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the drawbridge, and immediately afterwards, the light clatter of hoofs along the road bespoke the fleetness with which the youthful lover hastened to his bride. It was deep night when the Moor arrived at the castle of Coyn. He silently and cautiously walked his panting steed under its dark walls, and having nearly passed round them, came to the portal denoted by Xarisa. He paused, looked round to see that he was not observed, and knocked three times with the butt of his lance. In a little while the portal was timidly unclosed by the duenna of Xarisa. “Alas! Señor,” said she, “what has detained you thus long? Every night have I watched for you; and my lady is sick at heart with doubt and anxiety.”

The Abencerrage hung his lance and shield and scimitar against the wall, and followed the duenna, with silent steps up a winding staircase, to the apartment of Xarisa. Vain would be the attempt to describe the raptures of that meeting Time flew too swiftly, and the Abencerrage had nearly forgotten, until too late, his promise to return a prisoner to the alcayde of Allora. The recollection of it came to him with a pang, and woke him from his dream of bliss. Xarisa saw his altered looks, and heard with alarm his stifled sighs; but her countenance brightened when she heard the

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cause. “Let not thy spirit be cast down,said she, throwing her white arms around him. “I have the keys of my father's treasures ; send ransom more than enough to satisfy the Christian, and remain with me."

No," said Abendaraez, “I have given my word to return in person, and, like a true knight, must fulfil my promise. After that, fortune must do with me as it pleases.”

“Then,” said Xarisa, “I will accompany thee. Never shalt thou return a prisoner, and I remain at liberty.”

The Abencerrage was transported with joy at this new proof of devotion in his beautiful bride. All preparations were speedily made for their departure. Xarisa mounted behind the Moor, on his powerful steed ; they left the castle walls before daybreak, nor did they pause, until they arrived at the gate of the castle of Allora.

Alighting in the court, the Abencerrage supported the steps of his trembling bride, who remained closely veiled, into the presence of Rodrigo de Narvaez, Behold, valiant alcayde !” said he, the way in which an Abencerrage keeps his word. I promised to return to thee a prisoner, but I deliver two captives into thy power. Behold Xarisa, and judge whether I grieved without reason over

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the loss of such a treasure. Receive us as thine own, for I confide my life and her honor to thy hands."

The alcayde was lost in admiration of the beauty of the lady, and the noble spirit of the Moor. “I know not,” said he, which of you surpasses the other ; but I know that my castle is graced and honored by your presence. Consider it your own, while you deign to reside with me."

For several days the lovers remained at Allora, happy in each other's love, and in the friendship of the alcayde. The latter wrote a letter to the Moorish king of Granada, relating the whole event, extolling the valor and good faith of the Abencerrage, and craving for him the royal countenance.

The king was moved by the story, and pleased with an opportunity of showing attention to the wishes of a gallant and chivalrous enemy; for though he had often suffered from the prowess of Don Rodrigo de Narvaez, he admired his heroic character. Calling the alcayde of Coyn into his presence, he gave him the letter to read. The alcayde turned pale and trembled with rage on the perusal. Restrain thine anger," said the king ; "there is nothing that the alcayde of Allora could ask, that I would not grant, if in my power. Go thou to Allora ; pardon thy children ; take them to thy home. I receive this Abencerrage into my favor, and it will be my delight to heap benefits upon you all.”

The kindling ire of the alcayde was suddenly appeased. He hastened to Allora, and folded his children to his bosom, who would have fallen at his feet. Rodrigo de Narvaez gave liberty to his prisoner without ransom, demanding merely a promise of his friendship. He accompanied the youthful couple and their father to Coyn, where their nuptials were celebrated with great rejoicings. When the festiv:ties were over, Don Rodrigo returned to his fortress of Allora.

After his departure, the alcayde of Coyn addressed his children: “To your hands," said he, “I confide the disposition of my wealth. One of the first things I charge you, is not to forget the ransom you owe to the alcayde of Allora. His magnanimity you can never repay, but you can prevent it from wronging him of his just dues. Give him, moreover, your entire friendship, for he merits it fully, though of a different faith.”

The Abencerrage thanked him for his proposition, which so truly accorded with his own wishes. He took a large sum of gold, and inclosed it in a rich coffer ; and, on his own part, sent six beautiful horses, superbly caparisoned ; with six shields and lances, mounted and embossed with gold. The beautiful Xarisa, at the same time, wrote a letter to the alcayde, filled with expressions of gratitude and friendship, and sent him a box of fragrant cypresswood, containing linen of the finest quality, for his person. The alcayde disposed of the present in a characteristic manner. The horses and armor he shared among the cavaliers who had accompanied him on the night of the skirmish. The box of cypress-wood and its contents he retained, for the sake of the beautiful Xarisa, and sent her, by the hands of the messenger, the sum of gold paid as a ransom, entreating her to receive it as a wedding-present. This courtesy and magnanimity raised the character of the alcayde Rodrigo de Narvaez still higher in the estimation of the Moors, who extolled him as a perfect mirror of chivalric virtue; and from that time forward there

a continual exchange of good offices between them.


Those who would read the foregoing story decked out with poetic grace in the pure Castilian, let them seek it in the Diana of Montemayor.


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