The scene of this interesting tale is laid during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. The Vale of Cedars is the retreat of a Jewish family, compelled by persecution to perform their religious rites with the utmost secrecy. On the singular position of this fated race in the most Catholic land of Europe, the interest of the tale mainly depends; whilst a few glimpses of the horrors of the terrible Inquisition are afforded the reader, and heighten the interest of the narrative.
s of the Roses had rendered voluntary exiles. His father and four brothers had fallen in battle at Margaret's side. Himself and a twin brother, when scarcely fifteen, were taken prisoners at Tewkesbury, and for three years left to languish in prison. Wishing to conciliate the still powerful family of Stanley, Edward offered the youths liberty and honor if they would swear allegiance to himself. They refused peremptorily; and with a refinement of cruelty more like Richard of Gloucester than himself, Edward ordered one to the block, the other to perpetual imprisonment. They drew lots, and Edwin Stanley perished. Arthur, after an interval, succeeded in effecting his escape, and fled from England, lingered in Provence a few months, and then unable to bear an inactive life, hastened to the Court of Arragon; to the heir apparent of which, he bore letters of introduction, from men of rank and influence, and speedily distinguished himself in the wars then agitating Spain. The character of the Spaniards--impenetrable