It is not difficult to conjecture with what fresh energies the court—armed with such information as it now possessed—proceeded to re-examine the other seven prisoners accused of complicity in the crime of La Guardia, pressing each with the particular share he was himself alleged to have borne in the affair, and continuing to play off one accused against another.

It is regrettable that the records of these proceedings should not at present be available, so that all conjecture might be dispensed with in reconstructing step by step this extraordinary case. And it is to be hoped that M. Fidel Fita’s expectations that these records will ultimately be brought to light may come to be realized.

A week later, on July 28, Yucé is again brought into the audience-chamber for further examination. But he has nothing more to add on the subject of the actual crime. All that he has contrived to remember in the interval are scraps of conversation that took place when the culprits assembled—on that later occasion—for the purpose of sending the consecrated wafer to Abenamias. Nevertheless, what he says is, from the point of view of the inquisitors, as damaging to those who uttered the things which he repeats as their actual participation in the crucifixion of the boy, and it is hardly less damaging to Yucé himself, since it shows him to have been a fautor, or abettor of heretics—a circumstance which he may very well entirely have failed to appreciate.

He depones that Alonso Franco had said that the letter they were dispatching to Abenamias was better than the letters and bulls [of indulgence] that came from Rome and were offered for sale. Ocaña agreed by launching an imprecation upon all who should spend money on such bulls, denouncing such things as sheer humbug (todo es burla), and protesting that there is no saviour other than God. But Garcia Franco reproved him with the reminder that it was good policy to buy one now and then, as it gave them the appearance of being good Catholics.

On this same subject of appearances, Alonso grumbled at the trouble to which they were put by the fact of their being married to Old-Christian women who would not even permit the circumcision of their children.

Three days later Yucé has remembered that it was Benito who crowned the child with thorns. He is again questioned as to what he knows about the boy, and he admits having heard Tazarte say that the child was obtained “from a place whence it would never be missed.”

They press him further on the subject, but he can only repeat what he has already said—that as the Francos travel a great deal with their carts, they may have found the boy on one of their journeys.

As no more is to be extracted from him on the subject, they now change the line of examination, and seek information concerning other Judaizing practices of the Francos of La Guardia, asking Yucé what he knows upon this matter.

He answers that about six years ago the Francos, to his own knowledge, kept the Feast of the Tabernacles and gave the beggar Perejon money to buy a trumpet which was to be sounded on the seventh day of the feast, as is proper. He knows, further, that they sit down to meat prepared in the Jewish manner, over which they utter Jewish prayers—the Beraká and the Hamoçi—and that they are believed to have kept the great fast and to give money for the purchase of oil for the synagogue.194

Asked further to explain the oath of secrecy which he says was imposed upon him and to which he has said that his past silence has been due, he states that all were solemnly sworn by Tazarte that under no circumstances would they utter a word of what was done in the cave between Dosbarrios and La Guardia until they should have been one year in the prison of the Inquisition, and that even should the torture betray them into infidelity to their oath, they must refuse to ratify afterwards, and deny what they might have divulged.

M. Isidore Loeb clung so tenaciously to the theory that the affair of the “Santo Niño” was trumped up by Torquemada that he would not permit his convictions to be shaken by the revelations contained in these records of Yucé’s trial when they came to light. He fastens upon this statement of Yucé’s and denounces such an oath as a flagrant absurdity, concluding thence that here, as elsewhere, Yucé is lying.195

M. Loeb’s criticisms of this dossier are worthy of too much attention to be lightly passed over, and we shall return presently to the consideration of them.

In the meanwhile we may permit ourselves a digression here to consider just this point upon which he bases so much argument for the purpose of proving false the rest of the story.

