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boys. And all of these simple-hearted folk presently will be as frank and as friendly as though they had known their chance acquaintance all their lives.

It will be in such wayside talk as this that the stranger alone will learn- for in books he will look for it in vain - the story of the little church that once stood hereabouts; of the very little convent there was adjoining it; of the two Franciscan friars who ministered in the church, dwelling in the convent, and whose earthly possessions (and these but held in trust from Heaven) were a little garden, and the doves which had built nests in a corner of the convent, and a certain grave, black cat, and a lame and very lazy ass.

It was all in the far-back time when the Spanish viceroys were the rulers of Mexico; when the fleet sailed once a year from Cadiz westward, and once a year sailed eastward again from Vera Cruz laden deep with silver from the mines; when hushed voices still told in horror of great cruelties done by the fierce Chichemecas to frontier adventurers into the region north of Queretaro; and when the good fathers, setting death and torture at defiance that God's work might be done by them, still were busy sending out their holy missions for the saving of heathen souls. The viceroy in those days was the illustrious Don Antonio Sebastian de Toledo, Marqués de Mancera; who came into the capital of his vice-kingdom and there assumed the duties of his high office in the month of October in the year 1664.

About this time it was that in the convent of San Antonio de Padua -that in a little time came to be known only as San Antonio of the Gardens, because hereabouts, then as now, the fertile land was laid out in many little gardens

which the Indians tilled-there dwelt the two brothers Antonio and Inocencio. Fray Inocencio was a short and round and plumpcheeked, ruddy little man; and Fray Antonio was very tall and thin and pale. These brothers were vowed to the rule of St. Francis, and until ordered hither for the cure of Indians' souls the great convent of San Francisco in the City of Mexico had been their home. A wonderful change it was for them when they came out from that "vast bee-hive of holiness"-as the convent of San Francisco is called by a chronicler of the time-to dwell in a convent whereof they were the only inhabitants, and the extent of which, not counting the tiny sacristy of their tiny church, was just a little refectory, that also was a kitchen, and two cells. Yet, had it been the size of a city, they scarcely could have been more elated by their translation; for whereas in the great convent they were but two brothers among hundreds, with many above them in degree, here they were everything themselves - free to divide between them the whole range of the conventual offices, from that of Portero up to that of Guardian.

As they stood for the first time alone together in the little garden, the door behind them that opened upon the causeway being closed and barred, and as the knowledge of the absolute power that was theirs in this their kingdom came into their hearts, Fray Inocencio, who was of a lively disposition and very quick to give animated expression to his thoughts, skipped in a most carnal fashion; and still more carnally stood for an appreciable length of time upon one leg while he held the other leg in the air.

Fray Antonio, whose mind was of a graver

and more temperate cast, looked upon this exhibition of worldly pride sorrowfully, but not reproachfully. Weakness of the flesh was Fray Inocencio's besetting sin; but he knew his weakness, and when he failed to overcome it he expiated it by penance and sought remission of it in prayer. This was known to Fray Antonio, and so was his loving, gentle soul the less disposed to manifest by outward sign his inward sorrow when, as now, his brother lapsed from grace.

In the darkness that night Fray Antonio heard the sound of scourging in Fray Inocencio's cell, and in the morning the usually ruddy cheeks of the little round brother were pale and his eyes were dull; but peace rested on him, for he felt that through the sacrifice of the flesh the sin of the flesh had been expiated, and so his spirit was at rest.

When the mass which they celebrated together was ended, and they had come into the refectory to make and drink their chocolate, he said simply, as he stood beside the fireplace, stirring the chocolate in its earthen pot: "God brings the least deserving of us, brother, into the high places of the earth; but he loves best those who, though thus exalted, still serve him humbly. We have only to seek his aid, and of his strength he will so arm our weakness that we may prevail over the sin that shows itself in carnal pride."

