Montezuma's Daughter | H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction, Literary Fiction | 3/10

chapter nine of Montezuma's daughter by H rider Haggard this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Patrick 79 chapter 9 Thomas becomes rich for many months we heard no more of the gas here or of his Abella de sequenza both had vanished leaving no sign and we search for them in vain as for me I fell back into my former way of life of assistant to Fonseca posing before the world as in nephew but it came about that from the night of my duel with the murderer my Master's health declined steadily through the action of a wasting disease of the liver which which baffled all skill so that within eight months of that time he lay almost bedridden and at the point of death his mind indeed remained quite clear and on occasions he would even receive those who came to consult him reclining on a chair and wrapped in his embroidered robe but the hand of death lay on him and he knew that it was so as the week's went by he grew more and more attached to me till at length had I been his son he would not have treated me with any greater affection while for my part I did what lay in my power to lessen his sufferings for he would let no other a physician near him at length when he had grown very feeble he expressed a desire to see a notary the man II named was sent for and remained closeted with him for an hour or more when he left for a while to return with several of his clerks who accompanied him to my Master's room from which I was excluded presently they all went away barring some parchments with them that evening from Sakura sent for me I found him very weak but cheerful and full of talk oh come here nephew he said I have had a busy day I have been busy all my life through and it would not be well to grow idle at the last do you know what I have been doing this day I shook my head I will tell you I have been making a will there is something to leave oh not so very much but still something oh do not talk of wills I said I trust that you will live for many years he laughed you must think badly of my case nephew when you think that I can be deceived us i I am about to die as you know well and I do not fear death my life has been prosperous but not happy for it was blighted in its spring no matter how the story is an old one are not worth telling moreover whichever way it has read it had all been won now in the hour of death we must travel our journey each of us what does it matter if the road is being good or bad when we have reached our goal for my part religion neither comforts no frightens me now at the last I will stand or fall upon the record of my life I have done evil in it and I have done good the evil I have done because nature I'm temptation have been too strong for me time's the good also because my heart prompted it well it is now finished and after old death cannot be so terrible seeing that every human being is born to undergo it together with all living things whatever else is false I hold this to be true that God exists and is more merciful than those who preach him would have us to believe at that point he seized and exhausted often since then I have thought of his words and I still think of them now that my own hour is so near as will be seen Fonseca was a fatalist I believe which I do not altogether share holding as I do that within certain limits we are allowed to shape our own characters and destinies but his last sayings I believe to be true God is merciful and death is not so terrible either in his acts or in its consequence presently Fonseca spoke again why do you leave me to talk of such things oh they weary me and I have little time I was telling of my will nephew now listen accept certain sums that I have given to be spent in charities not in masses my Jew I have left you all I possessed what you have left it to me I said astonished yes nephew to you but why not I have no relations living and I have learned to love you I who thought that I could never care again for any man or woman or child I am grateful to you you have proved to me that my heart is not dead take what I give to you as a mark of my gratitude how I began to stammer my thanks but he stopped me the sum that you will inherit nephew amounts Knoll to about well about 5000 gold pesos or perhaps twelve thousand of your English Pounds enough for a young man to begin life on even with a wife indeed there in England it may be well held a great fortune and I think that your betrothed father will make no more rejections to you as a son-in-law also there is this house and all it contains the library and the silver are valuable and you will do well to keep them all is left to you with the fullest formality so that no money's and for the most part the gold lies in strong boxes so that no question can arise as to your right to take it indeed foresee my end I have a late call in my monies and for the most part the gold lies in strong boxes in the secret cupboard in the wall yonder that you know of it would have been more had I known you some years ago for then thinking that I grew too rich who was without an heir I gave away as much as what remains in acts of mercy and in providing refuge for the homeless and the suffering Thomas Wingfield for the most part of this money has come to me as the fruit of human folly and human wretchedness frailty and sin use it for the purposes of wisdom and the advancing of right and liberty may it prosper you and remind you of me your old master the spanish quack till at last you pass it on to your children or the pole and now one more word if your conscience will let you abandon the pursuit of de Garcia take your fortune and go with it to England wet that maid whom you desire and follow that happiness in whatever way seems best to you who are you that you should meet out vengeance on this knave de Garcia let him be and he will avenge himself upon himself otherwise you may undergo such toil and danger and in the end lose love and life and fortune at a blow but I have sworn to kill him I answered and how can I break so solemn an oath how could I sit at home in peace beneath the burden of such shame I do not know it is not for me to judge you must do as you wish but in the doing of it it may happen that you will fall into greatest shames than this you have fought the man and he has escaped you let him go if you are wise now bend down and kiss me and bid farewell I do not desire that you should see me die and my death is near I cannot tell if we shall meet again when in your turn you have lain as I lay now or if we shape our cause for different stars if so farewell forever then I'll end down and kissed him on the forehead I said I did so I wept for not till this hour did I learn how truly I had come to love him so truly that it seemed to me yes my father lay there dying Oh the hot he said for all her life is but a parting once I had a son like you and ours is not the bitterest of farewells now I go to seek for him again who would not come back to me so weep not because I died goodbye Thomas Wingfield may God prosper and protect you now now go so I went weeping and that night before the dawn all was over with and raised a fonseca they told me that he was conscious to the end and died murmuring the name of that son of whom he spoke in his last words to me what was the history of this son or a Fonseca himself I never learned her like an Indian he hid his trail step by step he wandered down the path of life he never spoke of his past and in all the books and documents that they left behind him there was no allusion to it once some years ago I read through the cipher of volumes of records that I have spoken of and of which he gave me the key before he died they stand before me on this shelf as I write and in them are many histories of shame sorrow and evil of faith deluded and innocents betrayed of the cruelty of priests of avarice triumphant over love and of love triumphant over death enough enough indeed to furnish half a hundred of true romances but among these chronicles of a generation now passed and forgotten there is no mention of Fonseca own name and no hint of his own story it is lost forever and perhaps well this is well so died my benefactor and best friend when he was ready for burial I wanted to see and he looked calm and beautiful in his death sleep then it was that she who arrayed him for the grave handed to me two portraits most delicately painted are ivory and set in gold which had been found about his neck I have them yet one is off the head of a lady with a sweet and wistful countenance and the other the face of a dead youth also beautiful but very sad doubtless they were mother and son but I know no more about them on the morrow I buried and raised a fonseca but with no pomp for he had said that he wished as little money as possible to be spent upon his dead body and returned to the house to meet the notaries then the seals were broken and the parchments read and I was put in full possession of the dead man's wealth and having deducted such sums as were payable in Jews legacies and fees the notaries left me bowing humbly for I was not rich yes I was rich wealth had come to me without effort and I had reason to desire it yet this was the saddest night that I had passed since I set foot in Spain for my mind was filled with doubts and sorrow that moreover my loneliness got hold of me but sad as it might be it was destined to seem yet more sorrowful before the morning for as I was sad making pretence to eat a servant came to me saying that a woman waited in the outer room who had asked to see her the late master guessing that this was some client who had heard of Fonseca is death I was about to order that she should be dismissed then be thought me that I might be of service to her or at least forget some of my own trouble in listening to hers so I bade her bring her in presently she came a tall woman wrapped in a dark cloak that hid her face I bowed and motioned her to be seated when suddenly she started and spoke I asked to see Donna and Ray da fonseca she said in a low quick voice you are not he Senor Andre down Fonseca was buried today I answered I was his assistant in his business and I'm his heir if I can serve you in any way I'm at your disposal you are a very young very young she murmured confusedly and the matter is terrible and urgent how can I trust you it is for you to judge Senora she thought a while then drew off her cloak