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´╗┐Title: The Constant Prince
Author: Coleridge, Christobel
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Constant Prince" ***

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The Constant Prince
By Christobel Coleridge
Published by Mozley and Smith, London.
This edition dated 1879.

The Constant Prince, by Christobel Coleridge.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
THE CONSTANT PRINCE, BY CHRISTOBEL COLERIDGE.

PREFACE.

It is commonly supposed that the writer of an historical tale idealises
the characters therein represented, heightens the romance of the
situation, and at any rate brings the fairer tints of the scene into
undue prominence.  I wish to make it clearly understood that I have not
done so in this instance.  The high cultivation, the mutual affection,
the deep piety, all the peculiar characteristics of the Princes of Avis,
are matters of history, and I have only found it impossible to do
justice to them.  The personal appearance of the three eldest, and the
special line taken by all of them with regard to the cession of Ceuta,
indeed the whole tragical story, I found ready to hand, the only
imaginary incidents being the meeting of Enrique and Fernando at
Arzella, and the presence of the two boy princes at the siege of Ceuta.

There is a life of the Constant Prince which was written by the priest
to whom I have given the name of Father Jose, which I regret much not
having been able to obtain, though the outline of the story of his
imprisonment is, I believe, taken from it.

The details of the Treaty of Tangier are very obscure; but it appears
that the Moorish king of Granada considered his African brethren as
guilty of a breach of faith in detaining Fernando.

The English characters are of course wholly fictitious.

Lastly, Calderon in his play, "Il Principe Costante," and Archbishop
Trench, in his beautiful poem of the "Steadfast Prince," represent
Fernando as refusing to be ransomed by the cession of Ceuta.  This
refusal he had neither the power nor the right to make.  His real
nobleness lay in his willing acceptance of the suffering brought on him
by the decision of others.

C.R.  Coleridge.

Hanwell Rectory,--

December 2, 1878.

CHAPTER ONE.

FORESHADOWINGS.

  "The child is father of the man."

In a small marble-paved court belonging to the newly-built palace of
King Joao the First of Portugal, on a splendid summer day in the year
1415, five youths were engaged in earnest consultation.  The summer air,
the luscious scent of the orange-trees beneath which they were seated,
might have inclined them to mere lazy enjoyment of their young
existence--the busy sounds from the tilt-yard near have summoned them to
the sports and exercises for which their graceful, well-grown strength
evidently fitted them, or the books, several of which were scattered on
the marble steps of the court, have employed their attention.  But they
were evidently so deeply interested by the subject in hand as to have no
thoughts to spare for anything else--a fact the more remarkable as they
were not engaged in a dispute, but were discussing something on which
they were evidently all agreed, and which they regarded as of the
highest importance.

"When our great uncle, Edward the Black Prince, won his spurs," said the
eldest, a tall, dark-haired young man, with a singularly considerate and
intelligent countenance, "it was at Crecy by hard fighting.  _He_ did
something to deserve knighthood.  His father let him win the field for
himself.  `Is my son unhorsed,' he said, `or mortally wounded?  Nay,
then let him win his spurs.'  And see how he won them!"

"And _he_ was only sixteen!" said the second brother, who resembled the
first speaker, but had a more fiery and vivacious expression.

"Ay, Pedro, we have waited too long for our chance; it suits not with
our honour."

"Oh," broke in the fourth boy vehemently, "why cannot the King find some
pretext for war?  If Castile or Arragon would but insult us!  But my
father says he cannot engage in an unjust war merely to knight his sons.
'Tis very unlucky."

"Nay," said the eldest brother, "I cannot blame him.  He must consider
the country's good."

"Ah!" said Pedro, "there always _were_ wars and deeds of arms in those
good old days.  But these are dull times; it is not worth while living
in the world now.  Everything is for policy and justice; no one acts for
pure glory and knight-errantry."

"That is a stupid thing to say," said the third brother, who had not
hitherto spoken, a youth with broad, thoughtful brows and large grey
eyes.  "We do not know what one half of the world is like; there is
quite enough to do in finding out."

"Enrique is for ever wondering about countries beyond seas," said Pedro.
"Are Duarte and he and I to seek knighthood by sailing away to look for
savages--the saints know where?"

"We have not yet killed _nearly_ all the infidels," said the youngest
brother of all, rather dreamily.

"There are no Crusades now, Fernando," said Duarte; "and to my thinking
absent sovereigns make ill-governed kingdoms."

"And are there no Infidels except in Palestine?" cried the little
Fernando, springing to his feet.  "I would sooner earn _my_ knighthood
by destroying the villains who steal children and imprison noble knights
than by fighting with brave gentlemen like ourselves.  I would sooner be
Godfrey de Bouillon than our uncle Edward.  Let us go and take Tangiers
or Ceuta at the sword's point; then can we be knighted with honour, and
the blessed Cross--" Here the child's excitement fairly overcame him,
tears filled his eyes, and he hid his face behind Enrique.

"There is much in the child's words," said Duarte.  "Weep not, Fernando,
if I go to fight the infidel, thou shalt be my page.  Come, Pedro and
Enrique, walk this way with me."  And the three elders strolled away
together, leaving their juniors to speculate on their subject of
conversation.

These five brothers, afterwards perhaps among the most brilliant, and
certainly among the most virtuous, princes who ever adorned a royal
house, were the sons of Joao the First of Portugal, the founder of the
house of Avis, so called from the order of knighthood of which he was
grand-master.  He succeeded to the throne of Portugal rather by election
than by inheritance, and after a period of disturbance and trouble; but
his great qualities raised the little kingdom to quite a new place among
nations, and in Philippa of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt by
his first wife, he met with a Queen fully worthy of him.  The interest
which John of Gaunt's second marriage gave him in the affairs of Castile
made an alliance in the Peninsula desirable to him; but Philippa was
free from the distracting claims to the Castilian succession of her
young half-sister Catherine, and involved her husband in so quarrels.
It may well be a source of pride to the English reader to remember that
her sons were of Plantagenet blood, for they inherited all the virtues
and few of the faults of that noble and generous race.

Perhaps the profound peace which made it so difficult to these young
princes to signalise their knighthood by any deed of arms worthy of
their name may seem more to King Joao's credit in modern eyes than in
those of his sons; but it was not strange that young men, all with
talents and aims far above the average in any age, rank, or country,
should wish to make a reality of that which was perhaps on the verge of
becoming a splendid form, and burning with the truest spirit of
chivalry, should, as many have done since, sigh for times when it was
easier to express it.  They were all as highly educated as was possible
to the times in which they lived, and Edward, or Duarte, as he was
called by the Portuguese form of his English name, was a considerable
scholar; but war was still the calling of a prince and a gentleman, and
they felt hardly used in being debarred from it.  King Joao, however,
was of so enlightened or so degenerate a spirit that he refused to
plunge his kingdom into war solely for the purpose of knighting his
sons.  Hence the foregoing discussion.

The three elder brothers walked up and down under the shade of the
orange-trees--tall and stately youths, with serious faces, and minds set
on the subject in hand.  Duarte walked in the middle, and seemed to be
weighing the arguments addressed to him by Enrique; his more rounded
outlines, and a certain tender gentleness of expression in his dark
eyes, gave him the air of being younger than Pedro, whose colouring was
darker and his face sterner and more impetuous.  He was sometimes
arrogant and hasty; but no one ever heard a sharp word from the just and
gentle Duarte, whose mental power and high scholarship seemed but to add
to his unselfish consideration.  The tallest of the three was Enrique,
in whose great size and strength and fair skin the English mother loved
to trace the characteristics of the Plantagenets.  He talked with
intense eagerness, and his great dark eyes were full of ardour, but of
the dreaminess accompanying ardour for an unseen object.  The two
younger boys had meanwhile remained sitting on the steps, ostensibly
learning their lessons from a very crabbed-looking Latin manuscript
spread out between them.  Joao was a fine dark-eyed boy of fourteen,
with an exceedingly acute and intelligent countenance.  Fernando was two
years younger, and though tall for his age, was slender and fragile.  He
had the flaxen hair and brilliant fairness of his mother's race, but the
large blue eyes had the same dreamy intensity that marked Enrique's,
with a sweetness all their own.  These two were kindred spirits beyond
the bond that united all the five, and never failed them through the
long lives spent in toil and self-denial.

Enrique having parted from the two elder ones came up to the steps, and
Fernando looked up at him eagerly, while Joao jumped up, announcing that
he knew his lesson, and should go and play.

"But I do not know mine," said Fernando, disconsolately.

Enrique sat down on the step, and drawing the child up to his side,
began to translate the Latin for him into French, in which language the
Portuguese court, in imitation of the English one, usually conversed.
Fernando was so delicate that the strict and severe system under which
they were all educated was sometimes relaxed in his favour.  He was,
however, an apt pupil, and presently Enrique closed the book.

"There, now you can go and play."

"No," said Fernando, pressing up to his brother.  "Tell me, have you
been talking about the knighthood?"

"Yes," said Enrique; "we are resolved that if we have to wait for ever,
we will not make a pretence of that which should be so great a thing.
Not the year of tournaments shall tempt us."

"When I am knighted," said Fernando, "I will go and fight the Moors in
Africa, and destroy the castles where they make good Christians to toil
as slaves.  Would it not be joy to open the prisons and set them free?"

"Ay," said Enrique, looking straight out of his wide-opened eyes as if
he saw far away.  "Then, too, should we see what lies behind--behind
Tangiers and Ceuta, beyond the sands.  There might we spread the Cross."

"And there maybe are the two-headed giants and the dragons like the one
Saint George of England killed; and magic castles, and fiery pits, the
very entrance of hell.  You used to say so."

"Ah, maybe," said Enrique, smiling.  "Anyway there is the wide earth,
the world that we do not know."

"Then you do not think all the countries are discovered yet?" looking up
in his face.

"Nay, surely not," said Enrique, with gathering eagerness.  "There,"
pointing to the sparkling bay before them, "does that go on for ever,
and for ever.  Well is the Atlantic called the Sea of Darkness, blue and
bright as it may be!  But the lost path to the Indies, where is it?
Where is that island the Englishman saw in mid-ocean?  Where, where?"
Enrique paused, his face one unanswered question.  "Some day I will
know."

"But in the meantime," said Fernando, "the enemies of the Blessed
Saviour are here close by, killing and destroying good Christians?"

"Well," said Enrique, coming out of the clouds, "we will deal first with
them, sooner maybe than you think for!  But there are more ways than one
of subduing the world for Christ.  You can win your knighthood in
Barbary by and by, while _I_ look for the fiery dragons beyond."

He pulled a roughly-drawn map towards him, and began to study it.

"Ah, but not all alone," said Fernando, vehemently; "the fiery dragons
might kill you, and I could not fight the infidels by myself."

"Not yet," said Enrique, soothingly, "you have to grow strong first."

He stretched himself out, leaning on his elbow, and knitting his brows
in absorbed study of the map before him.  Fernando sat leaning against
him in silence.  His brothers were all tender and good to him; but
Enrique was the best-loved of them all, and the idea that these
eagerly-desired adventures involved a parting had never been realised by
him before.  Presently he raised himself, and sat a little apart,
looking before him with a face that, with all its fair tinting and
delicate outline, set into lines of remarkable force and firmness.

"Enrique," he said, presently.

"Well?"

"I _will_ go without you to fight the infidel if there is no other way.
For we are soldiers of the Cross, and our Blessed Lord is our Captain,
and He would be with me.  But oh! dear Enrique, I will pray every day
that He will send you too."

"Now, then, mother will be angry," said Enrique, as the excitable boy
broke into a passion of tears.

"Did she not say you should not talk of infidels, or Christians either,
if it made you cry?  I feel sure our uncle Edward did not cry at the
thought of the French."

"I am not afraid; it is not that I am afraid," sobbed Fernando,
indignantly.

"No, no!  I know.  See, Fernando, I promise I will go with you when you
win your spurs.  Hush, now, it is almost supper-time.  Shall I take you
to mother first?"

"No," said Fernando, recovering himself.  "I will not cry."

"Come then," said Enrique, pulling his long limbs up from their lounging
attitude, and holding out his hand.  "Come and see the English mastiffs,
and some day, maybe, I will tell you a secret."

CHAPTER TWO.

THE DEED OF ARMS.

  "I know, Sir King,
  All that belongs to knighthood, and I love."

The supper was over, and King Joao was seeking for some relaxation from
the cares of state in the society of his wife and children.  He and his
fair English Queen would then sit in their private room, and the five
sons would give an account of their studies, exercises, and amusements
during the day, or sometimes practise speaking English with their
mother, or receive from her good advice or tender encouragement.  The
King and Queen sat on chairs, the princes stood respectfully near them,
when, after a silence, Duarte suddenly advanced and spoke.

"Sire, I and my brothers have a proposal to make to your grace."

"Say on.  I am ready to hear you, though I do not promise to find wisdom
in the proposals of your rash youth," said Dom Joao, while the
fair-haired mother smiled encouragement.

"Sire, it has pleased you to regard without displeasure our wish not to
receive the sacred order of knighthood without some deed of arms that
should render us worthy of it; and I, and at least my brother Pedro,
have waited till the usual age is past, in the hope that some fortunate
quarrel would give your highness the power to grant our request."

"My son," said King Joao, "I cannot risk the interests of my subjects
for your desire of fame.  A knight has other duties--to guard the
oppressed, to defend the weak, is indeed the calling of princes; but not
always at the point of the sword."

Duarte bowed submissively; but, after a pause, he continued--

"Yet there is one enemy with whom we cannot be said to be either at war
or at peace, since there cannot be honourable peace with the enemies of
Christ.  Yet Christian nations suffer nests of pirates to dwell
undisturbed opposite our very coasts.  Our soldiers, our ships, and
innocent children are not safe from the Moors of Africa.  When they
swoop down on our shores, it is death or--apostasy for Christian men,
and for our maidens slavery and imprisonment.  The very key of their
fastnesses is Ceuta.  Could we but take that fortress at the point of
the sword, it would be a deed worthy of Christian princes, of use to
your grace's subjects, and honourable in the eyes of Europe."

Dom Joao looked at his son as if somewhat surprised, to hear so
reasonable and well-considered a proposal.  His authority was absolute
over his five young sons, and though he could not but be satisfied with
their progress and development, he had not expected from any of them an
independent opinion.

"Since when have you thought of this expedition?" he said.

"It was suggested to me, sire, by some words of Fernando's," said
Duarte; and Fernando, who had listened with breathless interest, sprang
forward, and with more freedom than Duarte had ventured to use,
exclaimed--

"Oh, dear father, it is the greatest desire of us all!"

"It would be fitter for you and Joao to pursue your studies at home,"
said the King.  "Nevertheless, I will consider of this proposal."

The five lads did not shout, as perhaps nature would have inclined them
to do, they bowed, and stood silent till their father withdrew, when
there was a sudden relaxation of their attitude of respectful attention,
and they surrounded their mother, pressing up to her, kissing her hand,
and demanding if they had not at last found the right thing to do.

Philippa was a tall, fair woman, with a beautiful Plantagenet face, and
an expression at once simple and noble, a fit mother of heroes.

"My fair sons," she said, "it is a noble purpose, an object worthy of
Christian swords.  It is good that you should win your knighthood by
fighting for Holy Church, rather than for your own vain-glory.  If your
father thinks this attempt wise, it will be well, if not--"

"If not," said Dom Duarte, "I will not consent to the year of
tournaments my father proposed for us.  It is a mockery, a pretence--I
hate false seeming."

"You do well, my son," said the English mother; "yet the tournaments
might show you fit for real warfare."

"That might be very well for the younger ones," said Pedro.

"I am taller than you," said Enrique, indignantly.

"You said I should be your page, and I will not stay at home," said
Fernando.

"Hush, my boys; do not dispute," said the Queen.  "Remember, the true
glory is in doing our duty.  If every prince and gentleman went out to
war, who would punish evil-doers and succour the distressed at home!
Your father, who is the wisest man alive, knows that; and Edward must
remember it when his time comes.  For you younger ones it will be
different.  The blessed saints guide you to seek the right, and to be
worthy of your forefathers."

To whatever degree of cultivation and even of virtue the Mohammedan
kingdoms had attained among themselves, and whatever injury to learning
may have been caused afterwards to mediaeval Christendom by their
violent expulsion from the Peninsula, the Moors of Africa were and must
have been simply an embodiment of evil.  The organised system of piracy
which they maintained rendered life and property totally unsafe all
along the Mediterranean.  A regular system of ransom was in vogue, and
where the friends of an unfortunate captive were unable to satisfy their
demands, neither rank, nor age, nor calling, was any protection; and
noble knights and aged priests were chained to the oars of their
galleys, or toiled among the sands of Africa, while their fate remained
a mystery to their friends at home--whether death, prolonged suffering,
or far worse, apostasy had been their portion.  Martyr or renegade, it
was an awful choice, to be placed once for all before many an honest,
ignorant squire or knight; but "captive among the Moors" was written in
many a pedigree of Southern Europe, in some few even of distant
countries.  More still returned, impoverished by their ransom, to tell
of their frightful sufferings; while, most terrible thought of all,
girls and children disappeared now and again--to what fate?  Every
Christian sovereign and gentleman felt the ransom to be a disgraceful
black-mail demanded of them, which yet they knew not how to refuse!
There is nothing in the modern world that is quite analogous to the
situation.

The Moors were the enemies of life and property, like the brigands of
our own time, only infinitely more powerful, and as such were feared and
hated.  They were also, of course, as now, unbelievers, outside the pale
of the Church; their conversion was a subject of prayer; they were, or
might have been, the objects of missionary labour.  But the Moors of the
Middle Ages were something more than this.  They were not only ignorant
of Christ; they were the hereditary enemies of Christendom: not merely
of Spain, of Portugal, or of France, nor exactly of the Church Catholic,
as we should understand it, but of that sort of visible, territorial
embodiment of it for which, in old romance, the Seven Champions fought
and which Arthur and his Knights laboured to spread, and the defence of
which made honour as well as religion a spur to every Crusader.
Therefore it was not only as national and personal enemies, or as
blinded heathens, that the knights of Europe regarded the Turks and
Moors, but as the powerful foes of Christ's kingdom on earth, embodied
in Christian nations; so that national honour and religious fervour
worked together, and glory alike for earth and for Heaven was won in
attacking the Crescent with the Cross.  It was not only very sad for a
Christian man to see the unbeliever triumph, it was very disgraceful
also.

Alas! if _all_ the evil in the world could have been so embodied!--if
Christendom had had no foes in its own household!--the fight between
good and evil would indeed have been simplified, though not dispensed
with.  It was very clear to an old Christian champion that it was his
duty to fight with evil; to do so with a pure heart and unwavering
spirit was just as hard then as now.  Our heroes lived in the dawn of a
new day: when other duties were rising into view, other talents coming
to be consecrated, but when the old visible symbolical struggle was
still in full force.  For faith, for knowledge, for good government, for
the honour of Christendom, for the old and the new, they all fought and
toiled--and one died.

CHAPTER THREE.

THE THREE SWORDS.

  "Oh, mother! mother! can this be true?"

Many months passed before the crude suggestion of the young Infantes was
worked by the King and his ministers into a practicable form; and it is
not necessary here to enter into all the considerations of policy and
prudence that were involved.  In spite of many feints and pretences
hardly worthy of so liberal a prince as Dom Joao, the Moorish sovereign
became aware of his intentions, and sent offers of splendid presents to
the Queen for her young daughter, if she would intercede with her
husband and preserve peace.

"My daughter," said Queen Philippa, "has jewels enough of her own.  I
know not your customs; but with us, wives do not interfere with their
husbands' business."

So, after much discussion to and fro, the fleets were prepared, the army
gathered together, and the King determined to take the command of the
expedition.  Still, the foremost places were to be given to his three
sons, who would thus have every opportunity of earning worthily their
long-deferred knighthood.

Joao and Fernando were too young for any such hopes, and, to their great
disappointment, were forbidden to take any part in the expedition at
all, but were to remain at home with their mother.  Joao consoled
himself with planning future feats of marvellous bravery; but Fernando,
who had relied on Duarte's promise, was pronounced naughty and
rebellious, and received double tasks, because he would not submit
patiently to his father's decision.  His conscience was very tender, and
he learnt the hard lessons diligently, and repented of his fault, while
he pondered over the tales of boy-martyrs and child-crusaders, which,
though held up to his admiration, it seemed so impossible, and even so
wrong, to imitate.  It was much harder simply to do as he was told; but
Fernando did his best, and practised patience.

The time was drawing near for the expedition to start, when one morning
the little boy was sitting by himself in a room in the palace of Lisbon
which was devoted to the studies of the young princes.  Fernando sat on
a bench by the great oak table, employed in what a boy would now call
"doing his sums"--that is to say, he was working out, in the cumbrous
method of the time, a somewhat abstruse mathematical problem.  There was
no ornament to the bare wall, but a great crucifix over the high
fireplace; the window was high up in the wall, offering no temptation to
wandering eyes; and the only spot of colour in the room was the crimson
dress and long fair hair of the little prince as he bent over his task.
Fernando shared in some degree the strong mathematical turn of his elder
brothers, and did not find his work uninteresting, though it strained
his boyish powers to the utmost.  His brothers were engaged in
preparations for war, and his mother and sister Isabel were at a place
called Saccavem with the chief part of the court.  The little boys had
been left behind with their tutors.

Suddenly the door was flung open, and Enrique, dusty and travel-stained,
and with a face pale as death, came in.  Fernando sprang up with a cry
of joy, but his brother's look silenced him.  Enrique took him into his
arms and sat down on the bench.

"I have come to fetch you, Fernando," he said, huskily.  "Be a brave
boy; do not cry.  You and Joao must come to mother, for she is ill at
Saccavem, and--and--I must take you to her."

Fernando was more frightened by his brother's look of anguish than by
his words, which were too new and strange to be more than half
comprehended, and there was little time for the indulgence of grief.
Enrique hurried their preparations, and soon the two boys were riding
beside him, with but a few followers, hardly realising, in the haste of
their journey, what awaited them at the end of it.

For the good Queen Philippa was dying, and the children must lose her
motherly care--her encouragement of all their efforts after goodness and
learning.  High aims and kindly ways she had alike set before them; by
her own example she had taught them the severest self-denial in the
midst of the state necessary for the support of their rank: and the old
chronicles tell--us that her five sons owed to her tender training much
of the deep religious feeling, the loyalty to their father and to each
other, the strong mutual affection and the remarkable virtue, that
afterwards distinguished them.  "She constantly talked with them of
their duties towards their father and to the state," and, spite of the
stiff and ceremonious manners of the times, they loved her tenderly, and
showed their love; and for her dear sake, her English habits, opinions,
and language became dear to her husband and children, and largely
influenced the development of her adopted country.

She lay on her death-bed in the palace of Saccavem.  Her ladies stood
weeping round, her confessor was by her side, the low chanting of the
priests who had been praying for her departing soul had ceased for the
time, and before receiving the last Sacraments of the Church she had
desired to take leave of all her children.

Joao and Fernando, as they entered awe-struck into the dim chamber, were
clasped and held back by their sobbing sister, who knelt at some
distance from the high dais on which the Queen's bed was placed.  She
lay raised high on her pillows, and on the silken coverlet beside her
were three swords, their jewelled scabbards catching here and there the
light of the lamp.

The King sat near her, his head resting on his hand, his elder sons
standing behind his chair, and at the further end of the long room
several people were kneeling, sadly watching the dying Queen--her
English squires, and other members of her household, to whom she had
been the most faithful of friends.  All was silent, save for the sounds
of weeping that could not be repressed.

"My sons, come hither," suddenly said the Queen; and the five brothers
came slowly forward and stood beside her, Fernando following the rest in
a sort of trance of awe and bewilderment.

"My sons!" said Philippa, in a clear and audible voice, "you all know
well that my blessing goes with you in your undertaking."

"Alas, dear wife?" said the King, weeping, "it will be long before your
sons or I have heart for any such enterprise."

"Not so," said the Queen, heartily; "you will sail, I doubt not, on
Saint James's Day, and the fair wind I feel in my face from the casement
will fill your sails and blow you to victory."

The King could not answer; but he felt as if Saint James's Day might
come and go before he could take the field, in his great grief.

"My sons!" again said Philippa, "it has pleased me well that you have so
earnestly desired to earn your spurs by real service, and especially
against the enemies of Holy Church; for pretences and empty forms are
unworthy of princes.  Therefore, I have caused to be made these swords,
which ye will draw, I trust, in many a good fight in a good cause, and
never against your sovereign or each other.  Duarte, the time will come
when you must use this sword in defence of your subjects; see that you
rule them with justice, and make their happiness your highest good.
And, my son, be kind to your brothers, to Isabel, and to Fernando; he is
weakly and young--"

"Always, dear mother, so help me God and the Holy Saints," said Duarte,
kneeling and kissing her hand.

"Pedro, you are brave and strong; let it be ever your part to do a
knight's duty, in defending the weak and helpless,--fight for the
oppressed.  And Enrique, our soldiers love you, as my good father and
uncle were loved; look ever to their welfare, nor ever regard them as
churls and their deaths of no account."

"Oh, mother, mother, give us swords too!" cried Joao, pressing forward
as his brothers faintly promised all that was asked of them.

"Alas! my little boys," said the mother, for the first time faltering,
"I have no swords for you.  I had thought to keep you with me longer.
Alas! what will become of you!  Love God, and serve Him.  What better
can I say?"

Then gentle Duarte drew first Joao and then Fernando up to the bed-side
for their mother's kiss.  Joao sobbed aloud; but Fernando remembered how
his mother had blamed him for his tears, and shed none; while in his
childish heart was the thought that he too would one day be worthy of a
good knight's sword.

Then the Queen commended her daughter to the King's care, and bid him
choose a good husband for her, that her lot might be happy, as her
mother's had been before her; and then she grew worse, and her speech
failed her; and Joao and Fernando were sent away into another room.

The fair wind of which the Queen had spoken blew into their faces as the
two boys, so soon to be motherless, crouched up in the window and looked
out at the sunset, feeling less wretched so than in the dark.  It was
not long before they heard a movement, and sounds of weeping and
lamenting; but no one came near them, and they were afraid to stir.

"Let us say our prayers," suggested Fernando: and they knelt down in the
fading light; but it seemed an endless time before Enrique came in to
them.

"Have you been here alone?" he said.  "Ah, there is no one now to care
for us.  Our mother is dead."

Enrique's voice was stifled with grief; but Joao flung himself up
against him, Fernando laid his head on his shoulder; both feeling their
worst misery softened by the mere presence of their kind, strong
brother.

CHAPTER FOUR.

PERILS AND DANGERS.

                  "He sails in dreams
  Between the setting stars and finds new day."

The Queen's dying words were fulfilled.  The fair wind she had promised
sprang up in time, and on Saint James's Day, 1414, such a fleet as had
never been known in Portugal before set sail from the Bay of Lagos.  The
Portuguese ministers had wished to delay the expedition till the days of
public mourning were over, but Dom Joao and his sons knew better what
Philippa would have wished them to do, and did not wait an hour after
their preparations were complete.  Fifty-nine galleys, thirty-three tall
ships of war, and 120 transports carried 50,000 sailors and seamen on
board; while several English ships had volunteered to join in an
expedition that promised so much glory, and was in so good a cause.  For
the Pope had granted them a bull of Crusade, making the war a holy one,
and the blessing of the Church had been invoked on their arms by a
series of solemn services, immediately following on the ceremonies of
the Queen's funeral; and no doubt the grief which they were enduring
with all its chastening influences, deprived the young Infantes of none
of their crusading spirit; but caused them rather to strive more
earnestly to be worthy in their inmost souls of that knighthood which
they hoped to win at the sword's point.  All had done their utmost to
further the preparation; but Enrique had shown so much skill in the
arrangements as to win for himself a foremost place in making them.
After all, the younger brothers were not left behind.  Dona Isabel had
been left in the charge of the abbess of a great Lisbon convent; and it
was at first proposed to leave the boys at Lisbon with their tutors.
But Enrique and Duarte had pleaded for them, the latter urging that Joao
was really old enough for the duties of a page, and strong enough not to
suffer from hardship, and Enrique promising to take care of Fernando.
He might stay on board ship when they neared the enemy's quarters, and
the change would rouse him from his grief.  A little rough living would
be much less hurtful to him than the misery of solitude and separation.

The sun was setting clear and bright over a sea of purple blue.  A light
wind stirred the gay banners and devices which floated from the
mastheads, an unceasing source of admiration to the Portuguese sailors,
for they had been introduced in imitation of the more northern nations,
and were hitherto unknown in the Peninsula.  The invention and
embroidery of these banners had been for a long time a favourite
employment of Queen Philippa's court.  Dom Enrique's ship was one of the
largest, and all on board was well ordered, and ready for action.
"_Talent de bien faire_" was inscribed on his crimson flag, and "The
desire to do well," as the old French is said to signify, inspired him
in small things as well as great.

