, he endeavoured to obey the humane injunction of Kara Aziek; from the day on which they first met, he had employed himself after [Pg 21]work-hours in visiting the different quarters of the Cassavee, and making such inquiries and observations as were necessary for his purpose. Hafiz accompanied him, completely satisfied with acting in obedience to his mistress. In a short time the King had perfected the theory of a new establishment infinitely more advantageous to the Almoçadem, and far milder for his Christian associates: this project he delivered to Kara Aziek, through Hafiz, who was recommended in it, to be made Governor of the whole. Aziek studied it attentively, and assented to its excellence with all the ardour of her benevolent nature; soon afterwards she sought and obtained her father’s approval.

Transported with this success, she urged El Hader to send for that enlightened Christian, who thus united regard for his interest with pity for his own countrymen; El Hader had not forgotten their last interview, but no longer apprehensive of seeing[Pg 22] a madman, he yielded to his daughter’s wish.

The Almoçadem received Sebastian with his usual good-natured indolence; and after having suggested one or two alterations, and demanded a few explanations, he pronounced the desired acquiescence. Sebastian would not have prostrated himself to any mortal for a favor merely selfish; but at this mercy to so many sufferers, he cast himself at the feet of Kara Aziek, who sat wrapt up in her veil, exclaiming in Italian.

“It is to you, amiable Lady! that the Christians owe these blessings; henceforth I will believe myself your slave, and then bondage will be no longer abhorrent.”

“Ah Christian!” cried the lovely Moor, and stopping abruptly, she averted her eyes with a palpitating heart.

Sebastian knew not the soft confusion his ardent speech had caused; he forgot the woman in Kara Aziek, and saw[Pg 23] only the pure and disinterested spirit of an angel.

El Hader now made some remarks upon the improvements in his domain, which he was told were the effects of his Portuguese slave’s exertions, adding, “Thou must surely be satisfied with the miraculous kindness with which thou are treated, and consequently pleased with thy situation?”

This observation afforded Sebastian the opportunity he sought. “Many and important favors,” he said “I gratefully acknowledge in my own person, and in that of every Christian inhabiting this place, but while I labour to shew my sense of your indulgence by a peaceable demeanour and voluntary acts of service, remember El Hader, that I do not conceive myself bound to forego the hope of liberty: my heart is filled with it;—day and night my thoughts are on it; I warn you therefore not to suppose that any thing can make me abandon a resolution to break my bonds, if[Pg 24] possible. You refuse a ransom, therein you are merciless and tyrannical, and by that act free me from the obligation honour would otherwise impose: would you accept money as an equivalent for me (however exorbitant the sum) I would not steal myself away, and defraud you of your rightful gain, though liberty tempted me from a thousand avenues; now, I hold my conscience unshackled: if I can escape, I will, but wherever I go, be assured I shall bear with me a salutary remembrance of Moorish virtues.”

“Is not this fellow a madman?” asked El Hader, turning with a smile to his daughter. “This confession of his may clip his wings. Christian, (he added) dost thou not believe I can abridge thy present freedom, and so prevent thy escape?”

“Assuredly I do, returned the impetuous monarch, but that consideration ought not to deter me from asserting my[Pg 25] right to use every means of restoring myself to my country. I tell it you, that you may not hereafter call me a base, ungrateful hypocrite; I tell it you, that you may not impute to others my imagined guilt. God forbid that I should be the occasion of any man’s disgrace! should I effect my purpose, recollect it will be all my own work, and that neither your slaves nor your servants will have had the smallest share in it.

“Rash, but amiable man!” exclaimed Kara Aziek, regarding him with a look of admiration, “O that thou couldst forget thy country and be happy in Africa!”

The tenderness of her tone penetrated the heart of Sebastian, he did not reply by words, but his eloquent eyes fixed for a moment upon her, spoke only too ardently the gratitude she inspired: again the soft bosom of Kara Aziek palpitated with an unknown emotion, and covering her figure still more with her veil—(as if[Pg 26] fearing her soul was visible)—she hastily withdrew.

El Hader detained the King a few moments longer, jesting him on his extravagant hopes, and assuring him, that though still indulgently used, he should be well watched. Sebastian listened in silent majesty, then quitted him, completely satisfied with their mutual understanding.

While he returned to toil and the society of Gaspar, who was now able to bear a moderate part in the work of the gardens, Kara Aziek retired to her own apartments agitated with pain and pleasure: unknown to herself, the pity with which she had at first regarded the young and handsome Christian was now changed into a sentiment less disinterested but more animated; his situation and character were alike interesting; his conversation insensibly stole her from herself; and his graceful image contrasted with the swarthy Moors and pallid slaves around, was ever present to her eyes: at the sound of his[Pg 27] voice or his flute, (heard at a distance from the gardens,) she would feel her heart throb tumultuously; and when his past looks or words crossed her memory, a delightful thrill would run through her veins.

Formerly Benevolence was content to administer to his wants and to secure him from hardships; now Love panted to surround him with the delicacies of refinement, and to procure for him exemption from every occupation. She would send him the choicest fruits and viands, essences and fragrant oils for his use after the bath, books, music, and becoming apparel; she would watch his looks with silent anxiety, foreseeing indisposition ere it approached him, and providing against it by medicines prepared by her own hand; a favorite maid cautiously conveyed these things to the apartment of Sebastian, who received them silently and distributed them with discretion.[Pg 28]

Though indulged in a freedom perfectly singular in Barbary, Aziek dared not openly pour upon a Christian such a shower of benefits, she was obliged to find frequent employment for him, that she might see and converse with him unsuspected. At those times she would talk to him not merely of his country but upon such subjects as enlightened her mind and displayed the treasures of his: thus did she unconsciously weave her own chains, little dreaming that the heart she thus learned to idolize, was the property of another.

Wholly devoted to the remembrance of Donna Gonsalva, and too much occupied with his various anxieties, Sebastian never once thought of the possibility of destroying the peace of his benefactress; he beheld her with the tenderest and most exalted admiration; and as she shewed to Gaspar nearly equal compassion, (for Gaspar was dear to her on his account,)[Pg 29] he considered her as a creature formed by providence expressly for the purpose of succouring unfortunate Christians.

The new order of things was now established throughout El Hader’s residence, and Sebastian became painfully anxious for its success. By adapting every occupation to the peculiar powers of each man, and allowing them more rest and more food, he knew that nothing short of determined industry would render their master satisfied with the change; he was therefore obliged to urge these motives unremittingly amongst them till he conquered their habitual languor, and made them feel that the persevering activity of half the day would insure to them repose and comfort during the remainder. The perfect completion of his system left him free to think solely of his escape.

To keep his promise with El Hader, and avert destruction from Gaspar, Sebastian refrained from telling him of his[Pg 30] purpose: alone, and in secret, he meditated and observed.

Though he was permitted to range through every part of the Cassavee domain, it was enclosed by walls of great height and thickness, upon which, at small distances, were placed sentinels day and night; the only possible avenue appeared to be that part where a narrow river washed the eastern wall, the sentinels there were far apart and relying on this natural barrier watched carelessly: here Sebastian thought it practicable to cut a passage through, and so passing from one side to the other, creep through the underwood to the river, and swim across.

The eastern wall was not far from that angle of the building in which he slept, and he might therefore pass and repass with less danger of discovery; though his door was locked nightly, his window was unbarred, and from it he could easily descend into the garden.[Pg 31]

On reconnoitring the particular spot he pitched on, he found that a cluster of very thick trees would conceal him from possible observation, and that a canal, not many paces distant, would serve as a reservoir for the rubbish and stones: inspirited by these providential circumstances he commenced his project the ensuing night.

The implements of daily toil served now for the instruments of freedom; Sebastian was disciplined to labour, and rendered expert by practice; every night he worked during the half of it, leaving the increasing chasm, masked with stones well-fitted. Success seemed to await him; no one hitherto had suspected his nocturnal employment, and Gaspar, for whose delicate health he feared, (as he resolved not to abandon him in a dying state,) rather strengthened than declined. Meanwhile peace and comfort reigned throughout the abode of El Hader; his slaves looked better, and performed more[Pg 32] than they had ever done; groans and sighs were no longer heard in the Cassavee, and if the captives still wept for their country and friends, it was in the privacy of their own chambers.

Kara Aziek continued to move amongst them like the angel of pity; she compassionated them all, but she loved one, whose “looks were now her soul’s food.” Sometimes she sent for him to instruct her in the Portuguese songs and the Portuguese history, and then, though her father were present, she would speak to him in Italian of the subject nearest his heart. Sometimes she would loiter with her women for hours beside him in the gardens under pretence of giving orders about her bowers and her green-houses, when in reality it was to hear the music of his voice and to “suck in the honey of his sweet discourse.”

Indeed Kara Aziek could no longer command, where she would willingly have served; respect ever accompanies love;[Pg 33] and her worth-inspired affection now shrunk from those acts which reminded her that the object of her devotion was in a state of humiliation.

In such interviews the ardent manner of Sebastian deceived her unintentionally: those eyes that spoke even the slightest emotion more distinctly than any other eyes, seemed when expressive of gratitude, to be expressive of love; at sight of her he remembered Donna Gonsalva, and that enchanting recollection diffusing over his countenance the most touching tenderness, made Kara Aziek fondly fancy herself its object.

By these frequent opportunities she saw him under every variety of his various nature; alternately the serenest and the most tempestuous, the tenderest and the fiercest of human beings: her gentle character often trembled at the violence of his; but when the storm was gone, and the sun smiling in his face, she felt only[Pg 34] the fonder anxiety and the deeper interest.

She saw him quick to avenge the wrongs or relieve the pains of others, but regardless still of his own; how then could she denounce that very rashness which disquieted her, since it arose from the excess of a virtue?

Yet she was solicitous to have this rashness moderated, and often took occasion to converse on the subjects of prudence and forbearance: she reminded him that there is no such thing as swaying others, before we have learned to command ourselves; she pointed out to him several instances in which the fierceness of his temper had frustrated the effects of his benevolence: when he sought some indulgence for a fellow captive suddenly overpowered with heat or sickness, if the task-master demurred, he would blaze into indignation, and harden the heart he disdained to soften.

Kara Aziek ventured to shew him the[Pg 35] superior dignity and utility of employing reason at such times rather than anger: he would listen with delight and contrition, though his former habit of exacting obedience from others, rendered it difficult for him to obey himself.

Aziek saw that to conquer his natural infirmity would cost Sebastian infinite trouble,—and to her, it would have been no visible blemish, since she loved him with a tenderness that veiled his very faults;—but she felt that his faults made himself unhappy: how then could they continue a matter of indifference?—with such impatience and imprudence he must ever carry in his own mind the seeds of sorrow and remorse.

Unconscious of his hazardous purpose, she was daily advancing towards the object he desired: her father never left her without bearing away with him some argument in favor of the Christians, and particularly of Sebastian: not daring to ask at once for his liberation, she was[Pg 36] gradually softening and preparing El Hader’s mind for such a request.

Meanwhile time rolled on, and Sebastian completed his laborious task. When he first caught a gleam of the moon-lighted river shining through the important aperture, it seemed as if that sight alone had released him from his bonds; he kissed his bosom cross in a rapture of gratitude, and emotion for awhile prevented him from thinking of his indiscretion in suffering the chasm to remain uncovered; he filled it up immediately, at both extremities, for the night was just closing.

On returning to his chamber he found it impossible to sleep; his heart was too full of anxiety for the event of his enterprize, and for the effect it might have upon Gaspar: to disclose the secret to him, Sebastian believed absolutely necessary, as that would soften the pain of being apparently deserted, and yet could not justly subject him to the vengeance of El Hader.—Gaspar might conscientiously[Pg 37] swear that he had in no way contributed to the escape of his countryman.

Agreeable to these reflections, Sebastian seized an opportunity the next morning, and detailed his project: for awhile the affectionate soldier stood aghast, but quickly recovering, he faltered out a mixed expression of joy and sorrow: he then ventured to solicit his sovereign’s bounty for his mother and sister, praying him to relieve their poverty, and to remember that he was left behind in slavery. The poor youth was frequently on the point of asking to accompany his King, but as often the conviction of his infirm health checked the selfish request.

Sebastian saw only liberty before him, and succour for those he left behind; yet he grieved to part his destiny from that of Gaspar, and at thought of the gentle Aziek, he felt the most piercing regret: her rare goodness and refinement was worthy a nobler fate than that to which she seemed born: she was not adapted to[Pg 38] share with a Harem the capricious favor of an ignorant Mussulman, she was calculated to win and to deserve a heart polished by culture.

Kara Aziek did not appear in the gardens that day, and towards evening Sebastian spoke of her to Hafiz: he learnt from him, that she was gone to Mequinez, to keep the feast of El Ed Geer, with the Almoçadem; at this information his joyous feelings were damped: he had then parted from that amiable being for ever, without having uttered afresh those animated sentiments which filled his heart, and which she might hereafter recollect as a grateful farewel!

The pain of this thought would have tempted Sebastian to delay his departure, had not the image of Donna Gonsalva, sorrowing over his supposed grave, hurried him onwards; he could not however depart, until he had left a slight memorial of his gratitude:—for this purpose he entered the labyrinth, and cut with a knife[Pg 39] upon the chalk of one of its stones, a few words in Italian.

After this tribute to the gentle spirit that had blessed him even in captivity, he hastened from the spot, for it was now the hour of retiring.

Gaspar waited for him in his sleeping room: the night was dark and gusty; a circumstance that awakened some friendly fears in the former; but Sebastian’s soul was roused with the prospect of freedom, and he considered the gloom which alarmed his friend, as favorable to his concealment. They sat together in a remote chamber, watching with extreme anxiety the gradual stillness that spread around them: by degrees the sound of voices and steps died away,—the closing of doors became less and less frequent, till at length profound silence settled over the scene.

They scarcely exchanged even a whisper during this long suspense; Gaspar’s heart was full almost to bursting; for he[Pg 40] felt, that in losing the King of Portugal as a fellow-prisoner, he was losing a friend: that King seated again upon a throne, would not surely acknowledge and love a private soldier! he had heard that “the favor of princes is not fastened by nails of diamonds to men whom they affect,” and while his artless mind dwelt on this saying, the deepest dejection stole over him.

Ideas of such a nature changed his former ease and confidence into awe and distrust; and at the very moment in which Gaspar most longed to throw himself at his beloved master’s feet, there to pour forth all his feelings, he stood sadly silent, scarce venturing to breathe or to raise his eyes from the earth.

Sebastian comprehended these emotions: he took Gaspar’s hand with a warmth and earnestness which enforced his words, and pressing it repeatedly, assured him that neither the pomps nor the cares of a crown could break those bonds in which mutual[Pg 41] suffering and mutual obligation had united them: he renewed his promise of immediately placing Gaspar’s family in competence, and of dispatching an embassy to the Muley of Morocco for the purpose of ransoming him and the rest of the Christians.

“Rely on the word of a King, and the faith of a friend!” he concluded, “all this I solemnly swear to perform should heaven restore me to my throne.—When we meet again, may it be in our dear native land!—then Gaspar thou shalt see how much I love thee.”

Transported with such goodness, the tender-hearted youth wept like a woman; his sovereign’s heart beat high with hope, and could not admit regret; he anticipated a blissful hour of future meeting, and gently chiding his companion, leaped the window of their chamber:—Gaspar followed more cautiously.

Sebastian was lightly clothed in a habit sent him by Kara Aziek, which he had[Pg 42] never yet worn, and therefore could not be described by; in his girdle was stuck a small hatchet, and a Moorish knife, for the purpose of defence; over his shoulder was flung a sort of basket, containing a few Tourkia cakes and dried meats, which he had saved from the daily presents of Aziek.

A short circuit brought them to their place of destination: pushing aside the trees, they gently drew away the loose stones that concealed the aperture; the sullen sound of the river was heard through it: Gaspar looked up fearfully to the sky; the clouds there were thick and dull, but something like light gleamed through them in parts proceeding from the moon now at her full: Sebastian whispered him to be of good cheer; then turning hastily round, he grasped him to his heart without speaking.

Both the King and the soldier trembled in each other’s embrace; at length sinking from his sovereign’s arms, Gaspar[Pg 43] embraced his knees without being able to articulate a single word: Sebastian hastily raised him, embraced him once more, then pressed through the aperture.

With breathless attention Gaspar listened to the rustling of the bushes on the opposite side through which Sebastian had rushed; the next moment he distinctly heard him plunge into the river: at that fearful crisis he crossed his breast and his forehead, and remained kneeling in an agony of supplication; but suddenly recollecting his friend’s injunctions, he hastily filled up the chasm of the wall at each extremity.

At every blast of wind sweeping through the leafy branches over his head, (while thus employed,) he almost fancied that he heard the drowning voice of his King: once he thought the sound of a gun had mingled with the blast, but it was not repeated, and his apprehension ceased.

By degrees the wind sunk into a low[Pg 44] moan, only mixed with the hoarse dashing of the water; neither voice nor step came any longer to his ear: the faithful soldier then sorrowfully arose, and returned to his solitary chamber; piously endeavouring there to cast his cares upon that Almighty Protector who alone is able to destroy and to save.[Pg 45]


Sebastian had to contend with a strong current, but having stripped off his cloaths and fastened them above his head, he was able to breast the powerful water with equal strength; a few strokes of his nervous arm brought him to the opposite bank; he sprung on land, and shaking off the wet quickly re-dressed himself.

While he was fastening on his rude sandals, he looked up to the Cassavee, from whence he had escaped: the faintly glimmering moon now cast a momentary gleam over its high dome, and silvered part of the line formed by the wall, upon which were seen a few sentinels walking to and fro: one of these men appeared to stop and bend forward; Sebastian glided[Pg 46] behind a cluster of sallows; the Moor called out, and receiving no answer, discharged his harquebuss; but whether Sebastian’s profound stillness deceived him into the belief of having mistaken the shadow of a tree for a human figure, or whether he thought all his duty performed by this act, is uncertain,—he waited awhile, then moved away without further scrutiny.

Sebastian crept slowly through the underwood till he found himself in a path gradually declining between tolerably steep hills; no longer afraid of discovery, he rose from his stooping posture, and ran swiftly in a direction leading towards the interior. Happily the moon began to shine distinctly, for a rising east wind scattered the clouds that had before ascended from the west, and now her steady light brightened every hill and every valley.

The royal Portuguese proceeded with rapidity through scenes which increased in wild solitariness; at every step the[Pg 47] heights assumed a bolder and steeper form, the thickets of oak and locust trees became more frequent, and except the din of a torrent which grew upon his ear, nothing was heard to startle even momentary apprehension.

Guiding his course by the stars, he continued to advance among the mountains with the utmost celerity: nature and habit had made him capable of bearing great fatigue without injury; he now flew rather than ran, springing over the broad beds of mountain streams, and leaping from point to point of the rocky fissures.

Day dawned on him in these desart places, but neither flocks nor dwellings appeared to warn him from his fellow men: he pressed forward, eager to get the start of his pursuers, and resolved not to rest till he could do so with a prospect of security.

After journeying till mid-day, chance led him to a steep rocky dell so overhung[Pg 48] with shrubs and trees, that it appeared to promise a safe resting place; he had to stoop under the pendent branches that shaded its entrance, but after passing through them, the foliage fell down again like a curtain, and secured him from observation.

He advanced to the end of this recess, and sat down on a projecting crag; there, for the first time since his escape, he had leisure to think and to calculate on his future movements: the earliest fruit of those reflections was gratitude to that Almighty Being whose hand had thus conducted him in safety; the next emotion was tender remembrance of Gaspar and Kara Aziek, but while he believed that he was hastening from the latter never to see her again, joy brightened regret, for he was returning to Donna Gonsalva.

Never before had Sebastian been sensible to such a sudden translation from misery to transport: Freedom, man’s greatest blessing, the air he is destined to[Pg 49] breathe and to live by, and without which he dies—Freedom, that pure element, which is scarcely felt while it surrounds us, and seldom known but in its privation,—was now his own again; it throbbed in all his pulses, spoke to his senses from every outward object and inward feeling, new-strung his nerves, and turned hopes into certainties.

What bright visions of future happiness, transcending all he had ever yet known, now animated him—in his own person he had acquired a keener relish for the blessings of home and liberty, and he had learned such important lessons as would make him respect those blessings in the persons of others.

Thankful even for captivity, since it had ameliorated his character, he gave no check to sanguine thought: yet thirty leagues of African ground still lay between him and security.

Finding himself faint for want of refreshment, he ate sparingly of his few[Pg 50] provisions, and quenched his thirst with the water of a neighbouring spring, then commending himself to the protection of his tutelary saints, laid down to rest.

When Sebastian awoke, he found the day far spent: he had of late abridged his sleep so much, and been so continually anxious, that this first repose, in a scene of comparative freedom, lasted longer than he wished; however, he awoke with renovated strength, and quitting the dell, resumed his former track.

He had not proceeded far, when he came abruptly upon a flock of goats, with a couple of stout Moorish boys watching them; not allowing them an instant to note his dress or face, he darted down a side declivity and flew along, till seeing the hills opening in several directions, he chose one path at a venture, and soon lost himself among thickets and precipices.—At first he heard the boys voices mixed with those of men; but shortly they ceased to reach him, and he then con[Pg 51]cluded they were seeking him in a different path.

Alarmed by this incident he deemed it best to penetrate further into the mountains, ere he shaped his course downwards towards Massignan, as by so doing he would not be so likely to encounter any Moors but Alarbes, and against meeting them, he must guard as well as possible: it is true that by thus prolonging his journey in desert regions, he incurred the risk of perishing either by famine or by savage beasts; but he believed himself capable of warding off the latter, and for the former he did not fear, as he learned amongst the Alarbes where to find roots and berries fit for sustenance. Putting up a fervent prayer, he resumed his flight.

Night surprized him in a thick forest: to proceed now would have been madness; those enormous serpents and lions with which Africa abounds, were not lightly to be braved in the darkness of vast soli[Pg 52]tudes; he therefore ascended one of the largest trees, where he watched away the remaining hours.

The awfulness of his present situation, and the alarmed state of his spirits, formed a striking contrast to his late exultation: every thing around was dismal; one of those fierce winds which constantly blow in Barbary from the north-east, in the month of March, was now raving through the forest; this was mixed with the distant roar of lions, and the thrilling yell of hyenas; as each pealing blast shook the very roots of the huge oak in which he lodged, he fancied it the fury of some powerful animal, and prepared himself to encounter it with his hatchet.

Night however passed away, and the rising sun flamed over a track which Sebastian now trod with tranquil thankfulness; the beans of the Alcorabe made his scanty breakfast, as he walked under its umbrageous boughs: trusting that he had now baffled pursuit, he proceeded in a[Pg 53] direction which must bring him lower down among the green mountains, and lead directly to the Ardea:—Two hours brought him out into a wide plain skirting their feet; a broad river rolled through this plain, and over it were scattered Alarbe’s tents.

Sebastian’s blood curdled with abhorrence at hearing the tinkling of Zauphens; (a barbarous musical instrument he remembered too well) as he precipitately turned back to retrace his steps, the figures of men crossing from a side eminence forced him to retreat, the men shouted on seeing him, and rushed forwards; others were quickly seen pouring from the tents; some came on foot, some on horseback; they gained upon his steps, till he distinctly recognized the voices of two Moors whom he had known under the roof of El Hader.

Death or slavery was now before him; he flew on the wind, outstripping even their lances and the shot of their harque[Pg 54]busses: the opposite side of the river towards which he made was clothed with woods, could he reach them, (as there was no bridge or boat for the conveyance of his pursuers,) he hoped yet to escape; shaking off his cloak and his baggage, he plunged into the water. Awhile he combatted its rapid current; but alas! former fatigue, anxiety, and intense heat, had nearly forespent his bodily powers: he struggled with the waves till strength was exhausted and consciousness gone: just as he was sinking, an Alarbe dashed into the river, seized his arm, and dragged him to shore.

The rude remedies used by these ferocious people succeeded in bringing their victim to life: Sebastian opened his eyes and beheld himself in the hands of the Almoçadem’s servants, once more a prisoner and a slave.

At that moment it could not be said his fortitude forsook him, though he closed his eyes again with the air of one bereft[Pg 55] of hope: on the contrary, he was mentally bowing to the will of Providence, and striving to rein in the phrenzy of extravagant rashness.

Having secured the weapons with which he might have attempted resistance, and seeing him completely enfeebled, the Moors loaded him with abuse; and one of them was on the point of adding outrage to invective, when Sebastian half-started from the ground on which he lay, faintly uttering the name of Kara Aziek; at that sound the Africans shrunk back, staring on each other, and pronouncing the Christian a sorcerer: he had indeed divined the only magic that could save him from an extremity of insult; for on quitting the Cassavee these slaves had been threatened by Hafiz with their lady’s wrath should they injure the Portuguese.

The crowd of Alarbes that had joined El Hader’s servants, forbade any attempt to elude them; Sebastian promised to return quietly, upon condition that they[Pg 56] did not fasten his hands like a criminal. After some consultation together, the men at last consented to this. Without allowing him time to recover from his exhaustion, they mounted him upon a horse, and forming a troop of Alarbes around him, proceeded towards the valley of palms.

The uncouth habits and ferocious looks of his mountaineer associates, the mode of his conveyance, joined to the circumstances of his situation, forcibly recalled to Sebastian the period in which he was first carried to the abode of El Hader: thought then flowed back upon the memory of Stukeley and the rare goodness of Abensallah; sigh followed sigh as he remembered them, though he envied the lot of the friend he lamented, who had escaped the galling chains of slavery by a memorable death.

Such reflections as these occupied him so entirely, as to render him insensible to the brutality of his companions, who frequently repeated with grins of horrid[Pg 57] triumph, that the Almoçadem had sworn he should be broken upon the wheel.

Advancing in a beaten and direct road lying below the hills he had mounted, Sebastian found that a journey which had cost him two nights and days of wearisome toil, was to be achieved in less than the fourth part of that time: the Moors hurried on, not allowing him any other refreshment than a draught of water, so that when they reached the valley of palms, his strength had completely forsaken him, and he almost dropped from his horse at the great gate of El Hader’s residence.

The Moors conveyed their captive to one of those dungeons where Gaspar had formerly been confined, telling him he must wait there till it pleased their high Lord the Almoçadem to determine upon his punishment: Sebastian gave no answer to their brutal information, throwing himself along the damp earth (his only[Pg 58] resting place) regardless of his own fate, alarmed now for that of Gaspar.

It was but too probable that the Almoçadem might have revenged himself upon his innocent head for the flight of his countryman: this fear had not before agitated Sebastian, because he believed Kara Aziek would interfere for the poor soldier, and that indeed El Hader himself was not inclined to cruelty; but the present appearance of severity rendered apprehensions for Gaspar perfectly rational.

This thought gave anxiety a new direction, and kept the unfortunate monarch from reflecting upon his own disappointment; he was now earnestly praying to see, or hear from Kara Aziek, from whom alone he could hope for an account of his friend: but Kara Aziek did not appear, and the King of Portugal counted the tedious hours of night in a dark dungeon, upon the bare ground, alone and unsolaced.[Pg 59]

“When the mind’s free, the body’s delicate;” he that had been nursed on the lap of luxury, now suffered every human privation without missing any other comforts than those of freedom and friendship.