displaying the robes of a nun listen she said I must do many a penance for this night's work and very hardly have I won leave to come hither upon an errand of mercy now I cannot go back empty-handed so I must trust you but first swear though by thine Blessed Mother of God that you will not betray me I give you my word I answered if that is not enough then let us end this talk oh do not be angry with me she pleaded I have not left my convent wall for many years and I am distraught with grief I seek a poison of the deadliest I will pay well for it I am NOT the tool of murderers I answered for what purpose do you wish his poison oh I must tell you yet how can I in our convent there dies tonight a woman young and fair almost the girl indeed who has broken the vows she took she dies tonight with her baby thus Oh God that's by being built alive into the foundations of the house she has disgraced it is the judgment that has been passed upon her judgment without forgiveness or reprieve I am the Abbess of this convent ask not its name or mine and I love this sinner as though she were my daughter I have obtained this much of mercy for her because of my faithful services to the church and by secret influence that when I gave her the cup of water before the work is done I may mix poison with it and touch the lips of the babe with the poison so that their end is Swift I may do this and yet have no sin upon my soul I have my pardon under seal help me then to be an innocent murderess and to save the sinner from the last Agony's on earth I cannot set down the feelings with which I listen to this tale of horror for words could not carry them I stood aghast seeking an answer and a dreadful thought and in my head is this woman named Isabella dasuquin sir I asked that name was hers in the world she answered though how you know it I cannot guess we know many things in this house mother say now can this Isabella be saved by money or by interest oh it is impossible her sentence has been confirmed by the tribunal of mercy she must die and within two hours Oh will you've not given me the poison I cannot give you it unless I know its purpose mother this may be a barren tale and the medicine may be used in such a fashion that I should fall beneath the law at one price only I can give it and it is that I am there to see it used she thought a while and answered it may be done for as it chances the wordings of my absolution will cover it but you must be cowled as a priest that those who carry out the center's may know nothing sil others will know and I warn you that should you speak of the matter you yourself will meet with misfortune the church avenges itself on those who betray its secrets as one day his secrets will avenge themselves upon the church I answered bitterly and now let me seek a fitting drug one that is Swift yet not too Swift lest your hounds should see themselves baffled by the prey before all their devilry is done now here is something that will do the work and I held up a file that I drew from a case of such medicines come veil yourself mother and let us be gone upon this errand of mercy she obeyed and presently we left the house and walked away swiftly through the crowded streets till we came to the ancient part of the city along the river's edge here the woman led me to a wharf where a boat was waiting for her we entered it and were rowed for a mile or more upstream till the boat halted at a landing place beneath a high wall leaving it we came to a door in a wall on which my companion knocked thrice presently a shutter in the woodwork was drawn and a white-faced peeped through the grating and spoke my companion answered in a low voice and after some delay the door was opened and I found myself in a large walled garden planted with orange trees then the ibises spoke to me again I have led you to our house she said if you know where you are and what its name is maybe for your own sake I pray you forget it when you leave these doors I made no answer but look round the dim and dewy garden here it was doubtless that de Garcia had met the fun fortunate who must die this night a walk of a hundred paces brought us to another door in the wall of a long low building of Moorish style hear the knocking and the questionings were repeated at more length then the door was opened and I found myself in a passage alighted long and narrow in the depths which I could see the figures of nuns flitting to and fro like bats in a tomb the Abbess walked down the passage till she came to the doors on the right which she opened it led into a cell where she left me in the dark for ten minutes no more I stayed there prays or thoughts that I had rather forget at length the door opened again and she came in followed by a tall priest whose face where I could not see for he was dressed in a white robe and a hood of the Dominicans that led nothing visible except his eyes greetings my son he said when he had scanned me for a while the Abbess Mother has told me of your errand you are full young for such a task where I old I should not love it better father you know the case I am asked to provide a deadly drug for a certain merciful purpose I have provided that drug but I must be there to see that it put to proper use few are very cautious my son the church is no murderess this woman must die because her sin is flagrant and of late such wickedness has become common therefore after much thought and prayer and many searchings to find a means of mercy she is condemned to death by those whose names are too high to be spoken I alas I'm here to see the sentence carried out with a certain mitigation which has been allowed by the mercy of the chief judge it seems that your presence is needful to this act of love therefore I suffer it the Mother Abbess has warned you that evil dogs the feet of those who reveal that secrets of the church your own sake I pray you to lay that warning to heart I am no Babel of father so the caution is not needed one word more this visit should be well feed the medicine is costly Oh fear not physician the monk answered and a note of scorn in his voice name your son it should be paid you I ask no money father indeed I would pay much to be far away tonight I ask only that I may be allowed to speak with his girl before she dies what he said starting surely you're not that wicked man if so you are bold indeed to risk the sharing of her fate no father I am NOT that man I never saw isabella de sequenza except once and i have never spoken to her I am NOT the man who tricked her but I know him he is named Juan de Garcia he said quickly she would never tell his real name even under threat of torture poor so she could be faithful in her unfaith of what would you speak to her I wish to ask her whether this man has gone he is my enemy and I would follow him as I have already followed him this far he has done worse by me and mine than by this girl even grant my request father that I may be able to work my vengeance on him and with mine the church is also vengeance is mine saith the Lord I will repay yet it may be son that the Lord will choose you as the instrument of his wrath an opportunity shall be given to you to speak with her now put on this dress and he handed me a white dominican hood and robe and follow me first I said let me give this medicine to the Abbess for I will have no hand in its administering take it mother and when the time comes pour the contents of the file into the cup then having touched the mouth the tongue of the babe with a fluid give it to the mother to drink and be sure that she does drink it before the bricks are built up about them both will sleep sound never to awake again I will do it murmured the Abbess having absolution I will be bold and do it for love and mercy sake Oh your heart is too soft sister just as his mercy said a monk with a sigh alas for the frailty of the flesh that wars against the spirit then I clothed myself in the ghastly looking dress and they took lamps and motioned to me to follow them end chapter 9 recording by Patrick 79 chapter 10 of Montezuma's daughter by H rider Haggard this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Patrick 79 chapter 10 the passing of Isabella de sequenza silently we went down the long passage and as we went I saw the eyes of the dwellers in the living tomb watch has passed through the gratings of their cell doors little wonder that woman about to die had striven to escape from such a home back to the world of life and love yet for that crime she must perish surely God will remember the doings of such men as these priests and the nation that foster them and indeed he does remember for where is the splendor of Spain today and where are the cruel rites she glory din here in England their fetters are broken forever and in striving to bind them fast upon us free Englishmen she is broken also never to be whole again at the far end of the passage we found a staredown which we passed that its foot was an iron bound or that a monk unlocked and locked together upon the further side then came another passage hollowed in the thickness of the wall and a second door and we were in a place of death it was a vault low and damp and the waters of the river washed its outer wall for I could hear their murmuring in the silence perhaps the place may have measured ten paces in length by eight paces broad for the rest its roof was supported by massive columns and on one side there was a second door that led to a prison cell at the further end of this gloomy den that was dimly lighted by torches and lamps two men with hooded robes and draped in coarse black gowns were at work silently mixing lime that sent up a hot steam upon the stagnant air by their sides were squares of dress stone ranged neatly against the end of the vault and before them was a niche cut in the thickness of the wall itself shaped like a large coffin set upon a smaller end in front of this niche was placed a massive chair of wood chestnut wood I notice also that two other such coffin shaped niches had been cut in the same wall and filled in with the similar blocks of whitish stone on the face of each was a date graved in deep letters one had been sealed up some 30 years before and one had upon a hundred these two men were the only occupants of the vault when we entered it but presently a sound of soft and song singing stole down the second passage then the door was opened the Mason monks ceased laboring of the heap of lime and sound of singing grew louder so that I