The evening hour was a time of leisure, and on the deck of the vessel a
group of young gentlemen were lounging about telling stories,
prophesying success, and indulging in speculations as to what Ceuta
would be like when they got there, while Enrique, at a little distance
in his deep mourning dress, was sitting on a bench, his chin resting on
his hand, and his great eyes gazing out towards the horizon, as if
longing to see to the very world's end.  Fernando, who was more sociably
inclined, was listening with great interest to a description of the
interior of a Moorish city, given by a lively young Englishman, named
Northberry, who belonged to Dom Enrique's household, and who insisted
forcibly that the Moors were in the habit of feasting on their Christian
prisoners, arrayed in silks and cloth of gold, in palaces ornamented
with untold splendour.  Other poor slaves were forced to serve,
sometimes to share the horrible banquet, and were driven to it with
blows and curses.

Poor Fernando grew pale with horror, and Dom Jose de Alemquer, a knight
of some renown, and brother to the Portuguese Prime Minister, remarked
grimly--

"And with whom, Senor, have you conversed who has partaken of this
extraordinary feast?"

"'Tis commonly believed in England, I understand, sir," said Northberry.
"What matter, since we are about to punish the miscreants?"

"When you are served up, may I be there to see!" muttered Dom Jose.  "We
shall find our work out out for us; it were better to prepare for it in
a pious spirit."

"Prepare! we shall prepare," shouted another young man,
enthusiastically.  "We are ready to wade through rivers of blood, and
tear down the accursed Crescent if we leave not one infidel found alive
in Ceuta."

"If we fall ourselves, it is a sure path to heaven," said another.

"That depends, so said the Bishop, on whether we have a true crusading
spirit," remarked a third.

"By Saint George!" said Northberry, "I'll strike a good blow, crusade or
no crusade; and God defend the right!"

"We are sure of success in such a cause!" cried the first speaker.

"But the crusaders were sometimes defeated," said Fernando.

"Ah, my lord, doubtless they had not the true spirit," said Northberry,
with something of earnestness, carried off by the apparent sneer.

Fernando moved away towards his brother, and, pulling his sleeve to
attract his attention, repeated some of the foregoing conversation.

"Did Enrique think it possible that they might be defeated?"

"Surely," said Enrique, "it is possible, if it were God's will, but," he
added, colouring with enthusiasm, "I think, we are so well prepared, it
is not likely."

"But could it be God's will that the infidels should triumph?"

"Why, yes," said Enrique; "you do not think what you say.  It is His
will that we should offer ourselves to his service; but it is not always
His will to give us the victory.  Else there would have been no
martyrdoms.  But yet," he continued, with the grave ardour peculiar to
him, "there is a blessing on zeal and self-devotion.  I, for one, would
risk the result!"

Fernando looked satisfied, and then demanded if Enrique thought that the
Moors were really man-eaters.

No; Enrique did not think so.  They were very cruel and treacherous;
kept no faith with Christians; but they were not, so far as he
understood, savages.  In fact, he hardly thought that they would treat
prisoners of distinction otherwise than well.

"What else?" he added, smiling, as Fernando still looked thoughtful.

"It would be better to convert them than to kill them," said the boy,
earnestly.

"That is what I hope for," returned Enrique.  "Their crimes have
deserved a just punishment; but Ceuta once in our hands, we can there
show them what Christian life and Christian worship really is; and from
thence I hope to send out missionaries to the lands beyond, where all is
darkness.  The good Franciscans will be willing to go, and who knows
into what strange worlds they may penetrate?"

"I don't think," said Fernando, "that your gentlemen here think of
converting them."

"Perhaps not.  It is the part of princes to show themselves of a more
enlightened spirit than other men.  We must take heed that no needless
cruelty stain our arms, and especially that in our own lives we show
what it is to be Christians."

"Even a prisoner might do that, if he were very patient," said Fernando.

"Yes, like the holy martyrs.  See, Fernando, I think there is no object
worth living for, but that of winning men to the service of our Lord by
conquest, by preaching, by the discovery of distant lands.  I long to
make myself worthy of it!"

Fernando's young heart thrilled within him, and he longed ardently for
the day when he too should be old and strong enough to fight for the
holy Cross.  For he did not quite follow all that Enrique said, and the
storming of Ceuta was, as was natural, much the distinctest image in his
mind.

The sun sank below the horizon, the purple headland of Turo came into
view, one by one the stars came out in the deep clear sky; while at the
prow of each vessel was hung a great lantern, so that in the gathering
darkness the fleet seemed almost as if composed of ships of fire.
Enrique threw himself back on the bench, and lay looking up at the sky.
The study of the heavens was familiar to him, and the movements of the
stars, both as a means of guiding mariners and as in themselves
wonderful, were a favourite source of contemplation both to himself and
to his elder brothers.  They were indeed among the first to find the
true science more interesting than the false one, and in their study of
astronomy deliberately to lay astrology on one side.  He was pointing
out to Fernando the different constellations that were visible, when
suddenly, as they gazed upward, the dark still heaven flashed into lurid
light, and the peaceful silence was broken by a loud shout of alarm.
The great lantern of their own ship had caught fire.

"Back! back!  Stand still," shouted Enrique, springing to his feet, and,
in a moment, he rushed forward, climbed on to the high prow of the ship,
and clinging on with one hand, with the other he detached the burning
lantern, and flung it into the sea.  Another moment and the ship must
have been on fire: as it was, the wind caught a piece of flaming
framework and wafted it on to the deck at Fernando's feet.  He caught it
up--it was too large to trample out, or he thought so--he could not push
through the crowd that had rushed to the sides of the vessel, and he
held out the burning mass at arm's length, unflinchingly, till
Northberry, turning, snatched it out of his hand, and succeeded in
throwing it into the water.  At the same moment Enrique sprang down upon
the deck, giving orders, and, allaying the excitement, desiring torches
to be lit, and calling on all to give thanks to God for the saving of
their lives.

Morning and evening a solemn service of prayer and praise arose from the
whole fleet, and now on board the ship of _Good Hope_, as Dom Enrique
had named his vessel, the sense of recent danger quickened every heart
to thanksgiving.

Messages came from the King and from the other Infantes, to know what
had caused the sudden extinction of Dom Enrique's lantern, and in the
answering of these no one thought of Fernando till Enrique missed him,
and, hastily looking for him, found him on the bench where they had been
sitting, half fainting with the pain of his burnt fingers.

"I did not think of it at first," he said; "and then if I am a soldier I
must bear pain."

Enrique could not understand how he had been hurt; and when he heard the
story, declared that Fernando's courage had saved the ship, and then
turned on Northberry with one of his rare outbursts of anger.  Could he
not see that Dom Fernando was burnt when he took the flaming wood from
him!

Enrique was habitually gentle; but there was an intensity in his
displeasure when it was once roused, which was not easily forgotten.

"I hid my hand behind me; it did not hurt me _much_," said Fernando, who
was reviving.  "Senor Northberry could not see."

"Dom Fernando is as true a soldier as yourself, my lord," said
Northberry.

"I know it," returned Enrique; but he said no more, only anxiously
watching while one of his chaplains, Father Jose, who, like most
priests, was something of a surgeon, bound up the injured hand, saying
that it was after all but a trifle.

He would hardly, for the rest of the voyage, let Fernando out of his
sight; though the boy, exceedingly anxious to prove that he was able to
bear such trifling casualties of war, resolutely concealed all the
ill-effects which the adventure caused to his delicate constitution.

CHAPTER FIVE.

THE SIEGE OF CEUTA.

  "Upon them with the lance!"

The Christian host approached the pillars of Hercules amid violent storm
and tempest.  Separated from each other, and scattered far and wide in
the darkness of the night, there were hours when they feared that all
their preparations had been in vain, when they dreaded the morning light
that would reveal to them the gaps in their numbers.  But the winds
sank, and the sun rose, and the dispersed vessels drew together again,
after but little damage, and the King prepared to superintend the
landing of the troops.  He did not then know what would have greatly
encouraged him, that Zala-ben-Zala, the Governor of Ceuta, trusting too
much to the effects of the tempest, had allowed the 5,000 allies whom he
had collected to return home, thinking the danger over.

Joao and Fernando were ordered to remain and watch the assault from a
vessel, moored at a safe distance from the shore, behind the rest of the
fleet; in which were also safely stored all the Church vessels and
furniture, which it was hoped might be used in the conquered city, but
which must not in the event of a defeat, be allowed to fall into the
hands of the Infidels.  Here, too, many of the priests and chaplains,
after saying mass in the different vessels, retired to watch the event,
and here, all day long, the voice of prayer went up for the success of
the Christian arms.

The two little boys were taken, before daybreak, on board their father's
ship that he might bid them farewell, and here they saw all their three
brothers ready armed for the attack, full of joy at the thought that the
long-wished-for moment had at last come when they were to prove
themselves worthy of knighthood.  All looked grave, collected, and
resolute, and the boys caught the tone of their elders, and bore
themselves as like soldiers as they could.

"If we were _only_ going too!" whispered Joao, as they went down again
into their boat.

"We will one day," returned Fernando; but as he glanced up at the ship,
he saw Enrique looking down at him with the light of the dawn on his
shining helmet and clear, solemn eyes.  Fernando thought that Enrique
would look like that in heaven, and for the first time it occurred to
him how likely it was that his brothers would be killed in the attack,
and he felt that Ceuta might be dearly won.  That was a strange day on
board the young princes' ship.  They heard, and could dimly see, the
attack on the town of Ceuta, led by the Infantes Duarte and Enrique, and
directed by their father from a small boat near the shore.  They heard
the shouting, the noise of the cannon, the rush, and the hurly-burly,
behind the constant chanting kept up all day by the waiting priests, who
bade the young princes pray for their father, since they could not
otherwise aid him.  The sea was now perfectly calm, the ships, lately so
busy, almost deserted, save this one, where high on the deck an altar
had been raised, and the solemn chant went up through all the conflict
of hope and fear.

At last they became aware that the Infantes had entered the town, at
least there was no retreat.  The long, hot afternoon wore on, when,
suddenly from every soldier in reserve, from every sailor in charge of
the fleet, there rose a mighty shout; for, on the walls of Ceuta, there
appeared the banner of the Cross.  The town was taken.  Over the
fortress above the Crescent still drooped as if in despair.

Joao shouted and danced, and threw himself about in an ecstasy of
triumph.  Fernando felt half stifled; he could not speak.  Presently a
boat put off from the shore, and was rowed rapidly towards their vessel.

"What news; what news?" shouted Joao, pressing before captain and
chaplains, and nearly throwing himself overboard in his eagerness.

"Good news, my lord," said the young squire, as he came up the side of
the ship.  "The town is taken, the fortress is yielding to the attack.
The King, your father, bids me summon you and my lord Dom Fernando to
his presence, as he is now in a place of safety, and would that you
should see how towns are won."

"And the Infantes?" said Fernando as he prepared eagerly to obey the
summons.

"They have shown courage worthy of their name, in particular my lord Dom
Enrique, to whom, in great part, this happy result is owing."

The young princes were taken by a strong guard through the
half-conquered city, for on the outskirts the battle still continued, or
rather the Portuguese soldiers were still engaged in completing their
conquest.  The wonderful architecture, with its splendid colouring of
red, blue, and gold all blazing in the hot light of an August sun
against a sapphire sky, astounded the Portuguese princes, in whose
native country the Moors had left no trace.  All along the streets as
they passed lay the bodies of the slain, Christian and Infidel side by
side, while here and there frightful groans were uttered.  Most of the
inhabitants had fled or hidden themselves; but by chance a face scowled
at the new-comers from the windows, and once they passed a group of
dark-skinned, strangely-attired children, who were uttering in their
unknown language griefs which needed no interpretation.

"We will make them Christians," thought Fernando, as he shrank a little
from the terrible sights around him, through all the thrill of triumph.

They were taken to a mosque in the middle of the town, where their
father, in full armour, was seated, receiving reports and giving orders
to his different captains.  Duarte was standing behind his father's
chair; he looked grave and troubled.  The King made a sign to the boys
to wait while he listened to Dom Pedro, who was speaking to him.

"And so, sire, we fear my brother must have been surrounded, and his
retreat cut off.  Duarte and I have endeavoured to show ourselves worthy
to be your sons, but Enrique--"

Pedro paused, and Duarte added with a faltering voice, "It was he who
forced a way into the town and beat back the enemy.  If we have lost
him, would the victory were a defeat?"

The King's face was pale as when he had stood by the death-bed of his
beloved wife, but he answered firmly, "My sons, this is the fortune of
war.  If my son Dom Enrique has fallen, he has fallen as becomes a
Christian prince.  Weep not for him, but see that we make sure of that
which we have gained, and to-morrow shall the traces of the accursed
worship be removed from this mosque.  And in a Christian temple will I
give you the knighthood you have so nobly won.  And for my son Enrique
there is a martyr's crown."

Many and many a time had Fernando, in daydreams and fancies, pictured to
himself the fall of Ceuta.  He had seen his brothers triumphant in the
fresh honours of their knighthood, had heard the Infidel city proclaimed
the property of Christ and of His Church, seen the Cross raised and the
Crescent cast down.  And now these things had come to pass, and for him,
instead of joy and triumph, were grief and sorrow of heart.  Ceuta was
Christian, but Enrique was dead!  This was the cost of the victory!

Probably, if the alarm had arisen earlier, the boys would not have been
sent for into the city; but now their father welcomed them with the same
stern self-control, and bid them listen to the orders he gave, and hear
of their brothers' prowess.  Nothing would ordinarily have pleased them
better; and the excitement and novelty prevented Joao from realising
their loss.  Fernando stood still, pale and silent, till the ever-kind
Duarte, in a pause of the arrangements, beckoned him up to his side and
put his arm round him, and Fernando knew by the grasp of Duarte's hand
that he was quite as unhappy as himself.  How long this lasted Fernando
could not tell; he felt as if it was a whole day since he came into the
city, but it could not have been much more than an hour, for the sun had
not yet gone down, when there was a great shouting among the soldiers
who were guarding the mosque without, the door was flung back, and
Enrique, alive and unhurt, came hurriedly in and dropped on his knees
before his father.

"My father, I grieve to have alarmed you, but I and my troop were
surrounded in a mosque at the farther end of the town, and had much ado
to cut our way out.  We have now crushed the last efforts at resistance;
the town is ours by the grace and mercy of God, we can offer what terms
we will."

There was no drawback now to the joy of victory.  The King and his sons
embraced Enrique, and presently a messenger was sent to demand the
surrender of the fortress where Zala-ben-Zala with the remnant of his
troops had taken refuge, and, after some delay, terms for its delivery
on the next morning were agreed upon.  The inhabitants of Ceuta were to
be offered the choice of leaving the city or of submitting to the
Christian rule.  The mosques were to be turned into Christian churches,
a Bishop to be appointed, and every effort made to induce the people to
adopt the faith of their conquerors, which faith the Portuguese princes
were too high-minded and far-seeing to discredit by permitting cruelty,
plunder, or rapine to their troops, as was too often done in like
circumstances.

So all was quiet and orderly when the sun went down, and the King
retired to rest in a house near the central mosque, taking his two
younger sons with him, while the other princes occupied themselves in
the disposal of the troops.

CHAPTER SIX.

THE CAPTURED CITY.

  "Where bells make Catholic the trembling air."

Royal prince though he was, Fernando had never slept under such
embroidered coverlets, nor seen such hangings of gold and silver, such
carving and fretwork, as met his waking eyes in the dawn of the new day.
The horseshoe arch of the window framed a piece of deep blue sky,
against which a gilded dome, surmounted by a crescent, glittered in the
morning sun.

Fernando sat upright and devoutly crossed himself, with a thrill of joy,
as he thought how soon that symbol of evil would give place to the
golden cross brought with them so carefully from Lisbon for the purpose.
Presently he became aware that Enrique, still fully dressed but with
the heavier parts of his armour removed, was lying asleep near the
window, his long limbs extended on a coverlet of pink and silver, as if
he had thrown himself down, wearied with his day of fighting.  As
Fernando looked round the room he heard an extraordinary chattering and
screaming, a noise quite unknown to him, and, not having any confidence
in the character of his surroundings, he began to feel frightened.  What
powers of evil might not lurk amid those unnatural splendours!  Joao was
in the next room, and Enrique slept through the increasing clatter,
which actually sounded like spoken words in an unknown tongue; and yes,
a peal of horrible mocking laughter apparently just over his head.

Fernando could bear it no longer.  He jumped up and seized his brother's
arm.

"Enrique--Enrique, wake up!  I think the foul fiend is in this room?"

"Fernando, hark! there is some Moorish devilry here!" and Joao, looking
quite pale with alarm, peeped out of the inside chamber, then fled to
Enrique as a refuge.  The latter awoke, considerably surprised to feel
his little brothers pulling at each arm, and as they had considered it
their duty, as soldiers in war-time, to go to bed in their clothes, with
their long hair rumpled and their dress disordered, they presented
rather a startling aspect.

"What ails you both?" cried Enrique.

"Enrique, listen! it is certainly the devil."

Enrique sat up and looked round, and presently began to laugh heartily
himself.  "There are your foul fiends," he said, painting to some
carving over the window, where were perched two huge green and scarlet
birds with hooked bills, the like of which the boys had never seen
before.

"Are they birds?" said Joao, slowly.

"Yes, they are parrots," said Enrique.  "Once, when I went to the Court
of Castile, I saw such a one that the King of Granada had sent as a
present to my aunt Catalina.  Moreover I have read of them in the
writings of the ancients.  They were sent formerly from Africa to Rome,
and these are doubtless favourites of the ladies of this house.  For I
suspect we are in the ladies' chamber."

"But it is wonderful--they laugh," said Joao.

"Ay, and speak, though not in our tongue.  There are wonderful things in
the world that we know not of."

"Well," said Joao, "since no one can tell _what_ there may be in these
Infidel places, _I_ came to take care of Fernando."

"Indeed," said Enrique; "I thought you woke me to take care of you.
However 'tis small blame to you to have been puzzled."

Joao, not finding an answer ready, applied himself to trying to catch
the parrots, and pursued them on to the balcony, while Enrique looked
thoughtfully and curiously round the strange scene which he had entered
in the dark two or three hours before.  Presently he looked at Fernando,
and smiled.

"So," he said, "Ceuta, praise be to God, is ours, fortress and all, for
Zala-ben-Zala fled in the night, and before I came here Duarte and Pedro
were there in command.  It was your words, Fernando, that set us on this
track."

Fernando blushed deeply.  "Enrique," he said, "I am not a good
Christian, and I shall never be like the holy martyrs."

"Why not!" said Enrique.  "I do not wonder that the chattering parrot
frightened you."

"No; but I thought I would do anything in the world to win Ceuta to be a
Christian city, and the day our mother was buried, while we knelt in the
abbey at Batalha, I made a vow that I would give up my life to convert
the Infidel, to win the world back to holy Church."

"I think," said Enrique, "that you are too young to make vows save with
your confessor's permission, or what holy Church ordains for you."

"That is what Father Jose said, when I told him what I had done.  He
bade me prepare myself by prayer and obedience for whatever life God
might send me.  But I did make the vow, Enrique, and I shall keep it.  I
thought--and this is what I want to tell you--that it would be quite
easy, for I thought I cared more about it than about anything in the
world."

"Well," said Enrique, as Fernando paused, faltering, but with his great
ardent eyes fixed on his brother, "surely it is not now in the hour of
triumph that you change your mind?"

"No; but dear Enrique, when I thought you dead, I did not care at all
about Ceuta: I would have given it back to save you!  Was that wrong?"

How little Enrique thought, as he listened with tender indulgence to his
little brother's troubled conscience, with what awful force that
question would one day ring in his own ears.  Now he put it aside.

"If we were fighting side by side, Fernando, we should not hold each
other back; but if it were easy to imitate the holy martyrs, they would
the less have deserved their crowns.  If we would seek any object
earnestly, we most count the cost.  But it was ill-managed that you
should have had such an alarm.  Never heed it.  I am safe, and Ceuta
_is_ ours, and _will_ be a Christian city soon.  And now I must go to
make all due arrangements; for we must confess our sins and prepare
ourselves for the knighthood that is to come at last."

Fernando looked after him with admiring envy, as he pictured to himself
a future day, when he and Joao should head such another expedition, and
be themselves the heroes of it.  But all vain-glorious thoughts received
a rebuke when he heard Duarte and Pedro petition their father, that
since Enrique had certainly distinguished himself the most in the
attack, he might receive the honour of knighthood _first_, before his
elder brothers.

The King replied that he owed so much to his son Enrique, that he was
willing to grant this request; but Enrique refused, saying that the
rights of seniority should be respected; he would rather be knighted in
his turn after his brothers.

So the next morning beheld a wonderful and glorious sight.  Over the
fortress of Ceuta hung the Portuguese colours; instead of the Crescent
on the great mosque was to be seen a golden Cross.  Within all traces of
the Mohammedan ritual had been swept away, an altar which, with all its
furniture, had been brought from Lisbon, was erected, and instead of the
turbans and the bare feet of the Mussulman worshippers were the clanking
spurs and uncovered heads of the Christians; while, most wonderful of
all, the sweet peal of Catholic bells for the first time woke the echoes
of the Moorish city.  [A fact.]  For the conquerors had actually
discovered, stowed away in the mosque, a peal of imprisoned bells,
doubtless carried off from some sea-side church by the pirates of Ceuta.

Then after high Mass had been duly performed, with all the ceremony
possible under the circumstances, one by one, Duarte, Pedro, and Enrique
stepped forward, and were knighted by their father before the altar of
the new Christian church.  Nobly had their desire been fulfilled; they
had proved their courage, and in a noble cause.

All this time bands of Moorish people were pouring unmolested out of the
gates of the city, great numbers choosing rather to go than to stay; and
in the darkness, when the gates were closed, they came back and beat
wildly against them with outcries of anguish and despair.

"Oh, why will not they stay and become Christians?" cried Fernando,
bursting into tears, as he listened to their lamentations.

"That is not to be expected," said Enrique; "but now we have drawn their
fangs for them.  More than half their detestable privateers sailed from
this port.  It is in our hands, and we can penetrate into the unknown
world beyond, and from hence send out missionaries among the people.
That is what I mean to do."

"All is not gained by the taking of Ceuta," said Fernando, dreamily.

"No," returned Enrique, "we cannot gain in a day objects which need the
devotion of our lives."

CHAPTER SEVEN.

THE TWIN SISTERS.

  "Against injustice, fraud, or wrong,
  His blood beat high, his hand waxed strong."

Twelve or thirteen years after the taking of Ceuta a little group was
assembled in the central court of a handsome house in Lisbon.  This open
space was indeed the summer sitting-room of the family; the sleeping
apartments and the great entrance hall opened into it.  Large orange,
citron, and pomegranate-trees, were ranged round the marble pavement,
and filled the air with their fragrance, while in the centre was a
little fountain falling into a carved basin.  An awning was palled
across the top to exclude the sun, and a few seats and coaches were
arranged round the fountain.  On one of these sat a tall man in the
prime of life dressed in deep mourning.  Several women, one prepared for
a journey, were standing near, and also a couple of men-servants.  In
front of the gentleman, hand-in-hand stood two little girls of seven or
eight years old.  They were dressed in black, with little black hoods
tied over their light-brown hair, which hang down in long curls beneath;
they had fair, rosy faces and large grey eyes, out of which they were
staring with an expression of alarmed solemnity.  Poor little things!
They were as merry-hearted a pair as ever made home cheerful, by chatter
and laughter and pattering feet; but life looked very serious to them
then, for they were about to be sent away from home, their mother's
recent death having left them with no efficient female protector.

The gay young Walter Northberry, who had been attached to Dom Enrique's
suite at the time of the taking of Ceuta, had some time after married
Mistress Eleanor Norbury, a lady whose father, like his own, had
followed Queen Philippa from England; and on her death he had resolved
on sending her little twin daughters to be educated by his English
relations.  His own habits were not such as made it easy for him to
bring up his little girls at home, and he was jealous enough of their
nationality not to wish to send them to any of the Lisbon convents,
where all their training must have been Portuguese.  So having received
affectionate offers from his brother, who represented the old family in
England, the little maidens were to be sent under fitting escort to
Northberry Manor House, in Devonshire.  Communications were frequent
between the two countries, and there was no difficulty in arranging for
their journey.

"Well, Kate and Nell," the father said, "it's a hard matter to part with
you after all, my pretty blossoms.  Be good maids, and obey your aunt,
and soon, maybe, I'll come and see you, and my father's country too."

"We want to stay at home," said Nell, with a pout, and with a tone of
decision.

"Father, keep us?" said Kate more softly, with her big eyes full.

"No, no, my pretty ones," said Walter Northberry, wiping his own eyes;
"'tis a fine place you are going to see; come along."

He held out his arms, and the two little black-frocked things sprang
into them, clinging round his neck and crying.

"Come--come.  Is the litter ready, else I shall be too late to get you
aboard Dom Manuel's ship?  But hark! who comes?  'Tis my lord the
Infante himself."

Sir Walter set down his daughters, who retreated, hand-in-hand, under a
great orange-tree; while their father rose and went to the door, as he
heard horses stopping without.  In a few moments he returned,
accompanied by a tall, slender young man, dressed in black velvet, with
a red cross on his breast.  Fernando of Avis, as he was called, since,
like his father, he was Grand-Master of the Order of Avis, had led,
during the twelve years since the taking of Ceuta, neither an idle nor a
useless life, but his boyish ambition was still unsatisfied; he had
struck no blow against the Infidel power, led no armies to battle, and
won no triumphs.  His health had always been so delicate, and he was
subject to such long attacks of illness, that it was only at intervals
that he could indulge in his taste for military towards which, however,
his natural impulse was so strong that he had no inconsiderable skill in
riding, fencing, and tilting.  The delicate Fernando was more
essentially a soldier than any of his powerful brothers; he longed with
a more ardent desire for knightly glory--a longing hitherto perforce
suppressed; but it was for glory to be won by that chivalrous self
sacrifice which formed the ideal of the Middle Ages, however seldom it
was put in practice.  And Fernando's dreams were of personal distinction
only in one cause--the cause of the Church; he had therefore gladly
accepted the control of one of these military orders which, somewhat
similar in character to the Knights Templar, were so common in Spain and
Portugal.  The vows of these orders pledged their members to the most
perfect devotion and purity of life.  They did not always preclude
marriage; and where celibacy was their rule, dispensations were
obtainable, as in the case of King Joao himself; and their great
revenues formed an ample provision for princes of the blood, and were
applied by Dom Enrique--who was head of the Order of Christ; Dom Joao,
who was Master of that of Saint James; and by Dom Fernando himself--to
many useful and charitable ends.

Fernando was thus pledged to the life of a soldier-saint.  He could not
be a soldier, and with the discontent of his ambitious and ardent nature
he daily felt himself still less of a saint.  But those who watched his
deep religious fervour, his constant self-denials, and his untiring
patience, thought differently; still more those who felt his kindly
charity and his unfailing sweetness of temper and warmth of heart.  He
still possessed the fair colouring regular features of his English
cousins, but his blue Plantagenet eyes had a softened, wistfulness as of
unsatisfied desires.

He had always shown marked friendship to Sir Walter Northberry, and was
fond of the little twin maidens, to whom he would bring toys and
comfits.

"You are better, I trust, my lord, as I see you abroad," said
Northberry.

"Thanks, Sir Walter--yes, I am better, and I came to bring a parting
gift to the children.  Here, Mistress Eleanor and Mistress Kate--are not
those the English titles?--come here and choose."

He held out two little jewelled copies of the cross of his order as he
spoke, and the little girls approached him, well pleased; but Eleanor
said--

"We are Leonor and Catalina.  I will not kiss any one who calls me
Eleanor."

"Fie, little one!" said her father; "it would become you better to ask
my lord for his blessing on your journey."

"If I could help it I would not go," said Leonor; while the gentler
Catalina was silent, and softly stroked the fur trimming of Fernando's
mantle.

"See, now," he said, coaxingly, "my brother Dom Pedro has been in this
terrible England, and he liked it well.  Why, the little King Harry is
my cousin, and he has made my brother Knight of the Order of the Garter.
We have all cousins in England."  Leonor appeared somewhat consoled.

"And besides, do you not know," said the Prince more gravely, "that
wherever God may send us, He will be with us--ay, in a desert or a
dungeon?  Then surely in a strange country, where He will send you kind
friends."

Catalina looked at him with eyes of deep earnestness.  Nell said
frankly, "My lord Dom Pedro has come safe home again."

"Yes, little one, and soon we shall see his marriage with Dona Blanca of
Urgel.  My brother Dom Pedro has been a great traveller.  He tells us
wonderful things.  You, my little maidens, will see some of them."

By this cheerful view of the subject, Eleanor--or, as her mother had
loved to call her by an English name soft enough for Portuguese lips,
Nella--and Catalina were lifted into their litter in much better spirits
than might have been expected, and, accompanied by their nurse and by
two stout soldiers belonging to Northberry's household, were put on
board the ship bound for England; while their father, thus set free from
fears for their welfare, turned his attention to the military matters in
which he excelled.

