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It is enacted in the laws of Venice',
Down', therefore, and beg mercy of the duke'.
And yeť, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
Therefore", thou must be hanged at the state's chargé. Duke. That thou shalt see the difference of oûr spiriť,
I pardon thee thy life', before thou ask it :
Which humbleness may lessen to a fine.
You take my house, when you do take the prop'
LESSON L XXI.
THE GOVERNOR AND THE NOTARY.
In former times there ruled, as governor of the Alhambra, a doughty old cavalier', whó, from having lost one arm in the wars', was commonly known by the name of El Gobernador* Mancó, or the one-armed governor. He in fact prided himself upon being an old soldier"; wore his mustachios curled up to his eyes', a pair of campaigning boots', and a toledo as long as a spiť, with his pocket handkerchief in the basket hilt.
* Gober-na-dor; a as in father.
He was, moreover, exceedingly proud' and punctilious', and tenacious of all his privileges and dignities. Under his sway, the immunities of the Alhambra', as a royal residence and domain', were rigidly exacted. No one was permitted to enter the fortress with fire-arms, or even with a sword or staff', unless he were of a certain rank', and every horseman was obliged to dismount at the gate and lead his horse by the bridle. Now as the hill of the Alhambra rises from the very midst of the city of Granada, being, as it were, an excrescence of the capital', it must at all times be somewhat irksome to the captain-general who commands the province', to have thus an imperium in imperio";* a petty independent post', in the very core of his domains. It was rendered the more galling in the present instancé, from the irritable jealousy of the old governor', that took fire on the least question of authority and jurisdiction', and from the loose, vagrant character of the people that had gradually nestled themselves within the fortress as in a sanctuary', and from thence carried on a system of roguery and depredation at the expense of the honest inhabitants of the city. Thus there was a perpetual feud and heart-burning between the captain-general and the governor; the more virulent on the part of the latter', inasmuch as the smallest of two neighboring potentates' is always the most captious about his dignity.
One of the most fruitful sources of dispute between these two doughty rivals', was the right claimed by the governor to have all things passed free of duty through the city', that were intended for the use of himself or his garrison. By degrees, this privilege had given rise to extensive smuggling. A nest of contrabandistast took up their abode in the ho els of the fortress and the numerous caves in its vicinity', and drove a thriving business under the connivance of the soldiers of the garrison.
The vigilance of the captain-general was aroused. He consulted his legal adviser and factotum', a shrewd, meddlesome Escribanot or notary', who rejoiced in an opportunity of plexing the old potentate of the Alhambra', and involving him in a maze of legal subtilities. He advised the captain-general to insist upon the right of examining every convoy passing through the gates of the city', and he penned a long letter for him', in vindication of the right. Governor Manco was a straight-forward, cut-and-thrust old soldier', who hated an Escribanò, and this one in particular', worse than all other Escribanoes.
* Latin. A government within a government; an empire within an empire
“What'," said hé, curling up his mustachios fiercely', “ does the captain-general set his man of the pen to practise confusions upon me'? I'll let him see that an old soldier is not to be oatiled by schoolcraft.”
He seized his pen', and scrawled a short letter in a crabbed hand', in which', without deigning to enter into argument, he insisted on the right of transit free of search", and denounced vengeance on any custom-house officer who should lay his unhallowed hand on any convoy protected by the flag of the Alhambra.
While this question was agitated between the two pragmatical potentates', it so happened that a mule laden with supplies for the fortress, arrived one day at the gate of Xenil,* by which it was to traverse a suburb of the city on its way to the Alhambra. The convoy was headed by a testy old corporal', who had long served under the governor', and was a man after his own hearto; as trusty and stanch as an old toledo blade. As they approached the gate of the city, the corporal placed the banner of the Alhambra on the pack-saddle of the mule', and drawing himself up to a perfect perpendicular', advanced, with his head dressed to the front', but with the wary sideglance of a cur passing through hostile grounds, and ready for a snap and a snarl.
“ Who goes théré ?” said the sentinel at the gate.
“Soldier of the Alhambrà,” said the corporal, without turning his head.
“ What have you in chargé ?” “ Provisions for the garrison'." “ Proceed'.”
The corporal marched straight forward', followed by the convoy', but had not advanced many paces' before a posse of custom-house officers rushed out of small toll-house.
“ Hallò, therè !” cried the leader; “muleteer', halt", and open those packages':'
The corporal wheeled round', and drew himself up in battle array. * Respect the flag of the Alhambrà,” said he; “ these things are for the governor.”
