Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

CHAP. II.

Hope having drawn him from sad meditations, as he rapidly pursued his way towards the south of Spain, he could not but obey the voice of nature, which called on him from valley and from mountain, to behold her vast and wonderous creations.

The royal province of Castile, traversed by rivers, and populous with cities, conducted him to the extensive plains of La Mancha.

Here the palladian palaces north of the Guadiana, and avenued with glowing vistas, were exchanged for heavy and sombre hamlets spread under the shade of thick groves, and dark with the clusters of the black grape. But in architecture alone, these villages were gloomy and uninviting. It

[ocr errors]

was the season of the vintage, and the whole scene teemed with life and gaiety. Louis passed through it, enjoying with the sympathy of benevolence, the happiness he saw.

In front lay a mountainous desart. Here he exchanged his vehicle for two stout mules used to the precipitous road; and with Lorenzo, entered the new region.

They were now in the Sierra Morena, which separates La Mancha from the Hesperian vales of Andalusia. The passes of the mountain were long, winding, and melancholy; but the moment he crossed its high misty ridge, Louis felt a difference in the atmosphere, amazing and grateful in its contrast, as the luxuriant landscape before him, when opposed to the frowning sterility behind.

" That is Andalusia !” exclaimed Lorenzo, pointing down to the fairest piedmont of Spain. Louis knew there was not a rill or a hillock in that ample province, which did not once owe tribute

to his family; he also knew how they had been lost; and with mingled feelings, he turned to the careless voice of Lorenzo, remarking on the beauties of the view.

On one side, towards the east, extended the pastoral hills of Jaen, backed by the snowy summits of the distant Sierra Nevada of Grenada ; the last retreat of the Moors, before their final expulsion from Spain. Louis thought on the latter circumstance, as those storied mountains stood bright in the glowing sky. He recollected, that amongst these persecuted people, was Don Ferdinand de Valor, one of his own progenitors; and that his attachment to the Moorish cause had occasioned the first sequestration of the Ripperda territories to the Spanish Kings. He did not utter his reflections ; but deeply ruminating, gave the reins to his mule, and slowly descended the heights.

With this humble equipage, and by the side of a single attendant, he entered the principality of his fathers. Over those very hills and vallies, where the heroes of his name had conducted armies to assist or to repel the sovereigns of Spain, he was journeying to seek the representative of all their honours, an exiled fugitive in a foreign land !- But William de Ripperda was not less worthy of their blood! And the last of their race, did not blush at the banishment of a parent, whose crimes were his virtues.

“ My noble, glorious father!" exclaimed he, inwardly, as he looked upwards; that look conveyed his vow to heaven. To think only of that father; to exult only in his virtue; to mourn only his affliction ; and to regard his weal or woe, as the only future objects of his own.

When he crossed the Guadalquivir, Lorenzo checked his mule.

From this spot, to the banks of the Xenil;" said he, “ a track of many

leagues, is the Marquisate of Montemar. The castle stands on a high promontory, far to the west, on the latter river. I never shall forget the joy of the country, when the Duke de Ripperda paid it a visit, on his return from Vienna."

Louis looked on the silver flood, on each side of the noble bridge they were crossing. He, then, was lord of that branch of the magnificent Guadalquivir ! The lands he saw bore his name; the people who tilled them, owed him homage; and he was passing through all, a stranger, and unknown!

He descended from the bridge into a sinuous track, between long plantations of olives; under whose refreshing foliage, the low vines, and the waving corn, were alternately spreading their clusters, or their yellow tops to the sun. Here again, were the reaper, and the joyous treaders of the wine-press. He listened to their jocund voices; their guitars, castanets, and bounding steps; and he could not

« VorigeDoorgaan »