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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 55, No. 342, April, 1844
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 55, No. 342, April, 1844" ***

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                  EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

     No. CCCXLII.     APRIL, 1844.        VOL. LV.

                  TABLE OF CONTENTS






      --PART X.








The time occupied by the events detailed in the three preceding
chapters, had been passed by Antonio in a state of self-exile from his
master's studio. Conscious of having disobeyed the earnest injunctions
of Contarini, the weakness of his character withheld him alike from
confessing his fault, and from encountering the penetrating gaze of
the old painter. Neglecting thus his usual occupation, he passed his
days in his gondola, wandering about the canals in the hope of again
meeting with the mysterious being who had made such an impression on
his excitable fancy. Hitherto all his researches had been fruitless;
but although day after day passed without his finding the smallest
trace of her he sought, his repeated disappointments seemed only to
increase the obstinacy with which he continued the search.

The incognita not only engrossed all his waking thoughts, but she
still haunted him in his dreams. Scarcely a night passed that her
wrinkled countenance did not hover round his pillow, now partially
shrouded by the ample veil, then again fully exposed and apparently
exulting in its unearthly ugliness; or else peering at him from behind
the drapery that covered the walls of his apartment. In vain did he
attempt to address the vision, or to follow it as it gradually receded
and finally melted away into distance.

It was from a dream of this description that he was one morning
awakened by his faithful gondolier Jacopo. The sun was shining
brightly through his chamber windows, and he heard an unusual degree
of noise and bustle upon the canal without.

"Up, Signor mio!" cried the gondolier joyously, and with a mixture of
respect and affectionate familiarity in his tone and manner. "Up,
Signor Antonio! You were not wont to oversleep yourself on the day of
the Bridge Fight. All Venice is hastening thither. Quick, quick! or we
shall never be able to make our way through the press of gondolas."

The words of the gondolier reminded Antonio that this was the day
appointed for the celebration of a festival, which for weeks past had
been looked forward to with the greatest impatience and interest, by
Venetians of all ranks, ages, and sexes; a festival which he himself
was in the habit of regularly attending, though on this occasion his
preoccupied thoughts and feelings had made him utterly unconscious
that it was so near at hand.

Although the ancient and bitter hatred of the Guelphs and Ghibellines
had died away, and the factions which divided northern Italy had sunk
into insignificance, nearly a century before this period, the memory
of their feuds was still kept up by their great grandchildren, and
Venice was still severed into two parties or communities, separated
from each other by the grand canal. Those who dwelt on the western or
land side of this boundary were styled the Nicolotti, after the parish
of San Nicolo; while those on the eastern or sea side took the
appellation of Castellani, from the district of Castello. Not only the
inhabitants of the city itself, but those of the suburbs and
neighbouring country, were included in these two denominations; the
people from Mestre and the continent ranging themselves under the
banners of the Nicolotti, while those from the islands were strenuous

The frequent and sanguinary conflicts of the Guelphs and Ghibellines
were now replaced and commemorated by a popular festival, occurring
sometimes once, sometimes oftener in the year; usually in the autumn
or spring. "In order that," says an old chronicler of the time, "the
heat being less great at those seasons, the blood of the combatants
should not become too heated and the fight too dangerous." "Also on
cloudy days," says the same authority, "that the spectators might not
be molested by the sun; and on Sundays or Saints' days, that the
people thereby might not be hindered from their occupations." On these
occasions one of the numerous bridges was selected as the scene of the
mock combat that constituted the chief amusement of the day. The quays
afforded good standing-room to the spectators; and here, under the
inspection of ædiles appointed by the people, the two parties met, and
disputed for supremacy in a battle, in which, however, no more
dangerous weapons than fists were allowed to be brought into play.

It was not the populace alone that divided itself into these two
factions. Accordingly as the palaces of the nobles stood on the one or
the other side of the canal, were their owners Castellani or
Nicolotti, although their partizanship existed but in jest, and only
showed itself in the form of encouragement to their respective
parties; whereas with the lower orders the strife, begun in
good-humour, not unfrequently turned to bitter earnest, and had
dangerous and even fatal results. In the wish, however, to keep up a
warlike spirit in the people, and perhaps still more with a view to
make them forget, in a temporary and boundless license, the strict
subjection in which they were habitually held, the senate was induced
to permit the continuance of a diversion, which from the local
arrangements of Venice, the narrowness of the streets and bridges, and
the depth of the larger canals, was unavoidably dangerous, and almost
invariably attended with loss of life.

Hastily dressing himself, Antonio hurried into his gondola in order to
proceed to the bridge of San Barnaba, opposite to the church of the
same name and to the Foscarini palace, that being the spot appointed
for the combat. The canal of the Giudecca was one black mass of
gondolas, which rendered even a casual glimpse of the water scarcely
obtainable; and it was amidst the cries of the gondoliers and the
noise of boats knocking against each other, that the young painter
passed the Dogana and reached the grand canal. There the crowd became
so dense, that Jacopo, seeing the impossibility of passing, turned
aside in time, and making a circuit, entered the Rio de San Trovaso,
whence, through innumerable narrow canals, he succeeded in reaching
the scene of the approaching conflict.

The combatants were attending mass, and had not yet made their
appearance. Wonderfully great, however, was the concourse of
spectators already assembled. Since sunrise they had been thronging
thither from all sides, eager to secure places which might afford them
a good view of the fight. Every roof, gable, and chimney had its
occupants; not a projection however small, not a wall however lofty
and perilous, but was covered with people, for the most part provided
with baskets of provisions, and evidently determined to sit or stand
out the whole of the spectacle. In the anxiety to obtain good places,
the most extraordinary risks were run, and feats of activity
displayed. Here might be seen individuals clambering up perpendicular
buildings, by the aid of ledges and projections which appeared far too
narrow to afford either grasp or foot-hold; further on, some herculean
gondolier or peasant served as base to a sort of human column,
composed of five or six men, who, scrambling over each other's
shoulders, attained in this manner some seemingly inaccessible
position. The seafaring habits of the Venetian populace, who were
accustomed from boyhood to climb the masts and rigging of vessels, now
stood them in good stead; and notwithstanding all the noise,
confusion, and apparent peril, it was very rarely that an accident

Under the red awnings covering the balconies and flat roofs of the
palaces, were seated groups of ladies, whose rich dresses, glittering
with the costliest jewels and embroideries, appeared the more
magnificent from being contrasted with the black attire of the grave
patricians who accompanied them. But perhaps the most striking feature
of this striking scene was to be found in the custom of masking, then
almost universal in Venice, and the origin of which may be traced in
great part to dread of the Inquisition, and of its prying enquiries
into the actions and affairs of individuals. Amidst the sea of faces
that thronged roofs, windows, balconies, streets, and quays, the
minority only were uncovered, and the immense collection of masks, of
every form and colour, had something in it peculiarly fantastic and
unnatural, conveying an impression that the wearers mimicked human
nature rather than belonged to it.

Venice, whose trade and mercantile importance were at this period
greatly on the decline, saw nevertheless, on occasions like the
present, strangers from the most opposite nations of Europe, and even
Asia, mingling peaceably on her canals. Here were Turks in their
bright red caftans and turbans; there Armenians in long black robes;
and Jews, whose habitually greedy and crafty countenances had for the
nonce assumed an expression of eager curiosity and expectation. The
mercantile spirit of the Venetians prevented them from extending to
individuals the quarrels of states; and although the republic was then
at war with Spain, more than one superb hidalgo might be seen, wrapped
in his national gravity as in a mantle, and affecting a total
disregard of the blunt or hostile observations made within his hearing
by sailors of the Venetian navy, or by individuals smarting under the
loss of ships and cargoes captured by Spanish galleys.

Scattered here and there amongst the crowd, Antonio's searching eye
soon remarked a number of men, to whom, accustomed as he was to
analyse the heterogeneous composition of a Venetian mob, he was yet at
a loss to assign any distinct class or country. Their sunburnt and
strongly marked features were partially hidden by the folds of ample
cloaks, in which they kept themselves closely muffled; and it appeared
to Antonio, that in their selection of places they were more anxious
to escape observation than to obtain a good view of the approaching
fight. In the dark patches of shadow thrown by the overhanging
balconies, in the recesses of deep and gloomy portals, or peering out
from the entrance of some narrow and tortuous alley, these men were
grouped, silent, scowling, and alone, and apparently known to none of
the surrounding crowd. But suspicious as were the appearance and
deportment of the persons in question, Antonio's thoughts were too
much engrossed by another and far more interesting subject, to accord
them much attention. He nourished the hope of discovering amongst the
multitude assembled around him, the mysterious being who had taken so
strong a hold on his imagination. Vainly, however, did he scan every
balcony and window and strain his eyes to distinguish the faces of the
more distant of the assembled dames. More than once the flutter of a
white robe, or a momentarily fancied resemblance of figure, made his
heart beat high with expectation, until a second glance destroyed his
hopes; and the turning of a head or drawing aside of a veil disclosed
the blooming features of some youthful beauty, to which, in his then
state of mind, the wrinkled and unearthly visage of the incognita
would have been infinitely preferable.

While the young painter was thus fluctuating between hope and
disappointment, several lads with naked arms, or but slightly
encumbered with clothing, were giving the spectators a foretaste of
the approaching conflict; and, encouraged by the applause which was
liberally vouchsafed them, making violent efforts to drive one another
off the bridge. At times the spirit of partizanship would induce some
of the bystanders to come to the aid of those who seemed likely to be
defeated--an interference that was repressed by the ædiles stationed
at either end of the bridge, who did their utmost to enforce the laws
of this popular tournament. Notwithstanding their efforts, however,
the _mostra_ or duello between two persons, by which the combat should
begin, was often converted into the _frotta_ or mêlée, in which all
pressed forward without order. The first advantage was held to be--for
one of the combatants to draw blood, if it were only a single drop,
from the nose or mouth of his opponent. Loud applause rewarded the
skill and vigour of him who succeeded in throwing his adversary into
the canal; but the clamour became deafening when a champion was found
who maintained his station in the centre of the bridge, without any of
the opposite party venturing to attack him. This feat won the highest
honour that could be obtained; and he who achieved it retired from his
post amid the waving of scarfs and handkerchiefs, and the enthusiastic
cheers of the gratified spectators.

At length the bell of the Campanile announced that mass was over, and
presently, out of two opposite streets that had been purposely kept
clear, the combatants emerged, pressing forward in eager haste towards
the bridge; their arms naked to the shoulders, their breasts protected
by leathern doublets, and their heads by closely fitting caps--their
dress altogether as light as possible, and well adapted to the
struggle in which they were about to engage. The loud hum of the
multitude was hushed on their appearance, and the deepest silence
reigned while the ædiles marshaled them to their respective places, on
which they planted themselves in threatening attitudes, their broad
and muscular chests expanded, their fists clenched, their feet seeming
to grasp the ground on which they stood.

A loud flourish of trumpets gave the signal of the onset, and with
inconceivable impetuosity the two parties threw themselves on each
other. In spite, however, of the fury and violence of the shock,
neither side yielded an inch of ground. The bridge was completely
filled with men from end to end, and from side to side; there was no
parapet or barrier of any kind to prevent the combatants from pushing
one another into the canal; yet so equally balanced was the strength
of the two parties, that after nearly half an hour's struggle very few
men had been thrown from the bridge, and not the smallest advantage
had been obtained either by Castellani or Nicolotti. Those in the
rear, who had as yet done nothing but push the others forward, now
came to the front, and the combat was renewed with fresh vigour, but
for a long time without any result. Again and again were the
combatants changed; but it was past noon before Antonio, whose
thoughts had been gradually diverted from the incognita by the
struggle that was going on, perceived symptoms of weariness amongst
those indefatigable athletes. Here and there a knee was seen to bend,
or a muscular form to sink, under some well-directed blow, or before a
sudden rush of the opposite party. First one, then another of the
combatants was hurled from the bridge into the canal, an immersion
that, dripping with perspiration as they were, not unfrequently caused
death or severe illness. Nevertheless the fury of the fight seemed
rather to increase than diminish. So long as only a man here and there
fell into the water, they were dragged out by their friends; and the
spectators even seemed to feel pity and sympathy for the unfortunates,
as they saw them carried along, some covered with blood, others
paralysed by the sudden cold, with faces pale as death and limbs stiff
and rigid. But as the fury and violence of the combatants augmented,
the bystanders forgot every other feeling in the excitement of the
fight, about the result of which they seemed as anxious as those who
were actively engaged in it. Even women might be seen encouraging
those who were driven back, and urging them once more to the charge;
applauding and cheering them on when they advanced, and assailing
those who hung back with vehement reproaches. The uproar and shouting,
shrieks and yells, exceeded any thing that could be imagined. The
partizans had got completely mixed together; and, instead of the
struggle being confined to the foremost ranks of the contending
parties, the whole bridge was now one coil of raging combatants. Men
fell into the canal by scores, but no one thought of rendering them
any assistance. Their places were immediately filled up, and the fight
lost none of its fury from their absence.

Evening was now approaching, and the combat was more violent than it
had yet been, or than it had for years been known to be, when Antonio
saw the cloaked and mysterious individuals who had already attracted
his attention, emerge from their lurking-places, and disappear in
different directions. Presently he thought he observed some of them on
the bridge mingling with the combatants, whose blind rage prevented
them from noticing the intrusion. Wherever they passed, there did the
fight augment in obstinacy and fury. Suddenly there was a violent rush
upon the bridge, a frightful outcry, and a clash of steel. At the same
moment the blades of several swords and daggers were seen crossed and
glittering upon the bridge, without its being possible for any one to
divine whence the weapons came. The spectators, seized with a panic
fear, fled in every direction, and sprang in crowds from the quays to
seek shelter under the awnings of the gondolas covering the canal. In
vain did the gondoliers resist the intrusion of the fugitives: all
considerations of rank and property were lost sight of in the terror
of the moment, and some of the boats sank under the weight of the
multitudes that poured into them. In their haste to get away, the
gondolas impeded each other, and became wedged together in the canal;
and amidst the screams of the ladies and angry exclamations of the
men, the gondoliers laid down their oars and began to dispute the
precedence with blows. Meanwhile the people on the roofs of the
houses, believing themselves in safety, espoused different sides, and
threw stones and bricks at each other, and at those standing below. In
an incredibly short time houses were entirely unroofed, and a perfect
storm of tiles rained upon the quays and streets. Those who had first
fled, when they attained what appeared a safe distance, halted to look
on, and thus prevented others from getting away. Antonio was amongst
the number whose escape was thus impeded. His gondolier lay at the
bottom of the boat, stunned by a blow from a stone; he himself was
bruised and wounded by the missiles that fell in all directions.

The tumult was at its height when suddenly a sound was heard that had
a truly magical effect upon the rioters, for such they might now be
termed. The alarm-bell of St Mark's rang out its awful peal. In an
instant the yells of defiance were hushed; the arm that was already
drawn back to deal a blow fell harmless by its owner's side, the storm
of missiles ceased, the contending factions parted, and left the
combat undecided. The habit of obedience and the intimation of some
danger to the city, stilled in an instant the rage of party feeling,
and combatants and spectators alike hurried away in the direction of
St Mark's place, the usual point of rendezvous on such occasions.

Jacopo had now recovered his senses, and Antonio's gondola was one of
the first which reached the square in front of the cathedral. Thence
the young painter at once discovered the cause of the alarm. Smoke and
flame were issuing from some buildings on the opposite island of San
Giorgio Maggiore, where the greater part of the merchants' warehouses
were situated. Thither the crowd of gondolas now steered, and Antonio
found himself carried along with the stream. But although the fire was
already beginning to subside before the prompt measures taken to
subdue it, the alarm-bell kept clanging on; and Antonio soon perceived
that there must be some other point of danger to which it was intended
to turn the attention of the people. Gazing about for some indication
of its source, he saw several gondolas hurrying towards the grand
canal, on which most of the palaces of the nobles were situated, and
he ordered Jacopo to steer in the same direction.

On reaching the palazzo of the Malipieri family, a strange scene
presented itself to him. The open space between the side of the palace
and the adjacent church of San Samuele, was crowded with men engaged
in a furious and sanguinary conflict. At one of the windows of the
palace, a tall man in a flowing white robe, with a naked sabre in one
hand and a musquetoon in the other, which, from the smoke still
issuing from its muzzle, had apparently just been discharged, stood
defending himself desperately against a band of fierce and bearded
ruffians, who swarmed up a rope ladder fixed below the window. The
person making so gallant a defence was the Senator Malipiero; the
assailants were Uzcoques from the fortress of Segna.

The arrival of the Proveditore Marcello at Gradiska, and his
subsequent recognition of his jewels at the ball, having destroyed
Strasolda's hopes of obtaining her father's liberation through the
intervention of the archducal counsellors, the high-spirited maiden
resolved to execute a plan she had herself devised, and which,
although in the highest degree rash and hazardous, might still succeed
if favoured by circumstances and conducted with skill and decision.
This was to seize upon the person of a Venetian of note, in order to
exchange him for the Uzcoques then languishing in the dungeons of the

The Venetians were not yet aware that the much-dreaded woivode
Dansowich was among their prisoners. The time chosen by the Uzcoques
for their expeditions and surprises was usually the night; and this,
added to the custom of mask-wearing, was the cause that the features
of Dansowich were unknown to his captors. Nevertheless the striking
countenance and lofty bearing of the chieftain, and of one or two of
those who were taken prisoners with him, raised suspicions that they
were persons of mark--suspicions which were not dissipated by their
reiterated denial of being any thing more than common Uzcoques. It was
this doubt which saved their lives; for their captors, instead of
hanging them at once at the yard-arm of the galleys, which was the
usual manner of disposing of Segnarese prisoners, took them to Venice,
and placed them at the disposal of the senate. All subsequent threats
and promises proved ineffectual to extort from the pirates an
acknowledgment of superior rank; and the Venetian authorities would
perhaps have ended in believing the account they gave of themselves,
had not the urgent applications made by the Austrian Envoy and the
Capitano of Fiume, for the release of the Uzcoques, given their
suspicions new strength. The object of the Venetians was, if they
could ascertain that there was a chief among the prisoners, to obtain
from him, by torture or otherwise, confessions which might enable them
to prove to the Archduke the encouragement afforded by his counsellors
to the piracies of the Segnarese. They accordingly delayed, by every
possible pretext, giving an answer to the archducal ambassador, doing
their utmost meanwhile to find out the real quality of the prisoners.
This, Strasolda was most anxious that they should not discover; and
her anxiety was scarcely less to prevent the captivity of their leader
from becoming known among the pirates themselves. His daughter's
entreaties, and his own better nature, had frequently caused Dansowich
to check his followers in the atrocities they were too apt to commit.
In consequence of this interference, Strasolda suspected her father to
be more feared than liked by Jurissa Caiduch and some others of the
inferior woivodes or officers; and she apprehended that, if she
confided her plan to them, they would be more likely to thwart than to
aid her in it. The crews of the two boats which had been engaged in
the skirmish with the Venetian galleys when Dansowich was captured,
and the men composing the garrison of the castle on the evening of
that fatal occurrence, were therefore all whose assistance she could
reckon upon. Some of those were her relatives, and the others tried
and trusty adherents. They alone knew of their leader's captivity, his
absence having been accounted for to the mass of Uzcoques dwelling in
the town of Segna, by a pretended journey to Gradiska; and being too
few in number to attack a Venetian galley, the sole plan that seemed
to offer a chance of success to this handful of faithful followers,
was the hazardous one devised by Strasolda. Of this, they did not
hesitate to attempt the execution.

With the utmost cunning and audacity did the Uzcoques enter Venice on
the day appointed for the Battle of the Bridge, singly, and by twos
and threes, variously disguised, and mingled with the country people
and inhabitants of the islands who were hastening to the festival.
Watching their opportunity when the fight was at the fiercest, one
party mixed with the combatants, exciting and urging them on, and
doing all in their power to increase the confusion; others set fire to
the warehouses on the island of San Giorgio, in order to draw the
public attention in that direction; while the third and most numerous
division, favoured by the deepening twilight and the deserted state of
that part of the city, succeeded in fixing a rope ladder to the window
of the Malipieri palace, the chief of which noble house was, as they
had previously ascertained, lying sick in bed in a side-chamber,
attended only by a few domestics.

But there were two things which Strasolda and the Uzcoques had
forgotten to include in their calculations. These were, first, the
slavish obedience of the Venetian populace to the call of their
superiors--an obedience to which they were accustomed to sacrifice
every feeling and passion; secondly, the Argus eyes and omnipresent
vigilance of the Secret Tribunal. Scarcely was the ladder applied,
when the first gush of flame from the warehouses brought a deafening
peal from the alarm-bell; and at the same moment, the masked and armed
familiars of the Venetian police, rising as it seemed out of the very
earth, surrounded the ladder, and a fierce conflict began. Even the
watchfulness and precautions of the Inquisition, however, were to a
certain extent overmatched by Uzcoque cunning and foresight. Had it
not been necessary to ring the alarm bell on account of the fire, the
police, who were far the most numerous, and who each moment received
an accession to their numbers, could scarcely have failed to capture
some of their opponents, and thus have ascertained to a certainty what
the promoters and the object of this audacious attempt really were.
But before they could accomplish this, the small piazza where the
conflict was going on was thronged with the populace, half intoxicated
with the excitement of the scarcely less serious fight they had been
witnessing and sharing in. In the crush and confusion that ensued,
familiars and Uzcoques were separated; and the latter, mingling with
the crowd, and no longer distinguishable from the cloaked and masked
figures that surrounded them, easily succeeded in effecting their

When Antonio, who was pushed hither and thither by the mob, was able
to extricate himself sufficiently to get another view of the window,
the invalid nobleman, delivered from his assailants, had retired into
his apartment, while the ladder, now deserted by the Uzcoques, had
been cut and thrown down. Desirous of escaping from this scene of
confusion, the young painter was making his way towards the quay,
close to which his gondola was waiting, when his heart suddenly leaped
within him at the sight of a muffled figure that passed near him, and
in which he thought he recognized the mysterious old woman who had of
late occupied so much of his thoughts. She was followed by a number of
the rabble, who pressed upon her with oaths and curses, asserting that
she was one of the party which had attacked the palace of the

"I saw her holding the ladder," exclaimed one fellow.

"Nay, she was climbing up it herself," cried a second.

"Strike the foul witch dead!" shouted a score of voices.

The old woman's life was in the greatest peril, when a strange and
unaccountable, but at the same time irresistible impulse, moved
Antonio to go to her rescue. He was forcing his way through the crowd
with this intention, when the object of the popular fury turned her
head towards him. Her veil was for a moment partially drawn aside,
affording a glimpse of her features in profile; and Antonio, still the
slave of his diseased imagination, fancied that her yellow shriveled
features had been metamorphosed into a countenance of regular beauty;
such a countenance, in short, as befitted the graceful and symmetrical
form to which it belonged. Confused and bewildered, the naturally weak
and undecided youth stood deliberating and uncertain whether he should
attempt the rescue, which would have been by no means difficult to
accomplish by the display of a little boldness and promptitude. Whilst
he was thus hesitating, there suddenly broke through the crowd a
young man, attired like himself in a black dress, and holding a naked
rapier in his hand. The new comer had probably lost his mask in the
tumult and confusion, for his features were uncovered, and Antonio
saw, to his inexpressible consternation and astonishment, that they
were the exact counterpart of his own. Before he could recover from
this new shock, the stranger, by the aid of his fierce and determined
demeanour, and the rapid play of his weapon, had made his way to the
mysterious old woman, whose back was turned towards him, and seizing
her round the waist he again forced a passage through the throng to
the nearest gondola, which happened to be that of the young painter.
The crowd pressed after him, and Antonio was hurried along with it to
the edge of the quay. But at the very moment that, to avoid being
pushed into the water by the throng, he sprang into one end of his
gondola, he saw the stranger, who had just entered it at the other,
gaze with a look of disgust and dismay on the features of her he had
rescued, and then with a cry of horror, leap into another boat, which
immediately rowed rapidly away. At the same instant Jacopo, by a
strong sweep of the oar, spun the gondola round, and shot into a
narrow canal which soon led them out of sight and sound of the scene
of confusion they had just left.

These various events had succeeded each other so rapidly, that Antonio
could hardly credit his senses when he found himself in this strange
manner the deliverer of the mysterious being who now sat under the
awning of his gondola, her frightful countenance, unveiled in the
struggle and no longer seen through the beautifying prism of the young
artist's imagination, again displaying the yellow and wrinkled skin,
and the deep-set glittering eyes, which now seemed fixed upon him with
an expression of love and gratitude that froze his blood. With a
shuddering sensation he retreated to the stern of the boat, where
Jacopo stood pale and trembling, crossing himself without a moment's

"Are you mad, Signore," whispered the gondolier, "to risk your life in
behalf of such a frightful witch? Never did I see you so ready with
your rapier, flashing it in people's eyes as though it had been one of
your painting brushes."

"By Heaven, Jacopo," answered Antonio, "that was not I"--

"The saints protect us!" interrupted the gondolier. "You are assuredly
bewitched, or have lost your senses, Signore. To think of your thus
denying your own noble daring! Do, for the blessed virgin's sake, let
us jump out upon the next landing-place, and leave the gondola to the
sorceress who has bewitched you. Holy mother! she is coming this way!"

A prey to the strangest and most contradictory emotions, Antonio
hastily advanced to meet the mysterious being, whom he could not help
regarding with superstitious awe, though he at the same time felt
himself drawn towards her by a fascination, against which he found it
was in vain to contend. The features of the unknown were again
shrouded carefully in her veil, but her black and brilliant eyes
glittered through it like nebulous stars.

"To the house of the Capitano of Fiume," whispered she to Antonio, and
then retreated, as if anxious to avoid further conversation, into the
interior of the gondola.

In the district of Castello, through which Antonio and his strange
companion were now passing, the canals and quays were deserted, and
not a sound was heard except the distant hum of the multitude
assembled in the quarter of St Mark's. Without exciting suspicion or
attracting observation, they reached the Rialto and the grand canal,
and the gondola stopped at a landing-place opposite the church of San

As the young painter assisted his mysterious charge out of the boat, a
gentle pressure from the warm soft hand which for a moment rested upon
his, quickened every pulse in his frame; and long after the
enigmatical being had disappeared behind the angle of a palace, he
stood gazing, like one entranced, at the spot where he had last seen
her imposing and graceful figure. The approach of Jacopo, still
crossing himself, and calling upon all the saints for protection
against the snares of the evil one, roused the perplexed youth from
his reverie; and, stepping into the gondola, he was soon gliding
rapidly over the canals in the direction of his father's palace.



The gondola of the young painter, gliding rapidly and silently over
the still waters of the canals, was passing a turn leading to the
Giudecca, when it suddenly occurred to Antonio that he would seek his
old master, and, after confessing his disobedience, relate to him the
events of the day, and make him the confidant of his troubles and
perplexities. A word to Jacopo changed the direction of the gondola,
and they entered the grand canal, on which Contarini's dwelling was

The brief twilight of Italy had passed, and it was now completely
night, dark and starless, which made more startling the sudden
appearance of several blazing torches, borne by masked and hooded
figures attired in black, who struck loud and repeated blows on the
gates of the Palazzo Contarini.

"Antonio Marcello! We seek Antonio Marcello!" exclaimed a deep and
hollow voice.

It would be necessary to be a Venetian, and to have lived in those
days, fully to comprehend the feeling of horror which caused Antonio's
blood to run cold, and the sweat to stand in beads upon his forehead,
when he heard his name uttered by the familiars of the state
Inquisition. Frightful dungeons, masked judges, halls hung with black,
the block and the gleaming axe, the rack and its blood-stained
attendants, the whole grim paraphernalia of the Secret Tribunal,
passed like the scenes of a phantasmagoria before the mental vision of
the young painter. He at once conjectured the cause for which they
were seeking him. He had doubtless been taken for the youth who, by
his energy and promptitude, had rescued the mysterious old woman from
the mob, and who bore so striking and unaccountable resemblance to
himself; and it must be on suspicion of his being connected with the
attack on the Malipieri palace, that the ministers of justice were
hunting him out. Nor did he see how he should he able to convince his
judges of his innocence. The tale he had to tell, although the truth,
was still too marvellous and improbable to obtain credence, and would
be more likely to draw upon him severe punishment, or perhaps the
torture, with the view of inducing him to confess its falsehood.
Bewildered by his terror, Antonio sat trembling, and utterly incapable
of deciding as to the course he should adopt, when the trusty
gondolier again came to his rescue.

"Cospetto! Signor!" he exclaimed, "have you lost your senses, that you
run thus into the very jaws of those devil's messengers? To one like
myself flight would certainly avail little; but, with a Proveditore
for your father, you may arrange matters if you only take time before
you become their prisoner. Quick, then, to the palazzo! Don't you see
old Contarini's head stuck out of his window? He is telling them you
are not there. They have doubtless been to your father's palace, and
will not be likely to return thither at present."

While the faithful fellow's tongue was thus wagging, his arms were not
idle. Intimately acquainted, as became his calling, with the numerous
windings and intricacies of the Venetian canals, he threaded them with
unhesitating confidence; and, favoured by the darkness of the night,
succeeded in getting Antonio unobserved through a back entrance of his
father's palace.

The first impulse of the terrified youth on finding himself thus in at
least temporary security, was to destroy the picture of the mysterious
old woman, which, if found by the agents of the Inquisition, might
bear false but fatal witness against him. With pallid cheek, and still
trembling with alarm, he was hurrying to his chamber to execute his
intention, when he encountered his father, who advanced to meet him,
and, grasping his arm, fixed upon him for some moments his stern and
searching gaze.

"The picture, father!" exclaimed the terror-stricken Antonio. "For the
love of Heaven, stay me not! Let me destroy that fatal picture!"

Regardless of his son's agitation and terror, the Proveditore half
led, half forced him to a seat in a part of the room, when the red
blaze from the larch logs that were crackling on the hearth, lit up
the young man's features.

"What means this, Antonio?" he said; "what has befallen during my
absence at Gradiska? The familiars of the Inquisition have been
seeking you here--you, the last person whose name I should expect to
hear in such mouths. Alarm me it did not; for well I know that you are
too scant of energy and settled purpose to be mixed up in conspiracies
against the state."

Antonio was still too much preoccupied by his terror to understand, or
at any rate to heed, the severity of his father's remark. Collecting
his scattered thoughts, he proceeded to narrate all that had occurred
to him, not only on that day, but since his first meeting with the
incognita near the church of San Moyses, on the very same spot whither
he had conveyed her in his gondola but a short hour ago.

"Let me destroy the painting, father!" he concluded; "it may be found,
and used as testimony against me."

The Proveditore had listened with a smile, that was at once
contemptuous and sorrowful, to his son's narrative, and to the
confession of his weakness and disobedience to the injunctions of his
aged teacher. When he had finished speaking, there was a minute's
silence, broken at last by the elder Marcello.

"I have long been convinced," he said, "that Contarini would never
succeed in making of you a painter fit to rank with those old and
illustrious masters of whom Venice is so justly proud. But I had not
thought so poorly of you, Antonio, as to believe that you would want
courage to defend an object, for the attainment of which you scrupled
not to disobey your venerable instructor. What the kind entreaties and
remonstrances of Contarini could not induce you to abandon, you are
ready to annihilate on the very first symptom of danger. Oh, Venice!"
exclaimed the Proveditore, his fine countenance assuming an expression
of extreme bitterness, as he gazed mournfully at the portraits of his
ancestors, including more than one Doge, which were suspended round
the walls of the apartment--"Venice! thou art indeed degenerate, when
peril so remote can blanch the cheek of thy patrician youth."

He strode twice up and down the hall, then returning to his son, bade
him fetch the picture which he was so desirous of destroying. Antonio,
downcast and abashed by these reproaches, which, however, were
insufficient to awaken nobler aspirations in his weak and irresolute
nature, hurried to his chamber, and presently returned with a roll of
canvass in his hand, which he unfolded and spread before the
Proveditore--then, dreading to encounter his father's ridicule, he
shrunk back out of the firelight. But the effect produced upon
Marcello by the portrait of the old woman, was very different from
that anticipated by his son. Scarcely had he cast his eyes upon the
unearthly visage, when he started back with an exclamation of horror
and astonishment.

"By all the saints, Antonio," cried he in an altered voice, "that is a
fearful portrait! Alas, poor wretch! thou art long since in thy
grave," continued he, addressing the picture, and with looks and tones
strangely at variance with his usually stern and imperturbable
deportment. "The worms have preyed on thee, and thou art as dust and
ashes. Why, then, dost thou rise from the dead to fright me with that
ghastly visage?"

"Is the face known to you, father?" the astonished Antonio ventured to

"Known to me! Ay, too well! That wrinkled skin, that unearthly
complexion, those deep-set eyes glowing like burning coals. Just so
did she glare upon me as she swung from the tree, the blood driven
into her features by the agonizing pressure of the halter. 'Tis the
very look that has haunted me for years, and caused me many bitter
moments of remorse; though, God knows, the deed was lawful and
justifiable, done in the execution of my duty to the republic. And
yet she lives," he continued musingly. "How could she have been saved?
True, she had not been hanging long when we left the place. Some of
her people, doubtless, were concealed hard by, and cut her down ere
life had entirely fled. But, ha! 'tis a clue this to the perpetrators
of to-day's outrage, for she was with them. Uzcoques, then they must
have been! Said you not, Antonio, that she came from the house of the
Capitano when first you saw her, and that to-day you left her there?"

"At her own special desire, father," replied Antonio.

"Then is the chain of evidence almost complete," continued the
Proveditore. "It must have been herself. And now--this attack on the
Malipieri palace. What was its object? A hostage?--Ay, I see it all,
and our prisoner is none other than Dansowich himself. But we must
have proof of that from his own confession; and this portrait may help
to extort it."

Whilst uttering these broken sentences, which were totally
incomprehensible to the bewildered Antonio, the Proveditore had donned
his mantle, and placed his plumed cap upon his head.

"No, Antonio," said he, "we will not destroy this picture, hideous
though it be. It may prove the means of rendering weighty service to
the republic."

And with these words, inexplicable to his son, the Proveditore left
the apartment; and, taking with him the mysterious portrait, hastened
to the prison were the Uzcoque leader was immured.

The pirate chief was a man of large and athletic frame, of strong
feelings, and great intellectual capabilities. His brow was large,
open, and commanding; his countenance, bronzed with long exposure to
the elements, and scarred with wounds, was repulsive, but by no means
ignoble; his hair and beard had long been silvered over by time and
calamity; but his vast bodily strength was unimpaired, and when roused
into furious resentment, his manly chest emitted a volume of sound
that awed every listener. Upon a larger stage, and under circumstances
more favourable to the fair development of his natural powers and
dispositions, the pirate Dansowich would have become one of the most
distinguished and admirable men of his time. Placed by the accident of
birth upon the frontiers of Christian Europe, and cherishing from
early youth a belief that the highest interests of the human race were
involved in the struggle between the Crescent and the Cross, he had
embraced the glorious cause with that enthusiastic and fiery zeal
which raises men into heroes and martyrs. Too soon, however, were
these lofty aspirations checked and blighted by the anti-Christian
policy of trading Venice, the bad faith of Austria towards the Uzcoque
race, and the extortions of her counsellors. Cursing in the bitterness
of his heart, not only Turks, Austrians, and Venetians, but all
mankind, he no longer opposed the piratical tendencies of his
neglected people, and eventually headed many of their marauding

It was nearly midnight when Dansowich was awakened from a deep but
troubled slumber by a grating noise at the door of his dungeon.
Anxiety of mind, and still more, the effect of confinement in an
impure and stifling atmosphere, upon one accustomed to the breezes of
the Adriatic and the free air of the mountains, had impaired his
health, and his sleep was broken by harassing and painful dreams. In
that from which he now awoke, with the sweat of anguish on his brow,
he had fancied himself before the tribunal of the Inquisition. The
rack was shown to him, and they bade him choose between confession and
torture. He then thought he heard his name repeated several times in
tones deep and sepulchral. Starting up in alarm, he saw the door of
his prison open, and give admittance to a man muffled in a black
cloak, who walked up to the foot of his bed of damp straw, and threw
the rays of a dark lantern full into his dazzled eyes.

The traces of recent and strong emotion, visible at that moment on the
pirate's countenance, did not escape the Proveditore, who attributed
them, and rightly, to an artifice he had practised. Previously to
entering the dungeon, he had caused the name of Nicolo Dansowich to
be repeated several times in a deep hollow voice. Aware of the
superstitious credulity of the Uzcoques, the wily Venetian had devised
this stratagem as one likely to produce a startling effect upon the
prisoner, and to forward the end he proposed to obtain by his visit.
He now seated himself upon a wooden bench, the only piece of furniture
in the dungeon, and addressed the captive in a mild and conciliating

"You should keep better watch over your dreams," said he, "if you wish
our tribunals to remain in ignorance of your secrets."

"My dreams!" repeated the Uzcoque, somewhat startled by the ominous
coincidence between Marcello's words and the visions that had broken
his slumber.

"Ay, friend, your dreams! The jailers are watchful, and little passes
in these prisons without coming to their knowledge. More than once
have they heard you revealing in your sleep that which, during your
waking hours, you so strenuously deny.--'Enough! Enough!' you cried.
'I will confess all. I am Nicolo Dansowich.'"

While Marcello was speaking, the old Uzcoque had had time to collect
his thoughts, and call to mind the numerous snares and devices by
which the Venetian tribunals obtained confessions from their
prisoners. With an intuitive keenness of perception, he in a moment
saw through the Proveditore's stratagem, and resolved to defeat it. A
contemptuous smile played over his features, and, shaking his head
incredulously, he answered the Venetian--

"The watchful jailers you speak of have doubtless been cheering their
vigils with the wine flask," said he. "Their draughts must have been
deep, to make them hear that which was never spoken."

"Subterfuge will avail you nothing," replied Marcello. "Your sleeping
confessions, although you may now wish to retract them, are yet
sufficient grounds for the tribunal to go upon, and the most
excruciating tortures will be used, if needful, to procure their
waking confirmation. Reflect, Dansowich," continued the Proveditore in
a persuasive and gentle tone, "on the position in which you now find
yourself. Your life is forfeited; and, if you persist in your denials,
you will never leave this dungeon but for the rack or scaffold. On the
other hand, the senate respects you as a brave and honourable,
although misguided man, and would gladly see you turn from the error
of your ways. Now is the time to ensure yourself a tranquil and
respected old age. Hearken to the proposals I am empowered to make
you. The Signoria offers you life, freedom, and a captainship in the
island of Candia, on the sole condition, on your part, of disclosing
the intrigues and perfidy of the council at Gradiska, and furnishing
us, as you are assuredly able to do, with documents by which we may
prove to the Archduke the treachery of his ministers. Again, I
say--Reflect! or rather hesitate not, but decide at once between a
prosperous and honourable life, and a death of degradation and

Neither the threats nor the temptations held out by the Proveditore
seemed to have the smallest effect upon the Uzcoque.

"You are mistaken," replied he calmly. "I am not Dansowich, nor have I
any knowledge of the intrigues at Gradiska. I could not therefore, if
I wished it, buy my life by the treachery demanded of me; and if the
woivodes of Segna think as I do, they will let themselves be hewn in
pieces before they do the bidding of your senators, or concede aught
to the wishes of false and crafty Venice."

"You are a brave man, Dansowich!" resumed the Proveditore, who saw the
necessity of changing his tactics. "You care little for the dangers
and sufferings of this world. But yet--pause and reflect. Your hair is
silvered by time, and even should you escape your present peril, you
will still, ere many years are past, have to render an account to a
higher tribunal than ours. By an upright course you might atone for
the crimes of your youth and manhood, and become the chosen instrument
of Heaven to deliver your fellow-Christians from a cruel scourge and
sore infliction."

"And who has brought the scourge upon you?" demanded the old man in a
raised voice, measuring the Proveditore with a stern and contemptuous
look. "Is it our fault that, whilst we were striving to keep the Turk
from the door of Christendom, you sought every means of thwarting our
efforts by forming treaties with the infidel? You do well to remind me
that my head is grey. I was still a youth when the name of Uzcoque was
a title of honour as it is now a term of reproach--when my people were
looked upon as heroes, by whose valour the Cross was exalted, and the
Crescent bowed down to the dust. Those were the days when, on the
ruins of Spalatro, we swore to live like eagles, amidst barren cliffs
and naked rocks, the better to harass the heathen--the days when the
power of the Moslem quailed and fled before us. And had not your
sordid Venetian traders stepped in, courting the infidel for love of
gain, the Cross would still be worshipped on all the shores of the
Adriatic, and the Uzcoques would still combat for honour and victory
instead of revenge and plunder. But your hand has ever been against
us. Your long galleys were ever ready to sink our barks or blockade
our coast; and the fate of robbers and murderers awaited our people if
they had the mishap to fall into your hands. You reduced us at last to
despair. Each valiant deed performed against the Turk was recompensed
by you with new persecutions, till at last you converted into deadly
enemies those who would willingly have been your friends and fast
allies. Thank yourselves, then, for the foe you have raised up. Your
own cowardice and greed have engendered the hydra which now preys upon
your heart's blood."

The Proveditore remarked with satisfaction, not unmingled with
surprise, that the old pirate, who had hitherto replied to all
interrogatories with a degree of cold reserve and cunning which had
baffled his examiners, was becoming visibly excited, and losing his
power of self-control. This was favourable to the meditated stratagem
of the Venetian, who now, in pursuance of the scheme he had combined,
gave the conversation another direction.

"I an willing to acknowledge," said he, "that the republic has at
times dealt somewhat hardly with your people. But which is in fact the
worst foe, he who openly attacks you, or he who makes you his tool to
sow discord amongst Christians, and to excite the Turks against
Venice, while under pretence of protection he squeezes from you the
booty obtained at the price of your blood?"

"And who does that?" demanded the Uzcoque.

"Who! Need you ask the question? What do you give for the shelter you
receive from Austria? At what price do you inhabit the town and castle
of Segna?"

"At none that I am aware of," replied Dansowich fiercely. "We dwell
there, in virtue of our compact with the Emperor, as soldiers of the
Archduke, bound to defend the post confided to us against the
aggressions of the infidel. As soldiers we have our pay, as mariners
we have our lawful booty."

"Pay and booty!" repeated the Proveditore scornfully. "Whence comes,
then, your manifest misery and poverty? Whence comes it that you turn
robbers, if in the pay of Austria? No, Dansowich, you will not deceive
us by such flimsy pretexts! Your gains, lawful and unlawful, are
wrested from you by the archducal counsellors, in whose hands you are
mere puppets. 'Twas they who prompted you to tell the Turks that you
were in league with Venice; that the republic encouraged your
misdeeds, and shared the profits of your aggressions on the subjects
of the Porte. They it was who caused the documents to be prepared,
with forged seals and signatures of the illustrious Signoria, which
were to serve as proofs of your lying assertions. Deny this, if you

The beard and mustache of the old Uzcoque appeared to curl and bristle
with fury at the insulting imputations of the Proveditore. For a
moment he seemed about to fly at his interlocutor; his fingers
clutched and tore the straw upon which he was sitting; and his fetters
clanked as his whole frame shook with rage. After a brief pause, and
by a strong effort, he restrained himself, and replied calmly to the
taunting accusation of the Venetian.

"Why go so far," said he, "to seek for motives that may be found
nearer home? You seem to have forgotten how many times the Archduke
has compelled us to make restitution of booty wrested from Venetian
subjects. You forget, too, that it was in consequence of your
complaints he sent to the cruel Rabbata to control us--Rabbata whom we
slew in our wrath, for we are freemen and brook no tyranny. If we are
poor individually, it is because we yield up our booty into the hands
of our woivodes, to be used for the common good of seven hundred
families. No, Signor! if the republic has to complain of us, let her
remember the provocations received at her hands, the persecutions
which converted a band of heroes into a pirate horde, and which
changed our holy zeal against the enemies of the Cross into
remorseless hatred of all mankind. As to the forged seals and
signatures you talk of, and the deceptions practised on the Turks, if
such there were, they were the self-willed act of our woivodes, and in
no way instigated by Austria."

"Thou liest, Dansowich!" said the Proveditore sternly. "Did you not
proclaim and swear in the public market-place of the Austrian town of
Segna, that you were the friends and allies of Venice? This you would
never have dared to do, but with the approval and connivance of the
archducal government."

The eyes of the pirate sparkled with a strange and significant gleam
as the Proveditore recalled the circumstance to his recollection.

"Know ye not," said he with a grim smile, "whom ye have to thank for
that good office? 'Twas Dansowich himself, who thereby but half
fulfilled his vow of vengeance against the republic. And when did it
occur?" he continued with rising fury. "Was it not shortly after the
day in which that heartless villain, the Proveditore Marcello,
captured the woivode's wife, and hung her, unoffending and
defenceless, unshriven and unabsolved, upon a tree on the Dalmatian

The Uzcoque paused, overcome by the bitter memories he was calling up,
and by the fury and hatred they revived in his breast. His eyes were
bloodshot, and the foam stood upon his lips as he concluded. The
Proveditore smiled. The favourable moment he had been waiting had
arrived, the moment when he doubted not that Dansowich would betray
himself. Taking Antonio's drawing from under his cloak, he suddenly
unrolled and held it before the Uzcoque, in such a manner that the
light of the lantern fell full upon the ghastly countenance of the old

"Behold!" said he. "Does that resemble her you speak of?"

The object of the Proveditore was gained, but he had not well
calculated all the consequences of his stratagem.

"Fiend of hell!" shouted Dansowich in a voice of thunder, while a
sudden light seemed to burst upon him. "'Tis thou who are her
murderer!" And bounding forward with a violence that at once freed him
from his fetters, which fell clattering on the dungeon floor, he
clutched the senator by the throat, and hurled him to the ground
before the astonished Venetian had time to make the slightest

"Art thou still in being?" he muttered, while his teeth gnashed and
ground together. "I thought thee long since dead. But, no! 'twas
written thou shouldst die by my hand. Be it done to thee as thou didst
to the wife of my bosom," continued he, while kneeling on the breast
of the Proveditore, and compressing his throat in an iron gripe that
threatened to prove as efficacious and nearly as speedy in its
operation as the bow-string of the Turk. In vain did Marcello struggle
violently to free himself from the crushing pressure of the pirate's
fingers. Although a very powerful man, and in the full vigour of his
strength, the disadvantage at which he had been taken prevented his
being a match for the old Uzcoque, whose sinews were braced by a long
life of hardship. Fortunately, however, for the Venetian, the furious
shout of Dansowich had been overheard by the guards and jailers, who
now rushed into the dungeon, and rescued the half strangled
Proveditore from the grasp of his fierce antagonist.

"Do him no hurt!" exclaimed Marcello, so soon as he was able to speak,
seeing that the guards were disposed to handle the Uzcoque somewhat
roughly; "the secret I have won is well worth the risk. The prisoner
is Dansowich, woivode of Segna."

The fetters which the pirate had snapped with such facility, were,
upon examination, found to be filed more than half through. The
instrument by which this had been effected was sought for and
discovered, and the prisoner, having been doubly manacled, was again
left to the solitude of his cell. After directing all imaginable
vigilance to be used for the safe custody of so important a captive,
the Proveditore re-entered his gondola and was conveyed back to his



The desperate attempt on the life of the Proveditore, and the evidence
given by him as to the identity of the prisoner, had the result that
may be supposed, and the old Uzcoque was put to the torture. But the
ingenuity of Venetian tormentors was vainly exhausted upon him; the
most unheard of sufferings failed to extort a syllable of confession
from his lips. At last, despairing of obtaining the desired
information by these means, the senate commissioned Marcello, as one
well acquainted with the localities, to make a descent on the
Dalmatian coast, and profiting by the consternation of the Uzcoqes at
the loss of their leader, to endeavour to surprise a small fort
situated at some distance from Segna, and which was the abode of
Dansowich. In the absence of the old pirate it would probably be
carelessly guarded and easily surprised; and it was hoped that
documents would be found there, proving that which the Venetians were
so anxious to establish. Another object of the expedition was to
capture, if possible, the mysterious female who had been lately seen
more than once in Venice, and who had taken so prominent a part in the
attack on the palace of the Malipieri.

Accompanied by his son, whom for various reasons he had resolved to
take with him, Marcello went on board an armed galley, and with a
favouring breeze steered for the Dalmatian coast. He had little doubt
of accomplishing the object of his expedition with ease and safety;
for a Venetian Fleet was already blockading the channel of Segna, and
the archducal city of Fiume, where several of the Uzcoque barks were
undergoing repairs. The blockade had been instituted in consequence of
the outrageous piracies committed by the Uzcoques during the Easter
festival, and was a measure frequently adopted by the republic; which,
although carefully avoiding a war, neglected no other means of
enforcing their applications to the court at Gradiska for an energetic
interference in the proceedings of the pirates. The inconvenience and
interruption to the trade of Fiume occasioned by these blockades,
usually induced the archducal government to institute a pretended
investigation into the conduct of the Uzcoques, or at least to promise
the Venetians some reparation--a mockery of satisfaction with which
the latter, in their then state of decline and weakness, were fain to
content themselves. Reckoning upon the terror inspired by the presence
of the squadron now employed in the blockade, as well as upon its
support, should he require it, the Proveditore made sure of success.
He was doomed, however, to be cruelly disappointed in his sanguine

When the attempt to get possession of the person of a Venetian
nobleman had failed, Strasolda found it impossible to keep her
father's captivity any longer a secret, and was compelled to appeal to
the whole of the Uzcoques to assist her in his deliverance.
Information of the woivode's recognition, and of the tortures he had
suffered, soon reached the ears of the pirates, who were not slow to
perceive that the safety, and even the existence of their tribe, were
now at stake. Although well acquainted with the inflexible character
of Dansowich, they trembled lest the agonies he was made to suffer
should force from him a confession, which would enable the Venetians
to convince the archduke of the criminal collusion between his
counsellors and the Uzcoques. This would be the signal for the
withdrawal of the archducal protection from the pirates, who then,
exposed to the vengeance of all whom they had plundered, must
inevitably succumb in the unequal conflict that would ensue.

The imminence of the peril inspired the Uzcoques with unwonted courage
and energy. Jurissa Caiduch himself, forgetting any cause of dislike
he might have to Dansowich, joined heart and hand in the plans formed
by the pirates for the deliverance of their leader. Every man in
Segna, whether young or old, all who could wield a cimeter or clutch a
knife, hastily armed themselves, and crowded into the fleet of long
light skiffs in which they were wont to make their predatory
excursions. Then breaking furiously through the line of Venetian
ships, stationed between Veglia and the mainland, and which were
totally unprepared for this sudden and daring manoeuvre, they
disappeared amidst the shoals and in the small creeks and inlets of
the Dalmatian islands belonging to the republic, where the ponderous
Venetian galleys would vainly attempt to follow them. Their object was
the same which they had already attempted to carry out in Venice on
the day of the Bridge Fight; namely, to seize upon some Venetian
magistrate or person of importance whom they might exchange for
Dansowich. Under the guidance of Jurissa Caiduch they waylaid and
boarded every vessel that passed up or down the Adriatic, especially
those coming from the Ionian islands, in hope of meeting with a
Venetian of rank. Nor did they pursue their researches upon the water
alone. Not a night passed that one or other of the islands was not
lighted up by the blaze of villages, hamlets, and villas. In the
absence of Dansowich, there was no restraint upon their fury; and
urged on by the bloodthirsty Jurissa, the cruelties they committed
were unprecedented even in their sanguinary annals. Nor were they
without hope that the barbarities they were perpetrating might induce
the Venetians to restore their leader to liberty, in order that he
might, as was well known to be his wont, check the excesses of his

The outbreak of the pirates had been so sudden and unexpected, that
the Proveditore, who sailed from Venice on the same day on which it
occurred, had received no intelligence of it, and, unconscious of his
peril, steered straight for the islands. One circumstance alone
appeared strange to him, which was, that during the last part of his
voyage he did not meet a single vessel, although the quarter of the
Adriatic through which he was passing was usually crowded with
shipping. But he was far from attributing this extraordinary change to
its real cause.