It was the eve of the Duke of Coimbra's wedding to Dona Blanca of Urgel,
and once again the five princes were gathered in the little marble court
under the orange-trees, as when, long ago, they had discussed the
question of how their knighthood might best be won.  Well and fully had
they all answered that question; and long as had been the separations
which the work of life had made between them, the bond that united the
eager lads was no way loosened between the grown men who had held so
staunchly to the high aims of their boyhood.

Fernando was resting on some cushions placed on the broad shallow steps,
and close by him sat Enrique.  Long ago Fernando had learnt that his
life could not be passed side by side with this most dear brother, but
the intervals that they passed together were his happiest hours, much as
he owed to the more constant and as tender companionship of Duarte,
whose duties kept him more continually in Lisbon.  But Duarte only tried
to make life easy to Fernando, regarding him as one to be shielded from
every vexation.  Enrique alone of all the brothers sympathised with his
longing for the struggle of active work.  Joao had grown into a stern,
resolute person, of great courage and decision of character; but Pedro,
as he looked at his brothers almost with a stranger's eye, thought that
none of them equalled the majestic dignity of Enrique's grave, ardent
countenance, and great strength and size.  Pedro was himself a very
splendid figure, the gay attire proper to a bridegroom elect contrasting
with the grave semi-religious habits of the three grand-masters.
Enrique and Joao had come to Lisbon for the wedding, and this was the
first meeting of the five.

"And among all these adventures and these foreign scenes, brother," said
Duarte, "what has struck you most with admiration?  What is there to be
learnt for the good of our country?"

"Much," said Dom Pedro, "that I hope to tell my father at leisure.  And,
Enrique, in the great naval cities of Venice and Genoa, I saw much that
I hope may be applied for the good of your sailors.  But I saw no one
who, to my mind, equalled our cousin King Harry, now alas! taken from
his kingdom: God rest his soul!  I felt that he was of our kin, for he
had our blessed mother's face, whom I think Fernando favours most of us
all.  And a king more beloved was never lost to his people; nor a more
winning friend and kinsman."

"It is indeed grievous," said Duarte, "to think of two great kingdoms--
France and England--left thus to a helpless child."

"If our cousin had lived to fulfil his purpose of proclaiming a general
crusade, we might have seen great results," said Enrique.

"The conquest of France stood in his path," said Joao.

"Ah," said Fernando, "that was a glorious purpose--for all the princes
of Europe to lay aside their selfish quarrels, and purified by one great
aim, to unite in winning back the Holy Sepulchre!  Where would then be
room for ambition and intrigue?"

"In former crusades there was a good share of both.  You are a dreamer,
Fernando," said Joao.

"Nay," said Enrique, "Fernando is right.  There is no purification like
a high purpose; but we must pursue it in the teeth of intrigue and
ambition; it will not sweep them away."

"True, for they spring from the selfish desires of the heart," said
Pedro, rather sententiously.

"We are not all free," said Duarte thoughtfully, "to devote our lives to
_one_ aim, be it ever so high: for our duties are many.  And so it was,
I suppose, with our cousin King Harry."

"Nay, the golden lilies had a tempting flash," said Joao, laughing.

"Well, and I will not say, having seen much of good and ill government,
that to pacify the unhappy kingdom of France was not as good an aim as
any.  But how is it with your purposes, Enrique?  I half feared to find
you bound for some savage island in the midst of the sea of darkness."

"No," said Enrique; "but there is light in the darkness now.  Come with
me to Sagres so soon as our fair bride can spare you, and see the
observatory I have built--the calculations that I have made.  This is a
much wider world than our fathers thought, Pedro, and one day there
shall be known Christian lands which the Mussulman has never polluted;
and where the simple natives will know no faith but that of Christ."

"There are other dreamers here besides Fernando," said Pedro, with a
smile.

"No," cried Enrique, eagerly; "it is no dream.  I will show you grapes
grown in our new found island, such as Spain cannot beat, and the
inhabitants listen willingly to Christian teaching.  If I can but
perfect our compasses and other instruments, we can penetrate the sea
still further--already have we reached the African coast--and then a
Christian kingdom behind Barbary and Morocco, and Christian lands to the
far west.  Look you, Pedro," and Enrique sprang up and came over to him,
laying both hands on Pedro's shoulders, and looking in his face, "your
mathematics were used to be more perfect than mine.  You must come to
Sagres and help me."

"Willingly," said Pedro; "you shall explain your problems to me."

"I owe much to Duarte," said Enrique, "in such matters; and he has
studied so thoroughly the courses of the heavens, and can so well judge
of fair or foul weather, he should have been a sailor born.  Then I
purpose to bring some of my natives hither, that they may return to
their own country good Christians and civilised men.  They trust my
sailors as if they were messengers from Heaven.  See what a power it is
for good.  Whole islands--nay, Pedro, I sometimes think whole
continents, may owe to us their salvation."

So spoke the great Enrique of Avis, in the young days of the modern
world, he who was at once a great soldier and a devoted son of the
Church, the priestly knight of the Middle Ages, who helped the new
learning many miles on her way, to whom astronomy and physical science
began to open their treasures; while in his breast burnt the same fire
of adventure, the same longing for discovery, that in our day has
penetrated Arctic seas and African deserts, fulfilling the command to
replenish the earth and subdue it.  But, prince though he was, Enrique
met with scant sympathy beyond the limits of his family, in designs
which the world had not yet learnt to understand.  And little did he
dream of how much misery Christian men would bring to those unknown
lands, after which his heart hungered; or that his earnest desire to
bring his islanders to a sight of the blessings of Christianity should
be quoted as a precedent and justification for all the horrors of the
slave trade.

Pedro had enough of the same power to understand his efforts, and he was
beginning a sympathetic reply, when one of Fernando's attendants came
towards them telling him that Sir Walter Northberry desired to speak
with him.

"Ask him to come hither," said Fernando; and even as he spoke,
Northberry, with a pale and disturbed countenance, came hurriedly
towards the brothers.

"Alas! my lord!" he said, with a hasty reverence, "I have the worst of
ill news.  I am a miserable man.  The ship in which my little daughters
sailed him been attacked by Moorish pirates.  There was a vessel bound
from France to Lisbon came to the rescue, and beat them off; but oh, the
saints pity us! the cursed villains carried with them my little Kate.
Woe's me that ever I let them go."

Northberry covered his face with his hands, unable to repress his
despairing grief; while the princes pressed round him, full of sympathy
and indignation.

Fernando took his hand, and drew him to a seat, saying eagerly--

"Everything is at your command.  What can be done?  Have you any due?"

"Surely," said Duarte, "a sufficient ransom will open the prison gates."

"Horrible degradation!" cried Enrique and Fernando in a breath.

"As to that, my good lords," said Northberry, "I care not for
degradation, if I can but get my poor little maid back.  Better tempest
and shipwreck.  But this French vessel that brought me the news said
that the attack was made at night by a superior force, and that they
were gone in the morning beyond pursuit.  So Dom Manuel sent the
wretched news back, and sailed as fast as might be for England, lest
Nella should share her sister's fate.  Alas! alas!"

"And _this_!" cried Fernando, with flashing eyes, "_this_ is what we
suffer on our shores--we! princes, knights, Christians--shame--shame
upon us!  Better spend the last coin in our treasury--shed the last drop
of our blood--better die among nations, lose all--everything--than have
it so!  What! we hold our kingdom undisturbed by a false peace with
friends such as these!  Let it go, but let us drive them from Portuguese
waters--from Christian soil.  I will endure it no longer; I will do it
single-handed."

Fernando stood with lifted hand and face on fire, long suppressed
passion giving startling effect to his words; but suddenly his face
paled and he dropped back on his seat.

"I--I can do nothing," he said, in a voice of inexpressible melancholy.

Enrique leaned over him, and put his arm round him, as if he had been
still the little brother, whose excitement he had soothed so often in
early years.

"Everything in our power shall be done, good Sir Walter," said Duarte,
earnestly.

"Indeed, my lord, I doubt it not," said Northberry.  "I am sorry so to
grieve Dom Fernando."

Fernando looked up.

"Duarte, I meant to reproach no one," he said, humbly.  "My friend, I
can do little for you, or any one, but pray; I will go and do that."

"My lord," said Sir Walter, kissing his hand, "such prayers as yours
must be answered."

Fernando shook his head sadly.  He blamed himself for the outburst of
feeling which had seemed to reproach his brothers for failing in a duty
which he could not even attempt, and for long hours that night he knelt
in his private chapel, and prayed that at whatever cost to himself the
power of the Moor might be lessened and the little captive restored
unharmed to her friends.

Fernando often pursued his devotions at risk to his own health, the care
of which did not present itself to him as a duty in the way it would now
to an equally conscientious person; and perhaps, had his austerities
been fewer, he would have been better able to follow the wish of his
heart.  But he followed the light given him, and his prayers in due time
bore fruit.  But not immediately; no tidings of Katharine Northberry
came to Lisbon; the sorrow narrowed itself to one sore spot in her
father's heart, while a long and dangerous attack of illness for
Fernando followed close on Dom Pedro's wedding.

Enrique put aside his pressing schemes to stay with him and to nurse
him, and as he grew better to understand the deep desire of Fernando's
heart, he resolved that before every other object he would devote
himself to carry it out.

CHAPTER EIGHT.

TWO LIVES.

  "And like a double cherry--seeming parted."

The clear light of an English spring evening was shining down on the
grey walls of the convent of Saint Mary, streaming through the golden
green of the neighbouring wood, showing the towers of Northberry Manor
House through the trees, and sparkling on the blue strip of sea behind
them.  Far on either side stretched wood and forest, hitherto untouched
by the hand of man, while from the pleasant fields cultivated round the
convent and Manor House green glades and glens wound away into the
forest, where the hunter might sound his horn, the outlaw take refuge,
where wild game of all kinds still dwelt without chance of extinction,
and where fairy rings were found on the grass, strange sights seen, and
strange sounds heard beyond the chime of the church bells of Northberry.
The lords of the manor rode through the rough roads now and again on
visits to their neighbours, or for assize meetings at the nearest town;
the convent priests, who also served the little village church, went
through the wood now and then at the summons of the Bishop; but the
villagers who clustered round the convent and manor walls were afraid of
the forest, and Eleanor Northberry had never passed through it since she
had been brought there, six years before, a solitary and frightened
child, pining for the little twin sister who had been torn from her
side.  She had been tenderly received and cherished by her cousins, and
with their daughter Adela was placed at the convent, where she learnt to
read and to sing, to sew and to embroider, going home occasionally to
Northberry Manor, and growing so much into a part of the family, that
Sir Edward Northberry contemplated finding a husband for her in due time
among the gallant squires of Devon, and never sending her back again to
the "foreign parts," which, spite of his connection with Lisbon, he
regarded as peopled by a mixture of Frenchmen and Moors.

Within the convent precincts was a garden surrounded by high old walls,
through one of which a gate led into the little burial-ground where the
convent chapel stood.  There was a sun-dial in the midst of the garden,
on the step of which Eleanor--or as she loved better to be called,
Nella--Northberry sat making wreaths from a great heap of white hawthorn
on the grass beside her.  The garden was neatly kept, with a plentiful
supply of herbs useful for cooking or for medicine, and a few spring
flowers, such as bluebells or lilies of the valley, and in the centre of
the turf an apple-tree in full blossom; there were cherries and plums in
plenty, with the fruit just setting among their green leaves.  A large
oblong pond full of fish lay across the bottom of the garden.  The birds
sang sweetly; a family of robin-redbreasts were making their first
attempts at flying from the low branches of the apple-trees.  There was
a low sound of chanting from the chapel, where the nuns were practising
the services for the approaching festival of Whitsuntide.  All was full
of peace and calm, brightened by the fresh and hopeful spring-time.

Nella finished her long white garland, and laid it at her feet.  She
clasped her hands on her knees, and watched the little snowy clouds as
they came floating from behind the cherry-trees across the sky.  She was
very simply dressed in a grey frock cut square at her neck, and finished
with a white frill; but she was a tall and beautiful girl, almost a
woman in height, with her long brown hair drawn back from a broad fair
brow, a frank and simple countenance, and eyes at once innocent and
fearless.  She was almost too much for the nuns sometimes, with her wild
spirits and dauntless gaiety, delighting in woodland scrambles and
hairbreadth escapes.  But she was loving and loyal-hearted, and no
rebel, though a little difficult of control.

Just now, however, the evening calm had stolen over her spirit, and she
sat lost in thought, her memory, seldom active, going back to the days
of her early childhood, as she glanced at the gold cross which she wore
constantly round her neck.

Nella could not be said to have forgotten Catalina.  She prayed for her
morning and evening, and she knew that masses were constantly sung in
the convent chapel for her deliverance; but the sorrow of her loss was
regarded as too terrible for common speech.  A cloud of horror hung over
her memory, and Nella, whose simple, healthy nature easily adapted
itself to new surroundings, rather shrank from the thought of her.  Her
father had never fulfilled his promise of coming to England; her nurse
had been taken captive with Kate.  She could vividly remember the night
attack, when she had run out to see what was the matter, and found the
others gone on her return, and carrying her thoughts back she could
remember different trees and flowers, a house that seemed to her of
wonderful splendour, a mother's kiss, her bluff father's voice, and,
more clearly than anything else, the tall, pale young prince who had
given her the jewel round her neck and bid her trust in God.

It must be remembered that though Nella's memory enabled her to recall
orange-trees and pomegranates, strange dresses and customs, and the
"Moors" as familiar objects of dread, she never met with any one who had
ever seen an orange-tree, or done more than hear of a Moor as a sort of
emissary of evil.  She had nothing therefore but her own childish
impressions to fall back upon, which were confused and blurred, and she
invariably pictured Catalina as her own double, grown to the same
height, wearing the same clothes, and thinking the same thoughts.  But
the image seemed as far removed from her as if she had been taught to
regard Catalina as among the saints in Paradise.  Nella was not
imaginative; she did not realise strange conditions; a sort of reserve
had always veiled even from her own thoughts the present condition of
her twin sister.  But her convent life was almost over, and the change
in her own existence made her thoughtful.

"I am thirteen," she thought; "I have made my first communion, perhaps
before many years I shall be married; but Catalina--"

Suddenly, for the first time, it came clearly before her mind that
Catalina, if alive, could not be in the least like herself, could not be
a Christian at all.  Nella sprang to her feet and almost cried out as
the thought stung her, and for the first time in her life she was seized
with the intensest desire to know her sister's fate; she felt as if she
must discover what had become of her, as if the uncertainty so long
acquiesced in had become suddenly intolerable to her.

The chapel bell began to ring for vespers; one of the nuns came into the
garden and called Nella.  She took up her wreath and followed into the
chapel, and as she knelt and prayed, the twin sister whom she could no
longer picture to herself seemed to call to her out of terrible and
unknown darkness.

In the convent chapel, among the oak-wood and the cherry-blossoms of an
English spring, Eleanor Northberry laid her garlands on a holy shrine
and listened to the chanting of the vesper service; while the light
faded away over the peaceful garden, and the last reflection of the
sunset died out from the long fish-pond, and the nuns were left to the
peace and the stillness of night.

The sun also dropped down to rest over another small inclosure, far away
in the warm south.  Round the royal palace of Muley Hassan, King of Fez,
were magnificent gardens, and on the side devoted to the women was one,
the very gem of them all.  A kind of cloister surrounded it, built with
the utmost elaboration of Moorish art, horseshoe arches, fretwork of the
most exquisite forms, blazing with gold and silver, and glowing with the
gorgeousness of Oriental colour.  Flowers of almost tropical variety and
beauty were growing in profusion, and in the centre was a fountain in
which gold and silver fish were swimming.  On the brink stood a young
girl with a splendid wreath of crimson passion-flowers in her hand.  She
was dressed in a tunic of blue silk, wonderfully embroidered with
coloured flowers, full white silk trousers were fastened round her
ankles above her golden slippers; on her head was a rose-coloured
turban, coquettishly set on the top of the long straight plait of hair
that fell down her back.  She seated herself on the rim of the fountain,
and laying her flowers at her feet, listened to the distant sound of
girlish voices laughing and chattering beyond the cloister, or to the
noise of a number of parrots and other birds inclosed in a golden
network at one corner of the garden.

The girl's face was fair, with fine outlines, large blue eyes of a
peculiar wistful softness, and with an expression gentle, dreamy, and
somewhat passive.  This was Leila, a Christian slave, the pet and
plaything of the ladies of Muley Hassan's harem; this was Katharine,
Eleanor Northberry's lost sister.

Strangely enough there had been a sort of outward similarity between the
lives that were essentially so different.  Each sister had been brought
up in seclusion in a household of women.  Catalina, like Nella, learnt
to embroider and to sing; she too lived among birds and flowers and
pleasant places.  She too was taught to be obedient, to submit to rules;
and the gentle nature obeyed more perfectly, and carried cushions and
sang little songs or gathered flowers for the princesses, more aptly
than Nella learnt her tasks or steadied her dancing steps in Northberry
convent.  But the little slave had been treated as a favourite toy, and
nothing had occurred to drive her thoughts beyond herself.  She had at
once been separated from her nurse and taken to the palace, and though
she could have told, if asked, her real name and have understood
probably her own language, years of soft living separated her from any
reminder of her old life.

"Leila, Leila!" cried a clear voice.

Leila sprang up and ran to the garden-gate to meet a lady, of exquisite
dark beauty, who came and sat down on a pile of silken cushions near the
fountain.  Leila took, at her signal, a golden casket from another
little girl, and kneeling before her mistress, began to take out its
contents and display them.

Mistress and maiden smiled with delight as rubies, diamonds, and
emeralds came to view.

"My jewels are the best in the harem," said the Princess Zarah, proudly.

"Yes, lady," said Leila, "neither Zuleika nor Zoraya have half so many."

"There is a string of pearls for you," said Zarah.  "Or, no--choose
among these for yourself."

"What is that?" said the little slave suddenly, pointing to a small
eight-pointed ornament with a ruby in the centre.

"That!" said the princess.  "Why, child, that is yours already.  It was
tied round your neck when you were brought to me."

Leila took the cross in her hand, and gazed at it with a fixed, dreamy
look.

"Nella had one too," she said suddenly.  "Dom Fernando gave them to us."

"Who is that?" said Zarah, indolently.

Leila looked perplexed, tears filled her eyes, and, with a
half-unconscious movement, she made the sign of the cross.

Zarah struck her hand sharply.

"Hold, child! that is wicked.  Do that again and you shall be beaten."

"Are all Christians wicked?" said Leila, timidly.

"Of course, child--they are unbelievers."

"And Nella must be a Christian--I was once."

"There, do not fret.  Here is a spray of emeralds, for you to put in
your turban.  You are happy enough, and spoiled, my little one.
Religions do not matter so much for a woman, certainly not for a slave.
Some day, when I can spare you, you shall marry a true Mussulman, who
shall give you sweetmeats and jewels.  You are very pretty--none of the
other princesses have such a pretty slave."

Leila laid the jewels down, and, slipping away from her mistress' side,
she leaned over the carved parapet of the ladies' garden, peeping
through the trellis-work that divided it from the more public grounds of
the palace.  Down below, she saw four or five men, haggard, weary, and
scantily clothed, dragging heavy loads of earth to form a bank on one
side of the garden.  Presently a Moor came up and struck one of them a
sharp blow.  He cowered under it for a moment, and then, as the striker
turned away, his victim looked up to Heaven and made the sign of the
Cross.

These poor sufferers were Leila's fellow-Christians.  Tears filled her
eyes; she longed to help them.  But she was a slave, petted, soft, and
self-indulgent, like a pet animal.  She shrank away from the painful
thought, and, going back to her mistress, tried to forget it in
wreathing the passion-flowers round her hair.

CHAPTER NINE.

IN NORTHBERRY FOREST.

  "The huge, broad-breasted old oak-tree."

Northberry Manor house was a heavy, grey stone building, with a small
court in the centre, and four little round towers at the corners.  A
moat surrounded it, crossed by a drawbridge, which, however, was rarely
raised.  England still felt the benefit of the strong government of
Henry the Fifth, and all was at peace.  The gates stood open, save at
night; the servants and retainers stood idling about the court, and the
great hunting-dogs sat in the sun and enjoyed life, one lovely morning
in Whitsun week, as Nella Northberry, in all the delight of a holiday,
came running out of the hall-door among them, calling them to her, and
stroking and petting them with fearless affection.

"Oh, how much nicer this is than embroidery!" she cried, clapping her
hands.

"And oh, how shocked Dame Agnes would be to hear you say so?" said a
tall, slim lad, with a ruddy brown skin, bright hazel eyes, and an air
of alert and cheerful activity.

"Ah, but, Harry, I have improved so much.  See, this is my new green
holiday kirtle, and I worked the border to it, I did indeed.  Sister
Katharine showed me the stitch."

"It is a very fine kirtle, truly," said the boy.  "See, you have let
Lion lay his paws all over the front of it."

"It will brush, it is made of serge," said Nella, blushing.  "But now,
Harry, I have something very serious to speak of.  Where will you come
and talk to me about it?"

"Let us come on to the tower battlements then," said Harry, struck with
the air of serious purpose that suddenly changed the girl's laughing
face.

Harry Hartsed also had relations in Portugal, and his father, a poor
squire, lived not many miles from the manor.  Sir Walter Northberry,
after the fashion of the time, had taken him into his household that he
might acquire the education of a gentleman, and he was now about
seventeen, a fine, high-spirited boy, earnest and ambitious.  He and
Nella took their way on to the top of one of the little towers, from
which they could see over miles of forest, in every variety of spring
colouring.

Nella leaned against the battlement, the wind freshening her rosy cheeks
and blowing her long hair about her shoulders.  She fixed her eyes on
Harry, and said--

"Now I am going to tell you a secret.  I want you to help me, but I will
never forgive you if you speak to any one else about it."

"I always keep your secrets, Nella; you need not scold me beforehand,"
said Harry.

"Well," said Nella, too much in earnest to reply to his challenge, "it
is about my--my sister."

Her eyes fell, and she coloured deeply, with the awe of one approaching
a mystery.

"Your sister!  But you know nothing about her, Nella," said Harry,
tenderly and rather shyly.

"No; but I mean to find out.  I began to think of her on Whitsun Eve,
when I was making a garland for Our Lady.  I want to know what has
become of Catalina.  I am sure she is alive."

"But it is quite impossible that you can find out about her, Nell," said
Harry.  "Either she is dead--God rest her soul!--or lost to you for
ever."

"I am going to ask the witch in the forest," said Nella, coolly.

Harry started, and said in a tone of strong disapproval--

"I shall not help you to do that."

"Then I shall go by myself."

Harry was a straightforward youth, who disliked what he could not
understand.  There was something disgraceful as well as dreadful in a
Moorish captivity.  If the lost girl was a Mahometan slave, the less
they knew of her the better; and as for the witch in the forest, in
plain English he was very much afraid of her.

"I will not hear of such a thing, Nella," he said.  "It is very wicked
to consult a witch who has sold her soul to the Evil One.  Besides, how
do you know what she might do to you!  Now, do you think Father Anselm,
or the Lady Abbess, or your aunt, or Sir Walter would consent to it?"

"No," said Nella, "of course not.  But I am sure that it is right to go.
And I shall tell my beads all the way and wear my cross round my neck.
She cannot harm my soul or my body while I have that.  I will let her
cut my hair off and give her my string of pearls if she wants them.  And
if you are afraid, I will go by myself."

"Afraid!  I am not afraid of the forest!  But you ought not to deceive
Dame Agnes and go in secret."

"Very well," said Nella.  "And ought you to have got out at the little
postern, and gone to Dunford Fair, when Sir Walter forbade you?  Or away
down on the rocks to get the sea-gull's eggs, when he sent you to the
Master Armourer at Newton?  If you may play truant for pleasure, surely
I may for a good purpose."

Master Harry Hartsed, like many another, found his principles impeded by
his 	practice, and, dropping the question of obedience, observed--

"You are a girl, which alters the question."

"Ask Father Anselm if a boy has any more right to be disobedient than a
girl," retorted Nella.

"I shall not let you run into danger," said Harry, firmly.

"Then," said the girl, bursting into tears, "I shall be very unhappy,
and I thought you loved me better.  I'll never forgive you--never.  And,
oh dear, dear Harry, _do_ help me--_do_!  I don't want Walter Coplestone
and Adela to know about it; but if you are so cruel, I--I think I must
ask Walter.  He would--"

Perhaps the fact that Nella was a girl _did_ alter the question.  Harry
yielded, as he usually did, to her strong will and ready tongue, and
said--

"Well, what do you want me to do?"

"To wait outside the postern to-morrow at the full of the moon.  I can
get out, but I can't get across the moat; so I want you to have your
little boat ready, dear Harry.  Then, I am not afraid of the forest; but
I don't know the way to the blasted oak, and you do.  So you must come,
and wait there while I go and see the witch.  You will, dear Harry!"

Harry was perfectly aware that Nella was going to do a thing that was
both wrong and dangerous; but, alas for his good nature! he hated saying
no, and more than one scrape that lay heavy on a tender conscience and
truthful spirit had been caused by this weakness.  Young as Nella was,
she was so much of a woman for her years that he, whose thoughts had
hardly yet strayed beyond his boyish round of duties and amusements,
could not withstand either her coaxing or her contempt.  He admired her
more, though he hardly knew if he liked her so well as kind little
Adela; but Nella was queen of Northberry Manor, and turned all the young
people there round her finger.

Besides, he could not make her give up her plan save by betraying her
secret, and he could not let her carry it out alone.  In the depths of
that untrodden forest, strange things were sometimes seen, and much
stranger were imagined.  Many a frightened woodman or swineherd had seen
a werewolf dash aside into the impenetrable undergrowth, or in a sudden
clearance had beheld a gnome or a demon grinning at him from between the
trees, had heard the rush of the wild huntsman over his head in the
autumn storms, and fled in terror from the haunted spot.  No doubt it
needed little to suggest these and the like phantoms; but it takes a
long time for any race of animals to become extinct, and chance
specimens of the wolf and the wild boar may have lingered in forest
glades long after they were supposed to be exterminated.  And wild men
of the woods may have had a real existence in a state of society when
maniacs were regarded with superstitious horror, and when these vast
forests afforded a refuge for criminals and outlaws of every
description.

To the boy and girl who by the light of the May moon penetrated the
forest glades, they seemed to be peopled with fearful forms and more
fearful possibilities.  Moonlight and towering tree-trunks, thick
undergrowths of hazel and elder, made strange combinations; and as at
the sound of their footsteps great owls and woodpeckers started from
their roosting-places and screeched and whirred round their heads, hares
and foxes rushed through the grass and brambles, and the wind stirred
and echoed through the tree-tops, they shuddered, and Nella felt that
she had hardly counted the cost of the undertaking.  The path was
tolerably plain to them; it was a horse track, and led through the
forest down to the shore, and they pursued it for about a mile, in
almost entire silence, and then turned aside to the right into a
narrower one, which shortly led them, to what was always called the
blasted oak.  This was a great withered tree, which stood alone in the
centre of a clearing, without a leaf or a twig to break the forlorn
aspect of its wide-stretching arms now glimmering white in the
moonlight.

"Now," said Nella, "we must sound a hunting horn, and some one will show
us the way to the witch."

Harry took hold of the horn that was slung round his neck; to sound it
required a considerable effort; but he was ashamed to hesitate in
Nella's presence, and putting it to his lips, blew a blast much fainter
than that with which he was accustomed to summon the dogs on a hunting
morning.  It seemed to them as if the whole forest rang with the sound,
as if it echoed away through glade and thicket till it must rouse
Northberry Manor itself, nay, as if it might call the whole country to
arms.

Nella shrank up to Harry and they both stood trembling and terrified.
No one answered their summons.

"The witch will not come, Nella," said Harry in, it must be confessed, a
tone of relief.

"Then we must blow again," said Nella; but, as she spoke, they saw
running in the grass in front of them a little white rabbit.  Instead of
starting from them it ran up to Nella's feet, and then away from her for
a short distance, then back again.  "Is that the witch?" she whispered.
"Must I follow that?  I will cross myself first."  As the rabbit
retained its form and showed no alarm at the holy sign, Nella, summoning
all her courage, quitted Harry's hand--as no two people could, it was
supposed, approach the witch together--and followed the little creature,
which now turned and ran back into the wood.  Nella, child as she was,
was of the stuff that makes heroes.  She conquered her terrors, and
clasping her cross tight, she followed the mysterious summons.  It did
not occur to her that the animal was pulled by a string attached to its
neck.  It did not lead her very far, for she soon found herself in front
of a low hut, under the door of which the rabbit disappeared.  Nella
tapped timidly, the door was flung back, and she stepped into a tiny
room, very full of smoke, since the chimney consisted only of a hole in
the roof.  Neither in that respect nor in any other did it differ from
the huts of the peasantry round, except that a torch was stuck into a
wooden stand of peculiar shape in the centre.  The roof was so low that
the tall Nella could have touched it with her hand, and on the floor
under the torch sat a very little woman, with black eyes, sharp
features, and a red cloak over her head.  She rose as Nella entered, and
stood upright, even then hardly reaching to the girl's shoulder, and
said a few words in a language which Nella recognised, though she did
not quite understand.  "I cannot speak Cornish," she said.

