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Moorish capital, he is cheered with enthusiastic bravos; and when he nails the tablet of Ave Maria to the door of the mosque, the theatre absolutely shakes with shouts and thunders of applause. On the other hand, the actors who play the part of the Moors, have to bear the brunt of the temporary indignation of their auditors'; and when the infidel Tarfe plucks down the tablet to tie it to his horse's tail, many of the people absolutely rise in fury, and are ready to jump upon the stage to revenge this insult to the Virgin.
Beside this annual festival at the capital, almost every village of the Vega and the mountains has its own anniversary, wherein its own deliverance from the Moorish yoke is celebrated with uncouth ceremony and rustic pomp.
On these occasions, a kind of resurrection takes place of ancient Spanish dresses and armor; great two-handed swords, ponderous arquebusses, with match-locks, and other weapons
and accoutrements, once the equipments of the village chivalry, and treasured up from generation to generation, since the time of the conquest. In these hereditary and historical garbs, some of the most sturdy of the villagers array themselves as champions of the faith, while its ancient opponents are represented by another band of villagers, dressed up as Moorish warriors. A tent is pitched in the public square of the village, within which is an altar, and an image of the Virgin. The Spanish warriors approach to perforın their devotions at this shrine, but are opposed by the infidel Moslems, who surround the tent. A mockfight succeeds, in the course of which the combatants sometimes forget that they are merely playing a part, and exchange dry blows of grievous weight: the fictitious Moors, especially, are apt to bear away pretty evident marks of the pious zeal of their antagonists. The contest, however, invariably terminates in favor of the good cause. The Moors are defeated and taken prisoners. The image of the Virgin, rescued from thraldom, is elevated in triumph ; and a grand procession succeeds, in which the Spanish conquerors figure with great vain-glory and applause, and their captives are led in chains, to the infinite delight and edification of the populace. These annual festivals are the delight of the villagers ; who expend considerable sums in their celebration. In some villages they are occasionally obliged to suspend them for want of funds; but when times grow better, or they have been enabled to save money for the purpose, they are revived with all their grotesque pomp
and extravagance. To recur to the exploit of Hernando del Pulgar. However extravagant and fabulous it may seem, it is authenticated by certain traditional usages, and shows the vain-glorious daring that prevailed between the youthful warriors of both nations, in that romantic war. The mosque thus consecrated to the Virgin, was made the cathedral of the city after the conquest ; and there is a painting of the Virgin beside the royal chapel, which was put there by Hernando del Pulgar. The lineal representative of the hair-brained cavalier has the right, to this day, to enter the church, on certain occasions, on horseback, to sit within the choir, and to put on his hat at the elevation of the host, though these privileges have often been obstinately contested by the clergy.
The present lineal representative of Hernando del Pulgar is the
Marquis de Salar, whom I have met occasionally in society. He is a young man of agreeable appearance and manners, and his bright black eyes would give indication of his inheriting the fire of his ancestor. When the paintings were put up in the Vivarambla, illustrating the scenes of the conquest, an old gray-headed family servant of the
Pulgars was so delighted with those which related to the family hero, that he absolutely shed tears, and hurrying home to the Marquis, urged him to hasten and behold the family trophies. The sudden zeal of the old man provoked the mirth of his young master; upon which, turning to the brother of the Marquis, with that freedom allowed to family servants in Spain, Come, Señor,' cried he, you are more grave and considerate than your brother; come and see your ancestor in all his glory!'
WITHIN two or three years after the above letter was written, the Marquis de Salar was married to the beautiful daughter of the Count -, mentioned by the author in his anecdotes of the Alhambra. The match was very agreeable to all parties, and the nuptials were celebrated with great festivity.
Thy kingdom come! but where shall it be?
Thy kingdom come! oh, wilt thou reign
There are few Americans, of the higher classes, who have ceased to feel an interest in any thing that pertains to England as she is, or as she has been. Notwithstanding the deadly feuds 'which have arisen between the parent and the child, now that years have tempered its asperities, they are fain to extend the mutual hand of forgiveness; and many years inay it be, before they shall forget that their common ancestors formed the constitution of old England, built its time-worn castles, and now lie entombed together in the common embrace of death!
Early in the eighteenth century, a family of very considerable distinction, of the name of Sterling, emigrated from England, and settled in Connecticut. Interests and friends that had been left behind, caused so frequent correspondence, that up to the time of the American revolution, the relatives of the family on either side felt for each other all the warmth of friendship which had existed a half century before. Just before the breaking out of hostilities, the future Lieutenant Sterling of Connecticut visited Yorkshire, partly to see his relatives in the land of his ancestors, which his parents, by continual reference thereto, had made a mere appendage to his own home, and partly for the sake of finishing his education. His education, however, was soon completed, by his falling in love with his beautiful cousin, Julia Fordham, whose uncle had also settled in America, near New-York.
A few weeks of happiness passed away with the affianced pair; such happiness as is rarely suffered to exist beyond a brief hour. They visited together the hall of their forefathers ; criticized the family pictures, which seemed to look down from the canvass upon their descendants with smiling approbation of their coming nuptials. The association of feelings that flows from the knowledge of a common ancestry, and of course a common history, if that history be an unblemished one, has much to do with cementing the ties of affection, especially between two who are taught to believe that a patrician ancestry is necessary for each other's happiness in wedded life.