It was afternoon when Marcello's galley cane in sight of the white
cliffs of Cherso, and shortly afterwards entered the channel, running
between that island and Veglia. The masses of dark clouds in the
western horizon were becoming momentarily more threatening, and
various signs of an approaching storm made the captain of the galley
especially anxious to get, before nightfall, into the nearest harbour,
which was that of Pesca, at the southern extremity of the island of
Veglia. All sail was made upon the galley, and they were running
rapidly down the channel, when a red light suddenly flashed over the
waves in the quarter of the horizon they were approaching, and was
reflected back upon the sky, now darkened with clouds and by the
approach of night. Attracted by this unusual appearance, Antonio
hurried to the high quarterdeck of the galley; and scarcely had he
ascended it, when the fiery glow fell in a flood of rosy light upon
the distant chalk cliffs. Entranced by the picturesque beauty of the
scene, the young painter forgot to enquire the cause of this singular
illumination, when suddenly his attention was caught by a shout from
the man at the helm.

"By Heavens, 'tis a fire!" ejaculated the sailor, who had been
watching the unusual appearance. "All Pesca must be in flames."

He had scarcely uttered the words when the galley rounded a projecting
point of land, and the correctness of the seaman's conjecture was
apparent. A thick cloud of smoke hung like a pall over the unfortunate
town of Pesca. Tongues of flame darted upwards from the dense black
vapour, lighting up sea and land to an immense distance.

Scarcely had Antonio's startled glance been able to take in this
imposing spectacle, when the storm, which had long been impending,
burst forth with tremendous violence; the wind howled furiously
amongst the rigging, and the galley was tossed like a nutshell from
crest to crest of the foaming waves; each moment bringing it into more
dangerous proximity to the rocky shoals of that iron-bound shore. The
light from the burning town showed the Venetians all the dangers of
their situation; and their peril was the more imminent because the
signal usually made for boats to tow large vessels through the rocks
and breakers, was at such a moment not likely to be observed or
attended to by the people of Pesca. Nevertheless the signal was
hoisted; but instead of bringing the assistance so much needed by the
Venetians, it drew upon them an enemy far more formidable than the
elements with which they were already contending. Boats were soon seen
approaching the galley; but as they drew near it was evident they were
not manned by the peaceful fishermen, who usually came out to render
assistance to vessels. They were crowded with wild, fierce-looking
figures, who, on arriving within a short distance of the ship, set up
a savage yell of defiance, and sent a deadly volley of musket-balls
amongst the astounded Venetians. Before the latter had recovered from
their astonishment, the light skiffs of the Uzcoques were within a few
yards of the galley. Another fatally effective volley of musketry; and
then, throwing down their fire-arms, the pirates grasped their sabres
and made violent efforts to board. But each time that they succeeded
in closing, the plunging of the ponderous galley into the trough of
the sea, or the rising of some huge wave, severed them from their
prey, and prevented them from setting foot on the decks of the
Venetian vessel. This delay was made the most of by the officers of
the latter, in making arrangements for defence. The Proveditore
himself, a man of tried and chivalrous courage, and great experience
both in land and sea warfare, lent his personal aid to the
preparations, and in a few pithy and emphatic words strove to
encourage the crew to a gallant resistance. But the soldiers and
mariners who manned the galley had already sustained a heavy loss by
the fire of the Uzcoques, and were moreover alarmed by their near
approach to that perilous shore, as well as disheartened by the
prospect of a contest with greatly superior numbers. Although some few
took to their arms and occupied the posts assigned them by their
officers, the majority seemed more disposed to tell beads and mutter
prayers, than to display the energy and decision which alone could
rescue them from the double peril by which they were menaced. The
pirates, meanwhile, were constantly foiled in their attempts to board
by the fury of the elements, till at last, becoming maddened by
repeated disappointments, they threw off their upper garments, and
fixing their long knives firmly between their teeth, dashed in crowds
into the water. Familiar with that element from childhood, they
skimmed over its surface with the lightness and rapidity of sea-mews,
and swarmed up the sides of the galley. A vigorous defence might yet
have saved the vessel; but the heroic days of Venice were long
past--the race of men who had so long maintained the supremacy of the
republic in all the Italian seas, was now extinct. After a feeble and
irresolute resistance, the Venetians threw down their arms and begged
for quarter; while the Proveditore, disgusted at the cowardice of his
countrymen, indignantly broke his sword, and retreating to the
quarterdeck, there seated himself beside his son, and calmly awaited
his fate.

Foremost among the assailants was Jurissa Caiduch, who sprang upon the
deck of the galley, foaming with rage, and slaughtering all he met on
his passage. The blazing town lighted up the scene, and showed him and
his followers where to strike. In vain did the unfortunate crew
implore quarter. None was given, and the decks of the ship soon
streamed with blood, while each moment the cries of the victims became
fewer and fainter.

Totally forgetting in his blind fury the object of the expedition,
Jurissa stayed not his hand in quest of hostages, but rushed with
uplifted knife on Marcello and his son. The latter shrieked for mercy;
while the Proveditore, unmoved by the imminence of the peril,
preserved his dignity of mien, and fixed his deep stern gaze upon the
pirate. Jurissa paused for an instant, staggered by the look, and awed
by the commanding aspect, of the Venetian. Soon, however, as though
indignant at his own momentary hesitation, he rushed forward with a
furious shout and uplifted blade. The knife was descending, the next
instant it would have entered the heart of Marcello; when an Uzcoque,
recognizing by the light of the conflagration the patrician garb of
the Proveditore, uttered a cry of surprise, and seized the arm of his
bloodthirsty leader.

"Caiduch!" exclaimed the pirate, "would you again blast our purpose?
This man is a Venetian noble. His life may buy that of Dansowich."

"It is the Proveditore Marcello!" cried Antonio, eager to profit by
the momentary respite.

The words of the young painter passed from mouth to mouth, and in a
few seconds the whole of the Uzcoques were acquainted with the
important capture that had been made. For a moment astonishment kept
them tongue-tied, and then a wild shout of exultation conveyed to
their companions on shore the intelligence of some joyful event.

Ropes were now thrown out to the pirate skiffs, the galley was safely
towed into the harbour, and the Proveditore, his son, and the few
Venetian sailors who had escaped the general slaughter, were conducted
to the burning town, amidst the jeers and ill-treatment of their
captors. Exposed to great danger from the falling roofs and timbers of
the blazing houses, they were led through the streets of Pesca, and on
their way had ample opportunity of witnessing the incredible cruelties
exercised by the pirates upon the inhabitants of that ill-fated town.
What made these cruelties appear still more horrible, was the part
taken in them by the Uzcoque women, who, as was the case at that
period with most of the Sclavonian races, were all trained to the use
of arms,[1] and who on this occasion swelled the ranks of the
freebooters. Their ferocity exceeded, if possible, that of the men.
Neither age, sex, nor station afforded any protection against these
furies, who perpetrated barbarities the details of which would exceed

    [1] The reader of German literature will call to mind the
    anecdote, in Jean Paul's _Levana_, of a Moldavian woman who in
    one day slew seven men with her own hand, and the same evening
    was delivered of a child.

The violence of the flames rendering it impossible to remain in the
town, the Uzcoques betook themselves to the castle of a nobleman,
situated on a rising ground a short distance from Pesca. On first
landing, the pirates had broken into this castle and made it their
headquarters. After pillaging every thing of value, they had gratified
their savage love of destruction by breaking and destroying what they
could not well carry away. In the court-yard were collected piles of
furniture, pictures of price, and fragments of rich tapestry, rent by
those ruthless spoilers from the walls of the apartments. With this
costly fuel had the Uzcoques lit fires, at which quarters of oxen and
whole sheep were now roasting.

A shout of triumph burst forth when the news of the Proveditore's
capture was announced to the pirates who had remained at the castle,
and they crowded round the unfortunate prisoners, overwhelming them
with threats and curses. Something like silence being at length
obtained, Jurissa commanded instant preparations to be made for the
banquet appointed to celebrate the success of their expedition. Tables
were arranged in a spacious hall of the castle, and upon them soon
smoked the huge joints of meat that had been roasting at the fires,
placed on the bare boards without dish or plate. Casks of wine that
had been rescued from the flames of the town, or extracted from the
castle cellars, were broached, or the heads knocked in, and the
contents poured into jugs and flagons of every shape and size.
Although the light of the conflagration, glaring red through the tall
Gothic windows, lit up the hall and rendered any further illumination
unnecessary, a number of torches had been fixed round the apartment,
the resinous smoke of which floated in clouds over the heads of the
revelers. Seating themselves upon benches, chairs, and empty casks,
the Uzcoques commenced a ravenous attack upon the coarse but abundant
viands set before them.

The scene was a strange one. The brutal demeanour of the men, their
bearded and savage aspect; the disheveled bloodstained women, mingling
their shrill voices with the hoarse tones of their male companions;
the disordered but often picturesque garb and various weapons of the
pirates; the whole seen by the light of the burning houses--more
resembled an orgie of demons than an assemblage of human beings; and
even the cool and resolute Proveditore felt himself shudder and turn
pale as he contemplated this carnival of horrors, celebrated by
wretches on whose hands the blood of their fellow-men was as yet
hardly dry. Antonio sat supporting himself against the table, seeming
scarcely conscious of what passed around him. Both father and son had
been compelled to take their places at the board, amidst the jeers and
insults of the Uzcoques.

The revel was at its height, when Jurissa suddenly started from his
seat, and struck the table violently with his drinking-cup.

"Hold, Uzcoques!" he exclaimed; "we have forgotten the crowning
ornament of our banquet."

He whispered something to an Uzcoque seated beside him, who left the
room. While the pirates were still asking one another the meaning of
Jurissa's words, the man returned, bearing before him a trencher
covered with a cloth, which he placed at the upper end of the table.

"Behold the last and best dish we can offer to our noble guests!" said
Jurissa; "'twill suit, I doubt not, their dainty palates." And,
tearing off the cloth, he exposed to view the grizzly and distorted
features of a human head.

The shout of savage exultation that burst from the pirates at this
ghastly spectacle, drowned the groan of rage and grief uttered by the
Proveditore, as he recognised in the pale and rigid countenance the
well-known features of his friend Christophoro Veniero. That
unfortunate nobleman, on his return from a voyage to the Levant, had
fallen into the hands of Jurissa, who, before he was aware of the rank
of his prisoner, had barbarously slain him. This had occurred not many
hours before the capture of Marcello; and it was to the murder of
Veniero that the Uzcoque made allusion, when he seized Jurissa's arm
at the moment he was about to stab the Proveditore.

One of the pirates, a man of gigantic stature and hideous aspect, now
rose from his seat, staggering with drunkenness, and forcing open the
jaws of the dead, placed a piece of meat between the teeth. The
wildest laughter and applause greeted this frightful pantomime, which
made the blood of the Proveditore run cold.

"Infernal and bloody villains!" shouted he, unable to restrain his
indignation, and starting to his feet as he spoke. There was a
momentary pause, during which the pirates gazed at the noble Venetian,
seemingly struck dumb with surprise at his temerity. Then, however, a
dozen sinewy arms were extended to seize him, and a dozen daggers
menaced his life. Dignified and immovable, the high-souled senator
offered no resistance, but inwardly ejaculating a short prayer,
awaited the death-stroke. It came not, however. Although some of the
Uzcoques, in their fury and intoxication, would have immolated their
valuable hostage, others, who had drunk less deeply, protested against
the madness of such an act, and rushed forward to protect him. Their
interference was resented, and a violent quarrel ensued. Knives were
drawn, benches overturned, chairs broken up and converted into
weapons; on all sides bare steel was flashing, deep oaths resounding,
and missiles of various kinds flying across the tables. It would be
impossible to say how long this scene of drunken violence would have
lasted, or how long the Proveditore and his son would have remained
unscathed amidst the storm, had not the advent of a fresh actor upon
the scene stilled the tumult in a manner so sudden as to appear almost

The new comer was no other than the ghastly old woman who has been
seen to play such an important part in this history, and who now
entered the banqueting hall with hasty step and impatient gesture.

"Uzcoques!" she exclaimed in a shrill, clear, and emphatic voice, that
rose above the clamour of the brawl; "Uzcoques! what means this savage
uproar? Are you not yet sated with rapine and slaughter, that you thus
fall upon and tear each other? Are ye men, or wolves and tigers? Is
this the way to obtain your leader's deliverance; and will the news of
this day's havoc, think you, better the position of Dansowich?"

The pirates hung their heads in silent confusion at this reproof. None
dared to reply; Jurissa alone grumbled something inaudible.

"Follow me!" continued the singular woman whose words had so
extraordinary an effect on this brutal band. "Follow, every man! and
stop as far as may be, the ruin you have begun."

Obedient to her voice the Uzcoques left the hall, some of them
sullenly and slowly enough, but none venturing to dispute the
injunction laid upon them. The old woman waited till the scene of
tumult and revel was abandoned by all but Marcello and his son, and
then hurrying after the pirates, led the way to the burning town. In a
few minutes the two Venetians beheld, from the castle windows, the
dark forms of the freebooters moving about in the firelight, as they
busied themselves to extinguish the conflagration. Here and there the
white robe of the mysterious old woman was discernible as she flitted
from one group to another, directing their efforts, and urging them to
greater exertions.

"Strange!" said the Proveditore musingly, "that so hideous and
repulsive an old creature should exercise such commanding influence
over these bandits."

He looked round to his son as he spoke; but Antonio, worn out by the
fatigues and agitation of the day, had stretched himself upon a bench
and was already in a deep sleep. The Proveditore gazed at him for a
brief space, with an expression of mingled pity, regret, and paternal
affection upon his countenance.

"As weak of body as infirm of purpose," he murmured. "Alas! that a
name derived from old Roman ancestors should be borne by one so little
qualified to do it honour! Had it pleased Heaven to preserve to me the
child stolen in his infancy by the Moslem, how different would have
been my position! That masculine and noble boy, so full of life and
promise, would have proved a prop to my old age, and an ornament to
his country. But now, alas!"--

He continued for a while to indulge in vain regrets that the course of
events had not been otherwise; then turning to the window, he watched
the efforts made by the pirates to extinguish the flames, until a
dense cloud of smoke that overhung the town was the only sign
remaining of the conflagration.

For some time the Proveditore paced up and down the hall in anxious
thought upon his critical position, and the strange circumstances that
had led to it. In vain did he endeavour to reconcile, with what now
seemed more than ever inexplicable, the vindictive rage of Dansowich
in the dungeon, and the evidence before him that the pirate's wife was
still in existence. It was a riddle which he was unable to solve; and
at last, despairing of success, he abandoned the attempt, and sought
in slumber a temporary oblivion of the perils that surrounded him.



Upon a divan in the splendid armoury of the pacha's palace at
Bosnia-Serai, the young Turk Ibrahim was seated in deep thought, the
day after his return home. On the walls around him were displayed
weapons and military accoutrements of every kind. Damascus sabres
richly inlaid, and many with jeweled hilts, embroidered banners,
golden stirrups, casques of embossed silver, burnished armour and
coats-of-mail, were arranged in picturesque and fanciful devices. As
the young Moslem gazed around him, and beheld these trophies of
victories won by Turkish viziers and pachas in their wars against
Austria and Venice, his martial and fearless spirit rose high, and he
reproached himself with weakness and pusillanimity for having
abandoned the pursuit of her he loved. Bitterly did he now regret his
precipitation in leaving Venice the morning after the Battle of the
Bridge, and while under the influence of the shock he had received, in
beholding the hideous features of an old woman where he had expected
to find the blooming countenance of Strasolda. His love for the
Uzcoque maiden, as he had seen her when his captive, and again in the
cavern on the coast by Segna, returned in full force. He was already
planning a journey to Venice, when he was interrupted in his
meditations by the noise of a horse's hoofs dashing full speed into
the court of the palace. In another minute an attendant summoned him
to the presence of the pacha, and there he heard the news just
received, of the wild outbreak of the Uzcoques. The Martellossi and
other troops were ordered to proceed immediately to the frontier, in
order to protect Turkish Dalmatia from the pirates; and Ibrahim, at
his urgent request, was appointed to a command in the expedition.

With joyful alacrity did the young Turk arm and hurry to horse; and
then, putting himself at the head of a troop of light cavalry, sped
onwards in the direction of the country where he hoped to gain tidings
of Strasolda. Having received strict orders to content himself with
protecting the Turkish frontier, and above all not to infringe on
Archducal territory, Ibrahim, on arriving at the boundary of the
pachalic, left his troop in charge of the second in command, and with
a handful of men entered Venetian Dalmatia, with the intention of
obtaining information concerning the Uzcoques, and more especially
concerning her he loved. He was assisted in his enquiries by the good
understanding existing between Venice and the Porte; and he soon
learned that, after the burning of Pesca, the pirates had suddenly
ceased their excesses and returned to Segna, taking the Proveditore
with them. They had not gone, however, either to the castle or the
town; but fearful lest the Archduke should interfere, and make them
give up their illustrious prisoners, had betaken themselves to the
mountains, in the numerous caverns and lurking-places of which they
were able to conceal their captives. From every mouth did the eager
enquirer hear praises of the female who accompanied the Uzcoques. None
spoke of her but in terms of love and gratitude. As regarded her
appearance accounts were at variance, some representing her as young
and beautiful, while others compassionated her frightful ugliness;
and, more than ever perplexed by this conflicting testimony, Ibrahim
pursued his march and his enquiries, still hoping by perseverance to
arrive at a solution of the enigma.

While the young Turk was thus employed, the Proveditore and his son
were conveyed by their captors from one place of security to another,
passing one night in the depths of some ravine, the next amongst the
crags and clefts of the mountains, but always moving about in the
daytime, and never sleeping twice in the same place. Since the evening
of the revel at Pesca they had not again beheld the mysterious old
woman, although they had more than once heard her clear and silvery
voice near the place allotted to them for confinement and repose. In
certain attentions and comforts, intended as alleviations of their
unpleasant position, female care and thought were also visible; but
all their efforts were vain to obtain a sight of the friendly being
who thus hovered around them.

It was on a beautiful evening some fourteen days after their capture,
that the Proveditore and his son lay upon the bank of the only river
that waters the rocky vicinity of Segna, wearied by a long and rapid
march. There was an unusual degree of bustle observable amongst the
Uzcoques, and numerous messengers had been passing to and from the
castle of Segna, which was at no great distance from the spot where
they had now halted. From the various indications of some
extraordinary occurrence, the two Venetians began to hope that the
crisis of their fate was approaching, and that they should at last
know in what manner their captors meant to dispose of them. Nor were
they wrong in their expectations. Suddenly the mysterious old woman
stood before them, her partially veiled features bearing their wonted
hideous aspect, and her eyes, usually so brilliant, dimmed with tears.

"You are free," said she in an agitated voice to the Proveditore and
his son. "Our people will escort you to Fiume in all safety, and there
you will find galleys of the republic to convey you back to Venice."

At the sight of the old woman's unearthly countenance, Antonio covered
his face with his hands; the Proveditore rose from the ground deeply

"Singular being!" he exclaimed, "by this mildness and mercy you punish
me more effectually than by the bloodiest revenge you could have taken
for my cruel treatment of you."

"You owe me no thanks," was the reply; "thank rather the holy Virgin,
who sent the youth beside you to be your guardian angel, and who
delivered you into the hands of the Uzcoques at a time when they had
need of a hostage. Surely it was by the special intervention of Heaven
that the murderer of the wife was sent to serve as ransom for the
captive husband. But the atonement has come too late, the noble
Dansowich was basely ensnared into an act of violence, and his life
paid the forfeit of his wrath--he died upon the rack. And now the wily
counsellors at Gradiska compel us to release you."

She paused, interrupted by a flood of tears. After a short silence,
broken only by her sobs, she became more composed, and the Proveditore
again addressed her.

"But what," said he, "could have driven Dansowich to an act of
violence, which he must have known would entail a severe punishment?
Surely his wife's safety and the lapse of years might have enabled him
to forgive, if not to forget, the unsuccessful attempt upon her life."

"His wife's safety!" exclaimed the old woman. "Have the trials and
fatigues of the last few days turned your brain? Alas! too surely was
the rope fixed round her neck; and had you not carried off her remains
how could you have possessed her portrait, and by the devilish
stratagem of showing it to the bereaved husband, have driven him to
the act which cost him his life?"

"Gracious Heaven! what hideous jest is this?" exclaimed Marcello. "Do
I not see you living and standing before me; and think you I could
ever forget your features, or the look you gave me when hanging from
the tree? You were cut down and saved after our departure; and but a
few weeks have elapsed since my son painted your likeness, after
conveying you across the canal in his gondola."

The old woman stood for a few moments as though petrified by what she
had just heard. At last she passed her hand slowly across her face, as
if to convince herself of her identity.

"And she you murdered resembled _me_?" she exclaimed in a trembling
voice. "It was of _me_ that the portrait was taken, and by _him_!" she
continued, pointing to Antonio with a gesture of horror and contempt.
"_My_ picture was it, that was held before Dansowich, and by _you_,
the murderer of his wife? Holy Virgin!" she exclaimed, as the truth
seemed to flash upon her, "how has my faith in thee misled me! I
beheld in this youth one sent by Heaven to aid me; but now I see that
he was prompted by the powers of darkness to steal my portrait, and
thus become the instrument of destruction to the best and noblest of
our race."

"Forgive and spare us!" exclaimed Antonio, conscience-stricken as he
remembered the admonitions of Contarini. "'Tis true, I was the
instrument, but most unwittingly. How could I know so sad an end would

"'Tis not my wont to seek revenge," replied the old woman; "nor do I
forget that you saved my life from the fury of the Venetians."

Antonio essayed to speak, but had not courage to correct the error
into which she had been led by his strong resemblance to the gallant

"But," she continued, "'tis time you should have full proof that the
features you painted were not those of the wife of Dansowich."

With these words she threw back her veil, unfastened some small hooks
concealed in her abundant tresses, and took off a mask of thin and
untanned lambskin, wrinkled and stained with yellow and purple streaks
by exposure to sun and storm. This mask, closely fitted to features
regular and prominent, and strongly resembling those of her
unfortunate mother, whose large, dark, and very brilliant eyes she had
also inherited, will explain the misconception of the Proveditore as
well as that of Dansowich, who had never seen his daughter in a
disguise worn only at Venice or other places of peril, and while away
from her father and his protection.

While the beautiful but still tearful Uzcoque maid stood thus revealed
before the astonished senator, and his enraptured and speechless son,
the approaching footfall of a horse at full speed was heard, and in an
instant there darted round the angle of a cliff the martial figure of
a Turk, mounted upon a large and powerful steed, of that noble race
bred in the deserts eastward of the Caspian. The tall and graceful
person of the stranger was attired in a close riding-dress of scarlet
cloth, from the open breast of which gleamed a light coat-of-mail. A
twisted turban bound with chains of glittering steel defended and
adorned his head. A crooked cimeter suspended from his belt was his
only weapon. His countenance bore a striking resemblance to that of
Antonio, and had the same sweet and graceful expression about the
mouth and chin; but the more ample and commanding forehead, the well
opened flashing eyes, the more prominent and masculine nose, the
clear, rich, olive complexion and soldierly bearing, proclaimed him to
be of a widely different and higher nature. Riding close up to the
side of Strasolda, he reined in his steed with a force and suddenness
that threw him on his haunches; but speedily recovering his balance,
the noble animal stood pawing the earth and lashing his sides with his
long tail, like some untamed and kingly creature of the desert; his
veins starting out in sharp relief, his broad chest and beautiful
limbs spotted with foam, and his long mane, that would have swept the
ground, streaming like a banner in the sea-breeze.

For a moment the startled Strasolda gazed alternately, and in wild and
mute amazement, at Antonio and the stranger; but all doubt and
hesitation were dispersed in an instant by the well-remembered and
impassioned tones, the martial bearing and Moslem garb of Ibrahim,
whose captive she had been before she saw him in the cavern.

Leaping from his saddle and circling her slender waist with his arm,
he addressed her in those accents of truth and passion which go at
once to the heart--

"Heroic daughter of Dansowich! thou art the bright star of my destiny,
the light of my soul! Thou must be mine! Come, then, to my heart and
home! Gladden with thy love the life of Ibrahim, and he will give thee
truth unfailing and love without end."

Strasolda did not long hesitate. Already prepossessed in favour of the
young and noble-minded Moslem; her allegiance to the Christian powers
and faith weakened by the treachery of Austria; her people degraded
into robbers; a soldier's daughter, and keenly alive to the splendours
of martial gallantry and glory; an orphan, too, and desolate--can it
be wondered at if she surrendered, at once and for ever, to this
generous and impassioned lover all the sympathies of her affectionate
nature? She spoke not; but, as she leaned half-fainting on his arm,
her eloquent looks said that which made Ibrahim's pulses thrill with
grateful rapture. Pressing her fondly to his bosom, he placed her on
the back of his faithful steed, and vaulted into the saddle. Snorting
as the vapour flew from his red nostrils, and neighing with mad
delight, the impatient animal threw out his iron hoofs into the air,
flew round the angle of the cliff, and joined erelong a dozen mounted
spearmen. Then, bending their headlong course towards the far east, in
a few seconds all had disappeared.

During this scene, which passed almost with the speed of thought, the
Proveditore, who was seated on a ledge of the cliff, had gazed
anxiously and wildly at the youthful stranger. He knew him in an
instant, and would have singled him out amidst thousands; but was so
overwhelmed by a rushing tide of strong and heartrending emotions,
that he could neither rise nor speak, and remained, long after the
Turk had disappeared, with out-stretched arms and straining eye-balls.

"Gracious Heaven!" exclaimed the bewildered Antonio, half suspecting
the truth, "who was that daring youth?"

After a pause, and in tones broken and inarticulate, his father
answered--"Thy twin brother, Antonio! When a child he was stolen from
me by some Turks in Candia; and those who stole have given him their
own daring and heroic nature, for they are great and rising, while
Venice and her sons are falling and degenerate. Oh Ercole! my dear and
long-lost son--seen but a moment and then lost for ever!" ejaculated
the bereaved father, as, refusing all comfort, he folded his cloak
over his face and wept bitterly.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.--Shortly after these events, Venice, urged at last beyond all
endurance, took up arms against Austria on account of the protection
afforded by the latter power to the Uzcoques. The pirate vessels were
burned, Segna besieged and taken, the Uzcoques slain or dispersed. The
quarrel between Austria and the republic was put an end to by the
mediation of Spain shortly before the breaking out of the Thirty
Years' War.

"Ces misérables," says a distinguished French writer, speaking of the
Uzcoques, "fûrent bien plus criminels par la faute des puissances, que
par l'instinct de leur propre nature. Les Vénétiens les aigrirent;
l'église Romaine préféra de les persécuter au devoir de les éclaircir;
la maison d'Autriche en fit les instruments de sa politique, et quand
le philosophe examine leur histoire il ne voit pas que les Uscoques
soient les seuls criminels."

       *       *       *       *       *


    [2] Fifty Days on board a Slave vessel, in 1843. By the Rev.
    PASCOE GRENFELL HILL, Chaplain of H.M.S. Cleopatra.

The extraordinary change which took place in the public mind in the
beginning of the century on the subject of the slave-trade,
unquestionably justified the determination of Government to abolish a
traffic contradictory to every principle of Christianity. It had taken
twenty years to obtain this victory of justice. But we must exonerate
the mind of England from the charge of abetting this guilty traffic in
human misery. The nation had been almost wholly ignorant of its
nature. Of course, that Africans were shipped for the West Indies was
known; that, as slaves, they were liable to the severities of labour,
or the temper of masters, was also known; but in a country like
England, where every man is occupied with the concerns of public or
private life, and where the struggle for competence, if not for
existence, is often of the most trying order, great evils may occur in
the distant dependencies of the crown without receiving general notice
from the nation. It seems to have been one of the singular results of
the war with America, that the calamities of the slave-trade should
have been originally brought to the knowledge of the people. The loss
of our colonies on the mainland, naturally directed public attention
to the increased importance of the West Indian colonies. A large
proportion of our supplies for the war had been drawn from those
islands; they had become the station of powerful fleets during the
latter portion of the war; large garrisons were placed in them; the
intercourse became enlarged from a merely commercial connexion with
our ports, to a governmental connection with the empire; and the whole
machinery of the West Indian social system was brought before the eye
of England.

The result was the exposure of the cruelties which slavery entails,
and the growing resolution to clear the country of the stigma, and the
benevolent desire to relieve a race of beings, who, however differing
in colour and clime from ourselves, were sons of the same common
blood, and objects of the same Divine mercy. The exertions of
Wilberforce, and the intelligent and benevolent men whom he associated
with himself in this great cause, were at last successful; and he
gained for the British the noblest triumph ever gained for a nation
over its own habits, its selfishness, its pride, and its popular

But the manner in which this great redemption of national character
was effected, did less honour to the wisdom of the cabinet than to the
benevolence of the people. Fox, probably sincere, but certainly
headlong, rushed into emancipation as he had rushed into every measure
that bore the name of popularity. Impatient of the delay which might
take the honour of this crowning act out of the hands of his
party--and unquestionably, in any shape, it was an honour to any
party--he hurried it forward without securing the concert, or
compelling the acquiescence, of any one of the European kingdoms
engaged in the slave-trade. It is true that England was then at war
with them all; but there was thus only the stronger opportunity of
pronouncing the national resolve, never to tolerate the commerce in
slaves, and never to receive any country into our protection by which
that most infamous of all trades was tolerated. The opportunity was
amply given for establishing the principle, in the necessity which
every kingdom in succession felt for the aid of England, and the
abolition ought to have been the first article of the treaty. But the
occasion was thrown away.

The parliamentary regulations, which had largely provided for the
comfort of the slaves on the passage from Africa, and their protection
in the British colonies, could not be extended to the new and
tremendous traffic which was engaged in by all the commercial states
of Europe and the West. The closing of the British mart of slavery
flooded the African shore with desperate dealers in the flesh and
blood of man; whose only object was profit, and who regarded the
miseries of the African only as they affected his sale. The ships
which, by the British regulations, had been suffered to carry only a
number limited to their accommodation, were now crowded with wretches,
stowed in spaces that scarcely allowed them to breathe. The cheapness
of the living cargo, produced by the withdrawal of the British from
the slave coast, excited the activity, almost the fury, of the trade;
and probably 100,000 miserable beings were thus annually dragged from
their own country, to undergo the labour of brutes, and die the death
of brutes in the Western World.

Another source of evil was added to the original crime. The colonial
possessions of Spain had been broken up into republics, and those were
all slave-dealers. The great colony of Portugal, Brazil, had rushed
into this frightful commerce with the feverish avidity of avarice set
free from all its old restrictions. North America, coquetting with
philanthropy, and nominally abjuring the principle of slavery,
suffered herself to undergo the corruption of the practice for the
temptation of the lucre, and the Atlantic was covered with

But rash, ill considered, and unfortunate as was the precipitate
measure of Fox, we shall never but rejoice at the abolition of the
slave-trade by our country. If England had stood alone for ever in
that abolition, it would be a national glory. To have cast that
commerce from her at all apparent loss, was the noblest of national
gains; and it may be only when higher knowledge shall be given to man,
of the causes which have protected the empire through the struggles of
war and the trials of peace, that we may know the full virtue of that
most national and magnanimous achievement of charity to man.

It is only in the spirit of this principle that the legislature has
followed up those early exertions, by the purchase of the final
freedom of the slave, by the astonishing donative of twenty millions
sterling, the largest sum ever given for the purposes of humanity. It
is only in the same spirit that our cabinet continues to press upon
the commercial states the right of search, a right which we solicit on
the simple ground of humanity; and which, though it cannot be our duty
to enforce at the hazard of hostility, must never be abandoned where
we can succeed by the representations of reason, justice, and

The curious and succinct narrative to which we now advert, gives the
experience of a short voyage on board of one of those slave ships. And
the miseries witnessed by its writer, whose detail seems as accurate
as it is simple, more than justify the zeal of our foreign secretary
in labouring to effect the total extinction of this death-dealing

H.M.S. the Cleopatra, of twenty-six guns, commanded by Captain Wyvill,
arriving at Rio Janeiro in September 1842, the reverend writer took
the opportunity of being transferred from the Malabar, as chaplain. In
the beginning of September the Cleopatra left the Mauritius, to
proceed to the Mozambique Channel, off Madagascar, her appointed
station, to watch the slave-traders. After various cruises along the
coast, and as far as Algoa Bay, they at last captured a slaver.

_April 12._--At daybreak the look-out at the topmast-head perceived a
vessel on the lee quarter, at such a distance as to be scarcely
visible; but her locality being pronounced "very suspicious," the
order was given to bear up for her. The breeze falling, the boats were
ordered out, and in a few minutes the barge and the first gig were
pulling away in the direction of the stranger. So variable, however,
is the weather at this season, that before the boats had rowed a mile
from the ship, a thick haze surrounded the ship, and the chase was
lost sight of. The rain fell in torrents, and the ship was going seven
knots through the water. On the clearing up of the fog, the chase was
again visible. The sun broke forth, and the rakish-looking brigantine
appeared to have carried on all sail during the squall. They could
see, under her sails, the low black hull pitching up and down; and,
approaching within range, one of the forecastle guns was cleared away
for a bow-chaser. The British ensign had been for some time flying at
the peak. It was at length answered by the green and yellow Brazilian
flag. At length, after a variety of dexterous manoeuvres to escape,
and from fifteen to twenty shots fired after her, she shortened sail
and lay to. Dark naked forms passing across the deck, removed any
remaining doubt as to her character, and showed that she had her slave
cargo on board. An officer was sent to take possession, and the
British ensign displaced the Brazilian. The scene on board was a
sufficiently strange one; the deck was crowded with negroes to the
number of 450, in almost riotous confusion, having risen but a little
while before against the crew. The meagre, famished-looking throng,
having broken through all control, had seized every thing for which
they had a fancy in the vessel; some with handfuls of the powdered
roots of the cassava, others with large pieces of pork and beef,
having broken open the casks, and others with fowls, which they had
torn from the coops. Many were busily dipping rags, fastened with bits
of string, into the water-casks to act as sponges, and had got at the
contents of a cask of Brazilian rum, which they greatly enjoyed.
However, they exhibited the wildest joy, mingled with the clank of the
iron, as they were knocking off their fetters on every side. From the
moment the first ball had been fired, they had been actively employed
in thus freeing themselves. The crew found but thirty thus shackled in
pairs, but many more pairs of shackles were found below. There could
not be a moment's doubt as to the light in which they viewed their
captors, now become their liberators. They rushed towards them in
crowds, and rubbed their feet and hands caressingly, even rolling
themselves on the deck before them; and, when they saw the crew of the
vessel rather unceremoniously sent over the side into the boat which
was to take them prisoners to the frigate, they set up a long
universal shout of triumph and delight. The actual number of the
negroes now on board, amounted to 447. Of those 180 were men, few,
however, exceeding twenty years of age; 45 women; 213 boys. The name
of the prize was the Progresso, last from Brazil, and bound to Rio
Janeiro. The crew were seventeen; three Spaniards, and the rest
Brazilians. The vessel was of about 140 tons; the length of the
slave-deck, 37 feet; its mean breadth, 21½ feet; its height, 3½
feet--a horrible space to contain between four and five hundred human
beings. How they could even breathe is scarcely conceivable. The
captain and one of the crew were said to have been drowned in the surf
at the embarkation of the negroes. Two Spaniards, and a Portuguese
cook, were sent back into the prize.

As the writer understood Spanish, and as some one was wanting to
interpret between the English crew and those managers of the negroes,
he proposed to go on board with them to their place of destination,
the Cape of Good Hope. The English crew were a lieutenant, three petty
officers, and nine seamen. It had been the captain's first intention
to take a hundred of the negroes on board the frigate, which would
probably have prevented the fearful calamities that followed; but an
unfortunate impression prevailed, that some of them were infected with
the small-pox. In the same evening the Progresso set sail. For the
first few hours all went on well--the breeze was light, the weather
warm, and the negroes were sleeping on the deck; their slender supple
limbs entwined in a surprisingly small compass, resembling in the
moonlight confused piles of arms and legs, rather than distinct human
forms. But about an hour after midnight, the sky began to gather
clouds, a haze overspread the horizon to windward, and a squall
approached. The hands, having to shorten sail, suddenly found the
negroes in the way, and the order was given to send them all below.

There seems to have been some dreadful mismanagement to cause the
horrid scene that followed. Why _all_ the negroes should have been
driven down together; or why, when the vessel was put to rights, they
should not have been allowed to return to the deck; or why, when
driven down, the hatches should have been forced upon them--are
matters which we cannot comprehend; but nothing could be more
unfortunate than the consequence of those rash measures. We state the
event in the words of the narrative:--

    "The night being intensely hot and close, 400 wretched beings
    crammed into a hold twelve yards in length, seven in breadth,
    and only three and a half feet in height, speedily began to
    make an effort to re-issue to the open air; being thrust back,
    and striving the more to get out, the _after hatch_ was forced
    down upon them. Over the other hatchway, in the fore part of
    the vessel, a wooden grating was fastened. A scene of agony
    followed those most unfortunate measures, unequaled by any
    thing that we have heard of since the Black Hole of Calcutta.
    To this _sole inlet_ for the air, the suffocating heat of the
    hold, and perhaps panic from the strangeness of their
    situation, made them press. They crowded to the grating, and,
    clinging to it for air, completely barred its entrance. They
    strove to force their way through apertures in length fourteen
    inches, and barely six inches in breadth, and in some
    instances succeeded. The cries, the heat, I may say without
    exaggeration, 'the smoke of their torment,' which ascended,
    can be compared to nothing earthly. One of the Spaniards gave
    warning that the consequence would be many deaths--_manana
    habra muchos muertos_."

If this statement with its consequences be true, we cannot conceive
how the conduct of those persons by whom it was brought about can be
passed over without enquiry. There seems to have been nothing in the
shape of _necessity_ for its palliation. There was no storm, the
vessel was in no danger of foundering unless the hatches were fastened
down. That the negroes might have lumbered the deck for the first few
minutes of preparing to meet the squall is probable; but why, when
they were palpably suffocating, they should still have been kept down,
is one of the most unaccountable circumstances we ever remember. We
must hope that while we are nationally incurring an enormous
expenditure to extinguish this most guilty and detestable traffic,
such scenes will be guarded against for ever, by the strictest orders
to the captors of the slave-traders. It would have been infinitely
better for the wretched cargo if they had been carried to their
original destination, and sent to toil in the fields of Brazil.

The Spaniard's prediction was true. Next morning no less than
fifty-four crushed and mangled corpses were lifted up from the slave
deck, and thrown overboard. We shall avoid disgusting our readers with
mentioning the state in which their struggles had left those trampled
and strangled beings. On the survivors being released from their
torrid dungeon, they drank their allowance of water, somewhat more
than half a pint to each, with inconceivable eagerness. A heavy shower
having freshened the air, in the evening most of the negroes went
below of their own accord, the hatchways having been left open to
allow them air. But a short time, however, had elapsed, when they
began tumultuously to reascend; and some of the persons on deck,
fearful of their crowding it too much, repelled them, and they were
trampled back, screaming and writhing in a confused mass. The hatch
was about to be forced down upon them; and had not the lieutenant in
charge left positive orders to the contrary, the catastrophe of last
night would have been re-enacted. On explaining to the Spaniard that
it was desired he should dispose those who came on deck in proper
places, he set himself to the task with great alacrity; and he showed
with much satisfaction how soon and how quietly they might be arranged
out of the way of the ropes, covered with long rugs provided for the
purpose. "To-morrow," said he, "there will be no deaths, except
perhaps among some of those who are sick already." On the next day
there was but one dead, but three were reported dying from the
sufferings of the first night. They now saw the Cleopatra once more,
and the alarm of small-pox having been found groundless, the captain
took on board fifty of the boys.

To our surprise, the provisions on board the slaver were ample for the
negroes, consisting of Monte Video dried beef, small beans, rice, and
cassava flour. The cabin stores were profuse; lockers filled with ale
and porter, barrels of wine, liqueurs of various sorts, cases of
English pickles, raisins, &c. &c.; and its list of medicines amounted
to almost the whole _Materia Medica_. On questioning the Spaniards as
to the probability of extinguishing the slave-trade, their reply was,
that though in the creeks of Brazil it might be difficult, yet it had
grown a desperate adventure. Four vessels had been already taken on
the east coast of Africa this year; but the venture is so lucrative,
that the profits of a fifth which escaped, would probably more than
compensate the loss of the four.

On the east coast negroes are paid for in money or coarse cottons, at
the rate of eighteen dollars for men, and twelve for boys. At Rio
Janeiro their value may be estimated at £52 for men, £41, 10s. for
women, and £31 for boys. Thus, on a cargo of 500, at the mean price
the profit will exceed £19,000--

    Cost price of 500, average fifteen
        dollars, or £3 5s. each,          £1,625
    Selling price at Rio Janeiro, average
        £41 10s.,                        £20,730

While these enormous profits continue, it must be a matter of extreme
difficulty to suppress the trade, especially while the principals,
captains, and crews, have perfect impunity. At present, all that they
suffer is the loss of their cargo. But if enactments were made, by
which heavy fines and imprisonment were to be inflicted on the
merchants to whom the expedition could be traced, and corporal
punishment and transportation for life for the crews, and for the
captains service as common sailors on board our frigates, we should
soon find the ardour for the traffic diminished.

The voyage was slow from the frequent calms. By the 20th of April they
had advanced only to the tropic, 350 miles. From day to day the sick
among the negroes were dropping off. A large shark followed the ship,
which they conceived might have gorged some of the corpses. He was
caught, but the stomach was empty. When brought on the deck, he
exhibited the usual and remarkable tenacity of life. Though his tail
was chopped, and even his entrails taken out, in neither of which
operations it exhibited any sign of sensation, yet no sooner was a
bucket of salt water poured on it to wash the deck, than it began to
flounder about and bite on all sides.

Symptoms of fever now began to appear on board, and the Portuguese
cook died.

_April 29_.--A storm, the lightning intolerably vivid, flash
succeeding flash with scarcely a sensible intermission; blue, red, and
of a still more dazzling white, which made the eye shrink, lighting up
every object on deck as clearly as at mid-day. All the winds of heaven
seemed let loose, as it blew alternately from every point of the
compass. The screams of distress from the sick and weak in the hold,
were heard through the roar of the tempest. From the rolling and
creaking, one might fancy every thing going asunder. The woman's shed
on deck had been washed down, and the planks which formed its roof
falling in a heap, a woman was found dead under the ruin.

_May 1_.--In this hemisphere, marking the approach of the cold
weather, the naked negroes began to shiver, and their teeth to

_May 3_.--Another storm, with severe cold. Seven negroes were found
dead this morning. The wretched beings had begun now to steal water
and brandy from the hold. "None can tell," says the writer, "save he
who has tried, the pangs of thirst which may excite them in that
heated hold, many of them fevered by mortal disease. Their daily
allowance of water is about a half pint in the morning, and the same
quantity in the evening." This passage now became all storms. A heavy
squall came on _May 8_, which continued next day a strong gale. The
first object which met the eye in the morning, was three negroes dead
on the deck.

_May 11_.--Another storm, heavier than any of the preceding ones.
Towards evening the report of the helmsman was the gratifying one,
that the heart of the gale was broke; yet a yellow haze overspread the
setting sun, and it continued to blow as wildly as ever. Squalls
rapidly succeeding each other mingled sea and air in one sheet of
spray, blinding the eyes of the helmsman; waves towering high above
us, tossing up the foam from their crests towards the sky, threatened
to engulf the vessel at every moment. When the squalls, breaking
heavily on the vessel, caused her to heel over, and the negroes to
tumble one against each other in the hold, the shrieks of the
sufferers through the darkness of the night, rising above the noise of
the winds and waves, seemed of all horrors in this unhappy vessel the
saddest. Dysentery now attacked the crew, and the boatswain's mate
died. We pass over the melancholy details of this miserable voyage, in
which disgusts and distresses of every kind seemed to threaten all on
board with death, every day bringing its mortality. At last on Sunday,
May 28th, the welcome sight of Cape Agulhas cheered them at the
distance of ten miles. The weather was now fine, but the mortality
continued, the fatal cases averaging four a-day. On the 1st of June
eight were found dead in the morning; and, when the morning mist had
cleared away, they found themselves within three miles of Simon's Bay.
As soon as the Progresso anchored, the superintendent of the naval
hospital came on board, and the writer descended with him for the last
time to the slave hold. Accustomed as he had been to scenes of
suffering, he was unable to endure a sight, surpassing all he could
have conceived, he said, of human misery, and made a hasty retreat.
The numbers who had died within the fifty days were 163. Even this was
not all; for, on returning to the vessel next day, six corpses were
added to the eight of the preceding day, and the fourteen were piled
on deck for interment on the shore. A hundred of the healthiest
negroes were landed at the pier to proceed in waggons to Cape Town;
but though rescued from a state of extreme misery, the change seemed
to excite anxiety and apprehension. Each of the men had received on
landing a new warm jacket and trousers, and the women had each a new
white blanket in addition to an under dress, and they were placed
snugly in waggons; yet their countenances resembled those of condemned
victims. Of the whole of the original cargo, not far short of one half
had died. To what causes this horrible mortality must be imputed, it
is not our purpose to decide; but that it did not arise from the
original tendency of the negroes to sickness seems evident--the fact
being, that of the fifty who were taken on board the frigate, but one
had died at sea and one on shore. Within a few days the liberated
negroes had acquired a more cheerful look, their first conception
having been that they were to be devoured by the people of the
country, and they were reluctant to eat, fearing that it was intended
to fatten them for the purpose. However, the negroes in the colonies
soon freed them from this apprehension.

We shall be rejoiced if the publicity given to this little but
intelligent pamphlet by our means, may assist in drawing the attention
of the influential classes to the subject. We fully believe that, if
we were to look for the deepest misery that was ever inflicted in this
world, and the greatest mass of it, we should find it in the
slave-trade. It is the misery, not as in civilized life, of scattered
individuals, but of multitudes, and a misery comprehending every
other; sudden separation from every tie of the human heart, parent,
child, spouse, and country; the misery of bodily affliction, disease,
famine, storms, shipwreck, and ultimately slavery, with all its
wretchedness of toil and tyranny for life. We certainly do not think
it our duty to go to war for the object of teaching humanity to other
nations. We must no attempt to heal the calamity of the African by the
greatest of all calamities and crimes--an unnecessary war. But England
has only to persevere sincerely and steadily, however calmly, and she
will, by the blessing of that supreme Disposer of the ways of men, who
desires the happiness of all his creatures, succeed in the extinction
of a traffic which has brought a curse, and brings it at this hour,
and will bring it deeper still, upon every nation which insults the
laws of humanity and the dictates of religion, by dealing in the flesh
and blood of man.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [3] The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain. By AHMED
    IBN MOHAMMED AL-MAKKARI of Telemsan. Translated and
    illustrated with Critical Notes by Pascual de Gayangos, late
    Professor of Arabic in the Athenæum of Madrid.--Printed for
    the Oriental Translation Fund. 2 vols. 4to. 1840-43.

    "The second day was that when Martel broke
    The Mussulmen, delivering France opprest,
    And in one mighty conflict, from the yoke
    Of unbelieving Mecca saved the West."

The Arab domination in Spain is the grand romance of European history.
The splendid but mysterious fabric of Asiatic power and science is
seen for age after age, like the fairy castle of St John, exalted far
above the rugged plain of Frank semi-barbarism--till the spell is at
last broken by the iron prowess of Christian chivalry; and the
glittering edifice vanishes from the land as though it had never been,
leaving, like the fabled structure of the poet, only a wreath of
laurel to bind the brows of the victor. Yet though replete with
gorgeous materials both for history and fiction, and stored not only
with the recondite lore of Asia and Egypt, but with the borrowed
treasures of ancient Greece, (long known to Christendom only by
versions through an Arabic medium,) the language and literature of
this marvellous people, and even their history, except so far as it
related to their never-ceasing warfare with their Christian foes,
remained, up to the middle of the last century, a sealed book to their
Spanish successors. Coming into possession, like the Israelites of
old, "of a land for which they did not labour, of cities which they
built not, of vineyards and olive-yards which they planted not," the
Spaniards not merely contemned, but persecuted with the fiercest
bigotry, all that was left in the peninsula of the genius and learning
of their predecessors. Eighty thousand volumes were publicly burned in
one fatal _auto-da-fé_ at Granada by order of Cardinal Ximenes, in
whom the literature of his own language yet found a munificent patron;
and so meritorious, did the deed appear in the eyes of his
contemporaries, that the number has been magnified to an incredible
amount by his biographers, in their zeal for the renown of their hero!
So complete was the destruction or deportation[4] of the seventy
public libraries, which, a century and a half before the subjugation
of the Moors, were open in different cities of Spain, that the
valuable collection now in the Escurial owes its origin to the
accidental capture, early in the seventeenth century, of three ships
laden with books belonging to Muley Zidan, emperor of Morocco--and
even of this casual prize so little was the value appreciated, that it
was not till more than a hundred years later, and after three-fourths
of the books had been consumed by fire in 1671, that the learned and
diligent Casiri was commissioned to make a catalogue of the remainder.
The result was the well-known _Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana
Escurialensis_, which appeared in 1760-70; and which, in the words of
the present learned translator, "though hasty and superficial, and
containing frequent unaccountable blunders, must, with all its
imperfections, ever be valuable as affording palpable proof of the
literary cultivation of the Spanish Arabs, and as containing the first
glimpses of historical truth." Up to this time the only authority on
Spanish history purporting to be drawn from Mohammedan sources, was
the work of a Morisco named Miguel de Luna, written by command of the
Inquisition; which was first printed at Granada in 1592, and has
passed through many editions. Its value may be estimated from its
placing the Mohammedan conquest of Spain in the time of Yakub
Al-mansor, the actual date of whose reign was from A.D. 1184 to 1199;
insomuch that Señor de Gayangos suggests, as a possible explanation of
its glaring inaccuracies, that it was the writer's intention to hoax
his employers. Casiri had, however, opened the door for further
researches; and he was followed in the same path by Don Faustino de
Borbon, whose works, valuable rather from the erudition which they
display than from their judgment or critical acumen, have now become
extremely scarce--and next by Don Antonio José Condé, one of the most
zealous and laborious, if not the most accurate, of Spanish
orientalists. His "History of the Domination of the Arabs and Moors in
Spain," has been generally regarded as of high authority, and is in
truth the first work on the subject drawn wholly from Arab sources;
but it receives summary condemnation from Señor de Gayangos, for "the
uncouth arrangement of the materials, the entire want of critical or
explanatory notes, the unaccountable neglect to cite authorities, the
numerous repetitions, blunders, and contradictions." These charges are
certainly not without foundation; but they are in some measure
accounted for by the trouble and penury in which the author's last
years were spent, and the unfinished state in which the work was left
at his death in 1820.