Perhaps the witch was not accustomed to visitors with their wits so much
about them, though the old Cornish language still crossed the border
into Devon, and was not unknown there among the peasantry.  Still, it
added to the mystery of the witch's proceedings in the eyes of some of
her visitors, and increased the confidence of those to whom it was
familiar.

"And what do you want of me then, maiden?" she said in English.

"I am Eleanor Northberry; I want to know where my sister is who was
stolen away by the Moors, and I will give you these pearls if you will
tell me," said Nella, who had rehearsed her little speech.  She looked
at the witch as she spoke, in full confidence of receiving an answer,
and with less fear than she had expected.  Somehow, there was something
very commonplace about the witch now that she had found her.

"You have asked a hard question, my lady," said the witch in a much more
respectful tone.  She knew her position too well to frighten the young
lady of the Manor to death, aware that, though feared and tolerated, a
little too much licence would bring the laws against witchcraft in full
operation upon her.  She turned her back on Nella, and mumbled and
muttered a little to herself, and then facing round, said in a wheedling
tone, "Sure, it's the face of the lovely young lady herself, I read in
the stars.  Wouldn't you like to hear what suitors you will have, my
pretty lady--about the great lord across the sea?"

"No," said Nella, though a little reluctantly.  "I want to hear about
Catalina.  For," she thought, "I shall not be able to pay her to tell me
_too_ much, and besides,"--Nella's thoughts here became hazy even to
herself; but they were to the effect that she would not use this sinful
means of information more than she could help.

"I see," said the witch, after a moment, "a maiden like this one before
me!"

"Yes," said Nella, "we were both of an age, and alike exactly."

"Her eyes are blue, and her face is fair," looking at her visitor's.
"Those around are--dark--dark."

"Yes--for the Moors are black," eagerly said Nella.  "Oh, is she alive
and happy?"

"The prisoners of the Moors live far away," said the witch.  "One day
shall there be a great ransom--and a great deliverance.  Friends shall
meet across the sea--a talisman will save the lost."

"Why, I come from across the sea," said Nella.  "A talisman! would it be
the cross that Prince Fernando gave us?"

"Ay, the fate of a prince is in the balance," said the witch,
mysteriously.

"But shall I ever see my sister again?" urged Nella.

"Across the sea--across the sea," repeated the witch.  "I can tell no
more, my lady--no more."

"Then I think I had better go home," said Nella, hardly knowing whether
she were impressed or disappointed, but a good deal less frightened than
when she came in.

"Give me the pearls, and keep the secret of your visit, else will the
talisman work for ill.  But now go home, Mistress Nella, go home with
Master Harry, and don't you be coming into the forest at night; 'tisn't
fitting for young ladies like you, and will anger his honour, Sir
Walter, sure enough."

The different tone in which these last words were spoken startled Nella,
for the witch dropped all her mysterious solemnity, and spoke, with
half-coaxing command, in a voice that sounded strangely familiar.

Perhaps she was afraid of losing the doles of bread that Dame Agnes
Northberry dispensed in the courtyard of the Manor, and which old Bess,
as she was called, came to claim without any one guessing at her
identity with the witch of the forest, who was visited in darkness and
mystery.  The young lady of Northberry was a client with whom she was
afraid to deal.

On the whole, Harry, standing without in the darkness, listening to the
strange cries of bird and beast, and watching the awful shadows change
and sway in the rising wind, had the hardest time of it.  He had
followed Nella almost to the door of the hut, and was unspeakably
thankful when she ran out alive and unhurt and ready to hurry home as
fast as possible.

She hardly spoke, till they were safe out of the forest shades and in
the familiar home fields, and then Harry said, in a subdued tone, "Was
it very terrible, Nell?"

"No--no," said Nella, with hesitation.  "She said Catalina was across
the sea, and had a talisman--the cross, you know--and that if I saw her
it would be across the sea.  But I was not much frightened,--and I don't
think there was anything--wicked.  There were no--demons."  Nella sunk
her voice a little, and spoke in a tone of slight disappointment mingled
with relief.

"Well," said Harry, breaking the spell with a laugh, "for all she told
you, you might as well have stayed at home, Nell."

"No, not when I had said I would go."

But they both thought it rather remarkable that the next morning Harry
Hartsed received a letter from his relations at Lisbon, duly favoured by
a ship bearing despatches to the court, inviting him to come to Portugal
and try his fortunes "across the sea."

CHAPTER TEN.

HIS HEART'S DESIRE.

  "He greatly longed some land that now did feel
  The yoke of misbelieving men once more
  To his Redeemer's kingdom to restore."

Harry Hartsed arrived in Lisbon while the court was still in mourning
for the death of the great and good King Joao the First.  He bore
various despatches to Sir Walter Northberry from his English cousins,
and from his daughter; and was kindly received by his own distant
cousin, Sir James Hartsed, and by him placed in the household of the
Master of Avis, who showed him much kindness, and made many inquiries
after his little favourite, Nella Northberry.  There were enough English
about the Court of Lisbon to prevent Harry from feeling lonely, and the
life there was full of interest and energy.  Not that Harry's
disposition led him to emulate the Portuguese princes in their love of
literature and science; but he did ardently desire to make as graceful a
figure in the tilt-yard as Dom Fernando, and to be able to pick up a nut
with the point of his lance when his horse was at full gallop, as
cleverly as King Duarte himself.  He succeeded beyond his hopes in these
aims, growing from an uninformed country lad into an accomplished
gentleman; and, moreover, in the atmosphere of earnest piety and strict
performance of duty in which he found himself, he could not but perceive
that something more than good horsemanship and skill in arms, or even in
learning, went to the making of these splendid princes.

The years since the disappearance of Katharine Northberry had been full
of changes.  The marriage of Dom Pedro had been followed by that of Dom
Duarte to Leonora of Aragon.  The Princess Isabel had been given by her
father to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy; and Dom Joao had also found
a wife for himself.  These various royal households added greatly to the
gaiety of the court; and when the period of mourning for King Joao was
over, it proved that the young Queen Leonora loved state and ceremony,
and inaugurated many festivities.  She was at this time very popular
with the people, and every one rejoiced in the presence of a lady at the
head of affairs.

Duarte, meanwhile, with an industry and talent equal to his father's,
and with an even greater purity of action and intention, devoted himself
to schemes for the good of his subjects, and by so doing made up for the
loss of his father's great minister, Alvarez de Pereira, who had died a
few months before the king, and who had long ago put into shape the
young princes' plans for the tithing of Ceuta.

Dom Enrique had been but little at Lisbon, his great undertakings filled
up his time, and he had of late joined the King of Aragon in a war with
the Duke of Milan, during which he had been taken prisoner, to the great
alarm and distress of his brothers; but he had soon regained his
liberty, and now, at the end of 1435, was at the court.

Fernando's health had become somewhat less delicate, though it was still
a check on his sharing in his brothers' exploits; but he led a very
busy, useful, and devout life, managing the affairs of the Order of
Avis, spending nearly all his private fortune in ransoming prisoners
from the Moors, and in acts of charity or devotion.  To the poor,
wherever he went, he was a personal friend, and the young men of his
household regarded him with enthusiastic admiration, marvelling at the
combination of such saintly qualities with such a genuine love for all
connected with military honour and personal prowess.

The people spoke of his almsgiving, his life of prayer and self-denial,
his unfailing gentleness of word and deed, of the sufferings borne with
such exemplary patience, and thought that he led the life of a saint on
earth.  And all this while the life that looked so holy and so peaceful,
and was so pure from outward stain, was full of inward storm and
struggle, of longings and ambitions, but imperfectly laid at the foot of
the Cross.  There was much yet to come before Fernando's victory was
won.

One bright winter's day he was sitting in his private room in the
palace.  As Master of Avis, he possessed property and residences in more
than one part of Portugal; but in Lisbon he still lived under his
brother's roof, chiefly that Duarte might bestow on him, in his frequent
illnesses, as much as possible of his scanty intervals of leisure.
Besides, Fernando's tastes were simple, and he loved the surroundings of
his boyhood.  He had been occupied all the morning, after attending mass
in the king's chapel, with the various affairs of his order, and with a
consultation with the Archbishop of Lisbon, over the details of a new
mission to be despatched to the coast of Africa, in the wake of some of
Dom Enrique's recent discoveries, and now, wearied with so much
exertion, was sitting by the hearth, on which burned a small wood fire.

It was a pleasant room enough, long and narrow, with a high carved and
painted ceiling, and a great chimney-piece of white marble, carved with
the dragon's heads that King Joao, in honour of his English Garter,
introduced on every occasion, just as he taught his soldiers to shout
Saint George.

Harry Hartsed and a young nephew and namesake of the great minister,
Alvarez de Pereira, were sitting at the farther end of the room, and
talking in a subdued voice, as they looked out between the mullions of
the window over the palace garden.

After some discussion between themselves, Harry glanced at the prince,
and, perceiving that he was doing nothing, crossed the room and ventured
to address him.

"My Lord, Dom Alvarez and I were discussing a question.  May I crave
leave to ask your opinion on it?"

Fernando started from his reverie, and looked up with the expression in
his eyes, half-wistful, half-eager, altogether unsatisfied, that
contrasted so strangely with the kind bright smile with which he ever
greeted a request.

"You are welcome to my opinion," he said, gaily; "but I know not if it
will be of much value to _you_."

"My Lord, Alvarez here declares that his fate has been foretold by the
stars, and that certain days in the year are unfavourable to him.  That
if he went into battle on those days he would assuredly be slain.  That
being so, it would be well to cast one's horoscope, and learn how to
keep from such dangers."

"But," said Fernando, "if duty called Dom Alvarez to battle on these
fateful days, he would but go in with a worse heart for thinking it sure
that he would never come out again."

"I should do my duty, my lord, I trust," said Dom Diego Alvarez, who had
followed Hartsed.

"Assuredly, senor; I did but speak to show you how little, to my
thinking, knowledge of the future is a help to the present performance
of duty.  And you have, surely heard, since it is the common story, how
a Jewish astrologer would have dissuaded the king, my brother, from
receiving the homage of his subjects on the day appointed, declaring it
to be an unfortunate one."

"But his grace was not influenced by a rascally Jew," said Harry.

"No," returned the prince; "against the opinions of his councillors he
held to his first intention.  The king and the dukes, my brothers,
having deeply studied the courses of the stars, have found great wonders
among them, for which they glorify God; but they do not read in them
their own future."

"Well," remarked Harry, "I must say that little knowledge came by one
attempt I know of, to read the future," and, in answer to the prince's
question, he related his expedition to the forest with Nella.

"Alas, poor child," said Fernando, much moved, "it needs no witch to
guess at her fate.  Young Mistress Nella must have a brave heart."

"There's nothing, my lord," said Harry, "that I should enjoy more than a
good blow at the Infidel, and there are many here that think with me.
We listen to tales of the siege of Ceuta, and long for our turn."

"Ay?" said Fernando, thoughtfully.  "It seems as if our prayers must be
weak when we withhold ourselves.  But who is coming?"

"It is the Duke of Viseo, my lord," said Alvarez.

"Then you may leave us," said Fernando, as Dom Enrique entered, and,
after an affectionate greeting, sat down beside him.

"I think of soon returning to Sagres," he said; "my sailors will be
looking for me.  Since we have penetrated to the coast of Africa, I have
more business than ever."

"I should like to go with you for a time to Sagres," said Fernando.  "I
could not make observations for you like Duarte, nor work out your
mathematics like Pedro, but I long to see more of your doings there."

"It is so cold at Sagres," said Enrique; "the winds there are too bleak
and rough for you; and yet it would be well for you to spend a few idle
weeks."

"I am strong now," said Fernando hastily; "nothing will hurt me."

Enrique smiled and shook his head.

"Nothing ails me _now_ but idleness," repeated Fernando, as he looked up
at his brother with a sort of inquiry in his face.

Enrique was standing leaning his back against the high chimney corner,
and now he turned his eyes on Fernando and said--

"Is that thought so fresh in your mind still?"

"Is it ever absent?" cried Fernando, rising in his eagerness.  "Can I
forget my childish vow, and the longing I have ever had so to devote
myself?  We have done much with Ceuta for a centre for the spread of the
Cross.  If Tangier were ours--" he paused, laying his hand on Enrique's
shoulder.  "See, my brother, I am strong enough now for a campaign.  I
should run no more risk than the rest of you.  Is it not my turn?  I am
the only one of us all whose sword has never been drawn.  Am _I_ fit to
be head of the Order of Avis?  Does such home-staying become my father's
son?  Must I be the only one to do nothing for the honour of Portugal or
for Holy Church?"

Enrique's enthusiasm was easily fired.  All his life he had been ready
to turn aside from his own special objects to strike a blow at the Moor.

"If you and I could head an expedition," he said, thoughtfully; "much
toil need not fall on you."

"Ah!" cried Fernando.  "At such a time I should feel no hardships.  I am
not so full of my own conceit as to imagine myself a fit leader.  Let me
but fight under your banner; profit by your experience.  Is not our
prosperity a shame, while we suffer that unimaginable evil at our very
gates?"

"It would consecrate all other efforts," said Enrique, with the peculiar
earnestness that always made his words weighty; "and to fight as we have
always wished, side by side, in this holy war!"

"Yes.  Alone I could do little!  This hope has been my one aim, my
prayer, through all the poor life that has borne so little fruit.
Enrique, _you_ have known it?"

"Yes.  I know that you have never swerved from it.  But you must not
call your life fruitless, my Fernando."

"Fruitful of impatience and discontent!  In truth I am not worthy of
this task."

"Nevertheless," said Enrique, with his grave smile, "let us together
offer our unworthiness to Him Who will purge our sins away.  So shall we
win honour for ourselves and our brother."

Self-devotion and personal glory were so united in the mind during the
reign of chivalry, that it was not marvellous that these ardent souls
did not quite distinguish between them.  Enlightened as the princes of
Avis were, they were, even Enrique, men of their own day.  Their more
personal aims of scientific discovery, missionary work, organised
charity and the like, were experimental, and they could not set them
quite on a level with the recognised privilege and the duty of
distinguishing themselves in the battle-field.  First, they must be
soldiers, afterwards, men of science and philanthropists, and Fernando
felt himself to have missed his vocation.  The deep sense of religion,
felt in especial by these two, offered them another and higher object.
Perhaps the strong desire of self-devotion was the talent specially
committed to the "ages of faith."  The evil they wished to remove was
great and obvious, and Fernando did not consider that he might be doing
the Church's work perhaps as effectually in another way.  He was humble
enough in his estimate of himself; he had done the work at hand without
a complaint; but the long-restrained wish, once entertained, swept all
before it like a flood, and could see no obstacles and no objections.
His natural tastes, his religious fervour, his wish for self-denial, and
that self which he had not yet altogether learned to deny, all worked
together, by the force of his strong will, to attain his object.
Enrique loved him too well to oppose him, and moreover was to the full
as impetuous, and more used to having his own way.

CHAPTER ELEVEN.

DIFFUSING MINDS.

  "How often, O my knights,
  Your places being vacant at my side,
  This chance of noble deeds will come and go."

The Princes Enrique and Fernando, having matured their ideas by much
discussion, decided on proposing to the King to make an expedition for
the taking of Tangier, similar to the one that their father had sent out
against Ceuta.  Should he, however, be unwilling to make a great
national expedition, they would obtain from him his consent, and as much
aid as he thought proper, and would devote to the cause all their own
resources, which were considerable.  Their eagerness grew as their ideas
developed, and some inkling of their wishes getting abroad, all the
younger nobility caught fire at the notion, and the princes soon saw
that their cause would be a popular one.

It was therefore with some confidence in the result that they sought
their brother in his private apartments, to lay their plans before him.

Duarte's life was one of unceasing toil for the good of his subjects.
He had already worked out a great scheme for improving the legal system
of Portugal, and his industry was immense.  His difficulties were much
increased by the over-liberality with which his father had given away
the crown-lands to his nobility, and many an anxious hour was spent by
Duarte in trying to find means to fill his empty exchequer.  He set an
example of economy in his household, closer than his young queen
altogether approved of; but the remedy for this great evil was still to
seek.  Busy as he was, however, he retained the scholarly tastes of his
youth, and his book, _El Leal Conselheiro_; or, _The Faithful
Counsellor_, a collection of moral and political sayings, was in its day
of great value.  Nor, however hurried, did he ever fail in kindness and
consideration, especially to Fernando, whom he regarded with almost the
protecting affection of a father.

He rose now from the table at which he was writing, and greeted his
brothers warmly.

"Ah!  Enrique," he said, "have you come to tell me how matters go in
your new dominions?"

For Duarte had made Enrique a present of his recent discovery, the
island of Madeira.

"Not now, sire," said Enrique, with some formality.  "We have a request
to make to you."

"You can hardly ask me for what I will not grant," said the King.  "Sit
here, Fernando," pointing to a couch by the fire.  "You look pale--are
you well to-day?"

"I am well and strong," said Fernando.  "You think too much of my
weakness."

And he remained standing, while Enrique, whose words of course carried
greater weight, unfolded their cherished scheme.  Duarte's face grew
very grave as he listened.

"This is your wish, my Fernando?" he said, moving over to him.

"The wish of my heart--of my life!" said Fernando, as he grasped
Duarte's hand.

"I fear that I see not the way to grant it," said Duarte, with a
reluctant gentleness difficult to contradict.

"Tangier," said Enrique, "would be a splendid jewel to set in the crown
of Portugal.  We were young and untried when we took Ceuta; it is little
likely that we should now fail."

"I do not fear failure," said Duarte; "assuredly not under your leading.
Yet my father could not see his way to further conquests in Barbary,
nor can I."

"How so?" said Enrique, bluntly.  He was quite as great a man as his
brother, and though thoroughly loyal to Duarte, was not much accustomed
to opposition from him, but rather to admiring assistance in whatever he
proposed.

"I will tell you," said Duarte, gently.  "You are a greater soldier than
I, Enrique, and your eyes see far into the possible future; but it is I
who must consider the well-being of Portugal."

"Pardon," said Enrique, "if I spoke in haste.  Without your good will we
could do nothing."

Duarte sat down on the couch and drew Fernando to a place beside him,
watching his face while he spoke.

"First," said Duarte, "I cannot tell where the funds to engage in such a
war are to be found.  We have no money to spare; it costs me much care
to consider how to support the state."

"We put our resources at your disposal," said Enrique.

"But yours, my brother, are already hardly pressed for purposes which
will, to my thinking, do more in the end for the spread of the Cross
than even the taking of Tangier."

Enrique was silent; he knew well enough the truth of this.  Scientific
discoveries were not made for nothing in days when only one man saw the
necessity of them.

"But," said Fernando, "it seems to me that a small force, well armed and
full of zeal, would be sufficient."

"You think so?" said Duarte, as if weighing words.  "War is very costly,
and even if the council consent, that would be no holy war for which
unjust taxes were levied."

Justice was too strongly impressed on the sons of King Joao for this
principle to be resisted, however unfamiliar it was to the fifteenth
century.  Fernando, however, spoke pleadingly.

"You speak of the well-being of Portugal.  Surely it is for the highest
well-being of a nation to engage in a noble and self-sacrificing
struggle.  There are better things than prosperity and ease."

"Yes," said Duarte.  "There are good laws and honest living, education,
and the due support of Holy Church.  See you, if my father's reign had
been, as we all once wished, one long war against the Infidel, where
would have been his translation of the Holy Scriptures into Portuguese--
where Batalha and our other great abbeys, to say nothing of the general
reform of the kingdom?  Do not mistake me, my brothers; my heart glows
like yours to fight for the Cross.  But, as I read my duty, God has
given me this piece of ground to till, and it calls for all my care.
You, too, would both be missed much from all the good works you have
taken in hand."

"We can return to them with new ardour," said Enrique.

"Yes, and Fernando longs rightly to bear arms.  I would it could be so."

"I live but half a life," said Fernando, low and earnestly.

"But then, bear with me while I tell you another difficulty.  What
pretext have I for making war on the Moorish king?  He has in no way
injured me!"

"There is never a prisoner taken but offers no pretext, but a reason,"
said Fernando, eagerly.  "Every captive groaning in those dungeons is a
good cause."

"There has been less kidnapping of late," said Duarte.

"Yes, since Ceuta was ours," replied Enrique.  "Take Tangier and there
will be none."

Perhaps Duarte was more inclined to the scheme by the ardour of
Fernando's wish than by any other cause.  He was still hesitating, when
there was a summons at the door, and the two other brothers were
admitted.

"Consult them on the matter," said Enrique; and Duarte, after the first
greetings, rehearsed Enrique's arguments and his own, demanding the
opinion of the new-comers.

"I say," said Pedro, decidedly, "that the scheme is a foolish one.  What
is the good of plunging Portugal into a rash war with a prince who is a
tolerable neighbour, as times go?  I give my voice against it."

"If it is done," said Dom Joao, "it must be by the force of the whole
country.  No smaller expedition could have a chance.  If Fernando had
seen anything of warfare, even his hot head could make no such
proposal."

"I do not rest on my own judgment, my brother," said Fernando, gently.
"Enrique's experience is beyond dispute."

"Enrique once tried to take Gibraltar," said Joao, referring to a rash
attempt of Enrique's youth, "and took me with him."

"When you were glad enough to go," said Enrique, smiling.

"Ay, but since then I have grown wiser.  Look you here.  Your ardour
runs away with you, and Fernando knows nought of the matter.  Tangier
would be a hard nut to crack, and he could not bear the campaign needful
for taking it."

"You have no right so to put me aside," exclaimed Fernando; then checked
himself.  "Pardon me, I am hasty.  I think indeed little enough of my
own powers.  I do but wish to devote my uselessness to the service of
Holy Church."

"Holy Church would take the will for the deed!" said Joao, with a
contemptuous good nature which was hard to bear.  He was very fond of
Fernando, but his practical and less tender nature had less sympathy for
him than any of the others.  Fernando coloured, but said nothing; and
Duarte, with an elder's authority, said--

"The wishes of our brothers, Enrique and Fernando, and their opinions,
have due weights I give way to them so far that I shall lay this matter
before the Council of Portugal, when all may speak their mind.  But, my
brothers, let not our difference of opinion bring the first cloud
between us."

"Nay," said Fernando, with rather a painful smile, "Joao does but prove
the truth of my complaint, that I have hitherto been the idle one among
you.  But we have taken enough of the king's time.  I would but ask him
to forgive me for urging my wishes on him."

"Nay, it is well to be reminded of our higher aims," said Duarte, who
had not quite approved of the way in which Fernando had been put down by
the others.  "We will speak of it again in Council."

In spite of Duarte's warning there was a good deal of hot discussion
between Enrique, Pedro, and Joao, which certainly resulted in fixing
Enrique's own view of the matter.  Duarte declined to speak of it
further in private, and Fernando's desire grew so strong that he feared
to trust his own temper in the dispute.  He spoke, however, in the
council well and to the point, urging his view of what number would be
sufficient for the attack, and the reasons why he thought that it should
be made.  Enrique supported him with all the weight of his influence,
and the war was exceedingly popular among the younger nobility.  Pedro
opposed it entirely; Joao declared it to be only possible with a very
large force and at great expense; and the king, finding his council
divided, at last appealed to the decision of the Pope.  If he authorised
the war, and would give a Bull of Crusade, well and good; if not, the
project must be abandoned.

But meanwhile Enrique and Fernando made their preparations, to be ready
to start at once when the consent, of which they never doubted, arrived.

CHAPTER TWELVE.

SELF CHOSEN WAYS.

  "I saw the Holy Grail, and heard a cry--
  O Galahad, and O Galahad, follow me."

The number of voices raised in favour of the Moorish war concealed the
fact of how many regarded it with disapproval.  Sir Walter Northberry at
once offered himself as a volunteer, and Harry Hartsed, in common with
all the members in Dom Fernando's suite, was hot in the cause, saw no
difficulties, and talked as if Tangier were already won, a mode of
proceeding provoking to the opposing princes, and to those who thought
with them.

No such light-mindedness could be urged against the prince himself.
There was, indeed, a light of hope and happiness in his face rarely seen
there before; but he spent long hours in prayer, not so much for the
success of his undertaking, as that he might be worthy to engage in it,
and constantly urged on his followers the necessity of preparing for a
holy war by a holy life.  He showed no resentment at his brothers'
opposition, merely saying that he did not wonder at their distrust of
the views of so inexperienced a person as himself, though he could never
be grateful enough to Enrique for his comprehension of them.  Enrique
had so many other matters in hand, in preparation for his departure,
that he had not much time to bestow on the collecting of the forces, and
moreover had something of the self-confidence of great conscious power,
that anything in which he was engaged could be made to succeed.  So that
Fernando had it all his own way, and perhaps was hardly the person to
realise all the difficulties in his path, since he credited others with
his own strong and unwavering zeal.

The war was, on the whole, popular among the clergy, and was approved by
the Archbishop of Lisbon; and Father Jose--who had been Fernando's
confessor and chaplain from childhood, and had constantly listened to
his longings for such an opportunity--rejoiced that his dear son, as he
regarded Fernando, should at last gain the wish of his heart.  But he
said much less about triumphing over the Moors, than about the necessity
of faith, purity, and holiness in those who would attack them, about the
sin of rivalry and contention among men engaged in a holy war, pointing
out how self-indulgence and disputes had been the ruin of crusades.  No
one, he said, who entered on a holy war, in such an unholy spirit, would
find the sword of the Moor open to him a passage from earth to Heaven.
No one, who, during this period of preparation, fell into mortal sin,
neglected his religious duties, or indulged in uncharitable feelings,
would be a true crusader, though he bound the cross on his shoulder, and
sailed under the authority of a Bull of Crusade.

These truths, however wholesome they might be, and however entirely
accepted and enforced by the prince himself, were not always palatable,
and Father Jose's preaching was often deserted for that of a chaplain
belonging to Dom Enrique's household, named Martin.  This priest was
instrumental in turning the minds of many towards the war.  He preached
in glowing terms the glory that was to be won both for earth and Heaven,
the certainty of success, the sure path to Paradise; painted vividly the
triumph over the conquered city, the splendid spoils that would be the
rightful property of the conquering soldiers of the cross, the dreadful
fate that would rightly befall the "Pagan hounds," whom they would
destroy; and finally promised absolution and the Church's blessing to
all those who heartily engaged in the contest.  This preaching worked up
the young nobility to a state of wild enthusiasm, and among others Harry
Hartsed, who, though greatly admiring his prince, thought his sentiments
rather fine-spun, and that to take arms with a view of revenging the
wrong of the Northberry family, and of gaining some spiritual advantages
for himself, was quite enough.

All his interest in his little playmate's lost sister was revived by the
intelligence that Sir Walter had declined all offers of marriage for
Nella in England, and that in the event of his returning safely from the
present campaign he meant her to come to Lisbon and rejoin him.  She was
now more than sixteen, and her reputation as a beauty had preceded her.

Harry thought that when spoils and honours should enable him to think of
a wife, he would like to see Nella's brave blue eyes, and hear her frank
tongue, before he gave his heart away to any dark-glancing, soft-spoken
Portuguese.

All through the spring the preparations were pushed forward; and at
last, after much delay, came the long-expected answer from the Pope.

He wrote that wars of offence with the Infidel were allowable in
resistance to any actual injury committed by them on any particular
kingdom, but during a period of entire peace could only be justified by
proving that the existence of the infidel power was injurious to
Christendom at large, in which latter case the Pope granted a bull of
crusade.  He could not now perceive that the King of Portugal had
received any injuries from the King of Barbary, or that the latter had
recently in any way made himself obnoxious to the nations of
Christendom.  He could not therefore grant the bull of crusade, and
recommended King Duarte to abstain from the attack.

This was King Duarte's own opinion; but he could not read the Pope's
despatch without thinking of the disappointment it would inflict on his
ardent brothers; and, alas! of the great unpopularity of disbanding the
already impatient army.  This difficulty also occurred to Pedro, who
blamed Duarte for having allowed the preparations to be begun.

"Look you," said Duarte, "I shall leave it in their hands.  If they can
conscientiously disregard the opinion of his holiness, let them make the
attempt.  It is indeed true that Fernando has never seen warfare.  When
this is over he will be content, and if Tangier is taken, maybe the Pope
will not think the war unjustifiable."

The Popes of the fifteenth century had not so lived or ruled that their
fiat should be accepted with unquestioning respect.  It was a hard
matter, however, to display the letter to the eager spirits who were
staking their all on the attempt.

Fernando turned pale as death, and uttered not a word.

Enrique read through the parchment, and then started up, exclaiming--

"There are things that man must do at his own risk.  Who can authorise
the inmost promptings of the soul that lead to great ends?  The holy
father may fear to speak; we will give Tangier to the Church, and win
his blessing at the sword's point."

So said Enrique, having indeed much experience of the inward promptings
of which he spoke; and Duarte was much swayed by his words.

Fernando was still silent.  There was the sharpness of a personal wish,
both to sway him and to cause a fear of being swayed.

