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A Legend of St. Bartholomew

She was possessed of all the qualities, mental and physical, which went towards making the daughter of a feudal lord desired in marriage by all the gallants of the day; and as she was heiress to large estates, these would have been considered a sufficient prize without the said qualities. But Alina, for all this, was not happy, for she was enamoured of a handsome chief, who, unfortunately, wore the distinctive almexia, which proved him to be a Moor, and, consequently, not a fit suitor for the daughter of a Christian baron.

“My father,” she would often soliloquize, “is kind to me, and professes to be a Christian. My lover, as a follower of the Prophet, hates my father, but, as a man, he loves me. For me he says he will do anything; yet, when I ask him to become a Christian, he answers me that he will do so if I can prevail on my father to so far conform with the Christian law as to take the thirty-three baths; and this my father will not do. What am I to do? He would rather fight the demon than obey the saint.”

One day, however, she resolved on telling her father about her courtship with the young chief, Al-Muli, and of the only condition he made, on which depended his becoming a convert to Christianity, which so infuriated the baron that, in his anger, he declared himself willing to meet the demon in mortal combat, hoping thus to free the world of him and of the necessity of taking the thirty-three baths.

This so much distressed Alina, that when, during the afternoon of the same day, Al-Muli met her in the arbour, she disclosed to him her firm resolution of entering a convent, and spending the rest of her days there.

“This shall not be!” cried Al-Muli; and, seizing her round the waist, he lifted her on to his shoulder, sped through the baronial grounds, and, having waded through the ditch, placed her on the albarda of his horse and galloped away.

Alina was so frightened that she could not scream, and she silently resigned herself to her fate, trusting in the honour of her lover.

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