    [4] The Almoravide and Almohade princes, who ruled both in
    Spain and Africa, often inserted a clause in their treaties
    with the Christians for the restoration of the libraries
    captured in the towns taken from the Moslems; and Ibn Khaldun
    mentions, that Yakob Al-mansor destined a college at Fez for
    the reception of the books thus recovered.

An authentic and comprehensive view of the Arab period, as described
by their own writers, was therefore still a desideratum in European
literature, which the publication before us may be considered as the
first step towards supplying. The work of Al-Makkari, which has been
taken as a text-book, is not so much an original history as a
collection of extracts, sometimes abridged, and sometimes transcribed
in full, from more ancient historians; and frequently giving two or
three versions of the same event from different authorities--so that,
though it can claim but little merit as a composition, it is of
extreme value as a repository of fragments of authors in many cases
now lost; and further, as the only "uninterrupted narrative of the
conquests, wars, and settlements of the Spanish Moslems, from their
first invasion of the Peninsula to their final expulsion." In the
arrangement of his materials, the translator has departed
considerably, and with advantage, from the original; giving the
historical books in the form of a continuous narrative, and omitting
several sections relating to matters of little interest--while the
deficiencies and omissions of the author are supplied by an appendix,
containing, in addition to a valuable body of original notes, copious
extracts from numerous unpublished Arabic MSS. relating to Spain,
which afford ample proof of the extent and diligence of his researches
among the Oriental treasures of Paris and London. To those in the
Escurial, however, he was denied access during his labours--an almost
incredible measure of illiberality, which, if he be correct in
ascribing it to his known intention of publishing in England, "ill
suits a country" (as he justly remarks in the preface) "which has
lately seen its archives and monastic libraries reduced to cinders,
and scattered or sold in foreign markets, without the least struggle
to rescue or secure them."

Ahmed Al-Makkari, the author or compiler of the present work, derived
his surname from a village near Telemsan called Makkarah, where his
family had been established since the conquest of Africa by the Arabs.
He was born at Telemsan some time in the latter half of the sixteenth
century, and educated by his uncle, who held the office of Mufti in
that city; but having quitted his native country in 1618 on a
pilgrimage to Mekka, he married and settled in Cairo. During a visit
to Damascus in 1628, he was received with high distinction by Ahmed
Ibn Shahin Effendi, the director of the college of Jakmak in that
city, and a distinguished patron of literature; at whose suggestion
(he tells us) he undertook this work. His original purpose had been
only to write the life of Abu Abdullah Lisanuddin, a celebrated
historian and minister in Granada, better known to Oriental scholars
as Ibnu'l-Khattib; but having completed this, the thought struck him
of adding, as a second part, an historical account of the Moslems of
Spain. He had formerly written an extensive and elaborate work on this
subject, composed (to use his own words) "in such an elevated and
pleasing style, that had it been publicly delivered by the common
crier, it would have made even the stones deaf:--but, alas! the whole
of this we had left in Maghreb (Morocco) with the rest of our
library.... However, we have done our best to make the present work as
useful and complete as possible." It was probably the last literary
undertaking of his life; since he was on the point of quitting Cairo
to fix his residence in Damascus, when he died of a fever in the
second Jomada of A.H. 1041, (Jan. 1632,) leaving a high reputation as
a traditionist and doctor of the Moslem law.

The introductory chapter gives a sketch of the various nations which
inhabited _Andalus_ or Spain before the Arab conquest, prefaced by
extracts from numerous writers eulogistic of a country "whose
excellences" (as Al-Makkari himself declares) "are such and so many
that they cannot easily be contained in a book ... so that one of
their wise men, who knew that the country had been called the bird's
tail, owing to the supposed resemblance of the earth to a bird with
extended wings, remarked that that bird was the peacock, the principal
beauty of which was in the tail." These panegyrics are not in all
cases exactly consistent; for while the famous geographer, Obeydullah
Al-Bekri, "compares his native country to Syria for purity of air and
water, to China for mines and precious stones, &c. &c., and to
Al-Ahwaz (a district in Persia) _for the magnitude of its
snakes_"--the Sheikh Ahmed Al-Razi (better known as the historian
Razis) praises its comparative freedom from wild beasts and reptiles.
The name _Andalus_ is derived by some authors from a great grandson of
Noah so named, who settled there soon after the deluge; but Al-Makkari
rather inclines, with Ibn Khaldun and other writers, to deduce it from
the _Andalosh,_ (Vandals,) "a tribe of barbarians," who appear to be
considered as the earliest inhabitants; but who, having incurred the
divine wrath by their wickedness and idolatry, were all cut off by a
terrible drought, which left the land for a hundred years an
uninhabited desert. A colony then arrived from Africa, under a chief
named Batrikus, eleven generations of whose descendants reigned for
one hundred and fifty-seven years; after which they were all
annihilated by the "barbarians of Rome, who invaded and conquered the
country; and it was after their king Ishban, son of Titus, that
Andalus was called Ishbaniah," (Hispania.) As Ishban is just after
said to have "plundered and demolished Ilia, which is the same as
Al-Kods the illustrious," (Jerusalem,) it is obvious that the name
must be a corruption of Vespasian, who is thus made the son instead of
the father of Titus. We are told that authors differ whether it was on
this occasion, or at the former capture of Jerusalem by Bokht-Nasser,
(Nebuchadnezzar,) at which a king of Spain named Berian was also
present, that the table constructed by the genii for Solomon, and
which Tarik afterwards found at Toledo, was transported to Spain--and
Al-Makkari professes himself, as well he may, unable to reconcile the
different accounts. Fifty-five kings descended from Ishban, whose race
was dispossessed ("about the time of the Messiah, on whom be peace!")
by a people called Bishtilikat, (Visigoths?) under a king called
Talubush, (Ataulphus?) whom Al-Makkari holds to have been the same
people as the "barbarians of Rome," though "there are not wanting
authors who make the Goths and the Bishtilikat only one nation." After
holding possession during the reigns of twenty-seven monarchs, they
were in turn subdued by the Goths, whose royal residence was
"Toleyalah, (Toledo,) though Isbiliah (Seville) continued to be the
abode of the sciences." The Gothic kings are said to have been
thirty-six;--but the only one particularized by name is
"Khoshandinus, (Constantine,) who not only embraced Christianity
himself, but called on his subjects to do the same, and is held by the
Christians as the greatest king they ever had.... Several kings of his
posterity reigned after him, till Andalus was finally subdued by the
Arabs, by whose means God was pleased to make manifest the superiority
of Islam over every other religion."

With the Arab, conquest the authentic history commences; and the
accounts given from the Moslem writers of this memorable event, which
first gave the followers of the Prophet a footing in Europe, differ in
no material point from the eloquent narrative of Gibbon. Al-Makkari,
however, does not fail to inform us, that predictions had been rife
from long past ages, which foretold the invasion and conquest of the
country by a fierce people from Africa; and potent were the spells and
talismans constructed to ward off the danger, "by the _Greek_ kings
who reigned in old times." Several of these are described with due
solemnity; and among them we find the tale of the visit paid by
Roderic[5] to the magic tower at Toledo, which has been rendered
familiar by the pages of Scott and Southey. We shall not here
recapitulate the well-known incidents of the wrongs and revenge of
Count Yllan, or Julian, the first landing of Tarif at Tarifa, the
second expedition sent by Musa under Tarik Ibn Zeyad, and the death or
disappearance of the Gothic king on the fatal day of Guadalete.[6] So
complete was the discomfiture of the Christians, that the kingdom
fell, without a second blow, before the victors of a single field; and
was overrun with such rapidity, that from the inability of the
conquerors to garrison the cities which surrendered, they were
entrusted for the time to the guard of the Jews!--a singular
circumstance, which, when coupled with the statement that many of the
Berbers (of whom the invading army was almost wholly composed) were
recent converts from Judaism,[7] would apparently imply that the
conquest was facilitated by a previous correspondence. The subjugation
of the country was completed by the arrival of Musa himself, who
reduced Seville and the other towns which still held out, and is even
said to have crossed the Pyrenees and sacked Narbonne;[8] but this is
not mentioned by any Christian writer, and is referred by the
translator to his invasion of Catalonia, which the Arabs considered as
part of "the land of the Franks." After the first fury of conquest had
subsided, the Christians who remained in their homes were permitted to
live unmolested, on payment of the capitation-tax; but peculiar
privileges were accorded to the Jews, and the hold of the Moslems on
the country was strengthened by the vast influx of settlers, not only
from Africa, but from Syria and Arabia, who were attracted by the
reports of the riches and fertility of the new province. Nearly all
the tribes of Arabia are enumerated by Al-Makkari as represented in
Spain; and the feuds of the two great divisions, the Beni-Modhar[9] or
race of Adnan, and the Beni-Kahttan or Arabs of Yemen, gave rise to
most of the civil wars which subsequently desolated Andalus.

    [5] He is called by the Arabic writers Ludherik--a name
    afterwards applied as a general designation to the kings of

    [6] The translator adduces strong grounds for believing that
    the battle was fought, not as usually held, in the plain of
    Xeres, on the south bank of the Guadalete, but "nearer the
    sea-shore, and not far from the town of Medina-Sidonia."

    [7] This is not mentioned by the authors from whom Al-Makkari
    has drawn his materials, but is stated by Professor de
    Gayangos on the authority of Ibn Khaldun.

    [8] A story is here told of Musa's reaching some colossal
    ruins, and a monument inscribed with Arabic characters
    pointing out that place as the term of his conquests--a legend
    which perhaps gave the hint for one of the tales in the
    Thousand and One Nights, in which he is sent on an expedition
    to the city of Brass on the shores of the Western Ocean.--See
    Lane's translation, chap. 21.

    [9] Condé, and the writers who have followed him, constantly
    speak of the Beni-Modhar as Egyptian--an error owing to the
    neglect or omission of the point which in Arabic orthography
    distinguishes _Modhar_ from _Missr_, (Egypt.)

The spoil of the vanquished kingdom was immense--the accumulation of
long years of luxury and freedom from foreign invasion in a country
which, both from the fertility of the soil and the abundance of the
precious metals, was then probably the richest in Europe. Whatever
degree of credit we may attach to the famous table of Solomon, "said
by some to be of pure gold, and by others green emerald," and the gems
and ornaments of which are described with full Oriental luxuriance,
every account referring to the booty acquired in the principal cities,
gives ample evidence of the riches and splendour of the Visigoths.
"The plunder found at Toledo[10] was beyond calculation. It was common
for the lowest men in the army to find magnificent gold chains, and
long strings of pearls and rubies. Among other precious objects were
found 170 diadems of the purest red gold, set with every sort of
precious stone; several measures full of emeralds, rubies, and other
gems; and an immense number of gold and silver vases. Such was the
eagerness for plunder, and the ignorance of some, especially the
Berbers, that when two or more of this nation fell upon an article
which they could not conveniently divide, they would cut it in pieces,
whatever the material might be, and share it among them." Some of the
victorious army seized some ships in the eastern ports, and set sail
for their homes with their plunder; but they were speedily overtaken
by a tremendous storm, and all perished in the waves--a manifest
token, we are given to understand, of the Divine vengeance for the
abandonment of the _holy_ warfare under the banners of Islam.

    [10] Burkhardt (Travels in Arabia, i. 303) says, that all the
    golden ornaments which the Khalif Walid gave to the mosque at
    Mekka, "were sent from Toledo in Spain, and carried upon mules
    through Africa and Arabia."

Musa was on his march into Galicia to crush the last embers of
national resistance, when his progress was checked by a peremptory
summons from the Khalif, to answer at Damascus the charges forwarded
against him by Tarik, whom he had unjustly disgraced and punished.
Being convicted of falsehood, on the production by Tarik of the
missing foot of the table of Solomon, the merit of finding which had
been claimed by Musa, he was tortured and deprived of his riches; and
the head of his gallant son Abdulaziz, whom he had left in command in
Spain, was shown to him in public by the Khalif Soliman, the successor
of Walid, with the cruel demand if he knew whose it was. "I do," was
the father's reply: "it is the head of one who fasted and prayed; may
the curse of Allah fall on it if he who slew him is a better man than
he!" But though Musa was thus arrested in the last stage of his
conquering career, so complete was the prostration of the Christians,
that the viceroys who succeeded Abdulaziz, overlooking or disregarding
this yet unsubdued corner of Spain, at once poured their forces across
the Pyrenees, seeking new fields of conquest and glory in the
countries of the Franks. But the antagonists whom they here
encountered, unlike the luxurious Goths of Spain, still preserved the
barbarian valour which they had brought from their German forests. And
As-Samh, (the Zama of the Christian writers,) the first Saracen
general who obtained a footing in France, "fell a martyr to the
faith," with nearly his whole army, in a battle with Eudo, Duke of
Aquitaine, before Toulouse, May 10, A.D. 721. But the fiery zeal of
the Moslems was only stimulated by this reverse. In the course of the
ten following years, their dominion was established as far as the
Rhone and Garonne; till, in 732, the torrent of invasion, headed by
the _Wali_ Abdurrahman, burst into the heart of the country; and the
battle, decisive of the destinies of France, and perhaps of Europe,
was fought between Tours and Poitiers, in October of that year,
(Ramadhan, A.H. 114.) Few details are given by the Arab writers of the
seven days' conflict, in which the ranks of the Moslems were shattered
by the iron arm of Charles Martel; "and the army of Abdurrahman was
cut to pieces at a spot called _Balatt-ush-Shohadá_, (the Pavement of
the Martyrs,) he himself being in the number of the slain." Some
confusion here appears, as the same epithet had been applied to the
former battle near Toulouse; but this "disastrous day" of Tours
virtually extinguished the schemes of Arab conquest in France, though
it was not till many years later that they were completely dislodged
from Narbonne, and their other acquisitions between the Garrone and
the Pyrenees.

Meanwhile the Christian remnant, left unmolested in the Asturian and
Galician mountains, gradually recovered courage: and in 717-18, "a
despicable barbarian," (as he is termed by Ibn Hayyan, a writer often
cited by Al-Makkari,) "named Belay, (Pelayo or Pelagius,) rose in
Galicia; and from that moment the Christians began to resist the
Moslems, and to defend their wives and daughters; for till then they
had not shown the least inclination to do so." "Would to God," piously
subjoins Al-Makkari, "that the Moslems had then extinguished at once
the sparkles of a fire destined to consume their whole dominion in
those parts! But they said--'What are thirty barbarians, perched on a
rock? they must inevitably die!'" The spark, which contained the germ
of the future independence of Spain, was thus suffered to remain and
spread, while the swords of the Moslems were occupied in France; and
its growth was further favoured by the anarchy and civil dissensions
which broke out among the conquerors. While the leaders of the
different Arab factions contested, sword in hand, the viceroyalty of
Spain, the Berbers (whose conversion to Islam was apparently yet but
imperfect) rose in furious revolt both in Spain and Africa, and were
only overpowered by a fresh army sent by the Khalif Hisham from Syria.
But the arrival of these reinforcements added new fuel to the old
feuds of the Beni-Modhar, and the Yemenis or Beni-Kahttan; and a
desperate civil war raged till 746, when the Khalif's lieutenant, the
Emir Abu'l-Khattar, who supported the Yemenis, was killed in a pitched
battle fought near Cordova. The leader of the victorious tribe, Yusuf
Al-Fehri,[11] now assumed supreme power, which he exercised nearly ten
years as an independent ruler, without reference to the court of
Damascus. The state of affairs in the East, indeed, left little
leisure to the Umeyyan khalifs to attend to the regulation of a remote
province. Their throne was already tottering before the arms and
intrigues of the Abbasides, whose black banners, under the guidance of
the formidable Abu-Moslem, were even now bearing down from Khorassan
upon Syria. The unpopular cause of the Beni-Umeyyah, who were detested
for the murder of the grandsons of the Prophet under the second of
their line, was lost in a single battle; and the death of Merwan, the
last khalif of the race, was followed by the unsparing proscription of
the whole family. "Every where they were seized and put to death
without mercy; and few escaped the search made by the emissaries of
As-Seffah, (_the bloodshedder_, the surname of the first Abbaside
khalif,) in every province of the empire."

    [11] The tribe of Fehr hold a conspicuous place in the Spanish
    annals, and one of them was the leader of the last attempt to
    shake off the yoke of Castile, after the capture of Granada.

Among the few survivors of the general doom, was a youth named
Abdurrahman Ibn Muawiyah, a grandson of the Khalif Hisham. In his
infancy his granduncle Moslemah, the leader of the first Saracen host
sent against Constantinople, had indicated him, from certain marks, as
the destined restorer of the fallen fortunes of his race; and he was
preserved, by a timely warning from a client of his house, from the
fatal banquet, in which ninety of the Beni-Umeyyah were treacherously
massacred. Yet so hot was the pursuit, that his younger brother was
taken and slain before his eyes, while swimming the Euphrates with him
in their flight. But Abdurrahman, after numberless perils and
adventures, at length reached Africa, which was ruled by the _wali_
or viceroy Abdurrahman Ibn Habib, the father of Yusuf Al-Fehri, who
had been a personal retainer of his family. But he soon found that he
had erred in trusting to the faith of Ibn Habib; and, after narrowly
escaping the search made for him by the emissaries of the governor,
lay concealed for several years, a fugitive and outlaw, among the
tribes of Northern Africa. In this extremity, he at length cast his
eyes on Spain, where the Abbasides had never been recognized, and
where his own clansmen of the Koreysh, with their _maulis_, (freedmen
or clients,) were numerous and powerful. The overtures of the royal
adventurer were eagerly listened to by the Yemenis, who burned to
revenge their late defeat on the Beni-Modhar; and Abdurrahman, landing
at Al-muñecar in the autumn of 755, found himself instantly at the
head of 700 horse, and was speedily joined by the chieftain of the
Yemenis, who admitted him into Seville. During the march the want of a
banner was remarked, "and a long spear was produced, on the point of
which a turban was to be placed; but as it would have been necessary
to incline the head of the spear, which was supposed to be of
extremely bad omen, it was held erect between two olive trees, and a
man, ascending one of them, was enabled to fasten the turban to the
spear without lowering it.... With this same banner did Abdurrahman,
and his son Hisham, vanquish their enemies whenever they met them; and
in such veneration was it held, that whenever the turban by long use
decayed, it was not removed, but a new one placed over it. In this
manner it was preserved till the days of Abdurrahman II.; some say
till the days of his son Mohammed, when the turban on the spear being
decayed, the vizirs of that monarch, seeing nothing under it but a few
rags twisted round the spear, gave orders for their removal, and the
whole was thrown away.... 'From that time,' remarks the judicious
historian Ibn Hayyan, 'the empire of the Beni-Umeyyah began visibly to

Under the auspices of this novel _oriflamme_ the Umeyyan prince and
his followers advanced upon Cordova, whither Yusuf Al-Fehri, who had
been engaged in suppressing an insurrection in the _Thagher_,
(Aragon,) had hastened to oppose them at the head of the Beni-Modhar.
Exchanging for a mule the fiery courser which the jealous whispers of
his adherents had remarked as designed to secure his escape in case of
defeat, Abdurrahman led his troops to the attack; and his victory
established on the throne of Spain a new dynasty of the Beni-Umeyyah,
"who thus regained in the west the supremacy which they had lost in
the east." Those of the fallen family who had escaped the general
massacre, flocked to the court of their fortunate kinsman, "to all of
whom he gave pensions, commands, and governments, by which means his
empire was strengthened;"--and the robes and turbans of the monarch
and the princes were always white, the colour assumed by the house of
Umeyyah, in opposition to the black livery of their rivals. Though
Abdurrahman never assumed the title of commander of the faithful, he
suppressed the _khotbah_ or public prayers in the name of the
Abbasides; and when Al-Ala, the _wali_ of Africa, invaded Spain in
order to re-establish the supremacy of the eastern khalif, the head of
his unsuccessful general, thrown before the tent of Al-mansor at
Mekka, conveyed to him the first tidings of the destruction of the
armament by the "hawk of the Koreysh," as he was wont to term
Abdurrahman. In the elation of triumph from this success, he is even
said to have contemplated marching through Africa to attack Al-mansor
in the east; but this design was frustrated by the continual
rebellions of the Arab tribes, whom all his address and prudence was
unable to keep in order; and "while the Moslems were revolting against
their sovereign, the Christians of Galicia gathered strength, took
possession of the towns and fortresses on the frontier, and expelled
their inhabitants." We find him at length obliged, in order to
maintain his authority, to have recourse to the system, which in the
next century became universal in the east, of entrusting the defence
of his throne and person, not to the native levies of his kingdom, but
to a standing army of purchased slaves or _Mamlukes_. "He began to
cease all communication with the chiefs of the Arabian tribes, whom he
found animated with a strong hatred against him, and to surround
himself with slaves and people entirely devoted to him; for which end
he engaged followers and took clients from every province of his
empire, and sent over to Africa to enlist Berbers. 'Thus,' says Ibn
Hayyan, 'Abdurrahman collected an army of slaves and Berbers,
amounting to upwards of 40,000 men, by means of whom he always
remained victorious, in every contest with the Arabian tribes of

The sciences and fine arts, which had been almost banished from Spain
since the conquest, returned in the train of the new dynasty; and
literature was encouraged by the example of Abdurrahman, who was
himself a poet of no mean merit. His affectionate remembrance of his
Syrian home, led him to introduce into his new kingdom the flowers and
fruits of the east;--and the palm-tree, which was the parent of all
those of its kind in Spain, and to which he addressed the well-known
lines, lamenting their common fate as exiles from their fatherland,
was planted by himself in the gardens of the Rissáfah, a country
palace built on the model of one near Damascus, in which the first
years of his life had been spent. In architectural magnificence he
rivaled or surpassed the former princes of his race, the monuments of
whose grandeur still exist in the mosque of the Beni-Umeyyah at
Damascus, and other edifices adorning the cities of Syria. The palaces
and aqueducts which he constructed in Cordova, testified his zeal for
the splendour, as well as his care for the salubrity, of his
capital;--and after expending the sum of 80,000 golden _dinars_ (the
produce of the royal fifth of all spoil taken in war) in the erection
of the stately mosque which bears his name, he bequeathed the
completion of the structure, at his death, A.D. 788, to his younger
son Hisham, whom he nominated as his successor, to the exclusion of
the elder brother Soliman. Al-Makkari devotes an entire chapter to the
wonders of this celebrated temple, which was finished A.D. 794, nine
years after its commencement, and received additions from almost every
successive sovereign of the house of Umeyyah. In its present state, as
the cathedral of Cordova, it still covers more ground than any church
in Christendom; but the inner roof, with its elaborate carving, the
_mihrab_, or shrine, of minute inlaid work of ivory, gems, and
precious woods, and containing a copy of the Koran which had belonged
to the Khalif Othman--the embossed plates of gold and silver which
encrusted the doors, and the apples of the same metals which
surmounted the dome--have long since disappeared; and the thousand
(or, as some say, thirteen hundred) columns of polished marble which
it once boasted, have been grievously reduced in number, to make room
for the shrines and chapels of Christian saints. The unequal length
and proportions of those which remain, their irregular grouping, and
the want of height in the roof which they support, indicate a far
lower grade of architectural taste than that which we find in the
aerial palaces of Granada; but all the Arabic writers who have
described it, concur in considering it one of the wonders of the
world; and it ranked, in the estimation of the Spanish Moslems, as
inferior in point of sanctity to none but the Kaaba, and the mosque of
Omar at Jerusalem.

The mood of the Beni-Umeyyah, who appear in their eastern reign only
as gloomy and execrated tyrants, had been chastened by their
misfortunes; and the virtues of Abdurrahman _Ad-dakhel_ (_the enterer
or conqueror_, as he is generally termed by historians) were emulated
by his descendants. As an illustration of the character of his son
Hisham, it is related by Al-Makkari, that on hearing that the people
of Cordova said, that his only motive in restoring the great bridge
over the Guadalquivir was to pass over it himself when he went out
hunting, he bound himself by a solemn vow never to cross it again as
long as he lived; but the reign of this beneficent prince lasted only
eight years. His immediate successors, Al-hakem I., and Abdurrahman
II., were almost constantly engaged in warfare, either against their
own rebellious relatives and revolted subjects,[12] or against the
Christians of Galicia, who, by the middle of the ninth century, had
advanced their frontier to the Douro and repeatedly repulsed the
armies sent against them from Cordova; but we find no mention in the
writers cited by Al-Makkari, either of the annual tribute of a hundred
virgins, popularly said to have been exacted by the Moslems, or of the
great victory in 846, by which King Ramiro redeemed his country from
this degrading badge of vassalage.[13] So widely extended was the
martial renown of the Umeyyan sovereigns, that in 839 a suppliant
embassy was received by Abdurrahman II. from the Greek Emperor
_Tufilus_, (Theophilus,) then hard pressed by the arms of the Abbaside
khalif Al-mutassem, to solicit his aid against their common enemy;
and, though Abdurrahman declined to embark in this distant and
hazardous enterprise, a friendly intercourse long continued to be kept
up between the courts of Cordova and Constantinople. The military
establishment was fully organized, and placed on a formidable footing.
Besides the troops quartered in the provinces and receiving regular
pay, the _haras_ or royal guard of Mamlukes, whose commander was one
of the principal officers of the court, was augmented to 5000 horse
and 1000 foot, all Christians or foreigners by birth, who occupied
barracks close to the royal palace, and constantly mounted guard at
the gates. The coast was also defended by a powerful fleet of armed
vessels, of which each of the seaports fitted out its proportion,
against the hostile attacks of the Abbaside lieutenauts of Africa, and
the predatory descents of the _Majus_[14] or Northmen; who, after
laying waste with fire and sword the French and English coasts, had
extended their ravages into the southern seas even to the Straits of
Gibraltar. Lisbon and Seville were sacked by them in 844; and their
piratical fleets continued for many years to carry pillage and
bloodshed along the shores of the Peninsula.

    [12] It was by a body of exiles under Abu Hafss Omar, the
    Apochapsus of the Greeks, (incorrectly called Abu _Caab_ by
    Gibbon,) driven from Cordova after one of these insurrections,
    that Crete was conquered in 823.

    [13] In this battle, according to the veracious Spanish
    chroniclers, Santiago first appeared on his white horse in the
    mêlée, fighting for the Christians.--See the "Maiden Tribute,"
    in Lockhart's _Spanish Ballads_.

    [14] _Majus_--Magians or fire worshippers, is the term
    invariably applied to these fierce Pagans by the Arabic
    historians, apparently by a negative induction from their
    being neither Moslems, Jews, nor Christians.

The simplicity which the first Abdurrahman had uniformly preserved in
his dress and habits of life, was soon exchanged by his successors for
royal magnificence, rivaling that of the Abbaside court at Bagdad. It
was Abdurrahman II. who, in a love quarrel with a beautiful inmate of
his harem, caused the door of her chamber to be blocked up with bags
of silver coin, to be removed on her relenting--"and she threw herself
on her knees and kissed his feet; but," naïvely adds the Arab
historian, "the money she kept, and no portion of it ever returned to
the treasury." The same prince testified his esteem for the fine arts,
by riding forth in state from his capital, to welcome the arrival of
Zaryab, a far-famed musician, whom the jealousy of a rival had driven
from Bagdad, and who founded in Spain a famous school of music; and in
his convivial habits, and the freedom which he allowed to the
companions of his festive hours, his character accords with that
assigned in the _Thousand and One Nights_, though not in the page of
history, to Haroon-Al-Rasheed. He died in 852, leaving the crown to
his son Mohammed, whose reign, as well as those of his two sons
Almundhir and Abdullah, who filled the throne in succession, is but
briefly noticed by Al-Makkari, though Señor de Gayangos has supplied
some valuable additional matter in his notes. The never-ceasing
contest with the Christians was waged year by year; and the Princes
of Oviedo, though often defeated in the plain and driven back into
their mountains, when the forces of Andalus were gathered against
them; yet surely, though slowly, gained ground against the provincial
_walis_ or viceroys. At the death of "Ordhun Ibn Adefunsh," (Ordoño
I.) in 866, their territory extended from the Atlantic and the Bay of
Biscay to Salamanca; and the Moslem power was diverted by the rising
strength of Navarre, where the Basques had shaken off the divided
allegiance paid alternately to the court of Cordova and the
Carlovingian rulers of France, and conferred on Garcia-Ramirez, in
857, an independent regal title. But these distant hostilities, as
yet, little affected the tranquillity of the seat of government, which
was more nearly interested in the frequent revolts of the provinces
under its rule,[15] and particularly by the rebellion of the
_Muwallads_, (or descendants of Christian converts to Islam;) which,
though the information extant respecting it is somewhat scanty, would
appear to have been little less than a struggle between the two races
for the dominion of Spain. One of the Muwallad chiefs, named Omar Ibn
Hafssun,[16] maintained for years a sort of semi-independence in the
Alpuxarras. Al-mundhir fell in a skirmish against him in 888, only two
years after his accession; and the insurrection, after continuing
through the whole reign of Abdullah, was only finally suppressed under
Abdurrahman III.

    [15] No fewer than twenty-seven insurgent leaders, in the
    reign of Abdullah alone, are enumerated in the translator's
    notes from Ibn Hayyan.

    [16] The epithet of _kelb_, "dog," frequently applied to this
    leader, has led Condé into the strange error of creating for
    him a son, whom he calls _Kalib_ Ibun Hafssun. The term
    _Muwallad_ is said to be the origin of _mulatto_.

The system of government under these princes, appears to have remained
in nearly the same form as it had been fixed by Abdurrahman I. The
monarch nominated, during his lifetime, one of his sons as his
successor; and the _wali-al-ahd_, or crown-prince, thus selected,
received the oaths of allegiance of the dignitaries of the state, and
was admitted to a share in the administration--a wise regulation,
which prevented the recurrence of the civil wars arising from the
ambition of princes of the blood, which had distracted the reigns of
Al-hakem I. and Abdurrahman II. The council of the sovereign was
composed of the _vizirs_ or ministers of the different departments,
the _katibs_ or secretaries, and the chiefs of the law; the _walis_ of
the six great provinces into which Abdurrahman I. divided his
empire,[17] as well as the municipal chiefs of the principal cities
were also summoned on emergencies:--while the prime minister, or
highest officer of the state, in whom, as in the Turkish
_Vizir-Azem_,[18] the supreme direction of both civil and military
affairs was vested, was designated the _Hajib_ or chamberlain. Of the
four orthodox[19] sects of the Soonis, the one which predominated in
Spain, as it does to the present day in Barbary and Africa, was that
of Malik Ibn Ans, whose doctrines were introduced in the reign of
Al-hakem I., by doctors who had received instruction from the lips of
the Imam Malik himself at Mekka; and was formally established by that
prince throughout his dominions. The judicial offices were filled, as
in other Moslem countries, by Kadis, whose decisions were regulated by
the precepts of the Koran: but we find no mention (even before the
assumption of the titles of Imam and Khalif by Abdurrahman III.) of
any supreme ecclesiastical chief like the Sheikh-al-Islam or Mufti of
the Ottomans;--though there were chief justices analogous to the
Turkish Kadileskers, who bore the title of _Kadi-'l-jamah_.

    [17] We do not find this division mentioned by the authors
    cited by Al-Makkari; but it is stated by Condé, and appears to
    have prevailed as long as the kingdom retained its unity. The
    six provincial capitals were Saragossa, Toledo, Merida,
    Valencia, Murcia, and Granada. Shortly before the arrival of
    Abdurrahman, Yusuf Al-Fehri had organized _five_ great
    governments, one of which comprised Narbonne and the
    Trans-Pyrenean conquests.

    [18] Under the Arab dynasties of the east, the _vizir_ was
    exclusively an officer _of the pen_: and Makrizi expressly
    mentions that Bedr-al-Jemali, who became vizir to the Fatimite
    khalif Al-Mostanssor in 1074, was the first in whom _the sword
    and the pen_ were united.

    [19] See Sale's Koran. Preliminary Discourse. Sect. 8.

The royal revenue was derived from a variety of sources. The principal
were, a land-tax amounting to one-tenth of the produce of the soil and
the mines, the capitation-tax paid by the Jews and Christians, and the
fifth of the spoil taken from the enemy--an enormously productive item
in a time of constant warfare--besides a duty of two and a half per
cent on all exports and imports. These were the legitimate dues of the
crown, sanctioned by the Koran; but the splendid court maintained by
the later sovereigns of Cordova, their lavish expenditure in building,
and their large military and naval establishments, often compelled
them to have recourse to irregular methods of raising money, by forced
loans and by duties laid on different articles of food, in direct
violation of the Moslem law. The amount raised by all these means
varied greatly at different periods. Under Abdurrahman II., the whole
direct revenue is said not to have exceeded 1,000,000 of gold
_din[=a]rs_:--but the royal fifths, and other extraordinary sources of
income, appear not to have been included in this estimate:--and a
century later, under the third and greatest prince of that name, we
are told, on the authority of the biographer Ibn Khallekan, that "the
revenues of Andalus amounted to 5,480,000 gold _din[=a]rs_, collected
from taxes," (it is elsewhere said from the _land_-tax:) besides
765,000 derived from markets--exclusive also of the royal fifth of the
spoil, and the capitation-tax levied on Christians and Jews living in
the Moslem dominions, the amount of which is said to have equaled all
the rest. An annual sum of equal amount, reckoning the _din[=a]r_ at
ten shillings, had never in the history of the world been raised in a
territory of the same extent, and probably equaled the united incomes
of all the Christian princes in Europe--if we except the revenue of
the Greek Emperor, it certainly far exceeded them. "Of this vast
income," Ibn Khallekan continues, "one-third was appropriated to the
payment of the army, another third was deposited in the royal coffers
to cover the expenses of the household, and the remainder was spent
yearly in the construction of Az-zahra and such other buildings as
were erected under his reign." This tripartite allotment of the
revenue is alluded to under several reigns: the expenses of
administration and the salaries of the civil functionaries were
included under the second head; and the third portion was, in ordinary
case, reserved "to repel invasions and meet emergencies."

The prince under whom the vast revenue thus stated is said to have
been collected, ascended the throne on the death of his grandfather
Abdullah, in the 300th year of the Hejra, and the 912th of the
Christian era:--and his reign, of more than fifty lunar years, saw the
power and splendour of the Umeyyan dynasty attain its zenith. For some
years after his accession, he headed his armies in person against the
Christians and the partizans of Ibn Hafssun, who still continued in
arms: but the severe defeat which he received in 939 at Simaneas, near
Zamora, (called by Moslem writers the battle of Al-handik,) from
Ramiro II. of Leon, disgusted him with active warfare; and he deputed
the command of his armies to his generals and the princes of the
blood, who, in annual campaigns, so effectually kept the Christians
within their limits, that little territorial acquisition was made by
them during his reign; while the voluntary adhesion of the Berber
tribes, after the overthrow of the Edrisite dynasty in 941 by the arms
of the Fatimite khalifs, gave him almost unresisted possession of
great part of Fez and Morocco. The defeat of Al-handik, and the
treason and execution in 950, of his elder son Abdullah, (whom
disappointment at being postponed to his younger brother in the
succession, had led to conspire against his father's life,) were
almost the only clouds which dimmed the continual sunshine of his
prosperity--and his grandeur was enhanced in the eyes of his subjects,
by the assumption of the highest prerogatives of Islam. Hitherto the
princes of his line had contented themselves with the style of _Amirs
of the Moslems,_ and _Beni-Kholaifah_ or "sons of the Khalifs;" but in
929, "seeing the state of weakness and degradation to which the
khalifate of the Beni-Abbas at Bagdad had been reduced," he no longer
hesitated to adopt the titles of Imam and Khalif, with the appellation
of An-nasir Ledinillah, (defender of the religion of God,) under which
he is generally mentioned by historians.

The writers from whom Al-Makkari has drawn his materials, exhaust
their powers of language in panegyrics on the unrivaled magnificence
of the court of Abdurrahman; which was thronged both by men of letters
whom the distracted state of the East had driven thither for refuge,
and by ambassadors, not only from the princes of Islam, but from "Hoto
the king of the Alaman," (Otho the Great of Germany,) the king of
France, and numerous other Christian potentates. The reception of
these missions was usually signalized by a gorgeous display of the
pomp of the court--and the ceremonial on the arrival in 949 of the
envoys of Constantine VII. of Constantinople, is described at length
from Ibn Hayyan. "The vaulted hall in his palace of Az-zahra, which he
had fixed upon as the place where he would receive their credentials,
was beautifully decorated, and a throne glittering with gold and
sparkling with gems raised in the midst. To the right of the throne
stood five of the khalif's sons, to the left three others, one being
absent from illness. Next to them were the vizirs, each at his post on
the right or left of the throne. Then came the hajibs or chamberlains,
the sons of the vizirs, the freed slaves of the khalif, and the wakils
or officers of his household. The court of the palace had been strewn
with the richest carpets; and silken awnings of the most gorgeous
description had every where been thrown over the doors and arches.
Presently the ambassadors entered the hall, and were struck with awe
at the magnificence displayed, and the power of the Sultan before whom
they stood. They advanced a few steps, and presented the letter of
their master, Constantine son of Leo, Lord of Constantinah the Great,
(Constantinople.) It was written on sky-blue paper, and the characters
were of gold. Within the letter was an enclosure, the ground of which
was also sky-blue like the first, but the characters were of silver:
it was likewise written in Greek, and contained a list of the presents
which the Lord of Constantinah sent to the Khalif. On the letter was a
seal of gold of the weight of four mithkals, on one side of which was
a likeness of the Messiah, and on the other those of the King
Constantine and his son. The letter was enclosed in a bag of silver
cloth, over which was a case of gold, with a portrait of King
Constantine admirably executed on stained glass. All this was enclosed
in a case covered with cloth of silk and gold tissue. On the first
line of the _Inwan_ or introduction was written, 'Constantine and
Romanin, (Romanus,) believers in the Messiah, kings of the Greeks;'
and in the next, 'To the great and exalted in dignity and power, as he
most deserves, the noble in descent, Abdurrahman the khalif, who rules
over the Arabs of Andalus: may God preserve his life!'" The conclusion
of this splendid ceremony was, however, less imposing than the
commencement; for a learned _Faquih_, who had been appointed to
harangue the envoys in a set speech, was so overawed by the grandeur
around him, that "his tongue clove to his mouth, he could not
aticulate a single word, and fell senseless to the ground" Nor did his
successor, "who was reputed to be a prince in rhetoric, and an ocean
of language," fare much better; for though he began fluently, "all of
a sudden he stopped for want of a word which did not occur to him, and
thus put an end to his peroration." In this awkward dilemma, the
reputation of the Andalusian rhetoricians was saved by Mundhir Ibn
Said, who not only poured forth a torrent of impromptu eloquence, but
delivered a long ex-tempore poem, "which to this day stands
unequalled; and Abdurrahman was so pleased, that he appointed him
preacher and Imam to the great mosque; and some time after, the office
of Kadi-'l-jamah, or supreme judge, being vacant, he named him to that
high post, and made him besides reader of the Khoran to the mosque of

The palace of Az-zahra, where the eyes of the Greeks were dazzled by
this costly pageant, is one of the familiar names of the romance of
Spanish history:--it is known to all the world how Abdurrahman, to
gratify the capricious fancy of a beautiful and beloved mistress,
expended millions, and tasked the labour of thousands, in erecting on
the plain beyond Cordova a fairy palace and city which might bear her
name and be her own. And like a fairy fabric did Az-zahra vanish; for
so utterly was it destroyed, during the wars and civil tumults
attending the fall of the race which raised it, that at the present
day not a stone can be found, not a vestige even of the foundations
traced, to show where it once stood; and all that we know of this
"wondrous freak of magnificence" is drawn from the glowing accounts of
contemporary writers, who saw it during the brief period of its glory.
It is principally from Ibn Hayyan that Al-Makkari has copied the
details of this marvellous structure, with its "15,000 doors, counting
each flap or fold as one," all covered either with plates of iron, or
sheets of polished brass; and its 4000 columns, great and small, 140
of which were presented by the Emperor of Constantinople, and 1013,
mostly of green and rose-coloured marble, were brought from various
parts of Africa. Among the principal ornaments were two fountains
brought from Constantinople, "the larger of gilt bronze, beautifully
carved with basso-relieve representing human figures,"--the smaller
surrounded by twelve figures, made of red gold in the arsenal of
Cordova: they were all ornamented with jewels, and the water poured
out of their mouths. The famous fountain of quicksilver, which could
be set in motion at pleasure, was placed in the _Kasr-al-Kholaifa_, or
hall of the khalifs, "the roof and walls of which were of gold, and
solid but transparent blocks of marble of various colours: on each
side were eight doors fixed on arches of ivory and ebony, ornamented
with gold and precious stones, and resting on pillars of variegated
marble and transparent crystal:--and in the centre was fixed the
unique pearl presented to An-nassir by the Greek Emperor." The mosque
and baths attached to the palace were on a corresponding scale of
magnificence: and the number of inmates, male and female, is said to
have been not less than 20,000. The expenses of the establishment must
have consumed the revenues of a kingdom, if we are to believe the
statement, that 12,000 loaves of bread were daily allowed to feed the
fish in the ponds! "But all this and more is recorded by orators and
poets who have exhausted the mines of eloquence in the description,"
--says Al-Makkari, who, after enlarging upon "the running streams, the
luxuriant gardens, the stately buildings for the accommodation of the
guards and high functionaries--the throngs of soldiers, pages,
eunuchs, and slaves, attired in robes of silk and brocade, moving to
and fro through its broad streets--and the crowds of judges, katibs,
theologians, and poets, walking with becoming gravity through the
spacious halls and ample courts of the palace,"--concludes with a
burst of pious enthusiasm. "Praise be to God who allowed those
contemptible creatures (mankind) to build such palaces, and to inhabit
them as a recompense in this world, that the faithful might be
stimulated to the path of virtue, by reflecting that the pleasures
enjoyed by their owners were still very far from giving even a remote
idea of those reserved for the true believers in paradise!"

"Abdurrahman," as Al-Makkari sums up his character, "has been
described as the mildest and most enlightened of sovereigns. His
meekness, generosity, and love of justice, became proverbial: none of
his ancestors surpased him in courage, zeal for religion, and other
virtues which constitute an able and beloved monarch. He was fond of
science, and the patron of the learned, with whom he loved to
converse.... We should never finish, were we to transcribe the
innumerable anecdotes respecting him which are scattered like loose
pearls over the writings of the Andalusian poets and historians,"--but
as the "pearls" selected possess but little novelty in the
illustration of the kingly virtues which they commemorate, we prefer
to quote once more the oft-repeated legacy to posterity, in which this
"Soliman of the West," as he was called by his contemporaries,
confessed that, like his eastern prototype, he had found all his
grandeur "but vanity and vexation of spirit."--"After his death a
paper was found in his on handwriting, in which were noted those days
he had spent in happiness and without any cause of sorrow, and they
were found to amount to fourteen. O, man of understanding! consider
and observe the small portion of happiness the world affords, even in
the most enviable position! The khalif An-nasir, whose prosperity in
mundane affairs became proverbial, had only fourteen days of
undisturbed enjoyment during a reign of fifty years, seven months, and
three days. Praise be given to him, the Lord of eternal glory and
everlasting empire! There is no God but he!"

In the fulness of years and glory, Abdurrahman died of a paralytic
stroke at Az-zahra, on the second or third of Ramadhan, A.H. 350,
(Oct. 961,) and was succeeded, according to his previous nomination,
by his son Al-hakem II., who assumed on this occasion the title of
Al-mustanser-billah, (one who implores God's assistance.) This prince
has been characterized, by one of the ablest of recent historians,[20]
as "one of those rare beings, who have employed the awful engine of
despotism in promoting the happiness and intelligence of his species;"
and who rivaled, "in his elegant tastes, appetite for knowledge, and
munificent patronage, the best of the Medici:"--nor is this high
praise undeserved. Though he more than once headed his armies in
person, with success, against the Christians and Northmen, and
maintained on public occasions the state and magnificence which had
been introduced by his father, the toils of war and the pomp of
royalty were alike alien to his inclinations, which had been directed
from his earliest years to pursuits of literature and science. The
library which he amassed is said by some writers to have amounted to
the almost incredible number of 400,000 volumes: and such was his
ardour in the collection of books, that even in Persia and other
remote regions, the munificence which he exercised through agents
employed for the purpose, secured him copies of forthcoming works even
before their appearance in their own country. "He made Andalus a great
market for the literary productions of every clime ... so that rich
men in Cordova, however illiterate they might be, rewarded writers and
poets with the greatest munificence, and spared neither trouble nor
expense in forming libraries." Nor were these treasures of literature
idly accumulated, at least by Al-hakem himself; for so vast and
various was his reading, that there was scarcely one of his books (as
we are assured by the historian Ibn'ul-Abbar) which was not enriched
with remarks and annotations from his pen. "In the knowledge
especially of history, biography, and genealogy, he was surpassed by
no living author of his days: and he wrote a voluminous history of
Andalus, in which was displayed such sound criticism, that whatever he
related, as borrowed from more ancient sources, might be implicitly
relied upon."

    [20] Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella, i. 351.

The reign of Al-hakem was the Augustan age of Andalusian literature;
and besides the numerous learned men whom the fame of his father's and
his own liberality, with the security of their rule, had attracted to
Spain from other regions of Islam, we find in the pages of Al-Makkari
an extensive list of native authors, principally in the departments of
poetry, history, and philology, who are said to be "a few only of the
most eminent who flourished during this reign"--but none of their
names, however noted in their own day, are known in modern Europe.
Nor was the gentler sex, as is usually the case in the lands of Islam,
excluded from the general taste for letters; and one of our author's
chapters is almost entirely filled with a catalogue of the poetesses
who adorned Andalus at this and other periods of its history. One of
these, Mariam or Mary, the daughter of Abu-Yakub Al-ansari, who rose
into celebrity in the latter years of Al-hakem, appears to have been
one of the earliest _bas-bleus_ on record. Independent of her poetical
talents, she gave lectures at her residence at Seville "in rhetoric
and literature; which, united to her piety, virtue, and amiable
disposition, gained her the affection of her sex, and procured her
many pupils: she lived to old age, and died after the 400th year of
the Hejra," (A.D. 1010.) The favourite study of the Moslems, the
divinity and law of the Koran, was cultivated with especial zeal under
a monarch who was himself a rigid observer of its ordinances; and
various anecdotes are related by Al-Makkari of the extraordinary
deference paid by Al-hakem to the eminent theologians who frequented
his court. The Khalif himself "attended public worship every Friday,
and distributed alms to the poor; he laid out large sums in the
construction of mosques, hospitals, and colleges for youth;[21] and
being himself very strict in the observance of his religious duties,
he enforced the precepts of the _Sunnah_ (tradition) throughout his
dominions." With this view, severe edicts were directed against the
use of wine, which had become prevalent among the Andalusian Moslems;
and Al-hakem was with difficulty restrained, by representations of the
ruin which would be thus brought on the cultivators, from ordering the
destruction of all the vines in his dominions. But the reign of this
excellent and enlightened prince lasted only fifteen years; and at his
death, (Sept. 976,) which was caused by the same malady that had
proved fatal to his father, the glory of the house of Umeyyah expired.

    [21] Eighty free schools are said by other authorities to have
    existed or been founded during this reign in Cordova; the
    number of dwelling-houses in which at the same time, great and
    small, is stated at 200,000.

The evils of a minority had never yet been experienced in the
succession of the Umeyyan princes, all of whom had ascended the throne
at a mature age, and with some experience of administration from their
previous recognition as heir. But Hisham II., (surnamed
Al-muyyed-billah, the assisted by God,) the only son of Al-hakem, was
but nine years old at the time of his father's decease; and for some
time the government was directed in his name by the Hajib, Jafar
Al-Mushafi; but the influence of the queen-mother erelong succeeded in
displacing this faithful minister, in favour of Mohammed Ibn Abu Amir,
who then held the post of _sahib-ush-shortah_, or captain of the
guard. This remarkable personage (better known in history by his
surname of Al-mansur) was the son of a religious devotee, and his
condition in early life was so humble, that he supported himself as a
public letter-writer in the streets of Cordova; but an accident having
introduced him into the palace, he so skilfully wound his way among
the intigues of the court, as to attain the highest place next the
throne. But even this dignity was far from satisfying his ambition.
Under various pretexts he destroyed or drove into exile, within a few
years, all the princes of the blood, and others whose influence or
station might have endangered the success of his projects, and
concentrated in his own hands all the powers of the state; while the
khalif, secluded from public view within his palace, was as completely
a puppet in the hands of his all-powerful minister, as the khalifs of
Bagdad at the same period in those of the _Emirs-al-Omrah_. Secure of
the support of the soldiery, whose affections he had gained by his
liberality, Al-mansur so little affected to disguise his assumption of
supremacy, that he ordered his own name to be struck on the coin, and
repeated in the public prayers, along with that of Hisham, thus
arrogating to himself a share in the two most inalienable prerogatives
of sovereignty. His robes were made of a peculiar fashion and stuff
appropriated to royalty; he received embassies seated on the throne,
and declared peace and war in his own name. To such utter helplessness
was the khalif reduced,[22] that he was unable even to oppose the
removal of the royal treasure fiom Cordova to a fortified palace which
Al-mansur had built for his residence, not far from Az-zahra, and had
named, as if in mockery, Az-zahirah;--and the Hajib was at one time
obliged to quiet the murmurs of the populace, who doubted whether
their sovereign was still in existence, by leading him in procession
through the streets of the capital; "and the eyes of the people
feasted on what had been so long concealed from them."

    [22] Some historians even speak of this period as the "dynasty
    of the Amirites," from Al-mansur's father, Abn Amir.

