For 400 years his family had shown honor on the battlefield

March 19, 2012

Charles V

Meanwhile the news, carried by the courier, had run through the castle and village with many added details. The abdication of the Emperor was already a fact, and despoiled of all his power Charles V had embarked at Flushing for Spain, in order to shut himself up for the rest of his days in the convent of Yuste. For this purpose the Emperor was sending forward his steward Quijada, from whom he was inseparable, that he might await Charles’s arrival in Laredo, after having spent a few weeks in the bosom of his family.

This news convulsed the castle, village, and most of all Jeromín [Don John of Austria],  who had not a moment’s peace during those three days, or passed a night without dreaming of the noble figure of Quijada, whom he only knew by hearsay, and imagined to be something gigantic.

Monastery of San Jerónimo de Yuste, Cáceres, España, where Charles V retired after abdicating the Spanish Crown in favor of his son Philip II.

It was a great race, that of Quijada, four centuries of honor sustained from generation to generation on the field of battle, and the present one had not spilled their blood less gloriously. Luis’s eldest brother, Pedro, had been shot at the Emperor’s side in Tunis. Juan, the youngest, had died at Teruanne fighting for Castille, and Luis, the only one left, had been wounded in the Goletta. He was the hero of Hesdin and the inseparable companion of the Emperor in Africa, Flanders, Germany and Italy, serving him loyally for thirty-five years. It pleased the boy to conjure up this pair, formidable by their deeds, dazzling in their glory, as Juan Galarza had so often described them to him in the battle of Landresies, where the squire also fought. The Emperor gave Luis Quijada his banner, and putting on his helmet said to the squadron of the Court, that the day had come and that they must fight like honorable gentlemen, and that if they saw him or his standard carried by Quijada fall, they were to raise the flag before raising him. There was no doubt about it: two great principles were taking hold of Jeromín without his knowing it. God and the helpless, as Doña Magdalena felt and taught. The Emperor, the King, authority and justice came from heaven and were sisters, as their servant Quijada proclaimed!

Luis Quijada

And then the poor child became miserable and wrung his little hands—why? Because in three days he would see the glorious leader without having done anything for his God or his King.

Hearing him groaning and restless Doña Magdalena, who was also sleepless, ran to his help, thinking him ill; and when with childish confidence he told her his trouble, the noble dame could not do otherwise than laugh and be astonished at the same time.

 

Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912),  pp. 32-33.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 161

 

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