If we were to agree with M. Loeb that Yucé is lying in this instance, that would still prove nothing as to the rest—and it would be very far from proving that Torquemada is the inventor of the whole affair. Assuming that this tale of an oath of silence to endure for one year after arrest is a falsehood, it may very well be urged that it is employed by Yucé in the hope that it will excuse his having hitherto withheld information and that it will induce the inquisitors to deal leniently with him for that same silence. Let it be observed that he prefaces his confession with that excuse at the time of asking the inquisitors to give him an undertaking that they will pardon him if he divulges all that he knows.

But is he really lying?

It seems to us that in arriving at this conclusion, M. Loeb has either overlooked or else not sufficiently weighed the following statement in Yucé’s confession: “Yucé Tazarte ... went to perform an enchantment so that the inquisitors could not hurt any of them, or if they attempted to do so they must, themselves, go mad and die within a year.” This means, of course, within a year of attempting to hurt any of them, which again means within a year of the arrest of any of them.

Now, the fact of our not believing to-day in the efficacy of Tazarte’s incantations and in the power of his magic spells with the heart and the Host to accomplish the things he promised, is no reason to suppose that Tazarte himself was not firmly persuaded that his enchantments would take effect. Indeed, he and his associates must firmly have believed it, or they would never have gone the length of imperilling their lives in so dangerous a business.

Tazarte’s belief was that these sorceries would invest them all with an immunity from inquisitorial persecution, and that should any inquisitors attempt to violate that immunity, such inquisitors must go mad and die within a year of arresting any of Tazarte’s associates. Therefore in the event of arrest, all that would be necessary to procure ultimate deliverance would be stubbornly to withhold from the inquisitors all information on the subject of this enchantment until the period within which it was to work should have expired.

When this is sufficiently considered, it seems to us that such an oath as Yucé says was imposed by Tazarte becomes not only likely but absolutely inevitable. Some such oath must have been imposed to ensure the efficacy of the enchantment in the event of the arrest of any of them.

It is difficult to think that Tazarte was a mere charlatan performing this business with his tongue in his cheek for the sake of the money he could extract from his dupes; difficult, because he was dealing with comparatively poor people, from whom the remuneration to be obtained would be out of all proportion to the risk incurred. But even if we proceed upon that assumption, are we not to conclude that, being a deliberate charlatan, Tazarte would be at great pains to appear sincere and to impose an oath which he must have imposed if he were sincere?

It is rather singular and it seems to ask some explanation, which it is not in our power to afford, that not until now do the inquisitors make any use of that grave admission of Yucé’s to the supposed Rabbi Abraham in Segovia. It is true that it was extremely vague, but in Ça’s admissions of July 19—if not before—they had obtained the connecting link required.

But not until September 16, when they pay Yucé a visit in his cell, do they touch upon the matter. They then ask him whether he recollects having talked when under arrest in Segovia, upon matters concerning the Inquisition, and with whom.

His answer certainly seems to show that even now he has no suspicion that the “Rabbi Abraham” was an emissary of the Holy Office. He says that being sick in prison and believing that he was about to die, he asked the physician who tended him to beg the inquisitors to allow him to be visited by a Jew to pray with him, and his further admissions as to what passed between himself and the “Rabbi” entirely corroborate the depositions of Frey Alonso Enriquez and the physician Antonio de Avila.

The inquisitors ask him to explain the three Hebrew words he used on that occasion: mita, nahar, and Otohays. He replies that they referred to the crucifixion of the boy, as related by him in his confession.196

At this stage it would almost seem to transpire that Benito’s admissions under torture at Astorga, when, as he has said, he admitted enough to burn him, must have been confined to matters concerning the Host found upon him, and that until now he has said nothing about the crucifixion of the boy.

This assumption is one that deepens the mysterious parts of the affair rather than elucidates them, for it leaves us without the faintest indication of how the Fiscal Guevára was able to incorporate in his indictment nine months ago the particulars of “enchantments with the said Host and heart of a Christian boy.”

