A Legend of St. Bartholomew
The alcazar, or palace, of Al-Muli was situated on the Spanish side of the frontier; and, as they approached the principal gate, the almocadem, or captain of the guard, hurried to receive his master, who instructed him to send word to his mother that he desired of her to receive and look after Alina. This done, he assisted his bride elect to dismount, and, with a veil hiding her lovely features, she was ushered by Al-Muli’s mother into a magnificently furnished room, and took a seat on a richly embroidered cushion, called an almofada.
To her future mother-in-law she related all that referred to her conversation with her father, and how she had been brought away from his castle; and she further said that she very much feared the baron would summon all his numerous followers to rescue her.
Al-Muli’s mother was a descendant of the Moors who first landed at Algeziras, and from them had descended to her that knowledge of the black art which has been peculiar to that race. She, therefore, replied that although she could count on the resistance her almogavares, or garrison soldiers, would offer to the forces of the baron, still she would do her utmost to avoid a conflict. She then proceeded to another room, in which she kept her magic mirror, and having closed the door, we must leave her consulting the oracle.
The baron was not long in discovering the absence of his daughter, and he so stormed about the place that his servants were afraid to come near him.
In a short time, however, his reason seemed to return to him, and he sat down on his old chair and gave way to grief when he saw that his Alina’s cushion was vacant.
“My child—my only child and love,” sobbed the old man, “thou hast left thy father’s castle, and gone with the accursed Moor into the hostile land of Spain. Oh, that I had been a good Christian, and looked after my daughter better! I have braved the orders of good St. Bartholomew; I would not take the thirty-three baths in the sea, and now I am wretched!