Chapter XIX

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TEN years have passed since we last saw the Marquis de Carillo, and although now but a little past sixty years of age, he has aged greatly. When he learned of the loss of the vessel upon which his son had embarked for Spain, he was crushed, heart-broken, beyond all description, but so much pride and obstinacy was mixed with his love that when he also learned that he had married Manuelita several weeks before sailing, his anger was uncontrollable, and he forbade his name ever to be mentioned to him again.

‘‘He has dishonoured and blighted my closing years, he has brought ignominy upon my ancestral name and house, which nothing can ever efface. My race is run, and must end with me.’’ And he grew sterner and sterner, and was seen to smile but seldom.

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Many months later, when Louis Ramirez wrote him of the birth of his grandson, he was in an agony of despair and rage at his maternal parentage; and an intense desire for something of his own blood to bear his name and fortune, struggling hard within him.

In this interval the King of Spain had abdicated the throne in favour of his son Louis, Prince of the Asturias, that he might be enabled to claim the throne of France in the event of the death of the young King Louis XV., a delicate child, under the Regency of his uncle, the Duke d'Orleans. The young Louis of Spain died in the eighth month of his reign, and the health of the young Louis of France having so materially improved that there was but little probability of his throne becoming vacant, Philip resumed the crown of Spain, much to the disappointment of his people, who had grown weary of his weak and vacillating government.

"The Marquis de Carillo with a restlessness of both soul and body which seemed

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always to be craving occupation, headed his division in every campaign, ‘‘and for who is it?’’ he would sometimes say in the bitterness of his soul; ‘‘who will be the better for any honour or wealth that I may gain?’’

So weak and restless was King Philip at this time, that he had again changed his allies, and the two branches of the Bourbons were again united, Austria and the maritime nations making common cause against them. A new war had just broken out between the houses of Bourbon and Austria, occasioned by the death of the King of Poland, Augustus II., who had devised the throne to his son, while the Polish nobles, jealous of the privileges of their elective monarchy, opposed him and elected Stanislaus Lezinsky to fill the throne. Austria and Russia expelled him and forced the Poles to acknowledge Augustus III. Elector of Saxony. Louis XV., having married a daughter of Stanislaus, formed an alliance with Spain and Sardinia to secure the throne to him.

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The Marquis de Carillo was to go with the King of Spain in this campaign: his sister had been dead several years, and Isabella, still unmarried, presided over his household. The Marquis had often urged her to marry, and had offered to obtain the consent of the King and the Cortes to transfer his title and estates to her male issue, or to confer them upon her husband, but she had steadily refused to marry, and had several times sought to soften his heart to his son's memory and to bring before him the thought of the possibility of finding an heir in his son's son.

When Father Ramirez' letter reached him, anouncing the birth of the little Balthazar, he had handed it to Isabella, and left the room without comment, and had never since referred to the subject.

Isabella, upon becoming of age and mistress of her own fortune, had written to Father Ramirez and asked for tidings of both the child and his mother; she had continued in correspondence with him, and sent him yearly

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a handsome sum of money, which she begged he would expend for their comfort and benefit. She had never quite despaired of being able ultimately to induce his grandfather to adopt him as his heir. In his last letter Father Ramirez had sent her a lovely little sketch of the young Balthazar, now a lad of nearly ten years of age, so like his father that it startled her: the same aquiline nose, the brow, the soft, dark brown eyes, with his expression, which she recalled so well, and not a suggestion, however faint, of the Indian.

It was again the breakfast hour, and except to the inmates, the past decade had wrought but little change in this palatial home: half a dozen more standards hung above the oaken panels, the aged sister no longer sat opposite the Marquis, and Isabella, who now occupied this seat, had conquered her old indolence and was always here to greet her uncle's entrance.

As we look at him we are shocked at the change time and suffering have together

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wrought in him: his hair is very white, his shoulders bent, his brow furrowed and stern, and the lines under his eyes and around his mouth tell of much suffering and repressed passion.