From what Benito has said to Yucé in prison we might be justified in supposing that the former is the delator; but in view of the turn now taken by the proceedings this supposition seems to become untenable. It is of course possible that the particulars in question may have been wrung out of one of the other prisoners, or it is possible that Benito himself may have confessed and afterwards refused to ratify. But beyond indicating these possibilities we cannot go.

The fact remains that on September 24 the inquisitors found it necessary to put Benito Garcia to torture that they might obtain his evidence relating to the crucifixion.

And on the rack he confesses that he and Yucé Franco and the others crucified a boy in one of the caves on the road to Villapalomas on a cross made of a beam and the axle of a cart lashed together with a rope of hemp; that first they tied the boy to the cross and then nailed his hands and feet to it; and that as the boy was screaming they strangled or stifled him (lo ahogaron); that all was done at night, by the light of a candle which Benito himself had procured from Santa Maria de la Pera; that the mouth of the cave was covered with a cloak, so that the light should not be seen outside; that the boy was whipped with a strap and crowned with thorns—all in mockery and vituperation of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that they took the body away and buried it in a vineyard near Santa Maria de la Pera.197

There are some slight discrepancies between the details of the affair afforded by Benito and those given by Yucé. The latter has not mentioned that the child’s hands and feet were nailed to the cross; according to him they were merely tied. Nor has he said that the boy was strangled; his statement seems to be that the child was bled to death, as a consequence of opening the veins of his arms—a matter which Benito does not mention. But on the score of the strangling, it is possible that by the word employed—ahogaron—Benito merely means that the boy’s cries were stifled, a detail which would be confirmed by Yucé’s statement that the child was gagged.

The prisoners are evidently permitted to learn that Benito has been tortured. Very possibly they are given the information to the end that it may strike terror into them and so induce them to betray themselves without more ado. But it does not seem that they are very greatly frightened by the prospect of having to undergo the same suffering, if we are to judge by Garcia Franco. This prisoner is permitted on the following day (which is Sunday), by contrivance of the Holy Office, to get into communication with Yucé. In the course of their conversation Garcia strongly urges a policy of denial under torture, should they be subjected to it,198 from which it seems plain that he has no notion of the extent to which Yucé’s tongue has been loosened already.

On the following Wednesday it is Juan Franco’s turn to be put to the torture.

Under it he gives a general confirmation of what has already been extracted from the others. He confesses that he and Yucé Franco and the other Christians and Jews crucified a boy in the cave of Carre Ocaña, which is on the right going from La Guardia to Ocaña; that they crucified him on a cross made of two beams of olive-wood lashed together by a rope of hemp; that they whipped him with a rope; and that Yucé was present when the deponent himself cut out the boy’s heart—as is more fully contained in the deponent’s confession (of which, again, this is no more than an extract relating to Yucé’s share in the crime). He states that an enchantment was performed with the heart, so that the Inquisition might not proceed against them.

This confession was duly ratified upon the morrow.199

On the Friday of the same week they torture Juan de Ocaña and extract from him a confession that is, in the main, in agreement with those already obtained. He relates how he and the others crucified a boy in the caves of Carre Ocaña; that they whipped him with ropes when he was crucified; that they cut out his heart and caught his blood in a cauldron; that it was night and that they had a light; and that when they took the body down they buried it near Santa Maria de la Pera, as fully set forth in his confession.200

As a consequence of his having in the course of this confession spoken of the Host that was sent to Zamora for delivery to Abenamias, Ocaña is questioned again—on October 11—touching this particular. He is asked how he knows that this was done. He replies that he heard Alonso Franco and the Jews—i.e. Ça Franco and his sons (Yucé and Mosé), Tazarte and Perejon—say that such was the intention, but he doesn’t know whether the Host was actually delivered or otherwise disposed of.

The persistence with which this apparently trivial question arises—particularly when it is remembered that the inquisitors were, themselves, in possession of the Host found upon Benito at the time of his arrest—leads us to suppose that they were probing to discover whether this consecrated wafer was the identical one dispatched upon the occasion to which the confessions refer. Considering the lapse of time between the dispatch of that wafer and Benito’s arrest, they may reasonably have been concluding that the Host found upon the latter relates to some similar, later affair. Such an impression is confirmed by the fact that no letter—such as was addressed to Abenamias—had been discovered upon Benito.

