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the fact remained the same-the ladies were in insurrection against the bishop, and their liege lords supported them.
When this manifestation of feeling was reported to Don Bernardino by his emissaries, he made little account of it. It was natural, he said, that the women should be vexed at the prospect of being deprived of their accustomed luxury; but that they should really intend to act in defiance of his will, was an absurdity too great for him to imagine. It might make him personally unpopular, he added; but he was prepared for that, having in view so great a good as the eternal welfare which their conduct had so nearly imperilled. He trusted in the Holy Virgin and the good Saint Dominick to bring his refractory flock into the right path, and to them he should pray for assistance, believing that by the following Sunday this stubbornness of heart would be wholly turned.
The bishop was mistaken. Sunday came: the customary crowd of devotees thronged the cathedral, and, as on the first occasion, paid a beseeming reverence to the Church's forms, until the moment of "stomach weakness" arrived. Then again was heard the pattering of feet, the rustling of garments, the clattering of the chocolate-cups, and all the noisy developments of the prohibited breakfast-more noisy and more demonstrative than before, for it was not now a simple act of refection, but the assertion of a principle.
The bishop did not wait, this time, either for the conclusion of the meal or the close of the service, but rising in anger, commanded, in a voice of thunder, that the profanity should cease.
He thundered to no purpose. The dauntless Chiapanas were unmoved. Whatever might be the bishop's religion, theirs was identified with chocolate. "Church and Chocolate" was their war-cry, and the war, if forced upon them, would be a guerra à la cuchilla; though the cuchára (the spoon), thought one of their party, might haply prove as dangerous as the knife. They accordingly went on sipping their chocolate, and the bishop, finding all remonstrance fruitless, put an end to the service by abruptly dismissing the congregation, who retired amid the greatest din and confusion, the ladies flattering themselves that they had gained the day.
It was their turn now to be undeceived.
Bernardino de Salazar, steady to every purpose, was inflexible in matters of discipline. He had been outraged in every point of view-in his personal attributes and in the high office which he held; and through these the Church herself had been insulted. To vindicate her position and his own, he took a decisive step. It was nothing less than the publication of a sentence of excommunication against all who should dare in future to eat or drink during divine service; and this sentence was, on the following morning, affixed, with the bishop's own signature, to the doors of all the churches in the city.
Great was the consternation of the people of Chiapa, who, in spite of their rebellious inclinations, held the spiritual weapons of Rome in too much awe not to tremble at the severity of the edict. Even the actual offenders, who had so openly braved the bishop's authority, were stunned by the force of the blow. That they should incur the penalty of excommunication had never once entered their minds. While this last resource of priestly power continued unappealed to, it had only excited a vague
apprehension; but when it was brought to bear directly upon themselves, its reality became terrible. Nevertheless, the fair chocolate-drinkers were by no means disposed to yield even to this formidable summons. They protested that if they might not eat and drink in church, as they had been accustomed to do, they could not continue in it to hear what they were bound to; and summoning their father-confessors, and such of the clergy as they were most connected with, the chiefs of the party sent messages to Don Bernardino, praying him to revoke the sentence of excommunication so heavily laid on them.
These emissaries performed their mission zealously, for there were many ties that bound them to the ladies of Chiapa, and said everything that could be thought of on behalf of their clients; alleging the custom of the country, the weakness of the sex whom the excommunication most concerned-also the weakness of their stomachs-and representing the many inconveniences which might arise if so violent a measure were persisted in. But none of these reasons moved the bishop, who made answer that he preferred the honour of God and of His House before his own life, and the emissaries returned dejectedly to their employers.
But it was not in a spirit of submission that the news of Don Bernardino's resolution was received. The rage of the ladies became concentrated on the prelate, and loud and bitter were the imprecations which they poured on his head; nor did they stop here, but in defiance of the Church's anathema, still thronged to the cathedral, and still persisted in their previous courses. On this, the bishop attempted to enforce obedience by the aid of the secular arm; but so strenuous was the resistance offered, that even swords were drawn, and blood spilt, within the sacred edifice, before he could accomplish his purpose.
