60 Gothic Classics

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As she uttered these words, a ray of moonshine, streaming through a cranny of the ruin above, shone directly on the lock they sought.—“Oh! transport!” said Isabella, “here is the trap-door”; and, taking out the key, she touched the spring, which, starting aside, discovered an iron ring. “Lift up the door,” said the princess. The stranger obeyed; and beneath appeared some stone steps descending into a vault totally dark. “We must go down here,” said Isabella: “follow me; dark and dismal as it is, we cannot miss our way; it leads directly to the church of St. Nicholas—but, perhaps,” added the princess, modestly, “you have no reason to leave the castle, nor have I farther occasion for your service; in a few minutes I shall be safe from Manfred’s rage—only let me know to whom I am so much obliged.”

“I will never quit you,” said the stranger eagerly, “until I have placed you in safety—nor think me, princess, more generous than I am; though you are my principal care——”

The stranger was interrupted by a sudden noise of voices that seemed approaching, and they soon distinguished these words: “Talk not to me of necromancers; I tell you she must be in the castle; I will find her in spite of enchantment.”

“Oh, heavens!” cried Isabella, “it is the voice of Manfred; make haste, or we are ruined! and shut the trap-door after you.” Saying this, she descended the steps precipitately; and as the stranger hastened to follow her, he let the door slip out of his hands: it fell, and the spring closed over it. He tried in vain to open it, not having observed Isabella’s method of touching the spring; nor had he many moments to make an essay. The noise of the falling door had been heard by Manfred, who, directed by the sound, hastened thither, attended by his servants with torches.

“It must be Isabella,” cried Manfred, before he entered the vault: “she is escaping by the subterraneous passage, but she cannot have got far.” What was the astonishment of the prince, when, instead of Isabella, the light of the torches discovered to him the young peasant, whom he thought confined under the fatal helmet. “Traitor!” said Manfred, “how camest thou here? I thought thee in durance above in the court.”

“I am no traitor,” replied the young man boldly, “nor am I answerable for your thoughts.”

“Presumptuous villain!” cried Manfred, “dost thou provoke my wrath? Tell me; how hast thou escaped from above? Thou hast corrupted thy guards, and their lives shall answer it.”

“My poverty,” said the peasant calmly, “will disculpate them: though the ministers of a tyrant’s wrath, to thee they are faithful, and but too willing to execute the orders which you unjustly imposed upon them.”

“Art thou so hardy as to dare my vengeance?” said the prince; “but tortures shall force the truth from thee. Tell me; I will know thy accomplices.”

“There was my accomplice!” said the youth, smiling and pointing to the roof.

Manfred ordered the torches to be held up, and perceived that one of the cheeks of the enchanted casque had forced its way through the pavement of the court, as his servants had let it fall over the peasant, and had broken through into the vault, leaving a gap through which the peasant had pressed himself some minutes before he was found by Isabella. “Was that the way by which thou didst descend?” said Manfred.

“It was,” said the youth.

“But what noise was that,” said Manfred, “which I heard, as I entered the cloister?”

“A door clapped,” said the peasant; “I heard it as well as you.”

“What door?” said Manfred hastily.

“I am not acquainted with your castle,” said the peasant: “this is the first time I ever entered it; and this vault the only part of it within which I ever was.”

“But I tell thee,” said Manfred, wishing to find out if the youth had discovered the trap-door, “it was this way I heard the noise; my servants heard it too.”

“My lord,” interrupted one of them officiously, “to be sure it was the trap-door, and he was going to make his escape.”

“Peace! blockhead,” said the prince angrily; “if he was going to escape, how should he come on this side? I will know from his own mouth what noise it was I heard. Tell me truly, thy life depends on thy veracity.”

“My veracity is dearer to me than my life,” said the peasant; “nor would I purchase the one by forfeiting the other.”

“Indeed, young philosopher!” said Manfred, contemptuously; “tell me, then, what was that noise I heard?”

“Ask me, what I can answer,” said he, “and put me to death instantly, if I tell you a lie.”

Manfred, growing impatient at the steady valour and indifference of the youth, cried, “Well, then, thou man of truth! answer; was it the fall of the trap-door that I heard?”

“It was,” said the youth.

“It was!” said the prince; “and how didst thou come to know there was a trap-door here?”

“I saw the plate of brass by a gleam of moonshine,” replied he.

