Page:The Coming Race, etc - 1888.djvu/151

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


and intellectual sentiment, that seldom accompanies that cast of loveliness, and was wholly foreign to the voluptuous and dreamy languor of Moorish maidens ; Leila had been educated, and the statue had received a soul.

After a few minutes of intense suspense, she again stole to the lattice, gently unclosed it, and looked forth. Far, through an open- ing amidst the trees, she descried for a single moment, the erect an. I stately figure of her lover, darkening the moonshine on the sward, as now, quitting his fruitless search, he turned his lingering gaze towards the lattice of his beloved : the thick and interlacing foliage quickly hid him from her eyes ; but Leila had seen enough she turned within, and said, as grateful tears trickled down her cheeks, and she sank on her knees upon the piled cushions of the chamber : " God of my fathers I I bless thee -he is safe ! "

" And yet (she added, as a painful thought crossed her), how mny I pray for him ? we kneel not to the same Divinity ; and I have been taught to loathe and shudder at his creed ! Alas ! how will this end? Fatal was the hour when he first beheld me in yonder gardens, more fatal still the hour in which he crossed the barrier, and told Leila that she was beloved by the hero whose arm was the shelter, whose name is the blessing, of Granada. Ah, me ! Ah, me ! "

The young maiden covered her face with her hands, and sunk into a passionate reverie, broken only by her sobs. Some time had passed in this undisturbed indulgence of her grief, when the arras was gently put aside, and a man, of remarkable garb and mien, advanced into the chamber, pausing as he beheld her dejected atti- tude, and gazing on her with a look in which pity and tenderness seemed to struggle against habitual severity and sternness.

" Leila ! " said the intruder.

Leila started, and a deep blush suffused her countenance ; sh* dashed the tears from her eyes, and came forward with a vain attempt to smile.

" My father, welcome ! "

The stranger seated himself on the cushions, and motioned Leila to his side.

" These tears are fresh upon thy cheek," said he, gravely ; " they are the witness of thy race ! our daughters are born to weep, and our sons to groan ! ashes are on the head of the mighty, and the Fountains of the Beautiful run with gall ! Oh that we could but struggle that we could but dare that we could raise up our heads, and unite against the bondage of the evil doer ! It may not be- but one man shall avenge a nation ! "

The dark face of Leila's father, well fitted to express powerful

�� �