But this daring usurpation was in part redeemed by qualities in the
usurper worthy of a king. Though the bigotry of Al-masur led him to
order the destruction of those volumes in the library of Al-hakem
which treated of philosophy and the abstruse sciences, on the ground
that such studies tended to irreligion, he was yet liberal to the
learned men who visited his court at Az-zahirah, where he resided in
royal splendour during the intervals of his campaigns; and he endeared
hinself to the people, by his generosity, his rigid justice, and the
strict control which he enforced over his subordinate officers. But it
was on his fervent zeal for the cause of Islam, and his martial
exploits against the Christians, (whence his surname of _Al-mansur_,
or _the Victorious_, was derived,) that his fame and popularity
chiefly rested. The martial spirit of the Spanish Moslems appears,
from various anecdotes related by Al-Makkari, to have suffered great
deterioration from the progress of luxury and decay of discipline; but
the armies led by Al-mansur were mainly recruited from the fiery
tribes of Barbary, and strengthened by numerous Christian slaves or
Mamlukes, trained to serve their captors in arms against their own
countrymen. With forces thus constituted, did Al-mansur, in whom once
more shone forth the spirit of the Arab conquerors of past times,
invade the Christian territories in each spring and autumn for
twenty-six successive years, carrying the Moslem arms in triumph even
to the shores of the "Green Sea," (Atlantic Ocean,) and into regions
which Tarik and Musa had never reached. Astorga and Leon, in spite of
the efforts of Bermudo II. to save his capital, were taken and razed
to the ground in 983. Barcelona only escaped the same fate in the
following year by submission and tribute; but the crowning glory of
Al-mansur's achievements in the _al-jahid_ or holy war, was the
capture, in 997, Santiago, the shrine and sepulchre of the patron
saint of Spain. "No Moslem general had ever penetrated as far as that
city, which is in an inaccessible position in the most remote part of
Galicia, and is a sanctuary regarded by the Christians with veneration
equal to that which the Moslems entertain for the Kaaba,"--but
Al-mansur, supplied with provisions from a fleet which accompanied his
march along the coast of Portugal, forced his way through the Galician
defiles, and occupied the holy city without opposition--all the
inhabitants having fled, according to Ibn Hayyan, with the exception
of an old monk who tended the tomb. The city and cathedral were
leveled with the ground; the shrine alone was left untouched in the
midst of the ruins, from the belief of the Moslems that St James was
the brother of the Messiah--and the church-bells were conveyed on the
shoulders of the captives to Cordova, where they were suspended as
lamps in the great mosque, to commemorate the triumph of Islam in the
principal seat of Christian worship and pilgrimage.

Such was the depression produced among the Christians by these
repeated disasters, that, if we may believe Al-Makkari, "one of
Al-mansur's soldiers having left his banner fixed in the earth on a
mountain before a Christian town, the garrison dared not come out for
several days after the retreat of the Moslem army, not knowing what
troops might be behind it." The pressing sense of common danger, at
length extinguished ("for the first time perhaps," as Conde remarks)
the feuds of the Christian princes; and in the spring of 1002 the
united forces of the Count of Castile, Sancho the Great of Navarre,
and the King of Leon, confronted the Moslem host at Kalat-an-nosor,[23]
(the Castle of the Eagles,) on the frontiers of Old Castile. The
mighty conflict which ensued is very briefly dismissed by
Al-Makkari--"Al-mansur attacked and defeated them with great
loss"--but a far different account is given by the Christian
chroniclers, who represent the Moslems as only saved from a total
overthrow by the approach of night. It seems, in truth, to have been
nearly a drawn battle, with immense carnage on both sides; but the
advantage was decidedly with the Christians, who retained possession
of the field; while Al-mansur, weakened by the loss of great numbers
of his best men and officers, abandoned his camp, and retreated the
next day across the Douro. In all his fifty-two campaigns he is said
never before to have been defeated; and the chagrin occasioned by this
severe reverse, joined to a malady under which he was previously
suffering, ended his life shortly after[24] at Medinah-Selim,
(Medinaceli.) He was buried by his sons in the same place; the dust
which had adhered to his garments in his campaigns against the
Christians, and which had been carefully preserved for the purpose,
being placed in the tomb with the corpse--a practice not unusual at
the funeral of a celebrated warrior. "This enlightened and
never-vanquished Hajib"--says Al-Makkali, with whom Al-mansur is a
favourite hero--"used continually to ask God to permit him to die in
his service and in war against the infidels, and thus his desire was
granted;... and after his death, the Mohammedan empire in Andalus
began to show visible signs of decay."

    [23] The precise locality of this famous battle is not very
    clearly ascertained; but Condé places it betveen Soria and

    [24] The battle is placed by the Christian writers in 998; but
    the death of Al-mansur, which both Christians and Moslems
    agree in stating to have taken place within a very short time,
    is said by the latter to have been A.M. 392, A.D. 1002.

Al-mansur had a worthy successor in his son Abdul-malek, who at once
received the appointment of Hajib from the passive Khalif:--but on his
death in 1008, the post was assumed by his brother Abdurrahman,
popularly known as Shanjul, a Berber word signifying _madman_--a
surname which he had earned by his habits of low vice and
intemperance. Scarcely had he entered upon office, when, not contented
with exercising sovereign authority, like his father and brother,
under an appearance of delegation from the Khalif, he persuaded or
compelled the feeble Hisham, who had no male issue, to appoint him
_Wali-al-ahd,_ or heir-presumptive--the deed of nomination is given at
length by Al-Makkari, and is a curious specimen of a state-paper. But
this transfer was viewed with deep indignation by the people of
Cordova, who were warmly attached to the line of their ancient
princes; and their discontent being fomented by the members of the
Umeyyan family, they rose in furious revolt during the absence of the
Hajib on the Galician frontiers, deposed Hisham, and raised to the
throne Mohammed-Al-muhdi, a great-grandson of Abdurrahman III.
Abdurrahman, returning in haste to quell the insurrection, found
himself deserted by his army, and was put to death with most of his
family and principal adherents; and the power of the Amirites vanished
in a day like the remembrance of dream. But the sceptre which had thus
been struck from their grasp, found no other hand strong enough to
seize it; and from the first deposition of Hisham II. in 1009, to the
final dissolution of the monarchy on the abdication of Hisham III. in
1031, the whole of Moslem Spain presented a frightful scene of
anarchy and civil war. Besides the imbecile Hisham, who was at least
once released and restored to the throne, and was personated by more
than one pretender, the royal title was assumed, within twenty years
by not fewer than six princes of the house of Umeyyah, and by three of
a rival race--a branch of the Edrisites called Beni-Hammud, who
endeavoured in the general confusion to assert their claims as
descendants of the Khalif Ali. The aid of the Christians was called in
by more than one faction; and Cordova was stormed and sacked after a
long siege in 1013, by the African troops who followed the standard of
Soliman Ab-muhdi, one of the Umeyyan competitors. The palaces of
Az-zahra and Az-zahirah were utterly destroyed; the remains of Hakem's
library, with the treasures amassed by former sovereigns, were either
plundered or dispersed; nor did the ancient capital of Audalus, no
more the seat of the Khalifate, ever recover its former grandeur. The
provincial _walis_, many of whom owed their appointments to the Hajibs
of the house of Amir, and were disaffected to the Beni-Umeyyah, every
where threw off their allegiance and assumed independence, till only
the districts in its immediate vicinity remained attached to Cordova,
which was still considered the seat of the Mohammedan empire. The last
Umeyyan prince who ruled there was a grandson of the great
Abdurrahman, named Hisham Al-Mutadd; whom the inhabitants, after
expelling the troops of the Beni-Hammud in 1027, invited to ascend the
throne of his ancestors. "He was a mild and enlightened prince and
possessed many brilliant qualities; but notwithstanding this, the
volatile and degenerate citizens of Cordova grew discontented with
him, and he was deposed by the army in 422, (A.D. 1031.) He left the
capital and retired to Lerida, where he died in 428, (A.D. 1036.) He
was the last member of that illustrious dynasty which had ruled over
Andalus and a great portion of Africa for two hundred and eighty-four
years, counting from the accession of Abdurrahman I., surnamed
Ab-dakhel, in 138, (A.D. 756.) There is no God but God! He is the

The fall of the Umeyyan khalifate closes the first of the two
brilliant periods which illustrate the Arab history of Spain. The
uninterrupted hereditary succession for ten generations, and the long
average duration of the reign of each monarch, from the arrival in
Spain of Abdurrahman I. in 756, to the death or disappearance of
Hisham II. in 1009, are without a parallel it any other Moslem
dynasty, with the single exception of the Ottoman line; and though, on
pursuing the comparison, the Umeyyan princes cannot vie with the
last-named race in extent of conquest and splendour of martial
achievement, they far surpass not only the Ottomans, but almost every
sovereign family in the annals of Islam, in the cultivation of kingly
virtues and arts of peace, and the refinement and love of literature,
which they introduced and fostered in their dominions. During the
greater part of their rule, the court of Cordova was the most polished
and enlightened in Europe removed equally from the martial rudeness of
those of the Frank monarchs, and the punctilious attention to forms
and jealous etiquette, within which the Grcek emperors studiously
intrenched themselves. The useful arts, and in particular the science
of agriculture, necessary for the support of a dense population, were
cultivated to an extent of which no other country afforded an example;
and the commerce which filled the ports of Spain, from all parts of
Europe and the East, was the natural result of the industry of her
people. In how great a degree the personal character of the Umeyyan
sovereigns contributed to this state of political and social
prosperity, is best proved by the rapid disruption and fall of the
monarchy, when it passed into the feeble hands of Hisham II., and by
the history of the two following centuries of anarchy, civil war, and
foreign domination. But the sun of Andalusian glory, which had
attained its meridian splendour under the Khalifs of Cordova, once
more emerged before the close of its course from the clouds and
darkness which surrounded it;--and its setting rays shone, with
concentrated lustre, over the kingdom of GRANADA.

       *       *       *       *       *



"A capital place this for our bivouac!" cried I, swinging myself off
my mule, and stretching my arms and legs, which were stiffened by a
long ride.

It _was_ a fairish place, to all appearances--a snug ravine, well
shaded by mahogany-trees, the ground covered with the luxuriant
vegetation of that tropical region, a little stream bubbling and
leaping and dashing down one of the high rocks that flanked the
hollow, and rippling away through the tall fern towards the rear of
the spot where we had halted, at the distance of a hundred yards from
which the ground was low and shelving.

"A capital place this for our bivouac!"

My companion nodded. As to our lazy Mexican _arrieros_ and servants,
they said nothing, but began making arrangements for passing the
night. Curse the fellows! If they had seen us preparing to lie down in
a swamp, cheek by jowl with an alligator, I believe they would not
have offered a word of remonstrance. Those Mexican half-breeds, half
Indian half Spaniard, with sometimes a dash of the Negro, are
themselves so little pervious to the dangers and evils of their soil
and climate, that they never seem to remember that Yankee flesh and
blood may be rather more susceptible; that niguas[25] and musquittoes,
and _vomito prieto_, as they call their infernal fever, are no trifles
to encounter; without mentioning the snakes, and scorpions, and
alligators, and other creatures of the kind, which infest their
strange, wild, unnatural, and yet beautiful country.

    [25] The nigua is a small but very dangerous insect which
    fixes itself in the feet, bores holes in the skin, and lays
    its eggs there. These, if not extracted, (which extraction by
    the by is a most painful operation) cause first an intolerable
    itching, and subsequently sores and ulcers of a sufficiently
    serious nature to entail the loss of the feet.

I had come to Mexico in company with Jonathan Rowley, a youth of
Virginian raising, six and twenty years of age, six feet two in his
stockings, with the limbs of a Hercules and shoulders like the side of
a house. It was towards the close of 1824; and the recent emancipation
of Mexico from the Spanish yoke, and its self-formation into a
republic, had given it a new and strong interest to us Americans. We
had been told much, too, of the beauty of the country--but in this we
were at first rather disappointed; and we reached the capital without
having seen any thing, except some parts of the province of Vera Cruz,
that could justify the extravagant encomiums we had heard bestowed in
the States upon the splendid scenery of Mexico. We had not, however,
to go far southward from the chief city, before the character of the
country altered, and became such as to satisfy our most sanguine
expectations. Forests of palms, of oranges, citrons, and bananas,
filled the valleys: the marshes and low grounds were crowded with
mahogany-trees, and with immense fern plants, in height equal to
trees. All nature was on a gigantic scale--the mountains of an
enormous height, the face of the country seamed and split by
_barrancas_ or ravines, hundreds, ay, thousands of feet deep, and
filled with the most abundant and varied vegetation. The sky, too, was
of the deep glowing blue of the tropics, the sort of blue which seems
varnished or clouded with gold. But this ardent climate and teeming
soil are not without their disadvantages. Vermin and reptiles of all
kinds, and the deadly fever of these latitudes, render the low lands
uninhabitable for eight months out of the twelve. At the same time
there are large districts which are comparatively free from these
plagues--perfect gardens of Eden, of such extreme beauty that the mere
act of living and breathing amongst their enchanting scenes, becomes a
positive and real enjoyment. The heart seems to leap with delight, and
the soul to be elevated, by the contemplation of those regions of
fairy-like magnificence.

The most celebrated among these favoured provinces is the valley of
Oaxaca, in which two mountainous districts, the Mistecca and
Tzapoteca, bear off the palm of beauty. It was through this immense
valley, nearly three hundred leagues in length, and surrounded by the
highest mountains in Mexico, that we were now journeying. The kind
attention of our chargé-d'affaires at the Mexican capital, had
procured us every possible facility in travelling through a country,
of which the soil was at that time rarely trodden by any but native
feet. We had numerous letters to the alcaldes and authorities of the
towns and villages which are sparingly sprinkled over the southern
provinces of Mexico; we were to have escorts when necessary; every
assistance, protection, and facility, were to be afforded us. But as
neither the authorities nor his excellency, Uncle Sam's envoy, could
make inns and houses where none existed, it followed that we were
often obliged to sleep _à la belle étoile_, with the sky for a
covering. And a right splendid roof it was to our bedchamber, that
tropical sky, with its constellations, all new to us northerns, and
every star magnified by the effect of the atmosphere to an incredible
size. Mars and Saturn, Venus and Jupiter, had all disappeared; the
great and little Bear were still to be seen; in the far distance the
ship Argo and the glowing Centaur; and, beautiful above all, the
glorious sign of Christianity the colossal Southern Cross, in all its
brightness and sublimity, glittering in silvery magnificence out of
its setting of dark blue crystal.

We were travelling with a state and a degree of luxury that would have
excited the contempt of our backwoodsmen; but in a strange country we
thought it best to do as the natives did; and accordingly, instead of
mounting our horses and setting forth alone, with our rifles slung
over our shoulders, and a few handfuls of parched corn and dried flesh
in our hunting pouches, we journeyed Mexican fashion, with a whole
string of mules, a _topith_ or guide, a couple of _arrieros_ or
muleteers, a cook, and one or two other attendants. While the latter
were slinging our hammocks to the lowermost branches of a tree--for in
that part of Mexico it is not very safe to sleep upon the ground, on
account of the snakes and vermin--our _cocinero_ lit a fire against
the rock, and in a very few minutes an iguana which we had shot that
day was spitted and roasting before it. It looked strange to see this
hideous creature, in shape between a lizard and a dragon, twisting and
turning in the light of the fire; and its disgusting appearance might
have taken away some people's appetites; but we knew by experience
that there is no better eating than a roasted iguana. We made a hearty
meal off this one, concluding it with a pull at the rum flask, and
then clambered into our hammocks; the Mexicans stretched themselves on
the ground with their heads upon the saddles of the mules, and both
masters and men were soon asleep.

It was somewhere about midnight when I was awakened by an
indescribable sensation of oppression from the surrounding atmosphere.
The air seemed to be no longer air, but some poisonous exhalation that
had suddenly arisen and enveloped us. From the rear of the ravine in
which we lay, billows of dark mephitic mist were rolling forward,
surrounding us with their baleful influence. It was the _vomito
prieto_, the fever itself, embodied in the shape of a fog. At the same
moment, and while I was gasping for breath, a sort of cloud seemed to
settle upon me, and a thousand stings, like redhot needles, were run
into my hands, face, neck--into every part of my limbs and body that
was not triply guarded by clothing. I instinctively stretched forth my
hands and closed them, clutching by the action hundreds of enormous
musquittoes, whose droning, singing noise how almost deafened me. The
air was literally filled by a dense swarm of these insects; and the
agony caused by their repeated and venomous stings was indescribable.
It was a perfect plague of Egypt.

Rowley, whose hammock was slung some ten yards from mine, soon gave
tongue: I heard him kicking and plunging, spluttering and swearing,
with a vigour and energy that would have been ludicrous under any
other circumstances; but matters were just then too serious for a
laugh. With the torture, for such it was, of the musquitto bites, and
the effect of the insidious and poisonous vapours that were each
moment thickening around me, I was already in a high state of fever,
alternately glowing with heat and shivering with cold, my tongue
parched, my eyelids throbbing, my brain seemingly on fire.

There was a heavy thump upon the ground. It was Rowley jumping out of
his hammock. "Damnation" roared he, "Where are we? On the earth, or
under the earth?--We must be--we are--in their Mexican purgatory. We
are, or there's no snakes in Virginny. Hallo, arrieros! Pablo!

At that moment a scream--but a scream of such terror and anguish as I
never heard before or since--a scream as of women in their hour of
agony and extreme peril, sounded within a few paces of us. I sprang
out of my hammock; and as I did so, two white and graceful female
figures darted or rather flew by me, shrieking--and oh! in what
heart-rending tones--for "_Socorro! Socorro! Por Dios_! Help! Help!"
Close upon the heels of the fugitives, bounding and leaping along with
enormous strides and springs, came three or four dark objects which
resembled nothing earthly. The human form they certainly possessed;
but so hideous and horrible, so unnatural and spectre-like was their
aspect, that their sudden encounter in that gloomy ravine, and in the
almost darkness that surrounded us, might well have shaken the
strongest nerves. We stood for a second, Rowley and myself, paralysed
with astonishment at these strange appearances; but another piercing
scream restored to us our presence of mind. One of the women had
either tripped or fallen from fatigue, and she lay a white heap, upon
the ground. The drapery of the other was in the clutch of one of the
spectres, or devils, or whatever they were, when Rowley, with a cry of
horror, rushed forward and struck a furious blow at the monster with
his _machetto_. At the same time, and almost without knowing how, I
found myself engaged with another of the creatures. But the contest
was no equal one. In vain did we stab and strike with our machettos;
our antagonists were covered and defended with a hard bristly hide,
which our knives, although keen and pointed, had great difficulty in
penetrating; and on the other hand we found ourselves clutched in long
sinewy arms, terminating in hands and fingers, of which the nails were
as sharp and strong as an eagle's talons. I felt these horrible claws
strike into my shoulders as the creature seized me, and, drawing me
towards him, pressed me as in the hug of a bear; while his hideous
half man half brute visage was grinning and snarling at me, and his
long keen white teeth were snapping and gnashing within six inches of
my face.

"God of heaven! This is horrible! Rowley! Help me!"

But Rowley, in spite of his gigantic strength, was powerless as an
infant in the grasp of these terrible opponents. He was within a few
paces of me, struggling with two of them, and making superhuman
efforts to regain possession of his knife, which had dropped or been
wrenched from his hand. And all this time, where were our arrieros?
Were they attacked likewise? Why didn't they come and help us? All
this time!--pshaw! it was no time: it all passed in the space of a few
seconds, in the circumference of a few yards, and in the feeble
glimmering light of the stars, and of the smouldering embers of our
fire, which was at some distance from us.

"Ha! That has told!" A stab, dealt with all the energy of despair, had
entered my antagonist's side. But I was like to pay dearly for it.
Uttering a deafening yell of pain and fury, the monster clasped me
closer to his foul and loathsome body; his sharp claws, dug deeper
into my back, seemed to tear up my flesh: the agony was
insupportable--my eyes began to swim, and my senses to leave me. Just
then--Crack! crack! Two--four--a dozen musket and pistol shots,
followed by such a chorus of yellings and howlings and unearthly
laughter! The creature that held me seemed startled--relaxed his grasp
slightly. At that moment a dark arm was passed before my face, there
was a blinding flash, a yell, and I fell to the ground released from
the clutch of my opponent. I remember nothing more. Overcome by pain,
fatigue, terror, and the noxious vapors of that vile ravine, my senses
abandoned me, and I swooned away.

When consciousness returned, I found myself lying upon some blankets,
under a sort of arbour of foliage and flowers. It was broad day; the
sun shone brightly, the blossoms smelled sweet, the gay-plumaged
hummingbirds were darting and shooting about in the sunbeams like so
many animated fragments of a prism. A Mexican Indian, standing beside
my couch, and whose face was unknown to me, held out a cocoa-nutshell
containing some liquid, which I eagerly seized, and drank off the
contents. The draught (it was a mixture of citron juice and water)
revived me greatly; and raising myself on my elbow, although with much
pain and difficulty, I looked around, and beheld a scene of bustle and
life which to me was quite unintelligible. Upon the shelving hillside
on which I was lying, a sort of encampment was established. A number
of mules and horses were wandering about at liberty, or fastened to
trees and bushes, and eating the forage that had been collected and
laid before them. Some were provided with handsome and commodious
saddles, while others had pack-saddles, intended apparently for the
conveyance of numerous sacks, cases, and wallets, that were scattered
about on the ground. Several muskets and rifles were leaning here and
there against the trees; and a dozen or fifteen men were occupied in
various ways--some filling up saddle-bags or fastening luggage on the
mules, others lying on the ground smoking, one party surrounding a
fire at which cooking was going on. At a short distance from my bed
was another similarly composed couch, occupied by a man muffled up in
blankets, and having his back turned towards me, so that I was unable
to obtain a view of his features.

"What is all this? Where am I? Where is Rowley--our guide--where are
they all?"

"_Non entiendo_," answered my brown-visaged Ganymede, shaking his
head, and with a good-humoured smile.

"_Adonde estamos?_"

"_In el valle de Chihuatan, in el gran valle de Oaxaca y Guatimala;
diez leguas de Tarifa_. In the valley of Chihuatan; ten leagues from

The figure lying on the bed near me now made a movement, and turned
round. What could it be? Its face was like a lump of raw flesh
streaked and stained with blood. No features were distinguishable.

"Who are you? What are you?" cried I.

"Rowley," it answered: "Rowley I was, at least, if those devils
haven't changed me."

"Then changed you they have," cried I, with a wild laugh. "Good God!
have they scalped him alive, or what? That is not Rowley."

The Mexican, who had gone to give some drink to the creature claiming
to be Rowley, now opened a valise that lay on the ground a short
distance off, and took out a small looking-glass, which he brought and
held before my face. It was then only that I began to call to mind all
that had occurred, and understood how it was that the mask of human
flesh lying near me might indeed be Rowley. He was, if any thing, less
altered than myself. My eyes were almost closed; my lips, nose, and
whole face swollen to an immense size, and perfectly unrecognisable. I
involuntarily recoiled in dismay and disgust at my own appearance. The
horrible night passed in the ravine, the foul and suffocating vapours,
the furious attack of the musquittoes--the bites of which, and the
consequent fever and inflammation, had thus disfigured us--all
recurred to our memory. But the women, the fight with the
monsters--beasts--Indians--whatever they were, that was still
incomprehensible. It was no dream: my back and shoulders were still
smarting from the wounds that had been inflicted on them by the claws
of those creatures, and I now felt that various parts of my limbs and
body were swathed in wet bandages. I was mustering my Spanish to ask
the Mexican who still stood by me for an explanation of all this, when
I suddenly became aware of a great bustle in the encampment, and saw
every body crowding to meet a number of persons who just then emerged
from the high fern, and amongst whom I recognized our arrieros and
servants. The new-comers were grouped around something which they
seemed to be dragging along the ground; several women--for the most
part young and graceful creatures, their slender supple forms muffled
in the flowing picturesque _reboxos_ and _frazadas_--preceded the
party, looking back occasionally with an expression of mingled horror
and triumph; all with rosaries in their hands, the beads of which ran
rapidly through their fingers, while they occasionally kissed the
cross, or made the sign on their breasts or in the air.

"_Un Zambo muerto! Un Zambo Muerto!_" shouted they as they drew near.

"_Han matado un Zambo!_ They have killed a Zambo!" repeated my
attendant in a tone of exultation.

The party came close up to where Rowley and I were lying; the women
stood aside, jumping and laughing, and crossing themselves, and crying
out "_Un Zambo! Un Zambo Muerto!_" the group opened, and we saw, lying
dead upon the ground, one of our horrible antagonists of the preceding

"Good God, what is that?" cried Rowley and I, with one breath. "_Un
demonio!_ a devil!"

"_Perdonen vos, Senores--Un Zambo mono--muy terribles los Zambos._
Terrible monkeys these Zambos."

"Monkeys!" cried I.

"Monkeys!" repeated poor Rowley, raising himself up into a sitting
posture by the help of his hands. "Monkeys--apes--by Jove! We've been
fighting with monkeys, and it's they who have mauled us in this way.
Well, Jonathan Rowley, think of your coming from old Virginny to
Mexico to be whipped by a monkey. It's gone goose with _your_
character. You can never show your face in the States again. Whipped
by an ape!--an ape, with a tail and a hairy--O Lord! Whipped by a

And the ludicrousness of the notion overcoming his mortification, and
the pain of his wounds and bites, he sank back upon the bed of
blankets and banana leaves, laughing as well as his swollen face and
sausage-looking lips would allow him.

It was as much as I could do to persuade myself, that the carcass
lying before me had never been inhabited by a human soul. It was
humiliating to behold the close affinity between this huge ape and our
own species. Had it not been for the tail, I could have fancied I saw
the dead body of some prairie hunter dressed in skins. It was exactly
like a powerful, well-grown man; and even the expression of the face
had more of bad human passions than of animal instinct. The feet and
thighs were those of a muscular man: the legs rather too curved and
calfless, though I have seen Negroes who had scarcely better ones; the
tendons of the hands stood out like whipcords; the nails were as long
as a tiger's claws. No wonder that we had been overmatched in our
struggle with the brutes. No man could have withstood them. The arms
of this one were like packets of cordage, all muscle, nerve, and
sinew; and the hands were clasped together with such force, that the
efforts of eight or ten Mexicans and Indians were insufficient to
disunite them.

Whatever remained to be cleared up in our night's adventures was now
soon explained. Our guide, through ignorance or thoughtlessness, had
allowed us to take up our bivouac within a very unsafe distance of one
of the most pestiferous swamps in the whole province. Shortly after we
had fallen asleep, a party of Mexican travellers had arrived, and
established themselves within a few hundred yards of us, but on a
rising ground, where they avoided the mephitic vapours and the
musquittoes which had so tortured Rowley and myself. In the night two
of the women, having ventured a short distance from the encampment,
were surprised by the zambos, or huge man-apes, common in some parts
of Southern Mexico; and finding themselves cut off from their
friends, had fled they knew not whither, fortunately for them taking
the direction of our bivouac. Their screams, our shouts, and the
yellings and diabolical laughter of the zambos, had brought the
Mexicans to our assistance. The monkeys showed no fight after the
first volley; several of then must have been wounded, but only the one
now lying before us had remained upon the field.

The Mexicans we had fallen amongst were on the Tzapoteca, principally
cochineal gatherers, and kinder-hearted people there could not well
be. They seemed to think they never could do enough for us; the women
especially, and more particularly the two whom we had endeavoured to
rescue from the power of the apes. These latter certainly had cause to
be grateful. It made us shudder to think of their fate had they not
met with us. It was the delay caused by our attacking the brutes that
had given the Mexicans time to come up.

Every attention was shown to us. We were fanned with palm leaves,
refreshed with cooling drinks, our wounds carefully dressed and
bandaged, our heated, irritated, musquitto-bitten limbs and faces
washed with balsam and the juice of herbs: more tender and careful
nurses it would be impossible to find. We soon began to feel better,
and were able to sit up and look about us; carefully avoiding,
however, to look at each other, for we could not get reconciled to the
horrible appearance of our swollen, bloody, and disgusting features.
From our position on the rising ground, we had a full view over the
frightful swamp at the entrance of which all our misfortunes had
happened. There it lay, steaming like a great kettle; endless mists
rising from it, out of which appeared here and there the crown of some
mighty tree towering above the banks of vapour. To the left, cliffs
and crags were to be seen which had the appearance of being baseless,
and of swimming on the top of the mist. The vultures and carrion-birds
circled screaming above the huge caldron, or perched on the tops of
the tall palms, which looked like enormous umbrellas, or like the
roofs of Chinese summer-houses. Out of the swamp itself proceeded the
yellings, snarlings, and growlings of the alligators, bull-frogs, and
myriads of unclean beasts that it harboured.

The air was unusually sultry and oppressive: from time to time the
rolling of distant thunder was audible. We could hear the Mexicans
consulting amongst themselves as to the propriety of continuing their
journey, to which our suffering state seemed to be the chief obstacle.
From what we could collect of their discourse, they were unwilling to
leave us in this dangerous district, and in our helpless condition,
with a guide and attendants who were either untrustworthy or totally
incompetent to lead us aright. Yet there seemed to be some pressing
necessity for continuing the march; and presently some of the older
Mexicans, who appeared to have the direction of the caravan, came up
to us and enquired how we felt, and if we thought we were able to
travel; adding, that from the signs on the earth and in the air, they
feared a storm, and that the nearest habitation or shelter was at many
leagues' distance. Thanks to the remedies that had been applied, our
sufferings were much diminished. We felt weak and hungry, and telling
the Mexicans we should be ready to proceed in half an hour, we desired
our servants to get us something to eat. But our new friends
forestalled them, and brought us a large piece of iguana, with roasted
bananas, and cocoa-nutshell cups full of coffee, to all of which
Rowley and I applied ourselves with much gusto. Meanwhile our
muleteers and the Tzapotecans were busy packing their beasts and
making ready for the start.

We had not eaten a dozen mouthfuls when we say a man running down the
hill with a branch in each hand. As soon as he appeared, a number of
the Mexicans left their occupations and hurried to meet him.

"_Siete horas!_" shouted the man. "Seven hours, and no more!"

"No more than seven hours!" echoed the Tzapotecans, in tones of the
wildest terror and alarm. "_La Santissima nos guarde!_ It will take
more than ten to reach the village."

"What's all that about?" said I with my mouth full, to Rowley.

"Don't know--some of their Indian tricks, I suppose."

"_Que es esto_?" asked I carelessly. "What's the matter?"

"_Que es esto_!" repeated an old Tzapotecan, with long grey hair
curling from under his _sombrero_, and a withered but finely marked
countenance. "_Las aguas! El ouracan!_ In seven hours the deluge and
the hurricane!"

"_Vamos, por la Santissima!_ For the blessed Virgin's sake let us be
gone!" cried a dozen of the Mexicans, pushing two green boughs into
our very faces.

"What are those branches?"

"From the tempest-tree--the prophet of the storm," was the reply.

And Tzapotecans and women, arrieros and servants, ran about in the
utmost terror and confusion, with cries of "_Vamos, paso redoblado_!
Off with us, or we are all lost, man and beast," and saddling,
packing, and scrambling on their mules. And before Rowley and I knew
where we were, they tore us away from our iguana and coffee, and
hoisted and pushed us into our saddles. Such a scene of bustle and
desperate hurry I never beheld. The place where the encampment had
been was alive with men and women, horses and mules, shouting,
shrieking and talking, neighing and kicking; but with all the
confusion there was little time lost, and in less than three minutes
from the first alarm being given, we were scampering away over stock
and stone, in a long, wild, irregular sort of train.

The rapidity and excitement of our ride seemed to have the effect of
calming our various sufferings, or of making us forget them; and we
soon thought no more of the fever, or of stings or musquitto bites. It
was a ride for life or death, and our horses stepped out as if they
knew how much depended on their exertions.

In the hurry and confusion we had been mounted on horses instead of
our our own mules; and splendid animals they were. I doubt if our
Virginians could beat them, and that is saying a great deal. There was
no effort or straining in their movements; it seemed mere play to them
to surmount the numerous difficulties we encountered on our road. Over
mountain and valley, swamp and barranca, always the same steady
surefootedness--crawling like cats over the soft places, gliding like
snakes up the steep rocky ascents, and stretching out with prodigious
energy when the ground was favourable; yet with such easy action that
we scarcely felt the motion. We should have sat in the roomy Spanish
saddles as comfortably as in arm-chairs, had it not been for the
numerous obstacles in our path, which was strewed with fallen trees
and masses of rock. We were obliged to be perpetually stooping and
bowing our heads to avoid the creeping plants that swung and twined
and twisted across the track, intermingled often with huge thorns as
long as a man's arm. These latter stuck out from the trees on which
they grew like so many brown bayonets; and a man who had run up
against one of them, would have been transfixed by it as surely as
though it had been of steel. We pushed on, however, in Indian file,
following the two guides, who kept at the head of the party, and
making our way through places where a wild-cat would have difficulty
in passing; through thickets of mangroves, mimosas, and tall fern, and
cactuses with their thorny leaves full twenty feet long; the path
turning and winding all the while. Now and then a momentary
improvement in the nature of the ground enabled us to catch a glimpse
of the whole column of march. We were struck by its picturesque
appearance, the guides in front acting as pioneers, and looking out on
all sides as cautiously and anxiously as though they had been soldiers
expecting an ambuscade; the graceful forms of the women bowing and
bending over their horses' manes, and often leaving fragments of their
mantillas and rebozas on the branches and thorns of the labyrinth
through which we were struggling. But it was no time to indulge in
contemplation of the picturesque, and of this we were constantly made
aware by the anxious vociferations of the Mexicans. "_Vamos! Por Dios,
vamos!_" cried they, if the slightest symptom of flagging became
visible in the movements of any one of the party; and at the words,
our horses, as though gifted with understanding, pushed forward with
renewed vigour and alacrity.

On we went--up hill and down, in the depths of the valley and over the
soft fetid swamp. That valley of Oaxaca has just as much right to be
called a valley as our Alleghanies would have to be called bottoms. In
the States we should call it a chain of mountains. Out of it rise at
every step hills a good two thousand feet above the level of the
valley, and four or five thousand above that of the sea; but these are
lost sight of, and become flat ground by the force of comparison; that
is, when compared with the gigantic mountains that surround the valley
on all sides like a frame. And what a splendid frame they do compose,
those colossal mountains, in their rich variety of form and colouring!
here shining out like molten gold, there changing to a dark bronze;
covered lower down with various shades of green, and with the crimson
and purple, and violet and bright yellow, and azure and dazzling
white, of the millions of paulinias and convolvoluses and other
flowering plants, from amongst which rise the stately palm-trees, full
a hundred feet high, their majestic green turbans towering like
sultans' heads above the luxuriance of the surrounding flower and
vegetable world. Then the mahogany-trees, the chicozapotes, and again
in the barrancas the candelabra-like cactuses, and higher up the
knotted and majestic live oak. An incessant change of plants, trees,
and climate. We had been five hours in the saddle, and had already
changed our climate three times; passed from the temperate zone, the
_tierra templada_, into the torrid heat of the _tierra muy caliente_.
It was in the latter temperature that we found ourselves at the
expiration of the above-named time, dripping with perspiration,
roasting and stewing in the heat. We were surrounded by a new world of
plants and animals. The borax and mangroves and fern were here as
lofty as forest-trees, whilst the trees themselves shot up like church
steeples. In the thickets around us were numbers of black tigers--we
saw dozens of those cowardly sneaking beasts--iguanas full three feet
long, squirrels double the size of any we had ever seen, and panthers,
and wild pigs, and jackals, and apes and monkeys of every tribe and
description, who threatened and grinned and chattered at us from the
branches of the trees. But what is that yonder to the right, that
stands out so white against the dark blue sky and the bronze-coloured
rocks? A town--Quidricovi, d'ye call it?

We had now ridden a good five or six leagues, and begun to think we
had escaped the _aguas_ or deluge, of which the prospect had so
terrified our friends the Tzapotecans. Rowley calculated, as he went
puffing and grumbling along, that it wouldn't do any harm to let our
beasts draw breath for a minute or two. The scrambling and constant
change of pace rendered necessary by the nature of the road, or rather
track, that we followed, was certainly dreadfully fatiguing both to
man and beast. As for conversation it was out of the question. We had
plenty to do to avoid getting our necks broken, or our teeth knocked
out, as we struggled along, up and down barrancas, through marshes and
thickets, over rocks and fallen trees, and through mimosas and bushes
laced and twined together with thorns and creeping plants--all of
which would have been beautiful in a picture, but was most infernally
unpoetical in reality.

"_Vamos! Por la Santissima Madre, vamos!_" yelled our guides, and the
cry was taken up by the Mexicans, in a shrill wild tone that jarred
strangely upon our ears, and made the horses start and strain forward.
Hurra! on we go, through thorns and bushes, which scratch and flog us,
and tear our clothes to rags. We shall be naked if this lasts long. It
is a regular race. In front the two guides, stooping, nodding, bowing,
crouching down, first to one side, then to the other, like a couple of
mandarins or Indian idols--behind them a Tzapotecan in his picturesque
capa, then the women, then more Tzapotecans. There is little thought
about precedence or ceremony; and Rowley and I, having been in the
least hurry to start, find ourselves bringing up the rear of the whole

"_Vamos! Por la Santissima! Las aguas, las aguas!_" is again yelled by
twenty voices. Hang the fools! Can't they be quiet with their eternal
_vamos_? We can have barely two leagues more to go to reach the
_rancho_, or village, they were talking of, and appearances are not as
yet very alarming. It is getting rather thick to be sure; but that's
nothing, only the exhalations from the swamp, for we are again
approaching one of those cursed swamps, and can hear the music of the
alligators and bullfrogs. There they are, the beauties; a couple of
them are taking a peep at us, sticking their elegant heads and long
delicate snouts out of the slime and mud. The neighbourhood is none of
the best; but luckily the path is firm and good, carefully made,
evidently by Indian hands. None but Indians could live and labour and
travel habitually, in such a pestilential atmosphere. Thank God! we
are out of it at last. Again on firm forest ground, amidst the
magnificent monotony of the eternal palms and mahogany-trees. But--see

A new and surpassingly beautiful landscape burst suddenly upon our
view, seeming to dance in the transparent atmosphere. On either side
mountains, those on the left in deep shadow, those on the right
standing forth like colossal figures of light, in a beauty and
splendour that seemed really supernatural, every tree, every branch
shining in its own vivid and glorious colouring. There lay the valley
in its tropical luxuriance and beauty, one sheet of bloom and blossom
up to the topmost crown of the palm-trees, that shot up, some of them,
a hundred and fifty and a hundred and eighty feet high. Thousands and
millions of convolvoluses, paulinias, bignonias, dendrobiums, climbing
from the fern to the tree trunks, from the trunks to the branches and
summits of the trees, and thence again falling gracefully down, and
catching and clinging to the mangroves and blocks of granite. It burst
upon us like a scene of enchantment, as we emerged from the darkness
of the forest into the dazzling light and colouring of that glorious

"_Misericordia, misericordia! Audi nos peccadores! Misericordia, las
aquas!_" suddenly screamed and exclaimed the Mexicans in various
intonations of terror and despair. We looked around us. What can be
the matter? We see nothing. Nothing, except that from just behind
those two mountains, which project like mighty promontories into the
valley, a cloud is beginning to rise. "What is it? What is wrong?" A
dozen voices answered us--

"_Por la Santa Virgen_, for the holy Virgin's sake, on, on! _No hay
tiempo para hablar_. We have still two leagues to go, and in one hour
comes the flood."

And they recommenced their howling, yelling chorus of "_Misericordia!
Audi nos peccadores!_" and "_Santissima Virgen_, and _Todos santos y

"Are the fellows mad?" shouted Rowley, "What if the water does come?
It won't swallow you. A ducking more or less is no such great matter.
You are not made of sugar or salt. Many's the drenching I've had in
the States, and none the worse for it. Yet our rains are no child's
play neither."

On looking round us, however, we were involuntarily struck with the
sudden change in the appearance of the heavens. The usual golden black
blue colour of the sky was gone, and had been replaced by a dull
gloomy grey. The quality of the air appeared also to have changed; it
was neither very warm nor very cold, but it had lost its lightness and
elasticity, and seemed to oppress and weigh us down. Presently we saw
the dark cloud rise gradually from behind the hills, completely
clearing their summits, and then sweeping along until it hung over the
valley, in form and appearance like some monstrous night-moth, resting
the tips of its enormous wings on the mountains on either side. To our
right we still saw the roofs and walls of Quidricovi, apparently at a
very short distance.

"Why not go to Quidricovi?" shouted I to the guides, "we cannot be far

"More than five leagues," answered the men, shaking their heads and
looking up anxiously at the huge moth, which was still creeping and
crawling on, each moment darker and more threatening. It was like
some frightful monster, or the fabled Kraken, working itself along by
its claws, which were struck deep into the mountain-wall on either
side of its line of progress, and casting its hideous shadow over hill
and dale, forest and valley, clothing them in gloom and darkness. To
our right hand and behind us, the mountains were still of a glowing
golden red, lighted up by the sun, but to the left and in our front
all was black and dark. With the same glance we beheld the deepest
gloom and the brightest day, meeting each other but not mingling. It
was a strange and ominous sight.

Ominous enough; and the brute creation seem to feel it so as well as
ourselves. The chattering parrots, the hopping, gibbering, quarrelsome
apes, all the birds and beasts, scream and cry and flutter and spring
about, as though seeking a refuge from some impending danger. Even our
horses begin to tremble and groan--refuse to go on, start and snort.
The whole animal world is in commotion, as if seized with an
overwhelming panic. The forest is teeming with inhabitants. Whence
come they, all these living things? On every side is heard the howling
and snarling of beasts, the frightened cries and chirpings of birds.
The vultures and turkey-buzzards, that a few minutes before were
circling high in the air, are now screaming amidst the branches of the
mahogany-trees; every creature that has life is running, scampering,
flying--apes and tigers, birds and creeping things.

"_Vamos, por la Santissima!_ On! or we are all lost."

And we ride, we rush along--neither masses of rock, nor fallen trees,
nor thorns and brambles, check our wild career. Over every thing we
go, leaping, scrambling, plunging, riding like desperate men, flying
from a danger of which the nature is not clearly defined, but which we
feel to be great and imminent. It is a frightful terror-striking foe,
that huge night-moth, which comes ever nearer, growing each moment
bigger and blacker. Looking behind us, we catch one last glimpse of
the red and bloodshot sun, which the next instant disappears behind
the edge of the mighty cloud.

Still we push on. Hosts of tigers, and monkeys both large and small,
and squirrels and jackals, come close up to us as if seeking shelter,
and then finding none, retreat howling into the forest. There is not a
breath of air stirring, yet all nature--plants and trees, men and
beasts--seem to quiver and tremble with apprehension. Our horses pant
and groan as they bound along with dilated nostrils and glaring eyes,
trembling in every limb, sweating at every pore, half wild with
terror; giving springs and leaps that more resemble those of a hunted
tiger than of a horse.

The prayer and exclamations of the terrified Mexicans, continued
without intermission, whispered and shrieked and groaned in every
variety of intonation. The earthy hue of intense terror was upon every
countenance. For some moments a death-like stillness, an unnatural
calm, reigned around us: it was as though the elements were holding in
their breath, and collecting their energies for some mighty outbreak.
Then came a low indistinct moaning sound, that seemed to issue from
the bowels of the earth. The warning was significant.

"Halt! stop" shouted we to the guides. "Stop! and let us seek shelter
from the storm."

"On! for God's sake, on! or we are lost," was the reply.

Thank Heaven! the path is getting wider--we come to a descent--they
are leading us out of the forest. If the storm had come on while we
were among the trees, we might be crushed to death by the falling
branches. We are close to a barranca.

"_Alerto! Alerto!_" shrieked the Mexicans. "_Madre de Dios! Dios!

And well might they call to God for help in that awful moment. The
gigantic night-moth gaped and shot forth tongues of fire--a ghastly
white flame, that contrasted strangely and horribly with the dense
black cloud from which it issued. There was a peal of thunder that
seemed to shake the earth, then a pause during which nothing was heard
but the panting of our horses as they dashed across the barranca, and
began straining up the steep side of a knoll or hillock. The cloud
again opened: for a second every thing was lighted up. Another thunder
clap, and then, as though the gates of its prison had been suddenly
burst open, the tempest came forth in its might and fury, breaking,
crushing, and sweeping away all that opposed it. The trees of the
forest staggered and tottered for a moment, as if making an effort to
bear up against the storm; but it was in vain: the next instant, with
a report like that of ten thousand cannon, whole acres of mighty trees
were snapped off, their branches shivered, their roots torn up; it was
no longer a forest but a chaos; an ocean of boughs and tree-trunks,
that were tossed about like the waves of the sea, or thrown into the
air like straws. The atmosphere was darkened with dust, and leaves,
and branches.

"God be merciful to us! Rowley! where are ye?--No answer. What is
become of them all?"

A second blast more furious than the first. Can the mountains resist
it? will they stand? By the Almighty! they do not. The earth trembles;
the hillock, on the leeside of which we are, rocks and shakes; and the
air grows thick and suffocating--full of dust and saltpetre and
sulphur. We are like to choke. All around is dark as night. We can see
nothing, hear nothing but the howling of the hurricane, and the
thunder and rattle of falling trees and shivered branches.

Suddenly the hurricane ceases, and all is hushed; but so suddenly that
the charge is startling and unnatural. No sound is audible save the
creaking and moaning of the trees with which the ground is cumbered.
It is like a sudden pause in a battle, when the roar of the cannon and
clang of charging squadrons cease, and nought is heard but the
groaning of the wounded, the agonized sobs and gasps of the dying.

The report of a pistol is heard; then another, a third, hundreds,
thousands of them. It is the flood, _las aguas_; the shots are drops
of rain; but such drops! each as big as a hen's egg. They strike with
the force of enormous hailstones--stunning and blinding us. The next
moment there is no distinction of drops, the windows of heaven are
opened; it is no longer rain nor flood, but a sea, a cataract, a
Niagara. The hillock on which I am standing, undermined by the waters,
gives way and crumbles under me; in ten seconds' time I find myself in
the barranca, which is converted into a river, off my horse, which is
gone I know not whither. The only person I see near me is Rowley, also
dismounted and struggling against the stream, which is already up to
our waists, and sweeps along with it huge branches and entire trees,
that threaten each moment to carry us away with them, or to crush us
against the rocks. We avoid these dangers, God knows how, make violent
efforts to stem the torrent and gain the side of the barranca;
although, even should we succeed, it is so steep that we can scarcely
hope to climb it without assistance. And whence is that assistance to
come? Of the Mexicans we see or hear nothing. They are doubtless all
drowned or dashed to pieces. They were higher up on the hillock than
we were, must consequently have been swept down with more force, and
were probably carried away by the torrent. Nor can we hope for a
better fate. Wearied by our ride, weakened by the fever and sufferings
of the preceding night, we are in no condition to strive much longer
with the furious elements. For one step that we gain, we lose two. The
waters rise; already they are nearly up to our armpits. It is in vain
to resist any longer. Our fate is sealed.

"Rowley, all is over--let us die like men. God have mercy on our

Rowley was a few paces higher up the barranca. He made me no answer,
but looked at me with a calm, cold, and yet somewhat regretful smile
upon his countenance. Then all at once he ceased the efforts he was
making to resist the stream and gain the bank, folded his arms on his
breast and gave a look up and around him as though to bid farewell to
the world he was about to leave. The current was sweeping him rapidly
down towards me, when suddenly a wild hurra burst from his lips, and
he recommenced his struggles against the waters, striving violently to
retain a footing on the slippery, uneven bed of the stream.

"_Tenga! Tenga!_" screamed a dozen voices, that seemed to proceed from
spirits of the air; and at the same moment something whistled about my
ears and struck me a smart blow across the face. With the instinct of
a drowning man, I clutched the _lasso_ that had been thrown to me.
Rowley was at my elbow and seized it also. It was immediately drawn
tight, and by its aid we gained the bank, and began ascending the side
of the barranca, composed of rugged, declivitous rocks, affording but
scanty foot-hold. God grant the lasso may prove tough! The strain on
it is fearful. Rowley is a good fifteen stone, and I am no feather;
and in some parts of our perilous ascent the rocks are almost as
perpendicular and smooth as a wall of masonry, and we are obliged to
cling with our whole weight to the lasso, which seems to stretch, and
crack, and grow visibly thinner. Nothing but a strip of twisted
cow-hide between us and a frightful agonizing death on the sharp rocks
and in the foaming waters below. But the lasso holds good, and now the
chief peril is past: we get some sort of footing--a point of rock, or
a tree-root to clutch at. Another strain up this rugged slope of
granite, another pull at the lasso; a leap, a last violent effort,
and--_Viva_!--we are seized under the arms, dragged up, held upon our
feet for a moment, and then--we sink exhausted to the ground in the
midst of the Tzapotecans, mules, arrieros, guides, and women, who are
sheltered from the storm in a sort of natural cavern. At the moment at
which the hillock had given way under Rowley and myself, who were a
short distance in rear of the party, the Mexicans had succeeded in
attaining firm footing on a broad rocky ledge, a shelf of the
precipice that flanked the barranca. Upon this ledge, which gradually
widened into a platform, they found themselves in safety under some
projecting crags that sheltered them completely from the tempest.
Thence they looked down upon the barranca, where they descried Rowley
and myself struggling for our lives in the roaring torrent; and
thence, by knotting several lassos together, they were able to give us
the opportune aid which had rescued us from our desperate situation.
But whether this aid had come soon enough to save our lives was still
a question, or at least for some time appeared to be so. The life
seemed driven out of our bodies by all we had gone through: we were
unable to move a finger, and lay helpless and motionless, with only a
glimmering indistinct perception, not amounting to consciousness, of
what was going on around us. Fatigue, the fever, the immersion in cold
water when reeking with perspiration, the sufferings of all kinds we
had endured in the course of the last twenty hours, had completely
exhausted and broken us down.

The storm did not last long in its violence, but swept onwards,
leaving a broad track of desolation behind it. The Mexicans
recommenced their journey, with the exception of four or five who
remained with us and our arrieros and servants. The village to which
we were proceeding was not above a league off; but even that short
distance Rowley and myself were in no condition to accomplish. The
kind-hearted Tzapotecans made us swallow cordials, stripped off our
drenched and tattered garments, and wrapped us in an abundance of
blankets. We fell into a deep sleep, which lasted all that evening and
the greater part of the night, and so much refreshed us that about an
hour before daybreak we were able to resume our march--at a slow pace,
it is true, and suffering grievously in every part of our bruised and
wounded limbs and bodies, at each jolt or rough motion of the mules on
which we were clinging, rather than sitting.

Our path lay over hill and dale, perpetually rising and falling. We
soon got out of the district or zone that had been swept by the
preceding day's hurricane, and after nearly an hour's ride, we paused
on the crest of a steep descent, at the foot of which, as our guides
informed us, lay the land of promise, the long looked-for _rancho_.
While the muleteers were seeing to the girths of their beasts, and
giving the due equilibrium to the baggage, before commencing the
downward march, Rowley and I sat upon our mules, wrapped in large
Mexican _capas_, gazing at the morning-star as it sank down and grew
gradually paler and fainter. Suddenly the eastern sky began to
brighten, and a brilliant beam appeared in the west, a point of light
no bigger than a star--but yet not a star; it was of a far rosier hue.
The next moment a second sparkling spot appeared, near to the first,
which now swelled out into a sort of fiery tongue, that seemed to lick
round the silvery summit of the snow-clad mountain. As we gazed,
five--ten--twenty hill tops were tinged with the same rose-coloured
glow; in another moment they became like fiery banners spread out
against the heavens, while sparkling tongues and rays of golden light
flashed and flamed round them, springing like meteors from one
mountain summit to another, lighting them up like a succession of
beacons. Scarcely five minutes had elapsed since the distant pinnacles
of the mountains had appeared to us as huge phantom-like figures of a
silvery white, dimly marked out upon a dark star-spangled ground; now
the whole immense chain blazed like volcanoes covered with glowing
lava, rising out of the darkness that still lingered on their flanks
and bases, visible and wonderful witnesses to the omnipotence of _him_
who said, "Let there be light, and there was light."

