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forcing to the head, he caught a piece of flesh in the forceps and wrenched it out of his cheek, laughing at poor Nicolas, whilst he roared aloud with the pain, telling him it was a just reward for the torture he had put him to awhile ago, when he tugged at a tooth, till he broke it in his jaw. "Ah, for the love of Heaven," cried Pedrosa, " have more pity on me; for the sake of Saint Nicolas de Tolentino, my holy patron, be not so unmerciful to a poor barber surgeon, and I will shave your worship's beard for nothing as long as I have life." One of the messengers of the auditory now came in, and bade the fellow strike off the prisoner's fetters, for that the holy fathers were in council and demanded him for examination. "This is something extraordinary," quoth the tormentor, "I should not have expected it this twelvemonth to come." Pedrosa's fetters were struck off; some brandy was applied to stanch the bleeding of his cheeks; his hands and face were washed, and a short jacket of coarse ticking thrown over him, and the messenger, with an assistant taking him each under an arm, led him into a spacious chamber, where, at the head of a long table, sate his excellency the inquisidor-general with six of his assessors, three on each side the chair of state; the alguazil mayor, a secretary and two notaries, with other officers of the holy council, were attending in their places.

The prisoner was placed behind a bar at the foot of the table between the messengers who brought him in, and having made his obeisance to the awful presence in the most supplicating manner, he was called upon, according to the usual form of questions, by one of the junior judges, to declare his name, parentage, profession, age, place of abode, and to answer various interrogatories of the like trifling nature. His

excellency, the inquisidor-general, now opened his reverend lips, and in a solemn tone of voice, that penetrated to the heart of the poor trembling prisoner, interrogated him as follows:

"Nicolas Pedrosa, we have listened to the account you give of yourself, your business, and connections; now tell us for what offence, or offences, you are here standing a prisoner before us; examine your own heart, and speak the truth from your conscience, without prevarication or disguise." "May it please your excellency," replied Pedrosa, "with all due submission to your holiness and this reverend assembly, my most equitable judges, I conceive I stand here before you for no worse a crime than that of cudgelling a refractory mule; an animal so restive in its nature, under correction of your holiness be it spoken, that although I were blest with the forbearance of holy Job, for like him, too, I am married, and my patience hath been exercised by a wife, yet could I not forbear to smite my beast for her obstinacy, and the rather because I was summoned in the way of my profession, as I have already made known to your most merciful ears, upon a certain crying occasion, which would not admit of a moment's delay."

"Recollect yourself, Nicolas," said his excellency, the inquisidor-general, "was there nothing else you did, save smiting your beast?"

"I take Saint Nicolas de Tolentino to witness," replied he, "that I know of no other crime for which I can be responsible at this righteous tribunal, save smiting my unruly beast."

"Take notice, brethren," exclaimed the inquisidor, "this unholy wretch holds trampling over friars to be no crime."

"Pardon me, holy father," replied Nicolas, "I

hold it for the worst of crimes, and therefore willingly surrender my refractory mule to be dealt with as you see fit, and if you impale her alive, it will not be more than she deserves."

"Your wits are too nimble, Nicolas," cried the judge; have a care they do not run away with your discretion; recollect the blasphemies you uttered in the hearing of those pious people."

"I humbly pray your excellency," answered the prisoner, "to recollect that anger is a short madness, and I hope allowances will be made by your holy council for words spoke in haste to a rebellious mule; the prophet Balaam was thrown off his guard with a simple ass, and what is an ass compared to a mule; if your excellency had seen the lovely creature that was screaming in an agony till I came to her relief, and how fine a boy I ushered into the world, which would have been lost but for my assistance, I am sure I should not be condemned for a few hasty words spoken in passion."

"Sirrah!" cried one of the puisny judges, "respect the decency of the court."

"Produce the contents of this fellow's pockets before the court," said the president; "lay them on the table."

"Monster," resumed the aforesaid puisny judge, taking up the forceps, "what is the use of this diabolical machine?"

"Please your reverence," replied Pedrosa," aptum est ad extrahendos fœtus." "Unnatural wretch!" again exclaimed the judge," you have murdered the mother."

"The mother of God forbid!" exclaimed Pedrosa, "I believe I have a proof in my pocket that will acquit me of that charge;" and so saying, he tendered the letter we have before made mention of; the

secretary took it, and, by command of the court, read as follows:

"Senor Don Manuel de Herrera,

"When this letter, which I send by Nicolas Pedrosa, shall reach your hands, you shall know that I am safely delivered of a lovely boy after a dangerous labour, in consideration of which I pray you to pay to the said Nicolas Pedrosa the sum of twenty gold pistoles, which sum his excellency"—

"Hold!" cried the inquisidor-general, starting hastily from his seat, and snatching away the letter, "there is more in this than meets the eye; break up the court; I must take an examination of this prisoner in private."


As soon as the room was cleared, the inquisidorgeneral beckoning to the prisoner to follow him, retired into a private closet, where, throwing himself carelessly into an arm-chair, he turned a gracious countenance upon the poor affrighted accoucheur, and bidding him sit down upon a low stool by his side, thus accosted him: "Take heart, Senor Pedrosa, your imprisonment is not likely to be very tedious, for I have a commission you must execute without loss of time; you have too much consideration for yourself to betray a trust, the violation of which

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must involve you in inevitable ruin, and can in no degree attaint my character, which is far enough beyond the reach of malice. Be attentive, therefore, to my orders; execute them punctually, and keep my secret, as you tender your own life. Dost thou know the name and condition of the lady whom thou hast delivered? Nicolas assured him he did not, and his excellency proceeded as follows: "Then, I tell thee, Nicolas, it is the illustrious Donna Leonora de Casafonda; her husband is the president of Quito, and daily expected with the next arrivals from the South Seas; now, though measures have been taken for detaining him at the port, wherever he shall land, till he shall receive further orders, yet you must be sensible Donna Leonora's situation is somewhat delicate. It will be your business to take the speediest measures for her recovery; but as it seems she has had a dangerous and painful labour, this may be a work of more time than could be wished, unless some medicines more efficacious than common are administered; art thou acquainted with any such, friend Nicolas ?" "So please your excellency," quoth Nicolas, "my processes have been tolerably successful; I have bandages and cataplasms with oils and conserves, that I have no cause to complain of; they will restore nature to its proper state in all decent time." "Thou talkest like a fool, friend Nicolas," interrupting him, said the inquisidor. "What tellest thou me of thy swathings and swadlings? quick work must be wrought by quick medicines. Hast thou none such in thy botica? I'll answer for it, thou hast not; therefore look you, sirrah, here is a little vial compounded by a famous chemist; see that you mix it in the next apozem you administer to Donna Leonora ; it is the most capital sedative in nature; give her the whole of it, and let her husband return when

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