« ПретходнаНастави »
on the ground as he passed, and some of the humbler class prostrated themselves be ore him. Such was the homage paid to the Indian despot, showing that the slavish forms of Oriental adulation were to be found among the rude inhabitants of the Western World.
Montezuma wore the girdle and ample square cloak (tilmatli) (f his nation. It was made of the finest cotton, with the embroidered ends gathered in a knot round his neck. His feet were defended by sandals having soles of gold, and the leathern thongs which bound them to his ankles were embossed with the same metal. Both the cloak and sandals were sprinkled with pearls and precious stones, among which the emerald and the chalchivitl—a green stone of higher estimation than any other among the Aztecs—were conspicuous. On his head he wore no other 0.:nament than a panache of plumes of the royal green, which floated down his back, the badge of military, rather than of regal, rank.
He was at this time about forty years of age. His person was tall and thin, but not ill-made. His hair, which was black and straight, was not very long; to wear it short was considered unbecoming persons of rank. His beard was thin; his complexion somewhat paler than is often found in his dusky, or rather copper-colored race. His features, though serious in their expression, did not wear the look of melancholy, indeed, of dejection, which characterizes his portrait, and which may well have settled on them at a later period. He moved with dignity, and his whole demeanor, tempered by an expression of benignity not to have been anticipated from the reports circulated of his character, was worthy of a great prince. Such is the portrait left tw us of the celebrated Indian emperor, in this his first interview with the white men.
The army halted as he drew near. Cortés, dismounting, threw his reins to a page, and, supported by a few of the principal cavaliers, advanced to meet him. The interview must have been one of uncommon interest to both. In Montezuma, Cortés weheld the lord of the broad realms he had traversed, whose magnificence and power had been the burden of every tongue. In the Spaniard, on the other hand, the Aztec prince saw the strange being whose history seemed to be so mysteriously connected with his own; the predicted one of his oracles; whoso dihievements proclaimed him soniething more than human.
But, whatever may have been the monarch's feelings, he so far suppressed them as to receive his guest with princely courtesy, and to express his satisfaction at personally seeing him in his capital. Cortés responded by the most profound expressions of respect, while he made ample acknowledgments for the substantial proofs which the emperor had given the Spaniards of his munificence. He then hung round Montezuma's neck it sparkling chain of colored crystal, accompanying this with a movement as if to embrace him, when he was restrained by the two Aztec lords, shocked at the menaced profanation of the sacred person of their master.
After the interchange of these civilities, Montezuma appointed his brother to conduct the Spaniards to their residence in the capital, and again entering his litter was borne off amidst prostrate crowds in the same state in which he had come. The Spaniards quickly followed, and with colors flying and music playing soon made their entrance into the southern quarter of Tenochtitlan.
Here, again, they found fresh cause for admiration in the grandeur of the city, and the superior style of its architecture. The dwellings of the poorer classes were, indeed, chiefly of reeds and mud. But the great avenue through which they were now marching was lined with the houses of the nobles, who were encouraged by the emperor to make the capital their residence. They were built of a red porous stone drawn from quarries in the neighborhood, and, though they rarely rose to a second story, often covered a large space of ground. The flat roofs (azoteas) were protected by stone parapets, so that every house was a fortress. Sometimes these roofs resembled parterres of flowers, so thickly were they covered with them, but more frequently they were cultivated in broad terraced gardens, laid out between the edifices.
Occasionally a great square or market-place intervened, surrounded by its porticos of stone and stucco; or a pyramidal temple reared its colossal bulk, crowned with its tapering sanctuaries, and altars blazing with unextinguishable fires. The great street facing the southern causeway, unlike most others in the place, was wide, and extended some miles in nearly a straight line, as before noticed, through the centre of the city. A spectator standing at one end of it, as his eye ranged along the deep vistar of temples, terraces, and gardens, might clearly discern the other, with the blue inountains in the distance, which, in the transparent atmosphere of the table-land, seemed almost in contact with the buildings.
But what most impressed the Spaniards was the throngs of people who swarmed through the streets and on the canals, filling 'every door-way and window, and clustering on the roofs of the buildings. “I well remember the spectacle,” exclaims Berual Diaz; "it seems now, after so many years, as present to niy mind as if it were but yesterday.”
But what must have been the sensations of the Aztecs themselves, as they looked on the portentous pageant! as they heard, now, for the first time, the well-cemented pavement ring under the iron tramp of the horses,—the strange animals which fear had clothed in such supernatural terrors; as they gazed on the children of the East, revealing their celestial origin in their fair complexions; saw the bright falchions and bonnets of steel, a metal to them unknown, glancing like meteors in the sun, while sounds of unearthly music—at least, such as their rude instruments had never wakened-floated in the air!