Morning was made known to Sebastian merely by the sounds of labour without; no cheering sun-beam penetrated his airless cell; he lay on the unpaved floor, his spirit subdued awhile by past exertion and present disturbance.

Towards evening a Moor whom he had once before seen, came to inform him that it was El Hader’s pleasure he should be brought out the ensuing day into the large slave-court, there to receive a thousand lashes, in the presence of the Almoçadem and all his household.

“Tell your merciless master that I will die first!” exclaimed Sebastian, fiercely starting from the ground.

“Peace! thou art a fool!” returned the phlegmatic Ephra, “how art thou to[Pg 60] escape this flogging, when thou hast neither weapons nor strength to put thyself out of the world?”

“I shall then meet death on some of your weapons!” cried Sebastian, whose eyes struck fire as he spoke. “By every saint above, I swear, that while there is life in this body it shall not be dishonoured by a coward’s punishment! The man who would sooner lose life than honour, may find avenues to death at every step. Tell your master—again I say tell him—that I will die resisting his infamous decree!”

“You will die like a lunatic then, as you are,” retorted Ephra, turning to go away, “I can tell you in return, that our master swears he will not abate one jot of your punishment, even to please my lady, his daughter: so don’t reckon upon her interference.—Nay, for that matter, she is lying sick at Mequinez, and will know nothing of this business till it is over.[Pg 61]

Ephra closed the dungeon door as he finished, leaving Sebastian to contemplate the probability of death on the morrow.

It was in vain that the young and ardent monarch strove to reconcile himself to a destiny so inglorious: to perish thus in obscurity among a handful of sordid Moors, without the means of conveying to his people, and his Gonsalva a last blessing, was a thought which drove him to phrenzy; he could not hope for the satisfaction of seeing Gaspar, nor was Kara Aziek to be near, soothing his parting pangs with respect and tenderness.

A confused apprehension that she would too deeply regret his fate, trembled at his heart, softening the wildness of despair;—“Amiable, too tender Aziek!” he exclaimed, “when I am released from earthly sufferings, may some miracle be worked for thee!—may thine eyes be opened to the true faith, and thy days be spent in other scenes than these, so full of horror and iniquity![Pg 62]

Hope, which hitherto had never completely left the intrepid breast of Sebastian, now fled far away; the absence and sickness of Kara Aziek appeared his death-warrant; he therefore endeavoured to meditate on the probable event of his approaching struggle, with the seriousness it demanded.

It was the middle watch of night, when having fallen asleep after a long train of thought; he was awakened by the sound of the heavy bolts which fastened his prison door; they were withdrawn by feeble hands, for they moved gratingly: at length the door opened, and he beheld two of Kara Aziek’s women.

They advanced timidly, closing the door behind them: the King sprung from the ground; hope once more warmed his heart.—“Your mistress, your angel mistress!” he exclaimed, “does she send you hither?”

“She sends me to reproach you, you rash Christian!” answered the slave[Pg 63], “did you doubt her promise, that you thus rushed upon certain destruction by attempting escape?”

“No, no, Benzaide,” replied Sebastian, “I doubted only her power to serve me.—tell her that if I am to perish tomorrow, my soul will pine in Paradise till it meets again, her pure and benevolent spirit!”

At this passionate burst of gratitude, the companion of Benzaide (who had hitherto leaned unnoticed against the dungeon wall) sobbed aloud, and sunk down upon the floor: in strange alarm Sebastian hastened to raise her; Benzaide put aside the slave’s veil to give her air, and the lamp she held, shining directly upon her face, discovered the soft olive-brown complexion and lovely features of Kara Aziek.

Sebastian’s excess of pleasure was checked by an instinctive conviction of Kara Aziek’s motive; and now those fervent acknowledgements he would have lavished upon disinterested benevolence,[Pg 64] were stifled by an apprehension of heightening a sentiment which he could not return: every animated word he should at this moment address to her, would be treason against Gonsalva. At that thought he hastily dropped the trembling hand he was carrying to his lips, and respectfully resigning her to Benzaide, rose with a dejected air from his kneeling posture.

The gentle Moor wept some time in silence; but how expressive was that silence! her eyes spoke every feeling of a fond and pitying heart; as they alternately looked from the dungeon to its noble inhabitant,—to him whose feet were cut, and bleeding still from the sharp rocks he had traversed, and whose countenance, though pale and wasted, was yet bright with unsubdued heroism.

“Ah, Fabian!” she exclaimed at length, in a voice that went to the soul, “why didst thou do this rash thing? If I should not be able to save thee?” she stopped at this, unable to conclude the sentence, and the blood forsook her cheeks.[Pg 65]

Wrung with grief, sick, pale, and languid, Kara Aziek could not have been seen by the man she wished to charm, at a moment more unfavourable for personal beauty; but there is a beauty of the soul, so transcending all mortal perfections, that it triumphs over deformity itself: that beauty now beamed from her tear-dimmed eyes and colourless cheek; it seemed to shed a glory round her, at once awaking love and veneration. Sebastian must have yielded to its sweet force, had not his heart been pledged to another.

The agitated expression of the Christian’s countenance, reminded Aziek that she was allowing too much of her own emotion to appear; struggling to conceal it, she proceeded to repeat that he owed her present visit solely to that sincere friendship which his misfortunes and his virtues inspired; a friendship that feared not to shew itself in the form of sympathy and succour. She informed him, that having been taken ill at Mequinez soon[Pg 66] after his flight, she must have remained in ignorance of his return and fated punishment, had it not been for Hafiz, who secretly dispatched a message to her, praying her intercession in behalf of his favourite slave: she had then set off for the valley of palms, but arriving too late for an interview with El Hader (who was gone to rest) had ventured to assume a disguise, and pass the prison guards as one of her own servants.

Aziek anxiously tried to hide from Sebastian the distraction into which his departure had thrown her, by mentioning her illness as accidental; native delicacy taught her to conceal the tenderest and purest love that ever warmed a human bosom; to conceal it because she would owe nothing to gratitude, nothing to compassion; because his happiness was the first object of her generous heart.

The enthusiasm of Aziek’s manner while she spoke of pity and philanthropy, almost persuaded her grateful auditor,[Pg 67] that she would indeed have done as much for any other man under such affecting circumstances; yet he could not help allowing that the peculiar esteem she felt for him, gave a charm to her benevolence.

He now blamed his late vain idea’s, and thought, that in El Hader’s daughter he beheld one who would learn with a sister’s sympathy his affection for another, and lament with a sister’s sorrow the privations of his love!—this belief restored him to composure, and after expressing much of his lively admiration, he ventured to inquire about Gaspar.

Aziek replied, that Gaspar had so adroitly parried the questions put to him (during the examination which followed Sebastian’s flight) that the Almoçadem could find no ground for supposing him privy to the run-a-way’s escape, especially as it seemed more natural for the former to have escaped also, than to have remained behind: Gaspar had been dismissed[Pg 68] without censure, and was now occupied as usual under the indulgent Hafiz.

This information relieved Sebastian’s heart from its heaviest load, and again he blessed the gentle Being whose humanity imparted some of its own mercy even to Moors grown old in tyranny.

Benzaide at this period reminded her mistress of the late hour, and of her indisposition, which rendered rest indispensible; Kara Aziek reluctantly took her arm: “I am going to leave thee, Fabian,” she said, “Alla alone knows when and how we shall meet again!—that frantic spirit of thine makes me tremble. If I should fail of softening my father, alas, what will become of thee! thy terrible look at this moment answers me but too plainly.”

Her eyes swimming in tears were now fixed upon his violently agitated features; Sebastian strove to calm himself for her sake: “I dare not deceive you, amiable Aziek!” he said, “it is my determination[Pg 69] not to survive disgrace: yet perhaps they will not seek to inflict it. Let your father change my punishment to the severest penalties of toil, famine, or imprisonment—let him condemn me to unheard-of sufferings, and I will consent to live on, in the fantastic hope of being miraculously delivered at last: but were freedom, and all those blessings comprized in the dear name of country, to follow the execution of that sentence, which turns my cheeks to fire while I but think of it, I would abhor life after such degradation.—No, no, generous Aziek, ask me not to bear it and to live.”

“I do not ask thee!—I know not what I would ask of thee!” exclaimed the lovely Moor, in a tone of distraction, “thy life so precious—so dear—so dear to all thy companions—O Alla! is it to be thus madly thrown away! I would not have thee live disgraced, yet I would have thee live. Perhaps if thou wouldest join thy prayers with mine, and humble thy[Pg 70]self to my father—prostrate at his feet, he could not surely——”

“Prostrate at his feet!” interrupted Sebastian wildly, darting on her a look of indignation. “What! for myself!—for a Mahometan’s mercy!—No!—I will die as I have lived—a King!”

The magnanimous and proud spirit of Sebastian, yet unsubdued by all his mortifications, now shone out in full force over his face and figure: like one awaking from some vanishing dream, Kara Aziek gazed on him, faintly repeating his last words: she stood transfixed, while thought, more rapid than light, was destroying every former hope.

If a Christian King, what must be the daughter of a Moorish noble, in his eyes?—an atom!—a mote in the broad sunshine of regal glory: as well might she think to scale the immeasurable heavens, as to become the friend and partner of a King: in one moment she was hurled from him to a distance so remote, that it[Pg 71] seemed madness to hope his heart would ever again throb with a single feeling answerable to hers.

Shocked, chilled, despairing, she silently tried to cover herself with her veil, while half sinking in an attitude of reverence, excess of emotion overcame her, and she was forced to catch at Benzaide for support.

The heavy sigh which came from Aziek’s heart as she fell on the arm of her maid, recovered Sebastian from his paroxysm; he now threw himself before her: “Proud as you may think me, gentle Aziek!” he said, “Behold the King of Portugal at your feet, soliciting pardon for his impetuosity: the discovery that fiery hastiness has made, will but increase your pity for an unfortunate man who, while languishing in captivity, has so much to lament.”

He stopt, and Kara Aziek extending her hand to him with a varying cheek, answered faulteringly, “The King of[Pg 72] Portugal was said to have fallen at Alcazar, and to be now buried in his native land—but I believe indeed that thou art he.—Thou art then that Sebastian I was taught to hate!”

A deep but tender sigh burst forth with the last expression: how did that sigh appear to change the meaning of the word she uttered!—the touching voice in which she spoke, the tears that floated her momentarily-fixed, and then suddenly-averted eyes, were only too expressive of an eternal devotedness; but Sebastian, self-absorbed, saw nothing; he rapidly recapitulated to her all that he possessed in Portugal, and was now on the point of abandoning for ever.

On the mentioning of Donna Gonsalva, whom love painted in the most seducing colours, Kara Aziek’s countenance suddenly changed; it varied at every word, but she listened in silence: those fond hopes which had again sprung up, when she saw him at her feet, those hopes which[Pg 73] formerly had been nourished by his tender manner, were now withered; could she preserve his honour and his life, and after that obtain his liberty, she would be doing this only to hasten the moment that would give him to another.

Her pure, impassioned heart almost exclaimed aloud, “Ah, it is not thy throne I covet to share; thy love alone would be to me a kingdom: with thee, a desart, or a dungeon, obscurity or poverty would bestow happiness.”

But though this regret filled her bosom, it could not displace for one moment, that disinterested generosity which formed the basis of her noblest qualities; whatever might become of herself she resolved to renew her endeavour for procuring his release hereafter, should she succeed in saving him now.

Donna Gonsalva’s beauty appeared from the description of Sebastian to be that of a Celestial, and her character delineated by the same partial hand could not fail of[Pg 74] impressing Kara Aziek with the conviction that she was worthy to be adored: to such a rival she yielded with the less pain.

The King of Portugal was painfully affected by the changes he beheld in the expressive countenance of his gentle friend; it was impossible for him not to find his past fears recur, as he witnessed this ill-concealed emotion: at one moment he repented, at another applauded the disclosure of those dear engagements which must teach Kara Aziek that he was not ungrateful in remaining untouched by her tenderness and charms: but his heart saddened to think what the eventful morrow might prove to her.

Benzaide now warned her mistress that day would soon break and expose them to the notice of the Moorish guards; Aziek started, and covered herself with her veil, unwilling to shew Sebastian the extent of her grief at bidding him farewel: incapable of speaking, she timidly held out her[Pg 75] hand to him; it was cold and trembling—the King put it to his lips—“adieu matchless creature!” he cried, “may angels benevolent and pure like yourself, watch over all your days!—were not my heart in Portugal with her who is mourning for my sake, this transcendant goodness must either have softened or sharpened the pains of slavery:—I should have forgotten my fallen state, and dared to love the lovely Aziek.”—

The last sentence breathed in an agitated whisper over the soft hand he was pressing to his heart, thrilled through the frame of Aziek; she blushed, faltered, moved tremblingly away, and seeking the support of Benzaide, faintly pronounced a parting benediction:—her senses were in sweet disorder at so delightful and unexpected a confession; next to the bliss of possessing that noble heart, was the certainty that he believed her worthy of it. Transported with this assurance, she[Pg 76] gave him a last look filled with gratitude and pleasure, and then departed.—

Compassion heightened by admiration, was the reigning sentiment left in the heart of Sebastian; long after the departure of his benefactress, her endearing image solely filled his thoughts:—without a single moment’s infidelity to the exquisite Gonsalva, he was yet deeply interested in the happiness of her rival, and could not refrain from thinking oftener of her than of himself.—Still hoping something from her interference, he commended himself to Providence, and lay down to sleep again, upon the floor of his dungeon.

Sebastian had been awake some time the ensuing morning, when he heard a bell ring; at the sound of which he had been, told to prepare for punishment: as he listened, the blood forsook his face, and a horrid chill suddenly ran through his veins:—Kara Aziek had then failed[Pg 77]!—recovering from the shock of disappointment (which had shocked him only because it was unforeseen) he knelt down with the crucifix clasped in his hands, fervently breathing over it a solemn supplication of forgiveness for all his sins and errors.

He prayed the Lord of Heaven to forgive or to enlighten him, if the resistance he meditated, were an act of impious rebellion; he besought blessings for his friends and for his enemies; he commended his people to the protection of Him, who places Kings upon their thrones, and the names of Gonsalva and Aziek were mingling on his lips, when the prison door opened, and instead of guards to conduct him to a scene of blood, he beheld the smiling Benzaide.

Her mission spoke in her face, as she put aside her veil, bidding him rise and follow her.—Sebastian obeyed: not before he had devoutly kissed the cross he wore;—boundless gratitude to Heaven, did indeed swell his heart, as he passed with[Pg 78] his companion through the various courts, leading to Kara Aziek’s apartments: on reaching them, Benzaide threw a large mantle over him, in which she bade him wrap even his head, as he would then pass unnoticed by the female servants; at the same time she deposited a pair of slippers at the entrance, observing, that should the Almoçadem come and see them, he would retire according to the Moorish fashion, believing that some neighbouring lady was then visiting his daughter.

Sebastian learnt from this, that in rendering him such services as these, Kara Aziek perpetually risked the displeasure of her father: this thought did but the more enhance the value of her protection.

Upon entering the chamber of Aziek, he found her alone, lying along a sopha shaded by thin drapery: she spoke to him without altering her position or uncovering her face, for she was ill, and greatly agitated: her motive for admitting him to[Pg 79] her presence at such a period, was not merely to see him again, or to receive his thanks, but to soothe him under a disappointment she had been forced to prepare for him.

El Hader had been previously with her, when she had exerted all her influence for the pardon of Sebastian: at first he refused to hear his daughter’s petition, expressing great anger at her partiality to this ungovernable Christian, on whom so many favors had already been thrown away; he ridiculed the idea of a slave’s preferring death to a few strokes of the whip, and told her plainly, that if she continued thus to protect a Christian, merely because he was of her mother’s country, the Moors would proclaim her an enemy to the true faith.

Kara Aziek mildly allowed herself to be called foolish and profane, yet redoubled her intercessions, availing herself of her severe illness to plead with more earnestness for indulgence: she prayed,[Pg 80] she wept, she embraced her father’s knees, telling him that she had vowed for her mother’s sake never to cease protecting the two Portuguese, and that consequently, she could not remain inactive now, without breaking that inward promise.

Her tears and touching feebleness at length melted El Hader, and he consented to limit the punishment of Sebastian to a month of the hardest labour in his quarries: “as the fellow is so strong and ingenious,” he concluded, “I would not part with him, but his countryman, your other favorite, shall be sold immediately; he is a sickly, stupid, good-for-nothing dog, and the sooner he is got rid of the better.—see that you make no attempt to bring these Christian fools to a leave-taking—if you do, I swear by the beard of the Prophet, that the slave Fabian shall pay the price of your fault.”

This had been the Almoçadem’s parting command, and Kara Aziek, for Sebastian’s sake, did not venture to disobey,—she de[Pg 81]tailed her father’s resolution with many sighs and expressions of deep regret: the King turned pale: and an exclamation of grief escaped him; not for himself he grieved, but for the less healthy Gaspar, who had so long been accustomed to receive from him comfort and assistance.—

The distress painted on his manly features, was visible to Kara Aziek through her transparent veil—she hastened to efface it—“I must not detain thee here,” she said blushing, “even now my heart trembles for fear, I have done wrong in admitting thee into these apartments—but I could not deny myself the gratification of telling thee that I will not lose sight of thy poor friend; if money may avail, Gaspar shall regain his freedom, and return to Portugal to prepare the way for thee.—Go Prince! (for I cannot call thee Fabian now) go, and believe that Kara Aziek knows no other bliss on earth than that of trying to resemble the ministering[Pg 82] spirits of Heaven. Thy rare example first taught her, that it is noble to live solely for others.”

Sebastian’s heart made a more animated reply to this speech than he suffered to flow from his lips: her disinterested goodness was exalted in his eyes from the very circumstance which threatened to weaken its force: if she loved him, and felt that her peculiar happiness was only to be found in his presence, what heroic generosity was it, thus to sacrifice every selfish consideration, by seeking to procure for him the means of withdrawing to a rival and a distant land.

After expressing some part of his feelings, and tenderly assuring her of his deep concern at her increased illness, he once more wrapped himself in the mantle, and passed with Benzaide through the outer chambers.

On quitting that side of the Cassavee, Sebastian proceeded to see and thank Hafiz, to whom he owed the prompt inter[Pg 83]ference of Aziek: his acknowledgements were received with a mixture of kindness and anger; for Hafiz was to lose his services a whole month, and could not comprehend what he wanted with liberty, when so indulged by him and the Almoçadem. From the gardens the unfortunate monarch proceeded to the scene of new labour; there he toiled under a sky like burning brass, without shelter, almost without sustenance; but his mind was too full of interesting thoughts to leave him time for noticing bodily suffering: Gaspar and far distant freedom, tortured remembrance.

Though the strict command of her father deterred Kara Aziek from attempting to see Sebastian while he wore out his days of penance remote from Hafiz, she contrived to send him every night various refreshments, accompanied sometimes by short billets: in one of these she gave him the unexpected information of Gaspar’s being free, and now on his way to Portugal.[Pg 84]

After a cautious negociation through the means of a Jew merchant, she had purchased the poor fellow’s liberty by the sale of a few jewels, and now wrote to animate Sebastian into hopes for himself:—ardent were the hopes her letter awakened! The King could not doubt but that Gaspar, who knew in common with every other Portuguese, his engagements with Donna Gonsalva, would immediately repair to her with the news of his life and captivity, and that consequently her fond zeal would quicken the exertions for his release.

It was not in man, however disinterested, to lament the act which would thus convey to his ministers and his friends the knowledge of his existence: sincere as was his determination of never calling upon his subjects for that succour he had a right to demand of them, he was not insensible to the joy of finding that another was gone to tell the tale of his sufferings, and to plead for his return. If the peo[Pg 85]ple of Portugal loved their King well enough to tax themselves for his ransom, he was well inclined to receive that obligation from their affection, which both pride and principle had forbidden him to extort from their duty. Not doubting the general sentiment, he surrendered himself up to delightful anticipations.

But a little while, and he would be free again! As his heart throbbed high at this blissful thought, it naturally turned with warmer gratitude to the generous friend from whom it proceeded. Kara Aziek, still dearer than ever, from her unwearied goodness, was however to be abandoned, and never more beheld! As well might a brother have contemplated the prospect of eternally quitting a beloved sister; Sebastian would not dwell on it, but formed in fancy many romantic plans, each of which had for its foundation the religious conversion of Kara Aziek.

Towards this new and pleasing project, now suddenly conceived, he determined to[Pg 86] direct the whole force of his heart, that heart which had never ceased to glow with its original zeal: from this period he devoted his leisure moments to the recollection and arrangement of such arguments in favour of Christianity, as appeared to him the most convincing, and when again brought into the gardens, was enabled to press them upon Aziek in the interviews she frequently afforded him.

Kara Aziek listened with attention and pleasure, for she loved to hear him talk upon any subject, more especially upon one which interested her deeply; but though she afforded Sebastian frequent opportunities for conversation, and almost wished to believe, as he did, her clear reason could not blind itself to the monstrous system of Popery: unhappily the young monarch was not qualified to remove this veil from the simple beauty of Christianity: he had been educated a devoted son of the Romish church, and was incapable of perceiving, that but from its [Pg 87]unscriptural authority, and intolerant tenets, Kara Aziek would have ceased to be a Mahometan.

These constant interviews only tended to fix Sebastian more firmly in the heart of the gentle Moor; she felt that they did so, but with an excess of generosity refused to purchase peace for herself, by the sacrifice of his enjoyments: her society was evidently his chief solace, and to her unremitting attention he owed every personal comfort; could she then afflict him by sudden or gradual coldness, by long absences, and assumed indifference? Sebastian knew her only as his friend, and to that disinterested character she was resolved never to lose a claim.

Consonant to this resolution, she accustomed herself to talk with him of Donna Gonsalva, yet at his lover-like description of her rival’s enchantments, she could not controul those tumultuous feelings, of which a love so hopeless and so powerful was but too susceptible.[Pg 88]

“Happy, happy creature!” she would often exclaim to herself, “could I believe that thou lovest him, that any one can love him as I do, what should I lament? but who has seen him like Kara Aziek, a prisoner and a slave, alternately the object of terror and admiration, interesting even in his moments of wildest passion, who therefore will ever learn to forget herself and the whole world in him? Alas! how shall I live, when he who is become the very soul of my life, is far from me.”

From that painful question Kara Aziek always turned without delay, striving to be indeed as indifferent as she believed herself, to her own happiness: love, ingenious at deceit, fondly persuaded her that in sighing after the bliss of being united to Sebastian she was actuated solely by this idea, that no one’s affection could equal hers, consequently that no one would ever watch so attentively over his conduct and his comfort.

The King himself, hurried away by an[Pg 89] earnest desire for her conversion, no longer saw or thought of her attachment, but dwelt with grateful enthusiasm upon the joy she might bestow on him, would she yield her heart to the doctrines of the church, renounce her infidel country, and consent to become like a sister to his adored Gonsalva. At length he found that no arguments of his availed to convince her of the fallacy of her own religion, she had many specious ones to urge in its defence, but still more to urge against papal Christianity; sorrowing and reluctant therefore, he relinquished his attempt.

Sebastian now counted the days as they passed, welcoming each on its arrival, as the day of freedom: Gaspar had been absent above a month; Kara Aziek had learned at the Moorish court that the Prior of Crato was alive and in Lisbon, therefore the King; reckoned still more confidently upon his release: time, however, wore away; days, weeks, months elapsed; as they fled, still they bore with[Pg 90] them some health and spirit from Sebastian; the excuses he mentally made for his people’s delay and hesitation hourly decayed, apprehension and indignation took their place.

Was he to expect succour from his grand uncle, Don Henry? That uncle now knew the gratifications of absolute power, and might not perhaps feel willing to resign them: was he to hope for freedom from the voluntary sacrifices of his people!—those people were the descendants of that pitiless generation who a century before had basely suffered the infant Don Ferdinand to die in captivity. Ferdinand had offered himself to the Moors as a pledge for the fulfilment of a certain treaty, the Portuguese refused to ratify it, and left him to languish out his youth in confinement. Such a precedent might but too fatally influence the present conduct of Portugal.

At this piercing thought, the unhappy monarch lost all self-command, and no[Pg 91] longer restrained the expression of his fears. Sometimes Kara Aziek would behold him given up to the bitterest grief, imagining his beloved Gonsalva torn from him by death; at others, she would witness the whirlwinds of his character, while he conceived himself abandoned by his subjects, or his relations: resentment and sorrow then swayed him by turns; and it was only at the sound of her pitying voice, or at the gaze of her imploring eyes, that he would rein in his anger, or check the tide of lamentation.

So tossed by various passions, so agitated with many a fond fear, so surrounded and touched by the ill-disguised tenderness of Kara Aziek, there were moments in which Sebastian felt her excellence so exquisitely, that he doubted whether he could be quite happy even in Portugal with Gonsalva, unless she were there to complete it: his imprudently-ingenuous nature spoke the sentiment as it arose, fatally flattering the young and inexperi[Pg 92]enced Aziek with ideas she was scarcely conscious of indulging.

The different emotions of each, soon produced a visible effect: Sebastian lost his strength and his looks; Kara Aziek suddenly became languid, sick, and sad: when with the King, her eyes no longer dwelt on him with an apparent forgetfulness of every thing but of that soul whose movements she was tracing through the eloquent countenance; they were tearful and downcast, and that irresistible meltingness which used to make love visible in their floating orbs, was displaced by an expression of troubled anxiety.

Her careless attire, and unusual fits of abstraction, at length led the King to suppose that some domestic distress had a principal share in so painful a change; he interrogated Kara Aziek: as they walked together with Benzaide under the starry sky, while others slept, he gently strove to win from her the secret of her affliction; Kara Aziek alternately blushed and turn[Pg 93]ed pale, sighed and wept, but refused to satisfy him.

Such conduct only stimulated the efforts of a friend whose tenderness was increased by this first call upon its sympathy; but Aziek, mildly inflexible, constantly left him at the usual hour in doubt and conjecture.[Pg 94]


Sebastian’s suspence did not continue long: one night he was summoned to meet Aziek in the labyrinth.

It was nearly midnight when his listening ear caught the sound of her unsteady and hurried steps; she came leaning on her confidential maid: her veil was down, and he could not therefore behold any peculiar emotion in her countenance, but he perceived it in her air and voice.

She answered his salutation in broken accents, then sitting down at some distance from him, was awhile silent.

The green, and now fading lamps, with which the subterraneous passage was illuminated, cast a melancholy light over the veiled figure of Kara Aziek; her silence, and the rapidly apprehensive mind[Pg 95] of Sebastian contributed to agitate him beyond measure: he approached her with extreme solicitude.

“Allow me a little emotion,” she said faintly, averting her head, “I believe we are about to part for ever! thou art the only friend Kara Aziek ever had reason to esteem and to regret—ah! if thou shouldest forget her entirely!”