“But what told thee it was a lock?” said Manfred; “how didst thou discover the secret of opening it?”

“Providence, that delivered me from the helmet, was able to direct me to the spring of a lock,” said he.

“Providence should have gone a little farther, and have placed thee out of the reach of my resentment,” said Manfred: “when Providence had taught thee to open the lock, it abandoned thee for a fool, who did not know how to make use of its favours. Why didst thou not pursue the path pointed out for thy escape? Why didst thou shut the trap-door before thou hadst descended the steps?”

“I might ask you, my lord,” said the peasant, “how I, totally unacquainted with your castle, was to know that those steps led to any outlet? but I scorn to evade your questions. Wherever those steps led to, perhaps, I should have explored the way. I could not be in a worse situation than I was. But the truth is, I let the trap-door fall: your immediate arrival followed. I had given the alarm—what imported it to me whether I was seized a minute sooner or a minute later?”

“Thou art a resolute villain for thy years,” said Manfred; “yet, on reflection, I suspect thou dost but trifle with me: thou hast not yet told me how thou didst open the lock.”

“That I will show you, my lord,” said the peasant; and, taking up a fragment of stone that had fallen from above, he laid himself on the trap-door, and began to beat on the piece of brass that covered it; meaning to gain time for the escape of the princess. This presence of mind, joined to the frankness of the youth, staggered Manfred. He even felt a disposition towards pardoning one who had been guilty of no crime. Manfred was not one of those savage tyrants who wanton in cruelty unprovoked. The circumstances of his fortune had given an asperity to his temper, which was naturally humane; and his virtues were always ready to operate, when his passions did not obscure his reason.

While the prince was in this suspense, a confused noise of voices echoed through the distant vaults. As the sound approached, he distinguished the clamours of some of his domestics, whom he had dispersed through the castle in search of Isabella, calling out, “Where is my lord? where is the prince?”

“Here I am,” said Manfred, as they came nearer; “have you found the princess?”

The first that arrived replied, “Oh, my lord, I am glad we have found you.”

“Found me!” said Manfred; “have you found the princess?”

“We thought we had, my lord,” said the fellow, looking terrified; “but——”

“But what?” cried the prince; “has she escaped?”

“Jaquez and I, my lord——”

“Yes, I and Diego,” interrupted the second, who came up in still greater consternation.

“Speak one of you at a time,” said Manfred; “I ask you, where is the princess?”

“We do not know,” said they both together; “but we are frightened out of our wits.”

“So I think, blockheads,” said Manfred; “what is it has scared you thus?”

“Oh, my lord,” said Jaquez, “Diego has seen such a sight! your highness would not believe your eyes.”

“What new absurdity is this?” cried Manfred; “give me a direct answer, or by Heaven——”

“Why, my lord, if it please your highness to hear me,” said the poor fellow, “Diego and I——”

“Yes, I and Jaquez,” cried his comrade.

“Did not I forbid you to speak both at a time?” said the prince: “you, Jaquez, answer; for the other fool seems more distracted than thou art: what is the matter?”

“My gracious lord,” said Jaquez, “if it please your highness to hear me, Diego and I, according to your highness’s orders, went to search for the young lady; but being apprehensive that we might meet the ghost of my young lord, your highness’s son, God rest his soul! as he has not received Christian burial——”

“Sot!” cried Manfred, in a rage, “is it only a ghost, then, that thou hast seen?”

“Oh, worse! worse! my lord,” cried Diego: “I had rather have seen ten whole ghosts.”

“Grant me patience!” said Manfred; “those blockheads distract me. Out of my sight, Diego; and thou, Jaquez, tell me, in one word, art thou sober? art thou raving? thou wast wont to have some sense; has the other sot frightened himself and thee too? speak; what is it he fancies he has seen?”

“Why, my lord,” replied Jaquez, trembling. “I was going to tell your highness, that since the calamitous misfortune of my young lord, God rest his precious soul! not one of us, your highness’s faithful servants, indeed we are, my lord, though poor men; I say, not one of us has dared to set a foot about the castle, but two together: so Diego and I, thinking that my young lady might be in the great gallery, went up there to look for her, and tell her your highness wanted something to impart to her.”

 

“O blundering fools!” cried Manfred; “and in the meantime she has made her escape, because you were afraid of goblins! Why, thou knave! she left me in the gallery; I came from thence myself.”