The gentle eyes of Fray Antonio rested lovingly upon Fray Inocencio, and in them shone the light of a comforting and sustaining trust as he answered: "Brother, the grace of God ever is greater than our sins." Nor did the thought at all enter his simple soul—as assuredly it would have entered a soul in which there had been even the very least of worldly guile that other than a serious meaning could attach to Fray Inocencio's reference to the exaltation of their estate. Thus ever did Fray Antonio help and strengthen Fray Inocencio with a sweet and holy love: and many needs had Fray Inocencio of such comforting, for, the flesh proverbially being weak in little round and ruddy men, the seasons were sadly short in which he had not some misdeed of his unruly nature to bemoan.

In all seasons a heavy burden rested upon Fray Inocencio's soul because he was so ruddy and so fat. This corporal affliction, sadly unseemly in one vowed to the austerities of the religious life, was of such a nature that abstinence had no effect upon it, and for the removal of it even prayer was without avail; so that what little solace his case allowed him was to be got by regarding his fatness as a cross put upon him for his soul's sake, warning him to eat little and so to mortify the flesh that good might come to him in the end. Yet was this VOL. XXXVIII.—45.

a hard cross for Fray Inocencio to bear; for he had a very eager natural love, as strong as it was sinful, for all manner of toothsome things. Especially had he a most passionate fondness for beans which after being well boiled were fried delicately in lard—which dish was not less delicious than it was damnably fattening. Most pathetic was his look of resignation when beans thus cooked were served in the refectory of the great convent of San Francisco, as he resisted their succulent temptation and ate instead the little dry cakes of corn-meal.

In the convent of San Antonio of the Gardens Fray Inocencio was spared the temptation of fried beans, for Fray Antonio, that his brother might not be led into sin, declared that he preferred his beans boiled. And more than this did Fray Antonio do for his brother's comforting. Being himself a most abstemious man naturally, with no liking for food save as a means of sustaining his life and strength in God's service, he deliberately set himself to eating in private great quantities of all manner of fattening things; and this he did to the end that by rounding out his own leanness he might make the plumpness of Fray Inocencio easier for him to bear. But beyond throwing into disorder by such unwonted quantities of rich food the functions of his liver, the stuffing that Fray Antonio gave himself produced no results. Therefore, being as yellow as an orange, he gladly gave over his strange discipline. This was wise of him, for the simple truth of the matter was that it pleased God that one of these brothers should be fat and that the other should be thin; and neither of them, howsoever he might strive, the one by eating too little and the other by eating too much, could change that which God had decreed.

Though thus tried in flesh and in spirit, these brothers were very happy in their life in the little convent and in their ministrations of the sacred offices in the little church. In their garden they tilled the earth lovingly, taking great pleasure in its sweet, fresh smell, and in the bounteous return that it yielded them. Fray Inocencio had a rare knowledge of the gardener's craft, and especially had he a relish for growing such vegetables as were good to eat. In this previcarious form of gluttony, as it might be called, he did not deny himself; for, setting a stout guard upon the cravings of his own stomach, he carried on his back the best of all the good things which he grew to the great convent, where the brothers, less scrupulous than himself, ate them all with a prompt avidity. Fray Antonio, though he did his share of work in the kitchengarden, found his pleasure in the growing of beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers, which each day he set before the sacred image of

the great San Antonio that the little church enshrined. Sometimes Fray Antonio fancied that as he placed upon the altar dedicated to his holy namesake these sweet offerings there shone upon the gentle face of the saint a loving smile. Nor would such miracle have been surprising, for this very image — as the chronicler Vetancurt tells had raised a dead child to life! In that good time faith was a living principle in the hearts of men, and the blessed saints graciously requited the trust that was placed in them by working many miracles. It is not so in these evil later days.

In the holy work that was set them of saving heathen souls the brothers ever were instant and zealous. Fray Inocencio assailed the devil at all times and in all places with a stout energy that was in keeping with the sturdiness of his body and mind. Indeed, such pictures as this plump little friar drew of the entire devilishness of a very personal devil, and of the blazing horrors of a most real hell, sufficed to scare many an Indian, though through all his life set firmly in the wicked courses of idolatry, into the saving ways of Christian righteousness. Fray Antonio was less successful as an exorciser, but his gentle words and great tenderness of heart and spirit enabled him to make, perhaps, more lasting converts. Through the ministrations of this good brother many a troubled heathen soul was set at rest in Christian holiness, being brought happily to grace through love.