She stopped, momentarily overcome, affording the King an opportunity for uttering an exclamation of surprize and of affectionate reproach: “Prince! she faultered out, thou art free; tomorrow thou mayest return to Portugal.”

Uncertain whether he had heard aright, Sebastian repeated her words, conjuring her to say if his senses had deceived him: her answer transported him to throw himself at her feet; he did not speak, but joy triumphed on his face, and burnt in the kiss which he imprinted on her trembling hands.

This excess of joy was what Aziek had[Pg 96] thought herself prepared to meet, yet now it distracted her resolutions, and half-maddened her to exclaim, “Ah, ungrateful man, is it thus that my friendship is returned!”

Liberty, home, happiness, every dear and oft-remembered object was now present to the ardent imagination of Sebastian; the names of his country and of his mistress were the only sounds that escaped his lips: they penetrated the heart of Kara Aziek: she strove to extricate herself from the transports of his gratitude and rapture, for, alas! their impassioned expressions glowed more from anticipated emotions, than from any that she herself excited.—Faultering and tearful, she besought him to let her depart.

“Depart!” he repeated, (roused from his selfish delirium) “depart so soon, when we are to meet no more! Do not poison the felicity you give, by making me fear that you think me indifferent to the future fate of my benefactress! You tell me,[Pg 97] Aziek, that it is to your intreaties I am indebted for this blessing, but you do not say how it was granted—whether you did not incur some wrath.”

Aziek hastened to assure him that she had secured her father’s assent without incurring his displeasure: “Thy freedom was unexpectedly offered, upon a condition which I need not detail, as it does not relate to thee. Take thy liberty, prince! and be convinced that though these eyes shall never more behold thee, thine image—the memory of thy misfortunes—thy virtues—thy delightful converse, will exist in my heart, while life and memory—”

Tears interrupted the sentence, and she cast herself back upon the bosom of Benzaide.

Vehemently agitated by her emotion, Sebastian pressed her to trust herself to his honour, and to quit Africa with him: he promised her the friendship of his Gonsalva, and protection in the exercise[Pg 98] of her own religion; he urged to her the delights of polished society; and perhaps Aziek would not have resisted his pleadings had they been seconded by vows of love; but now she was able to feel and to avow the strong claim of filial obligation.

Her refusal to desert her father was grounded on arguments which the King wished, but was not able to shake; “Yet I will not say farewel for ever!” he said, “were I able to do so, Kara Aziek, I should abhor myself: you are dear to me as a sister, you are the object of the tenderest and truest gratitude that ever penetrated a human heart,—how then can I consent to forego all thought of beholding you again? If Providence permit me to regain my former power, the Moors will no longer find me their enemy: for your sake I will court their friendship, and when in amity with their Xeriff, may tempt my Gonsalva to cross the sea in search of her Sebastian’s guardian angel.”

Kara Aziek did not reply; she was[Pg 99] overcome by recollection of the price she must pay for his deliverance, a price which would remove her far from the seducing prospect he pictured; formed with all the weakness and strength of woman’s mixed character, she could command her actions but not her emotions; she could constrain every selfish consideration for the sake of another, though she knew not how to conceal the grief such sacrifices cost her: her fast-falling tears now fell without interruption.

Shocked and afflicted at her excess of sorrow, the young monarch scarcely knew how to suppose that it originated solely in the regret of parting from him; indeed he wished to believe otherwise, and suffering his imagination to take a new direction, importuned her to say whether she had not heard distressing intelligence of Gaspar, or of some of his dearest friends in Portugal.

Aziek hastened to relieve his apprehen[Pg 100]sions, and by exerting herself to do so, gradually recovered her own composure.

Having succeeded in calming him, she held out a letter, conjuring him not to open it till he should be restored to Donna Gonsalva; “In it thou wilt find a braid of Kara Aziek’s jetty hair;” she said, striving to smile, “thou wilt sometimes look at it, and remember her who gave it thee: perhaps thou wilt contrast it with the golden tresses and ivory skin of thy beloved; ah! tell her, as thou dost so, that the heart of Kara Aziek is fairer than her face.”

As she spoke, she lifted her veil, and fixed on Sebastian her lovely eyes, now swimming in tears; the look they gave entered his soul: neither time nor distance ever effaced their impression.—Thrilled with pity, admiration, and regret, he could only faulter out a repetition of his hope that they were not parting for the last time; Aziek faintly repeated[Pg 101] that hope, adding, they must now separate, to allow him some repose ere he began his journey.

“Hafiz is instructed to provide for thy accommodation,” she continued, “he has my father’s commands.—Adieu, Prince!—friend!—instructor!—light of my once dark mind!—may thy prophet, may my prophet conduct thee, not merely to thy throne, but to the hearts of thy people!”

She turned aside her head while she spoke, and stretched out her hands to him; the half-distracted and bewildered Sebastian made a movement as if he would have thrown himself at her feet, but the feelings of nature triumphed over every idea of established customs, and he found that he had pressed her to his heart, instead of distantly saluting her hand.

In a tumult of new emotions, Kara Aziek gently pushed him from her, “Leave me, leave me, Prince!” she exclaimed faintly,—“think of me in Portugal—re[Pg 102]member me there, as the mutual friend of thee and thy Gonsalva.”

At that name the agitated monarch recovered from a moment’s oblivion; he fixed his eyes earnestly upon her lovely figure, then lifted them to heaven, as if invoking blessings on her, and hurried from the grotto.

Occupied with contradictory feelings, the King reached his own apartment: to sleep was impossible; he walked up and down, watching the dawn of that day which was either to restore him to liberty, or to crush him with disappointment. The capriciousness of the Moorish character made him dread some change in the sentiments of El Hader; yet hope preponderated, and the joyful tone now given to his mind, dissipated those fears for Gaspar and Gonsalva which had before tormented him.

How rarely does our reason behold any object uncoloured by the medium of[Pg 103] passion! not a single circumstance had arisen to warrant a change of opinion, yet Sebastian now banished every suspicion of his people’s infidelity and his relations unkindness; he recollected the timid spirit of his uncle, which might have procrastinated, without wishing to frustrate measures, and warm with present happiness, confidently anticipated superior felicity in the future.

Giving himself up to the most gratifying anticipations, he rapidly sketched out plans for times remote, and these still included Kara Aziek and the benevolent Abensallah:—to Sebastian’s ardent romantic heart, every thing it wished seemed probable.

An hour after sun-rise Hafiz appeared: he came to inform the Portuguese that their illustrious master, Mahommed El Hader, had generously granted his freedom, and that he might depart immediately. At this confirmation of what he[Pg 104] had been so long and apparently so confidently expecting, Sebastian’s emotion rendered him speechless: meanwhile Hafiz poured forth a most pathetic lamentation.

It was some time ere the King could comfort him sufficiently to obtain information about his route: his sole aim was to travel expeditiously and safely towards some Christian settlement; this was an object not easily attained. Unless under the protection of natives or licensed merchants, a liberated captive was but too likely to fall into a second captivity: Hafiz knew no way for his friend to avoid such a mischance, except by joining a party of travelling traders from Syria, who were going that very day from Mequinez to a Moorish port, between Tangier and Ceutah. From this port a passage might easily be obtained in one of those vessels employed in carrying on a contraband trade with the coast of Spain,[Pg 105] or the King might hazard a short expedition alone, and strike across to the Christian town.

The journey from Mequinez was indeed long and fatiguing, but it would be performed leisurely, and as the road lay near Benzeroel, would afford Sebastian an opportunity of ascertaining whether Abensallah were yet alive. After settling this important point, a most momentous consideration remained: how were the expences of this journey to be defrayed! happily the Almoçadem had given orders that the Christian should be conveyed whither he chose, at his cost, and therefore nothing now remained but to take leave of his fellow prisoners.

Never before had the King; felt so acutely for his brethren in affliction; the alteration in his own situation appeared to deepen the misery of theirs: he parted from them with many expressions of sympathy, charged with commissions to vari[Pg 106]ous quarters of the globe, and promising faithfully to have them all executed.

From the slave-court Sebastian returned through the gardens, bidding a joyful farewel to every structure and every plant that his labour had formed or fostered: yet regret mingled with gladness, for these gardens were the peculiar property of Kara Aziek, and her gentle image appeared to rise at every turning to reproach him.

Hafiz had obtained permission to attend his favorite slave to Mequinez: as they mounted their mules at the great gate of the Cassavee, Sebastian recalled the last time he had passed those gates after his fruitless attempt at escape; he was then returning he believed to eternal thraldom; but four months had elapsed since, and as if by miracle his chains were broken!

The mules were swift of foot, and well acquainted with their road; when they had conveyed their riders to the top of[Pg 107] an eminence leading from the valley, Sebastian turned round to take a farewel look of the habitation that contained Kara Aziek. The gilded pinnacles of her apartment glittered above rows of tall cypress trees; he breathed unnumbered blessings on her, fixed his eyes for some moments upon that quarter of the Cassavee, then spurred his mule down the opposite side of the declivity.

An arrangement with the merchants was quickly made by Hafiz, who paid beforehand the charges of his companion’s journey; at parting, the good-natured man shed tears, which Sebastian repaid by sincere expressions of esteem and everlasting sense of obligation: he was preparing to commence his journey, when one of the Syrians brought him a packet which Hafiz had instructed him to deliver when he should be on his return; the King took, and eagerly opened it.

Its contents were a purse containing several gold sequins, some valuable jew[Pg 108]els, and a number of those small shells which then passed current through Africa, and are still known there by the name of Barbary money; upon them lay a slip of vellum, with these words written on it—“Unforeseen accidents may render this purse of use to the friend of Kara Aziek.”

This fragment of her hand-writing made the amiable Moor almost present to Sebastian; he looked intently on the characters, sighed and sighed again, for memory too forcibly told him, that in striving to succour him she had lost her own peace. Closing the packet with a mixture of gratitude and regret, he mounted the animal provided for him, and began his route.

The men with whom he travelled, were too much occupied in calculations of profits and losses to interrupt their companion’s reveries; they were furnished with an order from the Almoçadem, purporting that Fabian his slave was going on[Pg 109] business to the sea-coast, and therefore not to be detained on suspicion of being a runaway: in consequence of this, their progress was unmolested, and they continued journeying on slowly, but safely.

The traveller’s road lay near Alcazar; it crossed that fatal plain, where, above twelvemonths before, the King of Portugal, at the head of a few gallant troops, had rashly braved the whole force of Morocco: what were his emotions when he now entered on it!

The meridian sun blazed over its broad and arid surface, marking with a glaring light every spot affecting to memory: Sebastian transiently closed his eyes, as if to shut out a picture, that, alas! was painted yet stronger on his mind. That dismal plain covered with dead, such as he had seen it with Abensallah, was even more present to him than the one he actually saw: Stukeley, De Castro, the young Braganza, every dear and lamented associate, pressed upon recollection; those[Pg 110] deep wounds of the heart which new anxieties had closed, now opened afresh, and he became once more the prey of profound though unavailing remorse.

Given up to gloomy retrospects, Sebastian sought to indulge them alone and at liberty; for this purpose he took advantage of his companion’s halting for refreshment, and went to visit the tower where Sir Thomas Stukeley fell. His path was whitened with human bones! he trod amongst them hastily, yet apprehensively, for whether these were the last mortal relics of Moors or Portuguese, they were still the relics of men.

Seen under the cheerful light of day, the broken watch tower was not in itself so dreary an object as it had appeared by the glimmering of moon-light, but Sebastian viewed it with still drearier reflections: time had altered his sentiments, and taught him to consider the blood shed under those walls, as blood shed uselessly and madly; but for his fanatic enthusi[Pg 111]asm, Stukeley might have been then living honored and happy.

Struck with this thought he slowly approached the ruins, that he might look for the last time on the spot where he had found his friend’s body; as he advanced, two men issued from the shattered gateway, and passed him; one of them started as he passed, and stopped—Sebastian moved on, thoughtless of personal danger. He had gained the place he sought, and had stood sadly contemplating it, when, on raising his eyes, as he turned away, they were arrested by the sight of faces peeping at him through the lower branches of some trees: in one of these he recognized the dark scowl of Ben Tarab.

Instinctively he grasped the head of a loaded pistol which he wore in his girdle; this action, and the sudden blaze of his eyes, made the cowardly Moor relinquish his hold of the tree, its boughs closed as he let them hastily out of his hand, pre[Pg 112]venting Sebastian from seeing which way he went.

Somewhat disturbed at this unexpected rencontre, the young monarch stood for a moment to determine on his future movements, he was too conscious of Ben Tarab’s animosity not to apprehend its effects, and therefore thought it best to rejoin his companions without incurring fresh risk by attempting alone to find the cave of Abensallah: regretting this necessity, he hastened from the ruins, and looking back, beheld Ben Tarab and his comrade stealing between the trees and the wall in the same direction with himself.

Once more he turned round and stopt, determining to accost the Moor and be satisfied if the meeting were accidental; but on seeing him pause, Ben Tarab again retreated and concealed himself among the broken walls: Sebastian then resumed the road to his friends.[Pg 113]

The travellers had pitched a tent on the plain, and were therefore visible at a great distance: through the loop holes of the tower Ben Tarab now watched the course of the King, and saw him enter their tent; he then descended, and rejoicing at the chance which had led him to this spot for temporary shelter from the heat, called his associate and ran off to the town of Alcazar.

On rejoining the merchants, Sebastian thought it best to speak of his adventure and the apprehension he grounded on it: one of the Syrians to whom Hafiz had peculiarly recommended his favorite, proposed immediate departure; if Ben Tarab wished to cast obstacles in their way, he might easily find means for doing so, by questioning the freedom of Sebastian, or by informing some of the Emperor’s officers in Alcazar, who would then seize him for their master’s service. Under this idea it was fit the whole party should hasten to get the start of the Moor.[Pg 114]

Their tents were now struck, their camels re-loaded, and bidding adieu to the pleasing hope of seeing Abensallah, Sebastian mounted a swift horse and resumed his journey.

They had scarcely passed the boundaries of the plain, when a party of horsemen from Alcazar, overtook and detained them: the King gave himself up for lost; but he dissembled this despair, and met the scrutiny of the Moorish soldiers with apparent composure. Surrounded by armed guards, Ben Tarab could rail and threaten with impunity: he accused Sebastian of being a runaway slave; to oppose this assertion, the principal merchant simply produced the writing and signet to the Almoçadem, purporting that the Christian who accompanied them was a servant of his, bearing important dispatches to the Alcayde of Kouf.—At sight of this convincing testimony, the Moors began to excuse themselves, and were about to depart, when Ben Tarab called[Pg 115] their captain aside and said a few words to him in a low, furious tone; the officer directly countermanded his men, telling the merchants that as they were going to travel through a Cavila then in a state of insurrection, he would honour the Almoçadem’s messenger by escorting him to the Alcayde and afterwards protecting him back to Mequinez.

At this masterly trick of Ben Tarab’s the blood forsook the face of Sebastian, but it rushed indignantly back, while haughtily braving his fate he told the Moorish captain to lead on.—Ben Tarab eyed his changing countenance with a doubtful look;—

“If thou art not a runaway,” he said, “thou and thy master will thank us for this safe guard; and if thou art deceiving us, thy punishment will not wait for the sentence of El Hader, whose signet thou must have stolen; the Alcayde of Kouf will doom thee to death immediately.”

Thou art not my judge,” replied the[Pg 116] King, directing a withering glance towards him: intimidated by former scenes, the malicious wretch nimbly fell into the ranks of his military comrades, and proposed advancing in their journey; the merchants acquiesced. None but the acquaintance of Hafiz knew the real destination of Sebastian, and they were therefore pleased to find, that instead of being detained by this adventure, it would expedite and protect them: they proceeded on their way, headed and flanked by the soldiers, who were content to observe the object of their suspicion riding in the centre:—

While Ben Tarab was exulting in an accidental meeting, which had thus enabled him at least to annoy, if not to frustrate the supposed design of his former enemy, Sebastian was ruminating upon some mode of escape: not one presented itself: he must either confess that he was made free, and going to embark for Portugal, or try a bold experiment on the Alcayde.[Pg 117]

To dare the former, would be madness, because all Christian captives above the rank of artizans or peasants, belonged by law to the Xeriffs; Ben Tarab could therefore plausibly question El Hader’s right to liberate him, until his true rank were ascertained, and such a scrutiny would be destruction: he then resolved to hazard a suddenly-conceived stratagem.

During the time in which they halted for the night, he selected a superb diamond from the jewels of Kara Aziek, and placing it in the embroidered purse by itself, folded it in a piece of brocade after the Moresco fashion, and deposited it in his breast. The character of the Alcayde had been given him by Hafiz’s friend, to whom he communicated his plan, and upon that he built for success.

After some days of wearisome travelling, and days full of agitation, the cavalcade came in sight of the chief town in the province of Kouf; the merchants were suffered to pursue their way to the port[Pg 118] they sought, leaving Sebastian, whom they dared not attempt detaining, solely to fortune and his guards.

Ben Tarab’s ferocious eyes glared with satisfaction as he followed his unprotected victim into the Alcayde’s house; disdaining to notice him, Sebastian calmly proceeded.—while passing from the court to the audience-hall, his upright mind shrunk from unmanly deception; he was tempted to risk the truth, though convinced it would throw him again into slavery; but his country, his duties, his beloved, all tugged at his heart-strings, and aided by the universal toleration of stratagem under circumstances like his, weakened every other impression: he sighed over the bitter necessity of the act, besought Heaven to pardon it if really culpable, then entered the hall.

His fate was quickly decided: the gem he brought, appeared an undeniable proof that he came direct from El Hader; he presented it in his master’s name, al[Pg 119]ledging that the Almoçadem had sent it as a friendly token, requiring from his relation in return only a satisfactory account of the province he governed, as it was said at Mequinez, to be ripe for revolt.—The credulous Alcayde readily promised to give him every information on the morrow; and immediately issued orders, for the guards from Alcazar to be refreshed in his house, and lodged there during their stay.

Sebastian now carelessly told him the story of their officious protection, at which the foolish Alcayde laughed heartily, though he deigned to say, they had not acted amiss; and telling the Christian to repose himself wherever he chose, left him for the night.

It was quite dark at this time, and the room in which Sebastian remained, opened into a piazza on the outer side of the house: the sound of laughter and voices, mixed with the sharp notes of a tabor, and the ringing of drinking cups, assured[Pg 120] him that Ben Tarab and his followers were already relaxing from their watchings, among the domestics of the Alcayde.—The Syrian had hastily sketched out to him the site of a neighbouring village, from whence he might possibly cross to Spain, (for to reach Ceutah or Tangier undiscovered, was out of the question) and by the rocks he saw towering before him, he knew the village must be at hand: now then was the moment for flight. He felt in his sash to ascertain if the remainder of Kara Aziek’s present was safe, and feeling it under his hand, he pushed open a latticed door, and sprung into the piazza.

A short winding path brought him to a slanting defile of rocks, whose feet were washed by the united seas of the Atlantic and Mediterranean; the sublime sound of their waves, first quickened the motion of Sebastian’s heart and steps; he rushed forwards, and their vast volume of waters, heaving under a clouded sky, burst upon his view.[Pg 121]

Joy unnerved him; he stood rivetted for awhile, straining his eager eyes towards the shore of Spain. Through the dusky night, the lofty rock of Gibraltar (towering like some fabled giant) was alone dimly discernible; its watch-fires cast a sullen gloom above the horizon, now ascending steadily, now blown by sudden gusts along the air, roused by the creaking of vessels, the King started from his trance, and hurried to the village.

It consisted of a few fishing-huts, and except an old man and his son who were busy in towing their bark to shore, all its inhabitants were gone to rest. There was just light enough for these men to see in the hand of Sebastian, a heap of sequins, with which he tempted them to put off immediately for any port on the opposite coast: they hesitated only a short time; his ardent intreaties and persuasive manner, but above all, his gold, decided them[Pg 122] to incur any risks, they once more hoisted their sail, he leaped into the bark, and in a few minutes they were far out at sea.

Is there a heart to which liberty is sacred, to which a country and a home are dear, that does not throb with anxiety for Sebastian? and if that heart has known the bitterness of long and hopeless exile from these blessings, will it not paint his feelings only too faithfully?—

As the little boat flew direct before the wind, and the waves roared and foamed round its slender keel, the King of Portugal sat motionless, like one stunned; his eyes indeed moved; they roved over every object again and again, to impress their reality upon his mind with that assurance he felt it needed: doubtfully he hearkened to the splashing of the sea, mistrusting the evidence of every sense, and unable to steady or to compose his thoughts.

Assuredly joy overcomes us more fre[Pg 123]quently than sorrow: perhaps it is because we arm ourselves against the latter, and abandon ourselves to the former without reserve.

While myriads of bright visions were passing and repassing through Sebastian’s entranced imagination, the fisherman and his son were shifting their sail and tacking about with plodding indifference; they neither observed nor shared their royal companion’s emotion.

The wind continued favorable, the coast of Africa receded, and the fertile mountains of Grenada and Andalusia advanced from the horizon: the vessel now ran into a creek, and disembarked her crew.

The moment Sebastian’s foot pressed Christian ground, he threw himself down and embraced it; gratitude and adoration locked up the powers of speech; so much pain and pleasure melted his heart, that it was too big for utterance, and he wept.[Pg 124] His companions did not long allow him an indulgence of this honorable weakness, their voices made him start from the earth, he flung them their reward, and then they hastened away.[Pg 125]


Day was just breaking over the high tops of an olive ground, beneath which stood a solitary cottage; Sebastian approached, and unwillingly roused its inhabitants: they were a simple good couple, and finding that their disturber was a Portuguese escaped from Barbary, they brought him in, forced refreshment on him, half-wearied him with questions, and at length resigned to him the only bed their habitation afforded.

Secure of freedom, and of all the blessings in its train, the King hastened to give repose, both to his body and to his mind; his exhausted spirit bathed itself in a long and deep sleep, which not even a blissful dream disturbed: the noon-day sun awoke him to a livelier sense of what he had regained.[Pg 126]

Glowing with rapturous emotions, and eagerly anticipating that moment which should restore him to Donna Gonsalva, he knew it would be impossible for him to endure those delays which must arise, were he to declare himself in Spain or in his own dominions, ere he had reached Xabregas; he therefore determined upon travelling disguised, and giving himself the romantic delight of surprizing her.

Having told the people who lodged him that he was a Portuguese officer journeying homewards, he had no difficulty in procuring a guide and mules to take him through Andaluzia, the low condition of the men with whom he must associate during his journey, would render a recognition of his person very improbable, and relying on this circumstance, he left the sea-coast without apprehension of discovery.

In one of the valleys through which he passed, the ringing of a convent bell gave the welcome tidings of evening prayers;[Pg 127] how many months had elapsed since that holy sound had spoken to him of heaven! he hastened to obey its summons, and leaving his guide in charge of the mules, went into the chapel: scarcely any one was there except a few poor monks. Sebastian prostrated himself before the image of his dying Saviour, and the emotion of his heart again flowed out in tears.

Tears like these the manliest eyes need not disdain shedding; nay, tears like these, honor him who sheds them.

Animated by this delightful act of duty, he retired immediately after the service, and regained the muleteer; they set forward once more towards Portugal.

Traversing the luxuriant vineyards of Andaluzia, they followed for some time the course of the Gaudiana, then crossing its stream, they left its wild rocky banks far behind, entering upon that part of[Pg 128] Portugal which is denominated the kingdom of Algarve.

As Sebastian descended the steep heights that divide the two countries, the winds sweeping over his native land, came on his sense with imaginary sweetness: at every gale, the remembrance of former joys became more vivid, and his heart beat with additional impatience. Freedom had so intoxicated him, that he hoped even against probabilities, expecting to find his Gonsalva’s beauty and health unimpaired, and his uncle willing to resign the sovereign power without a struggle.

Sometimes grateful thought turned back to Africa, and a blessing on the gentle Kara Aziek would burst from his lips; but such thoughts were transient, for love, friendship, and a kingdom, were before him.

Travelling without intermission, only snatching a hasty meal occasionally at[Pg 129] some goatherd’s cabin, or under solitary shades. Sebastian, with his guide, quickly traversed Algarve, penetrated through a pass of the Sierras de Caldaraon successively into the provinces of Alentejo and Estremadura, and at last found himself in the vicinity of his own capital.

Having dismissed his guide, he now sought some obscure house where he might make such enquiries as hitherto he had urged in vain: the people whom he questioned could merely tell him that the prior of Crato had, indeed, escaped from Barbary very soon after his capture, and that the cardinal King was declining fast.—Of Donna Gonsalva they knew nothing.

In those days information of court changes did not travel down to the lower ranks of society, as it does now in these freer times; newspapers and magazines were then unknown; the titled and the powerful were considered like so many gods, and their actions were as imper[Pg 130]fectly known and as rarely scrutinized as if they really dwelt above the clouds.—Sebastian, therefore, was forced to satisfy himself with the belief, that if she had fallen a sacrifice to grief, her death must have become public, he consequently concluded that she was still living in the palace of Xabregas.

To Xabregas hastened the young and impassioned lover. While hurrying over the road which led to it, his warm fancy pictured in endless variety the circumstances of their meeting; the well-remembered beauty and enchantments of Gonsalva agitated him to weakness: “Another moment and I shall hold her in my arms!” he exclaimed, hastily advancing to the private gate of her abode. The gate yielded to his hand; he entered, and treading lightly across an angle of the garden, passed into a pavilion whence issued a secret passage leading into the state apartments of the palace.[Pg 131]

The springs of every door were known to Sebastian; he pressed one, which opening, led him into the subterranean gallery: breathless, trembling, almost flying, he was at the entrance of a favorite room of Donna Gonsalva’s ere he thought of the alarm his appearance might cause her; he paused, and for that instant his limbs failed under him; but the sound of Gonsalva’s voice banished every temperate consideration, new-strung his nerves, and made him suddenly push open the door.

Donna Gonsalva was standing alone with her back towards him, she turned round, and Sebastian beheld again that resplendent beauty which had never for a moment been absent from his thoughts.—He rushed forwards and fell at her feet.

Overpowered with the violence and the variety of his emotions, her very name expired in sighs on his lips, and he could only cover her hands with kisses and with tears.[Pg 132]

At sight of a man coarsely habited and obscured with dust, Donna Gonsalva uttered a cry of terror; but the action of Sebastian, his emotion, the well-known touch of his lips and hands, the very circumstance of his entering by a private way, made him apparent to her: she turned deadly pale, and sunk upon a seat without speaking.

Her impassioned lover hastened to support her in his arms: “Yes, Gonsalva!” he exclaimed, in a voice broken by excess of joy—“My own Gonsalva! it is your Sebastian who now presses you to his enraptured heart.”

Amazement! Donna Gonsalva struggled in his embrace. Still silent, she endeavoured to escape from his arms, sometimes appearing on the point of calling for assistance, and then suddenly checking herself.

The young King hastily threw off his hat and pushed aside his hair; “Look at me, my beloved!” he exclaimed wildly,[Pg 133] “look at me and acknowledge your Sebastian; changed as my person is, surely my voice, this agitation—”

“Release me!” interrupted Gonsalva, averting her head still more,—“I know you not: Don Sebastian is dead.”

