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thing white at a window. Alas, it was only the night-cap of the padre. “Never was lover more devoted; never damsel more shy : the poor student was reduced to despair. At length arrived the eve of St. John, when the lower classes of Granada swarm into the country, dance away the afternoon, and pass midsummer's night on the banks of the Darro and the Xenil. Happy are they who on this eventful night can wash their faces in those waters just as the cathedral bell tells midnight; for at that precise moment they have a beautifying power. The student, having nothing to do, suffered himself to be carried away by the holiday-seeking throng until he found himself in the narrow valley of the Darro, below the lofty hill and ruddy towers of the Alhambra. The dry bed of the river; the rocks which border it; the terraced gardens which overhang it, were alive with variegated groups, dancing under the vines and fig-trees to the sound of the guitar and castanets. “The student remained for some time in doleful dumps, leaning against one of the huge misshapen stone pomegranates which adorn the ends of the little bridge over the Darro. He cast a wistful glance upon the merry scene, where every cavalier had his dame; or, to speak more appropriately, every Jack his Jill ; sighed at his

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272 WASHINGTON, IRVING.

own solitary state, a victim to the black eye of
the most unapproachable of damsels, and repined
at his ragged garb, which seemed to shut the gate
of hope against him.
“By degrees his attention was attracted to
a neighbor equally solitary with himself. This
was a tall soldier, of a stern aspect and grizzled
beard, who seemed posted as a sentry at the op-
posite pomegranate. His face was bronzed by
time; he was arrayed in ancient Spanish armor,
with buckler and lance, and stood immovable as
a statue. What surprised the student was, that
though thus strangely equipped, he was totally
unnoticed by the passing throng, albeit that many
almost brushed against him.
“This is a city of old time peculiarities,'
thought the student, “and doubtless this is one
of them with which the inhabitants are too fa-
miliar to be surprised.’ His own curiosity, how-
ever, was awakened, and being of a social dis-
position, he accosted the soldier.
“‘A rare old suit of armor that which you
wear, comrade. May I ask what corps you be-
long to?’
“The soldier gasped out a reply from a pair of
jaws which seemed to have rusted on their
hinges.
“‘The royal guard of Ferdinand and Isabella.”
“‘Santa Maria! Why, it is three centuries
since that corps was in service.”

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“‘And for three centuries have I been mounting guard. Now I trust my tour of duty draws to a close. Dost thou desire fortune?” “The student held up his tattered cloak in reply. “‘I understand thee. If thou hast faith and courage, follow me, and thy fortune is made.” “Softly, comrade, to follow thee would require small courage in one who has nothing to lose but life and an old guitar, neither of much value; but my faith is of a different matter, and not to be put in temptation. If it be any criminal act by which I am to mend my fortune, think not my ragged cloak will make me undertake it.’ “The soldier turned on him a look of high displeasure. ‘My sword,” said he, “has never been drawn but in the cause of the faith and the throne. I am a Cristiano viejo; trust in me and fear no evil.” “The student followed him wondering. He observed that no one heeded their conversation, and that the soldier made his way through the various groups of idlers unnoticed, as if invisible. “Crossing the bridge, the soldier led the way by a narrow and steep path past a Moorish mill and aqueduct, and up the ravine which separates the domains of the Generalife from those of the Alhambra. The last ray of the sun shone upon

the red battlements of the latter, which beetled far above; and the convent-bells were proclaiming the festival of the ensuing day. The ravine was overshadowed by fig-trees, vines, and myrtles, and the outer towers and walls of the fortress. It was dark and lonely, and the twilightloving bats began to flit about. At length the soldier halted at a remote and ruined tower apparently intended to guard a Moorish aqueduct. He struck the foundation with the butt-end of his spear. A rumbling sound was heard, and the solid stones yawned apart, leaving an opening as wide as a door. “‘Enter in the name of the Holy Trinity, said the soldier, “and fear nothing.' The student's heart quaked, but he made the sign of the cross, muttered his Ave Maria, and followed his mysterious guide into a deep vault cut out of the solid rock under the tower, and covered with Arabic inscriptions. The soldier pointed to a stone seat hewn along one side of the vault. ‘Behold,” said he, “my couch for three hundred years.’ The bewildered student tried to force a joke. ‘By the blessed St. Anthony,' said he, “but you must have slept soundly, considering the hardness of your couch.” “‘On the contrary, sleep has been a stranger to these eyes; incessant watchfulness has been my doom. Listen to my lot. I was Óne of the royal guards of Ferdinand and Isabella; but

was taken prisoner by the Moors in one of their
sorties, and confined a captive in this tower.
When preparations were made to surrender the
fortress to the Christian sovereigns, I was pre-
vailed upon by an alfaqui, a Moorish priest, to
aid him in secreting some of the treasures of
Boabdil in this vault. I was justly punished for
my fault. The alfaqui was an African necro-
mancer, and by his infernal arts cast a spell upon
me — to guard his treasures. Something must
have happened to him, for he never returned,
and here have I remained ever since, buried
alive. Years and years have rolled away; earth-
quakes have shaken this hill; I have heard stone
by stone of the tower above tumbling to the
ground, in the natural operation of time; but
the spell-bound walls of this vault set both time
and earthquakes at defiance.
“‘ Once every hundred years, on the festival
of St. John, the enchantment ceases to have
thorough sway; I am permitted to go forth and
post myself upon the bridge of the Darro, where
you met me, waiting until some one shall arrive
who may have power to break this magic spell.
I have hitherto mounted guard there in vain.
I walk as in a cloud, concealed from mortal sight.
You are the first to accost me for now three hun-
dred years. I behold the reason. I see on
your finger the seal-ring of Solomon the Wise,

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