In the first springtime that the brothers dwelt in the little convent there came to build in a nook of the wall above the garden a pair of doves. These Fray Inocencio took under his especial care, giving them grain to eat, and placing for them in the garden an earthen vessel full of water wherefrom they could drink. And they, recognizing his friendliness, soon grew so tame that they would come and eat from his hand and would perch upon his shoulders, and even would nestle in the hood of his blue gown. From year to year the doves increased in number, and at last there came to be so many of them that Fray Inocencio almost would be hidden by the cloud of birds surrounding him. The trust which these little creatures placed in him made him the more earnestly try to stifle a sinful thought that at times would come into his soul-how good they would taste in a pie. Once in his unregenerate youth, before he took upon him the vows of his order, he had eaten a pie made of doves; and although he never yielded to the temptation that assailed him, the smell and the taste of that pie lingered in his memory and cruelly tormented him to his dying day.

For Fray Antonio dove-pie had no temptations, and the doves were a source of constant

pleasure to him, for all of God's creatures he loved. In the quiet of the hot noontime there was a restfulness and friendliness in their sweet cooings that refreshed him as he sat meditating in the dusky coolness of his cell; and he found not less pleasure in listening as they rustled and cooed softly to each other in their nests, after the curious fashion of these birds, in the watches of the night. But Fray Antonio loved the doves less for themselves than because they were the beautiful creatures of a Creator who did all things well.

A source of constant solicitude to Fray Inocencio in this connection was the possible misconduct of another dependent of the little convent a certain black cat that Fray Inocencio dearly loved. The official name of this cat was Timoteo; bestowed upon him for the reason that this is a name well suited to a cat, and also in derisive reprobation of that schismatic Monophysite of Egypt, who in the fifth century usurped the Patriarchate, and was known popularly as "Timothy the Cat." It was the fancy of Fray Antonio to bestow this name upon the black kitten which wandered one day into the convent, and which, after making a sniffing exploration of the whole of the small establishment, signified his approval of it and of its inhabitants by accepting Fray Inocencio's offering of milk, and by thereafter settling himself to sleep in a comfortable fold of Fray Inocencio's blue gown.

Fray Antonio, the friend and intimate of the scholarly Fray Agustin de Vetancurt, who at that very time was writing his chronicle "El Teatro Americano," that has given him a world-wide fame, was himself a learned student of the Fathers of the Church, and he explained, at what Fray Inocencio, whose tastes were not scholarly, considered a most unnecessary length, the schism that the false Patriarch known as "Timothy the Cat" upheld, and that the General Council of Chalcedon condemned. Nor did Fray Inocencio, in his heart of hearts, approve of saddling upon a kitten of obviously amiable qualities and presumably excellent parts the name of a bogus Patriarch, who, according to Fray Antonio's own showing, was an outlaw from the Church, a usurper, and a murderer. Therefore was Fray Inocencio well pleased when the kitten developed a power of purring so thunderously (relatively speaking) that Fray Antonio fell into the way of speaking of him as Susurro, which word, in the Spanish tongue, signifies the Purrer, and thus himself provided an acceptable substitute for what any self-respecting cat could not but regard as a highly objectionable name.

Of a certainty Fray Inocencio never knew that Susurro ate doves; but he had painful

suspicions. There were times and seasons when Susurro would retire to the roof of the convent as though for the purpose of sunning himself. Yet with such ostentation was this purpose manifested, that not unreasonably doubts as to the purity of his motives and intentions might be entertained. As he would lie basking in the sunshine, his fore-paws tucked comfortably beneath his breast, and his long black tail stretching out straight behind him, Fray Inocencio more than once was pained by observing a swaying of that same tail and a twitching of his black ears, and also a certain look of eagerness that in unguarded moments would come into his half-closed great yellow eyes- all of which seemed to betray the existence in some dark corner of his mind of thoughts the like of which no honest cat should have.