could catch the refrain it was that of a Latin hymn for the dying next through the open door came the choir eight veiled nuns walking two-by-two and ranging themselves on either side of the vault they ceased their singing after them followed the doomed woman guarded by two more nuns and last of all a priest bearing a crucifix this man wore a black robe and his thin her friends face was uncovered all of these and other things I noticed and remembered yet at the same time it seemed to me that I saw nothing except this figure of the victim I knew her again although I had seen her but once in the moonlight she was changed indeed her lovely face was fuller and the great tormented eyes shone like stars against the waxing pillar relieved by the carmine of her lips alone still it was the same face that some eight months before I have seen lifted in entreaty to her false lover now her tall shape was wrapped about with grave clothes over which her black hair streamed and her arms she bore a sleeping babe there from time to time she pressed convulsively to her breasts on the threshold of her tomb isabella de sequenza paused and looked round wildly as though for help scanning each of the silent watches to find a friend among them then her eye fell upon the niche and the heap of smoking lime and the men who guarded it and she shuddered and would have fallen had not those who attended her led her to the chair and placed her in it a living corpse now the dreadful rites began the dominican father stood before and recited her offence and the sentence that had been passed upon her which doomed her to be left alone with God and the child of your sin that he may deal with you as he feels fit to all of this she seemed to pay no heed nor to the exhortation that followed at length he ceased with a sigh and turning to him he said you're near to this sinner brother and speak with her before it is too late then he bade all-present gather themselves at the far end of the fault that our talk might not be overheard and they did so without wonder thinking doubtless of I was a monk sent to confess the doomed woman so I drew near with a beating heart and bending over her I spoke in her ear listen to me Isabella d'Este sequencer I said and I uttered the name she started wildly well is that B Garcia who deceived and deserted you how have you learned my true name she answered not even thought you would have rung it from me as you know I am no monk and I know nothing I am that man who fought with de Garcia on the night when you were taken and who would have killed him had you not seized me at the least I saved him that is my comfort now isabella desig wenzer i said i am your friend the best you ever had and the last as you shall learn presently tell me where this man is for there is that between us which must be settled if you are my friend weary me no more I do not know where he is months ago he went with her you will scarcely follow to the farthest indies but you will never find him there it may still be that I shall and if it should be so by chance say have you any message for this man none oh yes this tell him how we died his child and his wife telling that I did my best to hide his name from the priest less some like fate should befall him is that all yes no it is not all tell him that I passed away loving and forgiving my time is short I said awake and listen for having spoken thus she seemed to be sinking into a lethargy I was the assistant of that and raised of Fonseca whose counsel you put aside to your ruin and I have given a certain drug to the Abbess yonder when she offers you a cup of water see that you drink and deep you and the child if no one shall ever die more happily do you understand yes yes she gasped and may blessings rest upon you for the gift now I am no more afraid for I have long desired to die it was the way I feared then farewell and God be with you unhappy woman farewell she answer softly but call me not unhappy Who I am about to die thus easily with that I love and she glanced at the sleeping babe then I drew back and stood with bent head speaking no word now the Dominican motion to all to take their places where they had stood before and asked her hurrying sister have you ought to say before you are silent forever yes she answered in a clear sweet voice that never even quavered so bold had she become since she learned that her death would be swift and easy yes I have this to say that I go to my end with a clean heart for if I have sinned it is against custom and not against God I broke the vows indeed but I was forced to take those vows and therefore they did not bind me I was a woman born for light and love and yet I was thrust into the darkness of this cloister there to wither dead in life so I broke the vows and I am glad that I have broken them though it has brought me to this if I was deceived and my marriage is no marriage before the law as they tell me now I knew nothing of it therefore to me it is still valid and holy and on my soul there rests no stain at the least I have lived for some few hours I have been wife and mother and it is well to die swiftly in the cell that your mercy has prepared as more slowly in those above and now for you I tell you that your wickedness shall find you out you who dare to say to God's children you shall not love and to work murder on them because they will not listen it shall find you out I say and not only you but the church you serve both priest and church shall be broken together and shall be a scorn in the mouths of men to come she is distraught said the Dominican as a sigh of fear and wonder went around the vault and blasphemes in her madness forget her words Shriver brother swiftly here before she adds to them then that black road kenai priest came to her and holding the cross before her face began to mutter I known of what but she rose from the chair and thrust the crucifix aside peace she said I will not be driven by such as you I take my sins to God and not to you you who do murder in the name of Christ the fanatic heard and a fury took him then you go and shriven down to hell you and he named her by ill names and struck her in the face with the ivory crucifix the dominican made him cease his red reviling 'he's angleene but Isabella Disick wenzer wiped her bruised brow and laughed aloud a dreadful laugh to hear now I see that you are a coward also she said priest this is my last prayer that you also may perish at the hands of fanatics and more terribly than I die tonight then they hurried her into the place prepared for her and she spoke again give me to drink for we thirst my babe and I now I saw the Abbess into the the passage whence the victim had been led presently she came back bearing a cup of water in the hand and with it a loaf of bread and I knew by a remain that my draught was in the water but of what befell afterwards I cannot say certainly for I pray the Dominican to open the door by which he would enter the vault and passing through it I stood dazed with horror at some distance a while went by I do not know how long till at length I saw the Abbess standing before me a lantern in her hand and she was sobbing bitterly all is done she said they have no fear the draught worked well before ever a stone was laid mother and child slit alas for her soul who died unrepentant and unshriven a last for the souls of all who have shared in this night's work I answered now mother let me hence and may we never meet again then she led me back to the cell where I tore off that occurs in monk's robe and thanks to the door in the garden wall and to the boat which still waited by the river and I joined to feel the sweet air upon the face as one rejoices who awakes from some foul dream but I one little sleep night nor indeed for some days to come for whenever I close my eyes there rose before me the vision of that beauteous woman as I saw her last by the murky torchlight wrapped in grave clothes and standing in the coffin shaped niche proud and defiant to the end her child class with her one arm while the other was outstretched to take the draught of death few have seen such a sight for the Holy Office and his helpers do not seek witnesses in their dark deeds and none would wish to see it twice if if I have described it ill it is not that I have forgotten but because even now after the lapse of some seventy years I can scarcely bear to write of it how to set out his horrors fully but of all that was wonderful about it perhaps the most wonderful was that even to the last this unfortunate lady should still have clung to her love for the villain who having deceived her by the false marriage deserted her leaving her to such doom to what end can so wholly a gift as this great love of hers have been bestowed on such a man none can say but so it was yet now that I think of it there is one thing even stranger than her faithfulness it will be remembered that when the fanatic priest struck her she prayed that he also might die at such hands and more terribly than she must do well so it came about in after years that very man father Pedro by name was sent to convert the heathen of Anahuac among whom because of his cruelty he was known as the Christian devil but it chanced that venturing too far the clan of the ahta me before they were finally subdued he fell into the hands of some priests of the war god Witzel and by them was sacrificed after their dreadful fashion I saw him as he went to his death and without telling that I should be present when it was uttered I called to his mind the dying curse of Isabel – sir cleanser then for a moment his courage gave way for seeing in me nothing but an Indian chief he believed that the devil had put the words into my lips to torment him causing me to speak of what I knew nothing but enough of this now if it is necessary I will tell of it in its proper place at least whether it was by chance or because she had a gift of vision in her last hours or that Providence was arranged on him after his fashion so it came about and I do not sorrow for it though the death of this priest brought much misfortune on me this then was the end of isabella desig wenzer who was murdered by priests because she dared to break their rule so soon as i could clear my mind somewhat of all that i had seen and heard in that dreadful vault i began to consider the circumstances to which i found myself in the first place I was now a rich man and if it please me to go back to Norfolk with my wealth as Fonseca had pointed out