“For all that, she may be there still for aught I know,” said Jaquez; “but the devil shall have me before I seek her there again: poor Diego! I do not believe he will ever recover it.”

“Recover what?” said Manfred; “am I never to learn what it is has terrified these rascals? But I lose my time; follow me, slave; I will see if she is in the gallery.”

“For Heaven’s sake, my dear good lord,” cried Jaquez, “do not go to the gallery! Satan himself, I believe, is in the chamber next to the gallery.”

Manfred, who hitherto had treated the terror of his servants as an idle panic, was struck at this new circumstance. He recollected the apparition of the portrait, and the sudden closing of the door at the end of the gallery—his voice faltered, and he asked with disorder, “What is in the great chamber?”

“My lord,” said Jaquez, “when Diego and I came into the gallery, he went first, for he said he had more courage than I;—so, when we came into the gallery, we found nobody. We looked under every bench and stool; and still we found nobody.”

“Were all the pictures in their places?” said Manfred.

“Yes, my lord,” answered Jaquez; “but we did not think of looking behind them.”

“Well, well,” said Manfred, “proceed.”

“When we came to the door of the great chamber,” continued Jaquez, “we found it shut.”

“And could not you open it?” said Manfred.

“Oh yes, my lord; would to Heaven we had not!” replied he: “nay, it was not I neither, it was Diego: he was grown foolhardy, and would go on, though I advised him not: if ever I open a door that is shut again!”

“Trifle not,” said Manfred, shuddering, “but tell me what you saw in the great chamber, on opening the door.”

“I! my lord!” said Jaquez, “I saw nothing: I was behind Diego; but I heard the noise.”

“Jaquez,” said Manfred, in a solemn tone of voice; “tell me, I adjure thee by the souls of my ancestors, what was it thou sawest? what was it thou heardest?”

“It was Diego saw it, my lord, it was not I,” replied Jaquez; “I only heard the noise. Diego had no sooner opened the door, than he cried out, and ran back—I ran back too, and said, ‘Is it the ghost?’—‘The ghost! no, no,’ said Diego, and his hair stood an end—‘it is a giant, I believe: he is all clad in armour, for I saw his foot and part of his leg, and they are as large as the helmet below in the court.’ As he said these words, my lord, we heard a violent motion, and the rattling of armour, as if the giant was rising, for Diego has told me since that he believes the giant was lying down, for the foot and leg were stretched at length on the floor. Before we could get to the end of the gallery, we heard the door of the great chamber clap behind us, but we did not dare turn back to see if the giant was following us—yet, now I think on it, we must have heard him if he pursued us; but for Heaven’s sake, good my lord, send for the chaplain, and have the castle exorcized, for, for certain, it is enchanted.”

“Ay, pray do, my lord,” cried all the servants at once, “or we must leave your highness’s service.”

“Peace, dotards!” said Manfred, “and follow me; I will know what all this means.”

“We! my lord?” cried they, with one voice; “we would not go up to the gallery for your highness’s revenue.”

The young peasant, who had stood silent, now spoke. “Will your highness,” said he, “permit me to try this adventure? my life is of consequence to nobody; I fear no bad angel, and have offended no good one.”

“Your behaviour is above your seeming,” said Manfred, viewing him with surprise and admiration: “hereafter I will reward your bravery; but now,” continued he with a sigh, “I am so circumstanced, that I dare trust no eyes but my own. However, I give you leave to accompany me.”

Manfred, when he first followed Isabella from the gallery, had gone directly to the apartment of his wife, concluding the princess had retired thither. Hippolita, who knew his step, rose with anxious fondness to meet her lord, whom she had not seen since the death of her son. She would have flown in a transport, mixed of joy and grief, to his bosom, but he pushed her rudely off, and said, “Where is Isabella?”

“Isabella, my lord!” said the astonished Hippolita.

“Yes, Isabella,” cried Manfred imperiously; “I want Isabella.”

“My lord,” replied Matilda, who perceived how much his behaviour had shocked her mother, “she has not been with us since your highness summoned her to your apartment.”

“Tell me where she is,” said the prince; “I do not want to know where she has been.”

“My good lord,” says Hippolita, “your daughter tells you the truth: Isabella left us by your command, and has not returned since; but, my good lord, compose yourself: retire to your rest; this dismal day has disordered you. Isabella shall wait your orders in the morning.”