The King looked at her with surprize, amounting to stupefaction; “Dead!” he repeated, “you have believed me dead, and yet live on in health and beauty—Gonsalva, is this reception acted to try me?—O yes, yes,” he added, again falling passionately at her feet,—“You cannot have forgotten me,—you cannot have ceased to love the man who has suffered so long, so much, and so faithfully.” Again he wrapt his arms round her, and again she struggled and broke away.

As she fled towards one of the doors, her foot struck against a little couch and awoke an infant that was sleeping there. At the sound of a child’s cry, Sebastian was transfixed, but instantly recovering,[Pg 134] he sprung forwards and tearing off the covering mantle, beheld a boy whose features appeared to mingle those of two well-known faces: his eyes flashed from the couch to Donna Gonsalva. Covered with confusion, and scarcely conscious of what she was doing, she hurried back, and threw herself on the bed to conceal the child.

Pale, aghast, speechless, lost in a mist of frightful apprehensions, Sebastian remained gazing on her; crowds of agonizing recollections, of vanishing hopes and wishes, floated confusedly before him. Was this the welcome he had expected? was this the fond Gonsalva whose gratitude and friendship he had pledged so liberally to Kara Aziek and to Gaspar? was this she, for whose dear sake he had slighted, afflicted, and abandoned the tenderest of hearts.

“Gonsalva!” he sternly said, after a long silence, “you know me, and you are false. Nay, attempt not to fly;” he added, seizing[Pg 135] her arm with an iron grasp, “stay and explain this damned mystery.”

The hitherto-confounded beauty now haughtily raised herself, and making a bold effort, ordered him to leave her. “Whoever you are, she added, that dares usurp the name of Don Sebastian, and intrude thus upon my privacy, I command you to quit me: the King of Portugal, were he indeed alive would not have presented himself thus before me.”

The air of disdain with which she spoke was yet clouded with terror. Sebastian’s reason became unsettled: “by the blessed mother of Jesus!” he cried, “I know not what to think! is it possible that only fourteen months have so utterly changed my person, my voice, my manner, that you should doubt my identity? O Gonsalva, bless me but by saying that Sebastian’s memory still reigns in your heart, and I will soon convince you that it is he who now stands before you agonized and disappointed.[Pg 136]

Again love and hope, mingled with grief, floated his eyes; Donna Gonsalva uttered a few inarticulate, evasive words: in astonishment the King looked wildly at her, then at himself, and seizing the arm he had let go, he dragged her towards a mirror, where he gazed intently for a moment upon his own figure, exclaiming in a voice of thunder, “I am not so changed! you know me, faithless, inhuman woman!”

The fury of his looks made Gonsalva’s frail heart quail within her; fear banished artifice, and she sunk to the ground, imploring him by name, not to destroy her.

As self-preservation was now her first object, she besought him to forgive her infidelity—to allow for the desperation of her present shame, to be assured that the belief of his death and the unceasing importunities of Don Antonio de Crato, had alone rendered her untrue. At the name of her new lover the unfortunate Sebastian[Pg 137] staggered a few paces and fell against the side of the apartment: What a blow, to find himself at the same instant betrayed by his friend and by his mistress!

Terrified at the consequences of her imprudent disclosure, Gonsalva began to intercede for her guilty lover and her child: Sebastian ran his eyes over her without speaking; despair and destruction was in that devouring look; it increased the terror of Gonsalva, and she clung to his knees, sobbing out expressions of penitence.—Invincible beauty still gave an angel’s semblance to her deceptive features; as Sebastian beheld that heavenly countenance deluged with tears, his head swam, his heart melted, his convictions were shaken; Gonsalva saw her advantage, and redoubled her seducing contrition; but at that moment the accidental disorder of her drapery discovered that she would soon again become a mother.

Recovered by this sight, he broke away, and hurried to the cradle: for awhile he[Pg 138] stood over it with a terrible countenance; his looks changed every instant, all his joints shook, he did not speak, but the drops of agony on his forehead seemed to say, “Live on! thou hast not betrayed me.”

Hastily he averted his head from the mother and child, and without having uttered a word, rushed from the apartment.

Darting along the private passages, and then taking the first path that presented itself, he was soon several miles from the groves of Xabregas.

The mind of Sebastian was now in that tumultuous state which is the very acme of misery; a state in which every object of suffering is distinctly perceived, while memory appears sharpened by the very acuteness of regret: like the waves of a stormy sea, thought urged on thought, without order or intermission; those hours once spent with Gonsalva and Antonio, and those expectations, which for fourteen long months had cheered the gloom[Pg 139] of slavery, now thronged on him like spectres. He traversed hills, valleys, and woods, with the rapidity of madness, vainly seeking to fly from himself.

Night was far spent, when he heard himself addressed by a stranger; he stopt, and beheld an honest-looking man standing at the door of a solitary little inn, where some travellers were just alighting from their horses.

“What makes you journey through such a night as this?” said the man, “If you have a mind for a shelter, stay here and welcome; by your garb you seem a poor fellow and not able to pay for a supper—yet you shall have something to eat nevertheless.”

Sebastian paused at the voice of kindness, and found that he was indeed roving about under a dreadful storm: the rain failing in sheets had wetted him through, and he was without a hat, having left it in the chamber of Donna Gon[Pg 140]salva.—Bowing silently, he followed the benevolent innkeeper.

On the threshold of his door the good man paused, and holding a lamp up to Sebastian’s face, uttered an exclamation of surprise at his haggard looks, adding, “However, there’s something in that countenance that tells me I am not going to harbour a robber, so come in poor fellow.”

Sebastian followed him into a large kitchen where the horsemen who preceded him were already seating themselves near a fire: by their dress and mien two of them appeared noble, and the remaining four, their attendants. They took no notice of the King, but called for wine and omelets, and began discoursing about the weather: meanwhile the humane landlord offered his humbler looking guest some cheese and onions; Sebastian in a low voice declined the coarse supper; he wrapt himself up in his[Pg 141] capote and stood remote from the fire, thinking upon the past scene with Donna Gonsalva.

Of her guilt, and that of his cousin Antonio, he could scarcely doubt; her own confession, and the existence of the child, were proofs undeniable, and from the apparent age of the latter it was evident, that their criminal intercourse must have begun ere the period of his attachment to Gonsalva: the conduct and conversation of Don Emanuel, (hitherto so mysterious) then flashed across his mind, and his blood froze when he thought that, but for his persevering conduct, he might have become the husband of Antonio’s mistress.

With what piercing regret did he recall the harsh treatment of the generous De Castro, who had too surely suspected, if not known, the guilty secret!—A groan now escaped him that made the company start: fearful of exciting curiosity, he[Pg 142] drew his cloak round his face, and moved further from the light, complaining of a sudden pain.—The travellers eyed him suspiciously and laid fire-arms on the table.

Of his Crown and his people, Sebastian thought no more; the monstrous ingratitude of Antonio, the perfidy of Gonsalva, and their mutual duplicity, (which he vainly endeavoured to trace back to some suspicious circumstances,) alone occupied him; he did not even glance towards the measures he should pursue for the recovery of his rights as a sovereign; but while he sat lost in rumination, the sound of his own name made him start: it was spoken in a conversation now held in Latin by the two superior travellers.—Attention completely roused, enabled him to catch every word, though the men spoke in low tones, and seemed afraid that not even a learned language was a sufficient guard for their subject.[Pg 143]

The moment these travellers laid aside their large feathered hats, Sebastian recognized two of his own courtiers.

“You will find it difficult to convince me of this,” said the younger.

“What! you don’t doubt the fact?” cried his companion, “do you disbelieve that a man, arrived from Africa, who asserted it to be true?”

“No, I do not question that;” rejoined the other, “but I believe the fellow told an impudent lie. Don Sebastian fell at Alcazar, as sure as yon poor rogue stands shivering in the corner.”

“I am not of your opinion:” answered the elder gentleman, “I was present when this man from Barbary brought the intelligence to Don Antonio; his account was so clear and circumstantial that I did not scruple to avow my faith in it: and though Don Antonio pretended to treat it with contempt; I saw it alarmed him dreadfully; and well it might, for the re[Pg 144]turn of Don Sebastian would be a day of awkward reckoning for him.”

“Pshaw!” exclaimed the other cavalier, “had Don Antonio believed the impostor, policy would have made him stop the news-bringer’s mouth.”

“The Portuguese seemed to guess as much,” returned the former speaker, “for though he promised to come again on the ensuing day, he posted off from Crato to the houses of different nobles, telling the same story, and praying to have it carried to the King.”

“Well! and why were all these persons unbelievers too, if the tale appeared so true?”

“Why?—because every one of them are either pretenders to the succession, or friends to the pretenders. Some were partizans of Philip of Spain, others of the Braganzas, the Prince of Parma, &c. nobles who knew well that the restoration of their former sovereign would not afford[Pg 145] them such a chance for power, as a scramble amongst numbers. Our old Cardinal draws to an end, in a few months perhaps the Spaniard will sit on his throne, (for in my opinion he stands the best chance), and we all got a hint of the way to please Philip, by hearing how rigorously he treated every officer who returned from Africa, and ventured to speak doubtfully of Sebastian’s death. If Don Sebastian could get here by miracle, he would not find a man in Portugal unbiassed by some faction; he might return to his chains.”

That Sebastian of whom he spoke, was now kindling into fury; he gnawed his nether lip, and grasped his cloak with a convulsive action.—The last speaker resumed.

“Every body concludes that our present monarch relished the first report of his nephew’s being alive as little as Philip; for I can tell you that Don Emanuel de Castro would not have got the viceroyalty of Brazil had it not been deemed politic[Pg 146] to send him out of a country which he was continually agitating by assertions of Sebastian’s existence: nay, the silence of his ministers on the subject of this last report, and the disappearance of the poor devil himself, speaks pretty plain; the rope or the cup has most likely silenced him for ever.”

At this horrible conjecture, the joy of hearing that De Castro lived, and was in a land of freedom, gave way to anguish, a second groan burst from the unhappy King, the speakers stopt, and fixed their eyes on him.

“Who is this fellow?” asked one of them: “a sick traveller, I fancy,” replied the landlord, drawing near and speaking softly, “or rather I should think a poor youth crossed in love: for he has a noble countenance, full of grievous wildness, and was roving about under all that storm without feeling it.”

The good man now approached with a cup of wine, to which Sebastian put his[Pg 147] lips, that he might avoid importunity, acknowledging that he was sick: the travellers resumed their discourse.

“For my part,” said one, “I would never draw a sword to rescue Don Sebastian, his court was too moral for me: neither Venus nor Bacchus was worshipped there, and where they are not worshipped, I beg leave to make my congé. Besides, he put a public affront upon my cousin, the young Marquis Cellamare: he happened to carry off the daughter of a merchant; the old man got her back after one night’s absence only, yet he complained to the King, and he insisted on Cellamare’s offering her honourable reparation in presence of her family and his own: the girl (tutored by Don Sebastian, no doubt), affected to despise such reparation, preferred taking the veil, and refused him.”

“Refused him!” repeated the other.

“Yes, indeed: the degradation was thus made worse than if she had polluted[Pg 148] his illustrious blood by becoming his wife: you were not in Portugal then, I know.”

“No, I was in Italy,” rejoined his companion, “now I know your sentiments, I will frankly confess that I do not pray for the rash-brained monarch’s return—he was liberal enough, to be sure, but then he exacted heavy returns.—For instance, he gave me a regiment, but it was on condition I followed his mad course to Morocco: fortunately the opportune sickness and death of my wife kept me at home. No, no, Don Sebastian made away with all his friends, when he led on twenty thousand Portuguese like himself, to slaughter, at Alcazar.”

Quivering with restrained fury, his eyes striking fire, the young monarch started from his seat, and half-sprung towards the ungrateful miscreants—but suddenly recollecting himself, he turned away, and hastily left the apartment.

As he went through a passage opening[Pg 149] into a field, he found the landlord had followed him: “What is the matter with thee, friend!” said he, “my guests pronounce thee mad, and recommend my turning thee out: I have not heart to do that—Lopez Vernara never yet closed his door on the houseless.”

Sebastian turned round with a look of anguish somewhat sweetened by grateful feelings; “I am not mad—not quite mad,” he said, “though at this moment the most wretched of men. Fear nothing from me, honest Lopez—suffer me only to rest in some place where the sound of human voice may not reach me. I can reward thee, for I am not so poor as I seem.”

The good innkeeper pointed to a barn at a little distance. “Go there,” he said, “you will find plenty of clean straw, and no soul shall disturb you. Jesu help thee, poor youth, thou lookest at thy wit’s end!” Lopez turned back into the house as he concluded, and Sebastian wildly trode the path before him.[Pg 150]

The information afforded by the two travellers had thrown his mind into fresh tumults: to find himself thus blotted out from his subjects’ hearts, hated for his justice, derided by those he had served, betrayed by those he loved, forgotten almost by the whole world, an outcast even in his own kingdom—was a consummation to his misery, which not even misanthropy could have imagined. Murdered for his sake, Gaspar seemed to cry aloud for vengeance: yet where was he to find the means of retribution, when the court, the army, and the people, were steeled against him?

What a return! and how fearful was the spectacle which it presented!—as if a veil had been torn off by some invisible power, he beheld every heart in which he fondly thought himself cherished, false to their vows, and panting for his blood! his sick soul—“sick unto death,”—turned from object to object with increasing anguish: the only human beings whose love could be relied on, were out of his reach;[Pg 151] De Castro, though living, was beyond the Atlantic, Gaspar in the grave, and Kara Aziek in the hateful empire of Morocco.

These convictions half-disordered Sebastian’s brain: he walked with an irregular pace, sometimes stopping, then darting eagerly forwards; alternately striking his breast and his forehead, repeating, as their images shot through his mind, the names of Gaspar, Antonio, and the perfidious Gonsalva.

Though it was his wish and his interest to remain unknown, the mere circumstance of having passed unrecognized by two men whom he had so often noticed, joined to the singular fortune of never having been once suspected for their King by any of the Portuguese, now completed his anguish: distempered in mind, he saw not a single exception to the prevalent forgetfulness; but wild with grief, with indignation, with blasted expectations, hurried into the barn and cast himself on a heap of straw: “Leave me my reason,[Pg 152] O, God!” he exclaimed, in a voice, the tone of which proclaimed a reason just tottering on the verge of madness.

At that sound, a rustling was heard amongst the straw, Sebastian started up, the next moment a large rough dog sprung towards him, and leaping against his breast, sent forth a cry of joy: “Barémel! Barémel!—O, heaven! and art thou then the only one?” Interrupted by a gush of tenderness, the houseless monarch clasped his dumb friend in his arms; then recollecting the last time he had seen him, and the words he had spoken, “Stay and be loved for my sake,” his heart became so subdued that he burst into tears, and wept with all the vehemence of a woman.

Whining and fawning on him, Barémel lay at his master’s feet, with upturned eyes, expressive of that instinctive attachment which so often shames the affection of reasoning man: the King now stood painfully contemplating this added proof of popular instability; “If thou hadst[Pg 153] become hateful to Antonio’s mistress,” he exclaimed, “was there none of my court who would take thee in, and cherish thee for my sake!—poor Barémel! from a palace to a shed!—the favorites of fallen princes can hope for nothing better.”—He smiled gloomily, and sinking down on the straw, laid his head upon the body of Barémel.

The happy animal seemed proud of his royal burthen; Sebastian then fell into a train of less distracted but equally wounding thought, till by degrees stupor succeeded to frenzy; his feelings became benumbed and “a waveless calm” spread over them: imperceptibly every agitating image faded away, till deep sleep, like midnight darkness, buried all things in profound oblivion.

Early the next day, after seeing his nobler guests on their horses, Lopez came to learn how the poor traveller had rested; he found him asleep with Barémel. On advancing to awake them, the dog sprung[Pg 154] and seized the good man by his coat—Sebastian opened his eyes, and at his command Barémel released old Lopez. “Thou’rt an honest fellow I’ll be sworn!” exclaimed the latter, “or this dog would not have taken a fancy to thee.—Come, get up and let me give thee some breakfast.”

Briefly thanking him for his offer, the King enquired how he came to be in possession of a creature that had once belonged to their sovereign. Lopez eyed him curiously; “So, thou hast been a courtier, friend! or mayhap a soldier, and—” Sebastian interrupted him, willing to lull the curiosity which might otherwise annoy him.

“I am a soldier,” he said, “lately escaped from Africa. After fourteen months slavery, I have returned to my country to find some friends dead, many perfidious; my rights usurped by others, and the woman I adored, false,—false as hell!” he paused, and the before pale gloom of[Pg 155] his countenance, was now changed to the crimson flush of frenzy;—then recollecting himself, he added, “wonder not that I am half distracted—the sight of this dog, which I remember to have seen following the King, has brought back some ideas that ought never again to agitate this betrayed heart.—How did you get this dog?”

“Why, by good luck,” replied Lopez, “one of my cousins, you see, is under scullion in the kitchen of the Donna Gonsalva Vimiosa—she that our last King was to have married. Sorrow on her! what a jade she has proved! worse, I reckon, than the woman you are raving about—Come, come man, don’t shake so; women were sad deceiving devils ever since the fall.—I dare say now, your jilt had not played the harlot with your cousin, as this Donna Gonsalva has done? all the world cried shame on her. You see, in less than five months after the King’s sailing for Africa, she brings into the world a chopping child, at first my lady tried to make[Pg 156] it out the King’s, and said they were privately married; but on Don Emanuel de Castro’s getting back from Barbary, he disproved that story somehow, and she would have gone to die in the inquisition, had not the prior Antonio boldly owned her and the child, procured an absolution for them both from the Pope, and so forced the present King to pardon her.

“See the world now!—the other day she was scorned by every body because both she and her paramour were in disgrace at court, but since the King gets so infirm and seems so averse to fix the succession, all the world worships her again. People think, you see, that Don Antonio will have the throne.”

“Where then are the Braganzas?” exclaimed Sebastian, “What claims can the bastard Antonio make?”

“Why, you see,” replied Lopez, “this same Antonio would have the best right if he could prove himself the lawful son of our cardinal King’s brother, the late duke De Beja; and so since he can[Pg 157]not prove it, he swears it; that is, he gives out that his father and mother were secretly married.—As for the Duchess of Braganza, she poor soul scarcely cares for a throne; her heart is out of this world.”

“Alas!” exclaimed Sebastian, “did she lose both her sons in that fatal battle? Surely the Duke of Barcelos was only taken prisoner?”

“Only!” repeated Lopez, “Holy Mary defend us! you soldiers think nothing of such matters. I can tell you, my lady duchess did not make so light of it when she got her poor boy back again, with a face like a corpse. He’ll never be the ruddy youth he was.”

“He is returned then?” said Sebastian sighing deeply, “but the noble Diego, that wondrous child”—

“He never came back,” interrupted the good Vernara, “Alas, what a sad day was that which brought the disastrous news! My cousin, who has a sweetheart[Pg 158] in the duchess’s family, was there when an officer came who had received his last breath.—The pretty boy was killed by a cannon ball: he fell in his place, following the King; and you may be sure then that he fell in the thick of the battle.”

At this passing tribute to his bravery, the cheek of Sebastian suddenly glowed; he turned aside to conceal his emotion, and Lopez went on; “the King’s arm beat back the coward Moors that would have trampled over his pretty page; so this officer that I was speaking of, had time to stop and see if he could assist him, but the dear child made a sign that he would not be taken off the field; he grasped the officer’s hand and said, ‘tell my mother’—he could not go on, so pointing up to Heaven and raising his eyes with such a smile as if he would have said he was going to join angels like himself, he fetched a gentle sigh, and died.”

Lopez put the back of his hand to his eyes as he spoke, and when he removed it[Pg 159] again, it was quite wet with tears: the severer emotion of his royal companion shook his voice, as he hastily said—“but this dog, Lopez—you have not told me how it came into your possession.”

“O, aye, the dog—why you see the Donna Gonsalva took an aversion to it, and ordered her people to put it out of her sight—that you know was next hand to bidding it be killed—however nobody liked to do that, and yet they were afraid to give it a courtier in case she should see it again; so my cousin offers to take it to me, because, as he said, I had a wonderful knack at gaining dumb creatures’ hearts, and would be sure to make him stay with me; and sure enough, so it turned out; for Barémel laid himself down as soon as Garcias brought him in, and never seemed to want to go back again.”

Sebastian looked at the animal with an expression of piercing pain, for he could not forbear thinking poor Barémel had[Pg 160] had no caresses to regret when he left Xabregas.

While such thoughts passed through his mind, he was tempted to ask himself whether he were awake; a groan of bitter conviction followed the question. “Do you remember Don Sebastian?” he said, abruptly.

“Not I, Lord help you; I never saw him.—Some folks say he’s alive still, and that he’ll be amongst us when we don’t expect it; but for my part I wish he may be dead, for he’d find but a dismal welcome in Portugal. All his young nobles courting the prior of Crato because he makes one in their lewd courses; the old ones sticking to the cardinal on account of his peaceableness; the poor folks not knowing which side to take for fear of their betters; Donna Gonsalva turned into a common harlot,—mercy on us! I’d rather be a mouldering corpse in the shabbiest burying-ground that ever was, than the[Pg 161] living Don Sebastian with such vexations to meet him.”

Sebastian suddenly laid his icy hand on the arm of Lopez, with so convulsive a grasp, and such a ghastly smile, that the innkeeper turned mortal pale, and began to tremble; he thought himself in the power of a maniac, whom he pitied and yet feared: the wretched Sebastian seeing his terror withdrew some steps, saying in a softened tone, “forgive my strangeness, worthy Lopez: do not wonder that my own sufferings, and sympathy with those of an unfortunate prince should thus transport me. I will trouble you no longer, give me some food, for I must be gone.”

Lopez hastened to obey; alarmed by the varying complexion and eyes of his companion, by his irregular steps and suffocated voice: he led him into the kitchen, where he placed before him some coarse food, though the best he possessed. Sebastian ate a few mouthfuls[Pg 162] without sitting down, and with an averted face, for there were soldiers and servants in the place by whom he feared a discovery: having finished his scanty meal, he walked quickly out of the kitchen, motioning for Lopez to follow him.

By the time the corpulent innkeeper overtook him in an adjoining field, he had drawn from his bosom the treasure of Kara Aziek, and selected from it a bracelet of gems: this graceful ornament forcibly recalled its generous wearer, and fixing his eyes on it with a mixture of regret, tenderness, and consolation, he sighed often and deeply.

The gems sparkling in daylight rivetted the attention of Lopez, and he ventured to commend their beauty: awakened by this remark, Sebastian turned round; “Friend!” he said, with an air of gentler sadness, “your kindness has not been thrown away upon an ungrateful man; I have found one heart in Portugal worthy of a[Pg 163] Portuguese: take this precious present, turn it into money, and continue, with added means, to succour the unfortunate. Do not eye me with distrust,” (he added, seeing Lopez retreat doubtfully,) “I came honestly by it; ’twas the gift of one to whom I owe my freedom. She is a Moor, Lopez, an infidel, join your prayers with mine for her conversion and her salvation: promise me that you will never pray, without soliciting the saints to intercede in Heaven for her soul.”

Again Lopez thought his companion mad, and gently putting aside the bracelet, exclaimed, “Poor youth! I would not rob thee for the whole world; thy brain is disordered, thou knowest not what thou are doing.”

Touched with such uncommon disinterestedness, the amiable monarch exerted himself to convince Lopez that he was perfectly reasonable and sincere; after much difficulty he succeeded: Lopez took the[Pg 164] jewels, and gave up his title to Barémel. Sebastian squeezed the hand of his host, and telling him to remember the Moorish lady in his prayers, plunged into a neighbouring thicket.

The royal wanderer was now journeying towards the river Zadaon, near the extremity of which lay the home of Gaspar: he hoped to learn there something of that humble friend, to have preserved whose life he would willingly have poured forth all his blood; and hope yet surviving every shock, began to soothe him with promises of Gaspar’s safety.

On that subject alone, could hope exert her heart-supporting influence, all others were desperate; and the wretched Sebastian, blasted in every tender expectation, dishonored by the matchless depravity of her who was to have shared his throne, wished only to find some gloomy solitude where he might bury his shame and his despair.[Pg 165]

A betrayed lover cannot easily learn to think of the woman who once entranced him, in any other manner than that to which he has been accustomed; impressions repeated again and again are not to be immediately effaced by one impression, however just; the heart retains its first print of excellence long after a faithless object has ceased to impress it: we may regret without weakness for a while, what it would be meanness to love on, for ever; in short, we may lament that the brightest vision of our days was but a vision!

Sebastian could not revert to his last interview with Donna Gonsalva, and not find his thoughts hurried away by a multitude of softening recollections; past looks of tenderness, impassioned replies, tears, caresses, the touch of her hand, the tone of her voice, thrilled through his veins with the force of present existence; then returned the conviction of her baseness, and he cast himself on the ground, bathing it[Pg 166] with tears, and uttering a thousand distracted exclamations.

His devious course was too frequently interrupted by these bursts of despair; but he quickly recovered himself, for friendship yet claimed a share in his soul, and whether Gaspar lived or died, his family had claims on the protection of Sebastian.

Travelling through the wildest, because least frequented roads, the King procured food at goat-herds’ huts, or from passing muleteers; his remaining sequins gave him the means of paying these people well, and the watchfulness of Barémel rendered any precaution for his personal safety wholly needless: at night they slept together amongst woods, and in the day journied along, rarely noticed by those who met them.

During his route, Sebastian had more than once taken out the letter given him by Kara Aziek, but his bleeding heart[Pg 167] shrunk from the pain of reading sentiments so tender and so noble; sentiments which would revive too forcibly the vanished virtue of Donna Gonsalva. “Another time,” he exclaimed, as he returned the sealed vellum to his breast, “another time, matchless angel! for woman I will not call thee. I was to have read this after my re-union with——,” that perfidious name died upon his tongue; he started up, called to Barémel, and hastened to lose thought, in the rapidity of violent motion.

Remembering the directions originally given by Gaspar, Sebastian left the Zadaon on his right, and entered some beautiful meadows, among which stood the cottage of his friend’s mother. The mists of morning were but just beginning to clear away from its low roof, and no sound of man or cattle came from the fields around. He approached the cottage; its windows were closed, its garden in ruins: the silence that reigned there caused his heart[Pg 168] to stop; could it be possible, he thought, for the family of Gaspar to have shared his cruel fate? grief and horror seized him at this suggestion.

With an unsteady hand he shook the fastened door, calling loudly for admittance: after several attempts to rouse the inhabitants, if inhabitants there were, he was preparing to relinquish them in despair, when a casement was cautiously opened, and a female voice was heard to ask, in a tone of extreme alarm, who was there; this question was only answered by a hasty inquiry of whether she belonged to the family of Gaspar Ribeiro.

At this demand the young woman uttered a faint cry, exclaiming “O, don’t harm us!—indeed, indeed, he is not here.”