"Let it be as the king will," he said, slowly; but Duarte had not the
heart to accept his submission.

"Matters have gone too far to recede," he said.  "Go, my brothers; I
confide in your judgment, and may the blessing of God rest on your
arms."

Fernando bent down and kissed the king's hand, while Enrique exclaimed--

"Tangier shall be yours, when we meet again."  Dom Joao shrugged his
shoulders.  "That depends," he said, "on the number and the condition of
your troops."

All was now hurry and excitement.  And between the contending views
there was much confusion.

Dom Joao's opinion on military matters had great weight; and when it was
known that he disapproved of the expedition, many held back from it.

The young queen liking the excitement of the start, and the probable
glory to Portugal favoured the enterprise; and strangely enough it fell
out, that the war was advocated by all the gayer and wilder spirits,
while the more sober doubted and held back.

Queen Leonora laughed at her husband for the strange reluctance that he
showed to part with Fernando.

"All the--others," she said, "were constantly absent from him on long
and dangerous errands; surely he could let Fernando go for a few
months."

"That is the very thing," said Duarte sadly; "I have never been parted
from him, and this war fills me with anxiety and dread."

"Why, you grow slow of heart," said Leonora, laughing.  "You did not
think so when Ceuta was before you."

Spite of this rallying, the parting was a cruel one.  Although there was
a keener sympathy of character and opinion between Enrique and Fernando,
Duarte had been to the latter a constant companion and support; and to
act against his judgment, and to cause him pain and anxiety, was the
first sacrifice in which his project involved him.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

BEFORE TANGIER.

  "Who is there that wishes for more men from England!"

On the 22nd of August the fleet of the Infantes set sail from Lisbon,
fourteen thousand men having been decided on as the number necessary for
the expedition, and in due course arrived at Ceuta, where Dom Enrique,
who had hitherto exercised but little personal superintendence,
proceeded to review them, and to examine into their efficiency, Fernando
assisting him.  The sight of Ceuta recalled to them both that first
campaign--so brilliant, so prosperous, so well-planned and executed.  It
was something to receive the blessing of the Bishop of the city that
their father had made Christian, and to see it happy and prosperous
under its new rule.

As the day went on, Fernando grew very weary of riding about in the hot
sun, and began sadly to discover how unequal his strength was to the
fatigues of a campaign.  Enrique, perceiving this, sent him back to his
lodging, whither he presently followed him in much perturbation.

"Fernando," he said, "things are against us.  My mind misgave me when we
landed as to our numbers; and now I find that, instead of the fourteen
thousand ordered to embark, we have but eight!  Many fell back on
hearing the Pope's decision; many more from respect to Joao's views.
There has been some strange want of common sense in the officers who
superintended the embarkation.  They say their orders were not precise,
and the king's commands uncertain.  Anyhow, we are here with but half
our troops?"

"Well, dear Enrique, we who are here must fight the harder!" said
Fernando, smiling.

"The commanders wish to send back the fleet for more troops," said
Enrique.

"No!  How should we keep up the spirits of those waiting here?  What
would the king think?  And the enemy would get wind of our intentions!
We must push on at once, and trust in the force of our onslaught?"

"That is my own view," said Enrique, "but my mind misgives me!"

"That is the most fatal thing of all.  It is too late for misgivings,"
said Fernando, resolutely.

"And you--how can you bear the march over these hot sands?  You are
over-wearied already."

Fernando winced somewhat, but answered, "You might go by land with the
main body of the troops, while I with the rest go to Tangier by sea.  I
could well do that."

This plan, after a good deal of discussion, was finally adopted; for
Fernando was far from well, and could not have attempted the land march.
He was the most cheerful and sanguine of the party; but there was so
much difference of opinion, and so much depression at the insufficiency
of the forces, that the joyful, resolute spirit of crusaders, seemed far
from the rest of the army, and time and energy were wasted in disputes
and lamentations.  The men had lost confidence in their leaders, every
one was of a different opinion as to waiting for fresh troops or pushing
on as they were, and instead of prayer, praise, or hopeful anticipation,
there was perpetual wrangling.

It was now found that Father Jose's teaching had far more effect in
softening, these differences than Father Martin's; for the former led
them to dwell on the blessing of a high and earnest purpose, which would
consecrate success, and could not be destroyed by failure; while the
latter fell in with the popular feeling, by finding fault with the
lukewarmness and want of zeal shown by the other Infantes, who had thus
risked the success of the expedition.  As he belonged to Dom Enrique's
household, he accompanied the land march; while Father Jose went by sea,
in company with all the members of Fernando's suite.

Harry Hartsed was one of the malcontents.  There was something provoking
to his common sense in the ill-management of the start; and though he
had no expectation of failure, it afforded him great satisfaction to
grumble at the princes, and even at the king, by way perhaps of showing
that he was not a Portuguese subject.  Young Alvarez was more scrupulous
and more serious-minded, but he had misgivings as to disregarding the
wishes of the Pope; and these two lads represented widespread phases of
public opinion.

Fernando heard but little of this.  Remembering how easily Ceuta had
been won, and feeling the utmost confidence in Enrique's skill, he did
not much fear failure, and bore no grudge against his other brothers for
thinking differently from himself.  He recovered his strength during the
sea-voyage, and as they neared Tangier, and he stood on the deck in full
armour with the cross of his order on his breast, the look of hope and
joy on his face communicated itself to his followers; and whatever else
they differed about, they were all ready to live or die for him.

Under his orders the landing of the troops and the meeting with Dom
Enrique's contingent was safely accomplished, and, in better spirits
than they had yet enjoyed, the little army prepared for the attack.
They found that their old enemy, Zala-ben-Zala, was in command at
Tangier, and soon became aware that the King of Fez was bringing large
numbers into the field against them.  Before they left Lisbon the king
had strenuously advised them not to leave the beach unguarded so that
the enemy could cut off their chance of retreat; and he felt the
necessity of this so strongly, that he sent an autograph letter to
Enrique at Ceuta, entreating him to observe this precaution.  Enrique,
however, either disregarded it, or found that with his small number it
was impossible to spare any from the attack; for there began such a
struggle as tried the courage of veterans, and showed the young recruits
the face of war in good earnest.

The Portuguese forces marched to the attack in two divisions, commanded
by the two princes.  Each division fought under the flag of Portugal,
and also under that of the order to which its leader belonged, the red
cross of Avis, the green cross of the Order of Christ; and on Enrique's
banner was inscribed the motto he had so well earned the right to carry,
"_Talent de bien faire_;" on that of Fernando the humbler legend, "_Le
bien me plait_."

They fought on through the hot September day, with fresh battalions
constantly coming up to the defence, till they became conscious that
they were contending against a superiority of numbers such as they had
never contemplated.  Troop after troop of turbaned soldiers came pouring
down upon them; nevertheless, they fought with such ardour, that
Enrique's division pressed right up to the walls of the town and raised
their scaling-ladders against them; Fernando's side having meanwhile
been so fiercely attacked, that it was all that he could do to hold his
ground.  Alas! the scaling-ladders which they had brought were too short
to reach the top of the ramparts, and after frightful loss of life, and
long hours of vain effort, Dom Enrique was forced to sound a retreat,
before the darkness overtook them, at the enemy's very gates.  He
reached the camp just as Fernando came up to join him, and the two
brothers embraced eagerly, thankful at least to find each other safe.

"You are unhurt?" said Enrique.  "Then all is not lost."

"Oh, yes, I am unhurt," said Fernando, "and ready for another attempt
to-morrow.  The odds are great, but our men showed no flinching.  I fear
me our losses are terrible."

"So great," said Enrique with reluctance, "and the odds are so much
against us, that there is but one thing left to do, and that is to
retreat.  We must go back to Ceuta, and wait there for fresh troops and
longer ladders."

Fernando recoiled almost as from a blow.

"What!--have we failed?" he said.

"Well, say we have not yet succeeded.  There is no help for it,
Fernando; it must be done."

Enrique was bitterly mortified, and disappointed, and spoke less gently
than usual; and perhaps Fernando had never struggled so hard; with
himself as before he answered--

"You can judge best, my brother; be it so."

There was no time to be lost in making the arrangements.  The army was
to re-embark while sheltered by the darkness, and Fernando went to see
how best to transport the wounded; while Enrique held council with the
officers, who all agreed with him as to the necessity.

There were loud murmurs, however, among the younger noblemen, and there
was a good deal of delay after the first decision before the final start
was made.  At last all was ready, and Enrique prepared to give the order
for the march in the silent night, without banner, shout, or trumpet.
How different from that, morning's approach!  What was it moving in
front of them, through the purple darkness of the southern night--long,
dim, white lines, between them and the sea?

Alas for the disregard of the king's counsel!  They were the white
cloaks of the Moorish troops, and the little Christian army was
surrounded on all sides.

"Betrayed! betrayed!  Caught like mice in a trap!" cried Enrique, losing
his self-control.  "Where is the false traitor to whom this is owing?"

"Hush!" said Fernando, laying his hand on Enrique's arm.  "Let none see
your amazement.  The hand of God is against us.  We were unworthy of the
cause we undertook in self-willed opposition."

He spoke in a tone of calm, sad conviction, and then, seeing Enrique's
distress, added gently--

"The blame lies on me.  I know well that you acted for my sake."

Enrique shook his head; then, after a moment's silence, started into
energy again.

"Now we must sell our lives hard.  There is no choice remaining.  We
march on the town with the first dawn of light.  And now to prayer.  May
God have mercy on us! we are in evil case.  Where is Father Martin?"

"My lord, my lord!" cried young Alvarez, rushing up, "here is a sentinel
who declares that in the dusk he beheld Father Martin pass him by, and
afterwards a figure steal to the enemy's lines."

"Where is the holy father!" said Enrique, calmly disregarding this
assertion.

But Father Martin was nowhere to be found, and instead of the proposed
solemn services, the whole camp was engaged in a passionate discussion
as to whether he had been the traitor or not.  Young Hartsed hotly
defended him, and he and Alvarez disputed till words almost came to
blows.

With the first ray of light the rail to arms was sounded, and several
hours were spent in desperate efforts to break through the enemy's
ranks.  It was all in vain; and as the shadows of evening fell the
recall was sounded, and in humiliation and sorrow of heart the defeated
princes sent to offer terms of capitulation, and to ask for what ransom
they and their troops would be allowed to depart.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

THE STEADFAST PRINCE.

  "Still to abide 'mid failing hearts high-hearted."

The two Infantes occupied a tent in the centre of the Portuguese camp,
and when their messengers returned they came out to the front of it,
and, surrounded by their chief officers, prepared to receive the Moorish
delegates who had come to offer them terms of surrender.  The wounded
had been cared for as well as circumstances admitted, and an attempt had
been made to draw up the poor remnant of the troops in good order, so as
not to produce an impression of utter defeat.  But nothing could alter
the dejected countenances and downcast air of the beaten army; the very
banners hung listless in the still air of evening, and many a wistful
look was cast at the blue sea, so near yet so unapproachable, beyond
which lay Portugal and home.

Life had never held so bitter a moment for Enrique of Portugal as when
he stood there to receive and not to dictate terms of surrender; and
from an enemy whom he regarded with a mixture of contempt and hatred.
He was, however, perfectly calm and impassive, not losing the advantage
that his splendid presence gave him, and prepared to accede to the
demand for a heavy ransom before he and his army were allowed to depart.

Fernando stood beside him; disappointment and self-reproach put aside
for the present, he showed himself an equally worthy representative of
the honour of Portugal.

The Moorish envoys were exceedingly courteous, and began their interview
with many compliments on the valour of their illustrious foes.

Enrique replied, very briefly, that the fortune of war being against
them, they must leave it to the King of Fez to name their ransom.

And then, still wrapped in courteous phrases, came the ultimatum.  The
town of Ceuta must be restored to its former owners, and to insure this
one of the Infantes, with a certain number of nobles, must remain as a
hostage in the hands of the King of Fez.

"The King of Portugal," said Enrique, "will be prepared for the payment
of any money ransom the King of Fez may demand."

"The town of Ceuta," said the chief officer of the Moors, "is the price
of your liberty.  Otherwise your troops must be put to the sword, and
you and your chief nobles retained as prisoners at the king's pleasure."

"The King of Fez," said Fernando, "has a right to impose conditions.  I
offer myself as the hostage he demands."

"Fernando--no?" cried Enrique, suddenly losing his self-contained
manner, and laying his hand on Fernando.

"The noble Infante," said the Moorish envoy, "need have no fears.  He
and his companions will be treated as the guests of the king, and will
be released immediately that Ceuta is in the hands of my master."

Fernando smiled.  "I have no fears," he said, quietly.

"And doubtless," said the Moor, "the King of Portugal will see that it
is consistent with his honour to release his noble brother without
delay."

"The King of Portugal," said Fernando, "will act as becomes an
honourable and a Christian king."

"I do not consent--I do not consent!" said Enrique, in such agitation
that Fernando said--

"We will crave leave to withdraw, and to discuss this matter first with
each other and then with our nobles."

So saying, he moved back into the tent, followed by Enrique, who threw
himself into a seat, covering his face.

"I--it must be I," he said.  "I will not leave you.  How can I look
Duarte in the face?"

"But I could not undertake the command of the troops alone," said
Fernando; "and besides, we will not give them _more_ than they ask."

Enrique still seemed unconvinced; Fernando sat down beside him and spoke
earnestly.

"Look you, Enrique.  My self-willed longing to give my life to the cause
of Christendom him brought this on us.  `Behold! to obey is better than
to sacrifice;' but I heeded neither Duarte's wish nor the Pope's will,
nor our other brothers' opinion.  It is fitting therefore that I should
bear the brunt of failure."

"To demand Ceuta," cried Enrique; "Ceuta, our one conquest from the
realms of darkness!  A law, alas! that we--that _I_ should have lost
Ceuta to Christendom!"

"That," said Fernando, very low and tenderly, "will not be for _your_
decision."

Enrique started, and looked up in his face.  Fernando took him by both
hands and smiled with wonderful sweetness, while he said--

"When we _took_ Ceuta, my Enrique, and all my joy was gone at the fear
of your death, you bade me remember that we would both have given our
lives for it in the battle.  _I_ bid you think of that now."

Enrique bent his head down on his brother's hands and groaned aloud.

"How can I face Duarte--what can I say to him?" he repeated.

"Tell him," said Fernando, "to remember that both he and I are Christian
princes, soldiers of the Cross of Christ.  And give him my--my love."
Here he faltered for a moment; then, recovering himself, said, firmly--

"We delay too long.  Let us consult with the officers.  I cannot, I
suppose, remain here alone."  Enrique seemed quite unable to recover
himself, and Fernando was forced to take the lead in the discussion that
followed.  There was no lack of volunteers to share in his
self-devotion, nor indeed was there any particular reason to shrink from
a temporary detention in an enemy's country.  Several nobles of
sufficient station to satisfy the requirements of the Moors were
selected, and Father Jose resolved on accompanying his beloved prince;
and this fact a little comforted Enrique, and enabled him once more to
meet the Moorish envoys, and to announce to them that he had resolved on
accepting the terms proposed, and that his brother, with twelve
companions, would remain behind as hostages for the restitution of the
town of Ceuta, he himself and the rest of the army being allowed to
depart unharmed.

Moussa-Ben-Hadad, the Moorish envoy, was courtesy itself.  El Senor Dom
Fernando, Infante of Portugal and Grand-Master of Avis, would be the
guest of his king, who would be honoured by his presence, and would do
his best to make his stay agreeable, short as it would be.  He would be
allowed free communication by letter with Portugal.  A document was
prepared and signed by Moussa-Ben-Hadad and by the two Infantes, to the
effect that Fernando was to remain a prisoner until such time as Ceuta
should be given up.

Alvarez and Harry Hartsed both entreated to remain with him; but he
refused steadily, saying that their rank was not sufficient for
hostages, and that no unnecessary force should be--wasted.  Sir Walter
Northberry was among the wounded.

All was prepared for the start during the night, and with the first dawn
of day this defeated Christians began their retreat, in good order and
with banners flying.  They had no need to eat their hearts out with
mortification and wounded pride, as they noticed the innumerable ranks
of the foes between whom their own small force took its way to the
beach.  Self-reproach and shame was for the leaders, who had so
misjudged and mismanaged; and Enrique felt as if the weight bowed him to
the earth.

The time for parting came, and the two brothers were alone.  It might
seem but a formal parting for a short time, but upon them both lay the
weight of a conviction which each was too tender to the other to put
into words.  But the sympathy between them was too deep and keen for any
doubt as to the other's opinion.  Fernando laid his hands on Enrique's
shoulders and looked full into his face.

"You are my other self, and you know my heart by your own," he said.
"Courage! for we shall not part for ever."

Enrique dared not give way.  He took Fernando's hand, and together they
went out to the front of the tent--the last one remaining of the little
camp--where Enrique's suite were ready mounted on the one side, and the
escort of Moors awaited Fernando on the other.

The brothers embraced each other in silence; Fernando mounted his horse
and bowed to the knights and nobles standing round.  In the light of the
summer morning, with the new sun shining on the red cross on his breast
and on his steadfast, smiling eyes, Enrique beheld him; then, mounting
his horse, he rode away, and left this well-beloved brother behind.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

A BURNING QUESTION.

  "To do a great right, do a little wrong."

The ill-fated expedition had not long set sail before the king
discovered its insufficient numbers, and in all haste he ordered Dom
Joao to equip himself and follow his brothers to Ceuta.  Joao, to do him
justice, was perfectly ready to do so, and in a very short time set sail
with a fair number of troops, hoping to join them before they could
leave Ceuta, and, had they waited for a reinforcement, all might have
been well.

He had not calculated on their over-haste.  The vessel bearing the fatal
news crossed him on the way; and when he arrived at Ceuta he was greeted
with the story of the defeat of the army, of the detention of Fernando,
and of the serious illness of Enrique, who, completely overcome by
mortification and anguish of heart, had fainted on reaching his ship,
and had been carried on shore at Ceuta, unable to exert himself further.
All was in confusion; but Dom Joao wasted no time in reproaches or
regrets; but after giving a few necessary orders, and encouraging the
troops to look for better times, he went at once to his brother's
lodging.

Enrique was recovering a little from the violence of the fever that had
seized on him, and was dressed and lying on a couch; but when he saw his
brother he rose up, weak as he was, and threw himself on his knees
before him, covering his face.

"Alas, my brother! how can I look on you?" he cried.  "I have been the
worst enemy of my country and of the Church and of my most dear
brothers!"

"It has all gone very ill," said Joao.  "We must seek for a remedy.
Rise up, my brother; you shame me.  This from you to me!"

"Ah, could I but find a harder penance!" sighed Enrique; but he allowed
Joao to help him back to his couch, and began to tell him how it had all
chanced, and to ask what had brought him there in such good time.

"Duarte has troubled much about Fernando," said Joao; "how was it with
him when you left him?"

But the attempt to speak of Fernando threw Enrique into such an agony of
weeping that Joao was obliged to cease questioning him, beginning to
perceive how terrible must have been the experience that had thus
prostrated one of such resolute will and power of endurance.

"Courage!" he said; "a better day must dawn.  Fernando will soon be
restored to us; and though we yield Ceuta nominally, it shall go hard
but we will soon win it back again.  For that object a war will cause no
difference of opinion."

Enrique made no answer.  He lay silent for some moments, then turned and
looked up at his brother.  "We were eating our horses before we yielded,
and there was no water, and no hope.  That must soon have killed him and
all the poor fellows whom we have led to ruin."

"You would have been fools to hold out," said Joao, bluntly.  "But what
is to be done now?  Here am I, with six thousand at my back--"

"Here?  Fresh troops?" cried Enrique, starting into animation.  "Then
what is to hinder one more effort?  Let us go back to Tangier, and win
it, or die!"

"But the treaty?" said Joao.

"The treaty!  That does but hold Fernando fast.  We gave no pledge not
to continue the war on another footing.  And they harassed our rear
enough as we retreated to show how far they care to keep their word.  I
am another man, now you give me hope."

Joao was not altogether averse to the proposal, and Enrique, with
reviving spirits, recovered his natural ascendency; and arrangements
were made for Joao to return home with the sick and wounded, while
Enrique, with the fresh troops, marched again on Tangier.  No second
brother, he said, should be thus risked.  His first care, however, was
to put Ceuta into a complete state of defence; and while he was thus
engaged came first the news that the fleet which he had sent home
immediately after the retreat from Tangier had met with a violent storm
and been wrecked on the coast of Andalusia, where the Castilians had
showed great kindness to the distressed sailors.  Next arrived a
peremptory despatch from the king, ordering both his brothers to return
at once, and to make no further effort to continue the war for the
present.  Enrique was bitterly disappointed, though he felt that he
could not wonder at the king's doubt of his judgment.

"I cannot look him in the face," he said; "I cannot see his grief.  Go
you to Lisbon, and I will hide myself in Sagres, and pray for pardon."

The king convoked the States-General of Portugal, and a great council
was held to decide on the next step.  The Pope was again written to for
his opinion, and the discussion began with all the ardour and heat
attending a question where good men see, strongly, different sides of
the right.  For Duarte himself it was a time of agonising doubt.  His
peculiar tenderness for Fernando made the thought of his loneliness and
suffering, of his possible hardships and of the loss of his daily
presence, haunt him by night and day.  Every feeling of his heart urged
him to give up the city and win this beloved brother back.  But then, he
looked on himself but as the steward who must give an account of his
kingdom.  Ceuta, Portugal itself, were not his to yield.  What right had
he to give back one acre of Christian land to the realm of darkness--to
let the consecrated soil be profaned once more by the accursed faith of
Mahomet?  What life, what love, was too precious to be sacrificed to
save the souls of the Christians of Ceuta?  This was one side of the
question; and perhaps it is hardly possible in these days to realise how
powerful this obligation seemed to such a prince as Duarte.  On the
other hand, it was urged that it was a foul shame to grudge any
fortress, however valuable, for the life of a prince of Portugal, who
had voluntarily offered himself, trusting in the honour of his country,
and also that, after all, they had given their word to cede Ceuta, and
were bound to redeem it, even to an infidel power.  These were the
nobler views on either side.  Of course the party who contended for the
retention of Ceuta contained many who cared nothing for the religious
question, but who declared openly that the great sea-port was worth far
more to the state than the precarious life of a prince who had never
been able to make himself prominent or useful, while many of those who
wished to yield it cared little for Fernando, and less for the pledge,
but were only anxious to avoid the expense of a war.

But between the right on either side Duarte's scrupulous conscience
wavered with agonising uncertainty; though with his deep love for his
brother, and his instinctive preference for the simpler, more immediate
duty, he inclined somewhat to the view of yielding the city.  Pedro and
Joao spoke in the council with no uncertain sound.  A treaty should be
kept, they said, and their dear brother's life saved at all costs.  No
sacrifice could be too great to make.  Then let them go to war with
every resource at their command, and win Ceuta back, and Tangier, too.
Their words had great weight; but the Archbishop of Braga, a powerful
ecclesiastic, spoke on the other side, all the other bishops agreeing
with him, declaring that one man's life must not be considered in
comparison with a whole city.

The Pope's letter came in support of this view.  The war had been
undertaken in defiance of his wishes, and had led to an unhappy result.
Certainly, Christian land must not be given up to an infidel power; but
he offered the much-desired full of Crusade, and recommended Duarte to
go to war to deliver his brother.  All this time Enrique had remained at
Sagres and made no sign, only trusting that the matter might be settled
without his intervention.  But now, Duarte wrote, summoning him to
Lisbon, assuring him of his forgiveness and affection, and desiring to
hear his view of the question.

The time had gone by for the wild anguish with which Enrique had met
Joao; but when he came into Duarte's presence, and kissed his hand, ten
years might have passed over the heads of them both since they parted.
Duarte's gentle cheerfulness had faded, and all the fire had gone out of
Enrique's great grey eyes, and his manner was subdued and spiritless.

Duarte made him sit beside him, and for a long time they were silent,
holding each other by the hand.  Then Enrique said--

"My brother, you can forgive?"

"We suffer together," said Duarte.  "Enrique, you know what our brothers
say in this matter, and the contrary opinion of the Pope.  How does your
conscience speak?"

Enrique's strong frame shook, as he answered--

"Were I the hostage, I could not so buy my freedom.  Would that I were?"

Then Duarte took a letter from his bosom and put it into Enrique's hand.
It contained a few lines from Fernando, speaking of his good health and
kindly treatment, and begging for Duarte's forgiveness for the rashness
that had risked so much.  He sent messages of love to all his brothers,
especially to Enrique, "who granted me my heart's wish at the cost of
his own judgment."  There was no single word as to his own return, or as
to the cession of Ceuta, and Duarte said--

"This most precious letter was doubtless read by his jailor before he
was permitted to send it, so that he could not freely speak his mind, to
us."

Enrique kissed the letter, he seemed unable to speak, and Duarte said--

"I sent for you, since you and he were ever as one, so that your mind on
this matter will be his."

"So he said."

"Yes, you wrote me his words," said Duarte.

There was long silence, and at last the King spoke again.

"Grieve not so terribly, my brother, speak as your conscience urges.
Alike we love him."

"Alas, yes!  Duarte, his one wish was to see those cities Christian.
For that he longed to die.  I _know_, he meant that you should hold fast
by Ceuta.  And we were bound to that service.  Had he died by a Moslem
sword, we must have given thanks for a blessed end.  My life--_his_ life
must not be weighed in the balance with Christian souls.  Remember our
knighthood.  We shame him, if for his sake we tear down the Cross our
father raised, and see the Crescent glittering again on the cathedral of
Ceuta.  We dare not put our brethren before our God."

Enrique's faltering voice strengthened, and the colour came back into
his face as he spoke.  The terrible anguish of this avowal had been
faced and met; the bitter cross which he had helped to fashion taken on
his shoulders.  It had cost many a long hour of prayer and fasting
before he had brought himself to the point of declaring the view that
his inmost conscience had all along suggested, and even now he implored
Duarte to spare him from the necessity of speaking of it in the council.
He could not change his mind; but if the States-General, if Duarte
thought otherwise--

"This was for me only," said Duarte.  "No one shall question you.  Alas!
your silence might have told me your conviction.  I seem to hear him
speak through your lips."

Pedro was less considerate than Duarte.  He was indeed too generous to
utter a word of reproach to Enrique for his former disregard of his
opinion, and when, coming in to seek Duarte, he saw his changed looks,
he greeted him with the utmost kindness; but the substance of the
conversation could not be concealed from him, and he said,
sarcastically--

"Well, your conscience may be at ease.  There are many in the council
beside you and the Archbishop of Braga, who think our poor Fernando's
life worth less than a valuable fortress.  He is sickly, they say, and
of no use to the state, let him pine in exile, we will keep Ceuta safe
while we have it."

"Hush, my brother," said Duarte with his gentle authority.  "Well you
know that taunt is out of place."

"I meant no taunt," said Pedro; "but it was one thing for Fernando to
dream of crusading lying here on his couch, or even to lead an army to
the attack, and quite another for him to suffer all the contumely which
Moorish cruelty and spite can suggest, if we do not hold to our side of
the bargain."

"You speak as if we would leave him in their hands without an effort,"
said Duarte.  "But, come, the Queen waits for supper for us.  My
Enrique, you will be a welcome guest."

Enrique would fain have been spared the supper, though of course no one
but his brothers had a right to question him on his views; but he knew
that it was best that he and the King should be seen together, and came
to the table, though he looked so white and sad that the Queen rallied
him on his unsocial air.

Leonor disliked depression and dull times, and did not see why the
cession of Ceuta should be made a burning question.  Dom Pedro, on the
other hand, disliked the Queen's frivolity, so he turned to Enrique and
engaged him in a discussion of the latest calculations, by which his
study of the stars was being reduced to a science useful to mariners;
and that congenial topic brought a little brightness to Enrique's
mournful face, for he and Pedro differed on some nice point, and in
discussing it forgot for a brief moment the dreadful difference that
really lay between them.  But the responsibility that rested on his
shoulders never passed from the King's mind.  Others thought, argued,
believed, but in the long run he must act.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

OLD FRIENDS.

  "But the blue fearless eyes in her fair face,
  And her frank voice, showed her of English race."

In the midst of all this turmoil and excitement Eleanor Northberry came
back to Portugal.  Suitable escorts were so rare that, one having
offered itself, she was sent back without previous notice, and arrived
just as her father had recovered from the wound received before Tangier,
and while the question of the cession of Ceuta was still before the
States-General.

She had grown into a most beautiful maiden, tall and straight, light of
foot, and slender of limb, with a clear voice that spoke her mind
without fear or favour; blue eyes, clear and bright as the morning; and
a skin fair and rosy, such as had not been seen in Lisbon since the
young days of Philippa of Lancaster.  The arrival of the English beauty
was like a ray of sunlight in the gloom of that time of suspense and
sorrow; and to Harry Hartsed it dispersed the clouds altogether; for she
greeted him heartily as fellow-countryman and friend.  He lived, too,
with Sir Walter Northberry since the break-up of Dom Fernando's
household, so that they had many opportunities of intercourse, and Harry
was envied, especially by Alvarez, who fell a victim to this new and
lovely creature the first time that he beheld her.