“What, then, you know where she is?” cried Manfred. “Tell me directly, for I will not lose an instant; and you, woman,” speaking to his wife, “order your chaplain to attend me forthwith.”

“Isabella,” said Hippolita, calmly, “is retired, I suppose to her chamber: she is not accustomed to watch at this late hour. Gracious my lord,” continued she, “let me know what has disturbed you. Has Isabella offended you?”

“Trouble me not with questions,” said Manfred, “but tell me where she is.”

“Matilda shall call her,” said the princess. “Sit down, my lord, and resume your wonted fortitude.”

“What! art thou jealous of Isabella?” replied he, “that you wish to be present at our interview?”

“Good heavens! my lord,” said Hippolita; “what is it your highness means?”

“Thou wilt know ere many minutes are passed,” said the cruel prince. “Send your chaplain to me, and wait my pleasure here.” At these words he flung out of the room in search of Isabella, leaving the amazed ladies thunderstruck with his words and frantic deportment, and lost in vain conjectures on what he was meditating.

Manfred was now returning from the vault, attended by the peasant and a few of his servants, whom he had obliged to accompany him. He ascended the staircase without stopping, till he arrived at the gallery, at the door of which he met Hippolita and her chaplain. When Diego had been dismissed by Manfred, he had gone directly to the princess’s apartment with the alarm of what he had seen. That excellent lady, who no more than Manfred doubted of the reality of the vision, yet affected to treat it as a delirium of the servants. Willing, however, to save her lord from any additional shock, and prepared by a series of grief not to tremble at any accession to it, she determined to make herself the first sacrifice, if fate had marked the present hour for their destruction. Dismissing the reluctant Matilda to her rest, who in vain sued for leave to accompany her mother, and attended only by her chaplain, Hippolita had visited the gallery and great chamber; and now, with more serenity of soul than she had felt for many hours, she met her lord, and assured him that the vision of the gigantic leg and foot was all a fable; and no doubt an impression made by fear, and the dark and dismal hour of the night, on the minds of his servants. She and the chaplain had examined the chamber, and found everything in the usual order.

Manfred, though persuaded, like his wife, that the vision had been no work of fancy, recovered a little from the tempest of mind into which so many strange events had thrown him. Ashamed, too, of his inhuman treatment of a princess, who returned every injury with new marks of tenderness and duty, he felt returning love forcing itself into his eyes; but not less ashamed of feeling remorse towards one against whom he was inwardly meditating a yet more bitter outrage, he curbed the yearnings of his heart, and did not dare to lean even towards pity. The next transition of his soul was to exquisite villainy. Presuming on the unshaken submission of Hippolita, he flattered himself that she would not only acquiesce with patience to a divorce, but would obey, if it was his pleasure, in endeavouring to persuade Isabella to give him her hand—but ere he could indulge this horrid hope, he reflected that Isabella was not to be found. Coming to himself, he gave orders that every avenue to the castle should be strictly guarded, and charged his domestics, on pain of their lives, to suffer nobody to pass out. The young peasant to whom he spoke favourably, he ordered to remain in a small chamber on the stairs, in which there was a pallet-bed, and the key of which he took away himself, telling the youth he would talk with him in the morning. Then dismissing his attendants, and bestowing a sullen kind of half-nod on Hippolita, he retired to his own chamber.

Chapter II

Table of Contents

Matilda, who, by Hippolita’s order, had retired to her apartment, was ill-disposed to take any rest. The shocking fate of her brother had deeply affected her. She was surprised at not seeing Isabella; but the strange words which had fallen from her father, and his obscure menace to the princess, his wife, accompanied by the most furious behaviour, had filled her gentle mind with terror and alarm. She waited anxiously for the return of Bianca, a young damsel that attended her, whom she had sent to learn what was become of Isabella. Bianca soon appeared, and informed her mistress of what she had gathered from the servants, that Isabella was nowhere to be found. She related the adventure of the young peasant who had been discovered in the vault, though with many simple additions from the incoherent accounts of the domestics; and she dwelt principally on the gigantic leg and foot which had been seen in the gallery-chamber. This last circumstance had terrified Bianca so much, that she was rejoiced when Matilda told her that she would not go to rest, but would watch till the princess should rise.

The young princess wearied herself in conjectures on the flight of Isabella, and on the threats of Manfred to her mother. “But what business could he have so urgent with the chaplain?” said Matilda. “Does he intend to have my brother’s body interred privately in the chapel?”