The question again crops up in an examination to which Yucé is submitted on that same day.

“Did any of the Jews or Christians,” he is asked, “go to Zamora to Abenamias in this matter?”

He answers precisely as he has answered before: that he doesn’t know what became of the Host beyond the fact that he saw them dispatching it together with a letter to the said Abenamias, as deponed, and that all were present when this took place.

They seek to learn who was the instigator of the affair, but Yucé cannot answer with certainty on that point. What he knows he tells them—that Tazarte meeting him when he was on his way to Murcia, the physician asked him would he join in a matter to be performed with a consecrated wafer to ensure that the Inquisition could not harm the Christians in question. Before they met to crucify the boy, Tazarte told the deponent and his brother Mosé that he had arranged for it; and although Yucé protests that he had no inclination to have anything to do with the affair, he and his brother allowed themselves in the end to be persuaded to be present, and they went with Tazarte that same night to the cave. There they were joined by the Christians, who brought the child with them.

So far, it will be seen, the evidence collected from Yucé’s fellow-prisoners, whilst admitting that he had been present in the cave when the boy was crucified—an admission in itself grave enough and quite sufficient to procure his being abandoned to the secular arm—did not charge him with any active participation in the proceedings. In his own depositions Yucé had insisted that he and his father had been no more than spectators and that they had gone to the cave more or less in ignorance, as if hardly understanding what they were to witness.

Moreover before relating the happenings in that cave of Carre Ocaña, Yucé had made a sort of bargain with the inquisitors that his confession should not be used against himself or his father. And it is noteworthy that the other Jews whom he incriminated were all dead, and that he suppressed the name of the only surviving Jew—Hernando de Ribera—who had taken part in the affair. Of betraying the New-Christians he would, as we have already said, have less concern, as these by their apostasy must have become more or less contemptible in the sight of a faithful Jew.

Whether the inquisitors conceived that in view of his passivity in the matter, combined with the promise they had made him before obtaining his confession, they were not justified in proceeding to extremes with him, we do not know. It is difficult to suppose any such hesitation on their part. Whatever their object, it is fairly clear that they did not account themselves satisfied yet, and for the purpose of probing this matter to the very bottom they now adopted a fresh method of procedure which appears particularly to aim at the further incrimination of Yucé.

Just as the court was in the habit of suppressing evidence entirely or in part, or the names of witnesses, when this course best served its purposes, so, when the depositions were obtained from co-accused, there must obviously come a moment when the publication of the evidence and of the witnesses by confrontation must further the aims of the tribunal.

The anger aroused in each prisoner by the discovery that his betrayer is one of his associates must spur him to reprisals, and drive him to admit anything he may hitherto have concealed. There is, of course, the danger that he may be urged to embark upon inventions to damage in his turn the man who has destroyed him. But inquisitorial justice was not deterred by any such consideration. Pegna—as we have seen—tells us plainly enough that the point of view of the Holy Office was that it was better that an innocent man should perish than that a guilty one should escape.

In pursuit of this policy, then, Benito Garcia is brought before the inquisitors on October 12, and he is asked whether in the matter of the crucifixion and the Host he will repeat in the presence of any of the participators in the crime what he has already deponed. He replies in the affirmative. Thereupon he is taken out. Yucé Franco is introduced and asked the same question with the same result. Benito is brought in again, and, the two being confronted, each repeats in the presence of the other the confession he has already made.

They are now asked whether they will repeat these statements once more, in the presence of Juan de Ocaña, and they announce themselves ready to do so. They are removed. Ocaña is introduced, and having similarly obtained his agreement to repeat before others whom he has accused of complicity what he has already confessed, the inquisitors order the other two to be brought back.