my prospects were fair indeed but the oath that I had taken hung like laid about my neck I had sworn to be avenged upon de Garcia and I had prayed that the curse of heaven might rest upon me until it was so avenged but in England living in peace and plenty I could scarcely come by vengeance moreover now I knew where he was or at least of what portion of the world I might seek him and there where white men are few he could not hide from me as in Spain this tidings I had gained from the doomed lady and I have told her story of some length because it was through it and heard that I came to journey to Hispaniola as it was because of the sacrifice of her tormentor father Pedro by the priests of the ostomy that I am here in England this day since had it not been for that sacrifice the Spaniards would never have stormed the city of pines where alive or dead I should doubtless have been to this hour for thus do seeming accidents build up the fates of men had those words never passed Isabella's lips doubtless in time I should have wearied of a useless search and sail for home and Happiness but having heard them it seemed to me jahmai undoing that this would be to play the part of a sorry coward moreover strange as it may look now I felt as though I had two wrongs to avenge that of my mother and that of Isabella desuka Windsor indeed none could have seen that young and lovely lady died thus terribly and not desire to wreak her death on him who had betrayed and deserted her so the end of it was that being of a stubborn temper I determined to do violence to my own desires and the dying counsels of my benefactor and to follow the gasps here to the ends of the earth and there to kill him as I had sworn to do first however I inquired secretly and diligently as to the truth of the statement that de Garcia had sailed for the Indies and to be brief having the clue I discovered that two days after the date of the duel I had fought with him a man answering to de Garcia's description though bearing a different name had shipped from Seville in Carrick bound for the Canary Islands which Carrick was there to await the arrival of the fleet sailing for Hispaniola indeed from various circumstances I had little doubt that the man was none other than de Garcia himself which although I am not thought of it before was not strange seeing that then as now the Indies were the refuge of half the Desperados and villains who could no longer live in Spain neither then I made up my mind to follow him consoled myself a little by the thought that at least I should see new and wonderful countries though how new and wonderful they were I did not guess now it remained for me dispose of the wealth which had come to me suddenly while I was wondering how I could place it safely till my return I heard by chance that the adventurous of Yarmouth the same ship in which I had come to Spain a year before was again in the port of Cadiz and bethought me that the best thing I could do with the gold and the other articles of value would be to ship them to England there to be held in trust for me so having dispatched a message to my friend the captain of the adventurous that I had Freight of value for him I made by preparations to depart from Seville with such speed as I might and to this end I sold my benefactors house with many of the effects at a price much below their worth the most of the books and plate together with some of the articles I kept unpacking them in cases I caused them to be transported down the river to Cadiz to the care of those same agents to whom I had received letters from the arm of merchants this being done I followed them myself taking the bulk of my fortune with me in gold we I hate artfully in numerous packages and so it came to pass that after a stay of a year in Seville I turned my back on it forever my soldier and there had been fortunate for I came to it Paul and I left it a rich man to say nothing of what I had gained in experience which was much yet I was glad to be gone for here one de Garcia had escaped me here I had lost my best friend and seen Isabella de sequenza die I came to get is in safety and without loss of any of my goods or gold and take him boat proceeded on both the adventurous where I found her captain whose name was Belle in good health and very glad to see me what pleased me more however was that he had three letters for me one from My Father one from my sister Mary and one from my betrothed Lily buh-zard the only letter I ever received from her the contents of these writings were not altogether pleasing however for I learned from them that my father was in broken health and almost bedridden and indeed though I did not know it for many years after he died at diging of church upon the very day that I received his letter it was short and sad and in it he said that he saw it much that he had allowed me to go upon my mission since he should see me no more and could only commend to me the care of the Almighty and praying for my safe return as for Lily's letter which hearing that the adventurous was to sail for kitty's she had found means to dispatch secretly though it was not short it was sad also and told me that so soon as my back was turned on home my brother Geoffrey had asked her in marriage from her father and that they pushed the matter strongly so that her life was made a misery to her for my brother way later everywhere and a father did not cease to revile it as an obstinate Jade who would fling away her fortune for the sake of a penniless wanderer but it went on be assured sweetheart that until they marry me by force as they have threatened to do I will not budge for my promise and Tamas should I be wedded thus against my will I shall not be a wife or long for though I am strong I believe that I shall die of shame and sorrow it is hard that I should be thus tormented and for one reason only that you are not rich still I have good hope that things may better themselves for I see that my brother Wilfred is such inclined toward your sister marry and though he urges this marriage on me today she is a friend to both of us and she may be in the way to make terms with him before she accepts his suit then the writing ended with many tender words and prayers for my safe return as for the letter from my sister Mary it was to the same purpose as yet she said she could do nothing for me with Lily Buzzard for my brother Geoffrey was mad with love for her my father was too ill to meddle in the matter and Squire buh-zard was fiercely set upon the marriage because of the lands that were at stake still she hinted things might not always be so as a tie might come when she could speak up for me and not in vain now all this news gave me much cause for thought more indeed it awoke in me a longing for home which was so strong that he grew almost to a sickness her loving words and the perfume that hung about the letter of my betrothed brought Lily back to me such sought that my heart ached with a desire to be with her moreover I knew that I should be welcome now for my fortune was far greater than my brothers would ever be and parents do not show the door to suitors who bring more than twelve thousand golden pieces in their package also I wish to see my father again before he passed beyond my reach but still between me and my desire lay the shadow of de Garcia and my oath I had brooded on vengeance for so long that I felt even in the midst of this strong temptation that I should have no pleasure in my life if I forsook my quest to be happy I must first kill de Garcia moreover I had come to believe that did I so forsake it the curse which I had invoked would surely fall upon me meanwhile I did this going to a notary I caused him to prepare a deed which I translated into English by this deed I vested all my fortune except two hundred pesos that I kept for my own use in three persons to hold the same on my behalf till I came to claim it those three persons were my old master dr. Grimstone of Bungay whom I knew for being an honest man my sister Mary Wingfield my betrothed Lily Buzzard I directed them by this deed which for greater validity I signed upon the ship and calls to be witnessed by captain Bell and two other Englishmen to deal with the property according to their discretion investing not less than half of it in the purchase of lands and putting the rest out to interest which interests with the rent of the lands was to be paid to the said Lily buh-zard for her own use for so long as she remained unmarried also with a deed I executed a will by which I devised most of the property to Lily Buzzard should she be unmarried at the date of my death and the residue to my sister Mary in the event of marriage or death of Lily then the whole was the pastor Mary and her heirs these two documents been signed and sealed I delivered them together with all my treasure and other goods into the keeping of Captain Bell charging him solemnly to hand them are my possessions to dr. Grimstone of Bungay by whom he will be liberally rewarded this he promised to do though not until he had urged me almost were tears to accompany my then myself with the gold and deeds I sent several letters to my father my sister my brother dr. Grimstone Squire boson and lastly tell Lily herself in these letters I gave an account of my life and fortunes as I come to Spain for I gathered that others which I had sent had never reached England and told them of my resolution to follow the Garcia to the ends of the earth others I wrote to Lily may think me and madman thus to postpone or perchance to lose a happiness which I desire above anything on earth but you who understand my heart will not blame me however much you may grieve for my decision you will know that when once I have set my mind upon an object nothing except death itself can turn me from it and that in this matter I am bound by an oath which my conscience will not suffer me to break I could never be happy even at your side if I abandoned my search now first come the toll and then the rest first the sorrow and then the joy oh do not fear for me I feel that I shall live to return again and if I do not return at least I am able to provide for you in such fashion that you need never be married against your will while the Garcia lives I must follow him – my brother Jeffrey I wrote very shortly telling him what I thought of his conduct in persecuting an undefended maiden and striving to do wrong to an absent brother I have heard that my letter pleased him very ill