It did not augur well for the accord between the French and their clerical
allies, that General Bazaine, on suddenly returning to the capital, found that,
during his absence, the French army had been excommunicated by the Archbishop.
It was a charmingly appropriate piece of revenge, but the General was more than
a match for the powers of heaven as wielded by the prelate. Under his
persuasions the discomfited dignitary bestowed his benediction publicly upon the
excommunicated but victorious army; and the act proved to be the commencement of
a period of tranquillity unexampled in
This period lasted for about four months. Towards the end of that time Maximilian arrived. Noel had taken advantage of the rising hopes for the future of the country, to dispose of the mine for a sum which, allowing for the circumstances, fully equalled his expectations. He was compelled, by the arrangements necessary for completing the sale and transfer, to remain until the .Emperor’s arrival at Vera Cruz. It was a tedious and an anxious time to him, relieved only by
his devotion to his book. The purchaser wished his presence at Dolóres, in order that they might go over the property together. The proposal startled him. He had not thought of such a thing. After a little reflection, he refused positively for himself, and nominated a substitute. He felt that he could not bear the pain of visiting the place again, deserted of all that made it sacred to him.
He had but one wish to gratify before quitting
It was they end of May when the new sovereign and his empress landed on the soil
Standing in the noble
‘He means well, but is weak,’ was Noel’s conclusion, expressed audibly, but in English.
To his surprise, he was answered by an old man, bent with age, and wearing a long beard and hair of snowy whiteness, whom he had noticed standing beside him, silent, but intent on the scene, and had taken for a superior sort of peasant, and one little likely to understand a foreign tongue. The old man, fixing a keen glittering eye on Noel, whispered, in Spanish, –
‘You have taken his measure a
púnto. He is one to be led by others. That won’t
Noel recognised the glance and the voice. Knowing the imminent danger in which his companion stood, should he be recognised by any one else, he repressed his astonishment at seeing him there, and said, quietly and respectfully, –
‘I was only regretting having to quit
‘I must not show myself in an hotel, even in this disguise.
Walk with me to the outskirts of the town, when the procession has passed.’
‘How could you be so rash as to venture among all these French bayonets?’ asked Noel, in a tone of friendly remonstrance, when they were clear of the crowd.
‘There is often safety in rashness,’ was the reply. They believe me far away on
‘You still have hopes? Yet the crowd seemed to be enthusiastic.’
‘I never despair. Least of all now that I have seen him. He is no ruler or leader of men. But tell me of Don Maynardo. I hope he is well.’
Noel related the fate of his friend, and the manner of it, and the cause of his
own presence in
When Noel had finished, he said, thoughtfully, –
‘The fates sometimes have a grim humour in them,’ and presently added, –
‘I doubt not that my present defeat has enriched his family. I will not grudge it. It is but temporary.’
‘I was disappointed to see the crowd so pleased,’ said Noel.
‘Hear the explanation,’ returned the other. ‘The clerigos hope, by conciliating Maximilian, to get back the property of which I deprived them. They have induced my people to shout for him, by telling them that he will give them the lands. That is, they pretend to credit him with my scheme! He rules by the land-owners, and therefore cannot do so if he would. I bide the time when the Indians discover the deception.’
‘The United States are nearer and stronger than
‘Their war,’ said Noel, seems to me to argue an intolerance of all republics save their own. It means that they will not endure another alongside of it.’
‘In one sense, perhaps,’ returned
speak with certainty. They promise me support in the future. They give me an asylum in the present.
‘Yes. Think you not that I can afford to wait?’
‘I fear the Afterwards for your nationality,’ returned Noel. ‘We Anglo-Saxons are a bad race into whose hands to fall. The Spanish conquered, and ruled; though in its own evil way. The Anglo-Saxon annihilates, and replaces by itself.’
‘Not in Mexican latitudes. Like the Hindoo, the Indian is indigenous and eternal. The Spaniard is vanishing from the new world, as you call it. The Anglo-Saxon is transitory also. Wait till the supplies of old blood cease to come across the ocean!’
‘I wish,’ said Noel, after a pause, that you would let the world know more of
you. Why not issue a manifesto of your principles? Forgive me for saying it, but
you are very little comprehended in
‘Can one race ever comprehend another? does it wish to?
No, I deal not in words. Posterity may do that when it interprets me by my
actions. For myself, I am content that Juarez approves what
And, without pausing for a reply or an adios, he turned into a thicket, for they were now at some distance beyond the walls of the town, and disappeared from Noel’s view.
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