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The Last Look A Tale of the Spanish Inquisition   By: (1814-1880)

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The Last Look, A Tale of the Spanish Inquisition, by W.H.G. Kingston.

It is in the middle of the sixteenth century, and in Spain, where the Inquisition, and subsequent torturing and burning to death by the Catholic Church, of those who would not agree to its tenets, is getting under way.

An Archbishop calls at the house of a former friend of his, a woman who had refused him in love. The woman is the widow of a great nobleman. The Archbishop is chatting to his former friend's daughter, and is thinking how like the child is to what she had been. Unfortunately the child artlessly gives away the fact that the family had now adopted Protestantism, due perhaps to her father having met Luther while on visits to Germany.

Some years later the child is now grown up, and has two suitors, one of whom is a rich Catholic, and the other is a much poorer man but a Protestant. She and others are meeting at the house of a woman who often has such clandestine all Protestant meetings, when they hear that a person they all know has gone mad and has run around telling everyone about these Protestant meetings. The Inquisition of course, with spies everywhere, hears all about it. From then onward the story takes many of them to the jails of the Inquisition, and some are burnt at the auto da fe, a ritualised torture ceremony ending in death at the stake.

The book is short, only three hours to read, but very tensely written by this great author. Audiobook recommended.




The beauty of Seville is proverbial. "Who has not seen Seville, has not seen a wonder of loveliness," say the Spaniards. They are proud indeed of Seville, as they are of everything else belonging to them, and of themselves especially, often with less reason. We must carry the reader back about three hundred years, to a beautiful mansion not far from the banks of the famed Guadalquiver. In the interior were two courts, open to the sky. Round the inner court were marble pillars richly carved and gilt, supporting two storeys of galleries; and in the centre a fountain threw up, as high as the topmost walls, a bright jet of water, which fell back in sparkling spray into an oval tank below, full of many coloured fish. In the court, at a sufficient distance from the fountain to avoid its spray, which, falling around, increased the delicious coolness of the air, sat a group of ladies employed in working tapestry, the colours they used being of those bright dyes which the East alone could at that time supply. The only person who was moving was a young girl, who was frolicking round the court with a little dog, enticed to follow her by a coloured ball, which she kept jerking, now to one side, now to the other, laughing as she did so at the animal's surprise, in all the joyousness of innocent youth. She had scarcely yet reached that age when a girl has become conscious of her charms and her power over the sterner sex. The ladies were conversing earnestly together, thinking, it was evident, very little of their work, when a servant appearing announced the approach of Don Gonzales Munebrega, Bishop of Tarragona. For the peculiar virtues he possessed in the eye of the supreme head of his Church, he was afterwards made Archbishop of the same see. Uneasy glances were exchanged among the ladies; but they had scarcely time to speak before a dignified looking ecclesiastic entered the court, followed by two inferior priests.

One of the ladies, evidently the mistress of the house, advanced to meet him, and after the usual formal salutations had been exchanged, he seated himself on a chair which was placed for him by her side, at a distance from the rest of the party, who were joined, however, by the two priests. The young girl no sooner caught sight of the Bishop from the farther end of the hall, where the little dog had followed her among the orange trees, than all trace of her vivacity disappeared... Continue reading book >>

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