A man’s voice is plainly audible within; low, but distinct. The notary is trying that old charge of witchcraft, which the Inquisitors, whether to justify themselves to their own consciences, or to whiten their villainy somewhat in the eyes of the mob, so often brought against their victims. And then Eustace’s heart sinks within him as he hears a woman’s voice reply, sharpened by indignation and agony—

“Witchcraft against Don Guzman? What need of that, oh God! what need?”

“You deny it then, señora? we are sorry for you; but—”

A confused choking murmur from the victim, mingled with words which might mean anything or nothing.

“She has confessed!” whispered Eustace; “saints, I thank you!—she—”

A wail which rings through Eustace’s ears, and brain, and heart! He would have torn at the door to open it; but his companion forces him away. Another, and another wail, while the wretched man hurries off, stopping his ears in vain against those piercing cries, which follow him, like avenging angels, through the dreadful vaults.

He escaped into the fragrant open air, and the golden tropic moonlight, and a garden which might have served as a model for Eden; but man’s hell followed into God’s heaven, and still those wails seemed to ring through his ears.

“Oh, misery, misery, misery!” murmured he to himself through grinding teeth; “and I have brought her to this! I have had to bring her to it! What else could I? Who dare blame me? And yet what devilish sin can I have committed, that requires to be punished thus? Was there no one to be found but me? No one? And yet it may save her soul. It may bring her to repentance!”

“It may, indeed; for she is delicate, and cannot endure much. You ought to know as well as I, señor, the merciful disposition of the Holy Office.”

“I know it, I know it,” interrupted poor Eustace, trembling now for himself. “All in love—all in love.—A paternal chastisement—”

“And the proofs of heresy are patent, beside the strong suspicion of enchantment, and the known character of the elder sorceress. You yourself, you must remember, señor, told us that she had been a notorious witch in England, before the señora brought her hither as her attendant.”

“Of course she was; of course. Yes; there was no other course open. And though the flesh may be weak, sir, in my case, yet none can have proved better to the Holy Office how willing is the spirit!”

And so Eustace departed; and ere another sun had set, he had gone to the principal of the Jesuits; told him his whole heart, or as much of it, poor wretch, as he dare tell to himself; and entreated to be allowed to finish his novitiate, and enter the order, on the understanding that he was to be sent at once back to Europe, or anywhere else; “Otherwise,” as he said frankly, “he should go mad, even if he were not mad already.” The Jesuit, who was a kindly man enough, went to the Holy Office, and settled all with the Inquisitors, recounting to them, to set him above all suspicion, Eustace’s past valiant services to the Church. His testimony was no longer needed; he left Cartagena for Nombre that very night, and sailed the next week I know not whither.

I say, I know not whither. Eustace Leigh vanishes henceforth from these pages. He may have ended as General of his Order. He may have worn out his years in some tropic forest, “conquering the souls” (including, of course, the bodies) of Indians; he may have gone back to his old work in England, and been the very Ballard who was hanged and quartered three years afterwards for his share in Babington’s villainous conspiracy: I know not. This book is a history of men,—of men’s virtues and sins, victories and defeats; and Eustace is a man no longer: he is become a thing, a tool, a Jesuit; which goes only where

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