Perceiving that she mistook him for some officer of justice, the King told her in a tone of convincing gentleness, that he was a friend, not an enemy; one that had shared captivity with Gaspar, and sought[Pg 169] only the satisfaction of beholding him again.

At this assurance the girl hastened down, and opening the door, admitted Sebastian into a low, earth-floored room, in which he saw a younger girl, half clothed, pale, and trembling: their resemblance to Gaspar, and the desolateness of their situation, struck him so forcibly, that uttering an expression of concern, in which the name of his friend was more than once repeated, he sat down to recover himself.

The two young women looked at him fearfully: his habit, indeed, was mean and shattered, but the nobleness of his countenance, the grandeur of his mien, awakened a suspicion of his real character. “My brother spoke but of one companion in slavery,” said Marakita, the eldest, hesitating as she proceeded, “and to him he gave a pledge at parting, a ring which—”

Without speaking, Sebastian held out his hand, and Marakita recognizing on it a coarse bauble that had once been her own,[Pg 170] hastened to prostrate herself at the feet of her sovereign: struggling in vain to repress his extreme emotion, Sebastian raised her and her sister, desiring them to tell him the fate of their brother. Marakita took out a letter from an old leather case which she had hidden under a stone of the door-way, and gave it the King; opening it, he read eagerly as follows.

“Most honoured sovereign, and may I venture to say, dear as honoured! should these ill-written lines ever come into your hands, (and God alone knows how to bring that blessed event to pass) I hope they may be given you on your throne; then you will not forget, sire, the poor orphans who present it, nor blush to acknowledge their self-exiled brother: but if, as I fear, it should be given to you after your unassisted return, O! let it warn you to trust no man in Portugal. Interest and ambition have corrupted every heart.

“They who should have loved their King most, have injured him most. I have personally applied to Donna Gon[Pg 171]salva, to Don Antonio, to the Dukes of Braganza and D’Aveyro, nay, to the Cardinal Regent himself, and all have pretended to disbelieve me. I have been imprisoned for my zeal, but thanks to an honest fellow-soldier have escaped, and am at this moment writing in a vessel bound for the land of Brazil: a man who is leaving her, and will journey towards the interior, has promised to convey this packet to my sisters. May the saints guide him on his way!

“I go, sire, to make a last effort for justice. Don Emanuel de Castro, the most upright of your majesty’s subjects, having been ransomed out of Barbary, is at present the Viceroy at St. Salvador; his great soul never yet knew any other ambition than that of being unsurpassed in virtue: he will hear and credit my story, and assuredly will interest the powers of Europe in his master’s cause.

“Rely on him, sire, and if he still rule in the new world when your majesty[Pg 172] receives this letter, follow me thither: O! trust not your precious life amongst a set of traitors, who have thirsted even for the blood of your humble messenger.

“Obeying the call of a superior duty, I trust my family confidently to the Holy Spirit: fortunately no one knew more of me than my name, and my sisters may therefore live without fear of molestation.

“I invoke Jesus, and the Virgin Mother, to hear all those prayers I daily put up for the good Kara Aziek and for my injured sovereign!—I throw myself at his august feet, and venture to kiss and to embrace his sacred hands.—

“The devoted Gaspar.”

The first emotion of joy which had for some time warmed the frozen heart of Sebastian, now glowed there; transported out of himself by this unexpected assurance of his friend’s existence, he exclaimed aloud, “Not at his feet Gaspar, in your King’s arms![Pg 173]”—

A profound sigh followed these words, and Sebastian’s mind was soon filled with so many torturing remembrances of the worthlessness of others, that he forgot both his situation and his companions. Starting from a reverie at an action of Barémel’s, he addressed the awestruck girls, enquiring about their condition and their resources.

From the younger he learnt that they obtained a living by working in vineyards, (their mother having died while Gaspar was in Africa,) and that the eldest might be married to the son of a wealthy muleteer, did she possess only a portion of five gold crowns.

How often had the present of Kara Aziek kept Sebastian from feeling the sharpest sting of misery, an inability to reward services or to bestow relief! he now took out the Moorish handkerchief in which it was wrapt, and bidding Marakita advance, put into her hands some or[Pg 174]naments of precious stones; “Take these,” he said, “they are all that is left an injured monarch to bestow; they will enrich your husband, and enable you to give a portion to your young sister when she is of an age to marry: the remainder I go to share with Gaspar.—Do not shew these gems for awhile; I may then be far from pursuit—far from a country where love, loyalty, friendship, the ties of blood, and the closer bond of affection, exist no more for me.”

Alarmed by the excessive wildness of the young monarch’s looks and voice, and well informed of his sad story, the two sisters shed tears in abundance, timidly asking a few questions, and scarce venturing to raise their eyes, while they invoked blessings on their royal benefactor and on their brother.

Much affected, the King returned their blessings, adding with a strangely-frantic smile, “Hear me, ye guardian saints of[Pg 175] Portugal,—unless I am Heaven’s outcast also!”

The sun’s broad light now warned him to begone; and repeating his injunctions, he bade adieu to Marakita and her sister.[Pg 176]


Directing his course downwards towards the coast, the King found himself at night in a mean town six leagues from Setuval; some shops were open, and at one of them he purchased a homely dress, better calculated for disguise than the mutilated habit he had brought with him from Africa: but alas! the unfortunate Sebastian scarcely needed any other disguise than the alterations wrought on him by hardships and sorrows. The roundness of health and youth was no more to be seen in his figure, giving beauty to strength, and proportion to grace: his cheeks were wan and hollow, his eyes dim, his brow furrowed with the frequent contraction of thought; that enchanting smile which used to distinguish[Pg 177] him from all mankind, never appeared on his lips; who then was to recognize Sebastian in this gloomy-looking traveller?

He slept in the town, and the next morning resumed the road to Setuval.

The second night he took up his abode in a cavern on the coast whence there was a noble view of the town and bay. A radiant moon, brightened by slight frost, (for it was now November,) illuminated this quiet retreat; its roof, hung with crystal stalactites, like natural fringes of diamonds, startled Sebastian on entering, he paused and looked back: the same resplendent moon was more temperately reflected from a vast stretch of sea; myriads of stars twinkled around her; the vessels in the bay, and the buildings in the town were silvered by her light, and only a faint dashing of waves broke the tranquillity of the scene.

Is there a heart to which moonlight is not hallowed by some association, or in which it does not awaken devotional feel[Pg 178]ings? Sebastian felt its softening, purifying influence, and making the sign of the cross over his breast and forehead, gently breathed a prayer to the Divine Being from whom that lovely orb derived her beauty and her light.

He entered the cavern with a calmed spirit: when he beheld its fantastic interior flashing splendor on him from a thousand tremulous crystals, he owned with admiration that no mortal palace could surpass the magnificence of this to which chance had conducted him.

The tumult of indignant emotions that had agitated him incessantly since his reception from Donna Gonsalva, now gave way for awhile to tenderness only: he was about to leave his country and his people, he was going to try the attachment of subjects, who, situated in another quarter of the globe, knew him solely by his choice of their former governors. Could he expect to find from them that grateful fidelity which his own court and[Pg 179] familiar friends had failed to shew! and was it from the harshly-treated De Castro that he was to seek for love and duty?

“Yes, from De Castro!” answered the noble spirit of Sebastian, “I cannot better recompence his virtue and efface my own injustice than by voluntarily affording him an opportunity of serving me.”

To the Brazils therefore he determined to go, confidently expecting to be there recognized and obeyed; he might then dispatch letters to all the powers of Europe, notifying his existence, and requiring their assistance for the restoration of his rights; to regain those rights without bloodshed was his earnest wish: his heart sickened at the prospect of a civil war, should he, by remaining in Portugal, give the different parties a hope of securing his person; for if those now in authority chose to start doubts of his identity, he must call on his inferior subjects to rise in arms for his support.[Pg 180]

This extremity was what he sought to avoid: indeed the wounds inflicted by the perfidy of his cousin and mistress, bled inwardly, making every well-known scene hateful to his eyes, and every friend to whom otherwise he might have revealed himself, an object of suspicion.

While these thoughts were gloomily displacing the serener melancholy with which he entered his present lodging, he had thrown himself along the ground, and raising his arm to form a support for his head, struck it against something, which, on moving out of the way, he found to be a tablet, with writing on it in discoloured ink. He cast his eyes incuriously over the writing; the first line struck the chief chord in his own breast; and with his hand shading the tablet from the dazzling glare of the cavern, he read the following wild effusion.

O that it were no sin to ask for death!
Then would I pray to yield this hateful breath;[Pg 181]
Then from life’s desart vast, its spectred gloom,
These eyes would turn and rest upon the tomb!
There griefs approach not, pain and thought are still;
Nor hope, nor fear, can wake one trembling thrill:
Smote by the glare of death’s petrific eye,
Locked in eternal ice, life’s currents lie;
No more their tides quick-circling through each part,
Send warm emotions to the eager heart
No more the gates of sense delighted move;
No more weak reason yields her throne to love;
But all things cease; thought, feeling, mem’ry gone,
And black oblivion broods unmarked alone.
Whether our souls released, immediate go,
Or sleep in trance awhile, we ne’er shall know,
Till as our change begins, experience shews
The awful secret of the grave’s repose;
But pardon, Heav’n! a frantic wretch who dares
To own a heart so torn by rending cares,
So loathing each remembrance, so possessed,
As but to groan and pray for endless rest!
If when these vital fires have ceased to burn,
Thought, or mere consciousness, should e’er return,
Say, would not her idea rush again
And stab seraphic bliss with piercing pain?
Mixed with my being all, for ever mixed,
Of change incapable, her thought is fixed,
And here on earth, or there in Heav’n would come
To render still the same my bitter doom.
* * * * * * *
[Pg 182] O God of mercy! from thy records raze
This guilty frenzy!—let some pitying rays
Beam on my madden’d brain, and teach my soul
To bow submissive to thy wise control!
Teach me to know, that when I loved too well,
I gave a mortal in thy place to dwell!
O teach me then to own thy just decree,
And bless the thorny path that leads to thee!

Pity, heightened to the poignancy of agony by fatal sympathy with the situation here described, seized Sebastian; he put down the tablet in extreme agitation, for love began now to struggle with indignation, and the tenderness of the unhappy unknown became infectious: a confusion of fond, delightful recollections, at once entered his soul; some rare moments of transcendent happiness again re-appeared,—moments in which the beauty, the accomplishments, the well-acted love and purity of Gonsalva had exalted him to beatitude. O! how was it possible that this transport had been deceptive, that this perfection of woma[Pg 183]n’s charms was even then immersed in the low gratifications of illicit passion, in the horrible practice of systematic deceit?

After this hateful idea rapidly followed a recapitulation of her various arts while urging on a secret marriage, which was too surely destined to cover the proof of her shameful conduct, as by no difficult manœuvre her child might have been passed upon him and on his people for the legitimate heir to the crown of Portugal. Fury flashed from Sebastian’s eyes at this thought; tenderness fled; and the frenzy of a heart outraged and betrayed in every point, suddenly succeeded. “No, perfidious monster!” he exclaimed aloud, “thy crimes murder regret.—Thou hast not been commonly frail, nor deserted me for another honorable lover; then I might have lamented thee, pity might have united with love in regretting that thou wast not perfect, and I might have still doated on the past, like this fond wretch: but thou hast fallen into such an[Pg 184] abyss of guilt, that even memory sees thee only as thou art now.”

He closed his eyes as if to shut out her image, and turning to another part of the cavern, threw himself down once more in the hope of obtaining repose.

It was long ere his tumultuous feelings and throbbing brain were stilled by sleep: piercing thoughts, like flashes of lightning quivering by fits through the blackness of some starless night, frequently shot across the gloom that gradually succeeded to frenzy: but at length the dumb caresses of Barémel softened every emotion, and he sunk to rest amid the calm of rising resignation.

Sebastian dreamt, and he dreamt of Kara Aziek. He fancied himself once more going through the last interview with Donna Gonsalva, and dragged by her orders to a loathsome dungeon; there he beheld the gentle Aziek braving death for the sake of pouring balm upon his wounded spirit: he felt himself in her[Pg 185] arms, he heard her touching voice, her tears dropt over his face, while bending down she impressed on it a kiss of tender compassion.

At this instant of his dream, Sebastian awoke; his heart was beating strongly; the kiss, the breath of Kara Aziek, seemed yet warm upon his lips: so lively was their impression that he stretched out his arms with an entranced look, believing he should indeed clasp her within them.—He leaped from the ground; no one was visible; the moon had set, and profound silence and darkness reigned throughout the cavern.

“Aziek! angelic Aziek!” he repeated in a voice tender as her own—“friend, comforter, benefactress! where art thou?” he stopped and scarcely respired; for as yet his heart and his imagination were dreaming, and he expected to hear her speak, or at least sigh.

While the echo of his own exclamation murmured along the walls, his senses gra[Pg 186]dually recovered from their delusion, and he knew himself to be alone in a place remote from her he dreamt of: tenderness rapidly diffused itself over his whole soul, while he supposed his dream realized, and himself held in the pitying arms of Kara Aziek. Her artlessness, her sweetness, her mild yet heroic goodness, her trembling soul-subduing love, her soft beauty, and still softer voice, floated before him, awaking hopes and wishes which a few hours previous, he would have deemed it impossible for him to feel.

How naturally does the warm and youthful heart cling to the source of man’s sweetest emotions! how eagerly does it embrace the hope of finding its transports renewed; of blessing and being blessed,—of learning again to behold the world with complacency for the sake of one amiable object!—Sebastian believed himself solely yielding to friendship, gratitude, and the desire of atoning to Aziek[Pg 187] for the wounds he had unintentionally given her peace, when he was thus dwelling delighted on the probability of one day becoming her husband.

“She would share my varying fate without a murmur;” he said to himself, “if happy, she would exalt and refine my enjoyments; if wretched, she would alleviate my afflictions. On a throne, or in obscurity, with her my grateful heart could never know a want; her love, boundless as her virtues, would satisfy and fill it.”

While he uttered this sentence, a thrill of more genuine affection than had ever stirred his bosom for Donna Gonsalva, glided through his veins: perfect esteem, perfect admiration, perfect gratitude,—what are they, but the purest species of love?

To these sentiments were now added the conviction of no longer possessing any other source of happiness.[Pg 188]

Delicacy gives law to woman’s heart; Honor to that of man: woman blushes at the idea of entertaining a second passion, yet naturally tender, adheres too tenaciously sometimes to a changed object. Man, accustomed to consider the weaker sex as dependent on him for protection, abhors to exercise his power in proportion as it is easy to do so, and while he believes himself beloved, refuses to break through ties of which he may have become weary.

Unconsciously this sentiment of honor had long been Gonsalva’s auxiliary while Sebastian was in Africa; the transporting emotions caused by Kara Aziek’s inestimable qualities, and those tenderer ones inspired by her devotedness, had then been uniformly repressed by remembrance rather than by anticipation: when he recollected whole days of exquisite felicity, he paused not to discover, that after having become acquainted with such a being[Pg 189] as Kara Aziek, the less endearing character of Donna Gonsalva could no longer satisfy him.

Now was the moment for a perusal of the letter: Sebastian drew it from his vest, and hurried to the mouth of the cavern; but clouds and darkness had succeeded to the moon’s radiance, and it was impossible for him to read it. He returned with chagrin, and seated himself on a projection of rock, holding the precious vellum in his hand.

While thus watching the dawn of day, his mind became busied by a multitude of new projects to which the conviction of Aziek’s attachment gave birth; to bestow happiness on her, was now, he thought, an act of justice: while Gonsalva appeared virtuous and faithful, honour and inclination retained him in her chains; but since she had shamefully forfeited those rights, gratitude imperiously demanded him for Kara Aziek: the disinterested[Pg 190]ness of her love had been proved, he had therefore no circumstance to lament or to dread in an union with her, except her hateful religion.

To this serious obstacle the ardent character of the King, yet sanguine and romantic, opposed the delightful hope of becoming Heaven’s instrument for her conversion: perhaps the fond zeal of a husband might be destined to remove this only blemish from what otherwise seemed perfection. He dwelt on so gratifying a conclusion, till expectation assumed the form of certainty.

Having determined on one day regaining Kara Aziek, he naturally fell into reflections upon the manner in which such an event was to be produced: was he to return immediately into Barbary, and under some disguise endeavour to see, and persuade her to abandon her country? or was he to pursue his voyage to Brazil, commence and conclude his attempt at[Pg 191] recovering Portugal, honorably negociate for her hand, and wed her only when he had a throne to share with her? the last project was most in character with a generous Prince, and he resolved to adopt it.

By the former scheme, he might indeed earlier and more certainly secure Aziek, but then it would be selfishly tempting her to share exile, difficulties, dangers, perhaps ultimately disappointment or death: by the latter, he would merely delay domestic blessings to ensure their permanence; and reflecting on the delicacy of her character, he felt assured that years must elapse ere she could yield her heart to any other affection, or obey the customs of her country by wedding a man to whom she was indifferent.

These considerations reconciled him to the prospect of removing for a while yet further from her, and the bliss he hoped hereafter to bestow, gave him such exqui[Pg 192]site delight in contemplation, that even the guardian angel of Kara Aziek must have smiled with satisfaction on reading the reveries of Sebastian.

“Yes Aziek!” he tenderly repeated, folding her letter to his breast, “we shall meet again, even in this faithless world! A time will come when thou only wilt reign in my heart: to appreciate thy tenderness, to know thy unrivalled excellence, it has been necessary for me to learn what dæmons charm under the forms of women. Ah! who is there like thee?”

At this impassioned question Sebastian sunk into a train of thought, in which he remained absorbed till morning shot her first beam into the cavern.

No sooner was there light enough to trace the characters made on the vellum, than he hastened to read what he believed would reanimate all his hopes and resolutions: who can describe the dismay[Pg 193] which seized upon him when he found this letter contained Kara Aziek’s eternal farewel?

To procure his freedom and restoration to Donna Gonsalva, this generous friend had consented to become the wife of a Grandee who had long solicited her of her father: by this time she was his and living far from Morocco. Immurred within the walls of a Harem, her noble and delicate soul had no other enjoyment left than the conviction of having sacrificed herself for the sake of him she loved.

It was not from passionate complaint or studied explanation of her feelings, that Sebastian gathered the extent of her generosity—no—her relation was simple and brief, yet she was forced to tell him, that by marrying the Basha of Syria she was binding herself to the customs of his nation, and rendering it impossible for her to retain a male friend.

Sebastian was too well aware of her re[Pg 194]pugnance to such heartless connections, not to divine instantly, that his liberty had been offered only on such cruel terms.

Here then was the explanation of that mysterious sadness which had overwhelmed Kara Aziek several days before his departure: doubtless she had then been struggling against that virtuous horror which every woman ought to feel who meditates yielding her vows and her person to a man she cannot love.

The lock of her hair was now in the hand of Sebastian, his eyes were intently fixed on it, without his seeing or thinking of it; the complete distinction of all his hopes was contained in this fatal letter; the bright vision of gratitude had vanished, and misery’s last blow stunned both thought and feeling.

Such a benumbing influence was on him, that he remained nearly on the same spot from sunrise to sunset without[Pg 195] food or sleep, or the consciousness of wanting either.

It happened that towards evening a sudden storm drove some countrymen into the cavern for shelter. The noise they made roused Sebastian; on seeing him, they naturally concluded that he had taken refuge from the same motive with themselves; and entering into conversation with him, he learnt that there was then a vessel in the bay of Setuval bound for Brazil. He no longer contemplated with lively emotions a voyage to the new world, but he was sick of that which he inhabited; and to the wretched, change of place seems ever desirable. He accompanied the men to Setuval, where he fortunately procured a passage in the ship described, and she sailed at midnight.

While the vessel was tossing among the turbulent waves of the Atlantic, Portugal’s self-exiled monarch had leisure to arrange those events, which by their painful rapidity had unsettled his reason: he gave up[Pg 196] the hope of happiness; with a moody smile he gave up the hope of blessing his benefactress; but still it was not possible for him to abandon the expectation of regaining his rights, and with them the power of benefiting others. For him there was no middle station; he must either mount again to empire, or sink to utter desolation; and it was only in the active duties of sovereignty that he could lose the remembrance of his present sufferings.

Since Kara Aziek was lost,—and alas! how sad to think she was self-condemned for his sake! private affections had no claim on him, except indeed in the person of Gaspar, (for the worth of Don Emanuel was yet to be proved.) What a sterile scene did life then present! he pondered over the present and the future, till his heart took so deep a print from despair, as to make him wildly doubt whether he had ever known what happiness was.

In this state he was ill-adapted to share[Pg 197] in the noisy garrulity of his fellow voyagers; he shunned their society, sitting retired in an obscure part of the vessel, from the deck of which he seemed to be stupidly watching her track through the waters.

It was on the sixth morning after their departure from Setuval, that the clearing away the thick mist discovered a Turkish galley which had been blown out to sea, striving to re-gain her course, and bearing up towards the straits: the captain of the Brazilman being a fellow of an adventurous spirit, proposed giving the infidel chase; though his vessel was inferior in size and weight of metal, the hope of a rich booty animated his sailors: by general consent their track was altered; they crowded sail, and soon came alongside the galley, whose heavy decorations impeded her motion.

The infidel perceiving flight impossible, resigned himself to necessity, and prepared for action.[Pg 198]

At the first broadside, Sebastian, who had hitherto sat desperately inattentive to the hasty preparations, started up; his brave heart, roused at the alarm of war, and every nerve was braced; but suddenly recollecting those reflections in Barbary which had prompted him to vow he would never wantonly draw the offensive sword, he cast himself again on the deck, where he lay inactive.

His limbs shook with an internal struggle; the sailors supposed he trembled from fear; but as the balls showered over him, they changed their opinion, and pronounced him mad.

Though the Portuguese were lavish of their blood and their ammunition, they were no match for an experienced enemy: he manœuvred his vessel with a quickness and dexterity which soon gave him so decided a superiority, that the Brazilman, in despair, ordered his crew to strike. At that command Sebastian sprung from the deck, threw himself before[Pg 199] the colours, and exhorted the sailors to defend them from infidel hands; then seizing a weapon, he rushed forward to the most exposed station.

It was no longer for mere conquest, but for liberty, for the honour of the Christian name, and the Portuguese flag, that he was about to fight: his eyes now flashed with their former fire, his figure seemed to dilate, and his inspiring voice roused and inflamed every heart. Used to command, and theoretically skilled in naval tactics, he was unconscious that he alone gave orders, that those orders were instantly approved and obeyed: the captain had just knowledge sufficient to perceive that he had got one on board, to whom war was familiar, and he therefore suffered his people to follow the dictates of their new leader.

The Turk fought ably; his vessel skilfully worked, and favoured by the wind, for a long time bade defiance to every effort at boarding her; her shot and fire[Pg 200]balls hailed through the rigging of the Brazilman, but happily the wind fell, and the Portuguese rapidly throwing out their grappling-irons, succeeded in fastening her along-side.

The remembrance of former combats, and the fire of native valour, now shone on the brow of Sebastian: like a blaze of lightning he flamed on the enemy’s deck; his voice, his looks, his gestures, called on others to follow; in one moment he fell with the force of a thunderbolt amongst the infidels, whom his powerful arm crushed and scattered in every direction. After a short, yet desperate resistance, the Turkish captain cast a gloomy look over the blood and devastation around him, then dropping the point of his sword, he delivered it to Sebastian.

The King having returned the captain’s sword, flew from place to place to stop any wanton slaughter; destruction then ceased. The commander of the Brazilman eyed him with gathering discontent;[Pg 201] “What share do you expect of the booty?” he asked sourly. “None,” returned Sebastian, “I ask only care and compassion for these wounded men.”

The gentleness of his manner testified sincerity, and well-pleased to be so cheaply served, the captain promised prompt obedience. While they were speaking, the shrieks of a woman were heard from below; at that sound Sebastian sprung over a heap of arms, and leaped down into the cabin: there he beheld a group of women clinging together, as if seeking to protect the entrance of an inner room where a lady had fainted. At his decisive voice, some sailors who had alarmed them, fell back; his intrepidity had gained their admiration, and admiration is quickly followed by submission.

“My friends, we do not war with women!” he exclaimed, in a tone of noble reproof; the men blushed and withdrew. Pleased with the effect of his ascendancy, the young monarch hastily fastened the[Pg 202] door, and advanced respectfully; sobbing, the ladies prostrated themselves at his feet: touched with their distress, he tried to re-assure them, while he approached the one who had fainted, and was lying wrapt up in her shawl at full length upon the floor of the inner cabin.

Bending one knee to the ground, he raised her gently, and in doing so discomposed her veil; trembling, agitated, almost transported, he lifted hastily the long black hair that her fall had disordered, and beheld the soft features of Kara Aziek. “Gracious God! am I awake?” he exclaimed, gazing on her, and clasping her to his breast. The consternation of her attendants at this bold action was painted in their faces; Sebastian regarded them not, he held Kara Aziek still, calling on her to revive and behold her protector in him.

Did that voice, so beloved, penetrate the dull ear of insensibility? Aziek opened her eyes, and they met those of Sebastian[Pg 203] fixed tenderly upon her: doubtful rapture flashed over her countenance, she sprang up, drew quickly back, looked at him an instant, then uttering a joyful cry, precipitated herself into the dear arms she had quitted.

This was not the action of one conscious of belonging to another: Sebastian was exalted to the extremest point of human felicity; happiness, lost happiness, he now clasped in the form of Kara Aziek, and enjoyed in the certainty of being able to confer it. “We part no more—we part no more!” he repeated.

Bewildered in a maze of delight, and merely conscious that the looks and voice of Sebastian breathed love like her own, Aziek forgot awhile every obstacle between them; her tears and sighs mingled with his, as she rested on his bosom with the sweet serenity of a pure heart, sure of loving and being beloved; his name, coupled with endearing epithets, breathed repeatedly from her lips, and her soft arms[Pg 204] returned the pressure of his: at length, starting and trembling, she averted her eyes, and pronounced the name of Donna Gonsalva.

Indignation alone appeared on the brow of Sebastian; in a few words he detailed her perfidy and his own disappointment, and was about to paint to the horror-struck Aziek his new wishes, when voices at the door of the outer cabin called him away.

It was the captain of the Brazilman with his mate: Sebastian hastened to demand respect for Kara Aziek. He informed them that in their fair prisoner he had discovered a Moorish lady, to whom he had once been indebted for liberty; “I owe her my life,” he said, “and I will defend her with my life: her sex and situation ought to ensure her generous treatment. I hope and believe they will; but if not, this arm shall either protect or avenge her.”

“And a rare strong arm it is,” replied the captain, “we’ll keep to windward of[Pg 205] it, be sure. He sha’nt overhaul the lady, only what we find in the money way is lawful prize; has she no coin nor jewels to pay the men for civilly treating her and the rest of the women?”

Sebastian had not time to reply before Aziek herself appeared; she came forth from her cabinet surrounded by her maids: her unsteady step and tearful eyes were directed towards him, for whom alone she feared when the voice of what she thought violence reached her ear. Struck with an apprehension of being discovered, Sebastian hastily told her in Moresco, that his rank was unknown, and that these men commanded there.

