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"I doubt it not, n.o.ble lady," said Fabueno, "but this I knew not then. I thought it was a retreat provided for me by the good St. James, who willed that there I should pa.s.s my life, under the shadow of that little crucifix. So there did I hide me, and, feeding upon roots and such living creatures as I could entrap, I remained in my hermitage a full year; until, one day, I heard a trumpet sounding at the bottom of the mountain; and running out in wonder, I beheld--thanks be to heaven! I beheld a company of Spanish soldiers marching up the hill. By these men, I was carried to Mexico, which was now fallen----"
"Fallen, say'st thou?" cried Amador. "Is the infidel city fallen?"
"Not the city only, but the empire," replied Fabueno; "and Cortes is now the lord of the great valley."
"Thou shalt tell me of its fate; but first thou must rest and eat.--I remember me now of the words of Cortes."
"His excellency," said Lorenzo, "commanded me to bear to your favour this little jewel, in token that he has made good a certain vaunt which he made you in Tlascala--the same being an emerald from the crown of Quauhtimotzin, the king."
"Hah! my valiant amba.s.sador at Tlascala? Hath he been the emperor?"
"And to your n.o.ble lady, he craves permission to present this chain of gold, the manufacture of Mexican artists, since Mexico has become a Spanish city."
"It is enough," said the cavalier; "I perceive that his genius is triumphant. I would that I might bear this news to his father, Don Martin, as I did the relation of his disasters. But come; let us retire.
Why hast thou on these palmer weeds?"
"I vowed to St. James, on the mountains of Mexico, in my great misery, that, if his good favour and protection should ever bless mine eyes with the sight of Christian man, I would make a pilgrimage, barefoot, to his holy shrine at Compostella. This it has been my good fortune already to accomplish, our ship having been driven, by a storm, into a port of Gallicia. Not thinking this penance enough for my sins, I resolved to continue my pains, and neither doff my pilgrim's cap, nor do on my shoes, until I had reached your favour's castle of the Cork-tree."
"I welcome thee to it, again, and for thy life; and I congratulate thee, that thou art relieved of the love of war; wherein, thou wilt find, I have somewhat preceded thee. Enter, and be at peace.--When thou art rested a little, I shall desire of thee to speak,--for very impatient am I to know,--what circ.u.mstances of marvel and renown, of romance and chivalry, have distinguished the last days of Tenocht.i.tlan."