The notary records that they actually manifest pleasure at seeing one another.

Ocaña now repeats his confession, and Yucé and Benito again go over theirs. The three agree one with the other, and it is now further elicited that it was six months after the crucifixion, more or less, when they assembled between Tenbleque and La Guardia to give Benito the letter and the Host which he was to convey to Abenamias in Zamora.

On October 17 there is another confrontation—of Juan Franco with Ça and Yucé Franco. In this each repeats what he has already confessed, which we now learn for the first time. Juan Franco admits that it was he himself who opened the boy’s side and took out his heart, and in this as in other particulars the depositions agree one with another.

Juan Franco goes on to say that they next met in the cave some time after the crucifixion, and that his brother Alonso brought the heart and the Host in a box which he gave to Tazarte, who withdrew with them to a corner of the cave to carry out his enchantments. Later on they assembled between Tenbleque and La Guardia—at a place which, according to this witness, was called Sorrostros—and gave Benito a letter to take to Zamora, this letter being tied with a coloured thread.

So far he is completely in accord with the other deponents; but now there occurs a startling discrepancy. He says that at this last meeting (which, we are told, took place some six months after the crucifixion), in addition to the consecrated wafer and the letter for Abenamias, they also gave Benito the heart to take to Zamora.

Now all the other depositions lead us to suppose that the heart and the first wafer were employed—presumably consumed in some way—by Tazarte in the enchantment performed at the first meeting after the crucifixion, and that as doubts afterwards arose touching the efficacy of the spells performed by the physician, another Host was obtained some six months later, which they forwarded to Zamora.

Is the explanation the simple one that Juan Franco is mistaken on the subject of the heart? It seems possible, because he adds that he did not actually see the Host (on this particular occasion), but that he understood that it was given to Benito. Similarly he may have understood—erroneously taking it for granted—that the heart accompanied it.

And now you may see the confrontation bearing fruit, and yielding the results which we must suppose are sought by the inquisitors—the further incrimination of Yucé Franco.

Juan de Ocaña is examined again on October 20 and questioned as to Yucé’s participation in the crime. He now adds to his former confession that Yucé and the others used great vituperations to the child, which vituperations were really aimed at Jesus Christ; he cites the expressions, and in the main they are those we have already quoted from the Testimonio201; these, he says, were used by Ça Franco and his two sons. He says that they all whipped the boy, and that it was Yucé himself who drew blood from the arms of the victim with a knife.

“Whence was the child?” they ask him.

He replies that it was the dead Jew Mosé Franco who had brought the boy from Quintanar to Tenbleque on a donkey, and that, according to Mosé’s story, he was the son of Alonso Martin of Quintanar.202 From Tenbleque several of them, amongst whom were Yucé and his father, brought him on the donkey to the cave where he was crucified, and it was Yucé who went to summon the brothers Franco of La Guardia, Benito Garcia, and the witness himself.

So that from having been a more or less passive spectator of the scene, Yucé is suddenly—by what we are justified in accounting the vindictiveness of Ocaña—thrust into the position of one of the chief actors, indeed, almost one of the instigators of the crime.

On the same day Benito Garcia is re-examined. His former depositions are read over to him, and he is asked if he has anything to add to them. He has to add, he finds, that Yucé—whom he has hardly mentioned hitherto—had whipped and struck the boy, and that he was an active participant in all that was done, his avowed aim being the destruction of Christianity, which he spoke of as buffoonery and idolatry.

On the morrow Ocaña is brought back to ratify his statements of yesterday. He is asked if he has anything to add that concerns the participation of Yucé, and his answer is so very much in the terms of the latest additions made by Benito that one is left wondering whether, departing from their usual custom, the inquisitors put their questions in a precise and definite form—founded upon what Benito has said—and obtained affirmative replies from Ocaña. For Ocaña, too, remembers that Yucé said that Christianity was all buffoonery and that Christians were idolaters.

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