Resuming the thread of Spanish history at a date more recent than that of his first work, Prescott next favored the public with a History of the Reign of Philip II., King of Spain; the first two volumes of which were published in 1855. /“The excellences of the author's previous works are all here—the picturesque narrative, the lucid style, the generous yet judicial spirit, the thorough digestion and scrupulous sifting of the materials-..; and above and pervading all, the thorough integrity of purpose, the earnest and interesting pursuit and ever present love of truth, which, amid his many admirable qualities, is that which is perhaps his prime characteristic as a historian.” *
A third volume had hardly more than appeared, awaken. ing, as had its predecessors, high anticipations, when it gifted author was suddenly and fatally prostrated by paralysis, at his home in Boston, January 28, 1899.
We present, in an abridged form, from his first volume of Philip II.,
English Cyclopædia of Biography.
CHAPTER IV.-PHILIP'S THIRD MARRIAGE. So soon as Philip should be settled in Spain, it had been arranged that his young bride, Elizabeth of France, should cross the Pyrenees. Early in January, 1560, Elizabeth,--or Isabella, to use the corresponding name by which she was known to the Spaniards,-under the protection of the Cardinal de Bourbon and some of the French nobility, reached the borders of Navarre, where she was met by the duke of Infantado, who was to take charge of the princess, and escort her to Castile.
Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, fourth duke of Infantado, was the head of the most illustrious house of Castile. He was at this time near seventy years of age, having passed most of his life in attendance at court, where he had always occupied the position suited to his high birth and his extensive property, which, as his title intimated, lay chiefly in the north. He was a fine specimen of the old Castilian hidalgo, and displayed a magnificence in his way of living that became his station. He was well educated, for the time; and his fondness for books did not prevent his excelling in all knightly exercises. He was said to have the best library and the best stud of any gentleman in Castile.
He appeared on this occasion in great state, accompanied by his household and his kinsmen, the heads of the noblest families in Spain. The duke was attended by some fifty pages, who, in their rich dresses of satin and brocade, displayed the gay colors of the house of Mendoza. The nobles in his train, all suitably mounted, were followed by twenty-five hundred gentlemen, well equipped, like themselves. So lavish were the Castilians of that day in the caparisons of their horses, that some of these are estimated, without taking into account the jewels with which they were garnished, to have cost no less than two thousand ducats !
Several days were spent in settling the etiquette to be observed before the presentation of the duke and his followers to the princess—a perilous matter with the Spanish hidalgo. When at length the interview took place, the cardinal of Burgos, the duke's brother, opened it by a formal and rather long address to Isabella, who replied in a tone of easy gayety, which, though not undignified, savored much more of the manners of her own country than those of Spain. The place of meeting was at Rone c'esvalles- 5-a name which to the reader of romance may call up scenes very different from those presented by the two nations now met together in friendly courtesy.
From Rɔncesvalles the princess proceeded, under the strong escort of the duke, to his town of Guadalajara, in New Castile, where her marriage with King Philip was to be solemnized. Great preparations were made by the loyal citizens for celebrating the event in a manner honorable to their own master and their future queen. A huge mourid, or what might be called a hill, was raised at the entrance of the town, where a grove of natural oaks had been transplanted, amongst which was to be scen abundance of game.
Isabella was received by the magistrates of the place, and escorted through the principal streets by a brilliant cavalcade, composed of the great nobility of the court. She was dressed in ermine, and rode a milk-white palfrey, which she managed with an easy grace that delighted the multitude. On one side of her rode the duke of Infantado, and on the other the cardinal of Burgos.
After performing her devotions at the church, where Te Deum was chanted, she proceeded to the ducal palace, in which the marriage ceremony was to be performed. On her entering the court, the Princess Joanna came down to receive her sister-inlaw, and, after an affectionate salutation, conducted her to the saloon, where Philip, attended by his son, was awaiting his bride.
It was the first time that Isabella had seen her destined lord. She now gazed on him so intently, that he good-humoredly asked her “if she were looking to see if he had any gray liairs in his head.” The bluntness of the question somewhat disconcerted her. Philip's age was not much less than that at which the first gray hairs made their appearance on his father's temples. Yet the discrepancy between the ages of the parties in the present instance was not greater than often happens in a royal union. Isabella was in her fifteenth year, and Philip in his thirtyfourth.
From all accounts, the lady's youth was her least recommendation. “Elizabeth de Valois,” says Brantôme, who knew her well, “was a true daughter of France—discreet, witty, beautiful, and good, if ever woman was so.” She was well made, and tall of stature, and on this account the more admired in Spain, where the women are rarely above the middle height. Her eyes were dark, and her luxuriant tresses, of the same dark color, shaded features that were delicately fair. There was sweetness mingied