Isabella had developed into a beautiful woman of eight and twenty; the flight of these years had brought to her perfection of loveliness: the silence of endurance, the passion of suffering had left in her face a heroism and a power that gave her tenfold more beauty than she could have claimed during her "première jeunesse." Her soft tender dark eyes had grown more serious and thoughtful, her voice still possessed the same seductive sweetness, and the beauty of soul compelled the face to express its lightest meaning. Her disregarded love had not turned to bitterness, but had left sweet tender memories that clung with a consecrating tendency to his son and the woman he had loved: if he had not died she would have thought it her duty to overcome the wistful, tender love for him, which

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she had never been able to replace with another, but now she could treasure it as a beautiful, precious memory. When, despondent of joy in an earthly future, she had transferred all the passion and fervour of her troubled soul to enthusiastic yearnings for the divine love, this was for months what sustained her. Then had come an intense desire to see the young innocent son in his father's home, and to accomplish this she thought and laboured unceasingly.

‘‘Uncle, do not go on this campaign; you are not strong, and surely you have done enough in your long military service to satisfy the most exacting monarch.’’

‘‘Why, I am a young man still, child, you surely would not consider sixty-three an age to shelve a soldier? Why, military rank has become a right more inviolably observed than any other in Europe now.’’

‘‘Yes, for young men it is well, but when one has been in the service over forty years! Do not go, dear uncle.’’

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‘‘Philip has set his heart on my going this once more with him, and I have no legitimate excuse. I must go.’’

‘‘Will Philip never tire of war?’’ she asked impatiently.

‘‘Seriously, my child, I do not think he ever will, but when we look at these,’’ he said, pointing with pride at the score of splendid standards hanging above the elaborately carved panels, ‘‘one does not regret it.’’

‘‘Ah, but, uncle dear, look at the other side of the picture, that is not so brilliant, but very, very sad: we must think of the many noble lives sacrificed, the homes left desolate, the widows and orphans made.’’

‘‘The soldier, child, when he goes into battle, does not think of the men he is going to kill or even of his own chances of being shot down, but of his country he is going to fight for. Happily he never knows, directly or definitely, whether he does kill anyone. Everything in this age, child, is swallowed up

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in the sublime epic of war: it is the only occupation for a gentleman.’’

‘‘And the king, I presume, is the poet who chooses the time and place and metre, the subject being always the same—War.’’

‘‘Yes, my child, our men cannot live without excitement, and this is the only kind that offers. You must not subject to too close an analysis the infirmities of the age, and the tulmuts of the passions; women are fortunately saved all this.’’

‘‘But not the sad consequences of it, dear, either for themselves, or, worse, for those they love.’’

‘‘Well, we cannot, like Don Quixote, laugh away the institutions and manners of the world. When a soldier takes his oath of fealty to his king, he cannot say—Thus far will I go with you, and no farther, and I will be the judge of whether your wars are just and right or not. He who desires to make a Utopia of this world would have to do away with all hope of another one.’’

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‘‘But these wars seem to me, dear uncle, so cruel, so unnecessary.’’

‘‘We have a great deal of the wild beast in us still, which is only partially suppressed by mild, civilizing circumstances. It comes uppermost in scenes of excitement like battle, and man loses consciousness of its cruelty, I presume. But a man loves his country, my child, as a young maiden the ideal of her dreams, with mind and soul as well as body, and we could not remain absent from her battle-fields any more than she could from his heart when opened to her.’’

‘‘But, uncle, a great love of humanity is not incompatible with love of one's country; and would not that suggest some other way of settling a nation's quarrels?’’

‘‘It might be done by a tournament, you think, in which Troubadours or Knights would challenge each other to a contest of song or lance?’’ he asked her playfully.

‘‘Yes, in spite of your ridicule even that would be better.’’

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‘‘Why, my child, it is a woman who urges the king on to these wars—it is much of it the queen's influence.’’