Above, all was broad day, flaming sunlight; below, all black night.
Here and there streams of light burst through clefts and openings in
the mountains, and then ensued an extraordinary kind of conflict. The
shades of darkness seemed to live and move, to struggle against the
bright beams that fell amongst them and broke their masses, forcing
them down the wooded heights, tearing them asunder and dispersing them
like tissues of cobwebs; so that successively, and as if by a stroke
of enchantment, there appeared, first the deep indigo blue of the
tamarinds and chicozapotes, then the bright green of the sugar-canes,
lower down the darker green of the nopal-trees, lower still the white
and green and gold and bright yellow of the orange and citron groves,
and lowest of all, the stately fan-palms, and date-palms, and bananas;
all glittering with millions of dewdrops, that covered them like a
ganze veil embroidered with diamonds and rubies. And still in the very
next valley all was utter darkness.

We sat silent and motionless, gazing at this scene of enchantment.

Presently the sun rose higher, and a flood of light illumined the
whole valley, which lay some few hundred feet below us--a perfect
garden, such as no northern imagination could picture forth; a garden
of sugar-canes, cotton, and nopal-trees, intermixed with thickets of
pomegranate and strawberry-trees, and groves of orange, fig, and
lemon, giants of their kind, shooting up to a far greater height than
the oak attains in the States--every tree a perfect hothouse, a
pyramid of flowers, covered with bloom and blossom to its topmost
spray. All was light, and freshness, and beauty; every object seemed
to dance and rejoice in the clear elastic golden atmosphere. It was an
earthly paradise, fresh from the hand of its Creator, and at first we
could discover no sign of man or his works. Presently, however, we
discerned the village lying almost at our feet, the small stone houses
overgrown with flowers and embedded in trees; so that scarcely a
square foot of roof or wall was to be seen. Even the church was
concealed in a garland of orange-trees, and had lianas and
star-flowered creepers climbing over and dangling on it, up as high as
the slender cross that surmounted its square white tower. As we gazed,
the first sign of life appeared in the village. A puff of blue smoke
rose curling and spiral from a chimney, and the matin bell rang out
its summons to prayer. Our Mexicans fell on their knees and crossed
themselves, repeating their Ave-marias. We involuntarily took off our
hats, and whispered a thanksgiving to the God who had been with us in
the hour of peril, and was now so visible to us in his works.

The Mexicans rose from their knees.

"_Vamos! Senores,_" said one of them, laying his hand on the bridle of
my mule. "To the _rancho_, to breakfast."

We rode slowly down into the valley.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [26] Memoirs of Admiral Earl St Vincent. By T.S. TUCKER. 2 vols.

Were the question proposed to us, What is the most extraordinary,
complete, and effective instance of skill, contrivance, science, and
power, ever combined by man? we should unhesitatingly answer, an
English line-of-battle ship. Take the model of a 120 gun ship--large
as it may be for a floating body, its space is not great. For example,
it is not half the ordinary size of a nobleman's mansion; yet that
ship carries a thousand men with convenience, and lodges them day and
night, with sufficient room for the necessary distinctions of
obedience and command--has separate apartments for the admiral and the
captain, for the different ranks of officers, and even for the
different ranks of seamen--separate portions below decks for the
sleeping of the crew, the dining of the officers, and the receptacle
for the sick and wounded. Those thousand men are to be fed three times
a-day, and provisions for four months are to be stowed. One hundred
and twenty cannon, some of them of the heaviest metal, are to be
carried; and room is to be found for all the weight of shot and
quantities of powder, with other missiles, rockets, and signal fires,
necessary for service. Besides this, room is to be provided for the
stowage of fresh rigging, sails, ropes, cables, and yards, to replace
those lost by accident, battle, or wear and tear. Besides this, too,
there is to be a provision for the hospital. So far for the mere
necessaries of the ship. Then we are to regard the science; for
nothing can be more essential than the skill and the instruments of
the navigator, as nothing can be more fatal than a scientific error, a
false calculation, or a remission of vigilance. We shall do no more
than allude to the habits of command essential to keep a thousand of
these rough and daring spirits in order, and that, too, an order of
the most implicit, steady, and active kind; nor to their knowledge of
tactics, and conduct in battle. The true definition of the
line-of-battle ship being, a floating regiment of artillery in a
barrack, which, at the beat of a drum, may be turned into a field of
battle, or, at the command of government, may be sent flying on the
wings of the wind round the world. We think that we have thus
established our proposition. If not, let any thing else be shown which
exhibits the same quantity of power _packed_ within the same space;
and that power, too, increasing daily by new contrivances of stowage
and building, by new models of guns, and new inventions in machinery.
England is at this moment building two hundred steam-ships, with guns
of a calibre to which all the past were trifling, with room for a
regiment of land troops besides their crews, and with the known power
of defying wind and wave, and throwing an army in full equipment for
the field, within a few days, on any coast of Europe.

It is remarkable that the use of the navy, as a great branch of the
military power of England, had been scarcely contemplated until the
last century. Though the sea-coast of England, the largest of any
European state, and the national habits of an insular country, might
have pointed out this direction for the national energies from the
earliest period, yet England was a kingdom for five hundred years
before she seems to have thought of the use of ships as an instrument
of public power. In the long war with France during the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, the ships were almost wholly mercantile; and,
when employed in wars, were chiefly employed as transports to throw
our troops on the French soil. It was the reign of Elizabeth, that
true birth of the progress of England, that first developed the powers
of an armed navy. The Spanish invasion forced the country to meet the
Armada by means like its own; and the triumph, though won by a higher
agency, and due to the winds and waves, or rather to the Supreme
Providence which watched over the land of Protestantism, awoke the
nation to the true faculty of defence; and from that period alone
could the burden of the fine national song be realized, and Britain
was to "rule the main." The expeditions against the Spanish West
Indies, and the new ardour of discovery in regions where brilliant
fable lent its aid to rational curiosity, carried on the process of
naval power. The war against Holland, under Charles II., though
disastrous and impolitic, showed at least that the fleet of England
was the true arm of its strength; and the humiliation of the only
rival of her commerce at once taught her where the sinews of war lay,
and by what means the foundations of naval empire were to be laid. But
it was not until the close of the last century that the truth came
before the nation in its full form. The American war--a war of
skirmishes--had its direct effect, perhaps its providential purpose,
in compelling England to prepare for the tremendous collision which
was so soon to follow, and which was to be the final security of the
Continent itself. It was then, for the first time, that the nation was
driven to the use of a navy on a great scale. The war, lying on the
western shore of an ocean, made the use of naval armaments necessary
to every operation. The treacherous hostility of the French cabinet,
and the unfortunate subserviency of Spain to that treachery, made
corresponding energy on the part of England a matter of public demand;
and when France and Spain sent out fleets of a magnitude till then
unknown, England was urged to follow their example. The defeats of the
combined navies excited the nation to still more vigorous efforts; and
the war closed with so full a demonstration of the matchless
importance of a great navy to England, that the public feeling was
fixed on giving it the largest contribution of the national

The time was at hand when the trial was to involve every interest of
England and mankind. The first grand struggle of revolutionary France
with England was to be on the seas; and the generation of naval
officers who had been reared in the American war, then rising into
vigour, trained by its experience, and stimulated by its example,
gallantly maintained the honour of their country. A succession of
sanguinary battles followed, each on the largest scale, and each
closing in British victory; until the republic, in despair, abandoned
the fatal element, and tied her fortunes in the easier conflicts of
the land. The accession of Napoleon renewed the struggle for naval
supremacy, until one vast blow extinguished his hopes and his navy at
Trafalgar. Peace now exists, and long may it exist! but France is
rapidly renewing her navy, taking every opportunity of exercising its
strength, and especially patronising the policy of founding those
colonies which it idly imagines to be the source of British opulence.
But whether the wisdom of Louis Philippe limits the protection of
French trade to the benefits which commerce may confer on his vast
kingdom, or looks forward to the support which a mercantile navy may
give to a warlike one, we must not sleep on our posts. The life of any
individual is brief on a national scale; and his successor, whether
regent or republican, may be as hot-headed, rash, and ambitious, as
this great monarch has shown himself rational, prudent, and peaceful.
We must prepare for all chances; and our true preparation must be, a
fleet that may defy all.

It is a remarkable instance of the slowness with which science
advances, that almost the whole scientific portion of seamanship has
grown up since the middle of the seventeenth century, though America
had been reached in 1492, and India in 1496; and thus the world had
been nearly rounded before what would now be regarded as the ordinary
knowledge of a navigator had been acquired. England has the honour of
making the first advances. It was an Englishman, Norwood, who made the
first measurement of a degree between London and York, and fixed it at
122,399 English yards. The attention of the world thus once awakened,
Huygens and Cassini applied themselves to ascertain the figure of the
earth. The first experiments of the French _savans_ were in
contradiction to Newton's theory of the flattening of the poles; but
the controversy was the means of exciting new interest. The eyes of
the scientific world were turned more intently on the subject. New
experiments were made, which corrected the old; and finally, on the
measurement of the arc in Peru, and in the north, truth and Newton
triumphed, and the equatorial diameter was found to exceed the polar
by a two hundred and fourth part of the whole. This was perhaps the
finest problem ever solved by science; the most perplexing in its
early state--exhibiting for a while the strongest contradiction of
experiment and theory, occupying in a greater degree the attention of
philosophers than any before or since, and finally established with a
certainty which every subsequent observation has only tended to
confirm. And this triumph belonged to an Englishman.

The investigation by measurements has since been largely adopted. In
1787, joint commissions were issued by England and France to connect
the Greenwich and Parisian observations. Arcs of the meridian have
since been measured across the whole breadth of France and Spain, and
also near the Arctic circle, and in the Indian peninsula.

In navigation, the grand point for the sailor is to ascertain his
latitude and longitude; in other words, to know where he is. The
discovery of the latitude is easily effected by the quadrant, but the
longitude is the difficulty. Any means which ascertained the hour at
Greenwich, at the instant of making a celestial observation in any
other part, would answer the difficulty; for the difference in
quarters of an hour would give the difference of the degrees. But
clocks could not be used on shipboard, and the best watches failed to
keep the time. In the reign of Anne, Parliament offered a reward of L.
5000, perhaps not far from the value of twice the sum in the present
day, for a watch within a certain degree of accuracy. Harrison, a
watchmaker, sent in a watch which came within the limits, losing but
two minutes in a voyage to the West Indies; yet even this was an error
of thirty miles.

But, though chronometers have since been considerably improved, there
are difficulties in their preservation in good order which have made
it expedient to apply to other means; and the lunar tables of Mayer of
Gottingen, formed in 1755, and subsequently improved by Dr Maskelyne
and others, have brought the error within seven miles and a half.

Improvements of a very important order have also taken place in the
mariner's compass; the variation of the needle has been reduced to
rules, and some anomalies arising from the metallic attraction of the
ship itself, have been corrected by Professor Barlow's experiments.
The use of the marine barometer and thermometer have also largely
assisted to give notice of tempests; and some ingenious theories have
been lately formed, which, promising to give a knowledge of the origin
and nature of tempests, are obviously not unlikely to assist the
navigator in stemming their violence, or escaping them altogether.

The construction of ships for both the merchant and the public service
has undergone striking improvements within this century. Round sterns,
for the defence of a vessel engaged with several opponents at once;
compartments in the hold, for security against leaks; iron tanks for
water, containing twice the quantity, and keeping it free from the
impurities of casks; a better general stowage; provisions prepared so
as to remain almost fresh during an East Indian voyage; every means of
preserving health, suggested by science, and succeeding to the most
remarkable degree; a more intelligent system of shipbuilding, and a
constant series of experiments on the shape, stowage, and sailing of
ships, are among the beneficial changes of later times. But the one
great change--steam--will probably swallow up all the rest, and form a
new era in shipbuilding, in navigation, in the power and nature of a
navy, and in the comfort, safety, and protection of the crews in
actual engagement. The use of steam is still so palpably in its
infancy, yet that infancy is so gigantic, that it is equally difficult
to say what it may yet become, and to limit its progress. It will have
the one obvious advantage to mankind in general, of making the
question of war turn more than ever on the financial and mechanical
resources of a people; and thus increasing the necessity for
commercial opulence and intellectual exertion. It may expose nations
more to each other's attacks; but it will render hostility more
dreaded, because more dangerous. On the whole, like the use of
gunpowder, which made a Tartar war impossible, and which rapidly
tended to civilize Europe, steam appears to be intended as a further
step in the same high process, in which force is to be put down by
intelligence, and success, even in war, is to depend on the industry
of peace; thus, in fact, providing a perpetual restriction on the
belligerent propensities of nations, and urging the uncivilized, by
necessity, to own the superiority, and follow the example of the
civilized, by knowledge, habit, and principle.

It is not to be forgotten, even in this general and brief view of the
values of the British fleet, that it has, within these few years,
assumed a new character as an instrument of war. The Syrian campaign,
the shortest, and, beyond all comparison, the most brilliant on
record, if we are to estimate military distinction, not only by the
gallantry of the conflict, but by the results of the victory--this
campaign, which at once finished the war in Syria, gave peace to
Turkey, reduced Egypt to obedience, rescued the sultan from Russian
influence, and Egypt from French; or rather rescued all Europe from
the collision of England, France, and Russia; and even, by the
evidence of our naval capabilities, taught American faction the wisdom
of avoiding hostilities--this grand operation was effected by a small
portion of the British navy, well commanded, directed to the right
point, and acting with national energy. The three hours' cannonade of
Acre, the most effective achievement in the annals of war, exhibited a
new use of a ship's broadside; for, though ships' guns had often
battered forts before, it was the first instance of a _fleet_ employed
in attack, and fully overpowering all opposition. The attack on
Algiers was the only exploit of a similar kind; but its success was
limited, and the result was so far disastrous, that it at once fixed
the eye of France on the invasion of Algiers, and disabled and
disheartened the native government from vigorous resistance. The
victory of the fleet at Acre will also have the effect of changing the
whole system of defence in fortresses and cities exposed to the sea.

But a still further advance in the employment of fleets as an
instrument of hostilities, has since occurred in the Chinese
war--their simultaneous operation with troops. In former assaults of
fortresses, the troops and ships attacked the same line of defence,
and the consequence was the waste of force. From the moment when the
troops approached the land, the fire of the ships necessarily ceased,
and the fleet then remained spectators of the assault. But in this
war, while the troops attacked on the land side, the fleet ran up to
the sea batteries, and both attacks went on together--of course
dividing the attention of the enemy, thus having a double chance of
success, and employing both arms of the service in full energy. This
masterly combination the Duke of Wellington, the highest military
authority in Europe, pronounced to be a new principle in war; and even
this is, perhaps, only the beginning of a system of combination which
will lead to new victories, if war should ever unhappily return.

We now revert to the history of a naval hero.

John Jervis, the second son of Swynfen Jervis, Esq., was born on the
20th of January 1735. He was descended, on both the paternal and
maternal side, from families which had figured in the olden times of
England. The family of Jervis possessed estates in Staffordshire as
far back as the reign of Edward III. The family of Swynfen was also
long established in Worcestershire. John Swynfen was a public
character during the troubled times of Charles I. and Cromwell, and
until a late period in the reign of Charles II. He had been originally
a strong Parliamentarian; but, thinking that the party went too far,
he was turned out of parliament for tardiness by the Protector. But
his original politics adhered to him still; for, even after the
restoration, he was joined with Hampden, the grandson of the
celebrated patriot, in drawing up the Bill of Exclusion. Among his
ancestors by the mother's side was Sir John Turton, a judge in the
Court of King's Bench, married to a daughter of the brave Colonel
Samuel Moore, who made the memorable defence of Hopton Castle in the
Civil War.

But no man less regarded ancestry than the subject of the present
pages, who, in writing with reference to his pedigree, observed, in
his usual frank and straightforward language--"They were all highly
respectable; but, _et genus et proavos_, nearly all the Latin I now
recollect, always struck my ear as the sound maxim for officers and

His first school was at Burton-upon-Trent, where a slight incident
seemed to designate his future politics and fortitude. In 1745, when
the Pretender marched into the heart of the kingdom, without being
joined by his friends or opposed by his enemies, as Gibbon
antithetically observed, all the boys at the school, excepting young
Jervis and Dick Meux, (afterwards the eminent brewer,) wore plaid
ribands sent to them from home, and they pelted their two
constitutional playmates, calling them Whigs.

His father designed young Jervis for the law; but, in 1747, removing
to Greenwich on being appointed Counsel to the Admiralty and Auditor
to the Hospital, naval sights were too near not to prove a strong
temptation to the mind of an animated and vigorous boy. His parents
were still strongly for the adoption of his father's profession; but
there was another authority on the subject, the family coachman, one
Pinkhorne, who, saying that it was a shame to go into a profession
where all were rogues, determined the future hero; and, before the
year was over, he ran away, to commence life as a sailor. He was
reclaimed, however, by his family, and was regularly entered in the
navy, in January 1748, on board the Gloucester, fifty guns, Commodore
Townshend--twenty pounds being all that was given to him by his father
for his equipment. The Gloucester sailed for the West Indies; and
thus, at the age of thirteen, young Jervis began the world. It appears
that the rigid economy of his father, combined with the singular good
sense of this mere child, urged him to every means of acquiring the
knowledge of his profession. The monotonous life of a guard-ship
already seemed to him a waste of time, while the expenses on shore
must have been ruinous to his slender finances. He therefore
volunteered into whatever ship was going to sea. He thus writes to his
sister from on board the Sphinx, 1753:--"There are many entertainments
and public assemblies here, but they are rather above my sphere, many
inconveniences and expenses attending them; so that my chief employ,
when from my duty, is reading, studying navigation, and perusing my
own letters, of which I have almost enough to make an octavo volume."

At length, however, his twenty pounds were exhausted; and, at the end
of three years, he drew for twenty pounds more. It is vexatious to say
that his bill was dishonoured; and he never received another shilling
from any one. It is scarcely possible to conceive that so harsh a
measure could have been the result of intention; but it subjected this
extraordinary boy to the severest privations. To take up the
dishonoured bill, he was obliged to effect his discharge from one ship
into another, so as to obtain his pay tickets, which he sold at forty
per cent discount. His remaining six years on the station were spent
in the exercise of a severe economy, and the endurance even of severe
suffering. He was compelled to sell all his bedding, and sleep on the
bare deck. He had no other resource than, generally, to make and mend,
and always to wash, his own clothes. He never afforded himself any
fresh meat; and even the fruit and vegetables, which are so necessary
and so cheap, he could obtain only by barter from the negroes, for the
small share of provisions which he could subduct from his own
allowance. True as all this doubtless is, it reflects more severely on
the captain and officers of his own ship, than even upon his parents.
The latter, on the other side of the Atlantic, might have no knowledge
of his difficulties; but that those who saw his sufferings from day to
day could have allowed them to continue, argues a degree of negligence
and inhumanity, of which we hope that no present instance occurs in
our navy, and which at any period would appear incomprehensible. In
1754, young Jervis returned to England, and passed his examination for
lieutenant with great credit.

The commencement of the war with France was, like the commencement of
English wars in general, disastrous. We seldom make due preparation.
Fleets inferior to the enemy in equipment and number, are sent out on
the emergency; detachments of troops are sent where armies should have
gone; and thus victory itself is without effect. Thus for a year or
two we continue blundering if not beaten, and angry with our generals
and admirals for failing to do impossibilities. At last the nation
becomes fairly roused; the success of the enemy makes exertion
necessary; their insolence inflames the popular indignation; a great
effort is made; a triumph is obtained, and a peace follows, which
might have been accomplished half a dozen years before, at a tenth
part of the expense in blood and treasure which it cost to consummate
the war. Our troops under Braddock, a brave fool, were beaten by the
French and Indians in America. Our Mediterranean fleet was baffled
under the unfortunate command of Byng. Minorca was taken before our
eyes, and the naval and military stars of England seem to have gone
down together. Yet this era of national dishonour and public disgust
was followed by the three years of Chatham's administration, a period
of triumph that equaled the campaigns of Marlborough at the
commencement of the century, and was scarcely eclipsed even by the
splendours that followed its close.

The skill and talent of young Jervis had already given him distinction
among the rising officers of the feet. He had become a favourite with
Admiral Saunders, was taken with him from ship to ship; and when the
admiral was recalled from the Mediterranean to take the command of the
naval force destined to co-operate in the attack on Quebec, by the
heroic and lamented General Wolfe, young Jervis was selected to be
first lieutenant of the Prince, which bore the admiral's flag. On the
passage out, the general and his aide-de-camp, Captain, afterwards the
well-known Colonel Barré, were guests on board the Prince, and of
course Jervis had the advantage of their intelligent society. In
February 1759, the fleet sailed from England, and in June proceeded
from Louisburg to the St Lawrence. Lieutenant Jervis was now appointed
to the command of the Porcupine sloop; and on the general requesting a
naval force to escort his transports past Quebec, the Porcupine was
ordered by the admiral to lead. The service was one of extreme
difficulty; for the attempt to sound the channel the day before had
failed, though it was made by the master of the fleet, Cook,
afterwards the celebrated navigator. The winds suddenly falling calm,
prevented the Porcupine from reaching her station. A heavy fire was
instantly opened upon her from every gun that could be brought to
bear, and the army were in terror of her being destroyed, for the
general was on board. But Jervis's skill was equal to his gallantry;
he hoisted out his boats, cheered his men through the fire, and
brought his ship to her station.

A little incident occurred on the night before the memorable
engagement, which even at this distance of time is of painful
interest, but which shows the confidence reposed in the young naval
officer by the hero of Quebec. After the orders for the assault next
day were given, Wolfe requested a private interview with him; and
saying that he had the strongest presentiment of falling on the field,
yet that he should fall in victory, he took from his bosom the
miniature of a young lady to whom he was attached, gave it to Jervis,
desiring that, if the foreboding came to pass, he should return it to
her on his arrival in England. Wolfe's gallant fate and brilliant
victory are known: the picture was delivered to Miss Lowther.

After the capture of Quebec, Jervis was dispatched to England; and was
appointed to the Scorpion, to carry out important despatches to
General Amherst. On this occasion, he gave an instance of that
remarkable promptitude which characterised him throughout his whole
career. The Scorpion was in such a crazy state that she had nearly
foundered between Spithead and Plymouth. On reaching the latter port,
and representing at once the condition of the vessel and the
importance of the despatches, the port-admiral instantly ordered him
to proceed to sea in the Albany, a sloop in the Sound. But the Albany
had been a long time in commission; her people claimed arrears of pay;
and by no means relishing a voyage across the Atlantic in such
weather, they absolutely refused to heave the anchor. Their young
commander first tried remonstrance, but in vain; he then took a more
effectual means--he ordered his boat's crew, whom he had brought from
the Scorpion, to take their hatchets and cut the cables, and then go
aloft to loosen the foresail. Perceiving the kind of man with whom
they had to do, the crew submitted, and the Albany instantly proceeded
to sea: the ringleaders were punished; and the service was performed.
The Albany made New York in twenty-four days.

In October 1761, Commander Jervis was made Post, into the Gosport of
60 guns. Among his midshipmen was the afterwards Admiral Lord Keith.
In 1762, peace was made. The Gosport was paid off next year, and
Captain Jervis did not serve again until 1769, when he commanded the
Alarm of 32 guns for the next three years.

A striking incident occurred during the cruise of this vessel in the
Mediterranean, exhibiting not only the spirit of her captain, but the
historic recollections by which that spirit was sustained. One Sunday
afternoon, the day after her arrival at Genoa, two Turkish slaves, in
enjoyment of the holiday's rest from labour, sauntered from their
galley near the mole. Seeing the Alarm's boat, they jumped into her,
wrapped themselves in the British colours, and exclaimed, "We are
free!" The Genoese officer on duty, however, ordered them to be
dragged out, which was done, though one of them tore away in his
struggle a piece of the boat's pendant. On the circumstance reaching
the captain's ears he was indignant, and demanded instant reparation.
To use his own language:--"I required," said he, "of the Doge and
Senate, that both the slaves should be brought on board, with the part
of the torn pendant which the slave carried off with him; the officer
of the guard punished; and an apology made on the quarterdeck of the
Alarm, under the king's colours, for the outrage offered to the
British nation."

On the following Tuesday this was complied with in all the
particulars; but, unhappily, the government at home did not exhibit
the spirit of their gallant officer abroad; and in a letter which he
addressed to his brother he says:--"_I had an opportunity of carrying
the British flag, in relation to two Turkish slaves, as high as Blake
had ever done_, for which I am publicly censured; though I hope we
have too much virtue left, for me not to be justified in private."

The result, however, of this transaction was, that for many years
afterwards, in the Barbary states, if a slave could but touch the
British colours, which all our men-of-war's boats carry in foreign
ports, he could of right demand his release. This, however, was
counteracted as far as possible by the renewed vigilance of the Moors,
who kept all their slaves out of sight while a British flag flew in
the harbour. The allusion to the famous Blake shows with what studies
the young officer fed his mind, and in how high a spirit he was
prepared to adopt them.

Another instance of his skill and intrepidity soon followed. In March
1770, the frigate, after a tempestuous cruise, came to anchor at
Marseilles. An equinoctial gale came on, and after two days of
desperate exertion, and throwing many of the guns overboard, the
frigate was driven from her anchors, stranded on a reef of rocks, and
the crew in such peril that they were saved only by the most
extraordinary exertions, and the assistance of the people on shore.
The port officer, M. de Peltier, exhibited great kindness and
activity, and the ship was rapidly repaired, but with such an exact
economy, that its complete refit, with the expense of the crew for
three months, amounted only to £1415.

The first act of this excellent son was to write to his father:--"Do
not be alarmed, my dear sir, at the newspaper accounts which you will
hear of the Alarm. The interposition of Divine Providence has
miraculously preserved her. The same Providence will, I hope, give
long life to my dear father, mother, and brother."

In July he wrote to his sister from Mahon, after the repairs of the
vessel:--"The Alarm is the completest thing I ever saw on the water,
insomuch that I forgot she was the other day, in the opinion of most
beholders, her own officers and crew not excepted, a miserable sunken
wreck. Such is the reward of perseverance. Happily for my reputation,
my health at that period happened to be equal to the task, or I had
been lost for ever, instead of receiving continual marks of public and
private approbation of my conduct; but this is _entre nous_. I never
speak or write on the subject except to those I most love. You will
easily believe Barrington to be one; his goodness to me is romantic."

It is gratifying to state, that the English Admiralty, on the young
captain's warm representation of the French superintendent, M. de
Peltier's hospitality and kindness, sent a handsome piece of plate in
public acknowledgment to that officer; and, as if to make the
compliment perfect in all its parts, as it arrived before the frigate
had left the station, the captain had the indulgence of presenting it
in person; thus making, as his letter to his father mentioned, "the
family of Pleville de Peltier happy beyond description."

The frigate was soon after paid off, and as there was no probability
of his being speedily employed, he applied himself to gain every
species of knowledge connected with his profession. We strongly doubt
whether the example of this rising officer is not even more important
when we regard him in peace than in the activity and daring of war.
There is no want of courage and conduct in the British fleet; but life
on shore offers too many temptations to indolence, to be always turned
to the use of which it is capable. Captain Jervis, on the contrary,
appears always to have regarded life on shore preparatory to life
afloat, and to be constantly employed in laying up knowledge for those
emergencies which so often occur in the bold and perilous life of the
sailor. There is often something like a predictive spirit in the early
career of great men, which urges them to make provision for greatness;
and remote as is the condition of a captain of a smart frigate from
the commander of fleets, yet the captain of the Alarm, though the
least ostentatious of men, seems always to have had a glance towards
the highest duties of the British admiral. "Time," says Franklin, "is
the stuff that life is made of;" and as France is the antagonist with
which the power of England naturally expects to struggle, his first
object was to acquire all possible knowledge of the naval means of
France. The primary step was to acquire a knowledge of the language.
Accordingly, he went to France, and placed himself in a _pension_.
There he applied himself so closely to the study of the language, that
his health became out of order, and his family requested him to
return. But this he declined, and in his answer said that he had
adopted this pursuit on the best view a military man in his situation
could form. "For it will always," said he, "be useful to have a
general idea of this prevalent language, and a knowledge of the
country with which we have so long contended, and which must ever be
our rival in arms and commerce."

Having accomplished his object of acquiring sufficient fluency in
speaking French, his next excursion was to St Petersburg. He and
Captain Barrington went in a merchant vessel, and reached Cronstadt.
While at sea, Captain Jervis kept a regular log. During the voyage,
all the headlands are described, all the soundings noted, and every
opportunity to test and correct the charts adopted. As an example, he
remarks on the castle of Cronenburg, which guards the entrance into
the Sound, that it may be overlooked by a line-of-battle ship, which
may anchor in good ground as near the beach as she pleases. He remarks
the two channels leading to Copenhagen, puts all the lighthouses down
on his own chart, and lays down all the approaches to St Petersburg
accurately; "because," said he, "I find all the charts are incorrect,
and it may be useful." And he actually did find it useful; for when he
was at the head of the Admiralty, this knowledge enabled him, while
his colleagues hesitated, to give his orders confidently to Sir
Charles Pole, in command of the Baltic fleet. His sojourn at St
Petersburg was but brief; but it was at a time of remarkable
excitement. The Empress Catharine was at the height of her splendour,
a legislator and a conqueror, and surrounded by a court exhibiting all
the daring and dashing characters of her vast empire. His description
of this celebrated woman's character on one public occasion, shows the
exactness with which he observed every thing:--"When she entered the
cathedral, Catharine mingled her salutations to the saints and the
people, showing at once her compliance with religious ceremonials, and
her attentions to her servants and the foreign ambassadors. But she
showed no devotion, in which she was not singular, old people and
Cossack officers excepted. During the sermon she took occasion to
smile and nod to those whom she meant to gratify; and surely no
sovereign ever possessed the power of pleasing all within her eye to
the degree she did. She was dressed in the Guards' uniform, which was
a scarlet pelisse, and a green silk robe lapelled from top to bottom.
Her hair was combed neatly, and boxed _en militaire_, with a small
cap, and an ornament of diamonds in front; a blue riband, and the
order of St Andrew on her right shoulder."

He speaks of the empress excelling in that inclination of the body
which the Russian ladies substitute for the curtsy, and which he
justly regards as very becoming, the empress adding dignity and grace.
He describes Orloff as an herculean figure, finely proportioned, with
a cheerful eye, and, for a Russian, a good complexion: Potemkin as
having stature and shoulders, but being ill limbed and of a most
forbidding countenance. His examination of the Russian dockyards,
naval armament, and general style of shipbuilding, was most exact; and
he records in his notes his having seen, in the naval arsenals of
Norway, sheds to cover ships on the stocks--an important arrangement,
which was afterwards claimed as an invention at home.

After inspecting the harbours of Sweden and Norway, the travellers
returned by Holland, where they made similar investigations. In the
following year they renewed their tour of inspection, and traversed
the western parts of France. And this active pursuit of knowledge was
carried on without any pecuniary assistance beyond his half-pay. He
had hitherto made no prize-money. "To be sure," he said in after days,
"we sometimes did fare rather roughly; but what signifies that now? my
object was attained."

His character was now high, but it is to be presumed that he had some
powerful interest; for on his return he was appointed to two
line-of-battle ships in succession, the Kent, 74, and the Foudroyant,
84, a French prize, and reckoned the finest two-decker in the navy.

From this period a new scene opened before him, and his career became
a part of the naval history of England. In 1778 he joined the Channel
fleet, and his ship was placed by the celebrated Keppel as one of his
seconds in the order of battle, and immediately astern of the
admiral's ship, the Victory, on the 27th of July, in the drawn battle
off Ushant with the French fleet commanded by D'Orvilliers. The people
of England are not content with drawn battles, and the result of this
action produced a general uproar. Keppel threw the blame on the
tardiness of Sir Hugh Palliser, the second in command. Palliser
retorted, and the result was a court-martial on the commander of the
fleet; which, however, ended in a triumphant acquittal. It was not
generally known that Keppel's defence, which was admired as a model of
intelligence, and even of eloquence, was drawn up by Captain Jervis.
The transaction, though so long passed away, is not yet beyond
discussion; and there is still some interest in knowing the opinion of
so powerful a mind on the general subject. It was thus given in a
private letter to his friend Jackson:--"I do not agree that we were
outwitted. The French, I am convinced, never would have fought us if
they had not been surprised into it by a sudden flow of wind; and when
they formed their inimitable line after our brush, it was merely to
cover their intention of flight."

He then gives one of those comprehensive maxims which already show
the experienced "admiral:"--"I have often told you that two fleets of
equal force can never produce decisive events, unless they are equally
determined to fight it out, or the commander-in-chief of one of them
misconducts his line." We have then an instance of that manly feeling
which is one of the truest characteristics of greatness, and yet which
has been deficient in some very remarkable men.

"I perceive," says he, "it is the fashion of people to puff
themselves. For my part, I forbade my officers to write by the frigate
that carried the despatches. I did not write a syllable myself, except
touching my health; nor shall I, but to state the intrepidity of the
officers and people under my command, (through the most infernal fire
I ever saw or heard,) to Lord Sandwich," (first lord of the
Admiralty.) But one cannot feel the merit of this self-denial without
a glance at his actual hazards and services during the battle.

"In justice to the Foudroyant," he thus ends his letter, "I must
observe to you, that though she received the fire of seventeen sail,
and had the Bretagne, Ville de Paris, and a seventy-four on her at the
same time, and appeared more disabled in her masts and rigging than
any other ship, she was the first in the line of battle, and truly
fitter for business, in essentials, (because her people were cool,)
than when she began. _Keep this to yourself_, unless you hear too much
said in praise of others.


The national wrath was poured on Sir Hugh Palliser, Keppel's second in
command, whose tardiness in obeying signals was charged as the cause
of the French escape; so strong had already become the national
assurance that a British fleet could go forth only to victory. But the
succession of courts-martial cleared up nothing except the characters
of the two admirals. Palliser was enabled to show that his ship had
suffered so much from the enemy's fire as to be at least (plausibly)
unfit for close action, and the whole dispute on land closed, like the
naval conflict, in a drawn battle. Jervis was the chief witness for
Keppel, as serving next his ship; and his testimony was of the highest
order to the gallantry, skill, and perseverance of the admiral. But
Palliser was acknowledged to be brave; and it is evident from Jervis's
personal opinion, that when it was once the object of the enemy's
commander to get away, it was next to impossible to have prevented his

But these were trying times for the British navy: it was scarcely
acquainted with its own strength; the nation, disgusted with the
nature of the American war, refused its sympathy; without that
sympathy ministers could do nothing effectual, and never can do any
thing effectual. The character of the cabinet was feebleness, the
spirit of the metropolis was faction; the king, though one of the best
of men, was singularly unpopular; and the war became a system of
feeble defence against arrogant and increasing hostilities. France,
powerful as she was, became more powerful by the national
exultation--the frenzied rejoicing in the success of American
revolt--and the revived hope of European supremacy in a nation which
had been broken down since the days of Marlborough; a crush which had
been felt in every sinew of France for a hundred angry years. Spain,
always strong, but unable to use her strength, had now given it in to
the training of discipline; and the combined fleets presented a
display of force, which, in the haughty language of the Tuileries, was
formed to sweep the seas.

The threat was put in rapid and unexpected execution. The combined
fleet moved up the Channel; and to the surprise, the sorrow, and the
indignation of England, the British fleet, under Sir Charles Hardy,
was seen making, what could only be called "a dignified retreat." The
Foudroyant, on that melancholy occasion, had been astern of the
Victory, the admiral's ship. If Jervis had been admiral, he would have
tried the fate of battle--and he would have done right. No result of a
battle could have been so painful to the national feelings, or so
injurious in its effects on the feelings of Europe, as that retreat.
If the whole British fleet on that occasion had perished, its
gallantry would have only raised a new spirit of worth and power in
the nation; and England has resources that, when once fully called
into exertion, are absolutely unconquerable. But that was a dishonour;
and even now we can echo the feelings of the brave and high-minded
young officer, who was condemned to share in the disgrace. He writes
to his sister, as if to relieve the fulness of his heart at the
moment--"I am in the most humbled state of mind I ever experienced,
from the retreat we have made before the combined fleets all
_yesterday_ and _this morning_." The Admiralty ultimately gave the
retreating admiral an official certificate of good behaviour, "their
high approbation of Sir Charles Hardy's wise and prudent conduct;" but
"gallant and bold conduct" would have been a better testimonial. The
truth seems to be, that the Admiralty, blamable themselves in sending
him to sea with an inadequate force, and scarcely expecting to escape
if they had suffered him to lie under the charge, were glad to avail
themselves of his personal character as a man of known bravery; and
thus quash a process which must finally have brought them before the
tribunal. But let naval officers remember, that the officer who fights
is the officer of the nation. Nelson's maxim is unanswerable--"The
captain cannot be mistaken who lays his ship alongside the enemy."

This, too, was a period of cabinet revolutions. No favouritism can
sustain a ministry which has become disgustful to the nation. Lord
North, though ingenious, dexterous, and long enough in possession of
power to have filled all its offices with his dependents, was driven
from the premiership with such a storm of national contempt, that he
could scarcely be sheltered by the curtains of the throne. Lord
Rockingham, a dull minister, was transformed into a brilliant one by
his contrast with the national weariness of Lord North; and it fell to
the lot of Captain Jervis to give the country the first omen of
returning victory. France had already combined Holland in her
alliance, and the French minister, already made insolent by his
triumph in the Channel, had determined on a blow in a quarter where
English interests were most vulnerable, and where the assault was
least expected. A squadron of French line-of-battle ships, convoying a
fleet of transports, were prepared for an expedition to the East

The preparations for the combined movement were on an immense scale.
The fleets of France, Spain, and Holland were again to sweep the
Channel; and while the attention of the British fleets was thus
engrossed, the Eastern expedition was to sail from Brest. The
Admiralty, in order to counteract, or at least delay, this formidable
movement, immediately dispatched Admiral Barrington, with twelve sail
of the line, to cruise in the bay of Biscay. On the 18th of April the
French expedition sailed, and on the 20th, when Admiral Barrington had
reached a few leagues beyond Ushant, the Artois frigate signaled a
hostile fleet, but could not discover their flag or numbers. The
signal being made for a general chase, the Foudroyant, Jervis's ship,
soon left the rest of the fleet behind; and before night she had so
much gained upon the enemy as to ascertain that they were six French
ships of war, with eighteen sail of convoy. The whole of the British
fleet, being several leagues astern, was now lost sight of, and did
not come up till the following day. In the mean time Jervis was left
alone. At ten at night, the French ships of war separating, Jervis,
selecting the largest for pursuit, prepared to attack: at twelve, he
had approached near enough to see that the chase was a ship of the
line. The Foudroyant's superior manoeuvring enabled her to commence
the engagement by a raking fire. Its effect was so powerful, that the
enemy was thrown into extreme disorder, and was carried by boarding,
after an action of only three quarters of an hour. The prize was the
Pégase, seventy-four. The loss of life on board the enemy was great;
but by an extraordinary piece of good fortune, on board the Foudroyant
not a man was killed, Captain Jervis and five seamen being the only

To the gallantry which produced this striking success, the young
officer added extreme delicacy with respect to his prisoners. He would
not allow the first boat to be sent on board the prize, until he had
given written orders for the particular preservation of every thing
in the shape of property belonging to the French officers, adding at
the bottom of his memorandum,--"For though I have the highest opinion
of my officers, we must not be suspected of designs to plunder."

The result of the action was, that sixteen transports out of twenty
were taken, according to the letter of young Ricketts, the captain's
nephew. It must be owned, that brave as the French are, their admiral
made but a bad figure in this business: why the sight of one vessel
should have been sufficient to disperse a fleet of six men-of-war, and
of course ruin an expedition which must thus be left without convoy,
is not easily to be accounted for; or why, when the admiral saw that
his pursuer was but a single ship, he should not have turned upon him
and crushed him, it is equally difficult to say. It only shows that
his court wanted common sense as much as he wanted discretion. The
expedition was destroyed, and the Foudroyant had the whole honour of
the victory.

An action between single ships of this force is rare at any period,
and nothing could be nearer a match in point of equipment then the two
ships. The Foudroyant had the larger tonnage, and carried three more
guns on her broadside; but the Pégase threw a greater weight of shot,
had a more numerous crew, and a large proportion of soldiers on board.
The English ship, however, had the incomparable advantage of a crew
which had sailed together for six years, and been disciplined by such
an officer as Jervis.

The ministry and the king were equally rejoiced at this return of the
naval distinctions of the country, and the immediate consequence was,
the conferring of a baronetcy and the order of the Bath upon the
gallant officer. Congratulations of all kinds were poured upon him by
the ministry, his admiral, and his brother officers. The admiral
writes, in speaking of the squadron's cruise, "but the Pégase is every
thing, and does the highest honour to Jervis."

Another instance of his decision, and, as in all probability will be
thought, of the clearness of his judgment, was shortly after given in
the memorable relief of Gibraltar. As it was likely that the combined
fleets of France and Spain would oppose the passage of the British,
Lord Howe, at an early period, called the flag-officers and captains
on board the Victory, and proposed to them the question--Whether,
considering the superiority of the enemy's numbers, it might not be
advisable to fight the battle at night, when British discipline might
counterbalance the numerical superiority? All the officers junior to
Jervis gave their opinion for the night attack, but he dissented.
"Expressing his regret that he must offer an opinion, not only
contrary to that of his brother officers, but also, as he feared, to
that of his commander-in-chief, he was convinced that battle in the
day would be greatly preferable. In the first place, because it would
give an opportunity for the display of his lordship's tactics, and
afford the means of taking prompt advantage of any mistake of the
enemy, change of the wind, or any other favourable circumstance; while
in the mêlée of a battle at night, there must always be greater risk
of separation, and of ships receiving the fire of their friends as
well as their foes." It is obvious to every comprehension, that a
night action must preclude all manoeuvring, and prevent the greater
skill of the tactician from having any advantage over the blunderer
who turns his ships into mere batteries. The only officer who
coincided with Jervis was Admiral Barrington, who gave as an
additional and a just argument for the attack by day, that it would
give an opportunity of ascertaining the conduct of the respective
captains in action. On those opinions Lord Howe made no comment; but
it is presumed that he ultimately agreed with them, from his conduct
in the celebrated action of the 1st of June 1794, when he had the
enemy's fleet directly to leeward of him from the night before.

In the relief of Gibraltar, the Foudroyant had the honour to be the
ship which was dispatched from the fleet to escort the victuallers
into the harbour, which was accomplished amid the acclamations of the
garrison. It had been expected that Lord Howe would have attacked the
combined fleets, and the nation of course looked forward to a victory;
but they were disappointed. The fact is, that Lord Howe, though a
brave man, and what is generally regarded as a good officer, was of a
different class of mind from the Jervises and Nelsons. He did his
duty, but he did no more. The men who were yet to give a character to
the navy did more than their duty, suffered no opportunity of
distinction to escape them, relied on the invincibility of British
prowess when it was boldly directed, and by that reliance rendered it

There was a kindness and generosity of nature in this future
"thunderbolt of war," which shows how compatible the gentler feelings
are with the gallant daring, and comprehensive talent of the great
commander. Having happened to receive the Duc de Chabelais on board
his ship when at Cadiz, the politeness of his reception caused the
Sardinian prince to exhibit his gratitude in some handsome presents to
the officers. One of Jervis's letters mentions, that the prince had
given to each of the lieutenants a handsome gold box; to the
lieutenant of marines and five of the midshipmen gold watches; and to
the other officers and ship's company, a princely sum of money.

"I pride myself," he adds, "exceedingly in the presents being so
diffused; on all former occasions they have centred in the captain."
In another letter he says,--"I was twenty-four hours in the bay of
Marseilles about a fortnight ago, just time to receive the warm
embraces of a man to whose bravery and friendship I had some months
before been indebted for my reputation, the preservation of the people
under my command, and of the Alarm. You would have felt infinite
pleasure at the scene of our interview." In a letter to the
under-secretary of the Admiralty, he says,--"My dear Jackson, you must
allow me to interest your humanity in favour of poor Spicer, who,
overwhelmed with dropsy, asthma, and a large family, and with nothing
but his pay to support him under those afflictions, is appointed to
the ---- under a mean man, and very likely to go to the East Indies.
The letter which he writes to the Board, desiring to be excused from
his appointment, is dictated by me."

He then mentions a contingency, "in which case I shall write for
Spicer to be first lieutenant of the Foudroyant, with intention to
nurse him, and keep him clear of all expense." Shortly after the
Foudroyant was paid off, Sir John Jervis was united to a lady to whom
he had long been attached, the daughter of Sir Thomas Parker, Chief
Baron of the Exchequer. Every man in England, as he rises into
distinction, necessarily becomes a politician. It was the misfortune
of Sir John Jervis, and it was his only misfortune, that he was a
politician before he had risen into distinction. Having had the ill
luck to profess himself a Whig, at a period when he could scarcely
have known the nature of the connexion, he unhappily adhered to it
long after Whiggism had ceased to possess either public utility or
national respect. But his Whiggism was unconscious Toryism after all:
it was what even his biographer is forced to call it, Whig Royalism,
or pretty nearly what Blake's Republicanism was--a determination to
raise his country to the highest eminence to which his talents and
bravery could contribute, without regarding by whom the government was
administered. At the general election of 1784, he sat for Yarmouth.

In 1787, Sir John Jervis was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral. At
the general election in 1790, he was returned for Wycombe, and shared
in parliament the successive defeats of his party; until, in 1793, he
was called to a nobler field, in which, unembarrassed by party, and
undegraded by Whiggism, his talents took their natural direction in
the cause of his country. It is now scarcely necessary to remark upon
the narrow system of enterprise with which England began the great
revolutionary war; nor can it now be doubted that, if the energies of
the country had been directed to meet the enemy in Europe, measureless
misfortunes might have been averted. If the succession of fleets and
armies which were wasted upon the conquest of the French West Indies,
had been employed in the protection of the feebler European states,
there can be no question that the progress of the French armies would
have been signally retarded, if invasion had not been thrown back
over the French frontier. For instance, it would have been utterly
impossible for Napoleon, in 1796, to have marched triumphantly
throughout Italy with the British fleet covering the coast, commanding
all the harbours, and ready to throw in troops in aid of the
insurrections in his rear.

But it was the policy of the time to pacify the merchants, whose
bugbear was a negro insurrection in the West Indies; and whether the
genius or the fears of Pitt gave way to the impression, the
consequence was equally lamentable--the mighty power of England was
wasted on the capture of sugar islands, which we did not want, which
we could not cultivate, and which cost the lives, by disease and
climate, of ten times the number of gallant men who might have saved
Europe. At the close of 1793, a grand expedition against the French
Caribbee islands was resolved upon by the British cabinet; and it is a
remarkable instance of both the reputation of Sir John Jervis and the
impartiality of the great minister, that a Whig member of parliament
should have been chosen to command the naval part of the expedition.

The expedition consisted of twenty-two ships of war and six thousand
troops, the troops divided into three brigades, of which one was
commanded by the late Duke of Kent. Sir John Jervis hoisted his flag
as vice-admiral of the blue on the 3d of October.

A ludicrous circumstance occurred in the instance of a favourite
officer, Mr Bayntun, who had applied for permission to join Sir John.
Bayntun received in answer the following decisive note: "Sir, your
having thought fit to take to yourself a wife, you are to look for no
further attention from your humble servant, J. JERVIS." It happened
that Bayntun was a bachelor, and he instantly wrote an exculpatory
letter, denying that he had been guilty of so formidable a charge. The
mistake arose from a misdirection in two notes which the admiral had
written on the same subject. He had left them to Lady Jervis to
direct, and she had addressed them to the wrong persons. The
consequence, however, was, that Bayntun received the appointment, and
the married man the refusal. This inveteracy against married officers
seems strange in one who had committed the same crime himself; yet he
constantly persisted in calling officers who married moon-struck, and
appears at all times to have regarded matrimony in the service as
little short of personal ruin.

On the passage out, a curious circumstance occurred to the Zebra
frigate, under command of the gallant Robert Faulknor. The Zebra,
which had been separated from the rest of the squadron, saw one
evening a ship on the horizon. All sail was made in chase, and the
ship was discovered to be a twenty-eight gun frigate. All contrivances
were adopted to induce her to show her colours, but without success.
At length Faulknor, impatient of delay, and disregarding the disparity
of force, closed upon her, and jumped on board at the head of his men.
To his astonishment he found that she was a Dutch frigate, quietly
pursuing her way; and as Holland was at peace with England, equally
unexpecting and unprepared for an attack. This instance of apathy
night have procured her a broadside; but luckily the affair finished
with the shaking of hands.

On the 5th of February the expedition reached Martinique. On the 18th
of March Fort Lewis was stormed, General Rochambeau capitulated, and
Martinique was taken, St Lucie followed, the Saintes next fell, and
the final conquest was Guadaloupe. Thus in three months the capture of
the French islands was complete.

But an enemy more formidable than the sword was now to be encountered.
The yellow fever began its ravages. The troops perished in such
numbers, that the regiments were reduced to skeletons; and just at the
moment when the disease was at its height, Victor Hughes was
dispatched from France with an expedition. The islands fell one by one
into his hands, and the campaign was utterly thrown away.

The romantic portion of the European campaigns now began. The French
Directory, unpopular at home, wearied by the sanguinary successes of
the Vendéan insurrection, and baffled in their invasion of Germany,
were in a condition of the greatest perplexity, when a new wonder of
war taught France again to conquer. Napoleon Bonaparte, since so
memorable, but then known only as commanding a company of artillery at
Toulon, and repelling the armed mob in Paris, was appointed to command
the army on the Italian frontier. Even now, with all our knowledge of
his genius, and the splendid experience of his successes, his sudden
elevation, his daring offer of command, his plan of the Italian
campaign, and his almost instantaneous victories, are legitimate
matter of astonishment. In him we have the instance of a young man of
twenty-six, who had never seen a campaign, who had never commanded a
brigade, nor even a regiment, undertaking the command of an army,
proposing the invasion of a country of eighteen millions, garrisoned
by the army of one of the greatest military powers of Europe, which
had nearly 300,000 soldiers in the field, and which was in the most
intimate alliance with all the sovereigns of Italy. Yet, extravagant
as all those conceptions seem, and improbable as those results
certainly were, two campaigns saw every project realized--Italy
conquered, the Tyrol, the great southern barrier of Austria,
overpassed, and peace signed within a hundred miles of Vienna. The
invasion of Italy first awoke the British ministry to the true
direction of the vast naval powers of England. To save Italy if
possible, was the primary object; the next was to prevent the
superiority of the French fleet in the Mediterranean. A powerful fleet
had been prepared in Toulon, for the purpose of aiding the French army
in its invasion, and finally taking possession of all the ports and
islands, until it should have realized the project of Louis XIV., of
turning the Mediterranean into a French lake. It was determined to
keep up a powerful British fleet to oppose this project, and Sir John
Jervis was appointed to the command. Nothing could be a higher
testimony to the opinion entertained of his talents, as his connexion
with the Whigs was undisguised. But Pitt's feeling for the public
service overcame all personal predilections, and this great officer
was sent to take the command of the most extensive and important
station to which a British admiral could be appointed. Lord Hood had
previously declined it, on the singular plea of inadequacy of force;
and Sir Charles Hotham having solicited his recall in consequence of
declining health, the gallant Jervis was sent forth to establish the
renown of his country and his own.