Young hearts will be gay, and young lips will laugh, happily for the
world, even in sad times; and Harry and Nella, a few days after her
return were enjoying a lively chat over their old recollections of
pleasant Northberry.

"This central court, with its fountain, and those tall orange-trees, and
the couch on which my father sits, is almost the only thing I can
remember well.  We stood there under the trees, I and Catalina, and the
prince sat here, by my father, and gave us the little crosses, on the
day we sailed."

"Alas!" said Harry; "when shall we see our beloved prince again?"

Nella did not know much of the matter in dispute, and decidedly inclined
to the view of rescuing the good prince at all cost.  She looked solemn
for a moment, and then said,--

"Ah! there is no witch here to tell us what he is doing."

"Do you believe in the witch still, Mistress Nell?" said Harry, slyly.

"No, sir; not since I went down to help my aunt give out the dole one
day, and saw her eyes look out under old Goody Martin's hood.  Doubtless
she knew us all well, having been at the manor every week.  Oh, you need
not laugh; when I change my mind, I say so."

"I wish there was another witch near Lisbon, whom you longed secretly to
consult about your sister," said Harry in an insinuating tone.

"Sir, when I wandered in the woods by moonlight, I was a silly little
girl; now I am a woman, and wiser.  Alack!  I think I miss the dogs and
the fresh breeze, and I know I miss my dear aunt and uncle.  This old
home is very new.  I halt and stammer when my father speaks Portuguese.
I am altogether an English girl."

"There is no speech like English," said Harry; "I love it best."

"Oh, you have grown to look quite like a foreigner," said Nella,
saucily.  "I am but a country maid, and your court is too solemn for
me."  There was an indescribably joyous sweetness in Nella's voice and
manner that took from her gay retorts anything of boldness.

"See, Harry," she continued.  "To-morrow I am to be presented to the
queen; I practise my reverence every day."

She came up to him as she spoke, making a low, sweeping curtsey.

"Rise, fair Senorita," said Harry; "our poor court is honoured by such a
guest."

"Now--now, I know you are no longer an Englishman!" cried Nella.  "That
speech was never learned in Devon!"

"Like a Portuguese, madam, I can talk; but I mean what I say like a true
son of Devon."

"I cannot believe in such perfection.  You were never one to belie
yourself with over-diffidence."

"I leave that to my betters," said Harry, with a bow.

"Oh, saucy boy!" cried Nella, laughing, then paused suddenly, as the
gates were thrown back without, and her father entered, cap in hand,
escorting an exceedingly tall and stately personage, with a sad but
kindly face.  Behind him came Alvarez; and the whole scene brought back
strongly to Nella's mind the visit of Dom Fernando, years ago.

"My lord," said Sir Walter, "allow me to present to you my remaining
daughter Eleanor."

Blushing, and with unwonted bashfulness, Nella curtsied timidly, in very
different style from her mock reverence five minutes before.

"Welcome home, senorita," said Dom Enrique, with a grave smile.  "You
come at a sad time;" and then, as if he could hardly turn his thoughts
from the matter in hand, he continued, addressing her father,--

"You know, Sir Walter, that the States-General have at length resolved
to offer a heavy ransom for my dear brother, and if this is refused, the
Pope offers a Bull of Crusade, and we strain every nerve to free him by
force of arms."

"I am aware, my lord, that Ceuta is not to be ceded," said Sir Walter
rather drily.

"It has been so determined," said Enrique, with a sigh; for well he knew
that the decision had been made on no such lofty motives as actuated
himself.  Most men had thought Ceuta too precious to be parted with, not
because it was a Christian town, but because it was a strong fortress;
and Enrique had the unspeakable pain of finding himself on the same side
with men who cared nothing for his brother; and whose principles he
despised.

"The king resolves," he said, "on the strictest economy, to make this
possible.  He has changed his mode of living, and cut off his few
pleasures, for our brother's sake.  He hopes that his nobility will
follow his example."

"The late king, my lord, was so generous to his nobles that they owe
their utmost to his blessed memory."

"Even so," said Enrique.  "But now, Sir Walter, I came here to-day to
speak with you of--of the foul treason that cut off our retreat, and
made my brother's sacrifice necessary.  That most accursed traitor and
renegade, Brother Martin, has indeed disappeared; but it has been
whispered that others--his friends and followers--knew of his intention,
and that he had in some measure spread the poison of his apostasy among
his followers and admirers.  Think you this is so?"

Harry Hartsed, who had been standing apart with Alvarez, gave an
indignant start, and coming forward, said, impetuously,--

"My lord, Brother Martin's preaching was ever in favour of the war.  He
never uttered a word of treason in my hearing, and I saw much of him.  I
do not believe that he was the traitor."

"Softly, softly," said Sir Walter.  "Master Harry, you speak too freely
to the duke."

"Pardon," said Harry, doggedly; "but I will speak for my friends when
falsely accused."

"The treason of Brother Martin," said Enrique, "has been proved by
eye-witnesses.  No Christian gentleman should call him his friend."

"If I may speak," said Alvarez, "Senor Hartsed was much with Brother
Martin, and in his councils."

"What!  You dare to say that he spoke treason to me!" cried Harry.

"Young gentlemen," said the prince in his tone of grave dignity, "you
forget yourselves.  Sir,"--to Harry--"you have given your opinion, and
that is enough.  Sir Walter, I must go, for I have much business on
hand."

Dom Enrique rose as he spoke, gave to Nella--who had retired to some
distance--a courteous farewell, and went out, his look of sorrowful
oppression never having given way during his visit.  Alvarez followed
him.

Sir Walter, when his guests had departed, turned back to Harry, and
rebuked him sharply, both for daring to stand up for so foul a traitor
as the renegade monk, and also for forgetting the respect due to the
prince.

Harry took the reproof sullenly.  His heart too was sore at the thought
of his lost master.  Brother Martin's passionate preaching had really
stirred his emotions, and made him feel himself a true Crusader.  He
thought him unjustly accused, and was determined to defend him.

Alvarez, on the other hand, was filled with wrath at the very sound of
his name, and the result was that the next time they met the two young
men had a violent quarrel, in which Alvarez was passionate and Harry
obstinate and sulky.  They were silenced and rebuked by Sir Walter, who
happened to overhear them; but they parted in mutual anger and hatred.

All was going wrong.  The king suffered much in health from his sorrow
and from the great labours which his endeavours to fill his empty
exchequer cost him.  Dom Enrique was unapproachable in his grief and
pre-occupation; and the gentle Fernando, whose eyes and ears had ever
been open to his followers' troubles, and who had managed to heal many a
quarrel, was far away.

Into the midst of this sad society, where every one was full of
mortification, sorrow, or anger, had come Nella Northberry, and her high
spirits recoiled from it.  She was sorry for the prince and angry at
Brother Martin's treason, but she was not unhappy like the rest--only
dull, and a little home-sick.  She soon became aware of her power both
over Harry and Alvarez, and her vanity was not quite proof against the
flattery of the passionate homage of the young Portuguese.  Her love of
mischief prompted her to provoke her old companion by as much sauciness
as was consistent with the etiquette which she was compelled to observe
towards him; for the queen had placed her among her ladies-in-waiting.
Nella hated court life, was too young and undeveloped constantly to keep
herself in sympathy with the prevailing troubles, and, in short, she
diverted herself by making her two admirers jealous of each other.
Nella was young, gay, and unguarded; but she soon had cause to regret
her first month in Lisbon.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

MISJUDGED.

  "But whispering tongues may poison truth."

Spite of sadness of heart and severe retrenchments, a certain number of
court ceremonials were inevitable, particularly when the convocation of
the States-General had filled Lisbon with the Portuguese nobility and
great ecclesiastics.

Nella did not love pomp and state; she had been accustomed to a life of
great freedom and simplicity, and, spite of some girlish pleasure in the
handsome dresses provided for her by her father, she found it
unspeakably wearisome to stand behind Queen Leonor for hours while she
held receptions.  One of these took place as soon as the offer of a
ransom for Dom Fernando had been decided on, and the whole company were
full of the subject, discussing the wrongs and rights of it at every
moment when speech was possible.  But besides the main question, there
was a strong undercurrent of suspicion and indignation against the
supposed sharers of Brother Martin's treason.  A great many people who
had followed the apostate priest and had admired his preaching were loud
in abuse of him, and repeated more than one saying which _now_ appeared
to them suspicious.  Harry Hartsed, from a mixture of obstinacy and
dislike to join in an outcry on an absent man who could not defend
himself, declared that there was no proof against Brother Martin, and
that he had always heard him express the most loyal sentiments.  He was
fresh from rather a sharp discussion on these points when the queen's
movements made it possible to approach Nella, who looked very handsome,
her fair skin set off by her green and silver dress, and her golden head
towering above the other ladies.  She smiled when she saw Harry, as if
his presence was a pleasing variety.

"Well sir," she said, in English, "these court receptions may be mighty
fine for you, who have your tongue free to talk, but I find it dull
enough to stand speechless for hours."

"Speak now, then, fair mistress," said Harry, smiling; "and let me catch
your words as they fall.  Or would you prefer to listen while I tell you
that I have but lived through the hours till I could reach your side?"

"No," said Nella, pouting.  "Why, have you grown into a courtier too?"

"And do you really wish yourself back again at Northberry?"

"Ay, that I do!  Indeed, Harry," said Nella, with a sudden change to
earnestness that reminded him of her childish days, "sometimes I think
that I do not love my good father nearly enough; for I cannot help
wishing to go back again to Devon, though since Adela and Walter
Coplestone have married and left the old manor it has been solitary
enough."

"I shall not be able to go back to Devon till I have seen war enough
make my fortune," said Harry; "nor do I wish to go--now," he added,
meaningly.

Nella blushed a little and cast down her eyes, and as she raised them
they met those of Alvarez, fixed on her with an expression of such
passionate jealousy that her heart gave a frightened throb.  How she
wished that she had never teased Harry by encouraging his rival--for as
such she began to recognise Alvarez; and though she scarcely realised
that Harry wished her to be more to him than his old playmate, he had
always been jealous of interference, and the feelings of Alvarez were
unmistakable.  The latter, too, was by far the best match, and Nella had
a frightened conviction that her father would favour this suit whenever
it was formally offered.  She was glad when the queen signed to her to
attend her, so that further speech was impossible.

While this little scene was passing a dance had been going forward--one
of those stately and ceremonious exercises which were limited to a few
couples at a time, whose graceful movements afforded a spectacle for the
rest of the company.

Dom Pedro had led out Queen Leonor; and the king excusing himself on the
plea of fatigue, sat down a little apart, watching the dancers with sad,
unseeing eyes.  Presently Enrique came up and joined him.

"I have a petition to present to you, my brother," he said.

"What is it, then?" asked Duarte; "what is it you wish?"

"Will you give me leave to go with the envoys who offer the Moors this
ransom?  Who could plead as I?  And at least I should see my Fernando
once more."

"I cannot refuse you," said Duarte; "but, Enrique, my mind misgives me.
I would not be too long without your counsel."

"_My_ counsel!" said Enrique, bitterly; "take any counsel rather than
mine."

Duarte smiled.

"Your presence, then," he said.  "But I think it is well that you should
go, though I have little hope, Enrique, in my heart--"

"Dare to utter such a threat, and you shall answer for it with your
life!"

These words, in tones of high indignation, suddenly interrupted the
brothers' colloquy.

"How now?  Young gentlemen, remember where you are?" said Enrique,
advancing, and confronting with his stately presence Hartsed and
Alvarez, who, with flashing eyes, and hands on their sword-hilts, had
been so carried away by their dispute as to forget entirely the royal
presence.

Alvarez collected himself at once, bowed, and drew back; but Harry cried
out, fiercely, "My lord, I care not where I am!  Dom Alvarez has
insulted me foully, and I defy him to repeat his base slander!"

"The cause of your dispute, sir," said the prince, "can be of no moment
to me, unless it were confided to me in a more suitable manner.  Such
violence argues ill for your cause, be it what it may."

The prince was himself very sore-hearted, and Harry had committed a
great breach of propriety; but he felt himself deeply injured, and flung
away without a word.  Alvarez followed him into the court outside, and
then the two young men turned and faced each other, and Alvarez spoke.

"I believe you to have been cognisant of the treason of your friend, the
miscreant priest, Martin."

"Speak at your peril," shouted Harry, "or I will go back and before all
the princes give you the lie!"

"As you will, senor.  I will not yield the Lady Eleanor to a traitor,
nor see my prince's confidence abused by a foreigner."

"Foreigner!" cried Harry.  "No one but a rascally _foreigner_ would
utter such an insult.  Draw, and defend yourself!"

Alvarez was not slow to answer this demand, but the clash of arms in the
palace precincts soon collected an indignant crowd, and among them Sir
Walter Northberry.

"Now, Master Hartsed," he cried, wrathfully, "brawling in the palace
court.  What means all this?  Put up your swords this moment,
gentlemen--for shame?"

"Master Hartsed challenged me and gave me the lie," said Alvarez.

"Dom Alvarez insulted me and called me traitor," cried Harry.

"This is not the first time that I have heard this wrangling," said Sir
Walter.  "Senor Dom Alvarez, it would be well if you would explain your
charge against a member of my household.  And you, Harry, be silent
until I question you."

Trembling with indignation, Harry put a great force upon himself and
remained silent; while Alvarez bowed, and looking at Sir Walter with his
dark, flashing eyes, said--

"Sir, I had not meant in any way to make public my suspicions, but
Master Hartsed's violence towards me, in especial after the honour which
you this morning have done me, obliges me to speak."

Sir Walter bowed, and Alvarez continued--"Perceiving some slight tokens
of favour which the lady whom I am unworthy to name had the grace to
bestow on me, Master Hartsed lost patience and demanded how I dared to
address Mistress Northberry."

"That is false?" cried Harry, "you lie in your teeth!"

"Master Harry, will you be silent at my desire?" said Northberry,
sternly, "and hear Dom Alvarez to the end!"

"I," said Dom Alvarez, "was fain to tell him, that I marvelled how the
friend and defender of the traitor Martin, whose name was on all men's
lips, should dare to raise his eyes to an honourable lady.  Upon which
he threatened, and finally drew upon me."

"And on what grounds, Senor Dom Alvarez, do you accuse Master Hartsed of
cognisance of this foul treason?"

"Master Hartsed," said Alvarez, "was ever in the company of the traitor,
he has denied the possibility of his treason, and still calls him his
_friend_.  He must choose, I think, between this friend and loyal
gentlemen."

"Into my house he comes not if he takes the traitor's name on his lips,"
said Northberry.  "Now, Master Harry, what have you to say?"

"Nothing, before those who call me traitor," said Harry, with some
dignity; then his anger getting the better of him he exclaimed--"Dom
Alvarez knows best whether it was not he who threatened to interrupt
_my_ suit with his foul slander."

"Your suit, ha, ha!" said Sir Walter, roughly, "'tis the first I have
heard of it.  Now, to put an end to this folly, I will tell you, sir,
that I have betrothed my daughter to Senor Dom Alvarez de Pereira.  Nor
do you make a fit return for my hospitality by raising your eyes to her.
And this matter of your intimacy with the traitor priest must be looked
to.  Not that I hold you guilty of his treason, but it misbecomes you
even to name his name."

Those present noticed, that instead of violent self-defence Harry
Hartsed received this speech in silence, only turning very pale as he
bowed stiffly to Sir Walter and walked away by himself.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

AT ABZELLA.

  "My Arthur, whom I shall not see
  Till all my widowed race be run."

Many miles inland, out of sight of the blue sea, on the other side of
which was home and freedom, the Portuguese captains waited at Arzella
for the news of their deliverance.  They had been hurried away from
Tangier almost immediately after the Portuguese had embarked, and though
no positive cruelties were inflicted on them, the Moorish promises of
courteous treatment did not prevent their escort from making their
journey as wretched as they could.  Intentional forgetfulness of needful
comforts, rude jests, over-haste, and much ill-temper, tried the hot
spirits of the Portuguese nobles sorely, and they were less wretched now
that they remained under the charge of Zala-ben-Zala, and were allowed a
certain amount of freedom and solitude, during which they could solace
themselves with speculations as to the turn events were taking in
Portugal, and how soon Ceuta would be handed over to the Moors.  The
prince never joined in these discussions, and when they were urged upon
him would reply gravely--"As God wills;" though he sometimes endeavoured
to pass the time by tales of the old Crusaders, of the sufferings they
endured, and of the support which was granted to them.  And once, when
some of the younger nobles repeated to him the insulting language used
towards them by their jailers, he pointed to a gang of slaves who were
toiling over some of the fortifications of Arzella.

"So suffer our fellow-Christians," he said.

"They are not peers of Portugal," said the young man, sullenly.

"Stripes wound and blows hurt, be they who they may," said Fernando.
"We can but endure; but oh, my friends," he added with tears in his
eyes, "would that I were alone to suffer!"

"Alas, sir!" cried the young man, yielding, "it is your indignities that
cut us the most."

It was after some weeks of dreary waiting that the prisoners became
aware that envoys had arrived from Portugal and had been brought under a
safe-conduct to Arzella, where Zala-ben-Zala was to discuss with them
the terms of their deliverance, and one day the prince was summoned
alone to meet them.

Fernando turned as he left his companions and said, in a tone of
peculiar earnestness--

"My friends, remember, were we free, we would all give our lives to save
Ceuta to the Church of Christ."

Fernando was conducted from the fortress where he had been lodged across
the town of Arzella to the governor's palace, and ushered with much
state and ceremony into the great hall, where stood Zala-ben-Zala,
surrounded by a crowd of Moorish nobles and officers in their splendid
dresses of state; opposite them a few Portuguese in full armour, and in
front Dom Enrique himself, also armed, his dark surcoat giving
additional dignity to his great height and stately presence, he was
bareheaded, and as pale as death.

"You are at liberty to speak with one another," said Zala-ben-Zala.
"Maybe the interview may change the mind of your highness."

"I speak the mind of the council of Portugal," said Enrique, in a voice
of deep sadness.  Then he stretched out his arms: "Oh, my Fernando, the
choice was not for me," he said.

Fernando held him fast for a moment, all the surroundings forgotten; and
then they sat down together on a great divan and looked into each
other's face, and Fernando knew that Enrique had not brought his
freedom.

"Come," he said, "tell me your errand."

"They will not yield the fortress," said Enrique.  "They offer any
ransom, and the Moors accept none."

"As God wills," said Fernando, but he tightened his grasp of Enrique's
hand.

"My most dear brother, Pedro and Joao would have freed you; but I--that
Christian town; and now I see the council risks your life--not for the
Church, but for selfish power, and _I_--I lent my voice to theirs."

"I, too, have thought much on it," said Fernando, steadily; "of the
obligations of the treaty, however ill our enemies have kept the lesser
provisions of it."

"What, they ill-use you?"

"Nay--you see I am well.  And I think of those unhappy ones whose fate
hangs on mine.  And I thank the merciful Saviour, who lays not the
choice on me, but gives me the easier way of submission, and permits my
poor life to be a defence to a fortress of Christendom as in no other
way it could be.  The wish of my heart is given,--may I but tread, in
the footsteps of those blessed ones who have endured worse sufferings in
the same cause, on honour which myself little deserved?"

Fernando smiled as he spoke, and for a moment Enrique felt that the
confusion of good and bad motives, the doubtful self-denial, and still
more doubtful justice, that led to the retention of Ceuta, were lifted
by his brother's faith and love into the instrument of a holy martyrdom.

"So," continued Fernando, "bid Duarte not to grieve, for if I suffer, it
is no more than I have deserved, and to suffer, even without choice, for
such an end, is too great honour."

"Duarte is sick with the care and weight of decision," said Enrique
sadly.

"Ah, could I but see him?" said Fernando, suddenly faltering; then, with
renewed firmness, "But it cannot be.  And you, my Enrique, how changed
your face is.  You must turn your thoughts again to Sagres and the
adventures of your mariners.  That is the appointed way in which you
must serve.  We still work together."

"And if--if the council and the king resolve to yield Ceuta?"

"Why then--God's will be done!" said Fernando, "and we may yet clasp
hands again.  Meanwhile some soul is passing away with the holy rites of
the Church, some babe receives Christian baptism--who else were cast
into outer darkness.  But see; the governor interrupts us."

"Prince Fernando," said Zala-ben-Zala, "I trust your entreaties have
induced the Duke of Viseo to endeavour to change the mind of the king."

"The King of Portugal," said Fernando, steadily, "must act as he thinks
well.  I have made no entreaties, and shall make none."

"Know you what you say!" thundered out Zala-ben-Zala, suddenly changing
his tone.  "Think you that henceforth your life will be easy, as it has
been!  Shall the forsworn hostage be treated as a king's son?  No!  Our
prisoner no longer--you are our slave; and when next King Duarte sends
envoys, let them see their prince of the blood--their Grand-Master--
tending the horses of his Moorish masters as a slave--I say--in fetters
and in rags?"

"The princes of Portugal do not yield to threats," said Fernando,
calmly.

"I am but a mouthpiece," said Enrique, as steadily as he could.

"Go home and tell what you have seen," said the Moor, roughly.

The coarse threats stood the two princes in good stead, for their pride
nerved them to a firm and silent farewell, though Enrique's heart was
ready to break as he passed out of the hall with the officers who
accompanied him, and left Fernando standing alone among his captors.

A short while afterwards, as the Portuguese nobles were eagerly watching
for the prince's return, or for a summons to join him, their prison was
suddenly entered by a party of Moorish soldiers.

"Now, Christian dogs, our turn has come," roughly shouted the foremost;
and seizing on the Portuguese nearest to him he tore off his velvet
mantle, flung it aside, and forced him down while he fastened fetters on
his wrists.  Resistance was vain, and with blows and curses the whole
party, the old priest included, were loaded with chains, and dragged
through the streets to the courtyard of the governor's palace.

There stood their beloved prince in a rough dress of common serge,
fetters similar to their own on his wrists, and his chained hands on the
rein of Zala-ben-Zala's beautiful Arab horse.  He stood with his head up
and his lip curled, with a sort of still disdain.  At that moment the
Portuguese envoys, with Dom Enrique at their head, passed with their
guards through the court, and Zala-ben-Zala advanced to mount his horse
with a rude gesture to the prince who held it.

Fernando bowed with knightly courtesy, and, advancing, held his stirrup,
as if it were a graceful service rendered by a younger to an elder
noble; then looked up and smiled in his brother's face.

CHAPTER NINETEEN.

TIMES OUT OF JOINT.

  "Commingled with the gloom of imminent war
  The shadow of his loss drew like eclipse,
  Darkening the world."

Nella Northberry was standing alone by the fountain in the hall of her
father's house.  The oranges were ripe on the trees, their sweet blossom
was passed, and she herself looked pale, sad, and sullen.  She had
scarcely known what made her heart so heavy when her father had told her
that she was to regard Dom Alvarez as her betrothed suitor, receiving
her girlish expressions of unwillingness with entire indifference.
Spirited as Nella was, it could not occur to her to resist her father's
will, or think of disposing of herself in marriage; she knew that it was
impossible, and the girls of her day had generally too little
intercourse with the world before marriage to feel aggrieved at their
absence of choice.  Nella's life had not passed quite in accordance with
established rules hitherto, and the fetters galled her.

She stood looking down into the clear waters of the fountain, her tall
slim figure drooping a little with unwonted sadness, and her thoughts
straying tenderly back to England--England, which she should never see
again now.  She thought of the grey convent, the wide woodlands now
painted with russet and gold, the fresh autumnal breezes, the cheerful
barking of the dogs at the old Manor house door; and her heart went out
to it all with a passionate yearning that brought the hot tears to her
eyes.

"If Catalina were here, perhaps Dom Alvarez would have liked _her_
best," she thought, "and I might have gone home again."  And with this
strange reason for missing her lost sister, the tears came faster, and
she pressed her hands over her eyes.

"Nella?" suddenly said a voice beside her, "does your father tell me
true?  Are you indeed betrothed to Dom Alvarez?"

Nella looked up with a start, for beside her stood Harry Hartsed, with a
pale face and heavy eyes, as if he had passed a sleepless night.

"Oh, yes, Harry, it is true!" said Nella.

She turned her head away and cried bitterly, while Harry was dumb for a
moment; for if she had told him that she was married already, there
would hardly have been a greater barrier between them.

It did not occur to Harry to ask her if she loved Dom Alvarez; but he
said, passionately--

"I had hoped one day to go back to the old Devon tower, which must come
to me; and though I never could have made you a great lady, Nell, you
should never have been vexed or crossed, and have had your will always."

"Oh, hush! hush!" said Nella, "hush!"

"Tell me one thing," said Harry; "Dom Alvarez accuses me of a share in
the treason that rained my beloved prince.  Do you believe _that_ of
your old playmate!"

Nella turned round, her blue eyes flashing through their tears.

"I would as soon believe it of myself," she said.

"Then I care for no one," cried Harry; "and when my prince comes home,
he will see me righted."

Perhaps it was as well for Nella that her father at this moment came out
of the inner room.  She ran up to him, and grasped his hand.

"Father, Harry is no traitor!  How dared Dom Alvarez utter such a
falsehood!"

"Leave me to settle that matter, my daughter," said Sir Walter, sternly,
"and go you within.  What have you to do with the disputes of these
gentlemen?  Your country-breeding makes you too forward, and too free of
tongue."

Nella blushed deeply, and withdrew; but as she curtsied to her father,
she looked for a moment at Harry, and said quickly--

"I shall never believe it!"

In all ages of the world, it is hard for women to sit at home and wonder
how matters are going in the world without, and Nella had no chance of
asking a question as she prepared for her first interview with her
suitor.  She was very unhappy, and knew too well that she would not have
been so had Harry Hartsed been in Alvarez's place; but she submitted to
her unusually splendid toilet with a sense that she was submitting to
the inevitable.  Only she felt as if the blue brocade weighed down her
young limbs till there was no life left in them, and as if the strings
of pearls were burning their way into her brain.

She waited long after she was dressed, growing more and more weary, till
she began to wonder at the delay.  Perhaps Dom Alvarez would not come
to-day after all.

At last, hearing sounds without, she sent one of her maids to inquire if
her father had returned, and in a moment Sir Walter came into the room.

"Alas! my daughter!" he said, "better a widow's coif than all this
bravery!  Young Hartsed, whom I renounce for ever, has foully slain
Alvarez!"

"How?" said Nella, in a tone of utter amaze.

"He attacked and challenged him in the public street; they fought, and
Alvarez is wounded well-nigh to death; while Hartsed is put in ward
during the king's pleasure.  Now we see his treason plain enough--he
sought to be rid of the witness of it."

"Do not all men fight those who call them traitor?" said Nella, in a low
clear voice.

"Your lady is distracted with the fatal news," said Sir Walter, hastily;
"she knows not what she is saying.  See to her, ladies, I have no time
to spare."

With desperate hands Nella unfastened the jewels from her hair, and
helped to cast aside her gay attire; then she sent all the ladies away,
and alone awaited further tidings.

These were not long in coming.  Dom Alvarez was severely wounded, but it
was thought that he would recover in time; and after a very hasty
inquiry into the matter, the king sentenced Hartsed to banishment from
Lisbon.  It was ill for them all that his strength was failing under
sorrow and suspense, and that Dom Enrique had started on his unhappy
embassage to Arzella.

As it was not thought suitable for Nella to visit the court during the
severe illness of her betrothed, she was not aware of the king's
increasing indisposition, and was not present at Dom Enrique's sad
return, yet she dimly hoped that he might take up the cause of his
brother's favourite.  But the news he brought stirred up the whole
nation to a pitch of fury, and preparations for a renewal of the war
were begun on a much larger scale, and with lavish expenditure.  The
pride of Portugal was touched to the quick, and the king reduced his
private expenses, and gave all he could save to the common object.  The
winter and spring passed in arming and planning the campaign.  Nella's
affairs were in abeyance.  Harry Hartsed was gone, no one knew whither;
and Dom Alvarez, on recovering from his wound, left Lisbon for change of
air, and was to join the army with Sir Walter.  All the talk was of hope
and revenge, only the king's face was unchangeably sorrowful.

One evening, shortly before the expedition was to start, Duarte was
lying on a couch in his private room, resting from the fatigue of a long
day in council.  Beside him sat Enrique, who, with Joao, was to command
the army, Dom Pedro being needed at home in the king's weak state.

"Enrique," said Duarte, breaking a long silence, "ere we part, I would
tell you my mind on certain matters."

"I will never cross your will again, my brother," said Enrique, humbly.