‘‘What can be her object?’’

‘‘For her children, to aggrandise them. So you see, my dear,’’ he continued playfully, ‘‘that, when women have the power, they are not less cruel and aggressive than we men I am afraid we must attribute much of their superior gentleness and mercy to restricted power.’’

‘‘Oh, no, dear uncle, you know better than that; do you remember two years ago, when we first saw her, we thought she looked good and gentle, and that her influence over the king would be for good?’’

‘‘Ah, but she had just begun to taste power then. It is very easy to be good when one has no temptation or opportunity to be otherwise; ten years and more of power would not leave many women unspoiled: it is only human nature, child, the faculties and impulses all centered in one great passion—gain.’’

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‘‘But even kings should fight this mighty passion, and convert it into a love of justice.’’

‘‘But that is their idea of justice,’’ he laughed; ‘‘that they should have all they can get, and call it patriotism, love of one's country, to make it great and powerful; it is easy to deceive oneself with sophisms when they are gratifying to one's ambition or cupidity, and to find justifiable motives, other than the real ones, for one's conduct.’’ Taking her hand gently in his for a moment he continued, ‘‘Enjoy what life gives you, my child, and do not take too much to heart the world's shortcomings, nor try to put yourself in a position to sympathise too deeply with them.’’

Still holding her hand gently in his, he said, ‘‘Isabella, I would speak to you once more of what lies very near my heart always; you are as dear to me as an own daughter could have been, and it makes me very unhappy to think each time I leave you, that should I never return, there is no one to protect you, no one upon whom you have a right to lean.

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You are the last of my blood also, my child, and it is very hard for an old man who has striven hard to be worthy of the name and honours of his ancestors, and has himself added some little to the glory of his house, to see it all pass into the hands of strangers, his Lares and Penates scattered to the four winds, his name lost forever. Marry, Isabella, give me a son by adoption, and all this will be his. The Marquis de Barcelona has again besought my consent and influence with you.’’

‘‘Oh, uncle, do not ask me, I cannot, I cannot.’’

‘‘He is noble, wealthy, high in favor at court. This must be a lonely life for you, shut up here with a churlish old man. I have seen much of life, child, the excitements of society, the glory of war, but, believe me, the only true and lasting happiness for woman is in domestic life.’’

‘‘Uncle, you are not happy.’’

‘‘Who is, child? I do not care for that. I can do without happiness, but the name,

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the fortune, the home, which my ancestors for so many generations have cared for, I cannot leave that to pass away. It has been with the house of Carillo as with the kings, 'Le Carillo est mort, vive Le Carillo,' for generations and generations.’’

‘‘Oh! uncle, do not urge upon me a loveless marriage. All other marriage, save that for love, is misery to think of—a living death. My heart is dead to all such feeling. Had it not been for leaving you, I would long ago have entered a convent.’’

‘‘And you too loved him so, child.’’

‘‘I did, as I have never found it possible to love another.’’

‘‘What, child, could any love have been to mine? all my pride, my hopes centered in him; he was to marry, to inherit my name, my fortune; you cannot understand, child, how lonely and desolate it has made my whole life. My ancestors seem to me like the old Roman Lares, as they look down upon me from their portraits on the wall,

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and demand that I continue their name and fame.’’

‘‘Uncle!’’ And she drew a low stool to his knee, and secured his hand more firmly in hers, ‘‘may I speak to you of something that I have long sought courage for, and at last seem to have found it?’’

‘‘Say what you will to me, my child: your devotion to me all these sad years has earned you that right.’’

Isabella had never known him so gentle as he now seemed; for months she had vainly endeavoured to broach this subject to him, but the moment had never been so propitious before. ‘‘Uncle,’’ she said, ‘‘there is one to bear your name, to hand down your title and estates, who knows but perhaps to add to its renown and brilliancy?’’

‘‘Hush, hush, my child, you mean the Indian woman's son.’’