The fleet was a noble command. It consisted on the whole of about
twenty-five sail of the line, two of them of a hundred guns, and five
of ninety-eight; thirty-six frigates, and fifteen or sixteen sloops
and other armed vessels.

Among the officers of the fleet were almost all the names which
subsequently obtained distinction in the great naval victories--
Troubridge, Hallowell, Hood, Collingwood, &c., and first of the first,
that star of the British seaman, Nelson. It is remarkable, and only a
just tribute to the new admiral, that he, almost from his earliest
intercourse with those gallant men, marked their merits, although
hitherto they had found no opportunities of acquiring distinction--all
were to come. Nelson, in writing to his wife, speaking of the
admiral's notice of him, says, "Sir John Jervis was a perfect stranger
to me, therefore I feel the more flattered." The admiral, in writing
to the secretary of the Admiralty, says--"I am afraid of being thought
a puffer, like many of my brethren, or I should before have dealt out
to the Board the merits of Captain Troubridge, which are very

The French fleet, of fifteen sail of the line, lay in Toulon, ready to
convoy an army to plunge upon the Roman states. Sir John Jervis
instantly proceeded to block up Toulon, keeping what is called the
in-shore squadron looking into the harbour's mouth, while the main
body cruised outside. The admiral at once employed Nelson on the
brilliant service for which he was fitted, and sent him with a flying
squadron of a ship of the line, three frigates, and two sloops, to
scour the coast of Italy. The duties of the Mediterranean fleet,
powerful as the armament was, were immense. Independently of the
blockade of Toulon, and the necessity of continually watching the
enemy's fleet, which might be brought out by the same wind which blew
off the British, the admiral had the responsibility of protecting the
Mediterranean convoys, of sustaining the British interests in the
neutral courts, of assisting the allies on shore, of overawing the
Barbary powers, which were then peculiarly restless and insolent, and
of upholding the general supremacy of England, from Smyrna to

The French campaign opened on the 9th of April 1797, and the Austrians
were beaten on the following day at Montenotte, and in a campaign of a
month Bonaparte reached Milan. The success of the enemy increased to
an extraordinary degree the difficulties of the British admiral. The
repairs of the fleet, the provisioning, and every other circumstance
connected with the land, lay under increased impediments; but they
were all gradually overcome by the vigilance and intelligence of the

A curious and characteristic circumstance occurred, soon after his
taking the command. Nelson had captured a vessel carrying 152 Austrian
grenadiers, who had been made prisoners by the French, and actually
sold by their captors to the Spaniards, for the purpose of enlisting
them in the Spanish army. His letter to Jackson, the secretary of
legation at Turin, on this subject, spiritedly expresses his

    "SIR,--From a Swiss dealer in human flesh, the demand made
    upon me to deliver up 152 Austrian grenadiers, serving on
    board his Majesty's fleet under my command, is natural enough,
    but that a Spaniard, who is a noble creature, should join in
    such a demand, I must confess astonishes me; and I can only
    account for it by the Chevalier Caamano being ignorant that
    the persons in question were made prisoners of war in the last
    war with General Beaulieu, and are not deserters, and that
    they were most basely sold by the French commissaries to the
    vile crimps who recruit for the foreign regiments in the
    service of Spain. It is high time a stop should be put to this
    abominable traffic, a million times more disgraceful than the
    African slave-trade."

But other dangers now menaced the British supremacy in the
Mediterranean. The victories of Bonaparte had terrified all the
Italian states into neutrality or absolute submission; and the success
of the Directory, and perhaps their bribes, influenced the miserably
corrupt and feeble Spanish ministry, to make common cause with the
conquering republic. Spain at last became openly hostile. This was a
tremendous increase of hazards, because Spain had fifty-seven sail of
the line, and a crowd of frigates. The difficulty of blockading Toulon
was now increased by the failure of provisions. On the night of the 2d
of November, the admiral sent for the master of the Victory, and told
him that he now had not the least hope of being reinforced, and had
made up his mind to push down to Gibraltar with all possible dispatch.

The passage became a stormy one, and it was with considerable
difficulty that the fleet reached Gibraltar. Some of the transports
were lost, a ship of the line went down, and several of the fleet were

The result of the French successes and the Austrian misfortunes, was
an order for the fleet to leave the Mediterranean, and take up its
station at the Tagus. The vivid spirit of Nelson was especially
indignant at this change of scene. In one of his letters he says--"We
are preparing to leave the Mediterranean, a measure which I cannot
approve. They at home do not know what this fleet is capable of
performing--any thing, and every thing. Of all the fleets I ever saw,
I never saw one, in point of officers and men, equal to Sir John
Jervis's, who is a commander able to lead them to glory." The
admiral's merits were recognized by the government in a still more
permanent manner; for, by a despatch from the Admiralty in February
1797, it was announced that the king had raised him to the dignity of
the peerage.

The prospect now darkened round every quarter of the horizon. The
power of Austria had given way; Spain and Holland were combined
against our naval supremacy; Italy was lost; a French expedition
threatened Ireland; there was a strong probability of the invasion of
Portugal; and the junction of the French and Spanish fleets might
endanger not merely the Tagus fleet, but expose the Channel fleet to
an encounter with numbers so superior, as to leave the British shores
open to invasion. The domestic difficulties, too, had their share.
The necessity of suspending cash payments at the Bank had, if not
thrown a damp upon the nation, at least given so formidable a ground
for the fallacies and bitterness of the Opposition, as deeply to
embarrass even the fortitude of the great minister. We can now see how
slightly all these hazards eventually affected the real power of
England; and we now feel how fully adequate the strength of this
extraordinary and inexhaustible country was to resist all obstacles
and turn the trial into triumph. But faction was busy, party predicted
ruin, public men used every art to dispirit the nation and inflame the
populace; and the result was, a state of public anxiety of which no
former war had given the example.

It is incontestable that the list of the British navy at this period
of the war exhibited some of the noblest specimens of English
character--brave, intelligent, and indefatigable men, ready for any
service, and equal for all; with all the intrepidity of heroes,
possessing the highest science of their profession, and exhibiting at
once that lion-heartedness, and that knowledge, which gave the British
navy the command of the ocean. And yet, if we were to assign the
highest place where all were high, we should probably assign it to
Lord St Vincent as an admiral. Nelson certainly, as an executive
officer, defies all competition; his three battles, Copenhagen,
Aboukir, and Trafalgar, each of them a title to eminent distinction,
place him as a conqueror at the head of all. But an admiral has other
duties than those of the line of battle; and for a great naval
administrator, first disciplining a fleet, then supplying it with all
the means of victory, and finally leading it to victory--Lord St
Vincent was perhaps the most complete example on record of all the
combined qualities that make the British admiral. His profound
tactics, his stern but salutary exactness of command, his incomparable
judgment, and his cool and unhesitating intrepidity, form one of the
very noblest models of high command. All those qualities were now to
be called into full exertion.

The continental campaign had left Europe at the mercy of France.
England was now the only enemy, and she was to be assailed, in the
first instance, by a naval war. To prevent the junction of the Spanish
and French fleets, the Tagus was the station fixed upon by Lord St
Vincent. Ill luck seemed to frown upon the fleet. The Bombay Castle, a
seventy-four, was lost going in; the St George, a ninety, grounded in
coming out, and was obliged to be docked; still the admiral determined
to keep the sea, though his fleet was reduced to eight sail of the
line. The day before he left the Tagus, information was received that
the enemy's fleets had both left the Mediterranean. The French had
gone to Brest, the Spanish first to Toulon, then to Carthagena, and
was now proceeding to join the French at Brest. A reinforcement of six
sail of the line now fortunately joined the fleet off the Tagus; but
at the same time information was received that the Spanish fleet of
twenty-seven sail of the line, with fourteen frigates, had passed
Cadiz, and could not be far distant. To prevent the junction of this
immense force with the powerful fleet already prepared for a start in
Brest, was of the utmost national importance; for, combined, they must
sweep the Channel. The admiral instantly formed his plan, and sailed
for Cape St Vincent.

The details of the magnificent encounter which followed, are among the
best portions of the volumes. They are strikingly given, and will
attract the notice, as they might form the model, of the future
historian of this glorious period of our annals. We can now give only
an outline.

On the announcement of the Spanish advance, the first object was to
gain exact intelligence, and ships were stationed in all quarters on
the look-out. But on the 13th Captain Foote, in the Niger frigate,
joined, with the intelligence that he had kept sight of the enemy for
three days. The admiral was now to have a new reinforcement, not in
ships but in heroes; the Minerva frigate, bearing Nelson's broad
pendant, from the Mediterranean, arrived, and Nelson shifted his
pendant into the Captain. The Lively frigate, with Lord Garlies, also
arrived from Corsica. The signal was made, "To keep close order, and
prepare for battle." On that day, Lord Garlies, Sir Gilbert Elliot,
and Captain Hallowell, with some other officers, dined on board the
Victory. At breaking up, the toast was drunk, "Victory over the Dons,
in the battle from which they cannot escape to-morrow!"

The "gentlemen of England who live at home at ease," can probably have
but little conception of the price which men in high command pay for
glory. No language can describe the anxieties which have often
exercised the minds of those bold and prominent characters, of whom we
now know little but of their laurels. The solemn responsibilities of
their condition, the consciousness that a false step might be ruin,
the feeling that the eye of their country was fixed upon them, the
hope of renown, the dread of tarnishing all their past distinctions,
must pass powerfully and painfully through the mind of men fitted for
the struggles by which greatness is to be alone achieved.

"It is believed that Sir John Jervis did not go to bed that night, but
sat up writing. It is certain that he executed his will." In the
course of the first and second watches, the enemy's signal-guns were
distinctly heard; and, as he noticed them sounding more and more
audibly, Sir John made more earnest enquiries as to the compact order
and situation of his own ships, as well as they could be made out in
the darkness. Long before break of day, he walked the deck in more
than even his usual silence. When the grey of the morning of the 14th
enabled him to discern his fleet, his first remarks were high
approbation of his captains, for "their admirably close order, and
that he wished they were now well up with the enemy; for," added he
thoughtfully, "a victory is very essential to England at this moment."

Now came on the day of decision. The morning was foggy; but as the
mist cleared up, the Lively, and then the Niger, signaled "a strange
fleet." The Bonne Citoyenne was next ordered to reconnoitre. Soon
after, the Culloden's guns announced the enemy. At twenty minutes past
ten the signal was made to six of the ships--"to chase." Sir John
still walked the quarterdeck, and, as the enemy's numbers were
counted, they were duly reported to him by the captain of the fleet.

"There are eight sail of the line, Sir John."

"Very well, sir."

"There are twenty sail of the line, Sir John."

"Very well, sir."

"There are twenty-five sail of the line, Sir John."

"Very well, sir."

"There are twenty-seven sail of the line, Sir John." This was
accompanied by some remark on the great disparity of the two forces.
Sir John's gallant answer now was:--

"Enough, sir--no more of that: the die is cast, and if there are fifty
sail, I will go through them."

At forty minutes past ten the signal was made to form line of battle
ahead and astern of the Victory, and to steer S.S.W. The fog was now
cleared off, and the British fleet were seen admirably formed in the
closest order; while the Spaniards were stretching in two straggling
bodies across the horizon, leaving an open space between. The
opportunity of dividing their fleet struck the admiral at once, and at
half-past eleven the signal was made to pass through the enemy's line,
and engage them to leeward. At twelve o'clock, as the Culloden was
reaching close up to the enemy, the British fleet hoisted their
colours, and the Culloden opened her fire. An extraordinary incident,
even in those colossal battles, occurred to this fine ship. The course
of the Culloden brought her directly on board one of the enemy's
three-deckers. The first lieutenant, Griffiths, reported to her
captain, Troubridge, that a collision was inevitable. "Can't help it,
Griffiths--let the weakest fend off," was the hero's reply. The
Culloden, still pushing on, fired two of her double-shotted broadsides
into the Spaniard with such tremendous effect, that the three-decker
went about, and the guns of her other side not being even cast loose,
she did not fire a single shot, while the Culloden passed triumphantly
through. Scarcely had she broken the enemy's line, than the
commander-in-chief signaled the order to tack in succession.
Troubridge's manoeuvre was so dashingly performed, that the admiral
could not restrain his delight and admiration.

"Look, Jackson," he rapturously exclaimed, "look at Troubridge there!
He tacks his ship to battle as if the eyes of all England were upon
him; and would to God they were, for then they would see him to be
what I know him."

The leeward division of the enemy, perceiving the fatal consequences
of their disunited order of sailing, now endeavoured to retrieve the
day, and to break through the British line. A vice-admiral, in a
three-decker, led them, and was reaching up to the Victory just as she
had come up to tack in her station. The vice-admiral stood on with
great apparent determination till within pistol-shot, but there he
stopped; and when the Victory could bring her guns to bear upon him,
she thundered in two of her broadsides, sweeping the Spaniard's decks,
and so terrified him, that when his sails filled, he ran clear out of
the battle altogether. The Victory then tacked into her station, and
the conflict raged with desperate fury. At this period of the battle,
the Spanish commander-in-chief bore up with nine sail of the line to
run round the British, and rejoin his leeward division. This was a
formidable manoeuvre; but no sooner was it commenced, than his eye
caught it "whose greatest wish it ever was to be the first to find,
and foremost to fight, his enemy." Nelson, instead of waiting till his
turn to tack should bring him into action, took it upon himself to
depart from the prescribed mode of attack, and ordered his ship to be
immediately wore. This masterly manoeuvre was completely successful,
at once arresting the Spanish commander-in-chief, and carrying Nelson
and Collingwood into the van and brunt of the battle. He now attacked
the four-decker, the Santissima Trinidada, also engaged by the
Culloden. The Captain's fore-topmast being now shot away, Nelson put
his helm down, and let her come to the wind, that he might board the
San Nicolas; Captain, afterwards Sir Edward Berry, then a passenger
with Nelson, jumping into her mizen-chains, was the first in the
enemy's ship; Nelson leading his boarders, and a party of the 69th
regiment, immediately followed, and the colours were hauled down.
While he was on the deck of the San Nicolas, the San Josef, disabled,
fell on board. Nelson instantly seized the opportunity of boarding her
from his prize; followed by Captain Berry, and Lieutenant Pierson of
the 69th, he led the boarders, and jumped into the San Josef's
main-chains. He was then informed that the ship had surrendered. Four
line-of-battle ships had now been taken, and the Santissima Trinidada
had also struck; but she subsequently made her escape, for now the
Spanish leeward division, fourteen sail, having re-formed their line,
bore down to support their commander-in-chief: to receive them, Sir
John Jervis was obliged to form a line of battle on the starboard
tack--the enemy immediately retired. Thus, at five in the evening,
concluded the most brilliant battle that had ever till then been
fought at sea.

Captain Calder was immediately sent off with the despatch, and arrived
in London on the 3d of March. A battle gained over such a numerical
superiority, for it was much more than two to one, when we take into
our estimate the immense size of the enemy's ships, and their weight
of metal, there being one four-decker of 130 guns, and six
three-deckers of 112, of which two were taken; and further, the more
interesting circumstance, that this great victory was gained on our
part with only the loss of 73 killed and 227 wounded, the public
feeling of exultation was unbounded; and when the minister on that
very evening proposed that the vote of thanks should be taken on the
following Monday, the House would hear of no delay, but insisted on
recording its gratitude at the moment. The House of Peers gave a
similar vote on the 8th; and the Commons and the Crown immediately
proposed to settle upon the admiral a pension of three thousand
a-year. A member of the House of Commons, on moving for an address to
the Crown to confer some signal mark of favour on the admiral, was
instantly replied to by the sonorous eloquence of the minister--"Can
it be supposed," said he, "that the Crown can require to be prompted
to pay the just tribute of approbation and honour to those who have
eminently distinguished themselves by public services? On the part of
his Majesty's ministers, I can safely affirm, that before the last
splendid instance of the conduct of the gallant admiral, we have not
been remiss in watching the uniform tenor of his professional career.
We have witnessed the whole of his proceedings--such instances of
perseverance, of diligence, and of exertion in the public service, as,
though less brilliant and dazzling than the last exploit, are only
less meritorious as they are put in competition with a single day,
which has produced such incalculable benefit to the British empire."

The result was an earldom. The first lord of the Admiralty, Lord
Spencer, having already written to Sir John the royal pleasure to
promote him to a peerage, and the letter not having reached him
previously to the battle, he thus had notice of the two steps in the
peerage nearly at once.

Popular honours now flowed in upon him: London voted its freedom in a
gold box, with swords to the admirals of the fleet and Nelson;
vice-admirals Parker and Thompson were created baronets; Nelson
received the red riband; the chief cities and towns of England and
Ireland sent their freedoms and presents; and the king gave all the
admirals and captains a gold medal.

We must now be brief in our observations on the services of this most
distinguished person. We have next a narrative of the suppression of
the memorable mutiny of 1798, whose purpose it was to have suffered
the enemy's fleet to leave their harbours, to revolutionize the
Mediterranean fleet, and, after putting the admirals and captains to
death, proceed to every folly and frenzy that could be committed by
men conscious of power, and equally conscious that forgiveness was
impossible. The fleet under Lord St Vincent was on the point of
corruption, when it was restored to discipline by the singular
firmness of the admiral, who, by exhibiting his determination to
punish all insubordination, extinguished this most alarming
disaffection, and saved the naval name of the country.

On the resignation of Mr Pitt in 1801, and the appointment of Mr
Addington as first lord of the treasury, a letter was written from the
new minister to Lord St Vincent, offering him the appointment of first
lord of the Admiralty. Having obtained an interview with the king, and
explained the general tone of his political feelings, the king told
him he very much wished to see him at the Admiralty, and to place the
navy entirely in his hands. This was perhaps the only appointment of
that singularly feeble administration which met with universal
approval. There could be no question of the intelligence, high
principle, or public services of the great admiral. Mr Addington came
into power under circumstances which would have tried the talents of a
man of first-rate ability. The war had exhausted the patience, though
not the power, of the nation. All our allies had failed. The severity
of the taxes was doubly felt, when the war had necessarily turned into
a blockade on the Continent. We had thus all the exhaustion of
hostilities without the excitement of triumph; and, to increase public
anxieties, the failure of the harvest threatened a comparative famine.
Wheat, which on an average of the preceding ten years had been 54s. a
quarter, was now at 110s., then rose to 139s., and even reached as
high as 180s. At one period the quartern loaf had risen to 1s. 10-1/2d.
The popular cry now arose for peace. France, which with all her
victories had been taught the precariousness of war, by the loss of
Egypt and the capture of her army, was now also eager for peace.
England had but two allies, Portugal and Turkey. At length the peace
was made, and Lord St Vincent's attention was then drawn to an object
which he had long in view, the reformation of the dockyards. This was
indeed the Augean stable, and unexampled clamour arose from the
multitude who had indolently fattened for years on the easy plunder of
the public stores. However, the reform went on: perquisites were
abolished, privileges taken away; and, rough as the operation was,
nothing could be more salutary than its effect. The acuteness of the
gallant old man at the head of the Admiralty could not be evaded, his
vigour could not be defied, and his public spirit gave him an
influence with the country, which enabled him to outlive faction and
put down calumny. Yet this was evidently the most painful, and, to a
certain extent, the most unsuccessful portion of his long career.
Nominally a Whig, but practically a Tory--for his loyalty was
unimpeachable and his honour without a stain--Lord St Vincent found
himself in the condition of a man who presses reform on those with
whom hitherto it has been only a watchword, and expects faction to act
up to its professions.

The Addington treaty was soon discovered to be nothing more than a
truce. Napoleon lived only in war; hostilities were essential to the
government which he had formed for France; and his theory of
government, false as it was, and his passion for excitement, whatever
might be its price, made even the two years of peace so irksome to
him, that he actually adopted a gross and foolish insult to the
British ambassador as the means of compelling us to renew the
conflict. The first result was, the return of Pitt to power; the next,
the total ruin of the French navy at Trafalgar; the next, the bloody
and ruinous war with Russia, expressly for the ruin of England through
the ruin of her commerce; and finally the crash of Waterloo, which
extinguished his diadem and his dominion together--a series of events,
occurring within little more than ten years, of a more stupendous
order than had hitherto affected the fate of any individual, or
influenced the destinies of an European kingdom.

With the ministry of Mr Addington, Lord St Vincent retired from public
life. He was now old, and the hardships of long service had partially
exhausted his original vigour of frame. He retired to his seat,
Rochetts in Essex, and there led the delightful life of a man who had
gained opulence and distinction by pre-eminent services, and whose old
age was surrounded by love, honour, and troops of friends. He appeared
from time to time in the House of Lords, where, however, he spoke but
seldom, but where he always spoke with dignity and effect.

In the month of March 1823, Lord St Vincent was seized with a general
feeling of infirmity which portended his speedy dissolution. He had a
violent and convulsive cough; yet his intellects were strongly turned
upon public events, and he expressed an anxiety to know all that could
be known of events in France, which was then disturbed; of the Spanish
revolution, which then threatened to involve Europe; and even of the
affairs of Greece. In the course of the evening of the 13th, while his
physician and family were round him, his strength suddenly gave way,
and at half past eight he died, at the age of eighty-eight, and was
buried at Stone in Staffordshire. He was succeeded in the peerage by
his nephew, who, however, inherits only the viscounty.

In our general notice of Lord St Vincent's career, we have adverted as
little as possible to the opinions which his biographer had introduced
from his own view of public affairs. We have no wish to make a peevish
return to the writer of a work which has given us both information and
pleasure. But it is necessary to caution Mr Tucker against giving
trite and trifling opinions on subjects of which he evidently knows so
little as of the Romish question, or the state of Ireland. Nothing is
easier than to be at once solemn and superficial on such topics; and
when a writer of this order flings his epithets of "bigoted, harsh,
and impolitic," and the other stock phrases of party organs, he only
enfeebles our respect for his authority in the immediate matters of
his work, and rather lowers our respect for his faculties in all. The
question of Popery in Ireland, is not a question of religion but of
faction. Religious controversy on Romish doctrines has long ceased to
exist. Romanism has no grounds on which a controversy can be
sustained. It cannot appeal to the Scriptures, which it shuts up; and
it will no longer be suffered to appeal to its mere childish pretence
of infallibility. Its only ground in Ireland is party; and the present
unhappy condition to which it has reduced Ireland, exhibits the
natural consequences of indulgence to Popery, and the only means by
which its spirit can be rendered consistent with the order of society.

       *       *       *       *       *



    "Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
    Have I not heard the sea, puft up with wind,
    Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?
    Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
    And Heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?
    Have I not in the pitched battle heard
    Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets clang?"

On reaching the prison, I gave up all for lost; sullenly resigned
myself to what now seemed the will of fate; and without a word, except
in answer to the interrogatory of my name and country, followed the
two horrid-looking ruffians who performed the office of turnkeys. St
Lazare had been a monastery, and its massiveness, grimness, and
confusion of buildings, with its extreme silence at that late hour,
gave me the strongest impression of a huge catacomb above ground. The
door of a cell was opened for me after traversing a long succession of
cloisters; and on a little wooden trestle, and wrapt in my cloak, I
attempted to sleep. But if sleep has not much to boast of in Paris at
any time, what was it then? I had scarcely closed my eyes when I was
roused by a rapid succession of musket-shots, fired at the opposite
side of the cloister, the light of torches flashing through the long
avenues, and the shouts of men and women in wrath, terror, and agony.
I threw myself off my uneasy bed, and climbing up by my prison bars,
endeavoured to ascertain the cause of the mêlée. But the imperfect
light served little more than to show a general mustering of the
national guard in the court, and a huge and heavy building, into which
they were discharging random shots whenever a head appeared at its
casements. A loud huzza followed whenever one of those shots appeared
to take effect, and a laugh equally loud ran through the ranks when
the bullet wasted its effect on the massive mullions or stained glass
of the windows. A tall figure on horseback, whom I afterwards learned
to be Henriot, the commandant of the national guard, galloped up and
down the court with the air of a general-in-chief manoeuvring an army.
I think that he actually had provided himself with a truncheon to meet
all the emergencies of supreme command. While this sanguinary, and yet
mocking representation of warfare was going on, M. le Commandant was
in full eloquence and prodigious gesticulation. "A la gloire, mes
enfans!" was his constant cry. "Fight, _mes braves!_ the honour of
France demands it: the eyes of Europe--of the world--are turned upon
you. _Vive la Republique!_" And all this accompanied with waving his
hat, and spurring his horse into foam and fury. But fortune is a jade
after all; and the hero of the tricolored scarf was destined to have
his laurels a little shorn, even on this narrow field. While his
charger was caracoling over the cloisters, and his veterans from the
cellars and counters of Paris were popping off their muskets at the
unfortunates who started up against the old casement, I heard a sudden
rush and run; a low postern of the cloister had been flung back, and
the prisoners within the building had made a sally on their
tormentors. A massacre at the Bicêtre, in which six thousand had
perished, had warned these unhappy people that neither the prison
wall, nor night, was to be security against the rage of the
bloodhounds with whom murder seemed to have grown into a pastime; and
after having seen several of their number shot down within their
dungeon, they determined to attack them, and, if they must die, at
least die in manly defence. Their rush was perfectly successful; it
had the effect of a complete surprise; and though their only weapons
were fragments of their firewood--for all fire-arms and knives had
been taken from them immediately on their entrance into the
prison--they routed the heroes of the guard at the first charge. Even
the gallant commander himself only shared the chance of his
"camarades:" a flourish or two of his sabre, and an adjuration of
"liberty," had no other effect than to insure a heavier shower of
blows, and I had the gratification of seeing the braggadocio go down
from his saddle in the midst of a group, who certainly had no
veneration for the majesty of the truncheon. The victory was achieved;
but, like many another victory, it produced no results: the gates of
the St Lazare were too strongly guarded to be forced by an unarmed
crowd, and I saw the prisoners successively and gloomily return to the
only roof, melancholy as that was, which now could shelter them.

The morning brought my case before the authorities of this den. Half a
dozen coarse and filthy uniformed men, and some of them evidently
sufferers in the tumult of the night, for their heads were bound up
and their arms bandaged--a matter which, if it did not improve their
appearance, gave me every reason to expect increased brutishness in
their tempers--formed the tribunal. The hall in which they had
established their court had once been the kitchen of the convent; and,
though all signs of hospitality had vanished, its rude and wild
construction, its stone floor and vaulted roof, and even its yawning
and dark recesses for the different operations which, in other days,
had made it a scene of busy cheerfulness, now gave it a look of
dreariness in the extreme. I could have easily imagined it to be a
chamber of the Inquisition. But men in my circumstances have not much
time for the work of fancy; and I was instantly called on for my name,
and business in France. I had heard enough of popular justice to
believe, that I had now arrived within sight of the last struggle, and
I resolved to give these ruffians no triumph over the Englishman.

"Citizen, who are you?" Was the first interrogatory.

"I am no citizen, no Frenchman, and no republican," was my answer. My
judges stared at each other.

"You are a prisoner. How came you here?"

"You are judges; how came you there?"

"You are charged with crimes against the Republic."

"In my country no man is expected to criminate himself."

"But you are a traitor: can you deny that?"

"I am no traitor to my king; can you say as much for yourselves?" They
now began to cast furious glances at me.

"You are insolent: what brought you into the territory of France?"

"The same thing which placed you on that bench--force."

"Are you mad?"

"No--are you?"

"Do you not know that we can send you to the"--

"If you do, I shall only go before _you_."

This put an end to my interrogatory at once. I had accidentally
touched upon the nerve which quivered in every bosom of these fellows.
There was a singular presentiment among even the boldest of the
Revolutionists, that the new order of things would not last, and that,
when the change came, it would be a bloody one. Life had become
sufficiently precarious already among the possessors of power; and the
least intimation of death was actually formidable to a race of
villains whose hands were hourly imbued in slaughter. I had been
hitherto placed in scarcely more than surveillance. An order for my
confinement as a "Brigand Anglais," was made out by the indignant
"commission," and I was transferred from my narrow and lonely cell
into the huge crowded building in the opposite cloister, which had
been the scene of the attack on the previous night. I could, with
Cato, "smile on the drawn dagger and defy its point." I walked out
with the air of a Cato.

This change, intended for my infinite degradation until the guillotine
should have dispatched its business in arrear, I found much to my
advantage. The man who expects nothing, cannot be hurt by
disappointment; and when I was conducted from my solitary cell into
the midst of four or five hundred prisoners, I felt the human feelings
kindle in me, which had been chilled between my four stone walls.

The prisoners with whom I was now to take my chance, were of all
ranks, professions, and degrees of crime. The true crime in the eyes
of the republic being, to be rich. Yet there the culprit had some hope
of being suffered to live, at least while daily examinations, with the
hourly perspective of the axe, could make him contribute to the purses
of the tribunal. Those who happened to be poor, were found guilty of
_incivisme_ at once, and were daily drafted off to the Place de Grève,
from which they never returned. But some of the prisoners were from La
Vendée, peasants mixed with nobles; who, though no formal shape of
resistance to the republic was yet declared, had exhibited enough of
that gallant contempt of the new tyranny, which afterwards
immortalized the name, to render them obnoxious to the ruffians at its
head. It was this sturdy portion which had made the dash on the night
of the riot, and their daring had the effect, at least, of saving
their fellow-prisoners in future from being made marks, to teach the
national guard the art of shooting. Even their sentries kept a
respectful distance; and M. Henriot, wisely mindful of his
flagellation, flourished his staff of command no more within our
cloister. We were, in fact, left almost wholly to ourselves. Yet, if a
philosopher desired to take a lesson in human nature, this was the
spot of earth for the study. We had it in every shape and shade. We
had it in the wits and blockheads, the courtiers and the clowns, the
opulent and the ruined, the brave and the pusillanimous--and all under
the strangest pressure of those feelings which rouse the nature of man
to its most undisguised display. Death was before every eye. Where was
the use of wearing a mask, when the wearer was so soon to part with
his head? Pretence gradually vanished, and a general spirit of
boldness, frankness, and something, if not exactly of dignity, at
least of manliness, superseded the customary cringing of society under
a despotism. In all but the name, we were better republicans than the
tribe who shouted in the streets, or robbed in the tribunals.

I made the remark one day to the Marquis de Cassini, a philosopher and
pupil of the great Buffon. "The reason is," said he, "that men differ
chiefly by circumstances, as they differ chiefly by their clothes.
Throw off their dress, whether embroidery or rags, and you will find
the same number of ribs in them all."

"But my chief surprise is, to find in this prison more mutual
kindness, and, in every sense, more generosity of sentiment, than one
generally expects to meet in the world."

"Helvetius would tell you that all this was self-interest," was my
pale-visaged and contemplative friend's reply. "But I always regarded
M. Helvetius in the light of a well-trained baboon, who thought, when
men stared at his tricks, they were admiring his talents. The truth
is, that self-interest is the mere creature of society, and is the
most active in the basest society. It is the combined cowardice and
cruelty of men struggling for existence; the savageness of the forest,
where men cannot gather acorns enough to share with their fellows; the
effort for life, where there is but one plank in a storm, and where,
if you are to cling at all, it must be by drowning the weaker party.
But here," and he cast his eyes calmly round the crowd, "as there is
not the slightest possibility that any one of us will escape, we have
the better opportunity of showing our original _bienséance_. All the
struggling on earth will not save us from the guillotine; and
therefore we resolve to accommodate each other for the rest of our

I agreed with him on the philosophy of the case, and in return he
introduced me to some of the Vendéan nobles, who had hitherto
exhibited their general scorn of Parisian contact by confining
themselves to the circle of their followers. I was received with the
distinction due to my introducer, and was invited to join their supper
that night. The prison had once been the chapel of the convent; and
though the desecration had taken place a hundred years before, and the
revolutionary spoil had spared but little of the remaining ornaments,
the original massiveness of the building, and the nobleness of the
architecture, had withstood the assaults of both time and plunder. The
roofs of the aisles could not be reached except by flame, and the
monuments of the ancient priors and prelates, when they had once been
stripped of their crosses, were too solid for the passing fury of the
mob. And thus, in the midst of emblems of mortality, and the
recollections of old solemnity, were set some hundreds of people, who
knew as little of each other as if they had met in a caravansery, and
who, perhaps, expected to part as soon. The scene was curious, but by
no means uncheerful. The national spirit is inextinguishable; and,
however my countrymen may bear up against the extremes of ill-fortune,
no man meets its beginnings with so easy an air as the man of France.
Our supper was laid out in one of the side chapels; and, coarse and
scanty as it was, I seldom recollect an evening which I passed with a
lighter sense of the burden of a prisoner's time. I found the Vendéan
nobles a manlier race than their more courtly countrymen. Yet they had
courtliness of their own; but it was more the manner of our own
country gentlemen of the last century, than the polish of Versailles.
Their habits of living on their domains, of country sports, of
intercourse with their peasantry, and of the general simplicity of
country life, had drawn a strong line of distinction between them and
the dukes and marquises of the royal saloons. Like all Frenchmen of
the day, they conversed largely upon the politics of France; but there
was a striking reserve in their style. The existing royal family were
but little mentioned, or mentioned only with a certain kind of sacred
respect. Their misfortunes prohibited the slightest severity of
language. Yet still it was not difficult to see, that those
straightforward and honest lords of the soil, who were yet to prove
themselves the true chevaliers of France, could feel as acutely, and
express as strongly, the injuries inflicted by the absurdities and
vices of the successive administrations of their reign, as if they had
figured in the clubs of the capital. But the profligacies of the
preceding monarch, and the tribe of fools and knaves whom those
profligacies as naturally gathered round him as the plague propagates
its own contagion, met with no mercy. And, though they were spoken of
with the gravity which became the character and rank of the speakers,
they were denounced with a sternness which seemed beyond the morals or
the mind of their country. Louis XV., Du Barri, and the whole long
succession of corrupting and corrupted cabinets, which had at length
rendered the monarchy odious, were denounced in terms worthy of
gallant men; who, though resolved to sink or swim with the throne,
experienced all the bitterness of generous indignation at the crimes
which had raised the storm.

We had our songs too, and some of them were as contemptuous as ever
came from the pen of Parisian satire. Among my recollections of the
night was one of those songs, of which the _refrain_ was--

    "Le Bien-Aimé--_de l'Almanac_."

A burlesque on the title--Le Bien-Aimé, &c., which the court calendar,
and the court calendar _alone_, had annually given to the late king. I
can offer only a paraphrase.

     "Louis Quinze, our burning shame,
      Hear our song, 'old well-beloved,'
    What if courts and camps are tame,
      Pension'd beggars laced and gloved,
    France's love grows rather slack,
    Idol of--the Almanac.

     "Let your flatterers hang or drown,
      We are of another school,
    Truth no more shall be put down,
      We can call a fool a fool,
    Fearless of Bastile or rack,
    Titus of--the Almanac.

     "Louis, trample on your serfs,
      We'll be trampled on no more,
    Revel in your _parc aux cerfs_,[27]
      Eat and drink--'twill soon be o'er.
    France will steer another tack,
    Solon of--the Almanac!

     "Hear your praises from your pages,
      Hear them from your liveried lords,
    Let your valets earn their wages,
      Liars, living on their words;
    We'll soon give them nuts to crack,
    Cæsar of--the Almanac!

     "When a dotard fills the throne,
      Fit for nothing but a nurse,
    When a nation's general groan,
      Yields to nothing but its curse;
    What are armies at thy back,
    Henri of--the Almanac?

     "When the truth is bought and sold,
      When the wrongs of man are spurn'd,
    Then the crown's last knell is toll'd,
      Then, old Time, thy glass has turn'd,
    And comes flying from thy pack
    To nations a _new_ Almanac!

     "Mistress, minister, Bourbon,
      Rule by bayonets, bribes, and spies,
    Charlatans in church and throne,
      France is opening all her eyes--
    Down go minion, king, and quack,
    We'll have _our_ new Almanac!"

    [27] A scene of peculiar infamy near Paris.

When I returned to the place where my mattress was flung, the crowd
had already sunk to rest, and there was a general silence throughout
the building. The few lights which our jailers supplied to us, had
become fewer; and, except for the heavy sound of the doubled sentries'
tread outside, I might have imagined myself in a vast cemetery. The
agitation of the day, followed by the somewhat unsuitable gayety of
the evening, had thrown me into such a state of mental and bodily
fatigue, that I had scarcely laid my side on my bed, untempting as it
was, when I dropped into a heavy slumber. The ingenuity of our
tormentors, however, prohibited our knowing any thing in the shape of
indulgence; and in realisation of the dramatist's renowned _mot_,
"traitors never sleep," the prison door was suddenly flung open--a
drum rattled through the aisle--the whole body of the prisoners were
ordered to stand forth and answer to their names; this ceremony
concluding with the march of the whole night-guard into the chapel,
and their being ordered to load with ball-cartridge, to give us the
sufficient knowledge of what any attempt to escape would bring upon us
in future. This refinement in cruelty we owed to the _escapade_ of the
night before.

At length, after a variety of insulting queries, even this scene was
over. The guard marched out, the roll of their drum passed away among
the cloisters; we went shivering to our beds--threw ourselves down
dressed as we were, and tried to forget France and our jailers.

But a French night in those times was like no other, and I had yet to
witness a scene such as I believe could not have existed in any other
country of the globe.

After some period of feverish sleep I was awakened by a strange
murmur, which, mixing with my dreams, had given me the comfortless
idea of hearing the roar of the multitude at some of the horrid
displays of the guillotine; and as I half opened my unwilling eyes,
still heavy with sleep, I saw a long procession of figures, in flowing
mantles and draperies, moving down the huge hall. A semicircle of beds
filled the extremity of the chapel, which had been vacated by a draft
of unfortunate beings, carried off during the day to that dreadful
tribunal, whose sole employment seemed to be the supply of the axe,
and from which no one was ever expected to return. While my eyes, with
a strange and almost superstitious anxiety--such is the influence of
time and place--followed this extraordinary train, I saw it take
possession of the range of beds; each new possessor sitting wrapt in
his pale vesture, and perfectly motionless. I can scarcely describe
the singular sensations with which I continued to gaze on the
spectacle. My eyes sometimes closed, and I almost conceived that the
whole was a dream; but the forms were too distinct for this
conjecture, and the question with me now became, "are they flesh and
blood?" I had not sunk so far into reverie as to imagine that they
were the actual spectres of the unhappy tenants of those beds on the
night before, all of whom were now, doubtless, in the grave; but the
silence, the distance, the dimness perplexed me, and I left the
question to be settled by the event. At a gesture from the central
figure they all stood up--and a man loaded with fetters was brought
forward in front of their line. I now found that a trial was going on:
the group were the judges, the man was the presumed criminal; there
was an accuser, there was an advocate--in short, all the general
process of a trial was passing before my view. Curiosity would
naturally have made me spring from my bed and approach this
extraordinary spectacle; but I am not ashamed now to acknowledge, that
I felt a nervelessness and inability to speak or move, which for the
time wholly awed me. All that I could discover was, that the accused
was charged with _incivisme_, and that, defying the court and
disdaining the charge, he was pronounced guilty--the whole circle,
standing up as the sentence was pronounced, and with a solemn waving
of their arms and murmur of their voices, assenting to the act of the
judge. The victim was then seized on, swept away into the darkness,
and after a brief pause I heard a shriek and a crash; the sentence had
been fulfilled--all was over. The court now covered their heads with
their mantles, as if in sorrow for this formidable necessity.

But how shall I speak of the closing scene? However it surprised and
absorbed me in that moment of nervous excitement, I can allude to it
now only as characteristic of a time when every mind in France was
half lunatic. I saw a figure enveloped in star-coloured light emerge
from the darkness, slowly ascend, in a vesture floating round it like
the robes which Raphael or Guido gives to the beings of another
sphere, and, accompanied by a burst of harmony as it rose, ascend to
the roof, where it suddenly disappeared. All was instantly the silence
and the darkness of the grave.

Daylight brought back my senses, and I was convinced that the
pantomimic spirit of the people, however unaccountably it might
disregard proprieties, had been busy with the scene. I should now
certainly have abandoned the supernatural portion of the conjecture
altogether; but on mentioning it to Cassini, he let me into the
solution at once.

"Have you never observed," said he, "the passion of all people for
walking on the edge of a precipice, climbing a church tower, looking
down from a battlement, or doing any one thing which gives them the
nearest possible chance of breaking their necks?--then you can
comprehend the performance of last night. There we are, like fowls in
a coop: every day sees some of us taken out; and the amusement of the
remaining fowls is to imagine how the heads of the others were taken
from their bodies." The prisoners were practising a trial.

I gave an involuntary look of surprise at this species of amusement,
and remarked something on the violation of common feeling--to say
nothing of the almost profaneness which it involved.

"As to the feeling," said Cassini, with that shrug which no shoulders
but those of a Frenchman can ever give, "it is a matter of taste; and
perhaps we have no right to dictate in such matters to persons who
would think a week a long lease of life, and who, instead of seven
days, may not have so many hours. As to the profanation, if your
English scruples made you sensitive on such points, I can assure you
that you might have seen some things much more calculated to excite
your sensibilities. The display last night was simply the trial of a
royalist; and as we are all more or less angry with republicanism at
this moment, and with some small reason too, the royalist, though he
was condemned, as every body now is, was suffered to have his
apotheosis. But _I_ have seen exhibitions in which the republican was
the criminal, and the scene that followed was really startling even to
my rather callous conceptions. Sometimes we even had one of the
colossal ruffians who are now lording it over France. I have seen St
Just, Couthon, Caier, Danton, nay Robespierre himself; arraigned
before our midnight tribunal; for this amusement is the only one which
we can enjoy without fear of interruption from our jailers. Thus we
enjoy it with the greater gusto, and revenge ourselves for the
tribulations of the day by trying our tormentors at night."

"I am satisfied with the reason, although I am not yet quite
reconciled to the performance. Who were the actors?"

"You are now nearer the truth than you suspected. We have men of every
trade here, and, among the rest, we have actors enough to stock the
_Comédie Française_. If you remain long enough among us, you will see
some of the best farces of the best time played uncommonly well by our
fellow _détenus_. But in the interim--for our stage is permitted by
the municipality to open in the St Lazare only four times a month--a
piece of cruelty which we all regard as intolerable--our actors
refresh their faculties with all kinds of displays. You acknowledge
that the scene last night was well got up; and if you should see the
trial of some of our 'Grands Democrats,' be assured that your
admiration will not be attracted by showy vesture, blue lights, or the
harmonies of the old asthmatic organ in yonder gallery; our pattern
will be taken from the last scene of 'Il Don Giovanni.' You will have
no pasteboard figure suspended from the roof, and wafted upward in
starlight or moonlight. But if you wish to see the exhibition, I am
concerned to tell you that you must wait, for to-night all our
_artistes_ are busy. In what, do you conceive?"

I professed my inability to fathom "the infinite resources of the
native mind, where amusement was the question."

"Well then--not to keep you in suspense--we are to have a masquerade."

The fact was even so. France having grown tired of all things that had
been, grew tired of weeks, and Decades were the law of the land. The
year was divided into packs of ten days each, and she began the great
game of time by shuffling and cutting her cards anew. The change was
not marked by any peculiar good fortune; for it was laughed at, as
every thing in France was except an order for deportation to the
colonies, or a march to the scaffold. The populace, fully admitting
the right of government to deal with kings and priests as it pleased,
regarded the interference with their pleasures as a breach of compact;
and the result was, that the populace had their Dimanche as well as
their Decadi, and that the grand experiment for wiping out the Sunday,
issued in giving them two holidays instead of one.

It was still early in the day when some bustle in the porch of the
prison turned all eyes towards it, and a new detachment of prisoners
was brought in. I shall say nothing of the scenes of wretchedness
which followed; the wild terrors of women on finding themselves in
this melancholy place, which looked, and was, scarcely more than a
vestibule to the tomb; the deep distress of parents, with their
children clinging round them, and the general despair--a despair which
was but too well founded. Yet the tumult of their settling and
distribution among the various quarters of the chapel had scarcely
subsided when another scene was at hand. The commissary of the
district came in, with a list of the prisoners who were summoned
before the tribunal. Our prison population was like the waters of a
bath, as one stream flowed in another flowed out; the level was
constantly sustained. With an instinctive pang I heard my name
pronounced among those unhappy objects of sanguinary rule. Cassini
approached me with a smile, which he evidently put on to conceal his

"This is quick work, M. Marston," said he, taking my hand. "As the
ruffian in the school fable says, 'Hodie tibi, cras nihi'--twelve
hours will probably make all the difference between us."

I took off the little locket coutaining my last remembrance of
Clotilde, and put it into his hands, requesting him, if he survived,
to transmit it to his incomparable countrywoman, with an assurance
that I remembered her in an hour when all else was forgotten.

"I shall perform the part of your legatee," said he, "till to-morrow;
then I will find some other depositary. Here you must know that
heirship is rapid, and that the will is executed before the ink is
dry." He turned away to hide a tear. "I have not known you long, sir,"
said he; "but in this place we must be expeditious in every thing. You
are too young to die. If you are sacrificed, I am convinced that you
will die like a gentleman and a man of honour. And yet I have some
feeling, some presentiment, nay almost a consciousness, that you will
not be cut off, at least until you are as weary of the world as I am."

I endeavoured to put on a face of resignation, if not of cheerfulness,
and said, "That though my country might revenge my death, my being
engaged in its service would only make my condemnation inevitable. But
I was prepared."

"At all events, my young friend," said he, "if you escape from this
pandemonium of France, take this paper, and vindicate the memory of

He gave me a memoir, which I could not help receiving with a smile,
from the brevity of the period during which the trust was likely to
hold. The gendarme now came up to demand my attendance. I shook hands
with the marquis, who at that moment was certainly no philosopher, and
followed the train.

We were about fifty in number; and after being placed in open
artillery waggons, the procession moved rapidly through the suburb,
until we reached one of those dilapidated and hideous-looking
buildings which were then to be found startling the stranger's eye
with the recollections of the St Bartholomew and the Fronde.

A crowd, assembled round the door of one of these melancholy shades,
and the bayonets of a company of the national guard glittering above
their heads, at length indicated the place of our destination. The
crowd shouted, and called us "aristocrats, thirsting for the blood of
the good citizens." The line of the guard opened, and we were rapidly
passed through several halls, the very dwelling of decay, until we
reached a large court, where the prisoners remained while the judges
were occupied in deciding on the fate of the train which the morning
had already provided. I say nothing of the insults which were
intended, if not to add new bitterness to death, to indulge the
wretched men and women who could find an existence in attending on the
offices of the tribunal, with opportunities of triumphing over those
born to better things. While we remained in the court exposed to the
weather, which was now cold and gusty, shouts were heard at intervals,
which, as the turnkeys informed us, arose from the spectators of the
executions--death, in these fearful days, immediately following
sentence. Yet, to the last the ludicrous often mingled with the
melancholy. While I was taking my place in the file according to the
order of our summons, and was next in rotation for trial, a smart and
overdressed young man stepped out of his place in the rank, and
drawing from his bosom a pamphlet in manuscript, presented it to me,
with the special entreaty that, "in case I survived, I should take
care of its propagation throughout Europe." My answer naturally was,
"That my fate was fully as precarious as that of the rest, and that
thus I had no hope of being able to give his pamphlet to mankind."

"_Mais_, monsieur," that phrase which means so many inexpressible
things--"But, sir, you must observe, that by putting my pamphlet into
your charge, it has a double chance. You may read it as a part of your
defence; it is a treatise on the government of France, which settles
all the disputed questions, reconciles republicanism with monarchy,
and shows how a revolution may be made to purify all things without
overthrowing any. Thus my sentiments will become public at once, the
world will be enlightened, and, though _you_ may perish, France will
be saved."

Nothing could be more convincing; yet I continued stubborn. He
persisted. I suggested the "possibility of my not being suffered to
make any defence whatever, but of being swept away at once; in this
case endangering the total loss of his conceptions to the world;" but
I had to deal with a man of resources.

"No," said the author and philanthropist; "for that event I have
provided. I have a second copy folded on my breast, which I shall read
when I am called on for trial. Then those immortal truths shall not be
left to accident; I shall have two chances for celebrity; the labour
of my life shall be known; nor shall the name of Jean Jacques
Pelletier go to the tomb without the renown due to a philosopher."

But further deprecation on my part was cut short by the appearance of
two of the guard, by whom I was marched to the presence of the
tribunal. The day had now waned, and two or three lamps showed my
weary eye the judges, whose decision was to make the difference to me
between life and death, within the next half hour. Their appearance
was the reverse of one likely to reconcile the unfortunate to the
severity of the law. They were seven or eight sitting on a raised
platform, with a long table in their front, covered with papers, with
what seemed to be the property taken from the condemned at the
moment--watches, purses, and trinkets; and among those piles, very
visibly the fragments of a dinner--plates and soups, with several
bottles of cognac and wine. Justice was so indefatigable in France,
that its ministers were forced to mingle all the functions of public
and private life together; and to be intoxicated in the act of passing
sentence of death was no uncommon event.

The judges of those sectional tribunals were generally ruffians of the
lowest description, who, having made themselves notorious by violence
and Jacobinism, had driven away the usual magistracy, and, under the
pretext of administering justice, were actually driving a gainful
trade in robbery of every kind. The old costume of the courts of law
was of course abjured; and the new civic costume, which was obviously
constructed on the principle of leaving the lands free for butchery,
and preserving the garments free from any chance of being disfigured
by the blood of the victim--for they were the perfection of savage
squalidness--was displayed _à la rigueur_ on the bench. A short coat
without sleeves, the shirt sleeves tucked up as for instant execution,
the neck open, no collar, fierce mustaches, a head of clotted hair,
sometimes a red nightcap stuck on one side, and sometimes a red
handkerchief tied round it as a temporary "bonnet de nuit"--for the
judges frequently, in drunkenness or fatigue, threw themselves on the
bench or the floor, and slept--exhibited the regenerated aspect of
Themis in the capital of the polished world.

My name was now called. I shall not say with what a throb of heart I
heard it. But at the moment when I was stepping forward, I felt my
skirt pulled by one of the guard behind me. I looked, and recognized
through all his beard, and the hair that in profusion covered his
physiognomy, my police friend, who seemed to possess the faculty of
being every where--a matter, however, rendered easier to him by his
being in the employ of the government--and who simply whispered the
words--"Be firm, and acknowledge nothing." Slight as the hint was, it
had come in good time; for I had grown desperate from the sight of the
perpetual casualties round me, and, like Cassini's idea of the man
walking on the edge of the precipice, had felt some inclination to
jump off, and take my chance. But now contempt and defiance took the
place of despair; and instead of openly declaring my purposes and
performances, my mind was made up to leave them to find out what they

On my being marched up to the foot of the platform between two
frightful-looking ruffians, whose coats and trousers seemed to have
been dyed in gore, to show that they were worthy of the murders of
September, and who, to make "assurance doubly sure," wore on their
sword-belts the word "September," painted in broad characters, I
remained for a while unquestioned, until they turned over a pile of
names which they had flung on the table before them. At last their
perplexity was relieved by one of the clerks, who pronounced my name.
I was then interrogated in nearly the same style as before the
committee of my first captors. I gave them short answers.