Aziek turned frightfully pale, she trembled, and leaned on him for support; the captain advanced bowing, his eyes fixed on her glittering armlets, spoke a language easily understood, she hastened to take them off and present them to him: at the same time she pointed to some large[Pg 206] chests, the keys of which one of her maids laid at his feet.

During the examination of these chests, Aziek remained leaning on Sebastian, lost in painful conjectures upon his mysterious disguise: alas! was he a prisoner also! yet, how then could he have power to succour her? She turned her eyes on his countenance; the sunny look that met hers, the smoothed brow, and entrancing smile, promised permanent protection. What could she dread, when the looks of him she loved bade her dismiss apprehension?

Satisfied with a casket of jewels and several purses of gold coin, the mercenary seaman shut the boxes; “We shall leave you and the lady to yourselves,” said the captain, “that you may try to reconcile her to a voyage to Brazil; if she don’t like that, she may go to Portugal in the prize: settle that as she pleases.

“Whoever you are, friend, with your[Pg 207] coarse doublet, you’re a strange brave fellow, and have a right to share our gains, and so if you like women better than money, there’s a whole lot of ’em for you.”

“I take you at your word,” interrupted the King, “these are my prizes.”

The men withdrew laughing, and Sebastian again alone with Kara Aziek, (her women having retired into the inner chamber,) proceeded to satisfy those anxious inquiries which her eloquent eyes had so long been making. He briefly detailed the circumstances of his return to Portugal, the conduct of his supposed friends, the intentions with which he was leaving it when he read her farewel letter; he painted the emotions that letter excited, with all the force of tender gratitude.

“Such were, such are my feelings, Kara Aziek;” he added, throwing himself at her feet, “I am again what I was when your generous pity first succoured me—a beggar, and a fugitive—one who must soon be every thing or nothing:[Pg 208]—it remains for you to decide on the dearest part of my destiny. Speak your wishes, and they shall be obeyed; if they be to fulfil your engagement with the Basha, I will myself conduct you to him; but if a friendship more sacred even than love—a gratitude exalted to adoration—every sentiment in short, except passion itself; if these may touch you—if you can condescend to accept a heart yet smarting with a former wound—a heart that shudders at love, yet where your image is worshipped and cherished—”

“O say no more!—no more, beloved Sebastian!” interrupted Kara Aziek, hiding her blushes and tears on his shoulder, “thou knowest too well, that to be permitted to dwell but on the threshold of that noble heart, is happiness to Kara Aziek.”

How eloquent was the silence which followed these few words! how did the blissful sighs breathed by each, seem to incorporate their souls, and blend their destinies for ever![Pg 209]

It was long ere either of them could recover sufficiently to converse with calmness; when they did so, Aziek timidly explained her situation. She informed Sebastian that her hand had been frequently sought by the Basha of Syria, a relation of her father’s, but having avowed an invincible repugnance to marriage, (at least to marriage as it exists in Mahomeddan countries,) her indulgent father had forborne any importunity: his wishes however, were for the union, and seizing the opportunity afforded by her zeal for the supposed Fabian, he offered his liberty as the reward of her compliance.

At first, shocked and terrified, Kara Aziek utterly rejected the terms; every delicate and tender feeling revolted from the hateful prospect of submitting to the caresses of a man whom she remembered from her infancy as one with whom her heart could have no commune; far sooner would she have laid her head on the block for the dear sake of him she loved: but[Pg 210] when she witnessed the failure of his hopes after the departure of Gaspar, and beheld his profound, and corroding melancholy; when she thought of his passion for Donna Gonsalva, and fancied her pining over his loss, her tender soul shook with irresolution, she hesitated—reflected—struggled with her repugnance—renewed those struggles, and at length determined upon the sacrifice.

Ravished with her consent, El Hader did not give her time to retract, he released the Christian, and immediately dispatched messengers to his kinsman: the Basha Ibrahim was at that time with the Sultan his master at Constantinople; he sent from thence a sumptuous galley, laden with presents for his young bride, and it was on its return with the self-devoted victim, that Providence threw them into the hands of the Portuguese.

To Kara Aziek the event did indeed appear an especial act of Providence, since beyond her fondest hopes it not[Pg 211] only restored Sebastian to her, but re-united them at the very period in which they were priviledged never to part again. In her secret mind she did not regret the loss of his throne, for it was with Sebastian divested of power and grandeur, that her heart had first been woven: accustomed to profound retirement, her inexperienced nature shrunk from the vast sphere of duties which surrounded sovereignty; it seemed as if the love of one little heart would be lost in so wide an ocean: she looked with partial eyes to a scene of narrower views; to a home, private yet not unuseful, where the social virtues might have full room to expand and to adorn what they supported.

It was an amiable weakness in Kara Aziek, yet it was a weakness, to desire only that situation in which her love would be always felt, and always necessary; she judged rightly, that power and luxury are not friendly to the existence of any sentiment which is devoid of[Pg 212] selfishness.—In accompanying Sebastian to Brazil, she hoped that he might be induced to resign his ungrateful people altogether, endeavour to forget his former state, and find in the bosoms of Affection and Friendship those calm delights which are never the companions of high responsibility.

To dwell with him any where, to see him, to hear him continually,—what joy did not such a prospect afford! Life seemed too short to her impassioned heart for the complete enjoyment of so much happiness.—Never, indeed, did woman love like Kara Aziek: it must be remembered, however, that her attachment concentrated all the ardour of her nature; the habits of her country did not suffer the growth even of friendship; she had no sisters, no brothers—and hitherto she had lived devoid of any other sentiment than that of duty towards her father.

As Sebastian contemplated the mixed expression of her ever-varying countenance, his enraptured feelings assured[Pg 213] him that in her’s his soul had met its partner; but he sighed to think they should have met so late, when his exhausted heart had no longer love to bestow.

Excessive tenderness, admiration and gratitude, contending with as lively emotions of timidity and apprehension, by turns sparkled in Aziek’s eyes, or suffused her cheek; the aspen-like tremor of her voice thrilled the susceptible King: it was now that for the first time he felt the full sweetness of love, in the perfect conviction of giving happiness to the beloved object; devoid of this conviction all its other enjoyments are lifeless.—Cold as ice were the sensations awakened by the beauty of Gonsalva when compared with this heart-penetrating, ennobling glow! he looked back on them with amazement, and with something of that joy with which a man recals a danger from which he has recently escaped.

These new feelings enabled him to speak of the perfidious woman with com[Pg 214]posure; to Kara Aziek this calmness was animating; for though at one moment she believed herself indeed rewarded by his preference, at another she trembled lest Sebastian were self-deceived, and might hereafter find gratitude and esteem but feeble substitutes for love.

Having calmed the fears and satisfied the scruples of his gentle friend, Sebastian remembered that humanity had other claims upon him; the ascendancy he had gained over the captain and crew by his valour and disinterestedness, rendered him in some degree answerable to himself for the treatment of the Turkish prisoners; he therefore reluctantly quitted Kara Aziek.

By his advice the Brazil trader consented to send all the Turkish sailors, with their commander, into the first neutral port, whence they might easily find a conveyance home, and in that port the prize might be advantageously sold. It required all the King’s rhetoric to persuade his companion that it was merciless to[Pg 215] push advantage to its uttermost verge, by insisting upon a ransom for all the prisoners; the man was a long time in perceiving that there was any merit in being generous to infidels.

Sebastian’s mingled arguments and persuasions at length succeeded; and the prize, manned by a few stout sailors, headed by the mate, was ordered to convey her former owners to Cadiz, in Spain, that country being then in amity with the Turks.

Concluding that the women were forcibly detained by the captors, the Turkish commander thought it unwise to contest about such immaterial objects; so making a profound obeisance to his conqueror, he suffered him, undisturbed, to lead Kara Aziek and her maids from their cabin to that of the Portuguese vessel: in a few minutes after, the galley hoisted sail and bore away before the wind for the shores of Andaluzia.

Anxious to obtain every accommoda[Pg 216]tion for Kara Aziek, Sebastian thought it needful to inform the captain that he could reward him amply for every attention he might bestow, and that on landing at Brazil he would prove his truth by actions: having simply announced himself a Portuguese officer and a friend of Don Emanuel de Castro, he insured the respect and submission of all the sailors. His remonstrances had now the force of commands, and the Moorish ladies were permitted to live as retired in their cabin, as they might have done in Morocco.

Into their apartments no one intruded except Sebastian and Barémel: that faithful animal, interesting from the peculiar circumstances under which he had recognized his master, was constantly fed and caressed by the gentle Aziek; he formed the amusement of her women, whose simple minds sought no higher recreation than that of seeing him fetch and carry:—but to her he was an object of affection.[Pg 217]

Often, while looking at Barémel, and pondering on the incidents his figure recalled, she shuddered at the incomprehensible conduct of Donna Gonsalva, and had to remember that Sebastian witnessed her depravity ere she could persuade herself of that depravity’s existence.

From the King’s mind the remembrance of Gonsalva was vanishing like a confused dream; to the agony of betrayed love had quickly succeeded indignation, aversion, and finally contempt: the charm of virtue and tenderness united in the person of Aziek, completed his cure, and his soul, formed for freedom, eagerly seized again upon its natural right.

How do our desires grow with our hopes! how does the possession of one blessing, quicken and inflame our thirst after others!—but a little while before, and Sebastian was indifferent to every thing; now, the smallest of his expectations was considered with lively interest:[Pg 218] he contemplated his reception at Brazil, and his restoration to Portugal, with the anxiety of a spirit newly roused to action; and secure of domestic felicity, felt that no other station than that to which he was born, could fill the expansion of his large soul.

It is not difficult to communicate our own fire to a heart that lives only to reflect the feelings of ours. Kara Aziek lent not merely a docile, but a delighted ear, to the animated discourses of her lover. He talked to her of the charms of empire, of the sublime privilege of diffusing comfort and protection throughout nations; he painted the trials and the triumphs of that virtue which belongs to exalted stations, its fame here, its immortal reward hereafter; he spoke to her then of those softer joys which public duties endear and enhance; those delightful throbbings of the heart, sacred to the names of husband and of father, which[Pg 219] contrasted with the severer virtues of royalty, seem like the serene beatitude of Heaven.

His voice, his eyes, his smiles, heightened the effect of his eloquence: Kara Aziek no longer saw before her the captive Fabian, but the powerful monarch of Portugal and the two Indies, who, in selecting her from all the world to share his throne and to fill his heart, was yielding the most delicious proof of his tenderness; she saw in him only a beneficent (not an ambitious) sovereign, who sought to extend the dominion of happiness.

At these moments she kindled with congenial enthusiasm, and her soul soaring after his, left far below its first humble and personal wishes.

But how were these ardours chilled, these transports arrested in their flight, by the spirit with which Sebastian spoke of his wrongs! he thirsted for vengeance: with the expectation of one day returning to take his place amongst the monarchs of[Pg 220] Europe, came the fatal belief that he must wash out his stains in the blood of his injurers.

At mention of Don Antonio, a terrible light flamed on his brow, his limbs shook, and his articulation became smothered; every look and every word announced still that imperious and fierce character which had so often in Barbary blazed before Kara Aziek like sudden earth-fires.

Her soft nature trembled and grieved; for it was to this intemperance of feeling, this want of self-government, that all his misfortunes were attributable; while it continued to rule him, there was no security for his happiness either on a throne or in a cloister.

On the present subject, however, she found it difficult to oppose any arguments that were not immediately overturned by his impetuous and irresistible rhetoric: neither her education nor the precepts of her religion afforded support to the mer[Pg 221]ciful pleadings of her nature; she could only urge that instinctive feeling which cries aloud from the depths of every human heart, that forbearance and forgiveness ought to be the virtues of erring man.

Sebastian’s vehement passions were deaf to the voice of her softer sentiments; pity and mercy could not make themselves heard, where insulted honour, love outraged into hatred, wounded pride, and disappointed confidence, were clamorous for retribution: he sought to teach her the lesson man learns from his cradle, that to preserve reputation he must often do violence to his character, and seek revenge where he would willingly concede pardon.

Ah fatal and monstrous spell, which not even Christianity itself has yet had power to dissolve!—by thy enchantment the sacred laws of humanity are disregarded, and murder is enrolled in the catalogue of honourable deeds![Pg 222]

Aziek had nothing to urge against opinions which she was thus told were sanctioned by great authorities; she could only repeat her native abhorrence to whatever was the effect rather of passion than of reason. To appease justice and to satiate revenge, were in her estimation very different things, and she strove to convince Sebastian that true dignity resided with the former.

Sometimes her gentle persuasives conquered: he would listen delighted to the music of her voice and the tenderness of her sentiments; his heart would melt under their genial softness, till the perfidious Antonio, his court, his crown, his wrongs, and his deprivations, all forgotten, he would remember only that he lived to love and to be loved by her.[Pg 223]


Hitherto light airs and cheering suns had accompanied them on their voyage, but now the weather changed; thick clouds arose, volume after volume, from the horizon, till the whole heavens were darkened; a hollow wind muttered among these threatening clouds, and the turbid sea seemed to labour with an approaching storm.

It was on the sixteenth day of their voyage that the tempest burst forth. A tremendous gale from the south-west began to blow, accompanied with lightning and hail; the ship drove before the blast, her rigging all torn, and the waves washing over her deck: every peal of thunder was followed by ghastly yelling of shrill winds, a thousand times more[Pg 224] dreary than thunder. The rattling of hail and rain among her cordage, the flapping of her wet sails, the creaking of her masts, the confused sound of voices and feet, as the sailors hurried to and fro along the deck, the tremendous roaring of the sea, all struck terror to Kara Aziek; she sat trembling in her cabin, listening to every sound, and sensible to hope only when she saw Sebastian.

Aware of their danger, (for the ship was driving rapidly towards a lee shore,) the King’s anxiety discovered itself in his pale and disturbed countenance; he presented himself perpetually at the door of Aziek’s cabin, as if to see that he had her still, and as often hurried away again to assist in the labours of the seamen.

Whenever he appeared the devoted Aziek felt her terrors disperse; it seemed impossible to her that Heaven should abandon him she loved, to a dreadful death. Her women, drowned in tears, on their knees, and half distracted,[Pg 225] mingled shrieks with their prayers and lamentations; the soft soul of their mistress became a coward for their sakes, and she wept more for their apprehensions than from her own.

In the midst of this awful suspense a crash was heard, the next moment Sebastian entered; his wild look and hurried step transfixed Kara Aziek; for the first time she believed that they were about to perish together: without speaking, he snatched her up and bore her in his arms to the deck; she found he trembled violently: Yes Aziek, but it was for thee he trembled,—that great soul knew no other fear!

Merciful Heaven! what a sight presented itself! the vessel, with her masts swept by the board was lying a mere hull upon mountainous waves; through the blackness of midnight, by repeated sheets of lightning the whole ocean was momentarily discovered, dark, raging, covered with horrid foam,—now swelling to[Pg 226] the clouds, now sinking as if into the depths of perdition.

Imprecations, vows, prayers, and cries, mingled with the dreadful roar of the winds and waters; sometimes the storm made a pause, and then was heard distinctly the noise of the ship, as she drove furiously towards the rocks: but again the blast and thunder would unite, till heaven and earth seemed rocking with the sound.

As the tempest had swept away their boat, and they were driving upon the perilous coasts of Tarradunt and Suz, every soul on board gave himself up to destruction. It was at this moment that Sebastian yielded to despair: he pressed Kara Aziek in his arms with convulsive strength, while he repeated wildly, “You perish Aziek! and my love cannot save you.”

“I perish on thy bosom—in thy heart!” she said faintly, fixing on him her asking eyes, swimming in grief and bliss.

“Yes, in my heart, Aziek!” he ex[Pg 227]claimed vehemently, “I call God to witness at this awful moment, that you only share my thoughts with Him!”

Aziek raised her speaking eyes to Heaven with a look of ineffable emotion—“O grant,” she cried, “divine prophet, that we may live together in thy paradise!”

At that expression, mortal pains seized Sebastian, his blood froze, cold damps stood on his forehead; Aziek, the beloved and generous Aziek, was a Mahometan, and in the other world they would never be re-united. Pierced with pious sorrow, he uttered a deep groan, his arms lost their strength, they slackened their hold, and the sea breaking over them, carried with it the last earthly blessing of Sebastian.

The next moment the ship struck upon a steep coast; confusion, terror, despair, followed; the frantic King calling on Kara Aziek, ran, from side to side, yet hoping to find her he had lost. Some of[Pg 228] the crew clung to the shattered wreck, others threw themselves into the sea on planks and spars; the women shrieking and invoking their prophet hung round Sebastian, his heart was wrung with pity, and regardless of his own situation, he exerted his small remains of strength to succour these unfortunates.

A sort of raft, hastily constructed, offered the only means of safety; to that he committed them, while he sprang to the topmost part of the stern, madly striving to catch a broader view of the ocean amid the blazes of lightning.

Aziek’s name, coupled with that of the awful God he implored to save her, were soon the sole human sounds heard mingling with the roaring elements; alone and hopeless, his eyes were still straining round, when another shock loosened every plank of the vessel, and scattered her in fragments upon the waters.

Sebastian sunk; but his guardian angel yet watched over her charge, and he rose[Pg 229] again: cold, motionless, spent with grief and fatigue, insensible to every thing, he was seized by his watchful dog who kept hold in defiance of the storm, and at last brought him safely to land.

The chill morning air contributed to awaken Sebastian from that lethargy into which his senses had fallen; when he unclosed his eyes, they fixed upon Barémel, who lay shivering at his feet; he turned them from him to the objects around: nothing was to be seen beyond arid rocks, and a measureless ocean whose turbid waves sullenly heaved under a leaden sky.

He gazed wistfully, for his thoughts were dim and imperfect, and memory seemed blotted out from his faculties; the confused idea of Kara Aziek, alone remained.

He lay some time looking stedfastly before him, while his senses roused slowly; on a sudden a cry escaped him, he leaped up, and glanced round with a ma[Pg 230]niac’s wildness; the perfect recollection of his misfortune had shot through his brain, enlightening while it maddened him: he tried to articulate the name of her he lamented, but the sound expired on his lips, and smiting his breast, he sat down again upon the ground.

It is not at first that our hearts feel the full force of a blow which breaks them in pieces: we do not easily comprehend how a few hours or moments can have made us so utterly wretched; ’tis only by degrees that our thoughts, measuring the extent of an irrevocable calamity, ascertain its existence and its magnitude: then rush forth regret and lamentation, then the images of past joys surround us like demons assuming beloved shapes to torture us more keenly; and those deadly words, lost, lost for ever! resounding perpetually thro’ our souls, fill them with desolation and despair.

Pale and motionless, Sebastian sat with his head leaning on his hand, gazing on[Pg 231] that wide ocean which had entombed Kara Aziek: even yet, his senses were not quite awake; nay, they seemed to have fallen back into that trance out of which they had transiently started.—His dull eyes saw not the wistful ones of his dumb companion, who sensible to his master’s grief, lay moaning before him: nothing rouzed him till some fragments of wreck floating on shore gave birth to hope.

Again the face of Sebastian shone with animation, his nerves were new-strung, he called to Barémel, and flew rather than ran towards the sea.—Every where he beheld broken masts and yards, mixed with dead bodies; some were already washed on shore, others borne in with the tide: at that afflicting sight he averted his head and groaned heavily. Alas! it appeared his destiny to be for ever surrounded by destruction!—

He traversed the sands and shore in vain, he searched the rocks and their caverns, he sent Barémel into the waves[Pg 232] for every object but faintly discernible; Barémel only brought him Kara Aziek’s shawl: at this sight his fortitude ceased, he snatched the sad relic, while burning drops rained from his eyes—she had perished then, she had lost her life for him!—since but for his unhappy sake she would never have consented to be the Basha’s wife, never have braved the sea, never have met so disastrous a death.

Overcome with these convictions, the unfortunate prince held the shawl to his lips, and remained in the same attitude with his face enveloped in it, alternately pursuing in thought the body of Aziek to the hideous depths of ocean, or following with trembling anxiety her pure spirit into the courts of Heaven.[Pg 233]


In this state of abstraction, the King was perceived by a groupe of natives, who had come to the strand, in hope of plundering such vessels as they might find wrecked there; it cost them no trouble to make him their prisoner; the formidable Sebastian had not then any care for himself.—having explained to them as well as the difference of their provincial Moresco would permit, that he had been cast on their shore by the late storm, and was consequently too much enfeebled for great exertion, they were induced to let him walk slowly.

They led him towards some mean houses, which lay at a distance up the country; there they left him, and ran off again to the wreck. Barémel, though[Pg 234] beaten away by those surly Africans, had still returned and followed his master’s steps, but plunged in profound grief, Sebastian ceased to think of his faithful dog, and entered a hut, unconscious that clubs and stones were then driving the poor animal far away.

An old woman within offered him some coarse provisions, and pointed to a miserable bed of dried weeds, where she said he might sleep off his fatigue: Sebastian threw himself down in silence, and the woman quitting him, bolted the door on her charge.—

The certainty of being again a slave, made little impression on a heart already exhausted of its capability of suffering. There are periods in our existence, when we seem able to refuse any further sacrifices to grief; in these moments a species of sullen resignation succeeds the transports of despair, and life or death appears equally a matter of indifference.

Such were the feelings of Sebastian;[Pg 235] he lay on his rude bed, gloomy and tearless, careless of the passing hours which were to bring back his new masters.

It was evening when these men returned: they brought with them many things from the wreck, which they greedily shared. Their captive’s silent acquiescence in his destiny, moved them to promise that they would sell him only to a good master, and that in the mean time he should be well fed and kindly treated.

While tempting him to eat part of their hard fare, some one opened the outer door, and Barémel rushing in, sprung to his master’s feet: one of the Moors would have thrust him out, had not Sebastian besought the comfort of retaining his only friend: after a short demur, consent was granted; and having devoured some scanty fragments of the supper, Barémel was suffered to retire to rest in the same corner with his master.

As the King put aside his doublet and vest, he observed on the back of them[Pg 236] the deep indents of teeth; the miracle of his preservation was then shewn to him; grief mixed with gratitude, and a sentiment nearly amounting to tenderness, swelled from his heart to his eyes; it burst forth in tears, while hastily glancing from his clothes to his mute friend, he exclaimed, “Ah Barémel, what a life hast thou preserved?”

The feelings once melted are not soon restored to their former state; Sebastian wept silently a long time; for he thought of Kara Aziek, and wished that Barémel had saved her only.

Vain were these wishes, these poignant regrets; the hollow blasts sweeping over the roof which sheltered him, and the hoarse waves resounding from afar, seemed to repeat again and again that Aziek had been their victim.

It was now that Sebastian felt conscious of having loved that generous Being, her loss had torn away the veil of self-delusion, and convinced him that what he believed[Pg 237] but solicitude for her happiness, was in reality anxiety for his own.—Ah wretched condition of humanity! no sooner do we begin to feel the full value of our possessions, than they are wrested from us!—is it the law of our being that we are never to possess and to enjoy at the same moment?

Providence had consigned the unfortunate monarch to merciful men; they tried to cheer his melancholy, and did not urge him to any services: if he would but share their meal and submit to confinement, they were satisfied.—’Tis true, it was interest they chiefly consulted in this conduct, (for on his healthful looks depended their expected profit) yet ignorant men do not often calculate remote advantages.

The first day after a new moon, these people set off with their captive for the town of Mesa, where repairing to the house of a slave merchant, they encountered an aged man in want of a servant, who purchased Sebastian.[Pg 238]

Something of his former fierceness blazed in the eyes of the proud King when he found himself the object of degrading traffic, but the gentle image of Kara Aziek glided before his fancy, and absorbed every other sentiment in that of regret; he paused, sighed profoundly, and tears stole down his cheek.

The old man looked at him with an air of compassion; that look encouraged Sebastian to ask if Barémel might share his destiny, the request was granted, and soon after these inseparable companions were removed to a comfortable abode in the town of Mesa.

Tefza, Sebastian’s master, was a native of the kingdom of Fez, and having made a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, bore the title of Hadgé; (a religious distinction conferred only on such as have visited the birth-place, and the tomb of their prophet) far advanced in life, and naturally averse to domestic cares, the[Pg 239] Hadgé had neither wives nor children, so that all the occupations of Sebastian were to work in a little garden, and assist in charitable offices.

The latter part of his duty was one to which his benevolent nature yielded with delight, and by sharing in it, he learned to esteem his master, and to obey him in other matters without reluctance. Assuredly there can be no degradation in serving the good.

These humane employments softened the bitterness of Sebastian’s regrets, but though he complained no more, raved no more, an austere sadness settled on his character: the virtues and the love of Kara Aziek had penetrated the utmost depths of his heart, and now devoured with vain remorse at having ever preferred another to her, he abandoned every other wish, and every other source of enjoyment.

His docility and his dejection, but above all, that dignity which the divine hand had stamped upon his lineaments,[Pg 240] interested the Hadgé; he would frequently endeavour to draw him into conversation about his past life and condition, and would often urge on him what he believed the only true religion: but Sebastian contrived to elude his questions, and silence his arguments.

A month had not elapsed, when Tefza informed his slave that they were on the point of commencing a long journey; he had a brother in Fez, dying of a lingering disorder, who had sent to beg he would come and close his eyes; he was therefore about to set forward on the morrow.

What a tumult of sweet and maddening remembrances did not the prospect of this journey awaken!—Fez had been the scene of Sebastian’s principal misfortune; it was once the residence of Kara Aziek; he was going again to tread that ground, bathed in the blood of his bravest warriors, and sacred to the memory of Stukeley; he was going to revisit as a slave, the place which he had left only[Pg 241] two or three months back, with love and a kingdom before him!—How would the worthy Tefza have been amazed, could he have seen all the movements of that heart, which to him was so mysteriously reserved!

Accompanied by Barémel, sometimes travelling on camels or on mules, the Hadgé and his companion quitted the territory of Tarradunt, crossed the range of Atlas, and journeying over the plains of Morocco, penetrated through the passes of the Green Mountains into the kingdom of Fez; directing their course westward, they came at length to the dwelling of the Hadgé’s brother, a solitary house near the town of Riffa.

Death had already sealed the eyes of the sick man; but as his property devolved to the nearest relative, after providing for his widows, the good Hadgé resolved upon spending the remnant of his own days in his native place: they returned therefore no more to Tarradunt.[Pg 242]

Days and weeks now revolved in the same wearisome round of trifling employments and complete retirement; Sebastian almost wished for laborious tasks which might distract his attention by fatiguing his body; his attention alas! was occupied with past events. Regret assuming the form of remorse, preyed on him incessantly, reminding him of the worthless woman for whose sake he had slighted happiness when he might have secured it with Kara Aziek.

With this regret was mixed some repining at the hard destiny which had never presented him to Aziek but under circumstances of humiliation; he wished she had seen him in his prosperous days, surrounded by pomps and pleasures, yet disdaining their caresses, and emulous only of fame! he wished she had beheld the man she loved in the full plenitude of power; his preference then, might have appeared a distinction!

