L'Esplendente [part 14]

Within appeared a neat Court - surrounded by porticos - under which - Mehmed discovered his hoary Friend coming out to welcome & embrace him with cordiality. - After many endearing expression he led him into a Chamber garnish'd with saintly pictures that had a Table in the midst covered with various meals - The young Man sat down without much ceremony as he [74] had tasted nothing since his departure from the Mountains. -After satisfying his hunger & drinking some refreshing Liquors which Jacoup offer'd him - he fell into a sleep which lasted till early the next Day - Starting up & finding himself in a strange appartment he stared wildly around but the Israelite entering cleared his doubts. - It is time said the prudent old Man - now you are recoverd from yr fatigue to consider what had best be done. - Most probably Abdoulrahman & his Brother will be soon making their enquiries - I shall of course be applied to & without telling an untruth - which the Lord forbid - I must confess you are within my Walls. - Will not therefore transporting you to some place of less suspicion & greater security be the wisest measure. - There lives [75] a respectable Father - in a Convent near the Church of the Caridad an adept in painting & who being under some obligation to me would willing take the Person I recommend into his protection. - Safe within that sacred Inclosure you may remain & as his disciple perfect yourself in an Art to which you so fervently incline. - The Church is filld with the masterpieces of Murillo - which my holy Friend will assist you in copying & after some Months pass'd not unprofitably in this retreat I think you may enlarge yr circle of acquaintance & enjoy the pleasures of Seville without risque of your Father's perquisitions. - Permit also my recommending to you the utmost care with respect to Affairs wherein Religion is anyway concerned - You must talk no longer of the Koran & but seldom of those Prophets whose poesies delighted your [76] Imagination - in heir of these I recommend the lives of Xtian Saints & Fathers of the Desert - whose enthusiastic adventures afford no bad subjects for the pencil & by such performances you will command the respect & affection of the Circle in which you are about to move. - For the future you must quit the appelation of Mehmed & resuming that of Ferdinand appear as much as possible in a Xtian Light; - I could enter into more details but the Day advances & see Father Teronimo yr intended Master is approaching - A corpulent portly Figure entered just at this moment - to whom Jacoup presented the young Man with the highest encomiums upon his Genius for the Arts & his excellent disposition in every respect - then retiring with Teronimo to one end of the Room explaind the whole affair as briefly as possible - The conversation terminated in a resolution on the Fathers part to [77] take immediate charge of Ferdinand, for we must no longer call him Mehemed & in great joy in the Jew who by this measure was delivered from any perplexities into which his Guest might involve him In a few Words Ferdinand followed Teronimo to his Monastery - who alloted him a little Chamber commanding a shady view of the garden & having receiv'd money from the Israelite - furnish'd all that was necessary for his convenience or improvement. - He had not been long establish'd in his new Appartment before Abdoulrahman arriv'd at Jacoups - pale with fatigue & misery - The old Disembler receivd him with his usual composure & with apparent sincerity demanded the cause of his Affliction. - [78] To express the distraction the sorrow - of his Answer is beyond the power of language -; but - 'twas in vain he beseeched the Israelite in the most pathetic manner - to declare if he knew any thing of his Mehemed's flight - Jacoup remained inflexible - for the unhappy father brought no Treasures to bribe his compliance. - Whilst he was venting his complaints a Servant came in - whom Jacoup had previously instructed - & after much apparent trepidation - declared there was [a] peasant just arrivd - from the Hilly County who reported that as he was crossing a Torrent - early the other Morning he saw the body of a youth - strangely [habited?] [79] - hurried down the Stream - an instant after - it - This [ILLEGIBLE] was however vague enough to convince a mind - already the prey of a thousand doubts & cruel anxieties. - Abdoulrahman fell on the floor in a swoon from which - he was with difficulty recovered. - Opening his eyes - he stared wildly - & remaind stupified an instant - then all the circumstances of his Son's unhappy fate - rushing upon him - with a passion of tears - & beat his aged forhead against the ground - even Jacoup was movd; but [ILLEGIBLE] to repress any feelings which opposed his interests - still refused that consolation he might have administer'd - Maintaining a most sanctified & sorrowful exterior - he beseech'd the wretched Abdoulrahman to compose himself - to submit with becoming resignation to the strokes of Alla & not irritate the Heavenly powers by vain expostulations - True - Israelite - exclaimd the afflicted Father - We must yield - [80] to those inevitable Decrees which are written on the eternal Tablets - We must & yielding abandon our fondest hopes of sublunary happiness - to repose in the Bosom of futurity - There alone can the Wretch thou beholdest - find consolation - Into that only refuge can he shrink from the Horrors of Despairs - The miserable parent could utter no more, he fainted again & Jacoup ordered a Litter to be prepared for his removal to the Mountains. - When he was born into it - the unsuspicious follower of Mahomet - thanked Jacoup for his care - & - bidding him farwell for ever was carried to his retreat - [81] Let us leave this victim of Israelite Wiles to the deepest sorrow & drawing a veil over the anguish of his Heart return to the Monastery - within whose walls - Ferdinand remain'd safely concealed. - The heedless Youth unconscious of his Fathers sufferings & unmindful of the woes he occasioned - was totally absorbed in the acquisition of an Art - to which he had made so great a sacrifice. - Teronimo - wondered at his Talents & resolved to contribute his utmost to their cultivation - In outline he found him already a proficient - & his facility of execution in that branch - equalled the strength & novelty of his ideas -; but with the Empire of Colours he was as yet unacquainted. - If the Father possessd any merit as a Painter it was in this department - The Knowledge of tints & shadows was his fort & he was the properest Person that could have been selected to teach Ferdinand their importance. - [82] But few Weeks had pass'd since he was under this able Colourists tuition before he profited so surprisingly as to be able copy without any assistance a famous performance of Murillos lately hung up in the Caridad - Church which represented Moses striking the Rock. - The several Figures which compose this picture - may be said almost to have caught Life from his promethean brush - & a white Horse very conspicuous in the forground - receivd such additional fire in his copy - that a spectator might expect every instant - its springing from the Canvass. - Just as he was putting the last stroke to this happy Essay Murillo arrived in Seville - from a Palace he had been long adorning - & coming to review his works in the Caridad - retreated several steps backwards - when he perceivd one of his most capital - imitated & surpass'd. -

[Continued in Part 15]


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