페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

efforts, have constantly proved uncontrovertibly, that it is given to the catholics alone to subju.. gate the world by whatever arms they think fit: to use.

Father, said I to the monk, did not I know that what you have just related happened among men, I should be tempted to believe that you have given me a short sketch of the annals of Hell. Nothing in the world will ever persuade me that such prerogatives can honor religion. Not long since I read of a people who sacrificed two lovely young infants to a filthy he goat , I held in horror the abominable offering. Was it my miserable lot to see a number of heretics sacrificed to the true God, I should hold the oblation in equal execration.

My dear brother, observed the friar, I am sorry to see you so hardened. --Adieu; may. God at some future period enlighten your poor soul : I wish you a good journey. He had no sooner proffered these last words, than he retired with his companion. For my part I went to bed in season, in order to set out very early next: morning.

I had not slept long when I was awakened by a sudden loud noise. The first objects which offered to my view, were three stout fellow's, already in my room : one of them ordered me. in a peremptory manner to follow him instantly ;. in vain did I offer to enquire into the motive of this nocturnal salutation : he vociferated again, in the name of the St. Office, I bid you follow me. I was not tempted to make any further enquiry ; I hurried on my clothes, obeyed, and

was conducted to one of the dungeons of the inquisition.

Think of a damp hole, five feet square, of the same heigth, and five fathoms under ground, where it is impossible to distinguish night from day, where all the nourishment you can procure is reduced to a scanty allowance of black musty bread, a few half boilded beans, some stinking water, and no other bed but a few handfuls of rotten straw : where for years together you are denied the comfort of exchanging a word with a human being, not having even the privilege of giving too loud a vent to the sorrows to which you are a prey, from the apprehension of a severe whipping. Such was my new habitation. Judge of the reflections which occurred to my mind; especially when my surprise subsided, judge whether I remembered my interview with the Dominicans.

Six weeks of painful confinement elapsed before my gaoler exchanged a word with me. As he delivered me my nauseous pittance, he advised me one day to request an audience of the reverend fathers inquisitors ; I followed his advice and the next day was appointed for my appearance before them. When I was presented, one of my judges asked me what I wished for? I supplicated them to set me at liberty, or at least begged they might be indulgent enough to tell me what I was confined for. I received no answer, but was directly remanded back to my loathsome dungeon. Four days after I appeared again--on being asked the same question, I returned the same answer, and was aş.

soon sent back to my hole. The keys hadi hardly turned upon me, when I was seized with so severe a fit of rage and despair, that I dashed my head against an iron anchor which was made fast to the wall. · The blood which follower ed the blow increased my fury ; once more, thought I, and all my sorrows are at an end : but observing, in that critical instant, that the iron was broken, by feeling a fracture, a gleam of hope succeeded despair; and restored a calm to my disordered senses. I reflected that this. discovery might prove the means of my escape, and sanction the preservation of my existence..

With incredible labor I loosened the broken fiuke-found it long and strong enough for my design, and fell to work without loss of time. Aster two days' constant toil, I succeeded in loosening one of the stones; I soon removed ano. ther, and at the expiration of six days had ef. fected a breach sufficient to enlarge me. I had no sooner left my former abode, than I found myself in a spacious vault, aś dark as the prison I had just left. Here I met with nothing but ropes, whips, pincers, axes, blocks, and a variety of other patibulary instruments. I found at last a door,but it was so well secured that it was in vain to hope for relief from that quarter ;yet not dismayed, I persevered in my research.' es, and was fortunate enough at length to find ai chimney ; nothing, thought I, can now baffle my expectation ; I climb with new courage and after some successful efforts I attain the. middle, where, to my great disappointment, I'; meet with a strong Iron grate, Mustering all

the resolution I was master of, I returned in quest of my useful anchor, and with its helpperforated the wall under the grate : this news hole let me into a granary, but perceiving it was already, broad day light, I did not think it pru. dent to venture further, so returned below until the next night, having nothing to apprehend from an unseasonable visit from my gaoler. I thought that prudence warranted this measure, so eagerly picking up all the stones which had fallén from the chimney, and concealing them behind some boards, I carefully stopped the hole of my dungeon.. I had: hardly performed that piece of business, when I heard a noise to. wards the door, and had searcely time to effect a hasty. retreat behind the boards, where I had deposited the rubbish, when the door flew open, and the first objects that were offered to my view, through the cracks of my recess, were two dark complexioned strapping fellows of the severest aspect, having each a candle in one hand and a stiletto in the other, besides a pair of pistols in their girdles. Three fat fathers of the order of St. Dominic followed them, one of whom was one of my wishers of good journeys; a secretary of the St. Office completed the group. They sat themselves round a table covered with a black cloth, on which was placed a cup to sontain holy water, a bible, and a crucifix crossed by a naked sword: This awful apparatus filled me with terror ; I grew concerned for my safety, apprehensive as I was of a discovery.

The friars having laughed and punned for a 'ew minutes, arose, and recited with a thunder

ing voice the psalm exurgat Deus. Duringi the recitation, the two fellows who held the tapers, looked fiercer than before.

They had not got through with the Psalm, when I heard some faint groans at a distance, but from whence they proceeded I could not possibly guess. The door soon opened again : a girl of about seventeen years of age, who notwithstanding her grief and despondency, appeared: beautiful, was introduced, surrounded by four desparadoes, whose hideous aspect formed a perfect contrast, with her interesting person. She was covered with a long loose blood colored gownt, tied round her with black ribbons ;: her head and face were covered with a black veil, through which I could observe the languishing sparkling of her expressive eyes, and the pale hue of her once rosy lips.

This unfortunate young woman having stag. gered with downcast eye, towards the table, fell at the feet of her judges, bedewing them with her tears, so overcome that she could not artic. ulate a syllable ; but her sighs and sobbings hav. ing subsided a little, she addressed them with a tone of voice capable of moving the most flinty heart, in the following manner.

Oh ! fathers, what more can I undergo ? surely I have suffered enough during two years confinement in this hideous dungeon, where I have been a constant prey to the keenest sorrow, to the blackest mel ancholy!

Arise, beautiful child, interrupted one of the inquisitors. You are brought before us this time to confess honestly all the crimes with

« 이전계속 »