and here I may say that those letters and everything else that I sent came safely to Yarmouth there the gold and goods were taken to Lowestoft and put a border where he and when he discharged his ship captain bells sailed up the wave Lee with them till he brought them to Bungay stave and thence to the house of doctor Grimstone in Nethergate Street here we'll gathered my sisters and brother for my father was two months buried and also Squire bozer and his son and daughter for Captain Bell had advised him of his coming by best messenger and when all the tale was told there was wonder and to spare still greater did he grow when the chests were opened and the weight of bullion compared with that set out in my letters for there had never been so much gold at once in Bungay within the memory of man and now Lily wept first for joy because of my good fortune and then for sorrow because I had not come home with my treasure and when he had seen all and heard the deeds read by virtue of which Lily was a rich woman whether I lived or died the squire her father swore aloud and said that he had always thought well of me and kissed his daughter wishing her joy of her luck in short all were pleased they except my brother who left the house without a word as straight away took to evil courses for now the cup was dashed from his lips seeing that having come into my father's lands he had brought it about that Lily was to be married to him by mighty if no other means would serve for even now a man can force his daughter into marriage while she is underage and Squire boson was not one to shrink from such a deed holding as he did that a woman's fancies were of no account but on this day so great is the power of gold there was no more talk of her marrying any man except myself indeed her father would have held her back from such a thing had she shown a mind to it seeing that then Lily would have lost the wealth which I have settled on her but all talked loudly of my madness because I would not abandon the chase of my enemy but choose to follow him to the far Indies though Squire Buzzard took comfort from the thought that whether I lived or died the money was still with his daughters I only Lily spoke up for me saying Thomas has sworn an oath and he does well to keep it for his honor is at stake how I go to wait until he comes to me in this world or the next but all of this is out of place for many a year passed before I heard of these doings end of chapter 10 recording by Patrick 79 chapter 11 of Montezuma's daughter by H rider Haggard this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Patrick 79 chapter 11 the loss of the carrick on that day after I had given my fortune and letters into the charge of captain Bell i watch the adventurous drops slowly round the mole of Cadiz and so sad was I had heart that I am not ashamed to confess that I wept I would gladly have lost the Welsh eek out if she had but carried me but my purpose was indomitable and it must be some other ship that would bear me home to the shores of England as it chanced a large Spanish character named la sank Yaga saw or the five wounds was about to sail for Hispaniola and having obtained a license to trade I took a passage in her under my assumed name of Dahlia passing myself off as a merchant to further this deception I purchase goods and value of her of one hundred and five pesos and of such a nature as I was informed were most readily saleable in the Indies where merchandise I shipped with me the vessel was full of Spanish adventurers mostly ruffians and varied career and strange history but nonetheless they were good companions enough when not in the drink by this time I could speak Castilian so perfectly and was so Spanish in appearance that it was not difficult for me to pass myself off as one of their nation and this I did inventing a faint tale of my parentage and of the reason that led me to tempt the Seas for the rest now as ever I kept my own counsel and notwithstanding my reserve for I would not mingle in their orgy I soon became well-liked by my comrades chiefly because my skill in ministering to their sicknesses of our voyage there is little to tell except of its sad end at the canary Isles we stayed a month and then sailed away for Hispaniola meeting with fine weather but light winds when as our captain reckoned we were within a week sail of the port of San Domingo for which we were bound the weather changed and presently gathered to a furious tempest from the north that grew more terrible every hour for three days and nights our cumbrous vessel groaned and labored beneath the stress of the gale that drove us on rapidly we knew not where till at length it became clear that unless the weather moderated we must founder our ship leaked at every scene one of our masts was carried away and another broken into at a height of 20 feet from the deck but all these more misfortunes were small compared to what was to come for on the fourth morning a great waves swept off our rudder and we drifted helpless before the Seas then began our most horrible scene for several days both the crew and passengers had been drinking heavily to allay their terror and now that they saw their end at hand they rushed to and fro screaming and praying and blaspheming such of them as remained sober began to get out the two boats into which I and another man a were three priests strove to place the women and children of whom we had several on board but this was no easy task for the drunken sailors pushed them aside and tried to spring into the boats the first of which overturned so that all were lost just then the carrot gave a lurch before she sank and seeing that everything was over I called to the priest to follow me and springing into the sea I swam for the second bow which laden with some shrieking women had drifted loose in the confusion as it chanced I reached it safely being a strong swimmer and was able to rescue the priest before he sank then the vessel reared herself upon our Stern and floated us for a minute or more which gave us time to get the oars out and roast some feathers further away from her scarcely had we done so when with one wild and scree fearful scream from those onboard of her she rushed down into the depths below nearly taking us with her for a while we sat silent for a horror overwhelmed us but when the Whirlpool which she made had ceased to boil we rode back to where the carica beam now all the sea was strewn with wreckage but among it we found only one child living that had clung to an oar the rest some 200 Souls had been sucked down with ship and perished miserably or if there were still any living we could not find them in the weltering sea over which the darkness was falling indeed it was well for our own safety that we failed in doing so well the little boat had ten souls on board in all which was as many as she could carry the priest and I being the only men among them I have said that the darkness was falling and as it chanced happily for us so was the sea or assuredly we must have been swamped all that we could do was to keep the boats head straight to the waves and this we did through the long night it was a strange thing to see or rather to hear that good man the priest my companion confessing the women one by one as he laboured at his all and when all was shriven sending up prayers to God for the salvation of our souls for of the safety of our bodies we despaired what I felt may well be imagined but I forbear to describe it seeing that bad as was my case there were worse ones before me of which I shall have to tell in their season at length the night wore away and that dawn broke upon the desolate sea presently the Sun came up for which we are thankful for we were chilled to the bone but soon his heat grew intolerable since we had neither food nor water in the boat and already we were parched with thirst but now the wind had fall into a steady breeze and with the help of the oars and a blanket we contrived to fashion the sail that drew us through the water at a good speed but the ocean was vast and we did not know whether we were sailing and every hour the agony of thirst pressed us more closely towards midday a child died suddenly and was thrown into the sea and some three hours later the mother fill the bailing bowl and drank deep of the bitter water for a while it seemed to assuage her thirst then suddenly a madness took her and springing up she cast herself overboard and sank before the Sun glowing like a red-hot ball had sunk beneath her horizon the priest and I were the only ones in that company who could sit upright the rest lay upon the bottom of the boat heaped one on another like dying fish groaning in their misery our night fell at last her boat is some relief from our suffering for the air grew cooler but the rain we prayed for did not fall and so great was the heat that when the Sun rose again in a cloudless sky we knew if no help reach us that it must be the last which we would see an hour after dawn another child died and as we were in the act of caste in their body into the sea I looked up and saw a vessel far away that seemed to be sailing in such fashion that she would pass within two miles of where we were returning thanks to God for this most blessed blessed sight we took to the oars for the wind was now so light that our clumsy sails were no no longer draw us through the water and rowed feebly so as to cut the path of the ship when we had labored for more than an hour the wind fell altogether and the vessel lay be calmed at a distance of about three miles so that the priest had I rode on until I thought that we must die in the boat for the heat of the Sun was like that of a flame and there were no wind to temperate by now to our lips were cracked with thirst still we struggled until a shadow of the ship's mast fela thwart us and we saw her sailors watching us from the deck now we were alongside and they let down a ladder of rope speaking to us in Spanish how we reach the deck I cannot say but I remember falling beneath the shade of an awning and drinking cup after cup of the water that was brought to me at last even my thirst was satisfied and for a while I grew faint and dizzy and then had no stomach for meat which was thrust into my hands indeed I think that I must have fainted for when I came to myself the Sun was straight overhead and it seemed to me that I had dreamed I heard a familiar and hateful voice at the time I was alone beneath the awning for the crew of