When, however, the ladies found that a scene of tumult, endangering life, must be the consequence of a repetition of their act, they came to the determination, not of forsaking their chocolate-they would rather have lost their lives than that-but of withdrawing altogether from attendance at the cathedral, and betaking themselves to the cloisterchurches of Chiapa, whose ministrants were nuns and friars, and who were not disposed to disturb the inclinations of the new comers.
The bishop might have borne the loss of his flock with comparative equanimity; but there was something that touched him more nearly than the departure of his congregation. The revenues of his see mainly arose from the offerings made at baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and other religious ceremonies; and these offerings had usually been of a very costly kind, the people of Chiapa being wealthy, and proud of an occasion to display their riches. Even the poor Indians were not behindhand in their gifts, but made it a point of honour to present the heaviest wax candles that were manufactured, stuck all about with silver reals, and decorated with ribbons. The opulent citizens and magnates of Chiapa gave vessels of gold and silver, rich silks and velvets, magnificent candlesticks, embroidered altar-cloths, vestments of expensive lace, and also large sums of money.
But when the Chiapanas changed the scene of their devotions, they also changed the objects of their religious bounty, and the cloisterchurches grew rich at the expense of the cathedral. Don Bernardino could not stand this; and resorting to his old armoury, fulminated an
other excommunication against the recusants, by which he sought to compel the whole of the inhabitants of Chiapa to attend service at the cathedral.
This step was met by the ladies, who fought their battle gallantly, and contested every inch of ground, by a plea of illness, which confined them all to their houses; so that the renewed sentence of excommunication became perfectly inoperative.
Such was the condition of this singular controversy, when a new element found a place in the warfare, and brought it eventually to a close.
THE PENITENCE OF DONA MAGDALENA.
Ar the commencement of the feud between the bishop and his congregation, none had manifested more violent animosity towards the prelate than Doña Magdalena de Morales.
Though still very young, having barely passed her twentieth year, she was a widow, and one of the richest in Chiapa. Her rank, her beauty, and her wealth, attracted numerous admirers, and had she chosen to say the word, there was no hidalgo in the country who would not have been proud to call her his bride. But Doña Magdalena was of a strange, imperious disposition, and having once endured the fetters of matrimony, though but for a brief period, seemed not at all disposed to wear them again, and haughtily rejected every offer that was made her.
It was well, perhaps, that none of her many suitors ever found her in a relenting mood; for long before the honeymoon was over, he would have found that instead of a husband he had become a slave. To govern all who approached her, to exercise her uncontrolled will over every person and circumstance, constituted the chief desire of her existence; to thwart her in anything was to rouse a spirit of enmity in her bosom, whose consequences could scarcely be less than dangerous to the individual who provoked it.
It may, therefore, readily be supposed that Don Bernardino de Salazar did not stand very high in the good graces of Doña Magdalena, after the demonstrations he had made against the society of which she was one of the leading members. But it was observed as a singular circumstance, that after the first outburst of passion to which she had given way on the day of the festival of Nuestra Señora de Peña, she took no prominent part in the mutinous proceedings of the chocoladeras. A new spirit, indeed, appeared to have fallen upon her, and instead of being haughty, arrogant, and impatient, as had been her wont, she was now quiet, sedate, and even pensive; nor was she ever heard to declaim with the rest of her friends against the tyranny of the bishop. None, however, were bold enough to remind her of the violence with which she had "pronounced," in the first instance, for there was something in the expression of her countenance that was still to be feared, notwithstanding her seeming calmness. Her conduct, however, was closely watched, and gave matter for increased surprise.
She became, in fact, a seceder from the schism which separated the bishop and his flock, and, returning to service at the cathedral, rendered
herself remarkable there for the length of her devotions and the steady endurance with which she remained to the end, without any appeal to chocolate or sweetmeats.
The bishop was not slow to notice so striking an exception to the conduct of the rest of the ladies of Chiapa, and, highly gratified that it should have been made in the person of one who occupied so conspicuous a place in society as Doña Magdalena de Morales, expressed his paternal desire to cultivate a better acquaintance with one so exemplary and devout. His wishes were acceded to with the extremest humility, and frequent were the religious conferences that followed the longest masses and his most eloquent sermons, till by degrees Don Bernardino found that there was nothing so attractive in all Chiapa as the gentle accents of Doña Magdalena, when she murmured her obedient assent to the doctrines which he took so great a pride in expounding.