"Who are you?" asked the principal distributor of rabble justice. The
others stooped forward, pens in hand, to record my conviction.

My answer was--

"I am a man." (Murmurs on the platform.)

"Whence come you?"

"From your prison."

"You are not a Frenchman?"

"No, thank Heaven!" (Murmurs again.)

"Beware, sir, of insolence to the tribunal. We can send you instantly
to punishment."

"I know it. Why then try me at all?"

"Because, prisoner, we desire to hear the truth first."

"First or last, can you bear to hear it?" (Angry looks, but more

"We have no time to waste--the business of the Republic must be done.
Are you a citizen?"

"I am; a citizen of the world."

"You must not equivocate with justice. Where did you live before you
were arrested?"

"On the globe." (A half-suppressed laugh among the crowd in the back

"What profession?"


"On what then do you live, have lived, or expect to live?"

"To-day on nothing, for your guards have given me nothing. Yesterday,
I lived on what I could get. To-morrow, it depends on circumstances
whether I shall want any thing." (A low murmur of applause among the
bystanders, who now gathered closer to the front.)

"Prisoner," said the chief, swilling a glass of cognac to strengthen
the solemnity of his jurisprudence, "the Republic must not be trifled
with. You are arraigned of _incivisme_. Of what country are you a

"Of France, while I remain on her territory."

"Have you fought for France?"

"I have; for her laws, her liberty, her property, and her honour."
(Bravo! from the crowd.)

"Yet you are not a Republican?"

"No; no more than you are."

This produced confusion on the bench. The hit was contemptuously
accidental; but it was a home-thrust at the chief, who had former been
a domestic in the Tuileries, and was still strongly suspected of being
a spy of the Bourbons. The crowd who knew his story, who are always
delighted with a blow at power, burst into a general roar. But a
little spruce fellow on the bench, who had already exhibited a desire
to take his share in the interrogatory, now thrust his head over the
table, and said in his most searching tone--

"To come to the point--Prisoner, how do you live? What are your means?
All honest men must have visible means. That is _my_ question." (All
eyes were now turned on me.)

I was now growing angry; and, pointing to the pile of purses and
watches on the table--

"No man," said I, "needs ask what are your visible means, when they
see that pile before you. Yet I doubt if that proves you to be an
honest man. That is _my_ answer."

The little inquisitor looked furious, and glanced towards the chief
for protection; but his intrusion had provoked wrath in that quarter,
and his glance was returned with a rigid smile.

"Prisoner," said the head of the tribunal, "though the question was
put improperly, it was itself a proper one. How do you live?"

"By my abilities."

"That is a very doubtful support in those times."

"I do not recommend you, or any of those around you, to make the
experiment," was my indignant answer.

The bystanders gave a general laugh, in which even the guard joined.
To get the laugh against one, is the most unpardonable of all injuries
in France, and this answer roused up the whole tribunal. They scarcely
gave themselves the trouble of a moment's consultation. A few nods and
whispers settled the whole affair; and the chief, standing up and
drawing his sabre from its sheath--then the significant custom of
those places of butchery, pronounced the fatal words, "Guilty of
_incivisme_. Let the criminal be conducted _à la Force_," the
well-known phrase for immediate execution.

The door was opened from which none ever came back. Two torches were
seen glaring down the passage, and I was seized by the grim escort who
were to lead me to the axe.

The affectation of cowardice is as childish as the affectation of
courage; but I felt a sensation at that moment which took me by
surprise. I had been perfectly assured of my sentence from the first
glance at the judges. If ever there was a spot on earth which deserved
Dante's motto of Erebus--

    "Voi qui entrate, lasciate agui speranza"--

it was the revolutionary tribunal. Despair was written all over it in
characters impossible to be mistaken. I had fixed my resolution to go
through the whole scene, if not with heroism, at least with that
decent firmness which becomes a man; yet the sound of the words which
consigned me to the scaffold struck me with a general chill. Momentary
as the period was, the question passed through my mind, are those
paralysed limbs the same which bore me so well through the hazards of
the campaign? Why am I to feel the fluttering of heart now, more than
when I was facing sabres and cannon-shot? Why am I thus frigid and
feeble, when I so lately fought and marched, and defied alike fatigue
and wounds? But I felt in this chamber of death an inconceivable
exhaustion, which had never approached me in the havoc of the field.
My feet refused to move, my lips to breathe; all objects swam round,
and sick to death and fainting, I thrust out my hand to save me from
falling, and thus gave the last triumph to my murderers.

At this decisive moment I found my hand caught by a powerful grasp,
and a strong voice exclaiming, "Messieurs, I demand the delay of this
sentence. The criminal before you is of higher importance to the state
than the wretches whom justice daily compels you to sacrifice. His
crime is of a deeper dye. I exhibit the mandate of the Government to
arrest the act of the tribunal, and order him to be reserved until he
reveals the whole of the frightful plots which endanger the Republic."

He then advanced to the platform; and, taking a paper from his bosom,
displayed to the court and the crowd the order for my being remanded
to prison, signed by the triumvirate, whose word was law in France.
Some confusion followed on the bench, and some bustle among the
spectators; but the document was undeniable, and my sentence was
suspended. I am not sure that the people within much regretted the
delay, however those who had been lingering outside might feel
themselves ill-used by a pause in the executions, which had now become
a popular amusement; for the crowd instantly pushed forward to witness
another trial of sarcasm between me and my judges; but this the new
authority sternly forbade.

"The prisoner," said he, in a dictatorial tone, "is now in my charge.
He is a prisoner of state--an Englishman--an agent of the monster
Pitt"--(he paused, and was answered with a general shudder;) "and,
above all, has actually been in arms with the fiend Brunswick, (a
general groan,) and with those worse than fiends, those parricides,
those emigrant nobles, who have come to burn our harvests, slay our
wives and children, and destroy the proudest monument of human wisdom,
the grandest triumph of human success, and the most illustrious
monument of the age of regeneration--the Republic of France." Loud
acclamations followed this popular rhetoric; and the panegyrist,
firmly grasping me by the arm, walked with me rapidly out of court.
All made way for him, and, before another word could be uttered by the
astounded bench, we were in one of the covered carriages reserved for
prisoners of the higher rank, and on our way, at full gallop, through
the intricate streets of Paris.

All this was done with such hurried action, that I had scarcely time
to know what my own emotions were; but the relief from immediate
death, or rather from those depressing and overwhelming sensations
which perhaps make its worst bitterness, was something, and hope
dawned in me once more. Still, it was wholly in vain that I attempted
to make my man of mystery utter a word. Nothing could extort a
syllable from him, and he was evidently unwilling that I should even
see his face, imperfect as the chance was among the few lamps which
Paris then exhibited to enlighten the dismal darkness of her
thoroughfares. Yet the idea that my rescue was not without a purpose
predominated; and I was beginning even to imagine that I already felt
the fresh air of the fields, and that our journey would terminate
outside the walls of Paris, when the carriage came to a full stop,
and, by the light of a torch streaming on the wind in front, I saw the
gate of the St Lazare. All was now over--resistance or escape was
equally beyond me. The carriage was surrounded by the guard, who
ordered me to descend; their officer received the rescript for my safe
custody, and I had nothing before me but the dungeon. But at the
moment when my foot was on the step of the vehicle, my companion
stooped forward, and uttered in my ear, with a pressure of my hand,
the word "Mordecai." I was hurried onward, and the carriage drove

My surprise was excessive. This talismanic word changes the current
of my thoughts at once. It had so often and so powerfully operated in
my favour, that I could scarcely doubt its effect once more; yet
before me were the stern realities of confinement. What spell was
equal to those stonewalls, what dexterity of man or friendship, or
even the stronger love of woman, could make my dungeon free, or my
chains vanish into "thin air?" Still there had been a interposition,
and to that interposition, whether for future good or ill, it
certainly was due that I was not already mounting the scaffold, or
flung, headless trunk, into the miserable and nameless grave.

As I passed again through the cloisters, my ears were caught with the
sound of music and dancing. The contrast was sufficiently strong to
the scene from which I had just returned; yet this was the land of
contrasts. To my look of surprise, the turnkey who attended me
answered "Perhaps you have forgotten that this is Decadi, and on this
night we always have our masquerade. If you have not got a dress, I
shall supply you; my wife is a _fripier_ in the Antoine; she supplies
all the civic fêtes with costumes, and you may have any dress you
like, from a grand signor with his turban, down to a _colporteur_ with
his pack, or a watchman with his nightcap."

My mind was still too unsettled to enjoy masquerading, notwithstanding
the temptation of the turnkey's wardrobe; and I felt all that absence
of accommodation to circumstances, that want of plasticity, that
failure of grasping at every hair's-breadth of enjoyment, which is
declared by foreigners to form the prodigious deficiency of John Bull.
If I could have taken refuge, for that night at least, in the saddest
cell of the old convent, or in the deepest dungeon of the new prison,
I should have gone to either with indulgence. I longed to lay down my
aching brains upon my pillow, and forget the fever of the time. But
prisoners have no choice; and the turnkey, after repeating his
recommendations that I should not commit an act of such profound
offence as to appear in the assembly without a domino, if I should
take nothing else from the store of the most popular _marchande_ in
Paris, the wife of his bosom, at last, with a shake of his head and a
bending of his heavy brows at my want of taste, unlocked the gate, and
thrust me into the midst of my old quarters, the chapel.

There a new scene indeed awaited me. The place which I had left filled
with trembling clusters of people, whole families clinging to each
other in terror, loud or mute, but all in the deepest dread of their
next summons, I found in a state of the most extravagant
festivity--the chapel lighted up from floor to root--bouquets planted
wherever it was possible to fix an artificial flower--gaudy wreaths
depending from the galleries--and all the genius of this country of
extremes lavished on attempts at decoration. Rude as the materials
were, they produced at first sight a remarkably striking effect. More
striking still was the spectacle of the whole multitude in every
grotesque dress of the world, dancing away as if life was but one

As I stood aloof for a while, wholly dazzled by the glare, the
movement, and the multitude, I was recognised by some of my "old"
acquaintance--the acquaintance of twenty-four hours--but here time,
like every thing else, had changed its meaning, and a new influx had
recruited the hall. Cassini and some others came forward and welcomed
me, like one who had returned from the tomb--the news of the day was
given and exchanged--a bottle of champagne was prescribed as the true
medicine for my lowness of pulse--and I gradually gave myself up to
the spirit of the hour.

As I wandered through the crowd, a mask dressed as a sylph bent its
head over my shoulder, and I heard the words, "Why are you not in a
domino?" I made some careless answer. "Go and get one immediately,"
was the reply. "Take this card, fasten it on your robe, and meet me
here again." The mask put a card marked with a large rose into my
hand, and was gone waltzing away among the crowd. I still lingered,
leaning against one of the pillars of the aisle. The mask again
approached me. "Monsieur Anglais," was the whisper, "you do not know
your friends. Go and furnish yourself with a domino. It is essential
to your safety." "Who are my friends, and why do you give me this
advice?" was my enquiry. The mask lightly tripped round me, laid its
ungloved hand on mine, as if in the mere sport of the dance; and I saw
that it was the hand of a female from its whiteness and delicacy. I
was now more perplexed than ever. As the form floated round me with
the lightness of a zephyr, it whispered the word "Mordecai," and flew
off into an eddy of the moving multitude. I now obeyed the command;
went to the little shrine where the turnkey's wife had opened her
_friperie_, and equipped myself with the dress appointed; and, with
the card fixed upon my bosom, returned to take my station beside the
pillar. But no sylph came again; no form rivaled the zephyr before me.
I listened for that soft, low voice; but listened in vain. Yet what
was all this but the common sport of a masquerade?

However, an object soon drew the general attention so strongly, as to
put an end to private curiosity for the time. This was a mask in the
uniform of a national guard, but so outrageously fine that his
_entrée_ excited an universal burst of laughter. But when, after a few
displays of what was apparently all but intoxication, he began a
detail of his own exploits, it was evident that the whole was a daring
caricature; and as nothing could be less popular among us than the
heroes of the shops, the Colonels Calicot, and Mustaches _au
comptoir_, all his burlesque told incomparably. The old officers among
us, the Vendéans, and all the ladies--for the sex are aristocrats
under every government and in every region of the globe--were
especially delighted. "Alexandre Jules Cæsar," colonel of the "brave
battalion of the Marais," was evidently worth a dozen field-marshals
in his own opinion; and his contempt for Vendôme, Marlborough, and
Frederick le Grand, was only less piquant than the perfect imitation
and keen burlesque of Santerre, Henriot, and our municipal warriors.
At length when his plaudits and popularity were at their height, he
proposed a general toast to the "young heroism," of the capital, and
prefaced it by a song, in great repute in the old French service.


    "Shoulder arms--brave regiment!
      Hark, the bugle sounds 'advance.'
    Pile the baggage--strike the tent;
      France demands you--fight for France.
    If the hero gets a ball,
    His accounts are closed--that's all!

    "Who'd stay wasting time at home,
      Made for women to despise;
    When, where'er we choose to roam,
      All the world before us lies,
    Following our bugle's call,
    Life one holiday--that's all!

    "When the soldier's coin is spent,
      He has but to fight for more;
    He pays neither tax nor rent,
      He's but where he was before.
    If he conquer, if he fall--
    _Fortune de la guerre_--that's all!

    "Let the pedant waste his oil,
      With the soldier all is sport;
    Let your blockheads make a coil
      In the cloister or the court;
    Let them fatten in their stall,
    We can fatten too--that's all!

    "What care we for fortune's frown,
      All that comes is for the best;
    What's the noble's bed of down
      To the soldier's evening rest
    On the heath or in the hall,
    All alike to him--that's all!

    "When the morn is on the sky,
      Hark the gay _reveillé_ rings!
    Glory lights the soldier's eye,
      To the gory breach he springs,
    Plants his colours on the wall
    Wins and wears the _croix_--that's all!"

The dashing style in which this hereditary song of the French camp was
given by "Colonel Alexandre Jules Cæsar" of the "brave battalion of
the Marais," his capitally awkward imitation of the soldier of the old
_régime_, and his superb affectation of military nonchalance, were so
admirable, that his song excited actual raptures of applause. His
performance was encored, and he was surrounded by a group of nymphs
and graces, among whom his towering figure looked like a grenadier of
Brobdignag in the circle of a Liliputian light company. He carried on
the farce for a while with great adroitness and animation; but at
length he put the circle of tinsel and tiffany aside, and rushing up
to me, insisted on making me a recruit for the "brave battalion of the
Marais." But I had no desire to play a part in this pantomime, and
tried to disengage myself. One word again made me a captive: that word
was now "Lafontaine;" and at the same moment I saw the sylph bounding
to my side. What was I to think of this extraordinary combination? All
was as strange as a midsummer night's dream. The "colonel," as if
fatigued, leaned against the pillar, and slightly removing his mask, I
saw, with sudden rejoicing, the features of that gallant young friend,
whom I had almost despaired of ever seeing again. "Wait in this spot
until I return," was all that I heard, before he and the sylph had
waltzed away far down the hall.

I waited for some time in growing anxiety; but the pleasantry of the
night went on as vividly as ever, and some clever _tableaux vivants_
had varied the quadrilles. While the dancers gave way to a
well-performed picture of Hector and Andromache from the _Iliad_, and
the hero was in the act of taking the plumed helmet from his brow,
with a grace which enchanted our whole female population, an old
Savoyard and his daughter came up, one playing the little hand-organ
of their country, and the other dancing to her tamborine. This was
pretty, but my impatience was ill disposed to look or listen; when I
was awakened by a laugh, and the old man's mask being again half
turned aside, I again saw my friend: the man moved slowly through the
crowd, and I followed. We gradually twined our way through the
labyrinth of pillars, leaving the festivity further and further
behind, until he came to a low door, at which the Savoyard tapped, and
a watchword being given, the cell was opened. There our robes and
masks were laid aside; we found peasant dresses, for which we
exchanged them; and following a muffled figure who carried a lantern,
we began our movements again through the recesses of the endless
building. At length we came to a stop, and our guide lifting up a
ponderous stone which covered the entrance to a deep and dark
staircase, we began to descend. I now for the first time heard the
cheerful voice of Lafontaine at my side. "I doubt," said he, "whether
a hundred years ago any one of us would have ventured on a night march
of this kind; for, be it known to you, that we are now in the vaults
of the convent, and shall have to go through a whole regiment of monks
and abbots in full parade." I observed that, "if we were to meet them
at all, they would be less likely to impede our progress dead than
alive;" but I still advised Lafontaine to allude as little as he could
to the subject, lest it might have the effect of alarming our fair
companion. "There is no fear of that," said he, "for little Julie is
in love with M. le Comte, our gallant guide; and a girl of eighteen
desperately in love, is afraid of nothing. You Englishmen are not
remarkable for superstition; and as for me and my compatriots, we have
lost our reverence for monks in any shape since the taking of the

We now went on drearily and wearily through a range of catacombs,
stopping from time to time to ascertain whether we were pursued; and
occasionally not a little startled by the sudden burst of sound that
came from the revelry above, through the ventilators of these enormous
vaults. But the Count had well prepared his measures, had evidently
traced his way before, and led us on without hinderance, until we
approached a species of sallyport, which, once opened, would have let
us out into the suburb. Here misfortune first met us; none of the keys
which the Count had brought with him would fit the lock. It was now
concluded by our alarmed party, either that the design of escape had
been discovered, or that the lock had been changed since the day
before. Here was an insurmountable difficulty. To break down the gate,
or break through it, was palpably impossible, for it was strongly
plated with iron, and would have resisted every thing but a
six-pounder. What was to be done? To remain where we were was
starvation and death; to return, would be heart-breaking; yet escape
was clearly out of the question. The Count was furious, as he tried in
vain to shake the solid obstacle; Lafontaine was in despair. I,
rather more quietly, took it for granted that the guillotine would
settle all our troubles in the course of the next day; and the pretty
Julie, in a deluge of tears, charging herself with having undone us
all, hung upon the neck of her cavalier, and pledged herself, by all
the hopes and fears of passion, to die along with him. While the
lovers were exchanging their last vows, Lafontaine, in all the
vexation of his soul, was explaining to me the matchless excellence of
the plot, which had been thus defeated in the very moment of promised

"You perhaps remember," said he, "the letter which the father of
Mariamne, that dearest girl whom I shall now never see again in this
world, gave you for one of his nation in Paris. On the night when I
last saw you, I had found it lying on your table; and in the confusion
of the moment, when I thought you killed, and rushed into the street
to gain some tidings of you, I took charge of the letter, to assist me
in the enquiry. Unlucky as usual, I fell into the hands of a rabble
returning from the plunder of the palace, was fired on, was wounded,
and carried to the St Lazare. The governor was a man of honour and a
royalist, and he took care of me during a dangerous illness and a slow
recovery. But to give me liberty was out of his power. I had lost
sight of the world so long, that the world lost sight of me, and I
remained, forgetting and forgotten; until, within these two days--when
I received a note from the head of the family to whom your letter was
directed, informing me that you had been arrested and sent to the very
prison in which I was--my recollection of the world suddenly revived,
and I determined to save you if possible. I had grown familiar with
the proceedings of that tribunal of demons, the Revolutionary
committee; and as I had no doubt of your condemnation, through the
mere love of bloodshed, I concerted with my Jewish friend the plan of
having you claimed as a British agent, who had the means of making
important disclosures to the government. If this succeeded, your life
was saved for the day, and your escape was prepared for the night.
This weeping girl is the daughter of the late governor, who has
engaged in our plot to save the life of her affianced husband; and
now, within an hour of daylight, when escape will be impossible, all
our plans are thrown away--we are brought to a dead stand by the want
of one miserable key, and shall have nothing more to do than to make
up our minds to die with what composure we can."

Having finished his story, the narrator wrapt up his head in his
cloak, and laid himself down like one determined never to rise again.
The Count and his Julie were so engaged in recapitulating their
sorrows, sitting side by side on a tombstone, like a pair of
monumental figures, that they had neither ear nor eye for any thing
else; but my English nature was made of sterner stuff, and thinking
that at the last I could but die, I took the lantern and set sturdily
to work to examine the gate. It was soon evident that it could be
neither undermined nor broken down by any strength of ours; but it was
also evident that the lock was the old one which had closed it perhaps
for the last century, and that the right key was the only thing
wanting. Leaving Lafontaine in his despair lying at the foot of the
monument, on which the lovers sat murmuring like a pair of turtle
doves, I determined to make a thorough search for the missing key, and
made my way back through all the windings of the catacomb, tracing the
ground step by step. Still no key was to be found. At last I reached
the cell where we had changed our dresses, and examined table, floor,
and chair. Still nothing was to be found; but, unluckily, the light of
the lantern glancing through the loop-hole of the cell, caught the eye
of the sentinel on the outside, and he challenged. The sound made me
start; and I took up one of the robes to cover the light. Something
hard struck my hand. It was in the gown of the Savoyard's daughter. I
felt its pockets, and, to my infinite astonishment and delight,
produced the key. The pretty Julie, who had procured it, had forgotten
every thing in the rapture of meeting her lover, and had left it
behind her when she threw off her masquerading costume.

I now hastened back with the rapid step becoming the bearer of good
tidings, and revived the group of despair. The key was applied to the
lock, but it refused to move, and we had another pang of
disappointment. Lafontaine uttered a groan, and Julie poured another
gush of tears upon her companion's shoulder. I made the experiment
again; the rust of the lock was now found to have been our only
hinderance; and with a strong turn the bolt flew back, and the door
was open.

We had all been so much exhausted by agitation, and the dreary
traverse of the catacomb, that the first gush of fresh air conveyed a
sensation almost of new life. The passage had probably been formed in
the period when every large building in Paris was a species of
fortress; and we had still a portcullis to pass. When we first pushed
against it, we felt another momentary pang; but age had made it an
unfaithful guardian, and a few stout attacks on its decayed bars gave
us free way. We were now under the open sky; but, to our
consternation, a new and still more formidable difficulty presented
itself. The moat was still to be passed. To attempt the drawbridge was
hopeless; for we could hear the sentinel pacing up and down its
creaking planks. The moment was critical; for a streak of grey light
in the far east showed that the day was at hand. After resolving all
imaginable plans, and abandoning them all as fruitless; determining,
at all events, never to return, and yet without the slightest prospect
of escape, except in the bottom of that sullen pool which lay at our
feet--the thought occurred to me, that in my return through the vault
I had stumbled over the planks which covered a vault lately dug for a
prisoner. Communicating my idea to Lafontaine, we returned to the
spot, loaded ourselves with the planks, and fortunately found them of
the length that would reach across the narrowest part of the fosse.
Our little bridge was made without delay, and Lafontaine led the way,
followed by the count and Julie, I waiting to see them safe across,
before I added my weight to the frail structure. But I was not yet
fated to escape. The sentinel, whose vigilance I had startled by my
lantern in the cell, had given the alarm; and, as I was setting my
foot on the plank, a discharge of fire-arms came from the battlement
above. I felt that I was struck, and a stunning sensation seized me. I
made an attempt to spring forward, but suddenly found myself unable to
move. The patrol from the drawbridge now surrounded me, and in this
helpless state, bleeding, and as I thought dying, I was hurried back
into the St Lazare.

After a fortnight's suffering in the hospital of the prison, which
alone probably saved me from the guillotine, then almost the natural
death of all the suspected, I was enabled to get on my feet again. I
found the prison as full as ever, but nearly all its inmates had been
changed except the Vendéans, whom the crooked policy of the time kept
alive, partly to avoid raising the whole province in revolt, partly as
hostages for their countrymen.

On my recovery, I had expected to be put down once more in the list
for trial; but it reached even the prison, that the government were in
a state of alarm for themselves, which prevented them from indulging
their friends in the streets with the national amusement. The chance
of mounting the scaffold themselves had put the guillotine out of
fashion; and two or three minor attempts at the seizure of the Jacobin
sceptre by the partisans of the Girondists and Cordeliers, had been
put down with such difficulty, that even the Jacobin Club had begun to
protest against bloodshed, through the prospect of a speedy
retaliation. Thus we were suffered to linger on. But, "disguise
thyself as thou wilt, still, slavery, thou art a bitter draught," and
the suspense was heart-sickening. At length, however, a bustle outside
the walls, the firing of alarm guns, and the hurrying of the national
guard through the streets, told us that some new measure of atrocity
was at hand, and we too soon learned the cause.

The army under Dumourier had been attacked by the Austrians under
Clairfait, and had been defeated with heavy loss; despatches had been
received from their favourite general, in all the rage of failure,
declaring that the sole cause of the disaster was information
conveyed from the capital to the Austrian headquarters, and demanding
a strict enquiry into the intrigues which had thus tarnished the
colours of the Republic. No intelligence could have been more
formidable to a government, which lived from day to day on the breath
of popularity; and, to turn the wrath of the rabble from themselves,
an order was given to examine the prisons, and send the delinquents to
immediate execution. It may be easily believed that the briefest
enquiry was enough for vengeance, and the prisoners of St Lazare were
the first to furnish the spectacle. A train of carts rattled over the
pavement of our cloisters, and we were ordered to mount them without
delay. The guard was so strong as to preclude all hope of resistance;
and with all the pomp of a military pageant, drums beating, trumpets
sounding, and bands playing _Ça Ira_ and the _Marseillaise_, we left
our dreary dwelling, which habit had now almost turned into a home,
and moved through the principal streets of the capital, for the
express purposes of popular display, in the centre of a large body of
horse and foot, and an incalculable multitude of spectators, until in
the distance we saw the instrument of death.

       *       *       *       *       *


    There's blood upon the lady's cheek,
      There's brightness in her eye:
    Who says the sentence is gone forth
      That that fair thing must die?

    Must die before the flowering lime,
      Out yonder, sheds its leaf--
    Can this thing be, O human flower!
      Thy blossoming so brief?

    Nay, nay, 'tis but a passing cloud,
      Thou didst but droop awhile;
    There's life, long years, and love and joy,
      Whole ages, in that smile--

    In the gay call that to thy knee
      Brings quick that loving child,
    Who looks up in those laughing eyes
      With his large eyes so mild.

    Yet, thou art doom'd--art dying; all
      The coming hour foresee,
    But, in love's cowardice, withhold
      The warning word from thee.

    God keep thee and be merciful!
      His strength is with the weak;
    Through babes and sucklings, the Most High
      Hath oft vouchsafed to speak--

    And speaketh now--"Oh, mother dear!"
      Murmurs the little child;
    And there is trouble in its eyes,
      Those large blue eyes so mild--

    "Oh, mother dear! they say that soon,
      When here I seek for thee,
    I shall not find thee--nor out there,
      Under the old oak-tree;

    "Nor up stairs in the nursery,
      Nor any where, they say.
    Where wilt thou go to, mother dear?
      Oh, do not go away!"

    Then was long silence--a deep hush--
      And then the child's low sob.
    _Her_ quivering eyelids close--one hand
      Keeps down the heart's quick throb.

    And the lips move, though sound is none,
      That inward voice is prayer.
    And hark! "Thy will, O Lord, be done!"
      And tears are trickling there,

    Down that pale cheek, on that young head--
      And round her neck he clings;
    And child and mother murmur out
      Unutterable things.

    _He_ half unconscious--_she_ deep-struck
      With sudden, solemn truth,
    That number'd are her days on earth,
      Her shroud prepared in youth--

    That all in life her heart holds dear,
      God calls her to resign.
    She hears--feels--trembles--but looks up,
      And sighs, "Thy will be mine!"


       *       *       *       *       *



The front door of a large house in Harley Street stood hospitably
open, and leaning against the plaster pillars (which were of a very
miscellaneous architecture) were two individuals, who appeared as if
they had been set there expressly to invite the passengers to walk in.
Beyond the red door that intersected the passage, was seen the
coloured-glass entrance to a conservatory on the first landing of the
drawing-room stairs; and a multitude of statues lined each side of the
lobby, like soldiers at a procession, but which the inventive skill of
the proprietor had converted to nearly as much use as ornament; for a
plaster Apollo, in addition to watching the "arrow's deathful flight,"
had been appointed custodier of a Taglioni and a Mackintosh, which he
wore with easy negligence over his head--a distracted Niobe, in the
same manner, had undertaken the charge of a grey silk hat and a green
umbrella. The Gladiator wore a lady's bonnet; the Farnese Hercules
looked like an old-fashioned watchman, and sported a dreadnought coat.
A glaring red paper gave a rich appearance to the hall; the stair
carpet also added its contribution to the rubicundity of the scene,
which was brought to a _ne plus ultra_ by the nether habiliments of
the two gentlemen who, as already stated, did the honours of the door.

A more pleasing sight than two footmen refreshing themselves on the
top of the front stairs with a view of the opposite houses, and
gratifying the anxious public at the same time with a view of
themselves, it is difficult to imagine. They always look so diffident
and respectful, that involuntarily our interest in them becomes almost
too lively for words. We think with disdain on miserable soldiers and
hungry mechanics, and half-starved paupers and whole-starved
labourers; and turn, with feelings of a very different kind, to the
contemplation of virtue rewarded, and modesty well fed, in the persons
of the two meditative gentlemen whose appearance at the front door in
Harley Street has given rise to these reflections. The elder of them,
who kept the post of honour on the right hand side, just opposite the
bell-handle, and whose superiority over the other was marked by much
larger legs, a more prominent blue waistcoat, and a slight covering of
powder over his auburn locks, looked for some time at his companion,
while an expression of ill-disguised contempt turned up to still more
dignified altitude the point of his nose. At last, as if by an effort,
he broke forth in speech.

"Snipe," he said--and seeing that Mr Snipe's ears were open, he
continued--"I can't tell how it is, but I saw, when first I came, you
had never been in a reg'lar fambly--never."

"We was always more reg'larer at Miss Hendy's nor here--bed every
night at ten o'clock, and up in the morning at five."

"You'll never get up to cribbage--you're so confounded slow," replied
the senior; "you'll have to stick to dominoes, which is only fit for
babbies. Did ye think I meant Miss Hendy's, or low people of that
kind, when I spoke of a reg'lar fambly?--I meant that you had never
seen life. Did you ever change plates for a marquis, Snipe?"

"Never heared of one. Is he in a great way of business?"

"A marquis is a reg'lar nob, you know; and gives reg'lar good wages
when you gets 'em paid. A man can't be a gentleman as lives with
vulgar people--old Pitskiver is a genuine snob."

"He's a rich gentleman," returned Mr Snipe.

"But he's low--uncommon low"--said the other--"reg'lar boiled mutton
and turnips."

"And a wery good dish too," observed Mr Snipe, whose intellect, being
strictly limited to dominoes, was not quite equal to the metaphorical.

"By mutton and turnips, I means--he may be rich; but he ain't genteel,
Snipe. Look at our Sophiar's shoulders."

Mr Snipe looked up towards his senior with a puzzled expression, as if
he waited for information--"What has Miss Sophiar's shoulders to do
with boiled mutton and turnips?"

"Nothing won't do but to be at it from the very beginning," said the
superior, with a toss of his powdered head; "fight after it as much as
ever they like, wear the best of gownds, and go to the fustest of
boarding-schools--though they plays ever so well on the piando, and
talks Italian like a reg'lar Frenchman--nothing won't do--_there's_
the boiled mutton and turnips--shocking wulgarity! Look again, I say,
at our Sophiar's shoulders, and see how her head's set on. Spinks's
Charlotte is a very different affair--and there she is at the winder
over the way. That's quite the roast fowl and blamange," he continued,
looking at a very beautiful girl who appeared at the window of one of
the opposite houses--"a pretty blowen as ever I see, and uncommon fond
of Spinks."

"I see nothing like a fowl about the young lady," replied the prosaic
Mr Snipe; "and Spinks is a horrid liar."

"But can't you judge for yourself, Snipe? That girl opposite found two
footmen and a butler all waiting to receive her, with a French
governess and a lady's maid, the moment she got out of the cradle; and
I say again she's nothing but roast fowl and blamange, or perhaps a
breast slice of pheasant, for she's uncommon genteel. How different
from our boiled veals, and parsley and butters! I shall give warning
if we don't change soon."

"She's a beautiful young lady," said Mr Snipe; "but I thinks not half
so plump and jolly as our Miss Emily or Sophia."

"Plump! do you think you've got a sporting license, and are on the
look-out for a partridge? No; I tell you all the Pitskivers is low,
and old Pits is the worst of the lot."

"I used always to hear him called a great man at Miss Hendy's,"
replied Snipe; "no end of money, and a reg'lar tip-topper. I really
expected to see the queen very often drop in to supper."

"And meet all the tag-rag we have here! What would the queen care for
all them portrait-painters, and poets, and engineers, and writing
vagabonds, as old Pits is eternally feeding? The queen knows a mighty
sight better, and wouldn't ax any body to her table as had done
nothing but write books or paint picters. No; old Pits is the boy for
patronizing them there fellers; but mark ye, Snipe, he takes the wrong
chaps. If a man is to demean himself by axing a riff-raff of authors
to his house, let it be the big 'uns; I should not care to give a bit
of dinner to Dickens or Bulwer myself."

With this condescending confession of his interest in literature, the
gentleman in the shining garments looked down the street, as if he
expected some public approval of his praiseworthy sentiments.

Being disappointed in this natural expectation, he resolved to revenge
himself by severe observations on the passers-by; but the severity was
partly lost on the slow-minded Mr Snipe--being clothed in the peculiar
phraseology of his senior, in which it appeared that some particular
dish was placed as the representative of the individual attacked. Not
that Mr Daggles--for such was the philosophical footman's name--saw
any resemblance between his master, Mr Pitskiver, and a dish of boiled
mutton and turnips, or between the beautiful young lady opposite and
the breast of a pheasant; but that, to his finely constituted mind,
those dishes shadowed forth the relative degrees in aristocracy which
Mr Pitskiver and the young lady occupied. He had probably established
some one super-eminent article of food as a high "ideal" to which to
refer all other kinds of edibles--perhaps an ortolan pie; and the
further removed from this imaginary point of perfection any dish
appeared, the more vulgar and commonplace it became; and taking it for
granted, that as far as human gradations are concerned, the loftiest
aristocracy corresponded with the ortolan pie, it is evident that Mr
Daggles's mode of assigning rank and precedence was founded on
strictly philosophical principles; as much so, perhaps, as the labours
of Debrett.

"Now, look at this old covey--twig his shorts and long gaiters: he's
some old Suffolk squire, has grown too fat for harriers, and goes out
with the greyhounds twice a-week--a truly respectable member of
society"--continued Mr Daggles with a sneer, when the subject of his
lecture had passed on--"reg'lar boiled beef and greens."

"He ain't so fat as our Mr Pitskiver," replied Snipe; "I thinks I
never see no gentleman with so broad a back; except p'raps a prize

"You should get a set of harrows to clean his Chesterfield with,
instead of a brush--it's more like a field than a coat," said Daggles.
"But look here--here comes a ticket!"

The ticket alluded to was a well-made young man, with a very healthy
complexion, long glossy black curls hanging down his cheek, a
remarkably long-backed surtout, and a small silk hat resting on the
very top of his umbrageous head. As he drew near, he slackened his
pace--passed the house slowly, looking up to the drawing-room window,
evidently in hopes of seeing some object more attractive than the vast
hydrangia which rose majestically out of a large flowerpot, and
darkened all the lower panes. Before he had proceeded ten yards, and
just when Mr Daggles had fixed in his own mind on the particular
effort of culinary skill suggested by his appearance, the ticket
turned quickly round and darted up the steps. Snipe stepped forward in
some alarm.

"Your master's not at home," said the Ticket; "but the ladies"--

"Is all out in the featon, sir."

"Will you be good enough--I see I may trust you--to give this note to
Miss Sophia? I shall take an opportunity of showing my gratitude very
soon. Will you give it?"

"Yes, sir, in course."

"Secretly? And, be assured, I shall not forget you." So saying, the
Ticket walked hurriedly away, and Snipe stood with the note still in
his hand, and looked dubiously at his companion.

Mr Daggle's eyes were fixed on the retreating figure of the Ticket;
and, after a careful observation of every part of his dress, from the
silk hat to the Wellingtons, he shook his head in a desponding manner,
and merely said--"Tripe!"

"What's to be done with this here letter?" enquired Snipe.

"Open and read it of course. By dad! I don't think you _are_ up to
dominoes; you must go back to skittles. He's evidently enclosed the
sovereign in the note; for he never could have been fool enough to
think that two gentlemen like us are to give tick for such a sum to a

"What sum?" enquired Snipe.

"Why, the sovereign he was to pay for delivering the letter. If you
don't like to read it yourself, give it to the old snob--Pitskiver
will give you a tip."

"But the gentleman said he would show his gratitude"--

"He should have showed his tin fust. There ain't no use of denying it,
Snipe; this is a wery low establishment, and I shall cut it as soon as
I can. What right has a dowdy like our Sophia to be getting billydoos
from fellers as ought to be ashamed of theirselves for getting off
their three-legged stools at this time of the day? Give the note to
old Pits--and here, I think, he is."

Mr Pitskiver--or old Pits, as he was irreverently called by his
domestic--came rapidly up the street. He was a little man, between
fifty and sixty years of age, with an exceedingly stout body and very
thin legs. He was very red in the face, and very short in the neck. A
bright blue coat, lively-coloured waistcoat, and light-green silk
handkerchief fastened with two sparkling pins, united to each other by
a gold chain, check trowsers, and polished French leather boots,
composed his attire. He wore an eyeglass though he was not
short-sighted, and a beautifully inlaid riding-whip though he never
rode. His white muslin pocket-handkerchief hung very prominently out
of the breast pocket of his coat, and his hat was set a little on one
side of his head, and rested with a coquettish air on the top of the
left whisker. What with his prodigious width, and the flourishing of
his whip, and the imposing dignity of his appearance altogether, he
seemed to fill the street. Several humble pedestrians stepped off the
pavement on to the dirty causeway to give him room. Daggles drew up,
Snipe slunk back to hold the door, and Mr Pitskiver retired from the
eyes of men, and entered his own hall, followed by his retainers.

"If you please, sir," said Snipe, "I have a letter for Miss Sophiar."

"Then don't you think you had better give it her?" replied Mr

"A gentleman, sir, gave it to me."

"I'll give it you, too," said the master of the mansion, shaking the
whip over the astonished Snipe. "What are you bothering me with the
ladies' notes for? Any thing for me, Daggles?"

"A few parcels, sir--books, and a couple of pictures."

"No statue? My friend Bristles has deceived me. It was to have been
finished to-day. If he gives the first view to the Whalleys, I'll
never speak to him again. Nothing else? Then have the phaeton at the
door at half past five. I dine at Miss Hendy's, at Hammersmith."

While Mr Pitskiver stepped up stairs, Snipe was going over in his own
mind the different grammatical meanings of the words, "I'll give it
you." And concluding at last that, in the mouth of his master, it
meant nothing but a horsewhipping, he resolved, with the magnanimity
of many other virtuous characters who find treachery unproductive, to
be true to Miss Sophia, and give her the mysterious note with the
greatest possible secrecy.

"Now, donkey," said Daggles, aiding his benevolent advice with a kick
that made it nearly superfluous, "get down them kitchen stairs and
learn pitch-and-toss, for you haven't brains enough for any thing
else--and recollect, you owes me a sovereign; half from master for
telling, and half from the long-backed Ticket for keeping mum. You can
keep the other to yourself; for the job was well worth a sovereign

A knock at the door interrupted the colloquy, and Snipe once more
emerged from the lower regions, and admitted the two fair daughters of
his master.

They were stout, bustling, rosy-cheeked girls, two or three and twenty
years of age, superbly dressed in flashy silks, and bedizened with
ribands like a triumphal arch.

"Miss," said Snipe, "I've got a summut for you." And he looked as
knowing as it was possible for a student of pitch-and-toss to do.

"For me? What is it? Make haste, Thomas."

"A gentleman has been here, and left you this," replied the Mercury,
holding out the note. "He said something about giving me a guinea; but
I wasn't to let any body see."

"It is his hand--I know it!" cried Miss Sophia, and hurried up stairs
to her own room.

"You donkey!" growled Mr Daggles, who had overheard Snipe's
proceedings; "you've done me out of another ten shillings. Blowed if I
don't put you under the pump! She would have given you a guinea for
the letter by way of postage. But it all comes of living with red
herrings and gooses' eggs." And so saying Mr Daggles resumed his usual
seat in the dining-room, and went on with the perusal of the _Morning


Mr Pitskiver's origin, like that of early Greece, is lost in the
depths of antiquity. Through an infinite variety of posts and offices,
he had risen to his present position, and was perhaps the most
multifariously occupied gentleman in her majesty's dominions. He was
chairman of three companies, steward of six societies, general agent,
and had lately reached the crowning eminence of his hopes by being
appointed trustee of unaudited accounts. In the midst of all these
labours, he had gone on increasing in breadth and honour till his name
was a symbol of every thing respectable and well to do in the world.
With each new office his ambition rose, and a list of his residences
would be a perfect index to the state of his fortunes. We can trace
him from Stepney to Whitechapel; from Whitechapel to Finsbury square;
from Finsbury square to Hammersmith; and finally, the last office
(which, by the by, was without a salary) had raised him, three months
before our account of him begins, to the centre of Harley Street. With
his fortune and ambition, we must do him the justice to say, his
liberality equally increased. He was a patron, and, would have
travelled fifty miles to entertain a poet at his table; he had
music-masters (without any other pupils) who were Mozarts and Handels
for his daughters--Turners and Landseers (whose names were yet
unknown) to teach them drawing--for, by a remarkable property
possessed by him, in common with a great majority of mankind, every
thing gained a new value when it came into contact with himself. He
bought sets of china because they were _artistic_; changed his silver
plate for a more _picturesque_ pattern; employed Stultz for his
clothes, and, above all, Bell and Rannie for his wines. His cook was
superb; and, thanks to the above-named Bell and Rannie, there were
fewer headachs in the morning after a Mæcenatian dinner at
Pitskiver's, than could have been expected by Father Matthew himself.
With these two exceptions--wine and clothes--his patronage was more
indiscriminate than judicious. In fact, he patronized for the sake of
patronizing; and as he was always in search of a new miracle, it is no
wonder that he was sometimes disappointed--that his Landseers
sometimes turned out to have no eyes, and his musicians more fitted to
play the Handel to a pump than an organ. But Pitskiver never lost
heart. If he failed in one he was sure to succeed in another; he saw
his name occasionally in the newspaper, by giving an invitation to one
of the literary gentlemen who enliven the public with accounts of
fearful accidents and desperate offences; had his picture at the
Exhibition in the character of the "Portrait of a gentleman," and his
bust in the same place as the semblance of the honorary Secretary to
the Poor Man's Pension and Perpetual Annuity Institution. He was a
widower, and looked dreadful things at all the widows of his
acquaintance. And it was thought that, if he succeeded in marrying off
his girls, he should himself become once more a candidate for the holy
estate; and by this wise manoeuvre--for, in fact, he made no secret of
his intention--he enlisted in his daughters' behalf all the elderly
ladies who thought they had any claims on the attentions of that
charming creature Mr Pitskiver. There were certainly no young ladies I
have ever heard of, so well supplied with assistants in the great art
of catching husbands as the two plump damsels whom we have already
seen enter the house in Harley Street, and one of whom we have
perceived placed in possession of the mysterious letter by the
skittle-minded Mr Snipe.

Miss Sophia Pitskiver, according to all ordinary ideas of romance and
true love, had no right whatever to indulge in such luxuries, being
more adapted to make pies than enter into the beauty of sonnets to the
moon. She was short, stout--shall we be pardoned for saying the
hateful word?--she was dumpy, but a perfect picture of rosy health and
hilarious good-nature. And yet, if she had been half a foot taller,
and half a yard thinner, and infinitely paler, she could not have been
one jot more sentimental. She cultivated sentiment, because it was so
pleasant, and her father approved of it because it was genteel. Her
enthusiasm was tremendous. Her ideas were all crackers, and exploded
at the slightest touch. She had a taste for every thing--poetry,
history, fine arts in general, philosophy, glory, puseyism, and,
perhaps more than all, for a certain tall young man, with an
interesting complexion, whom we have introduced to the courteous
reader by the name of the long-backed Ticket. It was this gentleman's
note she was now about to read. Sundry palpitations about the robust
regions of the heart might, to common eyes, have appeared to arise
from her speed in running up stairs. But she knew better. She took but
one look of the cheval glass, and broke the seal.

"Stanzas!" she said; and, taking one other glance at the mirror, she
exclaimed to the agitated young lady represented there, "only think!"
and devoured the following lines:--

    "There is a tear that will not fall
      To cool the burning heart and brain;
    Oh, I would give my life, my all,
      To feel once more that blessed rain!

    "There is a grief--I feel, in sooth,
      It rends my soul, it quells my tongue;
    It dims the sunshine of my youth,
      But, oh, it will not dim it long!

    "There is a place where life is o'er,
      And sorrow's blasts innocuous rave;
    A place where sadness comes no more.
      Know'st thou the place? It is the grave.

    "Yes, if within that gentle breast
      Mild pity ever held her sway,
    Thou'lt weep for one who finds no rest--
      The reason he can never say.

"P.S.--Miss Hendy is an angel upon earth. My friend Mr Bristles, of
the _Universal Surveyor_, one of the most distinguished literary men
of the age, has got me an invitation to go to her house to-night, to
read the first act of my tragedy. Shall I have the happiness of seeing
thee? Would to my stars my fate were so fortunate! I enclose you the
above lines, which Bristles says are better than any of Lord Byron's,
and will publish next week in the _Universal_. Mayest thou like them,
sweetest, for they are dedicated to thee, Thine ever--ALMANSOR." What
she might have done beyond reading the lines and letter six times
over, and crying "beautiful, beautiful!" as fast as she could, it is
impossible to say, for at that moment she was called by her venerable
sire. She crumpled the note up after the manner of all other heroines,
and hid it in her bosom; and hurried to the drawing-room, where she
found her father in full dress, pulling on a pair of new kid gloves.

"Well, Soph, I'm off for Miss Hendy's--don't give me any nonsense now
about her being low, and all that sort of thing; she don't move in the
same circle of society, certainly, as we do, but she has always
distinguished people about her."

"Oh, papa!" interrupted the young lady. "I don't object to Miss Hendy
in the least. I love her of all things, and would give worlds to be
going with you!"

"That's right! You've heard of the new poet then? Tremendous they say;
equal to Shakspeare--quite a great man."

"Indeed! Oh, how I long to see him!"

"Well, perhaps you may one of these days. Bristles--my friend Bristles
of the _Universal_-says he's a perfect--what do they call that pretty
street in Southampton?--Paragon--a perfect paragon, Bristles says:
I'll ask him to dinner some day."

"What day?--Oh, let it be soon, dear papa!"

"There's a dear delightful enthusiastic girl! We ought to encourage
people of genius. Curious we never heard of him before, for he was our
neighbour, I hear, in Finsbury; but poor, I suppose, and did not mix
with our set even then."

Mr Pitskiver looked at the opposite side of the street while he spoke,
as if to assure himself that he was in a still higher altitude above
the poet now than some few years before. But, as if feeling called on
to show his increased superiority by greater condescension, he said,
as he walked out of the room, "I shall certainly have him to dinner,
and Bristles, and some more men of talent to meet him--

    'The feast of reason, and the flow of soul!'"

the only quotation, by the way, in which Mr Pitskiver was ever known
to indulge.


Miss Hendy had formerly kept a school, and her portrait would have
done very well for a frontispiece to Mrs Trimmer. She was what is
called prim in her manner, and as delicate as an American. She always
called the legs of a table its props--for the word legs was highly
unfeminine. She admired talent, and gave it vast quantities of tea and
toast. Her drawing-room was a temple of the Muses, and only open to
those who were bountifully endowed with the gifts of nature or of
fortune; for she considered it a great part of her duty to act as a
kind of link between Plutus and Minerva. In the effort to discover
objects worthy of her recommendation, she was mainly aided by the
celebrated Mr Bristles. Every month whole troops of Herschels and
Wordsworths, and Humes and Gibbons, were presented to her by the great
critic; and with a devout faith in all he told her, she listened
enraptured to the praises of those astonishing geniuses, till she had
begun to enter into Mr Bristles's own feelings of contempt for every
body except the favoured few. And to-night was the grand debut of a
more remarkable phenomenon than any of the others. A youth of
twenty-three, tall, modest, intellectual, and long-haired--in short,
the "Ticket"--was to read the opening of a tragedy; and sculptors,
painters, mechanicians, and city Croesuses, were invited to be present
at the display. Among these last shone our friend Mr Pitskiver,
radiant in white waistcoat and gold chains, two rings on each finger,
and a cameo the size of a cheese-cake on his neckcloth. The other
critic, in right of his account at the bank, was a tall silent
gentleman, a wood-merchant from the Boro', who nodded his head in an
oracular manner when any thing was said above his comprehension; and
who was a patron of rising talent, on the same enlightened principles
as his friend Mr Pitskiver. Mr Whalley also showed his patronage in
the same economical manner as the other, and expected immortality at
the expense of a few roasts of beef and bottles of new wine.

Mr Bristles was also of the dinner party--an arrangement made by the
provident Miss Hendy, that the two _millionaires_ might receive a
little preliminary information on the merits of the rest of the
company, who were only invited to tea. Four maiden ladies (who had
pulled on blue stockings in order to hide the increasing thickness of
their ankles, and considered Miss Hendy the legitimate successor of
Madame de Staël, and Mr Pitskiver in Harley Street the beau-ideal of
love in a cottage) relieved the monotony of a gentleman party by as
profuse a display of female charms as low gowns and short sleeves
would allow. And about six o'clock there was a highly interesting and
superior party of eight, to whom Miss Hendy administered cod's-head
and shoulders, aphorisms and oyster sauce, in almost equal proportion;
while Mr Pitskiver, like a "sweet seducer, blandly smiling," made
polite enquiries whether he should not relieve her of the
trouble.--"Oh no!--it degrades woman from the lofty sphere of equal
usefulness with the rougher sex. Why shouldn't a lady help fish?--Why
should she confess her inferiority? The post assigned to her by
nature--though usurped by man--is to elevate by her example, to
enlighten by her precepts, and to add to the great aggregate of human
felicity by a manifestation of all the virtues;" saying this, she
inserted her knife with astonishing dexterity just under the
gills--and looked round for approbation.

Mr Pitskiver had recourse to his usual expedient, and said something
about the feast of reason; Mr Whalley shook his head in a way that
would have made his fortune in a grocer's window in the character of
Howqua; and Mr Bristles prepared himself to reply--while the four
literary maidens turned their eyes on Aristarchus in expectation of
hearing something fine. "I decidedly am of opinion," said that great
man, "that woman's sphere is greatly misunderstood, and that you
maintain the dignity of your glorious sex by carving the fish.--Yet on
being further interrogated, I should be inclined to proceed with my
statement, and assert that you deprive us of pleasure, in debarring us
from giving you our assistance."