"I have thought much and long," said Duarte, with his grave gentleness.
"This war is good,--justified by the conduct of the Moors to our beloved
one.  But, if it fails, I have written in my will that Ceuta must be
ceded to them, and, to my thinking, it was our duty to have abided by
our word.  I was slow plainly to see this, but in this long sickness my
eyes have grown clearer.  Our Blessed Lord knows the souls in Ceuta
which are His own, and would guard them through the fiery persecution
which the failure of our arms would have brought on them.  Maybe He
would have allowed us to deliver them from it.  It shows the faith of
the blessed Cross in a poor light to the heathen when Christian men
break plighted faith.  And yet, Enrique, though as I lie here on soft
cushions, with all things easy round me, I seem verily to feel _his_
rough usage, taste _his_ hard fare, it goes harder with me to pluck that
jewel out of my father's crown, and give it back to the darkness whence
he won it, than to see my Fernando win a martyr's crown."

"I shall never raise my voice against your will," said Enrique.  "Daily,
with prayer and penance, I entreat that Ceuta and Fernando both may yet
be saved to us.  If Ceuta goes, there is nothing for me who lost it but
to vow myself to a life of penitence, and till Fernando is safe, there
is no joy on earth for me."

"Take heart, my Enrique," said Duarte, tenderly.  "If you have risked
Ceuta, you have won wide lands to Portugal and to the Church; and
remember, it is to you and Pedro I confide my son."

"Alas, Duarte, there would be no hope for church or country without you
at the helm."

"As God wills," said Duarte, and words and tone vividly brought Fernando
before Enrique's mind.

And before many days were over the stroke fell; and, as some say, of an
attack of the plague, which he was too weak to resist, as others tell,
of the long strain of grief and responsibility, the just and gentle
Duarte died, of whom all agree that he never uttered a harsh word, nor
committed an unrighteous action.

  "A selfless man and stainless gentleman,
  Who reverenced his conscience as his king."

He died, and with his life all the preparations for war fell to pieces,
and came to an end.  Portugal was plunged into a wild chaos of dispute
and mis-government; the three remaining princes passed out of the clear
following of clear aims that had marked their youth, into the wretched
conflict, half-good, half-evil, of hand-to-hand fighting, with the
necessities of every-day, till they hardly knew for what they were
striving.  There were miserable differences and cabals between the
widowed Queen and Dom Pedro, who yet strove to act honourably by her;
wild, mad accusations against these loving brothers of having poisoned
Duarte, for whom either of them would gladly have died, a world of wrong
and worry, from which they could not escape.

With the rights and wrongs of that unhappy story, a sadder one perhaps
than the fatal siege of Tangier, we have now no concern; but some
strange change must have passed over the mind of the nation, for no
other effort was ever made to rescue Fernando.  To all seeming, his
country forgot him, as Harry Hartsed was forgotten.  But Enrique, when
in the intervals of his wretched life at court he went to gaze over the
wide Atlantic, and plan how to penetrate its mysteries, prayed for the
unknown suffering of his beloved brother, while Nella Northberry added
to her prayers the name of another loved and lost one.

CHAPTER TWENTY.

DARKNESS.

  "For there is no way out of pain and trouble but only to endure them."

A party of travellers had come to a halt in the shade of a clump of
trees, which pleasantly varied the monotony of the rough, sandy plains,
covered with long grass, through which the road lay between Arzella and
Fez.  A weary journey, under the blasting winds and blazing sun of a
North-African May.  The sun was sinking now, and the wind was calm, and
the Moorish cavalry, with their white turbans, flashing weapons, and
beautiful steeds, brought to a halt on the small spot of grass, stood
out picturesque and bright under the dear, rosy sky, a subject for a
picture; the foil to these splendid soldiers being the coarsely-clad
prisoners, or perhaps slaves.  Prisoners, for how could they escape from
their well-mounted guards?  Slaves, for they ran hither and thither,
fetching and carrying, rubbing down the horses, and bringing them water
from a spring at hand, their steps, if lagging, hastened often by blows,
and their answers, if sullen, met by rough jests or curses.  And very
various was their demeanour.  Some fierce, and evidently stung to the
quick, glanced up at their tyrants with muttered curses, and eyes of
wrath and scorn; some sulkily did as little as they could; some stumbled
through their work in utter weariness and pain, others hurried over it
with officious readiness, humbled into an effort to avoid offending
their terrible masters.  It is not noble blood alone that can give a man
patience, dignity, and courage, when called to lead the life of a slave.

One there was who, a little apart from the rest, was tending a splendid
charger, black as jet, and with large, gentle eyes.  The beautiful
creature stood patient and still, as slowly, as if from fatigue and
weakness, but with no apparent reluctance, and with more than one gentle
word and caress, his delicate-handed attendant washed the sand from his
hoofs, and gave him food and drink.  As the prisoner turned somewhat
feebly to lift a heavy skin of water, one of his fellow-slaves flung
down his own burden, and, lifting the skin, held it to him on his knee,
kissing the hand that took it.

"My lord, my lord, to see you serving that accursed brute?"

"Nay, my friend; thanks for your help; but do not call the good horse
names.  My brother, the king, has none such in his stable.  I think I
have something of his love for noble horses," said Fernando, with a
smile.  "But finish your own task, Manoel, or Moussa-ben-Hadad will give
you the rough words you like so little."

"No matter, if I can aid your highness."

"I have finished," said the prince; "and our hour of rest is coming."

As he spoke, a tall Moor came up and struck young Manoel a rough blow,
bidding him not to linger, but to bring him the water for his horse at
once.  Fernando did not interfere; perhaps experience had taught him
that it was useless; but his brow contracted, and he bit his lip hard.

A little later, and while the Moors were taking their evening meal, the
Christians, with whom of course they might not eat, sat together apart,
eating the coarse black bread provided for them.  It was their most
peaceful moment, for they could then talk freely with each other.

The prince was one of the last to join them, and as he came up slowly
and wearily, several sprang up to meet him, trying to form a couch for
him with their rough garments, and offering to bathe his feet, which
were bruised and dusty.

Fernando accepted their services gently and gratefully, asking them how
they had fared during the day.

"As ill as usual, my lord," said one sulkily; "and small prospect of
anything better at Fez.  But the infidel dogs might beat my brains out
ere I would consent to fawn and crouch and feign compliance, as Dom
Francisco did but now.  I scorn it!"

"Scorn will not give us a better supper than black bread; see, here are
dates, to flavour it," said Dom Francisco, while the first speaker, an
older man, snatched the gift from his hand and flung it away; and there
was a disproportionate outcry of annoyance and vexation.  Worn-out
nerves and tempers were easily raffled, and the men who had resigned
themselves to lose their freedom could ill bear the loss of a handful of
dates.

"Ah, hush, my friends," said Fernando; "worse than blows without are
quarrels within."

"Now, now, my sons," said Father Jose, who had come up unperceived,
"that was ill done.  Now, if my lord of Viseo will not fling them away,
here are oranges and a piece of dried goat's flesh, given me by that lad
in a green caftan, who has, methinks, a less hard heart than the rest.
And it has struck me, my children," proceeded the good father, "that the
blessed Paul and Silas would not have converted their jailer had they
bickered with each other, or grumbled at the prison fare, instead of
singing Psalms in the darkness of the night.  Wherefore, as singing
causes the Moslems to blaspheme, I propose, while we divide the goat's
flesh, to recite a portion of the Psalter."

Father Jose was a powerful though elderly man, and as he had never been
accustomed to a luxurious life, he was able to endure the privations and
hardships of his captivity better than most.  He was good-tempered, too,
and cheerful, and was without the heart ache that almost all the others
carried about with them for near and dear ones, lost, it seemed, for
ever.  And, more than all, his faith was strong and clear, and a real
support to the failing hearts of others.

Fernando's weak health caused him to suffer far more physically than any
of his companions: he had been very ill at Arzella, and was even now
hardly able to bear the fatigue of each day's journey.  Nor did the
blood either of Avis or Plantagenet run so tamely as to make insults
easy of endurance; he pined for his brothers, and felt every trouble of
his comrades as if it were his own.  But then, too, he was able to feel
the comfort of their love and devotion.  As he lay on the ground, too
weary to eat or take much share in the conversation, his face, worn as
it was, had not its old restless look, and his eyes as they watched the
sunset, were full of peace.  It was not only that he had lost the sense
of an unfulfilled desire; not only that he felt that his sufferings
_did_ serve the cause that he loved so well; better still than this, the
passionate will that could see but one way of serving had learnt to
submit at last, till he could take each trial patiently as it came from
the Hand that sent it, and--completest victory of all--accept also each
alleviation.  The evening air and the fair landscape, the interval of
rest and quiet, were really soothing to him, and there was something in
this peacefulness which drew all his comrades to his side, each with his
tale of trouble, or with the offer of some little service as comforting
to himself as to the prince.

"We are still together," was a consolation even in the midst of their
suffering.

Alas! it was soon the only one left them.  Too soon they looked back on
that hard journey as a period of comparative happiness.  When they
reached Fez their masters changed.  Whether the sea-port towns had been
considered as too unsafe in case of a siege, or whether the African
Moors had been enraged by the strong representations of the Moorish king
of Granada--that, under all the circumstances, the heavy ransom ought to
have been accepted,--Zala-ben-Zala sent his prisoners into the domains
of Abdallah, the young king of Fez, whose prime minister was named
Lazurac, and was one of the most savage monsters of history.

The unhappy prisoners were driven, with stripes and curses, through the
streets of Fez, the dark-faced Moors flinging rude words, and even
stones, at them as they passed.

"_One_ bore His Cross through a raging multitude, and for us!" said
Fernando to Manoel, who was near him; but as he spoke they came close
under the frowning towers of the Darsena, a kind of castle, which
guarded the town.  Here they hoped at least for rest and shelter; and it
was with almost a sense of relief that they were driven through the
gates and into the inclosure of the castle, and on--through a long
passage, down--down a sort of rough slope, through some great doors,
which were locked and barred behind them, leaving them, in an utter
blank of darkness, they knew not where.

Utter darkness--not a ray of light penetrated their prison.  As they
sank down, wearied, they could not see each other; when they put out
their hands they could feel nothing near; all was silent and black as
the grave.

"Let us pray," said Father Jose, and began, "Out of the deep have I
called unto Thee, O Lord."

It was the deep indeed--the very depth of misery; and as they began to
recover from the fainting weariness of their terrible march the horror
of the darkness struck them more forcibly, and they were afraid to move,
lest they should lose each other in unknown depths, till Fernando
proposed that the least exhausted should try in a body to reach the wall
of their prison, but never going beyond easy recall from himself and one
or two others, who were completely spent.

They found that their dungeon was of considerable extent, but they were
afraid then to penetrate all across it.  It was damp, too, and bitterly
cold, and no provision of food or drink seemed to have been made for
them.  It seemed like the intentional ending of their sorrows; and numb,
stupefied, and utterly hopeless, they crowded together on the cold floor
of their dungeon, unknowing whether minutes, hours, or days passed over
them, till suddenly their door was opened, and a man with a basket and a
dim lantern in his hand was allowed to enter.

"Prisoners," he said, in broken Portuguese, "I am a Majorcan merchant,
and am allowed to sell bread to the prisoners."

"For the love of Heaven, a light," cried Manoel, "that we may see our
misery."

The merchant came towards them, and turned his flickering light on the
face of Fernando, who lay, almost senseless, in Father Jose's arms.

"We have no money to buy of you, good friend," said the priest; "but if
of your charity you could give us a drop of wine for our dear Lord--"

The Majorcan knelt down, put his lamp into the hand of Manoel, and
pouring out a little wine, held it to the prince's lips; and as it
touched them he opened his eyes and looked round, as if bewildered.  The
merchant had a good grave face, and, when they repeated that they could
not buy of him, he smiled and said, "Still, he came there to trade with
prisoners," and put his provisions down beside them; and he also left
them the means of making a light; but this he advised them to use
secretly and at rare intervals, as for that he had no leave.  He showed
them the extent of their prison, and left them two or three sheepskins
to form a bed.  Whether at this time Lazurac really cared if his
prisoners perished or not, or whether he intended to force the prince
into entreating his brother to deliver him at any cost, certain it is
that the few visits of this good Samaritan were all that kept hope, nay,
life itself, in the wretched prisoners.  The hopeless darkness, the
terrible inaction, and the damp, dark atmosphere, broke down both health
and spirits.  Some, to add to the misery, were seized with fever, and
lost their senses, raving wildly; and though Fernando was saved from
this, he was never able to raise himself from the ground, and suffered
terribly from pain and weakness.  But through the three long months of
that terrible trial he never uttered a complaint, save of his
companions' sufferings; and little as he could do for them, there was an
influence of peace in the touch of his hand and the sound of his voice.
There were times when, treated like brutes as they were, the animal
nature awoke within them, and they were ready to tear each other to
pieces in the bitterness of their despairing fury; other times, when
they sought a kind of relief in wild ribald jests, and many long
intervals of sulky, faithless despair; when even Father Jose's prayers
and encouragements were unavailing.  Then the voice that was always
gentle, the words that were always pure, the faith that saw beyond the
dungeon walls, would woo them to a better mind; and the love they bore
him helped them to hold to the love of God; and when, now and again, by
the faint light of their little lamp, Father Jose took of the good
Majorcan's bread and wine, and celebrated the Holy Eucharist, as long
ago it had been celebrated by martyrs and confessors in dens and caves
of the earth, they felt the power of that Holy Presence, and attained to
something of the martyr's spirit as well as the martyr's fate.

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

THE FEAST OF FLOWERS.

  "Go, bring me showers of roses--bring."

Flowers--flowers everywhere; one blaze of colour through the royal
gardens of Fez.  Was not the young King Abdallah about to marry the
Princess Hinda, daughter of a neighbouring potentate, and had he not
vowed that since she loved flowers better than anything in the world,
flowers she should have, specimens of every flower in his dominions!
Lazurac might rule over people and prisoners as he would, but he must
provide flowers for his boy sovereign, and workmen to plant, deck, and
wreathe his gardens within the space of a few hours with every flower
under heaven.  Round every column and arch were twined ropes of roses,
oleanders, and arums, in limitless profusion.  Crowds of girls tied the
wreaths, while the slaves brought them by hundreds and festooned them
from tree to tree.  And so, because hands were short, or perhaps to
insult them still further, the Portuguese prisoners were released from
their dungeon and brought out once more into the light of day, to hang
up rose-wreaths for the king's _fete_.

But although food had been given them and somewhat more decent clothes,
and they had been allowed to wash off their prison-stains before meeting
the eyes of their fellows, they sat blinking at the light and staring at
each other, feeling as if they were the ghosts of the men who three
months before had entered that gloomy dungeon, so terrible had been its
effect on them.  As the slave-drivers perceived that even the strongest
of them were really incapable of any active exertion, they were desired
to sort the great heaps of flowers that had been thrown down in a shady
spot, "and to feast their eyes on their master's magnificence."  Soon
they were told their work would be daily in the royal gardens.

At another time all would have chafed bitterly at so effeminate an
occupation; but now air, light, and employment of any sort were so
enchanting to them that these bearded European nobles picked away
contentedly at the flowers, and Father Jose sorted the red roses from
the white with positive pleasure, while young Manoel, who had failed
much of late, fell asleep with a smile on his face; and Fernando,
twining the flowers round his fingers, told how his mother, Queen
Philippa, had described to him and to Joao how the maidens of England
would deck a pole with flowers and dance round it on the first of May.

Suddenly rushing out towards them from an inner court, laughing and
chattering, their veils pulled carelessly half over their faces, came a
party of young girls.

"More flowers--flowers!  Slaves, bring them hither!" cried the foremost,
imperatively; then as the prisoners rose to comply, she recoiled with a
scream at the ghastly figures that sat among the gorgeous summer
flowers.

"Make your obeisance to me," said a Moor, coming up, as he struck
Fernando across the shoulders with his staff; while Manoel, weak as he
was, sprang at him like a wild cat.

"Ho, fetters here!--Villains, you resist?"

"No no!" cried the lady.  "They cannot work so fast in fetters.  The
princesses want flowers--more flowers;" and the girls flew back to their
garden, followed by some of the Portuguese.

The seclusion of the Moorish women was not so complete as to forbid
occasional intercourse with the other sex, slaves especially; and
presently the foremost girl came scudding back again to where Fernando
lay, holding something in both her hands.

"Poor Christian," she said, "here is some milk for you.  Muley is cruel
to strike you.  Shall I ask Princess Hinda to beg the king to cut his
head off?"

Fernando had acquired enough of the Moorish language to understand her,
and negatived this alarming proposal decidedly, while he thanked her for
the milk, saying--

"I would not be so discourteous, lady, as to sit in your presence, but
that I cannot rise."

"I suppose that is because they ill-use you," she said, sorrowfully.
"Look," taking a heap of flowers and laying them beside him, "now Muley
will think you have sorted those.  What do they call you?"

"Selim," said Fernando; for though it was well known who he was, like
all the rest he had a slave's name.

"Perhaps you will work for my princess," said the girl; "she will be
kind to you."

"Leila, Leila?" cried a voice, and, snatching up a handful of flowers,
she ran off in haste.

The preparations were soon made, and the _fete_ proceeded, like a dream
of Eastern splendour and profusion.  Thousands of lamps, as the twilight
fell, shone among the flowers.  The slave-girls danced wonderful and
graceful figures before the guests, and the Portuguese prisoners, with
other slaves, held long garlands in a circle to enclose a space for the
dancers, their pale, haggard faces showing in strange contrast to their
surroundings.  Zala-ben-Zala was the chief of the guests.  As he walked
round to survey the dancing, he paused opposite to Fernando and
addressed him--

"So, slave?" he said, scornfully, "how like you this work?  Is this fit
service for a Prince of Portugal?"

"No," said Fernando; "nor fit treatment for a hostage, nor even for a
prisoner of war, if so you choose to regard me."

"Will you now write and urge on your brother to deliver you--that loving
brother who has let you pine in a dungeon rather than yield a fortress
for your sake?"

"I will urge nothing on the King of Portugal," said Fernando, steadily;
"nor are the sufferings you choose to inflict on me worthy to change the
policy of a nation."

"You know not yet what those sufferings may be."

"Well," said the prince, calmly, "the worse they are, the sooner they
will end in death, when your power ceases.  You fear not death,
Zala-ben-Zala, neither do I."

"There are those here that will break your proud spirit yet," said the
Moor fiercely, as he went on.

But the prince's words had not been altogether without effect.  If he
died from the cruelties practised on him, the power of his captors was
over, and their last chance of winning Ceuta was gone.  Therefore it
became their aim to make his life as wretched and degrading as it could
be, but still a life possible to live; and none of the party could have
borne many more days in their terrible dungeon.  A wretched lodging was
assigned to them in Fez, their food was of the coarsest bread, their
clothes of undressed sheepskins, and all day they toiled as common
labourers in the royal gardens, with multitudes of other slaves,
Christians of all nations, degraded by their miseries till their
Christianity and even their manhood was forgotten; while, mingled with
them, were dark-skinned natives from other parts of Africa, ignorant
heathens.

Miserable as this life was, in that beautiful climate it was so great an
improvement on the Darsena, that the poor prisoners, except Manoel,
regained much of their health and strength, and Fernando was usually
able to get through the amount of toil required of him, and even not
seldom to help his unhappy comrades.  For the only use he made of the
consideration, which, as far as they dared, all the other slaves showed
him, was to persuade them to live peacefully with each other, to bear
each other's heavy burdens, and not, as some of the poor wretches were
apt to do, curry favour with their masters by complaining of each other.
When they saw Fernando endure blows and curses for neglected work
rather than betray the weakness of those who worked with him, they were
ready to listen to the words he spoke to them of One Who also had
endured insult and cruelty, and Who was with them through all their
weary days, and the first gleam of hope came to many of them from his
voice and smile.

One day Fernando, with several others, had been carrying stones and
earth for an embankment near the ladies' garden.  Father Jose at some
little distance was sturdily heaping up the burdens brought by the rest,
murmuring Psalms to himself the while, Manoel slowly helping him.  The
times were good, for the mildest of their overseers was in charge of
them, and they had passed the whole day without a blow to hurry their
footsteps.

Presently Fernando beheld, leaning over the garden-wall, the same maiden
who had given him the milk.

"Selim," she called, and Fernando put down his load of stones and came
towards her.

"What is your will, lady?" he said, with an involuntary smile at the
fair, childish face before him.

"My little green parrot has flown away over the wall; it is there by
your working place; I want it back."

Fernando bowed, and returning, caught the parrot with so much ease as to
surprise him, and brought it back to its mistress.

"It is safe, lady," he said.

"I am not a lady, I am a slave too," said the girl, fixing her eyes upon
him.

"But your fetters are but chains of roses," said the prince.

"Tell me," she said, "which of the Portuguese prisoners is Dom
Fernando?"

"He speaks to you now," said Fernando, a little surprised at her
accurate repetition of his title.

Leila, for she it was, coloured deeply, a whole world of memories waking
in her.  She put her hand to her bosom and drew out a little ornament,
which she laid on the wall before the prince.  It was a gold cross set
with jewels, and Fernando recognised it at once.

"You are Catalina Northberry," he exclaimed, and at the sound of the
name so long unheard, the slave girl burst into tears.

"Oh, I had forgotten--I had forgotten," she cried.  "But after the
flower feast I heard the king tell how the Prince of Portugal was now
his slave.  And I can remember the fountain, and my lord Dom Fernando,
who gave us the crosses, and Nella--Nella--a little girl like me."

"It is true, Senorita," said Fernando; "long have they wept for you."

"Hush!  I am called.  I will speak again with you," cried Catalina,
running away hastily, while Fernando hurried back, lest his absence
should be found out, rejoicing at the discovery; for surely he could
manage that some intimation might reach Lisbon of Catalina's existence.
Certainly if deliverance ever came for himself and his friends she might
be included in it.

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO.

NEWS FROM HOME.

  "And the days darken round me, and the years,
  Among new men, strange faces, other minds."

The days passed on until October.  Fernando saw no more of Catalina,
though he still laboured in her neighbourhood; and no incidents broke
his life of toil, till one day the Portuguese were sent for to the
presence of the prime minister.  It was part of the humiliation laid
upon him that he was now and then, forced to appear in the midst of the
splendid court in his slave's dress, his hands stained with toil and
fettered, as they always were, except when actually engaged in working.
But spite of all this, and though his stiff limbs moved slowly and
feebly, there was no air of embarrassment, no consciousness of
degradation.  He walked up the great hall, and looked Lazurac firmly in
the face, bowing to him with the courtesy of a superior, neither
shrinking nor defiant.

Lazurac burst out in sudden accents of fury.

"Now, slave," he cried; "now you are wholly in our power.  What is to
prevent us from flaying you alive, beating you to death, in revenge for
the perfidy of your countrymen?  And now no fleets will sail to deliver
you; we need fear no more from the vengeance of Portugal."

"And why?" said Fernando, as soon as Lazurac paused.

The Moor came and stood over him, his dark face convulsed with rage, a
strange contrast, with his splendid dress and infuriated aspect, to his
prisoner, whose clear calm eyes were raised to his without fear or
falter.

"Because the king, your brother, has died while shilly-shallying over
his intentions of freeing you.  Here is the news of his death, and no
word of keeping the treaty.  Ha!  I have moved you now!"

For Fernando staggered, and would have fallen but for Lazurac's rough
grasp.

"My brother--my brother!" was all he could utter.

"Ay, there is a letter for you also; but the news is enough for you,
rest content."

"I pray you give me the letter?" said Fernando, faintly.

Lazurac laughed scornfully.

"Have you no mercy--no pity?" cried Fernando.  "Offer me any insult you
will, but _give_ me the letter?"

It was the first time his calm dignity had been moved to intreaty or
anger; but now he flashed out suddenly--

"You do not dare to withhold it from me?  Nay, nay, I would not anger
you; only give me the letter?"

Lazurac drew out the letter, with Enrique's writing above the great
black seal on the cover, and held it before his eyes.

"Kneel to me then; kneel to your master, and beg him of his favour to
grant you your boon."

Fernando drew himself up for a moment, while the other Portuguese rushed
forward and threw themselves on their knees.

"Give us the letter," they cried; "but spare this insult to our prince."

"Rise, friends," said Fernando, who had regained his self-control.  "The
shame lies not with me; and to my Master I kneel;" and he knelt, and for
a moment raised his eyes to Heaven.

Lazurac flung him the letter, with a sense of gratified spite and
hatred, and the prisoners were suffered to withdraw.  What mattered the
scene that had passed to Fernando; what mattered insult and hardship,
compared to the sorrow and anguish of heart of reading of the beloved
brother's illness and death!  Tears such as all his suffering had never
wrong from him flowed fast as he read, and for the first time he was
unable to comfort and support his followers, who all knew that a much
blacker cloud had fallen on them, and that their chances of deliverance
were lessened by this blow.

"My son," said Father Jose, tenderly, "our beloved king suffered much
grief and anxiety.  We may think of him now in the rest of Paradise."

"Grief and anxiety which I helped to cause," sighed Fernando.
"Doubtless it is well; but now, submission is hard."

And when the prince was thus cast down, the spirits of the whole party
failed utterly, and one after another fell into disgrace with their
tyrants, and suffered accordingly.  At last, after a second night of
tears and anguish, Fernando regained the mastery over himself, and
before they started on their day of toil he called his friends around
him, and thus spoke--

"My friends, I think we must put hope away.  It was my dear brother's
earnest wish to free us by ransom, by force, or even by the yielding of
the Christian city, for which, for my part, I think our poor lives were
a bad exchange.  But what he could not do, our bereaved country in its
hour of trial will fail to accomplish.  So pardon me my share in your
sorrows, my rashness first, and now that I cannot bring myself to beg
our freedom at the price they ask.  Could I but bear it all--could I but
make in our own land such a home and rest as you deserve!  But there
remaineth a rest for us all, where my brother is gone before.  So let us
pray, my friends, that the will of the Lord may be perfectly fulfilled
in us; let us in utter submission find peace at last.  For there is an
end to our trial, and a home from which we shall not be shut out."

And so Fernando wholly, and the others as far as they might, gave up the
restless hope of freedom, and set themselves to bear the suffering of
each day as it passed, not looking to the morrow.  And so there came to
them in the midst of their toiling, driven lives, some still and
peaceful moments, some inward consolations that carried them through.

Their lives were very monotonous, chiefly varied by the sickness of one
or other, often of Fernando himself, which held them solitary prisoners
in the miserable, airless lodging where they dwelt, or by a different
overlooker at their toil, or a change in the part of the gardens where
they pursued it.  Now and then, too, they saw their old friend the
Majorcan merchant, who brought them little comforts; on which occasions
Fernando's appetite was often found to fail, and he would beg some other
to take his share.

They had very little opportunity of intercourse with the other slaves,
by whom a chance word or look from Fernando was highly valued; but since
the Moors were not all fiends incarnate, Fernando's faultless life and
ready performance of all that was allotted to him won him some favour
from his masters, and with some of them a little courteous intercourse.
Their lot, with its toil, squalor, and hardship, was bad indeed, but
endurable when not made worse by wilful cruelties.

Soon after the news of the king's death, Fernando and Manoel, alone of
their party, were digging out the ground for some new fountains in the
ladies' garden.  Their overseer was a certain Hassan, the mildest of his
race, and he was superintending the other prisoners at a little
distance, sitting cross-legged on a bank, smoking his hookah.

Princess Zarah and her maidens were seated at some distance, watching
the alterations.  Manoel worked slowly, and paused often for breath.

"Rest, now," said the prince, "there is nothing to do here but what I
can finish easily."

"I would gladly save your highness from doing one stroke of it," said
Manoel, wearily; "but sometimes I think, sir, my sorrows are nearly
over."

"If so, dear lad," said Fernando, with a smile, "the rest of us might
envy you; sorely, as I, at least, should miss your face."

"But for you, my lord, I could not have held out so long," said Manoel,
as, weak and faint, he sank down on the ground.  The prince raised him
in his arms, and looked round for help.

"Princess! princess!" said Leila, who was stringing beads for her
mistress, "one of the slaves is fainting."

"It was very stupid of Hassan not to send men who can do their work.  He
should whip them when they are idle," said Zarah, indolently.

"Oh, princess! let me take him water; he will die!" cried Leila.

"If you like," said Zarah, putting a sweetmeat between her lips.

Leila seized a jar of water, and some fruit and bread, and came towards
the prisoners.  She looked frightened and shy; but held out the jar of
water to Fernando, who bathed Manoel's face with it.

"He does not revive," said the girl.

"Yes! his eyes open!--Manoel, dear friend!"

But as Fernando looked in his face, he saw that the last hour was come,
and Father Jose far away on the other side of the gardens.  He laid
Manoel down, with his head on a heap of turf, and kneeling beside him,
made the sign of the cross over him, and repeated the Pater Noster,
while a smile of peace passed over the face of the dying boy.

Beside them knelt Leila, brought there by her sweet impulse of pity.
She clasped the cross still hanging within her dress, and the
long-forgotten words of the prayer taught in her childhood rose to her
lips.  The words were hardly said, Fernando bent down to kiss Manoel's
brow, when the end came, and with a long, gasping sigh, _one_ prisoner
was free.

"_He_ is at rest," said Fernando, in thankful accents, though his lips
quivered as he thought how much he should miss the special love which
this poor boy had borne him.