That it was not altogether safe for him to admit the existence of this sensation may be questioned; for, although the worthy bishop was one of the most zealous members of the Church, he was not so far advanced in years, or had so utterly subdued the feelings common to man, as to render a daily interview with a beautiful woman a thing of no more dangerous consideration than the intercourse between Saint Francis and his bride of snow. From being interested in the tones of her voice, Don Bernardino became solicitous to behold, unveiled, the features of her to whom that voice belonged-of course for no other reason than to have the opportunity of forming a conclusion, derived from the study of physiognomy, as to the sincerity of her religious sentiments. Of this sincerity he entertained no doubt when his glance met that of Doña Magdalena; her large dark eyes were so full of fervent piety that he could not mistake their expression. Then the troubled state of mind which she avowed, lest she had imperilled her soul by sharing in the outcry against the bishop, and the desire she manifested to obtain absolution for that sin from himself, personally, were further reasons why Don Bernardino felt satisfied it was his duty to establish her in the right path; and he very consistently argued, that if he undertook this work of charity, he must omit no opportunity of seeing her.
It was, therefore, not only in the chapter-room and the confessional that the bishop gave encouragement to his earnest disciple, but the mules which drew his carriage were soon seen toiling every day up the precipitous Calle de los Angeles, where Doña Magdalena dwelt; and the length of Don Bernardino's visits to her house was a convincing proof to all Chiapa how zealously he was labouring in the endeavour to prepare another saint for the calendar.
Excellent Don Bernardino! Did it never for an instant cross your mind that there may sometimes be affinity between celestial and terrestrial love?
And Doña Magdalena de Morales! Has pure religion so suddenly humbled that proud heart?
If not, what is the secret thought that makes those dark eyes gleam and those pale lips tremble?
THACKERAY'S LECTURES ON THE ENGLISH HUMORISTS.
"HEROES and Hero-worship "-a subject chosen by Mr. Carlyle, when he arose to discourse before the sweet-shady-sidesmen of Pall Mall and the fair of Mayfair-is not at all the res vexanda one would predicate for a course of lectures by Mr. Titmarsh. If the magnificence of the hero grows small by degrees and beautifully less before the microscopic scrutiny of his valet, so might it be expected to end in a minus sign, after subjection to the eliminating process of the "Book of Snobs." Yet one passage, at least, there is in the attractive volume before us, instinct with hero-worship, and, some will think (as coming from such a quarter) surcharged with enthusiasm,-where the lecturer affirms, "I should like to have been Shakspeare's shoeblack-just to have lived in his house, just to have worshipped him-to have run on his errands, and seen that sweet serene face. At which sally, we can imagine nil admirari folks exclaiming (if they be capable of an exclamation), "Oh, you little snob!" Nevertheless, that sally will go far to propitiate many a reader hitherto steeled against the showman of "Vanity Fair," as an inveterate cynic-however little of real ground he may have given for such a prejudice. Many, we believe, who resorted to the lectures when orally delivered, were agreeably disappointed in finding so much of genial humanity in the matter and manner of the didaskalos
the best good Christian he, Although they knew it not.
And the vastly enlarged circle of observers to whom this volume will make the lectures known, will find in it clear if not copious proof of the man's fine, open, loving nature-its warmth, and depth, and earnestness --not to be belied by an outward show of captious irony, a pervading presence of keen-witted raillery. There seems a ludicrously false notion rife among not a few, that Mr. Thackeray's creed is of close kin to that of our laureate's "grey and gap-tooth'd man as lean as death, who slowly rode across a wither'd heath, and lighted at a ruin'd inn, and said”—inter alia
Virtue-to be good and just
Every heart, when sifted well,
Mix'd with cunning sparks of hell.
Fill the can, and fill the cup:
All the windy ways of men
Let any infatuated sufferer under such obstinate delusion at once buy and study this series of lectures, and learn to laugh and love with the
*The English Humorists of the Eighteenth Century: a Series of Lectures delivered in England, Scotland, and the United States of America. By W. M. Thackeray. London: Smith, Elder, and Co. 1853.