« ПретходнаНастави »
with dignity in her deportment, in which Castilian statelinese seemed to be happily tempered by the vivacity of her own nature. “So attractive was she,” continues the gallant old courtier," that no cavalier durst look on her long, for fear of losing his heart, which in that jealous court might have proved the loss of his Life.”
When the nuptials were concluded, the good people of Guadalajara testified their loyalty by all kinds of festivities in honor of the event,-by fireworks, music, and dancing. The fountains Howed with generous liquor. Tables were spre id in the public squares, laden with good cheer, and freely open to all. In the evening, the regidores of the town, to the number of fifty or more, presented themselves before the king and queen. They were dressed in their gaudy liveries of crimson and yellow velvet, and each one of these functionaries bore a napkin on his arm, while he carried a plate of sweetmeats, which he presented to the royal pair and the ladies of the court.
The following morning Philip and his consort left the hospitable walls of Guadalajara, and set out with their whole suite for Toledo. At parting, the duke of Infantado made the queen and her ladies presents of jewels, lace, and other rich articles of dress; and the sovereigns took leave of their noble host, well pleased with the princely entertainment he had given them.
At Toledo preparations were made for the reception of Philip and Isabella in a style worthy of the renown of that ancient capital of the Visigoths. In the broad vega before the city, three thousand of the old Spanish . infantry engaged in a mock encounter with a body of Moorish cavalry, having their uniforms and caparisons fancifully trimmed and ornamented in the Arabesque fashion. Then followed various national dances by beautiful maidens of Toledo, dances of the Gypsies, and the old Spanish “war-dance of the swords."
On entering the gates, the royal pair were welcomed by the municipality of the city, who supported a canopy of cloth of gold over the heads of the king and queen, emblazoned with their ciphers. A procession was formed, consisting of the principal magistrates, the members of the military orders, the officers of the Inquisition,-for Toledo was one of the principal stations of the secret tribunal,--and, lastly, the chief nobles of the court. In the cavalcade might be distinguished the iron form of the duke of Alva, and his more courtly rival, Ruy Gomez de Silva, count of Melito,—the two nobles highest in the royal confidence.
Triumphal arches, ornamented with quaint devices and em blematical figures from ancient mythology, were thrown across the streets, which were filled with shouting multitudes. Gay wreaths of flowers and flaunting streamers adorned the verandahs and balconies, which were crowded with spectators of both sexes in their holiday attire, making a show of gaudy colors that reminds an old chronicler of the richly tinted tapestries and carpetings of Flanders. In this royal state, the new-married pair moved along the streets towards the great cathedral; and after paying their devotions at its venerable shrine, they repaired to the alcazar,—the palace fortress of Toledo.
For some weeks, during which the sovereigns remained in the capital, there was a general jubilee. All the national games of Spain were exbibited to the young queen; the bull-fight, the Moorish sport of the cañas, or tilt of reeds, and tournaments on horseback and on foot, in both of which Philip often showed himself armed cap-à-pie in the lists, and did his devoir in the presence of his fair bride, as became a loyal knight. Another show, which might have been better reserved for a less joyous occasion, was exhibited to Isabella. As the court and the cortes were drawn together in Toledo, the Holy Office took the occasion to celebrate an auto de fé, which, from the number of the victims and quality of the spectators, was the most imposing spectacle of the kind ever witnessed in that capital.
The festivities of the court were suddenly terminated by the illness of Isabella, who was attacked by the small-pox. Her wife was in no danger; but great fears were entertained lest the envious disease should prove fatal to her beauty. Her mother, Catherine de Medicis, had great apprehensions on this point; and couriers crossed the Pyrenees frequently, during the queen’s illness, bringing prescriptions- —some of them rather extraordinary — from the French doctors for preventing the ravages of the disorder. Whether it was by reason of these nostrums, or her own excellent constitution, the queen was fortunate enough to escape from the sick room without a scar.
Philip seems to have had much reason to be contented, not only with the person, but the disposition, of his wife. As her marriage had formed one of the articles in the treaty with France, she was called by the Spaniards Isabel de la Paz—“Isabella of the Peace.” Her own countrymen no less fondly stylet her the “Olive Branch of Peace”-intimating the sweetness of her disposition. In this respect she may be thought to have formed a contrast to Philip's former wife, Mary of England; at least after sickness and inisfortune had done their work upon Onat queen's temper, in the latter part of her life.
If Isabella was not a scholar, like Mary, she at least was well instructed for the time, and was fond of reading, especially poetry. She had a ready apprehension, and learned in a short time tu speak the Castilian with tolerable fluency, while there was some thing pleasing in her foreign accent, that made her pronunciation the more interesting. She accommodated herself so well to the usages of her adopted nation, that she soon won the hearts of the Spaniards. “No queen of Castile," says the loyal Brantôme, “ with due deference to Isabella the Catholic, was ever so popular in the country.” When she went abroad, it was usually with her face uncovered, after the manner of her countrywomen. The press was always great around her whenever she appeared ir. public, and happy was the man who could approach so near as to get a glimpse of her beautiful countenance.
As a historian, the peculiarities of Prescott are thus succinctly stated by one of the best of American critics.* He “makes no pretension to analytical power, except in the arrangement of his materials; he is content to describe, and his talents are more artistic than philosophical; neither is any cherished theory or principle obvious: his ambition is apparently limited to skilful narration. Indefatigable in research, sagacious in the choice and comparison of authorities, serene in temper, graceful in style, and pleasing in sentiment, he possesses all the requisites for an agreeable writer; while his subjects have yielded so much of picturesque material and romantic interest, as to atone for the lack of any more original or brilliant qualities in the author.”
The character of Prescott, indeed, was of singular worth. With a profound modesty it united a remarkable self-denial and lofty perseverance in duty. Possessed of wealth, with
* H. T. Tuckerman.
a deprivation of sight so nearly entire that it might have seemed to justify any self-indulgence, with elegant tastes which are apt to withdraw men from earnest labors, he yet devoted his life to one of the most onerous departments of iterary research./ . . The fidelity of his studies is seen on every page, and not less marked in that happy, flowing narrative, presenting every incident clearly and in order, burdened with no superfluous matter."*
* Duyckinck's Cyclopædia of American Literature
GEORGE BANCROFT was born at Worcester, Massachusetts October 3, 1800. His early school-days were passed at the academy of Dr. Abbott, at Exeter, New Hampshire, where, according to the testimony of his worthy master, “he took his rank among the first scholars in the academy," and " appeared to have the stamina of a distinguished man."
From the academy, at thirteen, he entered Harvard College, whence he graduated four years later, second in his class, and honored with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He was too enthusiastic a student, however, to rest content with these attainments; and, accordingly, he spent the next three or four years at the eminent universities of Gottingen and Berlin, quafling German and classic culture at the very fountain-head. To this study, before returning home in 1822, he added the instructive and pleasurable experience of a tour through Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and England.
The feelings and sentiments inspired by his travels, Bancroft embodied in a small volume of poems, published at Boston in 1823, while the more immediate results of his European university discipline were shown in various philosophical summaries of Roman history and of the literature of Germany, published shortly after his return home.
These productions, together with the translations of the chief minor poems of Schiller, Goethe, and other German writers, and a few magazine articles, constituted the sum of Bancroft's literary efforts prior to his twenty-fourth year.
For a year after his return from Europe he was occupied as tutor of Greek at Harvard, then, for some time, as principal of the Round Hill school, at Northampton, Massachusetts. In later years he figured not a little prominently