“Oh, madam,” said Bianca, “now I guess. As you are become his heiress, he is impatient to have you married. He has always been raving for more sons; I warrant he is now impatient for grandsons. As sure as I live, madam, I shall see you a bride at last. Good madam, you won’t cast off your faithful Bianca: you won’t put Donna Rossara over me, now you are a great princess!”

“My poor Bianca,” said Matilda, “how fast your thoughts ramble! I a great princess! What hast thou seen in Manfred’s behaviour since my brother’s death that bespeaks any increase of tenderness to me? No, Bianca; his heart was ever a stranger to me—but he is my father, and I must not complain. Nay, if Heaven shuts my father’s heart against me, it overpays my little merit in the tenderness of my mother.—O that dear mother! Yes, Bianca, ’tis there I feel the rugged temper of Manfred. I can support his harshness to me with patience; but it wounds my soul when I am witness to his causeless severity towards her.”

“Oh, madam,” said Bianca, “all men use their wives so, when they are weary of them.”

“And yet you congratulated me but now,” said Matilda, “when you fancied my father intended to dispose of me!”

“I would have you a great lady,” replied Bianca, “come what will. I do not wish to see you moped in a convent, as you would be if you had your will, and if my lady, your mother, who knows that a bad husband is better than no husband at all, did not hinder you.—Bless me! what noise is that? St. Nicholas forgive me! I was but in jest.”

“It is the wind,” said Matilda, “whistling through the battlements in the tower above. You have heard it a thousand times.”

“Nay,” said Bianca, “there was no harm neither in what I said: it is no sin to talk of matrimony—and so, madam, as I was saying, if my Lord Manfred should offer you a handsome young prince for a bridegroom, you would drop him a curtsy, and tell him you would rather take the veil?”

“Thank Heaven! I am in no such danger,” said Matilda: “you know how many proposals for me he has rejected.”

 

“And you thank him like a dutiful daughter, do you, madam?—but come, madam; suppose to-morrow morning he was to send for you to the great council-chamber, and there you should find at his elbow a lovely young prince, with large black eyes, a smooth white forehead, and manly curling locks like jet; in short, madam, a young hero resembling the picture of the good Alfonso in the gallery, which you sit and gaze at for hours together.”

“Do not speak lightly of that picture,” interrupted Matilda, sighing: “I know the adoration with which I look at that picture is uncommon—but I am not in love with a coloured panel. The character of that virtuous prince, the veneration with which my mother has inspired me for his memory, the orisons which, I know not why, she has enjoined me to pour forth at his tomb, all have concurred to persuade me that, somehow or other, my destiny is linked with something relating to him.”

“Lord, madam! how should that be?” said Bianca: “I have always heard that your family was no way related to his; and I am sure I cannot conceive why my lady, the princess, sends you in a cold morning or a damp evening to pray at his tomb: he is no saint by the almanac. If you must pray, why does she not bid you address yourself to our great St. Nicholas? I am sure he is the saint I pray to for a husband.”

“Perhaps my mind would be less affected,” said Matilda, “if my mother would explain her reasons to me; but it is the mystery she observes, that inspires me with this—I know not what to call it. As she never acts from caprice, I am sure there is some fatal secret at bottom—nay, I know there is. In her agony of grief for my brother’s death she dropped some words that intimated as much.”

“Oh, dear madam,” cried Bianca, “what were they?”

“No,” said Matilda, “if a parent lets fall a word, and wishes it recalled, it is not for a child to utter it.”

“What! was she sorry for what she had said?” asked Bianca. “I am sure, madam, you may trust me.”

“With my own little secrets, when I have any, I may,” said Matilda; “but never with my mother’s. A child ought to have no ears or eyes, but as a parent directs.”

“Well, to be sure, madam, you were born to be a saint,” said Bianca, “and there is no resisting one’s vocation: you will end in a convent at last. But there is my Lady Isabella would not be so reserved to me: she will let me talk to her of young men; and when a handsome cavalier has come to the castle, she has owned to me that she wished your brother Conrad resembled him.”

“Bianca,” said the princess, “I do not allow you to mention my friend disrespectfully. Isabella is of a cheerful disposition, but her soul is as pure as virtue itself. She knows your idling, babbling humour, and perhaps has now and then encouraged it, to divert melancholy, and enliven the solitude in which my father keeps us.”