Fray Inocencio sorely was pained by these suggestions on Susurro's part of a tendency towards what, under the circumstances, would be nothing short of mortal sin. In the simplicity of his nature he made especial prayer to the miracle-working image of San Antonio that Susurro might be given strength to resist the temptation that beset him, and that so the doves might go unharmed. And to Fray Antonio he told that he had made this prayer.

Now in the gentle nature of Fray Antonio there was a strain of kindly whimsicalness, the same that had led him to bestow upon the stranger kitten the name of the Egyptian Patriarch,— and this now moved him to take the case of the cat and the doves into his own hands.

Therefore it was that when a convenient season occurred - Fray Inocencio having gone with a back-load of vegetables to the great convent -he sought Susurro in the garden, and found him there, slumbering. Fray Antonio awakened him gently, and although a mild resentment shone in his yellow eyes because his slumbers were cut short, he seated himself gravely upon his haunches, around which his tail was trimly drawn, yawned slowly, and then seriously looked up at Fray Antonio as though awaiting the communication to hear which he had been aroused from sleep. Fray Antonio, leaning a little forward as he sat upon a bench in a shady corner of the garden, looked not less seriously upon Susurro's face and thus

addressed him:

"It hath come to my knowledge, Timoteo, whom we call also Susurro, because of thy mighty purr, that the devil hath put into thy heart evil thoughts concerning these friends of ours, the doves. Hearken well, therefore, to that which I shall say unto thee; for as thou heedest it or slightest it so will thy name among cats be honored or condemned. Thy instinct, truly, is to catch doves and to eat them. With this instinct I will not quarrel, for God hath

given it to thee. But God's gifts, O Susurro, may be abused; and a sore abuse of this doveeating instinct of thine would it be shouldst thou kill and eat these birds which have no fear of thee and which dwell with thee here in thine own home. Rather shouldst thou strive to divert into worthy ways the less worthy of thy natural tendencies, that so, by exalting to good purposes thy baser passions, thou mayst achieve righteousness. Thus did the Holy Cat of Zempoala, whose memory still is reverenced although the brief term of his earthly life ended more than a century ago. Hearken well, Susurro, while I read to thee what my friend the chronicler Father Vetancurt hath written concerning the part which this cat was permitted to take in manifesting God's will that a great and worthy work should be done."

So speaking, Fray Antonio drew from the bosom of his habit a roll of manuscript that he opened out and smoothed upon his knee, while Susurro sunk from his erect posture to one of greater ease, tucked away his paws beneath his breast, and at his spiritual instructor solemnly blinked his golden eyes. Fray Antonio, with a grave emphasis, read to him these words:

It was about the year 1540 that the Reverend Father Friar Francisco de Tembleque felt stirring in his heart a good desire (that assuredly God put there) to build an aqueduct by which the towns of Otumba and Zempoala should be supplied abundantly with water wholesome to drink-which at that time from springs seven leagues away. And his plan the people of these towns were compelled to bring was to make an aqueduct over all that distance, carrying it across three wide valleys on no less than 136 arches, and making over the deepest of the valleys one arch so great that beneath it might pass (had there been any such thereabouts) a ship under full sail. And to this work the servant of Godfor so Father Tembleque well was called-set himself with a stout heart; and the Indians worked for him joyfully. And at the spot where the great arch was to be, in what then was a tangle of wooded wild land, he built a little chapel to the glory of Our Lady of Belen; and close beside the chapel he made for himself a cell so narrow that scarcely was there room within it for him to lie down to sleep.

And God showed his love for his servant by giving to dwell with him a gray cat, which every day from the wild woodland round about brought quails for his master's sustenance; and in the season of rabbits, a rabbit. And between the servant of God and this cat there was much love.

To Father Tembleque there came one day a stranger, who courteously, yet with a curious particularity, questioned him about the progress of the great work that he had in hand. For certain persons of the baser sort had said in the ear of the time and the substance of the Church in striving viceroy that Father Tembleque was wasting his to do an impossible thing; and this stranger really was an alcalde of the court, whom, that he might know the truth, the Viceroy had sent thus secretly

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Hearing these words, the cat in due obedience betook himself once more to the thicket. But the alcalde, thinking that this might be a trick that was put upon him, sent after the cat to spy upon him one of his own servants. And the servant presently beheld a greater wonder. For in a moment the cat met with another rabbit, which he caught without any resistance at all on the creature's part and with it returned to his master again, thus plainly showing that all had been disposed thus by God.