‘‘I mean your grandson, Balthazar's son; here, uncle, you have the link from ancestors to posterity in this boy.’’

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‘‘Who would wish to continue his race and name through disgrace? No, no! mine shall at least perish with honour.’’

‘‘But it is no disgrace, uncle.’’

‘‘Hush, hush, my child, you cannot understand—a man's heart is so different from a woman's; there is a soldier's courage, there must be a parent's—a man of honour cannot accept a blot upon his escutcheon.’’

‘‘Ah, but uncle, there is a better courage than either you have mentioned, there is a Christian's.’’

‘‘Alas, alas, my child, was ever father so afflicted before?’’

‘‘Heaven often, dear uncle, veils its most persistent mercy in what seems to us sternest affliction, if we will only see it and accept it as such.’’

‘‘Ah, child, that is a sophism that the good priests make use of as consolatory for those ills that we have no alternative but to submit to.’’

‘‘Ah, uncle, that is what you sceptics assert,

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and think you have covered the whole ground; but you leave out the soul, the important factor in this life as well as in another, which life here is to develop and prepare for another existence, and is not this oftenest done through sorrow and disappointment in the sources to which one looks for earthly happiness and success? God in his goodness and mercy to you has given you a proud name and lineage, large wealth, brilliant success as a soldier, and to what have you limited your ambition to achieve with them? To add to the brilliancy of the name, and the magnitude of the wealth? Oh, uncle, forgive me that I dare to speak to you of these things, but they will not make you happy; you are stifling the cries of a hungry heart with pride of name and fortune—forgive the son, take both the dead and the living into your heart, and bring the sunshine back to your heart, and into the evening of your life. Your grandson, the little Balthazar, is a noble, beautiful boy about ten years of age, so like

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his father, as I first remember him, that the dead seems to me to have been given back to us again.’’

‘‘How know you this, child?’’ he asked with great emotion.

‘‘For some months I have had his likeness, for which I wrote to Father Ramirez. May I show it to you?’’ And drawing it from a portfolio which she held in her other hand, she laid it before him. Long and earnestly he looked at it, ‘‘It is he indeed,’’ she heard him say, and she slipped away quietly and left him alone with the memory of his dead son, in the living grandson.

When we slowly awaken from the tumult and passion excited by awakened memories, a great stillness falls upon the mind; so it was with the Marquis when he had looked long at his grandson's picture: he fought and wrestled bitterly with his anguish, before putting it from him. How much wretchedness this marriage and the birth of this boy had caused him! and then memory took him

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into the past, when his own son was about this boy's age. It was then that his wife had died, and left the boy motherless, and how he had clung to his father, refusing to be comforted, and how much nearer and nearer he had grown to his heart each day, for the Marquis had loved his wife, and all the conjunctions of their married life had been so fortunate—she was beautiful, well-born and had been his only love. As the crested waves of memory brought back all this to him now, he sighed deeply, saying, ‘‘And it has all ended in the son of an Indian woman!’’

This old knightly race had so wished to ally itself with its own rank and fortune; vainly had he sought in the activity of the battle-field relief and forgetfulness for an over-burdened heart: from each campaign he had returned with increased sadness and bitterness. Rising, he walked to the window and looked out upon the beautiful gardens that lay stretched out beneath him, at the loved acres that reached far beyond the limits of his

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vision. ‘‘Ah, who will come after me?’’ he said aloud. ‘‘This beautiful home shall know me and mine but a little while longer.’’

Returning to his former seat, he took the picture again into his hands, and seemed to absorb from it food for his hungry heart. ‘‘How like, how like,’’ he muttered again and again, and long he sat in contemplation of this beautiful face, until finally, unconsciously, his brow relaxed, the stern lines around the mouth melted away, a gentle smile lit up his eyes, and in a low subdued voice, he said, ‘‘I will, I will forgive the dead, and take both him and the living to my heart.’’

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