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hands of all the pupils. He found that mine were clean.

time:2023-12-06 15:51:14 author:way read:882次

About this time I was sent for to the viceroy's camp to confess a criminal, who, though falsely, was believed a Catholic, to whom, after a proper exhortation, I was going to pronounce the form of absolution, when those that waited to execute him told him aloud that if he expected to save his life by professing himself a Catholic, he would find himself deceived, and that he had nothing to do but prepare himself for death. The unhappy criminal had no sooner heard this than, rising up, he declared his resolution to die in the religion of his country, and being delivered up to his prosecutors was immediately dispatched with their lances.

hands of all the pupils. He found that mine were clean.

The chief reason of calling me was not that I might hear this confession: the viceroy had another design of seizing my person, expecting that either the Jesuits or Portuguese would buy my liberty with a large ransom, or that he might exchange me for his father, who was kept prisoner by a revolted prince. That prince would have been no loser by the exchange, for so much was I hated by the Abyssinian monks that they would have thought no expense too great to have gotten me into their hands, that they might have glutted their revenge by putting me to the most painful death they could have invented. Happily I found means to retire out of this dangerous place, and was followed by the viceroy almost to Fremona, who, being disappointed, desired me either to visit him at his camp, or appoint a place where we might confer. I made many excuses, but at length agreed to meet him at a place near Fremona, bringing each of us only three companions. I did not doubt but he would bring more, and so he did, but found that I was upon my guard, and that my company increased in proportion to his. My friends were resolute Portuguese, who were determined to give him no quarter if he made any attempt upon my liberty. Finding himself once more countermined, he returned ashamed to his camp, where a month after, being accused of a confederacy in the revolt of that prince who kept his father prisoner, he was arrested, and carried in chains to the Emperor.

hands of all the pupils. He found that mine were clean.

The time now approaching in which we were to be delivered to the Turks, we had none but God to apply to for relief: all the measures we could think of were equally dangerous. Resolving, nevertheless, to seek some retreat where we might hide ourselves either all together or separately, we determined at last to put ourselves under the protection of the Prince John Akay, who had defended himself a long time in the province of Bar against the power of Abyssinia.

hands of all the pupils. He found that mine were clean.

After I had concluded a treaty with this prince, the patriarch and all the fathers put themselves into his hands, and being received with all imaginable kindness and civility, were conducted with a guard to Adicota, a rock excessively steep, about nine miles from his place of residence. The event was not agreeable to the happy beginning of our negotiation, for we soon began to find that our habitation was not likely to be very pleasant. We were surrounded with Mahometans, or Christians who were inveterate enemies to the Catholic faith, and were obliged to act with the utmost caution. Notwithstanding these inconveniences we were pleased with the present tranquillity we enjoyed, and lived contentedly on lentils and a little corn that we had; and I, after we had sold all our goods, resolved to turn physician, and was soon able to support myself by my practice.

I was once consulted by a man troubled with asthma, who presented me with two alquieres--that is, about twenty-eight pounds weight--of corn and a sheep. The advice I gave him, after having turned over my books, was to drink goats' urine every morning; I know not whether he found any benefit by following my prescription, for I never saw him after.

Being under a necessity of obeying our acoba, or protector, we changed our place of abode as often as he desired it, though not without great inconveniences, from the excessive heat of the weather and the faintness which our strict observation of the fasts and austerities of Lent, as it is kept in this country, had brought upon us. At length, wearied with removing so often, and finding that the last place assigned for our abode was always the worst, we agreed that I should go to our sovereign and complain.

I found him entirely taken up with the imagination of a prodigious treasure, affirmed by the monks to be hidden under a mountain. He was told that his predecessors had been hindered from discovering it by the demon that guarded it, but that the demon was now at a great distance from his charge, and was grown blind and lame; that having lost his son, and being without any children except a daughter that was ugly and unhealthy, he was under great affliction, and entirely neglected the care of his treasure; that if he should come, they could call one of their ancient brothers to their assistance, who, being a man of a most holy life, would be able to prevent his making any resistance. To all these stories the prince listened with unthinking credulity. The monks, encouraged by this, fell to the business, and brought a man above a hundred years old, whom, because he could not support himself on horseback, they had tied on the beast, and covered him with black wool. He was followed by a black cow (designed for a sacrifice to the demon of the place), and by some monks that carried mead, beer, and parched corn, to complete the offering.

No sooner were they arrived at the foot of the mountain than every one began to work: bags were brought from all parts to convey away the millions which each imagined would be his share. The Xumo, who superintended the work, would not allow any one to come near the labourers, but stood by, attended by the old monk, who almost sang himself to death. At length, having removed a vast quantity of earth and stones, they discovered some holes made by rats or moles, at sight of which a shout of joy ran through the whole troop: the cow was brought and sacrificed immediately, and some pieces of flesh were thrown into these holes. Animated now with assurance of success, they lose no time: every one redoubles his endeavours, and the heat, though intolerable, was less powerful than the hopes they had conceived. At length some, not so patient as the rest, were weary, and desisted. The work now grew more difficult; they found nothing but rock, yet continued to toil on, till the prince, having lost all temper, began to inquire with some passion when he should have a sight of this treasure, and after having been some time amused with many promises by the monks, was told that he had not faith enough to be favoured with the discovery.


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