L'Esplendente [part 12]

These remarks were lost upon Mehmed who sunk upon a Sopha listened with all his Soul to the affecting melody of the Grecians - It was late before they ceased & their last notes long vibrated in his Ears - Compose thyself - Mehmed - said the old Israelite as he retired - I am going to leave thee to repose - A Domestic entering as he spoke - threw a silken mattress on the ground on which the youth was to sleep. His Head was sustained by down cushions & a transparent [ILLEGIBLE] preserved him [61] from the insects of the Night. - At sunrise - he awoke the next Morning & having recited his prayers & performed his customary Ablutions - sought his Kind protector who was busied in the regulations of his Stores. The Day was passed like the preceding one in Studying the Hebrew & copying the paintings of the Pentateuch - for that was the Manuscripts so inestimably adorned. - In the same manner - weeks & Months - stole away - Abdoulrahman never discovering the pursuits of his Son - & Mehmed ever active in their prosecution. - Jacoup - to his great astonishment found his pupil scarcely able to converse with him in his native Language & he expounded the Books of Moses whilst Mehmed - drew their Historical Subjects with a dignity of idea - far surpassing the original Illuminations. - One Morning as he [62] repaired according to Custom to Jacoups Tent he found him - encircled by his Chief Attendants - & seemingly in deep consultation. - Upon this he retired - but was presently called back by the old Man who told him he had just receiv'd from the Court at Seville some very important intelligence - that his affairs wore a favourable aspect for the grand Inquisitor appeased by valuable presents had declared himself his Friend - Under so omnipotent a protection continued the Israelite - I may peaceably return - to the business of Life. & once more embrace my friends. - Meh'med was visibly affected by this resolution Jacoup had so suddenly taken of deserting his little encampment on the Hill; for he was but too sensible that all his hopes of following his beloved amusement departed with him. - What will become of my pencils, - my colours, - my favourite paintings said he adressing himself should they [63] even be left me - What opportunity shall I have to use them when you are gone who will conceal me from my Father - what pretence shall I have in that sad case to visit these Caves - these Tents where my days have glided away so happily; - And can you find it in your Heart to abandon me - whom you thus far so generously assisted - Must I bid you an eternal farewell - & chained to this dull spot - see you descending into the plain triumphantly returning to enjoy the pleasures & magnificence of the great City - no it must not be - I had rather precipitate myself from the Cliffs than remain a perpetual prisoner in this Recess. - The Israelite heard this violent language not without some emotion - He sincerely wish'd well to his youthful Scholar - & ever desirous of seing [sic] him rise to emminence in the Art for which he daily exhibited such uncommon talents; but yet he knew that by [ILLEGIBLE] protecting a [64] friend of Moorish race - he might expose himself to the severe eye of the inquisition - but lately closed - He tried therefore the most persuasive & winning phrases - to calm his transports & excite in him a desire of remaining in his native Abode; but all the eloquence he possess'd was vain & he ended his remonstrances by declaring that he would stay a few Days on purpose to convince him of his regard - & that during that period - he flattered himself with being able to bring him over to his opinion. - Mehmed went homewards - by moonlight filling the air with his complaints - & Scarcely knowing which way he was wandering - At last he lifted up his eyes that were dimmed with Tears found that he had pass'd far beyond his Father's Habitation - & saw the Cliffs which skirted the secret Vale before him - Suddenly a thought entered his mind [65] an expedient not unlikely to bring about what he so ardently desir'd. - The Israelite like most of his Nation was inordinately avaritious. - Mehmed had often observed him hanging over his Treasures with inexpressible delight - & had penetration enough to discover that in them was centered his supreme felicity. - Recollecting this circumstance he bethought himself of the silver vase he had formerly dug up by the Bath in the Vale & conjectured its valuable contents might tempt the old Man - to favour his escape to Seville & protect him when arrivd there. - Nothing remaind after taking this resolve but in execution. - 'Twas therefore with infinite pains that he pryed about the Cliffs - in search of the hidden passage - His labour was not fruitless - for - a bright gleam of moonshine pointed out an oak stump he remember'd to have taken hold of when issuing from the Grot [66] Pushing the fragment underneath it fell back & permitted him to creep into the Cavity it discovered which he effected trembling tho' all the while least his Father might surprise him - Fortunately for Mehmed - he met with no obstructions & throwing down the loose stone at the opposite end of the Cavern entered the Vale in which he had been so long confined. - Its silence & dark shadows - were awful - He run [sic] immediately to the Bath - drew out his poiniard with a [ILLEGIBLE] hand & began moving the turf on its margin. - The vase soon presenting itself - he snatched it away hastily filled up the vacancy with Earth & without once looking behind - hurried out of the Vale with as much Haste as his burthen admitted of. - Having scrambled thro' the grot & closed its aperture he stopp'd an instant to take breath - then resumed his course with redoubled activity. There was a short but dangerous [67] path, over the Cliffs to Jacoups encampment - along which he ventured thereby avoiding his Father's House - & arrived in safety before the Tent of the Israelite. - who was not yet retired to rest. - He set down the vase & kneeling before the old Man said to him. - Without making some acknowledgement for thy innumerable favour I could not rest contented. - Do not therefore refuse this trifling present - & swear by the Souls of thy Ancestors to grant me refuge should I fly to Seville. - Jacoup struck by the sudden apparition & prayer of the youth - rose up - & lifting the Vase - poured out the gold Coin it contain'd on the carpet - amongst which several sparcling jewels attracted his Attention. - This Spectacle roused all his avaritious desires - & overpowerd by the brilliant [ILLEGIBLE] it displayd - he press'd Meh'med to his Bosom & with the most affectionate tone exclaimd - There is no withstanding thy [68] courtesy. - Whatever Mehmed offers must be graceful in my sight. - I accept the present with thankfulness & shall treasure up these shining stones in remembrance of thee. - For thy sake alone do I receive them & since thou art so resolutely bent on visitting the plain - I yield to thy inclination & will contrive thy escape. - Leave to me the case of providing some Master worthy of instructing a Genius like thine in that engaging art to which thou hast such an propensity. -

[Continued in Part 13]


Introduction to L'Esplendente
Part 1 ::: Part 2 ::: Part 3 ::: Part 4 ::: Part 5 ::: Part 6
Part 7 ::: Part 8 ::: Part 9 ::: Part 10 ::: Part 11 ::: Part 12
Part 13 ::: Part 14 ::: Part 15 ::: Part 16 ::: Part 17 ::: Part 18