Fruitless were these wishes! that proud[Pg 243] heart could now never be gratified by laying worldly honours at the feet of one chosen object. Once a frightful apprehension suddenly sprung out of these meditations; Kara Aziek might have perished doubting the reality of his rights, surely their strange rencontre on the ocean might authorize such a suspicion!

Not even the pang inflicted by her death could equal that which now wrung Sebastian; he imagined himself to have been suspected an impostor; the thought was maddening to honour.

It was many moments ere that impatient spirit could calm itself sufficiently to silence so preposterous a fear: gradually it was tranquilized by the recollections of Aziek’s ingenuous looks, where respect ever mixed itself with love.—But the vanquished alarm had left behind it some thoughts which roused the slumbering energies of Sebastian: he felt that Kara Aziek’s memory required that he should endeavour to restore the man she adored[Pg 244] to the rank and the duties allotted him by Providence.

Often when plunged in deep fits of gloom, during which his faculties seemed benumbed and his feelings callous, an inward voice would cry out to him, “Awake! arise Sebastian! days of glory yet await thee!” then the blood would pour in tides of fire through his veins, he would start from his desponding posture, and look round with an inflamed countenance, as if on the point of breaking the bonds which held him.

Had they been real bonds how soon would his powerful arm have burst them asunder! but they were the bonds of gratitude and honour!

The Hadgé confided in him implicitly, treated him like a son, ceased to exact his attendance; save where humanity demanded their united cares, evinced the liveliest interest in his salvation, in short, offered him every thing, granted him every thing except his freedom.—Could he then basely[Pg 245] turn these benefits into engines of ingratitude?

At liberty to go whithersoever he pleased, Sebastian was more a prisoner than when shut up within the cells of El Hader’s residence: the generosity of his present master was a wall of adamant in his eyes.

Unable to use stratagem, he tried the effect of entreaties; he combatted his unsocial melancholy, and spoke unreservedly to Tefza of his desire to quit Barbary: Tefza’s questions forced him to confess that he had neither parents nor dear connexions to whom he wished to be re-united, that he was a solitary wretch going to cross the Atlantic in the forlorn hope of finding a lost friend.

“I love thee too much poor youth, to grant thy foolish suit,” said the Hadgé, one day to him; “thou hast owned that death and perfidy have swept away all thy possessions, where then wouldst thou seek happiness? believe me it is only placed[Pg 246] in piety. Stay contented with me, listen to my instructions; it will be impossible for such a soul as thine to remain long in darkness; I shall convert thee at last to the religion of our holy prophet; then, thou wilt bless thy misfortunes which brought thee to covet the bread of life. No, no, thou shalt not go; I am interested for thy soul.”

This vain idea had fixed itself so firmly in the good mussulman’s mind that no protestations of Sebastian’s could shake it: the more the one resisted arguments the more the other redoubled them; and when he found his slave resolute in rejecting every persuasive for him to be present at one of their religious ceremonies, he merely shook his head, telling him the time would come when he would look back upon his present obstinate blindness with shame and compunction.

Neither the indulgence, nor the good intention of Tefza, moderated that mixture of sorrow and resentment with which the[Pg 247] still-impatient monarch of Portugal received this decision: disdaining further solicitation, and resolved never again to reveal his rank while it was in the power of adverse accident to give an air of doubt to such an assertion, he withdrew once more within himself; and like the proud steed newly brought under man’s subjection, who champs his bit, and paws the ground with indignation, he performed the duties of a slave with the haughty air of a prince.

Adversity hardens some hearts, and melts others: Sebastian’s unfortunately did not soften from the grasp of calamity: his eyes, not yet opened to his own character, had not observed how inevitably some lines of conduct produce certain misery. Had he reflected dispassionately, he might have been convinced, that to his romantic wilfulness and contempt of counsel, all the disasters of Alcazar were attributable; that rash enterprize, together with his blameable attachment to the betrothed wife of De Castro, had prepared the hearts of[Pg 248] his subjects for future indifference about his fate.

There were times, indeed, when Sebastian severely censured parts of his own conduct, but for want of steadily tracing actions and their consequences through the whole of their course, he remained self-deluded, believing Providence, not himself, responsible for his heaviest calamities. Often did he exclaim, “What have I done to merit ruin like this!”

Remote from any social intercourse, (for he abhorred the society of the Moors) and almost abandoned of hope, his spirit was gradually contracting a severity bordering upon hardness: that soft being was gone who alone knew how to melt him into tenderness; that soft being, who ever possessed a charm capable of awakening him to philanthropy and to delight.

Deprived of Kara Aziek, he was likely to lose all that was amiable in his character, and to retain only the sterner virtues: sometimes he sighed over this changing[Pg 249] character, and felt sorrow at the alteration; but except his faithful dog, whose attachment always affected him, he possessed no object for tender solicitude. Was it wonderful then, that he should become cold and unsocial?

The short winter of that sultry climate had now passed away, and the almond trees were already covered with their bright, rosy blossoms; one of the Moresco feasts was approaching, at which the Hadgé urged his slave to be present: from such a proposition Sebastian started with horror, hastening to redouble his devout prostrations before a wooden cross which he had shaped for himself, and kept within his own chamber. The Hadgé left him disappointed.

It was evening when he returned: the captive monarch was alone on one of those terraces which the Moors raise upon the flat roofs of their houses, and plant with odorous shrubs; he was stretched out under the shade of a citron-tree, whose[Pg 250] branches enveloped him, and plunged in a reverie, did not hear the Hadgé utter the following words.

“Fabian, I have brought home a venerable traveller for rest and refreshment, see that you prevent all his wants; I must go out again, and trust him awhile to your care.”

The noise Tefza made in closing the door that opened on the terrace, roused Sebastian, he started round, and beheld with rising emotion, an aged man clad in a dark-brown garment, whose silver beard descended to his girdle: the mildly-intellectual look, assured him it was Abensallah.

Uttering an exclamation of joy, Sebastian pressed forward to kiss his hand; the dervise put his finger on his lip, they were both silent: at length, venturing to believe Tefza beyond hearing, he stretched out his arms, and pressing him within them, shed some tears, “We meet at last, my son,” he said, in a low feeble[Pg 251] voice, “the gracious Mahomet has heard my prayers, and repaid me for this pilgrimage in search of thee.”

“In search of me!” repeated Sebastian, “surely, father, you have not been wandering throughout Africa in pursuit of me, ever since the day we parted.”

A benign smile gently moved the old man’s lips. “No, my son, I have not; for I knew not then, whether thy departure had not been voluntary: since that period I have heard the whole of thy sufferings; they have been severe—but I come to thee now with comfort—I bring thee a strange present from a hand deservedly dear.” As the old man spoke, he put aside the foldings of his mantle, and drew out of his breast a milk-white dove which nestled there.

“This bird,” he continued, “is destined to convey intelligence of thy safety and my success, to one who scarcely values life preserved, till——”

The violent emotion of Sebastian inter[Pg 252]rupted him: pale, trembling, oppressed with sudden hope almost to agony, the King vehemently seized one of Abensallah’s hands in both his, while his eyes only articulated the name of Aziek: the dervise hastily replied to them.

“She lives, my son—she sends me to thee.”

At these life-giving words, Sebastian’s transported countenance might be said to emit visible rays; he dropt the hand of Abensallah abruptly, and raising his own to heaven, uttered with his heart the acknowledgment his lips could not pronounce.

When this rapturous disorder of the senses would allow him power, he exclaimed, “She lives—you say she lives, Abensallah!—how saved?—where sheltered?—This bird, soft and tender like herself, (ah, fit emblem of Kara Aziek) why is it sent?—assure me that she lives—you would not deceive me.”

The impetuous agitation of youth was[Pg 253] here gracefully contrasted by the majestic calmness of age: Abensallah listened with mildness to these broken and fluctuating sentences, then exhorting him to be composed, began to detail the circumstances of Kara Aziek’s escape.

At the dreadful moment in which she was swept away from the arms of Sebastian, Providence ordained that a large wicker basket should be swept off also; by an instinctive action she snatched at it for support, and borne up by its elasticity, continued floating forward.

The tide was flowing in, so that every surge impelled the basket, and its precious freight, nearer shore: one wave stronger than another, lifted them to a prodigious height, and then precipitated them upon the land; Aziek had just life enough left to feel the possibility of preserving life, and the fond idea that perhaps Sebastian was with her, gave her strength to move among the ledges of the rock on which she was cast, and to secure herself in a[Pg 254] chasm: there she sunk down wholly exhausted, no longer sensible of danger, though the foaming billows alternately lashed and receded from the projection which sheltered her.

The same morning air that had revived her distant lover, brought her back to a sense of existence; but she was incapable of motion, and remained two whole days undiscovered by any one, even while she heard people on the shore below, whom her feeble voice could not reach. She called on Sebastian, but her doleful accents alone returned on the echo.

Some sea-fowl’s eggs deposited in the cleft that hid her, sufficed to keep nature from perishing; but grief, and the wounds her tender body had received while beaten against the rocks, had nearly terminated her short life, when a Moorish child clambering up in search of birds’ nests, descried her, and ran off to tell his parents.

As her complexion, dress, and language, assured them she was a native of Barbary,[Pg 255] these people carried her to their fishing-boat with great care; she fainted ere they reached it, reviving at last only to a state more like death than life.

In this situation she was taken to their hut some miles further down the coast, and remained there many days, almost expiring; at length the hand of Heaven raised her, and she was able to tell her name and rank.

Deprived of her soul’s treasure, Kara Aziek believed that she should not tarry after him on earth, but she was willing to die on the bosom of her parent, and to receive the consolations of religion in her parting hour. She therefore gave orders for being conveyed to the Alcayde of the province, who deeming it his duty to forward her to her father, supplied her with guards and a physician, under whose protection she was moved in a sort of litter, by easy stages, from the kingdom of Suz to that of Fez.

At this part of his narrative, the der[Pg 256]vise suddenly broke off, “alas my memory!” he exclaimed, “this bird was to have been dispatched with tidings if I found thee—I see Tefza approaching along the road—thou hast no time to write—the sight of her bird will suffice—”

“Stay Abensallah!” cried Sebastian, catching his arm as it was extended to give the dove liberty;—the dervise paused, while the King hastily pulled from his head a lock of hair, and pushing aside the loose sleeve of his habit, untwisted a braid of Kara Aziek’s, which from its length surrounded his wrist several times.

The sight of that lovely-soft hair, revived the memory of her lovelier form, and Sebastian’s emotions now assumed a more passionate cast; his eyes sparkling with vehement wishes, floated in a kind of rapturous dizziness; half-closing them, he leaned for support against the shoulder of Abensallah: an ardent sigh burst from his oppressed heart.

“Moderate this transport, my son![Pg 257]” said the dervise gravely, “or turn it towards that God to whom thou owest so much.”—

Sebastian blushed, and roused himself. “My heart does overflow with gratitude;” he replied, “Heaven reads it: but surely I may be permitted to feel the value of what that Heaven restores?”—

As he spoke, he was weaving the locks of hair together, intending them to convey to Kara Aziek the sentiment of their inseparable union,——the gentle dove scarcely fluttered in Abensallah’s grasp, while Sebastian fastened the precious knot under her wing; no sooner was it fixed, than running to the furthest edge of the terrace, he unloosed the bird, which shot away with the velocity of light.

Her white pinions, rendered visible by the darkening twilight, enabled them long to trace her course through air, but at length she diminished to a mere speck, and the next moment disappeared wholly.[Pg 258]

The eyes of the King remained fixed upon that part of the sky where she had vanished; Abensallah had just time to whisper that he would finish his story on the morrow, before Tefza joined them.

When the Hadgé found that the stranger had not partaken of any refreshment, he was going to rebuke his slave, when Abensallah turned his wrath into pleasure, by assuring him the young man had done better by attending to his discourse.

Concluding that so pious a personage could only have talked upon one topic, Tefza smiled graciously, and leading his guest down to a covered apartment, ordered a dish of kusscason, and dried fruits.

During supper, Sebastian discovered that Abensallah had introduced himself in the chief mosque to the Hadgé, and proclaiming himself the hermit of Benzeroel, had immediately received an invitation to rest for the night under his roof: he was to set off again the ensuing day.[Pg 259]

“A charitable errand brought me to Riffa,” he said, addressing Tefza, “our blessed prophet has allowed me to fulfil it: by sun-rise to-morrow I must return to my mountain, for many unfortunates are now perhaps waiting for me there to ask my feeble prayers,—let this Christian accompany me a little on my way.”

Tefza joyfully consented, and they separated for the night.—There was no sleep in the breast of Sebastian, agitated by anxiety to learn more of Aziek’s situation, and thrilling with a multitude of sweet anticipations, he left his bed, and traversed his room: sometimes he stopt and embraced Barémel, thanking him for having preserved a life now unspeakably dear to him; but still oftener he prostrated himself before the cross, and yielded up his whole soul to the delightful duty of gratitude.

It was in these moments that the proud spirit which had rebelled against its trials, and dared to question divine justice, be[Pg 260]came soft and malleable, and melted into penitence: how was he touched and overcome when he reflected, that at the very time he was resisting the almighty hand, that bounteous hand was preparing for him the most miraculous blessing!

Struck, penetrated with remorse, he wept his fault; and never was the imperious monarch of Portugal more humble, more impressed with a sense of human dependance, than at this period when happiness seemed to woo his embrace.[Pg 261]


Day dawned over the high top of Atlas, bringing the hour for Abensallah’s departure; Sebastian was first ready: they set off together, the former seated on a quiet mule, which Tefza kindly forced the dervise to accept; the latter walking by his side.

No sooner were they beyond the precincts of Riffa, and passing under the refreshing shade of trees, than Sebastian besought his companion to proceed with his narrative: Abensallah hastened to acquiesce.

“My story will not be much longer;” he observed, “it is enough to tell thee that Kara Aziek reached her home in safety, where the ablest physicians were employed to restore her health: but her[Pg 262] soul languished for thee, my son, and medicines cannot reach the soul.—her father too, happy in beholding her again, and moved by her melancholy, though ignorant of its cause, consented to defer sending information of her safety to the Basha of Syria, till our prophet should have heard the prayers of the physicians: this indulgence somewhat revived her, yet her heart drooped again, for she believed thee lost. Wasted by sorrow and sickness, every one supposed her fast descending to Hades, when lo, her looks brightened, her spirit overflowed with joy, and she revived to a second life. This wonderful change was wrought in her, by one of those events which Providence orders, but which erring mortals so often attribute to chance.”

Dost thou not remember, prince, having found a traveller in the road to Riffa, whom robbers had stripped and left covered with wounds?—thou did’st carry him in thine arms to the house of thy master,[Pg 263] thy pious cares restored him to life, he sojourned with thee five days, at parting, thy words were these, “Moor, do not thank me, thank Christ, whose servant I am, and who has taught me to succour even those who deny his name.”

“Yes—I remember this man, but what had he to do with my fate?”

“Much,” returned Abensallah, “see how good actions bless themselves!—this man came to Mequinez to visit a brother, who is married to Kara Aziek’s favorite woman: he spoke of thee, he detailed thy humanity, described thy person, and thy discourses, but chiefly he spoke of yon faithful animal, whom he had heard thee call thy preserver from shipwreck: at this relation Benzaide ran to her mistress, transfused her own hopes into her bosom, and quickly suggested a mode of being satisfied.—The Almoçadem El Hader, had been just offered the government of Benzeroel; Kara Aziek was to[Pg 264] persuade him to accept it, as that step would bring her into a cavila near thee.

“No sooner was she removed thither, than remembering thy accounts of Abensallah, she dispatched messengers for me, partly that I might teach her how best to thank the great prophet for restoring her health, partly to interest me with her own anxiety: the sad story she had to tell of thy misfortunes, renewed all my affection, I set out, and found thee.”

At these words, Sebastian precipitated himself into the arms of the benevolent dervise, his excessive emotion deprived him of utterance: “Ah my son!” resumed Abensallah, “if Providence destines thee to regain thy rights, thou hast promised to sheathe the sword, which for so many centuries has desolated Africa;—be true to that promise, and then I cannot believe myself culpable in seeking to obtain thy freedom, and preserving for thee the heart of her, whose virtues will prove[Pg 265] the best guarantee of thy good faith. Thou knowest I am no bigot; wherever they are to be found, sincerity and zeal obtain my respect. Christians are as yet but walking in darkness, they see not the light that we do, but if they walk uprightly according to their own laws, may we not hope for their salvation? Obey thy prophet, prince, and then I trust we shall meet again, even in the paradise of his superior, Mahomet.”

“Hold, hold, father,” interrupted Sebastian, averting his face with a look of horror, “I must not listen to such impious words. I acknowledge no superior to Him under whose banner I fight.”

Abensallah cast on him a glance of pity, but did not answer: Sebastian for some time preserved a dignified silence, at length suddenly recollecting the commission he had formerly given the dervise, he enquired whether he had ever sought out the Portuguese prisoners.[Pg 266]

A new source of satisfaction opened to him when he learnt that Abensallah’s charitable exertions had procured the release of several, and that amongst them was Don Emanuel de Castro.

Had he then told De Castro of his sovereign’s existence? How had he received that information? What sentiments had he uttered? These, and a croud of other questions, followed each other with such impetuosity, that the dervise scarcely found an opportunity of replying to them.

“When he took the ring thou didst instruct me to display,” said Abensallah, “his otherwise calm and thoughtful aspect, became suddenly as changeful my son, as thine own: his cheek alternately reddened and grew pale, and his eyes bent on the momentous signet, seemed fraught with past events: once or twice he sighed, but soon brightening into joy, he put it respectfully to his lips, and[Pg 267] devoutly blessed thy prophet for having preserved thee. Having told him of thy strange disappearance, he seemed greatly disturbed, although I endeavoured to make him believe that some hasty impulse had prompted thee to brave thy fate, without my assistance: he then won from me the ring, assuring me that shouldst thou not be returned to Portugal, unless he could produce that, such of the grandees as found it their interest to doubt, might plausibly suspect him of falsehood. To this reasoning I yielded, and soon after, journeying to Tangier, made my way to the governor, and brought back with me a redemption friar, to treat for Don Emanuel’s ransom.

“Ignorant of his rank, the person to whose lot he had fallen would have sold him for a trifle, but thy friend refused to take advantage of this circumstance: he left with him seven purses of gold crowns.[Pg 268]

“How like De Castro!” interrupted his once-intemperate rival, “nobleness and he were twin-born! Father, it is one of my sins to have used this man unworthily.”

“What an unworthy passion must that have been which blinded thee!” exclaimed Abensallah, with an earnestness unusual to him. “Were I to paint Truth, the majestic portrait should have the lineaments of Emanuel de Castro.”

“It was an unworthy passion;” returned the King, casting his eyes down, yet somewhat proudly still—“However, father, I believed the object of it, what she appeared, an angel!”

This oblique defence produced some observations and admonitions from Abensallah which carried along with them infinite instruction; Sebastian listened with profound attention, and many of the exhortations he then heard, were remembered in after years with solid advantage.[Pg 269]

They parted near a village where the good dervise had some charitable visits to make.

Reflective but happy, Sebastian returned homewards, too much occupied with Kara Aziek’s safety, and Abensallah’s friendship, to recollect that he was even now remote from enjoying them; fortunately for human nature, it is ever inclined to take one good as the earnest of another; and sweetly cheated by this self-delusion, the King of Portugal already looked confidently to the ultimate possession of all his wishes.

Tefza welcomed him back with many an encomium upon the pious dervise, whose discourses he ventured to hope would not be thrown away: encouraged by the complacency with which his slave heard him, he renewed his own arguments in favor of Mahomet, promising to make the Christian his heir, provided he would embrace Islamism. At any other period such a[Pg 270] proposal would have drawn down on him a storm of indignation, but the harmonized feelings of Sebastian were at present inclined to put the most amiable construction upon every thing, he therefore saw only zeal and affection in this weak attempt at bribing him to abandon his peculiar faith, and answered him temperately yet firmly.

This unusual gentleness on a topic which had hitherto roused fiery opposition, gave the good Hadgé grounds for believing him not unmoved by the conversation of Abensallah.

While he was indulging unreal satisfaction during the days which followed this, his royal slave was impatiently watching the re-appearance of that winged messenger whose speedy return Abensallah had led him to expect. The first glow of blissful surprise was now over, chilling fears began to succeed; and in proportion to the value he set on Liberty and Love,[Pg 271] so increased his doubts of ever obtaining them.

Kara Aziek under the command of her father, and himself in slavery, were ill able to give a happy change to their mutual destiny: it is true Abensallah had informed him that she would purchase his freedom through the medium of Benzaide’s brother-in-law, but observation of the Hadgé’s character warned him not to rely too much upon his acquiescence, and while contemplating the blind zeal of that devotee, he trembled to think, that after all, this bright dawn might darken, and the sun of felicity sink in clouds.

The fourth day elapsed without bringing any intelligence from Benzeroel: every hour of those days had the King hurried to the terrace, and hastily glanced round the whole circle of air; in the evenings when Tefza was at the mosque, he repaired to his station, gazing with a throbbing heart, which mistook every cloud for a bird.[Pg 272]

The day was done, Tefza had come home and retired to rest, Sebastian sought the terrace again; he leaned over its railing, and his eyes wandered round a scene of solemn beauty.

The “moon walking in brightness,” cast her sublime shadow upon the city below; the minaurets of its mosques, and the flat roofs of its houses were covered with light as with a mantle; profound repose rested on these buildings; but a moment before they had been full of hurry and noise: distant groves of tall palms, and the far-off mountains of Atlas with their snowy summits, glittered faintly on the horizon, filling the imagination with yet nobler images, and prompting genius and piety to awake together. The whole prospect breathed peace, and all nature appeared to feel in this majestic stillness the immediate presence of her Almighty Maker.

Sebastian’s heart was touched, a sweet melancholy penetrated and filled it, never[Pg 273] before had he thought of Kara Aziek with so little passion or so much love; never before had he contemplated eternity with her, with so much enthusiasm; he repeated her name softly, and some tears stole down his cheek.

“O beautiful planet!” he exclaimed, fixing his swimming eyes on the orb above, “Thou alone art like my beloved! perhaps she is looking on thee at this moment, and thinking of her Sebastian: our souls are then meeting, Kara Aziek, sympathy unites them, though a hard fate separates our lives.—Are we not destined to live together in another world?—O yes, thou wilt abjure thy error, and give thyself to the God I worship.”

He stopt, mused awhile, then recollecting the dove, again looked wistfully round. Perhaps some disaster had happened to her, some wandering Alarbe might have shot her as she flew! at so probable an idea composure vanished, and anxiety[Pg 274] blended with pity began to encrease insupportably.

But at that instant a bright speck is seen on the deep blue of the Heavens; it increases, approaches! soon the white wings of a bird are visible, they move swifter, they pause, it is the dove!

She drops from her height and alights beside him: Sebastian seizes her hastily, but his trembling hand almost fears to grasp his prize; he covers her head, her wings, with kisses, he feels the letter beneath them, yet, as if afraid of too much joy, is unable to do more than to renew those kisses and to call on Heaven as the witness of his gratitude!

Having at last secured his treasure, neither humanity nor justice would permit him to enjoy it, till he had rewarded its carrier; he ran with the little creature in his bosom to his own chamber where he gave it food and water, caressing it all the time with a fondness which excited[Pg 275] Barémel’s jealousy; he barked, and leaped upon his master as if to remind him that he too had served him.

“What a change!” exclaimed Sebastian, musing, “from a court and crowds of serving nobles, to this Moorish hovel; and these two mute creatures! ah well, they love me, and are faithful.”

He now placed the pigeon in a cage of oziers which he had before prepared for her, and while her weary eyes closed in sleep, and Barémel was comforted by licking his master’s hand unchidden, the momentous letter was opened and read.

All that the tenderest and freeest of hearts could dictate when addressing the object dearest to it on earth, that letter contained; it repeated vows of eternal constancy, and assured him that his freedom would immediately be attempted: but the joy diffused over Sebastian’s mind by this promise was blighted at once by learning, that a lamentable disorder had[Pg 276] seized El Hader, and that in consequence of it, Aziek believed herself bound to remain with him.

“Thou wilt quit Barbary,” she wrote, “alas! thou wilt then have to quit it alone, (for how can I clandestinely desert a dying father who has indulgently heard my prayer of being released from the Basha?) but thoughts of Kara Aziek’s love will live in thy generous soul, and thou wilt claim her after thy return to Portugal.”

“Yet O! think not my beloved, that I will not follow thee to the remotest corner of the globe, should the angel of death summon away my kind parent: my soul is inseparable from thine; it is lost, confounded, mixed with thine for ever. Whatever be thy destiny I have a precious right to share it: in happiness or in misery art thou not my Sebastian?”

In another part she described in the most affecting language her emotions on receiving the proof of his preservation[Pg 277] Sebastian did not require so lively a picture of Kara Aziek’s devotedness to be convinced that she lived only in him, and that while a sacred duty withheld her from sharing his fate immediately, she was rending her heart to obey its dictates. Alas! if he were to quit Barbary without her, how many years might pass ere he could return to claim her!

The joyful tumults excited at first, now sunk into sadness; trouble and apprehension took possession of that breast which so lately seemed filled with an eternity of happiness, and reclining his head on his hand, the sorrowful Sebastian sat thinking away the hours of night in cheerless solitude.

Aziek had settled that Babec (the dove was so called,) should remain in his care till after the arrival of Benzaide’s brother-in-law, and that then the pretty messenger was to be dispatched with news to his impatient mistress: Sebastian was to journey[Pg 278] with his purchaser to the house of Benzaide, from whence it would not be difficult to manage an interview with Kara Aziek.

These were all the arrangements Aziek had yet made, at least all that she had written down; for in her heart were multitudes of contrary wishes, fantastic plans, seducing hopes, which she meant to communicate to her lover when they met. She was indeed meditating a full avowal to her father, whose sanction alone could reconcile such opposite affections; this project however, required infinite consideration, as El Hader might not easily give credit to the royal dignity, and base injuries of his former slave, or if he did, might deem it an act of conscience to betray him into the hands of his own sovereign: at any rate a Mussulman’s antipathy to a Christian would cost much pains to overcome.

After the lapse of a few days, Benzaid[Pg 279]e’s brother appeared at Riffa; the Hadgé instantly recollected in him the merchant whom his slave had succoured, and welcomed him, as he did all strangers, with benevolent hospitality: but when he proposed purchasing his benefactor, and so returning his goodness by the gift of freedom, Tefza turned pale, stammered out some encomiums upon his gratitude, and refused the request; a look of indignation from Sebastian made him cast down his eyes.

The traveller ventured to name a decided sum of money, and receiving no answer, doubled its amount; the Hadgé replied by a short angry negative: again the traveller redoubled his offer, and again Tefza refused it; the whole day was wasted in fruitless proposals on the one side, and firm denials on the other.

