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dressed richly, but simply, in black velvet, with a cap of the same
material in which was fastened a single pearl, rode a tall cavalier. He
was about five-and-thirty years of age, and very handsome, having
piercing black eyes and a stern, clean-cut face.
In every man, it is said, there can be found a resemblance, often far
off and fanciful enough, to some beast or bird or other creature, and
certainly in this case it was not hard to discover. The man resembled an
eagle, which, whether by chance or design, was the crest he bore upon
his servants' livery, and the trappings of his horse. The unflinching
eyes, the hooked nose, the air of pride and mastery, the thin, long
hand, the quick grace of movement, all suggested that king of birds,
suggested also, as his motto said, that what he sought he would find,
and what he found he would keep. Just now he was watching the interview
between the English king and the leaders of the crowd whom his Grace had
been pleased to summon, with an air of mingled amusement and contempt.
"You find the scene strange, Marquis," said the ambassador, glancing at
"Senor, here in England, if it pleases your Excellency," he answered
gravely, "Senor d'Aguilar. The marquis you mentioned lives in Spain--an
accredited envoy to the Moors of Granada; the Senor d'Aguilar, a humble
servant of Holy Church," and he crossed himself, "travels abroad--upon
the Church's business, and that of their Majesties'."
"And his own too, sometimes, I believe," answered the ambassador drily.
"But to be frank, what I do not understand about you, Senor d'Aguilar,
as I know that you have abandoned political ambitions, is why you do not
enter my profession, and put on the black robe once and for all. What
did I say--black? With your opportunities and connections it might be
red by now, with a hat to match."
The Senor d'Aguilar smiled a little as he replied.
"You said, I think, that sometimes I travel on my own business. Well,
there is your answer. You are right, I have abandoned worldly
ambitions--most of them. They are troublesome, and for some people, if
they be born too high and yet not altogether rightly, very dangerous.
The acorn of ambition often grows into an oak from which men hang."
"Or into a log upon which men's heads can be cut off. Senor, I
congratulate you. You have the wisdom that grasps the substance and lets
the shadows flit. It is really very rare."
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