“Blessed Mary!” said Bianca, starting, “there it is again! Dear madam, do you hear nothing? The castle is certainly haunted!”

“Peace!” said Matilda, “and listen! I did think I heard a voice—but it must be fancy; your terrors, I suppose, have infected me.”

“Indeed! indeed! madam,” said Bianca, half weeping with agony, “I am sure I heard a voice.”

“Does anybody lie in the chamber beneath?” said the princess.

“Nobody has dared to lie there,” answered Bianca, “since the great astrologer, that was your brother’s tutor, drowned himself. For certain, madam, his ghost and the young prince’s are now met in the chamber below; for Heaven’s sake let us fly to your mother’s apartment!”

“I charge you not to stir,” said Matilda. “If they are spirits in pain, we may ease their sufferings by questioning them. They can mean no hurt to us, for we have not injured them; and if they should, shall we be more safe in one chamber than in another? Reach me my beads; we will say a prayer, and then speak to them.”

“Oh, dear lady, I would not speak to a ghost for the world,” cried Bianca. As she said these words, they heard the casement of the little chamber below Matilda’s open. They listened attentively, and in a few minutes thought they heard a person sing, but could not distinguish the words.

“This can be no evil spirit,” said the princess, in a low voice: “it is undoubtedly one of the family—open the window, and we shall know the voice.”

“I dare not, indeed, madam,” said Bianca.

“Thou art a very fool,” said Matilda, opening the window gently herself. The noise that the princess made was, however, heard by the person beneath, who stopped, and they concluded had heard the casement open.

“Is anybody below?” said the princess: “if there is, speak.”

“Yes,” said an unknown voice.

“Who is it?” said Matilda.

“A stranger,” replied the voice.

“What stranger?” said she, “and how didst thou come here at this unusual hour, when all the gates of the castle are locked?”

“I am not here willingly,” answered the voice; “but pardon me, lady, if I have disturbed your rest: I knew not that I was overheard. Sleep has forsaken me: I left a restless couch, and came to waste the irksome hours with gazing on the fair approach of morning, impatient to be dismissed from this castle.”

“Thy words and accents,” said Matilda, “are of a melancholy cast: if thou art unhappy, I pity thee. If poverty afflicts thee, let me know it: I will mention thee to the princess, whose beneficent soul ever melts for the distressed; and she will relieve thee.”

“I am, indeed, unhappy,” said the stranger, “and I know not what wealth is; but I do not complain of the lot which Heaven has cast for me. I am young and healthy and am not ashamed of owing my support to myself; yet think me not proud, or that I disdain your generous offers. I will remember you in my orisons, and I will pray for blessings on your gracious self and your noble mistress—if I sigh, lady, it is for others, not for myself.”

“Now I have it, madam,” said Bianca, whispering the princess. “This is certainly the young peasant; and, by my conscience, he is in love:—well, this is a charming adventure! Do, madam, let us sift him. He does not know you, but takes you for one of my Lady Hippolita’s women.”

“Art thou not ashamed, Bianca?” said the princess. “What right have we to pry into the secrets of this young man’s heart? He seems virtuous and frank, and tells us he is unhappy. Are those circumstances that authorize us to make a property of him? How are we entitled to his confidence?”

“Lord! madam, how little you know of love!” replied Bianca: “why, lovers have no pleasure equal to talking of their mistress.”

“And would you have me become a peasant’s confidant?” said the princess.

“Well, then, let me talk to him,” said Bianca: “though I have the honour of being your highness’s maid of honour, I was not always so great. Besides, if love levels ranks, it raises them too: I have a respect for a young man in love.”

“Peace, simpleton,” said the princess. “Though he said he was unhappy, it does not follow that he must be in love. Think of all that has happened to-day, and tell me, if there are no misfortunes but what love causes.—Stranger,” resumed the princess, “if thy misfortunes have not been occasioned by thy own fault, and are within the compass of the Princess Hippolita’s power to redress, I will take upon me to answer that she will be thy protectress. When thou art dismissed from this castle, repair to holy Father Jerome, at the convent adjoining to the church of St. Nicholas, and make thy story known to him, as far as thou thinkest meet. He will not fail to inform the princess, who is the mother of all that want her assistance. Farewell! It is not seemly for me to hold further converse with a man at this unwonted hour.”