is its lord!” What since I have perceived, or thought, or felt, you must have more worth to win the knowledge of.

Val. I press no further, still assured that, while Alonzo de Molina, our general’s former friend and pupil, leads the enemy, Pizarro never more will be a conqueror.

[Trumpets without.

Elv. Silence! I hear him coming; look not perplexed. How mystery and fraud confound the countenance! Quick, put on an honest face, if thou canst.

Piz. [Without.] Chain and secure him; I will examine him myself.

Enter Pizarro. Valverde bows—Elvira laughs.

Piz. Why dost thou smile, Elvira?

Elv. To laugh or weep without a reason is one of the few privileges poor women have.

Piz. Elvira, I will know the cause, I am resolved!

Elv. I am glad of that, because I love resolution, and am resolved not to tell you. Now my resolution, I take it, is the better of the two, because it depends upon myself, and yours does not.

Piz. Psha! trifler!

Val. Elvira was laughing at my apprehensions that—

Piz. Apprehensions!

Val. Yes—that Alonzo’s skill and genius should so have disciplined and informed the enemy, as to—

Piz. Alonzo! the traitor! How I once loved that man! His noble mother intrusted him, a boy, to my protection. [Elvira walks about pensively in the background.] At my table did he feast—in my tent did he repose. I had marked his early genius, and the valorous spirit that grew with it. Often had I talked to him of our early adventures—what storms we struggled with—what perils we surmounted! When landed with a slender host upon an unknown land—then, when I told how famine and fatigue, discord and toil, day by day, did thin our ranks amid close-pressing enemies—how still undaunted I endured and dared—maintained my purpose and my power in despite of growling mutiny or bold revolt, till with my faithful few remaining I became at last victorious!—when, I say, of these things I spoke, the youth Alonzo, with tears of wonder and delight, would throw him on my neck, and swear his soul’s ambition owned no other leader.

Val. What could subdue attachment so begun?

Piz. Las-Casas.—He it was, with fascinating craft and canting precepts of humanity, raised in Alonzo’s mind a new enthusiasm, which forced him, as the stripling turned it, to forego his country’s claims for those of human nature.

Val. Yes, the traitor left you, joined the Peruvians, and became thy enemy, and Spain’s.

Piz. But first with weariless remonstrance he sued to win me from my purpose, and untwine the sword from my determined grasp. Much he spoke of right, of justice, and humanity, calling the Peruvians our innocent and unoffending brethren.

Val. They! Obdurate heathens! They our brethren!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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