Meanwhile Sebastian watched with breathless anxiety the countenances of each; the letter Kara Aziek had sent him[Pg 280] by Benzaide’s brother increased this anxiety, as it contained an account of her father’s heightened danger, warning him to prepare for many fresh obstacles if he were not free at the moment of his death to snatch her from the power of her relations. Tefza’s obstinacy almost irritated him to utter bitter invectives against that bigotted religion by which it was dictated: never before had he expressed himself so violently.

The Hadgé was grieved, somewhat displeased, but not shaken. “Come, come, no more of this my son, you speak the language of the evil-one, and he would fain make prey of that well-disposed heart of yours.—I know what is good for you—my frequent prayers do not arise in vain—some day our prophet will hear them, and you will feel that he does. What is money to me?—I have plenty of it—I covet only the treasure of good works;—and is it not a good work to save a soul?—once for all, I say I will not[Pg 281] part with you.—Traveller you have your answer.”—

Kara Aziek’s agent sorrowfully departed.—

Sebastian hesitated a moment, then remembering that he owed her a sacrifice, he surmounted his towering spirit, and threw himself at the old man’s feet: there he implored his generosity, he acknowledged his obligations, he described his own affection and respect, but then he painted his passionate longing for freedom in the liveliest colours, and ventured to touch upon his own fidelity in having so long borne the weight of servitude, rather than act treacherously to a confiding master. In short he left no persuasion unapplied.

Tefza shed tears, and raised him tenderly; but he began upon the old argument, repeating his unjust determination.

Lashed into fury Sebastian now flung away the Hadgé’s hand, and looking at him with an inflamed countenance, ex[Pg 282]claimed—“Take back then, all your favours;—at least oppress me with them no more—— I here abjure them, tell you I abhor them—will retain them no longer!—from this hour I hold myself released from every scruple of honour, and will employ my whole soul in trying to fly your accursed country! look well to me then—say not I have basely deceived you, for I tell it you in the face of Heaven.—— Why do you force me to this ingratitude, old man?—you have used me most graciously—may God bless you for it”—his voice faultered as he spoke the last words, but impatient of reply, he rushed out of the apartment.—

Blinded by passion, his reason did not see the folly of a too hasty communication to Kara Aziek; he hurried to his own chamber, wrote her a short detail of his disappointment, ending with an assurance that he would break his bonds at any rate, and soon hasten to her: having taken Babec from her cage, and fastened the[Pg 283] vellum under her silver wing, he opened the casement and let her fly.

Scarcely waiting till she should disappear, he left his room and ran with the quickness of chafed feelings towards the town, where he had several sick persons to visit, and much alms to distribute: this occupation, by reminding him of the Hadgé’s best qualities, caused him to regret having expressed his purpose, however determined, in such harsh terms: regret increased painfully, and brought him back sooner than his accustomed hour.—

Tefza was out, and did not re-appear till night was far wasted: on seeing his slave quietly standing at the gate watching his return, he uttered an exclamation of joy; Sebastian then found that the Hadgé had been all these hours in search of him, whom he believed gone to put his threat of flight into execution.

The garments of Tefza were dripping[Pg 284] with wet, for it had rained heavily after sun-set, and he was too solicitous to get tidings of his runaway, to think of sheltering himself: he now embraced Sebastian, saying, he trusted that Alla had made him repent his cruel anger, and disposed him to continue happily with one who loved him like a father.

Gratitude and compunction did indeed appear in the King’s reply, but he gently repeated his unaltered determination, even while occupied in changing the old man’s soaked galebia, with a careful tenderness hostile to his words. Tefza sighed, squeezed the Christian’s hand, and withdrew shivering to his chamber.

The night was spent by Sebastian in such disturbance of mind as keeps sleep far distant: passion and gratitude urged him to fly to Kara Aziek; gratitude joined by honour forbade him to escape from Tefza. In the storm raised by those contradictory emotions, reason’s voice was unheard; what passion wished, she pro[Pg 285]nounced lawful, what her rival attempted to say was hastily silenced.

Never before had Sebastian found it difficult to discover the path of duty; he dreaded his final decision, because it might be influenced by his desires, and nearly leaned to the erroneous side merely from fearing himself too much.

The next morning however, found him resolved to regain his rightful liberty by any means, since he had neither consented to part with it, nor forfeited his claim by the commission of crimes: accident alone, not even the chance of War, had brought him into bondage; perhaps, he thought, they who enlist under her banners bind themselves to abide by her nicer laws; here, however, no laws exist to chain me.—

Cheered by the serenity which always follows a resolution grounded upon conscientious deliberation, he lightly left his room, and was proceeding out of the house with an intent of purchasing in[Pg 286] Riffa some coarse habit to serve as a disguise, when a low groan arrested his steps; he listened,—another, and another followed,—they came from the sleeping-room of his master.

Forgetful of all those anxieties which but a moment before had engrossed him, he pushed open the door, and cautiously entered; the sound of his tread startled Tefza, he faintly unclosed his eyes, exclaiming “ah! is it you, my son!—give me some drink—I am very ill.”

Sebastian hastened to his bed-side, on touching Tefza’s hand he found it dry and burning; his eyes were heavy, his breath short—every symptom announced one of those malignant fevers which so frequently ravage Barbary, and are produced by excessive moisture after intense heats.

Struck with the conviction that it was to the search for him that Tefza owed his malady, Sebastian’s heart smote him more powerfully than justice required; he hur[Pg 287]ried to rouse the household slaves, and have the physician sent for, then he returned to the old man, and sat watching and soothing him by turns.

The Moorish doctor was just skilful enough to perceive his patient’s extreme danger, and to prescribe a few innoxious useless simples; he repeated his visit at night, by which time the Hadgé was delirious, and his fever alarmingly increased.

Observing the ignorance of this practitioner, and remembering the remedies resorted to by the Portuguese, Sebastian assumed some command, and ventured to act according to the suggestions of his own understanding; the medicines he administered were in some degree successful: but a fierce disease must have its course; the fever raged for one-and twenty days, till it had spent its fires, and then they went out of themselves.

During this tedious period Sebastian was agitated by the greatest inquietude for Kara Aziek; Benzaide’s brother-in-[Pg 288]law (having delayed his return a few days,) had been the bearer of a letter describing the tie which now bound him to Riffa, and Babec had afterwards appeared with the information of El Hader’s death, and the removal of Aziek to the neighbouring house of an uncle.

Plunged in filial sorrow, she had scarcely said more than that her sad heart needed the consolation of its dearest object, though at the same time she urged him by every sacred law of gratitude and humanity not to desert the Hadgé till death had released him, or health returned.

As Sebastian sat by the old man’s pillow, contemplating his wasted figure while it lay composed in sleep, (for the fever had left him,) he could not refrain from heaving deep and repeated sighs; a tedious convalescence must follow such a violent disorder: Tefza, reduced to infantine feebleness, would long require the tenderest care—who would bestow it in the absence[Pg 289] of Sebastian?—Alas, even goodness cannot always insure to itself a comforter in the time of need! most men are capable of making one great sacrifice to their benefactor, but how few are disposed to yield without murmuring, their time, their enjoyments, nay their rest and personal liberty, in a continued round of privations!

“Poor childless old man!” said Sebastian, looking tenderly on him, “thou hast thy wish, I remain with thee.”

At this virtuous resolution, some sweetness mingled with the pain of regret: O delightful emotion of self-approval, how amply dost thou repay the soul for any sacrifice!

Sebastian’s heart was calmed yet elevated, and he added devoutly—“This is Heaven’s will.”

It was his purpose to stay at Riffa, till Tefza should be sufficiently recovered, and then he hoped to obtain freedom from his gratitude, without having recourse to[Pg 290] violent measures. Kara Aziek, shut up in her uncle’s house with the privacy of mourning, would be almost inaccessible, were he near her abode, and it was therefore as well, perhaps, for them to be thus far asunder, till her grief was enough abated for them to concert together a mode of flight: two or three weeks longer, and he hoped to be with Benzaide in the cavila of Benzeroel.

Tefza’s recovery was tryingly slow; and though he felt and acknowledged his obligation to the heroic faithfulness of Sebastian, he had not the heroism himself to repay it instantly by freedom:—he would only promise freedom hereafter, but no intreaties could prevail on him to fix the period.

The sickly state of his body and mind pleaded so powerfully for indulgence, that Sebastian forbore to press the subject, secretly making up his mind to a decisive step, should the old man’s wearying irresolution render it necessary.[Pg 291]

In the midst of these inquietudes, another billet arrived from Kara Aziek, it was written hastily, and with a trembling hand: “Alas!” she said, “we are lost, my beloved! my uncle has just informed me, that the Basha of Syria, acquainted with my existence, has reclaimed my person—he is set out to receive me—light of my soul! am I again to be torn from thee? art thou to be lost to me at last?—despair and love change my whole nature; I am no longer thy timid, starting Aziek. I meditate a rash, ah me! perhaps an immodest step: I am going, disguised like one of thy sex, to seek refuge in flight; Benzaide and her husband will accompany me: we will bend our course to the dwelling of Abensallah, his piety will be our protection and our guide, wilt thou not meet me there, Sebastian? at least when gratitude and humanity have no longer claims on thee, wilt thou not hasten to her, whom the most passionate wishes, the wildest fears, consume hour[Pg 292]ly?—but oh! how sweet it is, to feel life burning out for thee!

“Providence opens to me the door of liberty, this night perhaps, this night, ah! haste my beloved.”

The most frightful pangs seized Sebastian on reading this letter, in their first paroxysm he was on the point of hastening to Tefza, casting himself at his feet, declaring his situation, and imploring permission to depart; but the next moment he trembled at the rash suggestion, confident that Tefza’s bigotry, would never pardon a Mahometan woman for loving a Christian.

He then sought to allay his apprehensions by reflecting on the safe asylum Kara Aziek had chosen; yet how would she arrive there? she, so delicate, so timid, so inexperienced! was her tender frame made for the haste and fatigue of flight! and that flight too, performed under burning skies, upon uneasy animals, and exposed to numberless accidents! were her[Pg 293] sex discovered in that relentless country, (where women are deemed impious if they believe themselves created without roots) shame and punishment would follow.

At that thought the devoted lover fancied himself ready to pay any price for her safety,—nay, even that of wholly resigning her; he thought so only an instant; her soft beauties in the arms of another, was an idea so abhorrent, that it maddened him as it passed, and banished all wish for her delay.

He now hurried out in search of Tefza, and found him stretched along a paillasse in his garden, enjoying the evening air; as he approached, the infirm old man eyed him with an expression of thanking kindliness, which pained while it pleased Sebastian: having uttered several assurances of reviving health, and eaten heartily of some dish brought by a servant, he afforded the impatient King an opportunity of remarking upon his convales[Pg 294]cence, and consequently of re-urging his suit.

The subject was once more discussed with vehement importunity by the one, and useless arguments by the other; Sebastian was again inflamed to passion, and again the weak Tefza became sick, and tearful, and relenting.

“But one trial more!” he cried, detaining the King by his mantle, “thou knowest how my heart yearns for thy conversion—gratitude for thy late goodness encreases this desire, and makes me seem cruel to thee, when I mean to be most kind. Only accompany me to Mecca; with the first caravan, I go thither to bless the prophet for my life, and to implore him for thee: should he not hear my unworthy prayers, should thy soul remain unconverted by the piety thou wilt behold there, I swear to thee by Mahomet himself, that in three days after our arrival, thou shalt be free![Pg 295]

Sebastian turned quickly round, and fixed his eyes on him with a look that searched his soul: “Swear it to me!” he exclaimed, then as suddenly stopping, he added, “Tefza I cannot consent, it will be too late.”

His fate at this period depended on the chance of a single moment; a day, an hour, might ravish Kara Aziek from him, and with her all hope of future happiness from the attainment of minor objects. Tefza’s repeated refusal and desolate ill health, by turns maddened and melted him; yet was he just enough to respect the old man’s motive, even while suffering under its pernicious effects.

A new thought struck him: “we are not many leagues from Benzeroel,” he cried, “let us go thither Tefza! you venerate the worthy dervise who dwells among its mountains: we will state our case—you shall urge every argument suggested by this fruitless wish of converting[Pg 296] me,—I will simply state the mode by which I became a slave, my desire of freedom, my dutiful care of you in illness, and your indefinite promise:—if he bid me go with you to Arabia, I will comply,—if he exhort you to torture me no longer, but fulfil your promise, may I not expect that you will obey him?”

Transported out of himself, Tefza caught the ardent King in his arms, exclaiming—“I consent—we set out to-morrow.”

Leaving him no time for consideration, Sebastian hastily obtained permission, and left the garden to order preparations for their journey: while doing so, he reflected with some confusion upon the stratagem he had used: his ingenuous nature abhorred even the appearance of artifice, and this was not the first time in his life that he had given that name to prudence.

To conceal any thing from another, interested in the subject of that concealment, had uniformly seemed to him a species[Pg 297] of insincerity, which he never practised without extreme repugnance: this noble prejudice now covered his brow with the colouring of shame: he paused and considered “But what advantage do I mean to make of this artifice? none that the Hadgé will not himself sanction; we shall both gain the benefit of Abensallah’s counsel; he will perhaps convince Tefza, that equity demands my freedom, and that not even their religion authorizes unjust actions; he will persuade him, possibly, from this perilous journey into Arabia,—if not, I do not mean to take sanctuary with Abensallah, I will perform my engagement, and hasten back from Mecca to Benzeroel; alas! all the good this stratagem may bestow, will be only the satisfaction of seeing my beloved, of knowing that she is safe, and can wait securely for me.”

Sebastian’s heart said all this sincerely, and he endeavoured to think, that by[Pg 298] withholding the principal motive of his present conduct from Tefza, he was not deceiving, though he was not confiding in him.

By day-break on the morrow the travellers set forth: Tefza on a camel, attended by two trusty servants, Sebastian on a stout mule, guarded by the faithful Barémel, and cherishing in his bosom Kara Aziek’s dove.

This tender little creature, seemed in her lover’s eyes, a part of Aziek herself: whenever he softly kissed its warm plumage, delightful emotions thrilled through his veins; the balmy breath of its gentle mistress appeared to be yet there, and he could fancy a thousand fond caresses lavished on Babec, meant for him, and so rendered to him at last.

As he now mounted his mule, he lightly smoothed the bird’s silver wings, pressed them yet lighter with his lips, and carefully laid her to rest next his[Pg 299] heart: the look he gave her, was such as a mother bestows on her first born and only child!

Tefza smiled at his favorite slave’s playthings, as he called Barémel and Babec, half inclined to think his wits disordered from such unmanly solicitude about a bird; but too indulgent to say so, he waited till Sebastian had safely adjusted his charge, and then ordered the camels, &c. to proceed.

Travelling instead of exhausting, revived the Hadgé, for he rested during the hot hours of noon, and only moved when the air was tempered by morning or evening breezes: Sebastian had a thousand times to recollect that Tefza was old and sick ere he could prevent himself from impatiently urging a quicker method; his soul was already at the cave of Abensallah. Imagination had placed him in the embrace of Kara Aziek; that timid, ardent embrace, to which Love at one moment gave the most transporting character, and the next[Pg 300] instant changed it into tremors of apprehension and shame: he fancied her pitying tears over the grave of his friend; at that sad image, passion’s intoxicating reveries suddenly fled, Sebastian’s thoughts assumed a severer cast, and many were the pangs of self-reproach which now tyrannised over him.

Reflections like these happily abstracted some portion of his anxiety about Aziek, and the attentions required by his feeble companion completed their effect.

They reached the extremity of Mounts Benzeroel on the evening of the ninth day.

At sight of Abensallah’s tranquil abode, where Sebastian had experienced so much goodness, where he had performed the last melancholy duties to Stukeley, where so many hopes and wishes (now annihilated,) had once agitated his heart, where at length he was come to seek the most faithful and tender of women, he was inexpressibly moved; a variety of feelings melted him;[Pg 301] he stopt, gazed wistfully on the rock, and precipitately concealed his face in his garment.

He was roused by the well-remembered voice of Ismael, now at the mouth of the cave, who was praying the travellers to alight: as the Hadgé entered first, Sebastian had an opportunity of discovering himself to Ismael, and charging him not to mention their former acquaintance before Tefza or his servants; after this precaution, he entered.

On passing the threshold he cast a trembling glance round the narrow cell; no one was there but Tefza and Abensallah: his heart died away; yet, did he expect to behold Kara Aziek? no, she must be secured in the interior apartment which Abensallah reserved as an asylum for persecuted persons.

Occupied with the most frightful anxiety (for his inconsistent heart could not recover from its first shock,) he scarcely saw the reverend dervise who was folding him[Pg 302] to his breast and saving; him his benediction; an observation from Tefza roused him, and faultering out a few grateful words, he sat down opposite to the chamber he longed to penetrate.

His eyes now searched those of Abensallah, but extreme earnestness blunted his perception, for he knew not whether it was comfort or commiseration he read in that gently-expressive face: his own looks were only too distinct a transcript of his disturbed soul: the alternate flushings and mortal paleness of his cheeks, could not escape the notice of Tefza, he believed that they were occasioned by the workings of a mind which began to feel the true religion.

In fact the Hadgé was now diffusely detailing his errand to Benzeroel, and calling upon Abensallah to assist the great work he had humbly taken in hand: Abensallah bestowed many sincere encomiums upon his pious intention of visiting Mecca, but required to[Pg 303] hear the Christian’s sentiments ere he could properly pronounce his own opinion.

“Speak to him alone if thou wilt; said the triumphant Tefza, I will yield him every advantage, he shall confess at least, that I am solely actuated by affection for his soul.”

At this acceptable proposal, Ismael was called to lead the Hadgé up a flight of steps cut in the rock which led to another cell where lay the Koran and other holy books, and which the dervise denominated his mosque.

Sebastian started up on their departure, and stood trembling with repressed eagerness, till the echo of their feet above, was no longer distinct, he then grasped Abensallah’s arm with one hand, while he stretched out the other towards the spring of the secret door.—“She is here? my father?” he said, in a voice that half-demined and half asked the question.

“No my son, she is not: prepare thy[Pg 304] spirit for still further trials: she is with the servants of the Basha, on the road to Syria.”

Abensallah’s first words were sufficient for Sebastian; his soul, already enfeebled by an extreme indulgence of delightful anticipations, had not strength to bear this shock, he staggered a few paces, and fell apparently lifeless against the wall of the cell.

On loosening his unhappy friend’s vest, Abensallah perceived Babec, whom he hastily shut into a basket, then returned to the King, and sprinkled his face with water: he revived at length; but with every breath he drew, repeated sighs seemed rending life a second time away.

Abensallah meanwhile gently spoke of resignation to Heaven’s decrees, of those unexpected turns in our destiny which so often make light spring out of darkness; Sebastian smiled sadly, and again sighed heavily: the dervise then pressed upon him the peculiar mercies which had already[Pg 305] been shewn him by the Great Being who thought fit to cloud his sunshine awhile. The young Monarch at that moment despised thrones and courts, too certain, that with Kara Aziek would go all his happiness; ashamed of his weakness he looked aside with a flushed cheek; “O my father!” he said, “think not that I am thus vanquished by selfish regret, no, I call Heaven to witness it is for her my heart is wrung so sorely.”

The compassionate Abensallah hastened to alleviate this pain, he informed him that Kara Aziek had but just dispatched her last letter to Riffa, when a numerous cavalcade of camels, horsemen, and presents, headed by an officer of the Basha’s army, had arrived at El Hader’s mansion: the Basha himself was in Syria, where he was detained by a war with the Persians, and having learned from the uncle of Aziek that she still lived, had sent his people to claim her.

Callous to her tears, intreaties, and protestations of being released by her fa[Pg 306]ther from this hated engagement, her relentless uncle insisted upon her immediate departure; she could not doubt that he was actuated by avarice, as he would inherit that fortune the proud Basha refused to accept, were she to quit Barbary, and she therefore offered to resign every thing into his hands: but her kinsman persisted in his commands, for he mistrusted her sincerity.

Narrowly watched, and so precluded from escaping, the unhappy victim could only steal into Benzaide’s hand as she embraced her at parting, a letter for Abensallah, and some directions for her own conduct; the latter enjoined her to dispatch her brother-in-law to Benzeroel with the billet for Abensallah, and the young brood of Babec. Aziek’s tender heart could not disregard even the instincts of a bird; and she well knew that if Sebastian believed her journeying towards the cave of the dervise, he would not release the dove, nor lose sight of it, till he had[Pg 307] brought it thither. Babec therefore would come to Benzeroel; to whom then could she bequeath her pretty favorite with its little nestlings, so cheerfully as to Abensallah?

She wrote to tell him so, and to intreat that he would soften to Sebastian the dreadful blow which her forced departure must inflict. In the most solemn manner she besought her lover to believe that she would perish rather than yield herself to the Basha; that wherever she might be conveyed, however oppressed or threatened, she would consider her heart and her person equally the property of her absent Sebastian, and that he might be certain, that whether Aziek lived or died, she lived or died worthy of his love. She coupled this declaration with an earnest entreaty that he would follow her into Syria, where during the months sacred to mourning in those countries, she might find some mode of escaping to him, were he near enough to aid and to receive her.[Pg 308]

Many tears had blotted the characters traced by her hand, but the feelings of Sebastian instructed him in hers, and he was obliged to turn away from Abensallah, that his weakness might not again be visible: when he came to that passage which announced her future intention, and required him to follow her, his emotions were suddenly changed; the Phœnix hope sprung from her own ashes, and made him now as impatient to fly with Tefza into the vicinity of Syria, as he had before been solicitous to avoid it.

Strange vicissitude of human affairs! how often do the changes of a single hour convert events from curses into blessings! Sebastian had considered the Hadgé’s pilgrimage as the most fatal mischance that could have arisen, now it seemed only a kind interposition of Providence in his favour.

The re-appearance of Tefza abruptly terminated the discourse which his absence had permitted: Abensallah then pro[Pg 309]nounced the decision required of him, and became the witness of that compact which bound Tefza to give his slave freedom in three days after their arrival at Mecca, should he still require it.

The lively satisfaction which this decision afforded to Sebastian’s master, was somewhat damped by hearing sentiments from Abensallah different from his own: that excellent old man mildly tried to moderate the other’s flaming zeal, and at last convinced him that it is not given to fallible man to tyrannise over the consciences of his brethren.

But see the inconsistency of human nature! Tefza had not resolution to act conformably with this conviction; he still adhered to the plan of leading his slave over desolate and dangerous tracts of country for the mere chance of converting him by the imposing spectacle of Mahomet’s crouded tomb. The piety and wisdom of Abensallah he could not doubt, but he[Pg 310] secretly complimented himself upon greater fervour in the same faith.

While the two Mussulmen were earnestly conversing on the life and doctrines of their prophet, Sebastian went out to visit the grave of Stukeley. He found it piously adorned with evergreens, which the dervise had planted round it: nearly two years had now elapsed since that period, and the myrtles and box were expanded into perfect luxuriance.

The old cluster of locust-trees still cast its deep shadow along the solitary mound; but the ground about it, was thickly set with flowers, whose balmy breath incensed the honoured clay, and whose charming colours gave beauty to the bed of death.

Night was approaching, and so gloomily, that the lanthorn Sebastian carried, scarcely threw light enough around to discover more than detached parts of the scene: soon however, flashes of pale lightning, which begun to quiver at distant intervals[Pg 311] among the clouds, momentarily illuminated every object, and distinctly shewed the fearfully-steep rocks, the grave at their feet, and the moss-grown crucifix which surmounted it.

Sebastian’s heart was heavily oppressed; a mortal sadness weighed it down, but he shed no tears; he knelt before the cross, and there poured out his regrets, lamented his errors, prayed for Stukeley’s soul, and implored a blessing on the desperate enterprize he was about to attempt.

What was that enterprize? he knew not—he considered not;—it must grow out of circumstances: all he felt assured of was, that to rescue Kara Aziek, he would attempt impossibilities, and meet destruction in any shape.

Again his thoughts reverted to Stukeley, and again they retraced with anguish, that happy period in which the gallant Englishman had become known to him. O happy period indeed! for then the youth of Sebastian was in its first gloss;[Pg 312] then, he looked round upon nature, and saw in it only the reflection of his own sweet and ingenuous spirit; all men appeared to him just, benevolent, and faithful, and every thing he possessed, secure and permanent: now, experience had swept away these vain pageants; security was no more, doubt and apprehension had succeeded.

As he leaned sadly against the cross, his reflections imperceptibly assumed that form which a poetical mind so naturally gives to melancholy subjects: as the ideas flowed, he cut them with the point of a moorish knife upon the wooden base of the crucifix.

Rest, rest, ye ashes dear!
I come not here
Your peace to alter, nor remove you where
Honor and Pomp attend,
To wait the buried friend,
And yield his hov’ring shade, the choral prayer.[Pg 313]
Singly I come, alas! with tears alone,
To mourn youth’s trusting hour, for ever flown!
O friend beloved! O brother of my soul!
How long shall time and fortune various roll,
Yet bear no pang away,
With which this honored clay,
Now rives the heart, that wrongs have turned to stone?
I think of thee—and with that dear-lov’d thought,
Comes many a melting thrill for human kind:
Thou wast of mortal make, yet I did find
Each grace celestial in thy fabric wrought.
O Genius! Friendship! Heav’n-attaining worth!
Ye once were joined on earth;
In Stukeley’s soul, by God’s own purpose fixed,
Ye once did dwell and grow,
Breathing e’en here below
The air of Eden pure, with dross unmixed.
Ah little understood!
That soul refined,
That ardent heart, that piercing mind,
Those views etherial, which his purer eye
Read in their native sky,
Were deem’d but fancies vain, by souls of grosser mood.
He lived to suffer, and to give
A noble lesson how to live;
On Glory’s bed, his latest sigh,
Was breathed to teach us how to die!—
[Pg 314]

At this sentiment, so long associated with all his feelings, Sebastian’s imagination suddenly checked itself: troubled and confused doubts, as to so general an application of the sentiment (however just, when applied to him who acted from a strong impulse of conscience) succeeded to his more passionate regrets: in the midst of them, Ismael appeared.

He came to say that his master was going to retire for the night, and waited his Christian guest.

Sebastian arose, fixed a long look on the earth which covered the brave Englishman, and turned away. He never saw it again.


J. M‘Creery, Printer,
Black-Horse-Court, Fleet-street, London.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

Many minor punctuation errors have been corrected.

first vist to Barbary=> first visit to Barbary {pg 17}

you may not not hereafter call me a base=> you may not hereafter call me a base {pg 25}

she unconsciouly weave=> she unconsciously weave {pg 28}

scuccour for those=> succour for those {pg 37}

journey in desart regions=> journey in desert regions {pg 51}

from a side eminnence=> from a side eminence {pg 53}

rendered him speechles=> rendered him speechless {pg 104}

he was a Portugueze office=> he was a Portuguese office {pg 126}

figure, exclaming in a=> figure, exclaiming in a {pg 136}

aukward reckoning=> awkward reckoning {pg 144}

have shared his thone=> have shared his throne {pg 164}

fellow of an adverturous=> fellow of an adventurous {pg 197}

when addressing the the object=> when addressing the object {pg 275}