the ship were gathered on the foredeck clustering around what appeared to be the body of a man by my side was a large plate of vittles and a flask of spirits and feeling stronger I ate and drank of them heartily I had scarcely finished my meal when the men on the foredeck lifted the body of the man which I saw was black in color and cast it overboard then three of them whom from their port I took to be officers came towards me and I rose to my feet to meet them senior said the tallest then in a soft and gentle voice suffer me to offer you our felicitations of your wonderful and he stopped suddenly did I still dream or did I know the voice now for the first time I could see the man's face it was that of wonder Garcia but if I knew him he also knew me Caramba he said whom have we here senior Thomas Wingfield I salute you look my comrades you see this man whom the sea has brought to us he is no Spaniard but an English spy had the last time I saw him was in the streets of Seville and there he tried to murder me because I threatened to reveal his trade to the authorities now he is here upon what errand he knows best it is false I answered I am no spy and I come to these seas for one purpose only to find you then you have succeeded well too well for your own comfort perhaps say now do you deny that you are Thomas Wingfield an Englishman I do not deny it I your pardon how comes it then that as your companion the police tells me you sailed in las sank Yeager's under the name of Talia for my own reasons one day Garcia you are confused senior my name is al-qaeda as these gentlemen can bear witness once I knew a Cavalier of the name de Garcia but he is you lie I answered whereupon one of the Garcias companions struck me across the mouth gently friend said to Garcia do not defile your hand by striking such rats as this or if you must strike well use a stick you have heard that he confesses to passing under a false name and to being an Englishman and there from one of your country's foes to this I had upon my word of honor that to my knowledge he is a spy and their would-be murderer now gentlemen under the commission of his majesty's representative we are judges here but since you may think that having been called a liar openly by this English dog I might be minded to deal unjustly with him so I prefer to leave the matter in your hands now I try to speak once more but the Spaniard who struck me a ferocious looking villain drew his sword and swore that he would run me through if I dare to open my lips so I thought it well to keep silent this English man with Gracie yardarm very well he said de Garcia who had begun to Hammacher indifferently smiled looking first at the yard and then my neck and the hate in his eyes seemed to burn me I have a better thought than that said the third officer if we hung him questions might be asked and at the least it would be a waste of good money he is a finely built young man and would last some years in the mines let him be sold with the rest of the cargo or I will take him myself at a valuation I am in want of a few such on my estate at those words I saw the Garcias face fall a little for he wish to be rid of me forever still he did not think it politic to interfere beyond the same with a slight yawn huh so far as I am concerned taken comrade and free of cost only I warn you watch him well or you will find a stiletto in your back the officer laughed and said our friend will scarcely get a chance at me for I do not go a hundred paces on the ground where he will find his quarters that now the Englishman there is room for you below I think and he called a sailor bidding him to bring the ions of the man who had died this was done and after I had been searched and a small sum in gold that I had upon my person taken from me it was all that remained to me of my possessions fetters were placed upon my ankles and around my neck and I was dragged into the hold before I reach it I knew from various signs what was the cargo of this ship he was laden with slaves captured in Fernandina as the spanish name the island of cuba that were to be sold in Hispaniola among these slaves I was now numbered how to tell the horrors of that hold I know not the place was low not more than seven feet in height and the slaves lay ironed in the bilge water at the bottom of the vessel they were crowded as thick as they could lie being chained to rings fixed to the sides of the ships altogether there may have been but 200 of them men were women and children or rather there had been two hundred when the ship sailed a week before now some 20 were dead which was a small number since the Spaniards reckoned to lose from a third to half of their cargo of this devilish traffic when I entered the place a deadly sickness seized me weak as I was brought on by the horrible sounds and smells and their sights that I saw of the flare of the lanterns which my conductors carried for the hold was shut off from light and air but they dragged me along and presently I found myself chained in the midst of a line of black men and women many feet resting in the Bilgewater they've the Spaniard left me with a Giri saying that this was too good for a bed for an Englishman to lie on for a while I endured then sleep or insensibility came to my sucker and I sank into oblivion and so I must have remained for a day and a night when I awoke it was to find the Spaniard to whom I had been sold or given standing near me with a lantern and directing the removal of the fetters from a woman who was chained next to me she was dead and in the light of the lantern I could see that she had been carried off by some horrible disease that was new to me but which I afterwards learned to know by the name of black vomit nor was she the only one for I counted 20 dead who were dragged out in succession and I could see that many more were sick also I saw that the Spaniards were not a little frightened for they could make nothing of this sickness and strove to lest it by cleansing the whole and letting air into it by the removal of some planks in that in their deck above had they not done this I believed that every soul of us must have perished and I set down my own escape from the sickness to the fact that the largest opening in the deck was made directly out of my head so that by standing up which my chains allowed me to do I could breathe the air that was almost pure having distributed water and meal cakes the Spaniard went away I drank greedily of the water but the cakes I could not eat for they were mouldy the sights and sounds around me so awful that he will not try to write of them and all the while we swell tit in their terrible heat for the Sun pierced through the deck plankings of the press'll and I could feel by her lack of motion that we were becalmed and drifting I stood up by resting my heels upon the rib of the ship a my back against her side I found myself in the positions whence I could see the feet of the passers-by on the deck above presently I saw that one of them wore a priest's robe and guessing that he must be a companion with whom I had escaped I strove to attract his notice and at length he succeeded so soon as he knew who it was beneath him the priest lay down on the deck as though to rest himself and we spoke together he told me as I had guessed that we were becalmed and that a great sickness had taken hold of the ship already laying low a third of the crew adding that it was a judgment from heaven because of their cruelty and wickedness to this I answered that the judgment was working on the captives as well as the captors and asked him where's Arcada as they named de Garcia then I learned that he had been taken sick that morning and I rejoiced at the news for if I had hated him before it may be judged how deeply I hated him now presently the priest left me and returned with water mixed with fruit juices of limes that tasted to me like nectar from the gods and some good meat and fruit these he gave me through the hole in the planks and I made shift to seize them by my manacled hands and devoured them that day past and the long night passed and when at length the Spaniards visited the hole once more there were forty bodies to be dragged out of it and many others were sick after they'd gone I stood up watching for my friend the priest but he did not come nor ever again end of chapter 11 recording by Patrick 79 chapter 12 of Montezuma's daughter by H rider Haggard this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Patrick 79 chapter 12 Thomas comes to shore for an hour or more I stood craning my neck up which the seat for the priests at length when I was about to sing back into the hold for I could stand no longer in that cramped posture I saw a woman's dress passed by the hole in the deck and you it for one who was worn by a lady who had escaped with me in the boat Senora I whispered for the love of God listen to me it is I Delia who I'm chained down here among the slaves she started then as the priests had done she sat herself down upon the deck and I told her of my dreadful plight not knowing that she was acquainted with it and of the horrors below her last senior she answered they can be of little worse than those above her dreadful sicknesses raging among the crew six are already dead and many more are raving in their last madness I would that the sea had swallowed us with the rest for we have been rescued from it only to fall into hell already my mother is dead and my little brother is dying where is the priest I asked oh he died this morning and has just been cast into the sea before he died I spoke of you and prayed me to help you if I could but his words were wild and I thought that he might be distraught and indeed how can I help you perhaps you could find me food and drink I answered and for our friend God rest his soul what of the captain cicada is he also dead no senior he alone is recovering of all whom the scourge of smitten and now I must go to my brother but first I will seek food for you she went and presently returned with meat and a flask of wine which she had the hidden beneath her address and I ate and I blessed her for two days she fed me thus bringing me food at night on the second night she told me that her brother was dead and of all the crew only 15 men and one officer remained untouched by the sickness and that she herself grew ill also she said that the water was almost finished and there was little food left for the slaves after this she came no more and I suppose