Leila stood trembling beside him, hardly knowing that she looked on
death, and Hassan, seeing something amiss, came hurrying down to them,
and not unkindly summoned some of the other Portuguese to bear away
their comrade, allowing Fernando to follow, while he called other slaves
to finish their work.

Leila was surrounded by her companions, who pressed her with a thousand
frivolous questions, more amused at the exciting incident than horrified
at it.

Leila shrank away from them, and as soon as she found herself alone, sat
down under a tree and tried to think--tried to remember.

Long ago a strange pang had shot through her, when she had recognised in
the toiling slaves her fellow-Christians.  And the sight of Fernando had
awakened in her a whole world of recollections; had made her suddenly
feel, as well as know, that she was not of kin to the soft luxurious
life around her--her kindred were these wretched toiling slaves--her
faith should be their faith--in their sorrows she, too, ought to suffer.

Leila could not have clearly explained this to herself; she could only
feel the strong impulse that twice had carried her to the aid of a
Christian slave in distress.  And now an odd sort of instinctive respect
for the prince, who had been the hero of her babyhood, rose up in her
mind.  She had been taught but little religion to put in the place of
the forgotten faith she had learnt with her sister so long ago; and the
only result of being a Christian that could occur to her was miserable
slavery.  A great terror came over her, she tried to wake as from a
dream, and ran back hurriedly to her companions.

CHAPTER TWENTY THREE.

LOVING SERVICE.

  "Stone walls do not a prison make,
  Nor iron bars a cage;
  A free and quiet mind doth take
  These for a hermitage."

The streets of Fez presented often a motley mixture of passengers--
merchants and traders of all nations mingling with the Moorish
inhabitants and with the numerous slaves.

One morning, bright with all the glory of a southern spring, a tall
young man, sunburnt, and carrying a merchant's pack, was standing in one
of the chief streets watching the passers-by.  First was a dark
Ethiopian, heavily fettered; then several of the lower-class Moors
themselves; then a pair of slender, long-limbed Italians, trudging
wearily beneath a burden too heavy for them.  The trader accosted them--

"Can you direct me to the lodging assigned to the Portuguese prisoners?
I would speak, if permitted, with the Prince Dom Fernando."

"Softly, Signor," said the Italian; "it is not so we obtain speech with
friends.  There is the lodging for your compatriots; but all day they
toil in the royal gardens."

"That wretched hovel?" ejaculated the stranger.

"Ay, and now I recollect one of the Portuguese told me sadly, but now,
that their prince was sick, so he will be within.  Maybe a bribe to
their warder will gain you an entrance."

Like one in a dream, the young man moved towards the entrance of the low
stone building which his acquaintance had indicated, and accosted a Moor
who stood before the door.

"I am servant to Paolo, a Majorcan merchant," he said, "who is permitted
to visit the prisoners.  Will the King of his grace permit me entrance?"
and he dropped a purse into the warder's hand as he spoke.

"Well, may be, if you leave your pack behind you.  Who knows what it may
contain?"

"Willingly, so I may take these few dried fruits to my compatriots."

The warder sullenly unlocked the door, and ushered the young merchant
into a small low room, with no furniture save a few sheepskins thrown on
the floor.  On one of these, in a corner, lay a figure, worn and wasted,
and dressed in a torn and ragged coat of the commonest serge.  His eyes
were closed as if asleep, and only the delicate outline of the features,
and the fair hair, still tended more or less carefully, bore any
resemblance to the Infante Fernando.

"Wake!--rouse up!" said the Moor with a rough push.  "House up, slave!--
here's a visitor for you."

The prisoner opened his large blue eyes and looked up languidly.

"Just a draught of water," he said, faintly, "for my lips are parched
with this fever."

"My prince!--oh, my prince!  My lord, my lord!--oh, wretched day, that I
should see this!  Curses on the ruffians.  Oh, my dear master!" and down
dropped the young merchant on his knees, sobbing, and covering the
prince's hand with kisses.

"What!--Harry Hartsed!  Not a prisoner too?"

"No, no!  Alas, alas!"

"Hush!" said Fernando.  "Come, good Moussa, thou knowest I am to be
trusted.  Withdraw but for a few minutes."

"Well--'tisn't much harm can be done.  I'll get you that draught of
water, since a tamer set of birds I never had in cage."  And locking the
door behind him, Moussa went out.

"That man is often kind to us," said Fernando; "but oh, Master Hartsed,
what brings you here?"

"I come--I have sought your highness for months--that a word from you
might right me.  But oh! what are my wrongs to this?  Oh, my lord! let
me but share your prison, that I may wait on you and tend you.  Alas,
alas!"

"Nay, nay," said Fernando, "I have no lack of loving tendance, and
to-morrow I hope to be at my work again, for this is but a passing
sickness, and at night my poor friends return to me.  But when were you
at Lisbon?  My brothers!--oh, Harry, you come from home?" and the gentle
eyes grew wistful, and filled with tears.

"I come not now from Lisbon," said Harry, "and I know not what is now
passing there.  My lord, when you were sick formerly, you would
sometimes rest on my arm--so--"

"Thanks--thanks!"

The poor prince closed his eyes; the familiar voice and touch, unknown
for so long, brought back a dream of home.  Could he but sleep so, and
know no waking in his dreary prison!  It almost seemed for a moment as
if, when his eyes opened, he should see Enrique leaning over him, and
hear his loving greeting.  Ah, never--never! till they met in Paradise!
With a great effort he roused himself, for time was passing.

"But these wrongs of which you speak?"

Harry was silent.  The boiling indignation in which he had quitted
Lisbon, the rage and hate that had proved his own undoing, sank away
ashamed; and it was very meekly that at length he told his tale--told of
the false accusation, the quarrel with Alvarez, the anger of Sir Walter,
the hasty banishment, adding, as he had never done before--

"My lord, had I been patient, it might have been otherwise with me."

"Ah, dear friend, there is no remedy but patience for all the evils
brought on us by our own rash folly.  Repentance and patience.  But now,
have you tablets?"

"Yes, my lord."

"Then--your arm again for a moment, and I will Write--for Moussa will
soon return."  So saying the prince wrote--

"I, Fernando of Avis, declare that Harry Hartsed was my most faithful
friend and servant, and that no charge of treason can be proved against
him, and I beg my dear brother, Dom Enrique, to look once more into the
matter."

"Go, Harry," said the prince, "at once to my brother.  And now I have a
matter to tell you.  I have found Catalina Northberry, Sir Walter's lost
child."

"My lord!  Where?"

"Here, in the royal palace of Fez.  She is the slave of the Princess
Zarah; but happy and tenderly nurtured.  Alas!  I know not whether
escape is possible for her; but she knows her name and has a kind heart.
I dare not write of her; but you might, through Paolo, obtain speech
with her, and take welcome news to Sir Walter," said Fernando,
concluding with a smile.

Harry looked as if he could hardly believe in so startling a
coincidence.

"But oh, my dear lord! your sufferings--this wretched place."

"I can but thank our blessed Saviour, and those holy saints who have
followed in His steps, for the grace that has been given me so to
meditate on their examples, and to remember their far greater
sufferings, as to bear with somewhat less repining _my_ share in the
blessed cross.  For what is it that _I_ should bear rough words, or now
and then a blow, when for my sake the Lord Himself was mocked and
scourged?"

"And oh," thought Harry, with bent head, "what is it then that _I_
should be misjudged?"

"And yet," said Fernando, "since our dear Lord knows how weak I am, and
how hard it is to hold a firm heart amid slavery and cruelty, and
without those whom I love, He holds me up with such a frequent
consciousness of His presence, and such a blessed sense of His goodness,
as is better than freedom and friends; so weep not, dear Harry, and bid
my Enrique not to weep for one who has blessings of which he is all
unworthy."

Harry could only bend down and kiss the wasted hands that held his.

"My lord, I have sinned in my fierce anger," he said; "I see it, now I
know what my prince has to bear."

"You did always know, Harry, what was borne by the Prince of Peace,"
said Fernando.  "But here is Moussa; maybe we shall meet again in the
royal gardens; if so, pay me no respect--treat me as a slave."

Moussa here entered with a skin of water, with which he permitted Harry
to bathe the prince's face and hands before quitting him, as he lay
grateful and smiling, with a word of thanks to Moussa for his kindness.

When Harry found himself in the free air again, he staggered as if he
would faint, and, hardly recovering, hurried away out of the streets of
the town into a quiet spot, where he threw himself down on the ground,
able to think of nothing but of the condition in which he had found the
prince.  When he quitted Lisbon, full of resentment and anger, he had at
once resolved to seek the prince in his imprisonment, and obtain some
evidence from him of his innocence.  He was far too proud to go back to
England with a dishonoured name, and though he believed Nella lost to
him for ever, he could not bear to think that she should be taught to
disbelieve in him.  He was too angry to consider that his violent
quarrel with Alvarez, rather than the vague charge against him, had been
the cause of his banishment.  After a long series of adventures, and
some hardship and difficulty, he finally encountered the good Paolo, who
undertook to obtain him speech of the prince, and provided the bribe for
the warder.  But not all the merchant's descriptions had prepared Harry
for what he saw, and he could not recover from the impression.  He hung
about the place where the slaves were employed, and obtained speech of
one or two of the Portuguese, who were all eager to hear a word from
home.  They were all more patient than the other poor slaves, and had
evidently learnt something from the example of the prince, who after a
day or two appeared again among them, working feebly at his humble toil;
a sight that nearly drove Harry crazy.

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR.

RESTORED.

  "Laila rushed between
  To save--.
  She met the blow, and sank into his arms."

  _Thalaba_.

Meanwhile Leila mused much over the death of Manoel.  The dim visions of
her childhood were too far away to be attractive.  Even Nella, though a
tender thought to her, was vague compared to the maidens by whose side
she had played for years.  The notion of a father was utterly strange to
her--too strange to be attractive.  She loved the princess, who had been
on the whole kind to her, with the devotion of a loving nature; and she
shrank timidly from the unknown world without the palace walls.

"To be a Christian" hardly came before her in the light of an
obligation; she knew nothing of Christianity but a few words of prayer,
which she did not understand, and the sign of the cross, made
instinctively, to which she could scarcely attach a meaning.  She was
frightened by the call to become something so new and strange.  Her
feelings were dormant and uncultivated.  She was happy enough; why
should she change?

Then there rose up before her the one figure who had come to her out of
the mists of darkness, the enslaved prince.  _Her_ friends oppressed
_him_, and she thought with a shudder of the ill-treatment she had
witnessed.  If she was a Christian too, was it not a shame to lie there
on her soft couch, to eat sweetmeats, and play with flowers, while he
suffered such cruel pangs!  Strange contradiction!--it was not freedom,
a father or a sister's love, that made her feel that she was a
Christian, but the stripes and the fetters of her fellow-slave.

Still this was but a feeling; and this poor child was no heroine, no
deliverer of her race, but a little soft, spoiled, tender creature, who
had lived all her days on sweetmeats and caresses.

But a great desire possessed her to hear what the prince would say to
her about that unknown world of which she had been lately thinking; and
with a view to getting an interview with him, she set herself to watch
the slaves as closely as possible.  She soon perceived that it was a bad
time for the Portuguese.  The mild Hassan had been succeeded by an
overseer named Jussuf, whose cruelties were frightful, and the poor
prisoners could do nothing so as to escape his blows.

One day, as she stood by the garden-wall watching, with a fascination
that grew every moment more painful and more intense, Fernando detached
himself a little from the others, and, unobserved for a moment, rested
the heavy load under which he staggered against the wall.  The little
gate was unfastened, for some work had been going on within; and, with
sudden courage, Leila, pulling her veil over her face, pushed it open,
and touched the prince's arm.

"They are not looking.  Come inside and rest," she said.

Fernando was almost fainting; he yielded unthinkingly, and putting down
his burden of heavy stones, dropped down on the grass.

"Oh, you will die, as the other slave did," cried Leila, in terror.

"No, lady," said Fernando, recovering himself; "this rest has revived
me.  I have sought to speak with you to tell you that I have been
enabled to send home a message to your father, telling him of your
safety; and I doubt not that he will find means to offer such a ransom
as may restore you to your friends."

Leila trembled.

"My lord," she said, "I am afraid to be a Christian."

"Ah, do not think," said Fernando, "that the cross would bring on you
such suffering as you see in these poor slaves; or, if so, it is in the
service of a Master Who endured infinitely more for His followers."

"Like you," said Leila.

"Nay," said Fernando, "yet if I could reach that likeness--"

The prince had risen to his feet, and stood leaning against the gateway.
Leila sat on the grass.  She had pushed aside her veil, and was looking
up at him with her clear blue eyes shining through half-shed tears.
Suddenly Jussuf's heavy hand fell on Fernando's shoulder, striking him
down to the ground again.

"Dog of a Christian!--what do you here?" he cried, striking blow after
blow.

With a sudden impulse Leila rushed forward, and threw herself on her
knees beside them.

"I too am a Christian!" she cried, and before Jussuf could stay his
hand, the heavy blow intended for his victim, fell on Leila's head, and
stretched her senseless on the grass.

"Coward and villain?" cried the prince, all his knightly manhood roused,
as with sudden strength he sprang up, and for once returned the blow.

All passed in a moment.  Leila's screams had brought both the other
women and the slaves and overseers without to the spot, and Fernando's
hands were pinioned, and he was dragged away before he had time to see
whether Leila's senses returned to her.  He bitterly blamed himself for
having yielded to her proposal, for the incident brought far severer
restrictions on himself and his companions, and he feared much suffering
on the poor maiden herself; and many were the prayers he offered that
she who had been impelled to so brave a confession might not be forced
into denying the Faith which she scarcely knew, and that this tender,
innocent child might not have to endure such suffering as tried the
uttermost strength of grown men.  Leila, when she revived from the
stunning blow, was dizzy and faint; but when her princess questioned
her, she answered boldly, that she knew the slave Selim to be the Prince
of Portugal, and that she herself was a Christian lady--she could not
bear to see him beaten.

Whereat the princess angrily reminded Leila that she too was but a
slave, and sentenced her to a whipping--not very severe--for her
disobedience and folly.  Leila _was_ a slave, and she took the stripes
as her due, and cried at their smart, then kissed her mistress's hand,
and begged for pardon; and the princess indolently forgave her, and bade
her go and work at her cushion.

"But do not weep," said she, "for Ayesha is growing prettier than you,
and if you cannot laugh and sing to amuse me, I shall let Jussuf marry
you as he wishes.  I told him you entertained me, and I would not spare
you."

"Oh, princess!" cried Leila in an agony, "I love you; let me stay with
you."

"Well, sing then, and learn some pretty dances; you are tiresome when
you cry."

But Leila's efforts failed to please.  She was no longer a little
soulless plaything.  Thoughts of her distant home, of her prince's
sufferings, yearnings after that unknown Saviour, Whom he followed,
filled her heart, and her eyes grew absent and her lips sad.  She
fretted, and her feet were less light, her voice less ringing.

"I shall let Jussuf have her," thought Zarah; "they are not so pretty
and amusing as they grow older.  Ayesha is only fourteen."

In the meantime Harry Hartsed left Fez in company with Paolo, and before
many weeks were over found himself on the stormy promontory of Sagres,
telling his tale to Dom Enrique himself.

There Enrique had retired, and amid plans for navigation, observations
of the heavens, and constant efforts to improve the mathematical
instruments with which they were carried out, endeavoured to forget the
distracting disputes between Dom Pedro's party and that of the queen.
Nevertheless he was never deaf to the call of duty, and succeeded on the
whole in keeping unimpaired both his brotherly love and his loyalty to
his young nephew, through all the petty spite and false accusation of
that miserable time.

He listened with great attention to Harry's story, and then said--

"I think, Master Hartsed, that in the soreness of our hearts we
neglected to inquire sufficiently into the vague story that so angered
you.  But it is ended; for a wretched soldier not long since made
confession that he, and he only, was aware of the traitor's intention on
that fatal night, and being sentry, permitted him to pass the outpost.
But I will come with you to Sir Walter Northberry and confirm this
tale."

"I thank you, my lord.  Dom Alvarez is doubtless--is doubtless--"

"Dom Alvarez and Sir Walter are no longer friends, since Dom Alvarez,
with his family, has joined the party of the queen.  Sir Walter is one
of those who wish for my brother's regency.  His betrothal therefore is
at an end."

"Oh, my lord, I never hoped--I never dreamed of hearing this," cried
Harry so ecstatically, that a smile broke over the prince's grave face.

"Well, Master Hartsed, you shall come with me to Lisbon.  I offer you
again a place in my household, and doubtless Sir Walter will understand
how matters have sped, especially when you bring him such good news."

"My lord, I can never thank you."

"I ask but this, this precious writing," said Enrique, sorrowfully, as
he laid his hand on the tablet.

"Oh, my lord, is there no hope of a deliverance?  I would give the last
drop of my blood to save him!"

Enrique shook his head.

"Sometimes," he answered, "I am thankful that he does not know the
intrigues and the meannesses that have kept him where he is, and all the
light of my life with him.  Well," added the prince, as if to himself,
"he is winning a martyr's crown, and I must do that work in the world to
which I am called.  But you love him."

And with a smile of exceeding sweetness Enrique rose and held out his
hand to Harry, as if that love was to be a bond between them.

He kept his word.  When they came to Lisbon, he took on himself to tell
Sir Walter how completely he considered Master Hartsed's character to be
cleared from the doubt cast on it.  He showed Fernando's precious
writing, and prepared the father for the revelation of Catalina's
existence.

And so it came to pass that one day Nella was called away from her
embroidery, and found herself once more in the presence of her old
friend, and heard that he had found her lost sister.

Nella had passed but a dreary time of late; but she was of a hopeful
nature, and certainly had found it hard to regret the quarrels that
parted her from her unwelcome suitor.  She had learned too, by the
endurance of a real grief and loss, to be more patient of the rubs and
the dullnesses of daily life, just as Harry had learned patience by the
sight of suffering so far exceeding his own.

Both were changed from the impetuous boy and wilful girl, who had
laughed and disputed little more than a year ago.  But their hearts were
unchanged towards each other, and Dom Enrique's influence soon induced
Sir Walter to consent to a union which ensured his daughter's happiness
and gained a faithful adherent to the Regent's cause.

But first there was great joy at hearing of Catalina's safety, and Dom
Enrique aided Sir Walter in offering a ransom large enough to insure her
freedom, and it was sent to Fez by trusty messengers.  It came at the
right time; Leila had been bidden to consider herself the promised bride
of the terrible Jussuf, and all her tears and intreaties had availed
nothing.

The princess was tired of her, and when a sum of money large enough to
purchase a ruby on which she had set her fancy was offered, Jussuf
having at the same time fallen into disgrace for neglecting some
trifling order, Leila, with hardly a farewell, scared and half
reluctant, was handed over to the unknown Christians who were to conduct
her to Lisbon.

She was passive in the bewilderment of change and novelty; her few words
of Portuguese failed her utterly; her father's welcoming kiss made her
tremble and hide her face; and though she returned Nella's embraces, and
smiled when her sister dressed her in clothes like her own, and called
her Kate, it was with a bewildered surprise.

Dom Enrique asked to see her, knowing enough of the Moorish tongue to
question her as to all she could tell of his dear brother; and when she
saw him she threw herself at his feet and kissed his hand, with an
abandonment unlike indeed to Nella's stately greeting.

But Enrique won from her the story of the blow she had borne for
Fernando's sake, and thenceforth she was to him an object of entire
admiration and reverence.

In order that she might learn the duties of her religion and accustom
herself a little to the life of a Christian lady, she was sent to a
convent, and there she was far more at home than in her father's house,
learned to speak Portuguese slowly and with difficulty, and practised
with great docility all the observances required of her.

The nuns would fain have kept so apt a pupil altogether, and Catalina
was not unwilling: the outer world was too strange to be a happy one.

But she went home on the occasion of her sister's marriage, and there
her beauty, equal to Nella's, and the soft gentleness that distinguished
her manner from the bride's gayer, franker air, attracted the notice of
Nella's old suitor, Dom Alvarez, whose friendship, in some new turn of
court intrigue, was now sought again by Sir Walter.

Here was Nella's face, without Nella's untamable English spirit, and the
young Portuguese thought the face none the less fair for the deficiency.
He asked Catalina in marriage, being assured, he said, that she was a
good Christian and a gentle lady; and Sir Walter, glad to be quit of
this perplexing maiden, at once agreed.

Catalina showed no unwillingness, and perhaps her gentle passiveness
agreed better with Portuguese notions than ever Nella's lively will
could have done.  She was loving and dutiful, and in the love of her
children she was happy, knowing little and caring less for the political
ambitions and intrigues which formed her husband's life, simply
believing that his part must be the right one.

Eleanor Hartsed looked differently on life, and perhaps her clear and
steadfast nature helped to point the right path to her husband in the
troublous days in which their lot was cast, for Harry was too much
attached to Dom Enrique to desert his adopted country, and the great
prince never ceased to mark with a peculiar favour those who had been
among the last to love and serve his beloved brother.

But Catalina never forgot to pray for the captive prince who had taught
her what it was to be a Christian; and Harry Hartsed, amid civil strife
and political passion, cherished to his dying day the precious memory of
having seen in the very flesh the "patience of the saints."

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.

VICTORY.

  "It is not exile--rest on high;
  It is not sadness--peace from strife;
  To fall asleep is not to die;
  To dwell with Christ is better life."

In the meantime the slow years went by for the prisoners of Fez and
brought no change in the main features of their lot.  One or two, like
the poor young Manoel, sank and died, and for these the survivors could
but give thanks; but still Fernando lived on and endured.  Perhaps the
voluntary self-denials to which he had accustomed himself in earlier
years made him better able to bear these later hardships; but certainly
for seven long years he bore his cruel lot so firmly and so calmly as to
win the respect even of his jailers, while his fellow-captives loved him
with such entire and devoted affection that they could hardly be
miserable in his presence.  They leant on him with a dependence strange
towards one who indeed could not defend them "from the least insult of
the meanest foe."

Long years of hopeless slavery did not as a rule raise the character or
ennoble the life.  Many of the poor Christian slaves were degraded by
the tyranny under which they suffered to a lower level than the masters
who oppressed them, and became faithless, cowardly, and brutal.  For
oppression does not of itself make men heroic.  It is much to say of the
Portuguese that as the years went by they grew more patient, more manly,
and more Christian; while to Fernando the blissful end of his sorrows
shone ever nearer and more bright, till his daily trials seemed hardly
felt for the inward light that shone on them.

Perhaps this strange content defeated the intentions of Lazurac, or
perhaps Fernando's increasing weakness and helplessness made him fear
that he would soon lose his captive, and with him his hold over the
Portuguese nation; but Fernando was one day suddenly separated from his
companions and confined in a separate prison, the reason alleged being
that he was unable to perform the toil exacted from him.

This was the cruellest stroke that had ever fallen on them.  They felt
utterly lost and forsaken, and for days could have no news of him, till
at last the more compassionate Hassan pointed out to them the dungeon
where he was imprisoned, and showed them a grating through which it was
possible, not indeed to see him in the darkness, but to hear him speak,
and then they heard his, "Ah, dear friends, this is joy indeed.  You are
still free to move; and well, I trust, and patient?"

"But you, my son, my dear son," cried Father Jose, for once
inconsiderate, as he pushed aside Dom Francisco and pressed his face to
the grating, "have you food and tendance?"

"My father, I think I have not much more to suffer; I think I have never
yet been grateful enough for the love that has been with me all these
years.  To-morrow you will come again?"

For trial had not changed the loving, clinging nature; it was the same
Fernando who, long years ago, had wept at the thought of life without
the beloved Enrique, who now, while he uttered no murmur and patiently
endured this last, worst suffering, felt that the loss of his dear
companions would kill him.

"Our Blessed Saviour was forsaken by His friends, while I am but
separated from mine," he thought, and rays of comfort stole into his
soul; but he was very ill, and growing weaker every day, and his heart,
though never rebellious, was very faint.  Yet every day he had a
cheerful word for his visitors, rejoicing in their comparative freedom,
while to them the moment at the grating was the one point in the whole
day.

At last one day his door was opened, and two figures entered instead of
one, and in a moment Father Jose knelt beside him.

"My son, I am here," he said, in a trembling voice--

And Fernando answered--

"My father, oh my father, pray for me, for my spirit fails me.  I am
unworthy, weak and unworthy still!"

"Well, my dear son, our good Lord knows your weakness, for He has sent
me to be with you to the end."

He raised Fernando in his arms, shocked and grieved at the change since
they had parted, at his wasted frame, and face burning with fever;
while, wretched as had been the food, air, and accommodation of their
former lodging, they were comfortable compared to what he found in this
dark and dismal place.

But Fernando looked up with the old sweet smile.

"See," he said, sadly, "how my faithlessness is rebuked.  I feared to
die alone, not trusting in my Saviour, and He sends my best earthly
friend to be with me."

The sufferings of those weeks of loneliness had evidently been most
severe, for the fever that had attacked him frequently confused his
senses and peopled the lonely dungeon with frightful visitants while he
was troubled by a sense of the failure of the trust and faith that had
hitherto supported him.

But the good priest's care lessened somewhat his physical sufferings,
and his prayers and words of comfort brought back once more hope and
peace, and at intervals Fernando had much to say.

"When I think," he said, "of what have been the trials of the saints, I
feel how little I have had to bear.  Never have I been without such
loving service as is given to few.  Our very jailers have been less
harsh than they might be; some, even, have been kind.  Our poor
fellow-slaves have made me happy by saying that my words lightened their
burden, and, though with no choice of mine, my presence here has saved
Ceuta to the Church: and this as a reward for the rash folly that would
choose my own way of service.  And now, when my poor weak spirit failed.
I have the blessing of your presence.  Our Lord is very merciful; for
such trials as I have read of, I think, would have been more than I
could bear."

"God's grace, my son, is strong enough always to support our weakness,"
said Father Jose, unable to help believing that there was at least as
much saintliness in this humility as in the stern fortitude of a
stronger nature.

"Yes," said Fernando, "that is my one comfort for those I leave behind.
My poor companions! in their love they will grieve for me.  You, father,
must be their support, as you are mine."

"My son, they will remember your constancy," said Father Jose, "and--
and--give thanks for your deliverance."

"I would I could see them once more, to bid them take courage."

And when it was indeed certain that the captive prince was dying, this
favour was granted, and his fellow-prisoners were admitted for one last
farewell, their bitter grief hushed, their anger stilled, by the
wonderful peace on his wasted face and the light in his shining eyes.

"My Lord is indeed with me, and has given me the victory," he said.  "In
_this_ way, at least, will freedom come to us all."

And then, with much effort, as each knelt beside him, he spoke a word of
the peculiar trials of each, knowing how one shrank from insulting
words, another dreaded bodily hardship, a third pined especially for
home: commending them all to Father Jose's care; and when he saw that
the worst trial for all was grief at his loss, he said, simply, that the
life seemed to have been taken from him with the loss of his dear
brothers; but he had found a Better Friend still, and so would they.
And so, with aching hearts, they left him; and, after a night of
restless pain and fever, a great quiet fell on him, till, towards
evening, as the end drew near, he lay--

  "In calmest quiet, waiting his release.
  `Lord, now Thou lettest me depart in peace,'
  Were the last words which he was heard to say.
  Upon his left side turning, as the day
  Slow sinking now with more than usual pride,
  Streamed through the prison bars a glory deep and wide.

  "When the last flush had faded from the west,
  When the last streak of golden light was gone,
  They looked, but he had entered on his rest;
  He, too, his haven of repose had won; -
  Leaving this truth to be gainsaid by none,
  That what the scroll upon his shield did say,
  That well his life had proved--_le bien me plait_."

So died, on the 5th of June, 1443, Fernando of Avis, the Constant
Prince--"So good a man," said the young king of Fez, "that it is a pity
he was not a true Moslem."

And a tall tower was erected over his grave as a monument to his
patience and to the triumph of the Moors over his countrymen.

Years went by, and at last the few poor survivors of that little band,
Father Jose among them, were ransomed and released; but the body of
Fernando still rested in an infidel grave.

His brother Joao was killed in battle.  Pedro fell in a civil war, after
a life which, spite of some errors, had, on the whole, been noble,
conscientious, and loyal; and the only survivor of the five loving
brothers was Enrique, the great navigator, the first of the discoverers
of the modern world.  The young Alonzo, Duarte's son, grew up into a
brave and prosperous sovereign, and, in another war with Fez and
Morocco, took captive two sons of the king of Fez.  Long before this the
memory of the captive Fernando was reverenced as that of a saint and a
martyr by the men whose lukewarmness and indifference had caused his
death; and now the only ransom demanded for the Moorish princes was the
body that, for thirty years, had been in the hands of his enemies.

And so, in 1473, Enrique sailed once more for Ceuta, and there received
from the hands of the Moors the body of the beloved brother of his
youth, which, with solemn funeral services, was shortly laid in the
Abbey of Batalha, where Enrique has rested beside him for many a long
year, while Christian services of prayer and praise have risen from the
city of Ceuta, over which the Crescent has never been lifted again.





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