Cornet Fordham, Julia's brother, had just received his appointment, the duties of which he bad now returned from the continent to
These cousins and contracted brothers in-law met now for
the first time; and an equality of age, neither being more than twenty, and a fondness for similar pursuits, cemented a friendship that existed until they were entombed together in a strange land; without, on the one hand, an affianced bride to staunch the fatal wound, or an angel sister to wipe from a brother's brow the blood that oozed away his life. But I am anticipating.
As they were looking from the window upon the lawn in front of the house, to mark the birds gathering in the scattering trees, Julia sighed, pensively; and upon being questioned wherefore, she replied: "Although, cousin, I am willing to go with you to the ends of the world — for all that is dear to me on this earth is concentrated in you — yet to leave my parents, my brother, the tenants whom I visit weekly, and who are so much attached to me; to think that I shall see this beautiful lawn, and these birds no more, that hover nightly near my apartment, as if seeking my protection; these things enshroud my soul in grief !
At this moment, a letter was placed in Mr. Sterling's hands. It bore a trans-Atlantic post-mark; and its contents imported that there were serious disturbances in Boston, between the authorities and its citizens, and every thing bore the appearance of disaffection and blood-shed. The letter concluded by directing young Sterling home. It was from his father, and was not to be disobeyed. He informed Julia's parents that he must take the first packet bound for America, and that he should return the moment the difficulties between the factions were arranged. The pain of parting was almost counterbalanced by the joy of the anticipated return.
*Down with the helm; brace up the yards fore and aft; haul her close on a wind !' roared the captain. •Light ho! broad off the lee bow !' bawled the chief mate. A pilot was soon on board, and in a short time, Sterling was once more on his native soil. Difficulties began to thicken; in a few weeks blood was shed; and preparations for a sanguinary contest were made on either side. Troops came pouring into Boston; an army landed on the southern extremity of Long-Island, and soon occupied New-York. The husbandman clad himself in the habiliments of war, breathing vengeance to the foe, and death to tyrants !
On Sterling's return to Connecticut, he found no neutrals there. He soon caught the infection. He applied for, and was appointed to a lieutenancy of dragoons. His squadron was ordered to take position in the southern extremity of the Highlands, to prevent supplies being passed from the country to New-York, and to look after the Cow-boys, who fought those who had most to be plundered of.
Late at night, in the latter part of October, an officer, who had been taken prisoner at the battle of Long-Island, and exchanged, called at the quarters of Sterling, bringing him a letter from Ford ham, stating that he had learned with pain his taking sides with the rebels; that he trusted that he, Lieutenant Sterling, would be careful and not let his sister know, as it would break her heart even to suspect that he was in a position hostile to himself; that it was natural to construe difficulties favorable to one's own native land; and that while he regretted its necessity, he approved the decision. The
letter was accompanied by a picture of Miss Fordham, which had been promised as soon as a proper artist could be found. Sterling pressed the miniature to his heart. It brought with it a thousand reflections. The image of all he loved was before him. The cold moon slept upon the Hudson; the howl of the wolf in the mountain, and the wailing owl in the deep forest, called to his mind feelings that seemed to partake of other worlds ; feelings, that the miserable creatures of traffic, whose souls are absorbed in the accumulation of gain, can no more appreciate, than can the blind the effulgence of the mid-day sun.
Amid these reveries, the trumpet sounded to horse !' and as the blast went echoing from hill to bill, the dragoons came yawning from their tents, girding on their cutlasses, and re-priming their pistols. In a few moments, one hundred and fifty troopers, under the command of Major W —, were in full gallop to Westchester, to drive in a party of foragers.
Just as the day began to dawn, they met a Cow-boy, who stated that a large foraging-party, with a guard of two hundred dragoons, was about a mile in advance, not far from the Kingsbridge road. The troop was commanded by their gallant leader to dash on, and when within two hundred yards, to deploy into line under full speed, and to get among the enemy before he could form. Immediately after the hostile parties discovered each other, they formed and charged at full speed. The shock was awful: at least one half of either party were unhorsed, who fought in squads on foot, while those who retained their seats, were fighting man to man, friend and foe intermingled.
A voice was now heard : •Rebels ! surrender !' which was answered in tones of thunder: 'Freemen! never yield to slaves !' This added fuel to the flames, and the murderous conflict continued more deadly than before. Men mortally wounded, extended upon the earth, were employing their dying struggles to extinguish a few moments sooner the lamp of life in their expiring adversaries. As the day fully broke upon the affray, the few who survived, sickened at the awful havoc, mutually retired from the scene of death.
The day after the conflict, a few men with an officer on either side, were detailed to bury the dead. The officer who liad delivered the letter from Fordham to Sterling, was the one sent with the American party. Among the slain he recognised both Sterling and Fordham; and when the dead had been thrown in one common grave, he caused them to be laid side by side together. The minature was wet with blood, upon
which it remains to this day. A few years after the war, a female of about twenty-five years, bought near the spot where the dead were buried, an acre of ground, and built a small cottage upon it. Her conduct was strange, and many supposed she was crazed; for in summer or autumnal nights, she would frequent the knoll where the dead lay; and how keenly soever blew the winds, still she would be there, talking to herself: They will come by and by! I wonder they stay so long! I am sure he received the miniature.' He was to come with my brother: cruel cousin !' and such incoherent sentences. The poor creature in a few years moaned herself to death ; and as the place she visited was a favorite ne in life, her neighbors laid her there in death.