that she died also it was within 20 hours of her last visit but I left this accursed ship for a day none had come to feed or tend the slaves and indeed many needed no tended for they were dead some still lived however though so far as I could see the most of them were smitten with the plague I myself had escaped the sickness perhaps because of the strength and natural healthiness of my body which has always saved me from fevers and diseases fortified as it was with good food that I had obtained but now I knew that I could not live long indeed chained in this dreadful charnel-house I prayed for death to release me from the horrors of such existence the day passed as before in sweltering heat unbroken by any air or motion the night came at last made hideous by the barbarous ravings of the dying but even there and then I slept and dreamed that I was walking with my love in the veil of Waveney towards the morning I was awakened by the sound of clanking iron and opening my eyes I saw that men were at work by the light of the lanterns knocking the fetters from the dead and the living together as the fetters were loosed a rope was put round the body of the slave and dead all quick he was hauled through a hatchway presently a heavy splash in the water without told the rest of the tale now I understood that all the slaves were being thrown overboard because of the want of water and in the hope that it might have failed to save from the pestilence those of the Spaniards who still remained alive I watched them at their work for a while till there were about two slaves between me and the workers of whom one was living and the other was dead then I be thought me that this would be my fate also to be cast quick into the sea and counsel myself as to whether I should declare that I was hold from the plague and pray them to spare me or whether I should suffer myself to be drowned the desire for life was strong but perhaps it may serve to show how great were the torments from which I was suffering and how broken was my spirit by misfortunes and the horrors around me when I say that I determined to make no effort to live but rather to accept death as a merciful release and indeed I knew that there was little likelihood of such attempts being of avail for I saw that the Spanish sailors were mad with fear and had but one desire to rid off the slaves who consumed the water and as they believed had bred the pestilence so I said such prayers as came into my head and although with a great shivering of fear for the poor flesh drinks from its end and the unknown beyond it however hi maybe the spirit I prepared myself to die here now having dragged away my neighbor in misery the living Savage the men turned to me they were naked in the middle and work furiously to be done with their hateful tasks sweating with the heat and keeping themselves from fainting by drafts of spirit this one is alive also and does not seem so sick said a man as he struck the fetters from me alive or dead away with a dog and said another hoarsely and I saw that it was the same officer to whom I have been given as a slave it is at Englishmen and he it is who brought us this ill look cast the Jonah over broad and let him try his evil eye upon the Sharks so bid answered the other man and finished striking of my fetters those who have come to a cup of water each day do not press their guests to share it they show them the door say your prayers Englishmen may they do more good than they have done for most on this accursed ship here this is the stuff to make drown EEZ and there is more of a important of water and he handed me the flask of spirit I took it and drank deep and he comfort me a little then they put the rope around me and at a signal those on the deck above began to hold till I swung loose beneath the patch way as I passed that span heed to write given the in slavery and who but now had counted my casting away I saw his face well in the light of the lantern and there were signs on it that a physician could read clearly very well I said to him we may meet soon again fool why I do your labour take your rest for the plague is on you in six hours you will be dead his jaw dropped with tear out my words and for a moment he stood speechless then he uttered a fearful oath and aimed a blow at me with a hammer he held which would have swiftly put an end to my suffering had I not at that moment been lifted from his reach by those who pulled above in another second I had fallen on the deck and they slack the rope near me stood two black men whose officer was to cast us poor wretches into the sea and behind them seated in a chair his face Haggard from recent illness SATA Garcia Fanning himself with his sombrero for the night was very hot he recognized me at once in the moonlight which was brilliant and said what are you here and still alive cousin you are tough indeed I thought that you must be dead hot dying indeed had it not been for this accursed place I would have seen to it myself well it has come right at last and here is the lonely lucky thing in this an old voyage that I shall have the pleasure of sending you to the Sharks it consoles me for much friend Wingfield so you came across the seas to seek vengeance on me well I hope that your stay has been Pleasant the accommodation was a little poor but at least the welcome was hearty and now it is time to speed the parting guest goodnight Thomas Wingfield if you should chance to meet your mother presently tell her from me that I was agreed to have to kill her for she is the one being whom I have loved I did not come to murder her as you have thought but she forced me to it to save myself since had I not done so I should never have lived to return to Spain she had too much of my own blood to suffer me to escape and it seems that it runs strong in your veins also else she was scarcely hold so fast by vengeance well it has not prospered you and he dropped back into the chair and fell to Fanning himself again with that broad hat even then as I stood under the eve of death I felt my blood run hot within me at the sting of his coarse taunts truly the gaseous triumph was complete I had come to hunt him down and what was the end of it he was about to hurl me to the Sharks sail I answered him with such dignity as I could command you have me at some disadvantage I said now if there is any manhood it left in you give me a sword and let us settle our quarrel once and for all you are weak from sickness I know but what am i who have spent certain days and nights in this hell of yours we should be well matched to Garcia perhaps so cousin but where is the need to be frank things have not gone over well with me when we stood face to face before and it is odd but do you know I have been troubled with the foreboding that you would be the end of me that is one of the reasons why I sought a change of air to these warmer regions let's see the folly of foreboding my friend I am still alive though I have been ill and I mean to go on living but you are forgive me for mentioning you are already dead indeed those gentlemen and he pointed to the two black men who were taken advantage of our talk to throw into the sea the slave who followed me up the hatch 'we are waiting to put a stop to our conversation have you any message that i can deliver for you if so out with it for time is short and that hold must be cleared by daybreak i have no message to give you from myself though i have a message for you to gas here i answered but before i tell it let me say a word you seem to have one wicked murderer as you are but perhaps the game is not yet played your fears may still come true i am dead but my vengeance may yet live on for I leave it to the hand in which I should have left it first you may live some years longer but do you think that you will escape one day you will die as surely as I must die tonight and what then de Garcia a truce I pray you he said with a sneer surely you have not been consecrated priest you had a message you said play deliver it quickly time presses cousin Wingfield who sends a message to Ana an exile like myself isabella de sequenza whom you cheated with a false marriage and abandoned I said he started from his chair and stood over me whatever he whispered fiercely only this the monks walled her up alive with her baby what life mother of God how do you know that i chance to see it done that is all she prayed me to tell you of her end and the child's and that she died hiding your name loving and forgiving this was all her message but I will add to it may she haunt you forever she and my mother may they haunt you through your life and death through earth and hell he covered his face with his hands for a moment then dropping them sank back into the chair and called to the black sailors away with a slave why are you so slow the two men advanced upon me but I was not minded to be handled by them if I could help it and I was minded to cause the Garcia to share my fate suddenly I bounded at him and gripped him round the middle I dragged him from the chair such was the strength that rage and despair gave me that I succeeded in swinging him up to the level of the bulwarks but there the matter ended for at that moment their two black sailors sprang upon us both and tore him from my grip then seeing that all was lost for they were about to cut me down with their swords I place my hand upon the bulwark and leapt into the sea my reason told me that I should do well to drown quickly as possible and I thought to myself that I would not try to swim but would sink at once yet love of life was too strong for me and so soon as I touched the water I struck out and began to swim along the side keeping myself in her shadow for I feared lest de Garcia should cause me to be shot with other arrows and musket balls presently as I went I heard him say with an oath he has gone and for good this time but my foreboding went near to coming through after all how the sight of that man frightens me now I knew in my heart that I was doing a mad thing for though if no shark took me I might flow for six or eight hours in this warm water yet I must sink at last and what would be the struggle have profited me till I swam on slowly and after the filth and stench of the slave hold the touch of the clean water and the breath of the pure air were like food and wine to me and I felt strength entering to me as I went by the time I was a hundred yards off from the ship and though those on board could scarcely have