“ A fig for the governor', and a fig for his flag'. Muleteer', halt, I say." Stay the convoy at your perilo!”
eril!” cried the corporal", cocking his inusket. • Muleteer', proceed.”
The muleteer gave his beast a hearty thwack; the customhouse officer sprang forward, and seized the halter; whereupon the corporal levelled his piece and shot him dead.
The street was immediately in an uproar. The old corporal was seized", and after undergoing sundry kicks and cuffs', and cudgellings', which are generally given impromptu by the mob in Spain', as a foretaste of the after penalties of the law', he was loaded with irons', and conducted to the city prison'; while his comrades were permitted to proceed with the convoy', after it had been well rummaged, to the Alhambra.
The old governor was in a towering' passion', when he heard of this insult to his flag and capture of his corporal. For a time he stormed about the Moorish halls', and vapored about the bastions', and looked down fire and sword upon the palace of the captain-general. Having vented the first ebullition of his wrath', he despatched a message demanding the surrender of the corporal', as to him alone belonged the right of sitting in judgment on the offences of those under his command. The captain-general, aided by the pen of the delighted Escribano, replied at great length', arguing that as the offence had been committed within the walls of his city', and against one of his civil officers', it was clearly within his proper jurisdiction'. The governor rejoined by a repetition of his demand"; the captain-general gave a sur-rejoinder of still greater length', and legal acumen'; the governor became hotter and more peremptory in his demands', and the captain-general cooler and more copious in his replies"; until the old lion-hearted soldier absolutely roared with fury', at being thus entangled in the meshes of legal controversy.
While the subtle Escribano was thus amusing himself at the expense of the governor', he was conducting the trial of the corporal"; whó, mewed up into a narrow dungeon of the prison', had merely a small grated window at which to show his ironbound visagé, and receive the consolations of his friends'; a mountain of written testimony was diligently heaped up', according to Spanish form', by the indefatigable Escribano; the corporal was completely overwhelmed by it. He was convicted of murder', and sentenced to be hanged.
It was in vain the governor sent down remonstrance and menace from the Alhambra. The fatal day was at hand', and the corporal was put in capilla', that is to say', in the chapel of the prison; as is always done with culprits the day before execution', that they may meditate on their approaching end, and repent them of their sins.
Seeing things drawing to an extremity', the old governor determined to attend the affair in person. For this purpose he ordered out his carriage of staté, and surrounded by his guards', rumbled down the avenue of the Alhambra into the city.
Driving to the house of the Escribanó, he summoned him to the portal
The eye of the old governor gleamed like a coal at beholding the smirking man of the law advancing with an air of exultation.
“ What is this I hear',"' cried hè; " that you are about to put to death one of my soldiers' ?”
“ All according to law',--all in strict form of justice,” said the self-sufficient Escribanó, chuckling and rubbing his hands. “I can show your excellency the written testimony in the case.”
“Fetch hither',” said the governor.
The Escribano bustled into his officé, delighted with having another opportunity of displaying his ingenuity at the expense of the hard-hearted veteran. He returned with a satchel full of papers', and began to read a long deposition with professional volubility. By this time a crowd had collected', listening with outstretched necks and gaping mouths.
“Pry'thee, man', get into the carriage out of this pestilent throng’, that I may the better hear thee'," said the governor.
The Escribano entered the carriage, when', in a twinkling', the door was closed', the coachman smacked his whip', mules', carriage, guards and all, dashed off at a thundering raté, leaving the crowd in gaping wondermentV; nor did the governor pause until he had lodged his prey in one of the strongest dungeons of the Alhambra.
He then sent down a flag of truce in military stylé, proposing a cartel or exchange of prisoners' the corporal for the notary'. The pride of the captain-general was piqued'; he returned a contemptuous refusal', and forthwith caused a gallows tall and strong', to be erected in the center of the Plaza Neuva'* for the execution of the corporal.
“O ho'! is that' the gamé ?” said governor Mancó: he gave orders', and immediately a gibbet was reared on the verge of the great beetling bastion that overlooked the Plaza. “Now!,” said hé, in a message to the captain-general', “hang my soldier when you please; but at the same time that he is swung o! in the squaré, look up to see your Escribano dangling against the sky'.”
The captain-general was inflexiblè; troops were paraded in the squarè; the drums beat'; the bell tosled'; an immense multitude of ameteurst had collected to behold the execution'; on the other hand, the governor paraded his garrison on
* Plaza; a as in father; Neura, Na-00-vah.