And the Señor Alcalde, being so substantially assured of the miracle, returned to the viceroy and said: "Though it seems to be impossible to bring the water by the way that Father Tembleque hath chosen, and though the work that he hath set himself to do seems to be beyond the power of man to accomplish, yet assuredly will he succeed; for I have seen that which proves beyond a peradventure that God hath vouchsafed to him his all-powerful aid" and he told to the Viceroy the whole of the miracle which through the cat had been wrought. Therefore did the Viceroy encourage Father Tembleque in his great work; and, God's blessing continuing upon it, in seventeen years' time the aqueduct was finished-the very aqueduct through which the water comes to the towns of Otumba and Zempoala at this present day! 1

"And dost thou believe, Susurro," asked Fray Antonio, with a brisk vehemence, "that this Holy Cat of Zempoala would have played the dastard part towards these doves, our home-mates, that possibly thou contemplatest? Never! Assuredly, never! Therefore lay to thy heart the story of his worthy life, and call upon our father St. Francis- who loved all animals and trusted them to aid thee in setting so strict a guard upon thy sharp teeth, and upon the sharp claws wherewith thy paws are armed, that through the fleshly temptation that is in these members of thine thou fallest not into sin!"

As he spoke these words, Fray Antonio arose from his seat and signified by a gesture of his hand that the sermon was at an end. Whereupon Susurro also arose, but slowly and languidly. In front of him he extended his paws as far as ever they would go, and erecting his hinder parts and bending his foreshoulders downward he spread out all his claws and dragged backward upon them so

1 To the still greater glory of the Holy Cat of Zempoala, whose honorable history the chronicler Fray Agustin de Vetancurt has set forth as above in the Menologio Franciscano, October 1, of his "Teatro

that they made little furrows in the earth. Then he drew together his front and his hind feet, and so humped his back in a great bow. After all of which he seated himself upon his haunches, looked straight into Fray's Antonio's kindly face, blinked at the good brother his golden eyes, and gave a most prodigious yawn. That these were the outward signs of a spirit meet for repentance Fray Antonio seriously doubted; yet did he stoop down and stroke gently the jowls of the disciple whom he had sought to lead into the way of righteousness; and to this friendly act Susurro responded by breaking at once into the great purring whence came his name.

Fray Inocencio, coming quietly through the church, and standing just within the door of the sacristy that opened upon the garden, had been an unobserved addition to Fray Antonio's congregation, that otherwise had been composed of Susurro, to whom the sermon directly was addressed, and the doves, in whose interest it was preached. Now, coming forward from the shadow of the doorway into the sunlight, he spoke with grave approval of the edifying nature of the discourse to which he had been privileged to listen, and commended his brother for thus emulating the goodness of their father St. Francis, who had preached to the birds, and of his own blessed namesake, St. Anthony of Padua, who had preached to the fishes-neither of whom, Fray Inocencio declared seriously, saints though they were, could have addressed to Susurro a more moving or a more excellent discourse. Fray Inocencio attributed the obvious confusion into which Fray Antonio was thrown by this commendation, notably marked by a flush of unwonted color in his pale cheeks, to a sudden flying to arms of his modesty upon being surprised in the commission of a good deed.

Fray Antonio found himself beset by reason of his brother's praises by a curious case of conscience, most difficult to deal with. In preaching his sermon to Susurro he had but given play to a certain delicate and quaint fancy that was natural to him; possibly - for so may a man of fine temperament be affected by his surroundings and by the tendencies of the times in which he lives-there was an underlying vein of seriousness in his discourse: certainly there was no thought in it of irreverence. But he knew that it was far from being the grave utterance that Fray Inocencio considered it to be, and for which Fray Inocencio gave him a serious credit that was far from Mexicano" (City of Mexico, 1698; folio), the fact may be added that the aqueduct of Zempoala still fulfills, in part at least, the useful purpose for which Father Tembleque built it more than three centuries ago.

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