see me I could still hear the splash of bodies as a slaves were flung from her and the drowning cries of such among them I still lived I lifted my head and looked round the waist of water and seeing something floating on it at a distance I swam towards it expecting that every moment would be my last because of the sharks which abound in the Seas soon I was near it and to my joy I perceived that it was a large barrel which had been thrown from the ship and was floating upright in the water I reached it and pushing at it from below contrived to tilt it so that I caught it operator in my hand then I saw that it was half full of meal cakes and that it had been cast away because the meal was stinking it was the weight of those rotten cakes acting as ballast that caused the tub to float upright in the water now i bethought me that if i could get into this barrel i should be safe from the sharks for a while but how to do it I did not know while I wondered chance to glance behind me I saw the fin of a shark standing above the water not twenty paces away and advancing rapidly towards me then terror seized me and gave me the strength and the wit of despair pulling down the edge of the Barrow till the water began to pour into it I see that on either side with my hands and lifting at my weight upon them I doubled my knees at this hour I cannot tell how I accomplished it but the next second I was in the cast with no other hurt than a scrape shin but though I had found a the boat itself was allowed to swim for what with my weight and with a rock mill and of the water which was poured over the rim the edge of the barrel was now an inch above the level of the sea and I knew that did another bucketful come aboard it would no longer bear me at that moment also I saw the fin of the shark within four yards and then felt the barrel shake as the fish struck it with his nose how I began to bail furiously with my hands and as I bailed the edge of the cask lifted itself above the water when it had risen some two inches the shark enraged by my escape came to the surface and turning on his side bit at the tub so that I heard its teeth great in the wood and iron bands causing it to heal over and to spin round shipping more water as it healed now I must bail afresh and had the fish renewed his onset I should have been lost but not finding wood and I into its taste it went away for a while although I saw his friend from time to time for the space above an hour I bailed with my hand till I could lift the water no longer then make and shift to take off my boot I bailed with it sewn the edge of the casks with twelve inches above the water and I did not lighten it further fearing that lest it should overturn now I had time to rest and to remember that all this was of no avail since I must die at last either by the sea or because of thirst and I lamented that my cowardice had only sufficed to prolong my sufferings then I pray to God to succor me and never did I pray more heartily in that hour and when I had finished praying some sort of peace and hope fell upon me I thought it was marvellous that I should have thus escaped thrice from great perils within the space of a few days first from the sinking Carrick then from pestilence and starvation in the hold of the slave ship and now if only for a while from the cruel jaws of the Sharks it seemed to me that I had not been preserved from dangers which proved fatal to be so many only that I might perish miserably at least and even in my despair I began to hope when hope was folly though whether this relief was sent to me from above or whether it was simply that being so much alive at the moment I could not believe that I should soon be dead it's not for me to say at the least of my courage rose again and I could not even find hard to note the beauty of the night the sea was smooth as a pond there was no breath of wind and now that the moon began to sink thousands of stars of a marvellous brightness such as we do not see in England gem the heavens everywhere at last there grew pale and dawn began to flush the east and after he came the first rays of sunlight but now I could not see fifty yards around me because of the dense mist that had gathered on the face of a quiet water and hung there for an hour or more when the Sun was well up and the length of the mist cleared away I perceive that I had drifted far from the ship of which I could only see the masts that grew ever fainter till they vanished now the surface of the sea was clear of fog except in one direction where it hung in a thick Bank of vapour though I should rest there and nowhere else I could not understand then the hot Sun grew and my sufferings commenced for except the draught of spurs that had been given me in the hold of the slave ship I had touched no drink for a day and a night I will not tell them all in particular detail it is enough to say that those can scarcely imagine them who have never stood for an hour after hour in a barrel bareheaded and parched with thirst while the fierce heat of the tropical Sun beat down on them from above and was reflected upward from the glassy surface of the water in time indeed I grew faint and dizzy and could hardly save myself from falling into the sea and at last I sank into a sort of sleep or insensibility from which I was awakened by the sound of a screaming bird and a falling water I looked and saw to my wonder and delight that what I had taken to be a bank of mist was really low-lying land and that I was drifting rapidly with the tide toward a bar of the large river the sound of the birds came from the great flocks of seagulls that were preying on the shoals of fish which fed at the meeting of the fresh and the saltwater presently as I watched a girl sees the fish that could not have weighed less than three pounds and strove to lift it from the sea failing this it beat the fish on the head with his beak until it died and had begun to devour it when I drifted down upon the spot and made haste to seize the fish in another moment and dreadful as it may seem I was devouring the raw food and never never have I eaten with better appetite or found more refreshment in a meal when I had swallowed all that I was able without drinking water I put the rest of the fish into the pocket of my coat and turned my thoughts to the Breakers on the bar soon it was evident to me that I could not pass them standing in my barrel so I I hasten to upset myself into the water and to climb astride of it presently we were in the surf and I had much ado to cling on but that tide bore me forward bravely and in half an hour more The Breakers were past and I was in the mouth of the great river now fortune favored me still further for I found a piece of wood floating on the stream which served me as a paddle and by its help I was unable to steer my craft towards the shore that as I went I perceived to be clothed with thick Reeves in which tall and lovely trees grew in groups bearing clusters of large nuts in their crowns hitherto this Shore I came without further accident having spent some ten hours in my tub though it was but a chance that I did so because of the horrible reptiles called crocodiles or by some alligators with which this river swarmed but of them I knew nothing as yet I reached land but just in time for before I was ashore that I turned and tide and current began to carry me out to sea again when so surely I would never come back indeed for the last ten minutes it took all the strength that I had to force a barrel towards the bank at length however I perceived that it floated in not more than four feet of water and sliding from it I weighed it to the bank and cast myself at length there to rest and thank God who thus far had preserved me miraculously but my thirst which now returned upon me more fiercely than ever would not suffer me to lie thus for long so I staggered to my feet and walked along the bank of the river till I came to a pool of rainwater which on the taste of it proved to be sweet and good then I drank weeping for the joy of the taste of the water drank till I could drink no more and let those who stood in such plight remember what water was to them for no words of mine can tell it after I had drunk and washed the brine from my face and body I drew out a remainder of my fish and ate it thankfully and thus refreshed ask myself down to sleep in the shade of a bush bearing white flowers for I was utterly outworn when I opened my eyes again it was night and doubtless I should have slept on through many more hours had it not been for the dreadful itch and pain that took on every part of my body till at length I sprang up and cursed in my agony at first I was at loss to know what occasion this torment till I perceived that the air was alive with not like insects which made a seed singing noise and settling on my flesh sucked blood and spat poison into the wounds have won at the same times these dreadful insects the Spaniards named mosquitoes nor were they the only flies for hundreds of other creatures no bigger than a pinhead had fastened onto me like Bulldogs to a baited bear boring their heads into the flesh where in the end they caused Fester's they are named gallop at us by this Spanish and I take them be the young of the tick others there were also too numerous to mention and of every shape and size though they had this in common all bit and were very venomous before the morning these plagues had driven me almost and madness for in no way could I obtain relief from them to wall stone I went and lay in the water thinking to lessen my sufferings but before I have been there ten minutes I saw a huge crocodile rise up from the mud beside me I sprang away to the bank horribly afraid for never before had I beheld so monstrous and evil-looking a brute to fall again into the clutches of the creatures wind and crawling that were waiting for me by their Myriad's but enough of these damnable insects end of chapter 12 recording by Patrick 79

1 thought on “Montezuma's Daughter | H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction, Literary Fiction | 3/10

  1. Montezuma's Daughter | H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction, Literary Fiction | 3/10

    9: [00:00:00] – Chapter 9: THOMAS BECOMES RICH

    10: [00:28:51] – Chapter 10: THE PASSING OF ISABELLA DE SIGUENZA

    11: [01:05:56] – Chapter 11: THE LOSS OF THE CARAK

    12: [01:28:15] – Chapter 12: THOMAS COMES TO SHORE

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