"Then, why don't you help us with our samplers? why don't you aid us
in our knitting? why don't you assist us in hemming garments?"--exclaimed
Miss Hendy, digging her spoon into the oyster-boat.

"This is what I call the feast and flow," said Mr Pitskiver; while Mr
Whalley nearly shook his head off his shoulders on to the table-cloth.
The young ladies looked slyly at Mr Pitskiver, and laughed.

"It would be rather undignified," said Mr Bristles, "to see the Lord
Chancellor darning a stocking."

"Dignity! the very thing I complain of. Why more undignified in a Lord
Chancellor, or a Bishop, than in his wife? Oh, will the time never
come when society will be so regenerated, that man will know his own
position, and woman--noble, elevating, surprising woman--will assume
the rank to which her powers and virtues entitle her!"

Mr Bristles was very hungry, and at that moment received his
plate.--"Really, Miss Hendy," he said, with his mouth prodigiously
distended with codfish--"there's no arguing against such eloquence. I
must give in." But Miss Hendy, who had probably lunched, determined to
accept no surrender.--"No," she cried--"you shall _not_ give in, till
I have overwhelmed you with reasons for your submission. A great move
is in progress--woman's rights and duties are becoming every day more
widely appreciated. The old-fashioned scale must be re-adjusted, and
woman--noble, elevating, surprising woman--ascend to the loftiest
eminence, and sit superior on the topmost branch of the social tree."

Mr Whalley, whose professional ear was caught by the last word, broke
through his usual rule of only nodding his remarks, and ventured to
say--"Uncommon bad climbers, for the most part in general, is women.
Their clothes isn't adapted for it.--I minds once I see a woman climb
a pole after a leg of mutting."

If looks could have killed Mr Whalley, Mr Pitskiver's eyes would
certainly have been tried for murder; but that matter-of-fact
individual was impervious to the most impassioned glances. Miss Hendy
sank her face in horror over her plate, and celestial rosy red
overspread her countenance; while a look of the most extraordinary
nature rewarded Mr Pitskiver for all his efforts in her behalf. A
look!--it went quite through his waistcoat, and if it had gone
straight on, must have reached his heart. Mr Pitskiver was amazed at
the expression of the look; for he little knew that his labours under
the table, in attempting to check Mr Whalley's oratory by pressing his
toes, had unfortunately been bestowed on the delicate foot of his
hostess; and what less could she do than respond to the gentle
courtesy by a glance of gratitude for what she considered a movement
of sympathy and condolence under the atrocious reminiscences of the
wood-merchant? Mr Whalley, however, was struck with the mournful
silence that followed his observation.

"That was a thing as happing'd on a pole," he said. "In cooss it would
be wery different on a tree--because of the branches, as I think you
was a-saying, Miss Hendy?"

Mr Pitskiver grew desperate. "Bristles," he cried, "any thing new in
sculpture? By the by, you haven't sent me Stickleback's jack-ass as
you promised. Is it a fine work?"

"I have no hesitation," replied the critic, "with a perfect
recollection of Canova's Venus, and even Moggs's Pandean Piper, which
I reviewed in last number of the _Universal_, in declaring that
Stickleback's work (it is a female, not a jack-ass) is the noblest
effort of the English chisel; there is life about it--a power--a
feeling--a sentiment--it is overwhelming! I shall express these ideas
in print. Stickleback's fame is secured by a stupendous ass, at once
so simple and so grand."

"A female, I think you said?" enquired Miss Hendy.

"A jeanie--miraculously soft, yet full of graceful dignity," replied
Bristles bowing to the enquirer, as if the description applied to her.

"I honour the sculptor for breaking through the prejudices of sex in
this splendid instance!" exclaimed the lady. "The feminine star is in
the ascendant. How much more illustrious the triumph! How greater the
difficulty to express in visible types, the soft, subduing, humanizing
graces of the female disposition, than to imprint the coarse outline
of masculine strength! How rough the contour of an Irish hodman to the
sweet flexibilities of the Venus of Canova!"

"Canova was by no means equal to Stickleback," said Mr Bristles
magisterially. "I have devoted much time to the study of the fine
arts--I have seen many statues--I have frequently been in sculptors'
studios; I prefer Stickleback to Canova."

"I honour his moral elevation," observed Miss Hendy, "in stamping on
eternal marble the femininity of the subject of his chisel."

"I must really have the first view," whispered Mr Pitskiver. "Can't
you remind him, Bristles? Don't send it to Whalley on my account."

But Mr Whalley, who was a rival Mæcenas, put in a word for himself,
"Mr Bristles," he said, "this must be a uncomming statty of a she-ass.
I oncet was recommended to drink a she-ass's milk myself, and liked it
uncomming. I must have the private sight you promised; and, if you'll
fix a day, I vill ask you and the artist to dine."

"Certainly, my dear sir--but Mr Pitskiver and Stickleback, they are
friends, you know, Mr Whalley, and perhaps Mr P.'s interest may be
useful in getting the great artist an order to ornament some of the
new buildings. I have some thoughts of recommending him to offer the
very statue we talk of for the front of the Mansion-house. A hint on
the subject has already appeared in the _Universal_."

"Miss Hendy," said Mr Pitskiver for the tenth time, "this is the
regular feast and flow; and nothing pleases me so much in my good
friend Bristles as his candid praise of other men's talents. You
seldom find clever people allowing each other's merits."

"Or stupid ones either"--replied Mr Bristles before the lady had time
to answer; "the fact is, we are much improved since former days. Our
great men don't quarrel as they used to do--conscious of one's own
dignity, why refuse a just appreciation of others? Stickleback has
often told me, that Chantrey was not altogether without merit--I
myself pronounce Macauley far from stupid; and my intellectual friend,
young Sidsby, who will read us the first act of his tragedy to-night,
allows a very respectable degree of dramatic power to Lord Byron.
Surely this is a far better state of things than the perpetual
carpings of Popes and Addisons, Smiths and Johnsons, Foxes and Pitts."

"And all owing to the rising influence of the female sex," interposed
Miss Hendy. "But woman has not yet received her full development. The
time will come when her influence is universal; when, softened,
subdued, purified, and elevated, the animal now called Man will be
unknown. You will be all women--can the world look for higher

"In cooss," observed Mr Whalley--"if we are all turned into woming,
the world will come to a end. For 'spose a case;--'spose it had been
my sister as married Mrs Whalley instead of me--it's probable there
wouldn't have been no great fambly; wich in cooss, if there was no

But what the fearful result of this supposed case would have been, has
never been discovered; for Miss Hendy, making a signal to the four
representatives of the female sex started out of the room as if she
had heard Mr Whalley had the plague, and left the gentlemen to

"De Staël was no match for that wonderful woman," said Mr Bristles,
resuming his chair. "I don't believe so noble an intellect was ever
enshrined in so beautiful a form before."

"Do you think her pretty?" enquired Mr Pitskiver.

"Pretty? no, sir--beautiful! Here is the finest sort of
loveliness--the light blazing from within, that years cannot
extinguish. I consider Miss Hendy the finest woman in England; and
decidedly the most intellectual."

The fact of Miss Hendy's beauty had never struck Mr Pitskiver before.
But he knew that Bristles was a judge, and took it at once for
granted. The finest woman in England had looked in a most marvellous
manner into his face, and the small incident of the foot under the
table was not forgotten.

Mr Pitskiver was inspired by the subject of his contemplations, and
proposed her health in a strain of eloquence which produced a
wonderful amount of head-shaking from Mr Whalley, and frequent
exclamations of "Demosthenes," "Cicero," "Burke all over!" from the
more enraptured Mr Bristles.

"I'm horrible afear'd," observed the elder gentleman putting down his
empty glass, "as my son Bill Whalley is a reg'lar fool."

"Oh, pardon me!" exclaimed Bristles--"I haven't the, honour of his
intimacy, but--" "Only think the liberties he allows himself in
regard to this here intellectual lady, Miss Hendy. He never hears her
name without a putting of his thumb on the top of his nose, and a
shaking of his fingers in my face, and a crying out for a friend of
his'n of the name of Walker. Its uncomming provoking--and sich a
steady good business hand there ain't in the Boro'. I can't fadom it."

"Some people have positively no souls," chimed in Mr Pitskiver,
looking complacently down his beautiful waistcoat, as if he felt that
souls were in some sort of proportion to the tenements they inhabited,
and that his was of gigantic size; "but I did not think that your son
William was so totally void of ideas. I shall talk to him next
Sunday's dinner."

"If you talks to him about Memel and Dantzic, you'll find there ain't
such a judge of timber in London," said the father, who was evidently
proud of his son's mercantile qualifications; "but with regard to this
here pottery, and scupshire, and other things as I myself delights in,
he don't care nothin about 'em. He wouldn't give twopence to see
Stickleback's statty."

"Then he had better not have the honour," said Pitskiver. "Bristles,
you'll send it to Harley Street. First view is every thing."

"Really, gentlemen, you are both such exquisite judges of the arts,
and such discriminating patrons of artists, that I find it difficult
to determine between you. Shall we let Stickleback settle the point

Both the Mæcenases consented, each at the same time making resolutions
in his own mind to make the unhappy artist suffer, if by any chance
his rival should get the preference. After another glass or two of the
dark-coloured liquid which wore the label of port, and which Bristles
maintained was the richest wine he had ever tasted, as it was
furnished by a particular friend of his, who, in addition to being a
wine merchant, was one of the most talented men in Europe, and a
regular contributor to the _Universal_ under the signature
"Squirk,"--after another glass or two of this bepraised beverage,
which, at the same time, did not seem altogether to suit the taste of
the two patrons of the arts and sciences, the gentlemen adjourned to
the drawing-room, from which music had been sounding for a
considerable time.


On entering the room they were nearly made fitting inmates of the deaf
and dumb institution, by the most portentous sounds that ever
endangered a human ear. A large party was assembled, ranged solemnly
on chairs and sofas all round the wall, every eye turned with intense
interest to the upper end of the apartment, where stood a tall stout
man, blowing with incredible effect into a twisted horn, which, to all
outward appearance, had not long ceased to ornament the forehead of a
Highland bull. A common horn it was--and the skill of the
strong-winded performer consisted in extracting a succession of roars
and bellowings from its upper end, which would have done honour to the
vocal powers of its late possessor. A tune it certainly was, for
immense outbreaks of sound came at regular intervals, and the
performer kept thumping his foot on the floor as if he were keeping
time; but as the intermediate notes were of such a very soft nature as
to be altogether inaudible, the company were left to fill up the
blanks at their own discretion; and Mr Pitskiver, who was somewhat
warlike, perceived at once it was Rule Britannia, while Mr Whalley
shook his head in a state of profound loyalty, and thought it was God
save the Queen. When the ingenious musician withdrew the bull's horn
from his mouth, and paused after his labours in a state of extreme
calefaction, murmurs of applause ran all round the room.

"Mr Slingo," said Mr Bristles, "Mr Slingo, you have immortalized
yourself, by evoking the soul of Handel from so common an instrument
as an ox's horn. I have studied music as a science--I have reviewed an
opera--and once met Sir Henry Bishop at the Chinese exhibition; and I
will make bold to say, that more genius was never shown by Rossini or
Cherubini, than you have displayed on this stupendous and interesting
occasion. Allow me, Mr Slingo, to shake your hand."

Mr Bristles gave a warm squeeze to the delighted musician's enormous
fingers--and all the company were enchanted with the liberality and
condescension of the celebrated author, and the humility and gratitude
of the musical phenomenon, who could not find words to express his
gratification. Miss Hendy was also profuse in her praises. "Pray, Mr
Slingo," she said taking the horn, and examining it very closely, "do
you know what animal we are indebted to for this delicious

"I took it from the head of a brown cow."

"A cow!--ha!"--exclaimed the lady--"but I could have told you so
before. There is a sweetness, a softness, and femininization of tone,
in the slower passages, that it struck me at once could only proceed
from the milder sex. We shall not have to wait long for the answer to
a question which has stirred the heart of mankind to its
foundations--can Women etherealize society? I say she can--I say she
will--I say she shall!"

Miss Hendy said this with considerable vehemence, and darted a look of
the same extraordinary nature as had puzzled Mr Pitskiver at dinner,
full in the face of that enraptured gentleman.

"Oh, 'pon my soul, she's a very fine woman!" he said almost audibly;
and again the commendations of Mr Bristles recurred to his
thoughts--"and has such a fund of eloquence. I wish to heaven somebody
would take a fancy to my girls! I will ask a lot of young men to

In the midst of these cogitations he drew near Miss Hendy--and if you
were to judge by the number of elbows which young ladies, in all parts
of the room, nudged into other young ladies' sides, and the strange
smiles and winks that were exchanged by the more distant members of
the society--you might easily perceive that there was something very
impressive in the manner of his address. He bowed at every word, while
the gold chains across his waistcoat glistened and jingled at every
motion. Miss Hendy's head also was bent till the white spangles on her
turban seemed affected with St Vitus's dance; and their voices
gradually sank lower and lower, till they descended at last to an
actual whisper. There were seven female hearts in that assemblage
bursting with spite, and one with triumph. Mr Pitskiver had never been
known to whisper it any body's ear before.

In the mean time Mr Bristles, as literary master of the ceremonies,
had made a call on Mr Sidsby to proceed with his reading of the first
act of his play. A tall young gentleman, very good-looking, and very
shy, was with difficulty persuaded to seat himself in the middle of
the room; and with trembling hands he drew from his pocket a roll of
manuscript, though, to judge from his manner, he did not seem quite
master of his subject.

"Modesty, always the accompaniment of true genius," observed Mr
Bristles, apologetically to the expectant audience. "Go on, my good
sir; you will gain courage as you proceed."

All was then silent. Mr Pitskiver at Miss Hendy's side, near the door;
Mr Whalley straining his long neck to catch the faintest echo of their
conversation; the others casting from time to time enquiring glances
towards the illustrious pair; but all endeavouring to appear intensely
interested in the drama. Mr Sidsby began:--

It was a play of the passions. A black lady fell in love with a white
general. Her language was fit for a dragon. She breathed nothing but
fire. It seemed, by a strange coincidence of ideas between Sidsby and
Shakspeare, to bear no small resemblance to Othello, with the
distinction already stated of the colour of the Desdemona. But
breathless attention rewarded the reader's toil; and though he
occasionally missed a word, in which he was always set right by Mr
Bristles, and did not enter very warmly into the more vigorous parts
of the declamation, his efforts were received with overwhelming
approbation, and Bristles as usual led the chorus of admiration.

"A wonderful play! an astonishing effort! Certainly up to the finest
things in Otway, if not of Shakspeare himself--a power, a life, an
impetus. I have never met with such a magnificent opening act."

"I wish you would bring him to taste my mutting, Mr Bristles," said Mr
Whalley; "as he's a poet he most likely don't touch butcher meat every
day, and a good tuck-out of a Sunday won't do him no harm. But I say,
Mr Bristles, I must railly make a point of seeing Stickleback's donkey
first. Say you'll do it--there's a good fellow."

Mr Pitskiver also extended his hospitable invitation to the successful
dramatist; and urged no less warmly his right to the first inspection
of the masterpiece of the modern chisel.

"I have had a very particular conversation with Miss Hendy," he said,
laying his hand confidentially on the great critic's shoulder.

"An extraordinary woman!" chimed in Bristles, "the glory of the
present times."

"I must have an additional treasure to boast of in my house," resumed
Mr Pitskiver, whose heart seemed more than ever set on cutting out Mr
Whalley in priority of inspection of the unequaled statue. "You'll
help me, I know--I may depend on you, Mr Bristles."

"You may indeed, sir--a house such as yours needed only such an
addition to make it perfect."

"You'll procure me the pride, the gratification--you'll manage it for

"I will indeed," said Mr Bristles, seizing the offered hand of the
overjoyed Pitskiver; "since your happiness depends on it, you may
trust to me for every exertion."

"And you'll plead my cause--you'll speak in the proper quarter?"

"Certainly, you may consider it all arranged."

"But secretly, quietly, no blabbing--these matters are always best
done without noise. I would even keep it from my daughters' knowledge,
till we are quite prepared to reveal it in all its charms."

"It is indeed a masterpiece--a chef-d'oeuvre--beauty and expression

"I flatter myself I am a bit of a judge; and when I have had it in my
possession for a short time, I will let you know the result."

The party were now about to break up.

"Them's uncomming pleasant little meetings, arn't them?" said Mr
Whalley to one of the middle-aged spinsters who had been present at
dinner; "and I thinks this one is like to have a very favourable

"Miss Hendy?" enquired the spinster in breathless anticipation.

"Jist so," responded the other--"there can't be no mystery no longer,
and they'll be off for France in a few days."

"For France?--gracious! how do you know?"

"I hear'd Mr Bristles, which is their confidant, say something about a
chay and Dover. In cooss they will go that way to Boulogne."

Oh, Mæcenas! is there no difference between the chef-d'oeuvre of the
great Stickleback, and the town of Dover and a post-chaise.


In a week after these events, six or seven gentlemen were gathered
round a table in a room very near the skylight in the Minerva
chambers. Our former acquaintance, Mr Bristles, whose name shone in
white paint above the entrance door, was evidently strongly impressed
with the dignity of his position; and as in the pauses of conversation
he placed the pen he was using transversely in his mouth, and turned
over the pages of various books on the table before him, it will be
seen that he presided not at a feast of substantial meat and drink,
but at one of those regular "feasts and flows" which the great Mr
Pitskiver was in the habit of alluding to, in describing the
intellectual treats of which he was so prodigious a glutton.

"What success, Sidsby?" enquired Bristles with a vast appearance of

"None at all," replied the successful dramatist, or, in other words,
the long-backed Ticket to whom we were introduced at the commencement
of the story. "I have no invitation to dinner yet, and Sophy thinks he
has forgotten me."

"That's odd--very odd," mused Mr Bristles, "for I don't know that I
ever praised any one half so highly before, not even Stickleback; and
the first act was really superb. It took me a whole week to write it."

"But I did not understand some parts of it, and I am afraid I spoiled
it in the reading. But Sophy was enchanted with the poem you made me

"A sensible girl; but how to get at the father is the thing. I have
mentioned a few of the perfections of our friend Miss Hendy to him in
a way that I think will stick. If we could get _her_ good word."

"Oh, she's very good!" replied Sidsby, "she says I'm far above Lord
Byron and Thomas Moore."

"Why not? haven't I told you to say, wherever you go, that she is
above Corinne?"

"Ah," said Sidsby, "but what's the use of all this to me? I am a
wine-merchant, not a poet; my uncle will soon take me into
partnership, and when they find out that I know no more about
literature than a pig, what an impostor they'll think me!"

"Not more of an impostor than half the other literary men of the day,
who have got praised into fame as you have, by judicious and
disinterested friends. No: you must still go on. I shall have the
second act ready for you next week, and you can make it six dozen of
sherry instead of three. You must please the girl first, and get at
the father afterwards. She's of a decidedly intellectual turn, and has
four thousand pounds in her own right."

"I don't believe she is more intellectual than myself; but that silly
old noodle, her father"--

"Stop!" exclaimed Bristles in great agitation, "this is against all
rule. Mr Pitskiver is our friend--a man of the profoundest judgment
and most capacious understanding. I doubt whether a greater judge of
merit ever existed than Mr Pitskiver."

"Hear, hear!" resounded in various degrees of intensity all round the

"Well, all I can say is this--that if I don't get on by shamming
cleverness, I'll try what open honesty will do, and follow Bill
Whalley's advice."

"Bill Whalley! who is he?" asked Bristles with a sneer.

"Son of the old Tom Noddy you make such a precious fool of."

"Mr Whalley of the Boro' is _our_ friend, Mr Sidsby--a man of the
profoundest judgment and most capacious understanding. I doubt whether
a greater judge of merit ever existed than Mr Whalley of the Boro'."

"Hear hear!" again resounded; and Mr Sidsby, shaking his head, said no
more, but looked as sulky as his naturally good-tempered features
would let him.

"And now, Stickleback," said Mr Bristles--"I am happy to tell you your
fortune is made; your fame will rise higher and higher."

A little dark-complexioned man with very large mouth and very flat
nose, looked a little disdainful at this speech, which to any one else
would have sounded like a compliment.

"I always knew that merit such as I felt I possessed, would force its
way, in spite of envy and detraction," he said.

"We have an uphill fight of it, I assure you," rejoined Mr Bristles;
"but by dint of throwing it on pretty thick, we are in hopes some of
it will stick."

"Now, Mr Bristles," resumed the artist, "I don't at all like the style
you talk in to me. You always speak as if my reputation had been made
by your praises. Now, talents such as mine"--

"Are very high, my good sir; no one who reads the _Universal_ doubts
that fact for a moment."

"Talents, I say, such as mine," pursued Mr Stickleback, "were sure to
raise me to the highest honours; and it is too bad for you to claim
all the merit of my success."

"Not I; but all our friends here," said Bristles. "For two years we
have done nothing but praise you wherever we went. Haven't we sneered
at Bailey, and laughed at the ancient statues? Who wrote the epigram
on Thorwaldsen--was it not our friend now present, Mr Banks? a
gentleman, I must say, perfectly unequaled in the radiance of his wit
and the delicious pungency of his satire. Without us, what would you
have been?"

"Exactly what I am. The only sculptor worth a sixpence since the fine
arts were invented," replied the self-satisfied Mr Stickleback.

"No," said Mr Bristles; "since you force us to tell you what we have
done for you, I will mention it. We have persuaded all our friends, we
have even persuaded yourself, that you have some knowledge of
sculpture; whereas every one who follows his own judgment, and is not
led astray by our puffs, must see that you could not carve an old
woman's face out of a radish; that you are fit for nothing with the
chisel but to smooth gravestones, and cut crying cherubs over a
churchyard door; that your donkey"--

"Well, what of my donkey, as you call it?" cried the enraged sculptor,
"I have heard you praise it a thousand times."

"Of course you have; but do you think I meant it?"

"As much as I meant what I said, when I praised some of your
ridiculous rubbish in the _Universal_."

"Oh, indeed! Then you think my writings ridiculous rubbish?"

"Yes--I do--very ridiculous rubbish."

"Then let me tell you, Mr Stickleback, you are about as good a critic
as a sculptor. My writings, sir, are universally appreciated. To find
fault with _them_ shows you are unfit for our acquaintance; and with
regard to Mr Pitskiver's recommendation to the city building
committee, and your donkey to adorn the pediment of the
Mansion-house--you have of course given up all hopes of any interest
_I_ may possess."

"Gentlemen," said a young man with small piercing eyes and a rather
dirty complexion, with long hair rolling over the collar of his
coat--"are you not a little premature in shivering the friendship by a
blow of temper which had been consolidated by several years of mutual

"Silence, Snooksby!--I have been insulted. I was ever a foe to
ingratitude, and grievous shall the expiation be," replied Bristles.

"I now address myself to you, sir," continued Snooksby, turning to the
wrathful sculptor, whose wrath, however, had begun to evaporate in
reflecting on the diminished chance of the promotion so repeatedly
promised by Mr Bristles for his donkey; "and I feel on this momintous
occasion, that it is my impiritive duty to endeavour to reinimite the
expiring imbers of amity, and re-knit the relaxed cords of unanimity.
Mr Stickleback, you were wrong--decidedly, powerfully, undeniably
wrong--in denominiting the splindid lucibritions of our illustrious
friend by the name of ridiculous rubbish. Apoligise, apoligise,
apoligise; and I know too well the glowing sympithies of that
philinthripic heart to doubt for a moment that its vibrations will
instantly beat in unisin with yours."

"I never meant to call his writings rubbish," said the subdued
sculptor. "I know he's the greatest writer in England."

"And you, my dear Stickleback, the greatest sculptor the world has
ever seen!" exclaimed the easily propitiated critic. "Why will you
doubt my respect, my admiration of your surpassing talent? Let us
understand each other better--we shall both be ever indebted to the
eloquent Mr Snooksby--(may he soon get on the vestry, the object of
his inadequate ambition;) for a speech more refulgent in simple
pathos, varied metaphor, and conclusive reasoning, it has not been my
good fortune to hear. When our other friends leave me, Stickleback, I
hope you will stay for half an hour. I have a most important secret to
confide to you, and a favour to ask."

The hint seemed to be sufficient. The rest of the party soon retired;
and Bristles and Stickleback began their confidential conclave.


But another confidential conclave, of rather a more interesting nature
to the parties concerned, took place three days after these
occurrences in the shady walk in St James's Park. Under the trees
sauntered four people--equally divided--a lady and a gentleman; the
ladies brilliantly dressed, stout, and handsome--the gentlemen also in
the most fashionable costume: one tall and thin, the long-backed
Ticket; and the other short and amazingly comfortable-looking, Mr
William Whalley--for shortness called Bill. Whether, while he admired
the trunks of the old elms, he calculated what would be their value in
deals, this narrative disdains to mention; but it feels by no means
bound to retain the same cautious reserve with regard to his
sentiments while he gazed into the eyes of Emily Pitskiver. He thought
them beautiful eyes; and if they had been turned upon you with the
same loving, trusting expression, ten to one you would have thought
them beautiful too. The other pair seemed equally happy.

"So you don't like me the worse," said Mr Sidsby, "now that you know I
am not a poet?"

"I don't know how it is, but I don't think I care for poetry now at
all," replied the lady. "In fact, I suppose my passion for it was
never real, and I only fancied I was enchanted with it from hearing
papa and Mr Bristles perpetually raving about strength and genius. Is
Miss Hendy a really clever woman?"

"A genuine humbug, I should say--gooseberry champagne at two shillings
a bottle," was the somewhat professional verdict on Miss Hendy's

"Oh! you shouldn't talk that way of Miss Hendy--who knows but she may
be my mamma soon?"

"He can never be such a confounded jackass!" said Mr Sidsby, without
giving a local habitation or a name to the personal pronoun _he_.

"He loses his daughters, I can tell him," said Miss Sophy with a toss
of her head, that set all the flowers on the top of her bonnet
shaking--"Emily and I are quite resolved on that."

"But what can you do?" enquired the gentleman, who did not appear to
be very nearly akin to Oedipus.

"Do? Why, don't we get possession of mamma's fortune if he marries;
and can't we--oh, you've squeezed my ring into my finger!"

"My dear Sophy, I was only trying to show you how much I admired your
spirit. I hope he'll marry Miss Hendy with all my heart."

When a conversation has got to this point, a chronicle of any
pretensions to respectability will maintain a rigid silence; and we
will therefore only observe, that by the time Mr William Whalley and
Emily had come to Marlborough House, their conversation had arrived at
a point where discretion becomes as indispensably a chronicler's duty
as in the case of the other couple.

"We must get home," said Sophy.

"Why should you go yet? There is no chance of your father being back
from the city for hours to come."

"Oh! but we must get home. We have been out a long time." And so
saying, she led the way up the steps by the Duke of York's column,
followed by her sister and her swain--and attended at a respectful
distance by a tall gentleman with an immense gold-headed
walking-stick, displaying nether integuments of the brightest red, and
white silk stockings of unexampled purity. The reader, if he had heard
the various whispered allusions to different dishes, such as "sheep's
head," "calf's foot jelly," "rhubarb tart," and "toasted cheese,"
would have been at no loss to recognise the indignant Daggles, whose
culinary vocabulary it seemed impossible to exhaust. He followed,
watching every motion of the happy couples. "Well, if this ain't too
bad!--I've a great mind to tell old Pits how them disgusting
saussingers runs after his mince-pies--meets 'em in the Park;
gallivants with them under the trees as if they was ortolans and
beccaficas; bills and coos with 'em as if they was real turtles and
punch _à la Romaine_. How the old cucumber would flare up! Up Regent
Street, along Oxford Street, through the square, up to our own door.
Well, blowed if that ain't a good one! Into the very house they goes;
up stairs to the drawing-room. O Lord! that there should be such
impudence in beefsteaks and ingans! They couldn't be more audacious if
they was Perigord pies."


Half an hour passed--an hour--and yet the conversation was flowing on
as briskly as ever. Mr Bill Whalley had explained the exact difference
between Norway and Canada timber, greatly to Miss Emily's
satisfaction; and Miss Sophia had again and again expressed her
determination to leave the house the moment Miss Hendy entered it; and
both the young ladies had related the energetic language in which they
had expressed this resolution to their father, and threatened him with
immediate desertion if he didn't cut that horrid old schoolmistress at
once. The same speeches about happiness and simple cottages, with
peace and contentment, had been made a dozen time over by all parties,
when the great clock in the hall--a Dutch pendule, inserted in a
statue of Time--struck three o'clock, and at the same moment a loud
rap was heard at the front door.

"Who can it be?" exclaimed Miss Sophia. "It isn't papa's knock;"--and
hiding her face in the thick hydrangia which filled the drawing-room
window, she gazed down to catch a glimpse of the entrance steps. She
only saw the top of a large wooden case, and the white hat of a
gentleman who rested his hand on the burden, and was giving directions
to the bearers to be very careful how they carried it up stairs.

Mr Whalley started up, as did Mr Sidsby, in no small alarm. "I
wouldn't be found here for half-a-crown," said the former gentleman:
"old father would shake his head into a reg'lar palsy if he knew I was
philandering here, when the Riga brig is unloading at the wharf."

"Let us go into the back drawing-room," suggested one of the young
ladies, "and you can get out quite easily when the parcel, whatever it
is, is delivered." They accordingly retired to the back drawing-room,
and in a few minutes had the satisfaction of hearing heavy steps on
the stairs, and the voice of the redoubtable Mr Bristles saying,
"Gently, gently,--I have no hesitation in stating, that you were never
entrusted with so valuable a burden before. Deposit it with gentleness
on the large table in the middle; and, you may now boast, that your
hands have borne the noblest specimen of grace and genius that modern
ages have produced."

"It's that everlasting donkey papa is always talking about!" whispered

"If it's Stickleback's statue," said Mr William Whalley, "the little
vagabond promised the first sight of it to old father. He'll be in a
precious stew when he finds his rival has been beforehand!"

The porters now apparently retired, and the youthful prisoners in the
back drawing-room tried to effect their escape by the door which
opened on the stairs; but, alas! it was locked on the outside, and it
was evident, from the soliloquy of Mr Bristles, that their retreat was
cut off through the front room. A knock--the well-known rat, tat, tat,
of the owner of the mansion--now completed their perplexity; and, in a
moment more, they heard the steps of several persons rushing up

"Mr Pitskiver!" exclaimed Bristles in intense agitation, "you have
surely forgotten our agreement--Snooksby! Butters! Banks! Why, I am
quite overpowered with the surprise! It was to have been alone,
without witnesses; or at most, in my presence. But so public!"

"Never mind, my dear Bristles. Why should I conceal my triumph--my
happiness--the boast and gratification of my future days? Let us open
the casket that enshrines such unequaled merits."

"If you really wish for no further secresy," replied Mr Bristles.

"Certainly! Don't I know that that case contains a masterpiece, softly
sweet and beautifully feminine, as a talented friend of ours would

"An exquisite woman, indeed!" said Bristles; "and a truly talented
friend. The case, as you justly observe," proceeded the critic, while
he untied the cords, "contains the most glorious manifestation of the
softening influences of sex."

"It's a pity she's an ass," suggested Mr Pitskiver. "I can't help
thinking that that's a drawback."

"What?--what is a drawback, my dear sir?"

"That femininity, as Miss Hendy calls it, should be brought so
prominently forward in the person of an ass."

"An ass?--I don't understand! Are you serious?"

"Serious! to be sure, my dear Bristles. In spite of all efforts to
assume an intellectual expression, the donkey, depend upon it,
preponderates--the long visage, the dull eyes, the crooked legs--it is
impossible to perceive any grace in such a wretched animal. I can't
help thinking that if it had been a young girl you had brought
me--say, a sleeping nymph--full of youth and beauty, 'twould have been
a vast improvement on the scraggy jeanie contained in this box. But
clear away, Bristles, we are all impatience."

"My dear sir--Mr Pitskiver--unaccustomed as I am, his I can truly say
is the most uncomfortable moment of my life."

"Why, what's the matter with you, Bristles, can't you untie the
string?"--"Here," continued Mr Pitskiver, "give me the cord," and so
saying he untwisted it in a moment--down fell the side of the case,
and to the astonished eyes of the assembled critics, and also of the
party in the back drawing-room, revealed, not the masterpiece of the
immortal Stickleback, but a female figure enveloped in a grey silk
cloak, and covering its face with a white muslin handkerchief.

"Why, what the mischief is all this?" exclaimed the bewildered Mr
Pitskiver; "this isn't the jeanie-ass you promised me a sight of. Who
the deuce is this?"

The handkerchief was majestically removed, and the sharp eyes of Miss
Hendy fixed in unspeakable disdain on the assembled party.

"'Tis I, base man! Are all your protestations of admiration come to
this? Who shall doubt hereafter that it is the task of noble, gentle,
self-denying woman to elevate society?"

A smothered but very audible laugh proceeding from the back
drawing-room, interrupted the further eloquence of the regenerator of
mankind; and, finding concealment useless, the two young ladies threw
open the door, and advanced with their attendant lovers to the table.
The female philosopher, with the assistance of Mr Bristles, descended
from her lofty pedestal, and looked unutterable basilisks at the
open-mouthed Mæcenas, who turned his eyes from the wooden box to Miss
Hendy, and from Miss Hendy to the wooden box, without trusting himself
with a word of either explanation or enquiry.

"We told you of our intentions, papa," said Miss Sophia, "if you
brought that old lady to your house."

"I didn't bring her; I give you my honour 'twas that scoundrel
Bristles," whispered the dismayed Pitskiver.

"You told me sir," exclaimed Bristles, "that you would be for ever
indebted to me if I brought this lady to your mansion--that she was
the perfection of grace and innocence. By a friendly arrangement with
Mr Stickleback, the greatest sculptor of ancient or modern times, I
managed to secure to this illustrious woman an admission to your
house, which, I understood, she could not openly obtain through the
opposition of your daughters. I considered that you knew of the
arrangement, sir; and I know that, with a soft and feminine
trustfulness, this most gentle and intellectual ornament of her sex
and species consented to meet the wish you had so ardently expressed."

"I never had a wish of the kind," cried Mr Pitskiver; "and I believe
you talking fellows and chattering women are all in a plot to make me
ridiculous. I won't stand it any longer."

"Stand what?" enquired Mr Bristles, knitting his brows.

"Your nonsensical praises of each other--your boastings of
Sticklebacks, and Snooksbys, and Bankses; a set of mere humbugs and
blockheads! And even this foolish woman, with her femininities and
re-invigorating society, I believe to be a regular quack. By dad! one
would think there had never been a woman in the world before."

"Your observations are uncalled for"--

"By no manner of means," continued the senior, waxing bolder from the
sound of his own voice. "I believe you're in a conspiracy to puff each
other into reputation; and, if possible, get hold of some silly
fellow's daughters. But no painting, chiseling, writing, or
sonneteering blackguard, shall ever catch a girl of mine. What the
deuce brings _you_ here, sir?" he added, fiercely turning to Mr
Sidsby. "You're the impostor that read the first act of a play"--

"I read it, sir," said the youth, "but didn't write a word of it, I
assure you. Bristles is the author, and I gave him six dozen of

"No indeed, papa; he never wrote a line in his life," said Sophia.

"Then he may have you if he likes."

"Nor I, except in the ledger," modestly observed Mr Bill Whalley.

"Then take Emily with all my heart. Here, Daggles," he continue,
ringing the bell, "open the street-door, and show these parties out!"

Amidst muttered threats, fierce looks, and lips contorted into all
modes and expression of indignation, the guests speedily disappeared.
And while Mr Pitskiver, still panting from his exertions, related to
his daughters and their enchanted partners his grounds for anger at
the attempt to impose Miss Hendy on him instead of a statue, Mr
Daggles shut the front door in great exultation as the last of the
intruders vanished, and said--

"Snipe, old Pits may do after all. He ain't a bad round of beef; and I
almost like our two mutton-chops, since they have freed the house from
such shocking sour-crouts and watery taties as I have just flinged
into the street."

But it was impossible to convert the great Mr Bristles to the belief
into which his quondam follower, Mr Pitskiver, had fallen as to the
qualities of Miss Hendy. That literary gentleman had too just a
perception of the virtues of the modern Corinne, and of a comfortable
house at Hammersmith, with an income of seven hundred a-year, to allow
them to waste their sweetness on some indecent clown, unqualified by
genius and education to appreciate them. The result of this resolution
was seen in a very few days after the interesting scene in Harley
Street; and the following announcement in the newspapers will put our
readers in as full a state of knowledge as we can boast of being in

"Woman's value Vindicated as the teacher and example of Man, by Mrs
Bristles, late Miss Hendy, Hammersmith."

       *       *       *       *       *


An interdict has rested, through four months, on the discussion of
Irish affairs--an interdict self-imposed by the English press, in a
spirit of honourable (almost of superstitious) jealousy on behalf of
public justice; jealousy for the law, that it should not be biased by
irresponsible statements--jealousy for the accused, that they should
not be prejudiced by extra-judicial charges. At length the interdict
is raised, and we are all free once more to discuss the great
interests so long sealed up and sequestered by the tribunals of
Dublin. Could it have been foreseen or fancied, pending this
sequestration, that before it should be removed by the delivery of the
verdict, nay, two months before the trial should have closed in a
technical sense, by the delivery of the sentence, the original
interest (profound as it was) would be obliterated, effaced,
practically superseded, by a new phasis of the same unparalleled
movement? Yet this has happened. A debate, which (like a series of
natural echoes) has awakened and revived all the political
transactions of last year in Ireland, should naturally have preserved
the same relation to those transactions that any other shadow or
reflection bears to the substance. And so it would: but unhappily with
these rehearsals of the past, have mingled tumultuous menaces of a new
plot. And these menaces, in the very act of uttering themselves,
advertise for accomplices, and openly organize themselves as the
principle of a new faction for refusing tranquillity once more to
Ireland. Once more an opportunity is to be stifled for obtaining rest
to that afflicted land.

This "monster" debate, therefore, presents us in equal proportions
with grounds of disgust and terror--a disgust which forces us often to
forget the new form of terror--a terror (from a new conspiracy) which
forces us to forget even the late conspiracy of Repeal, and that
glorious catastrophe which has trampled it under foot for ever.

It is painful to the understanding--this iteration of statements a
thousand times refuted; it is painful to the heart--this eternal
neglect (in exchange for a _hear, hear_) of what the speaker knows to
be mere necessities of a poor distracted land: this folly privileged
by courtesy, this treason privileged by the place. If indeed of every
idle word--meaning not trivial word, but word consciously false--men
shall hereafter give account, Heavens! what an arrear, in the single
case of Ireland, will by this time have gathered against the House of
Commons! Perfectly appalled we are when we look into the formless
chaos of that nine nights' debate! Beginning with a motion which he
who made it did not wish[28] to succeed--ending with a vote by which
one-half of the parties to that vote meant the flattest contradiction
of all that was contemplated by the rest. On this quarter, a section
raging in the highest against the Protestant church--on that quarter,
a section (in terror of their constituents) vowing aid to this church,
and yet allying themselves with men pledged to her destruction.
_Here_, men rampant against the Minister as having strained the laws,
in what regarded Ireland, for the sake of a vigour altogether
unnecessary; _there_, men threatening impeachment--as for a lenity in
the same case altogether intolerable! To the right, "how durst you
diminish the army in Ireland, leaving that country, up to March 1843,
with a force lower by 2400 rank and file shall the lowest that the
Whigs had maintained?" To the left, "how durst you govern Ireland by
martial strength?" Question from the Minister--"Will you of the
Opposition place popish bishops in the House of Lords?" Answer from a
premature sponsor of Lord John's--"We will." Answer from Lord John--"I
will not." _Question retrospective_ from the Conservatives--"What is
it, not being already done, that we could have done for Ireland?"
_Answer_ from the Liberals--"Oh, a thousand things!" _Question
prospective_ from the Conservatives--"What is it, then, in particular,
that you, in our places, would do for Ireland? Name it." _Answer_ from
the Liberals--"Oh, nothing in particular!" Sir R. Peel ought to have
done for Ireland whole worlds of new things. But the Liberals, with
the very same power to _do_ heretofore, and to _propose_ now, neither
did then, nor can propose at present. And why? partly because the
privilege of acting for Ireland, so fruitful in reproaches, is barren
in practice: the one thing that remained to be done,--viz. the putting
down agitators--_has_ been done; and partly because the privilege of
proposing for Ireland is dangerous: first, as pledging themselves
hereafter; second, because to specify, though it were in so trivial a
matter as the making pounds into guineas for Maynooth, is but to put
on record, and to publish their own party incapacity to agree upon any
one of the merest trifles imaginable. Anarchy of anarchies, very mob
of very mobs, whose internal strife is greater than your common enmity
_ab extra_--what shall we believe? Which is your true doctrine? Where
do you fasten your real charge? Amongst conflicting arguments, which
is it that you adopt? Amongst self-destroying purposes, for which is
it that you make your election?

    [28] The reader may suppose that Lord John Russell had no
    motive for wishing his motion to fail, because (as he was
    truly admonished by Sir Robert Peel) that motion pledged him
    to nothing, and was "an exercise in political fluxions on the
    problem of combining the _maximum_ of damage to his opponents
    with the _minimum_ of prospective engagement to himself."
    True: but for all that Lord John would have cursed the hour in
    which he resolved on such a motion, had it succeeded. What
    would have followed? Ministers would have gone out: Sir Robert
    Peel has repeatedly said they would in the event of parliament
    condemning their Irish policy. This would bring in Lord John,
    and _then_ would be revealed the distraction of his party, the
    chicanery of his late motion, and the mere incapacity of
    moving at all upon Irish questions, either to the right or to
    the left, for _any_ government which at this moment the
    Whig-radicals could form. Doubtless, Lord John cherishes hopes
    of future power; but not at present. "Wait a little," is his
    secret caution to friends: let us see Ireland settled; let the
    turn be taken; let the policy of Sir Robert Peel (at length
    able to operate through the last assertion of the law) have
    once taken root; and then, having the benefit of measures
    which past declarations would not permit him personally to
    initiate, nor his party even to propose, Lord John might
    return to power securely--saying of the Peel policy, "Fieri
    non debuit, _factum_ valet."

It might seem almost unnecessary to answer those who thus answer
themselves, or to expose the ruinous architecture of politicians, who
thus with mutual hands tear down their own walls as they advance, were
it not for the other aspect of the debate. But the times are agitated;
the crisis of Ireland is upon us; now, or not at all, there is an
opening for a new dawn to arise upon the distracted land; and when a
public necessity calls for a contradiction of the enemy, it is a
providential bounty that we are able to plead his _self_-contradiction.
In the hurry of the public mind, there is always a danger that many
great advantages for the truth should be overlooked: even things seen
steadily, yet seen but once and amongst alien objects, are seen to
little purpose. Lowered also in their apparent value by the prejudice,
that what passes in parliament is but the harmless skirmishing of
partisanship, dazzling the eye, but innocuous as the aurora borealis,
demonstrations only too certain of coming evils receive but little
attention in their earlier stages. Yet undoubtedly, if the laws
applicable to conspiracy can in any way be evaded, we may see by the
extensive cabal now organizing itself in England for aiding the Irish
conspiracy to overthrow the Irish Protestant church, that we have but
exchanged one form of agitation for a worse. Worse in what respect?
Not as measured simply by the ruin it would cause--between ruin and
ruin, there is little reason for choice; but worse, as having all the
old supporters that Repeal ever counted, and many others beside.
Especially with Repeal agitation recommending itself to the Irish
priesthood, and to those whom the priesthood can put in motion, it
will recommend itself also and separately to vast multitudes amongst
ourselves. It is worse also--not because in the event more ruinous,
but because in its means less desperate. All the factious in politics
and the schismatic in religion--all those who, caring little or
nothing about religion as a _spiritual_ interest, seek to overthrow
the present Ministers--all those who (caring little or nothing about
politics as a trading interest) seek to overthrow the Church of
England--all, again, who are distressed in point of patriotism, as in
Ireland many are, hoping to establish a foreign influence upon any
prosperous body of native prejudice against British influence, are now
throwing themselves, as by a forlorn hope, into this rearmost of their
batteries, (but also the strongest)--a deadly and combined struggle to
pull down the Irish Protestant establishment. And why? because nothing
else is left to them as a hopeful subject of conspiracy, now that the
Repeal conspiracy is crushed; and because in its own nature an assault
upon Protestantism has always been a promising speculation--sure to
draw support from England, whilst Repeal drew none; and because such
an assault strikes at the citadel of our strength. For the established
church of Ireland is the one main lever by which Great Britain carries
out the machinery of her power over the Irish people. The Protestant
church is by analogy the umbilical cord through which England connects
herself _materially_ with Ireland; through _that_ she propagates her
milder influence; _that_ gone, the rest would offer only coercive
influence. Without going diffusively into such a point, two vast
advantages to the civil administration, from the predominance of a
Protestant church in Ireland, meet us at the threshold: 1st, that it
moulds by the gentlest of all possible agencies the _recusant_ part of
this Irish nation into a growing conformity with the two other limbs
of the empire. The Irish population is usually assumed at about one
fourth part of the total imperial population. Now, the gradual
absorption of so large a section amongst our resources into the
temper, sympathies, and moral habits of the rest, is an object to be
kept in view by every successive government, let their politics
otherwise be what they may; and therefore to be kept in view by all
Irish institutions. In Canada everybody is _now_ aware how much this
country has been wanting to herself, (that is, wanting to the united
interests equally of England and Canada,) in not having operated from
the first upon the political dispositions of the old French population
by the powerful machinery of her own language, and in some cases of
her institutions. Her neglect in this instance she now feels to have
been at her own cost, and therefore politically to have been her
crime. Granting to her population a certain degree of education, and
of familiarity with the English language, certain civic privileges,
(as those of voting at political elections, of holding offices,
profitable or honorary, &c.,) under such reasonable latitude as to
time as might have made the transition easy, England would have
prevented the late wicked insurrection in Canada, and gradually have
obliterated the external monuments of French remembrances, which have
served only to nurse a senseless (because a hopeless) enmity. Now, in
Ireland, the Protestant predominance has long since trained and
moulded the channels through which flows the ordinary ambition of her
national aristocracy. The Popery of Ireland settles and roots itself
chiefly in the peasantry of three provinces. The bias of the gentry,
and of the aspiring in all ranks, is towards Protestantism. Activity
of mind and honourable ambition in every land, where the two forms of
Christianity are politically in equilibrium, move in that same line of
direction. Undoubtedly the Emancipation bill of 1829 was calculated,
or might have seemed calculated, to disturb this old order of
tendencies. But against that disturbance, and in defiance of the
unexampled liberality shown to Papists upon _every_ mode of national
competition, there is still in action (_and judging by the condition
of the Irish bar, in undiminished action_) the old spontaneous
tendency of Protestantism to 'go ahead;' the fact being that the
original independency and freedom of the Protestant principle not only
create this tendency, but also meet and favour it wherever nature has
already created it, so as to operate in the way of a perpetual bounty
upon Protestant leanings. Here, therefore, is _one_ of the great
advantages to every English government from upholding and fostering,
in all modes left open by the Emancipation bill, the Protestant
principle--viz. as a principle which is the pledge of a continual
tendency to union; since, as no prejudice can flatter itself with
seeing the twenty-one millions of our Protestant population pass over
to Popery, it remains that we encourage a tendency in the adverse
direction, long since established and annually increasing amongst the
six and a half Irish Papists. Thus only can our total population be
fused; and without that fusion, it will scarcely be hoped that we can
enjoy the whole unmutilated use of our own latent power.

Towards such a purpose therefore, _as tending to union_ by its
political effects, the Protestant predominancy is useful; and
secondly, were it no otherwise useful, it is so to every possible
administration by means of its patronage. This function of a
government--which, being withdrawn, no government could have the means
of sustaining itself for a year--connects the collateral channels of
Irish honours and remunerations with the great national current of
similar distributions at home. We see that the Scottish establishment,
although differing essentially by church government, yet on the ground
that doctrinally it is almost in alliance with the Church of England,
has not (except by a transient caprice) refused to the crown a portion
of its patronage. On the other hand, if the Roman Catholic church were
installed as the ruling church, every avenue and access for the
government to the administration of national resources so great, would
be closed at once. These evils from the overthrow of the Protestant
church, we mention _in limine_, not as the greatest--they are the
least; or, at any rate, they are so with reference to the highest
interests--but for their immediate results upon the purposes common to
all governments; and _there_ they would be fatal, for any Roman
Catholic church, where it happens also (like the Irish) to be a Papal
church, neither will nor _can_ confide privileges of this nature to
the state. A Papal church, not modified (as the Gallican church) by
_original_ limitations of the Papal authority, not modified (as even
the bigoted churches of Portugal and Austria) by modern _conventional_
limitations of that alien authority, gloomily refuses and must refuse,
to accept any thing from the state, for the simple reason that she is
incapacitated for giving any thing. Wisely, according to the wisdom of
this world, she cuts away from below the footing of the state all
ground on which a pretence could ever be advanced for interfering with
herself. Consequently, whosoever, and by whatsoever organs, would
suffer from the overthrow of the Irish church as now established by
law, the administration of the land would feel the effects from such a
change, first and instantly. Let us not mistake the case. Mr O'Connell
did not seriously aim at Repeal--_that_ he knew too well to be an
enterprise which could not surmount its earliest stages without coming
into collision with the armed forces of the land; and no man will ever
believe that he dreamed of prevailing _there_. What was it, then, that
he _did_ aim at? It was the establishment in supremacy of the Papal
church. His meaning was, in case he had been left quietly to build up
his aspiring purpose so high as seriously to alarm the government,
then suddenly to halt, to propose by way of compromise some step in
advance for his own church. Suppose that some arrangement which should
have the effect of placing that church on a footing of equality, as a
privileged (not as an endowed) church, with the present establishment;
this gained, he might have safely left the church herself
thenceforwards, from such a position of advantage, to fight her way
onwards, to the utter destruction of her rival.

Thus it was that the conspirators hoped to terrify the minister into
secret negotiation and compromise. But that hope failed. The minister
was firm. He watched and waited his opportunity; he kept his eye
settled upon them, to profit by the first opening which their folly
should offer to the dreadful artillery of law. At last, said the
minister, we will put to proof this vaunt of yours. We dare not bring
you to trial, is your boast. Now, we will see that settled; and, at
the same time, we will try whether we cannot put you down for ever.
That trial was made, and with what perfection of success the reader
knows; for let us remind him, that the perfection we speak of lay as
much in the manner of the trial as in its result--in the sanctities of
abstinence, in the holy forbearance to use any one of many decent
advantages, in the reverence for the sublime equities of law. Oh,
mightiest of spectacles which human grandeur can unfold to the gaze of
less civilized nations, when the ermine of the judge and the
judgment-seat, belted by no swords, bristling with no bayonets--when
the shadowy power of conscience, citing, as it were, into the
immediate presence of God twelve upright men, accomplishing for great
kingdoms, by one day's memorable verdict, that solemn revolution which
elsewhere would have caused torrents of blood to flow, and would
perhaps have unsealed the tears of generations. Since the trial of the
seven bishops[29]--which inaugurated for England the certainty that
for _her_ the "bloody writing" was torn which would have consigned her
children to the mercies of despotism--there has been no such crisis,
no such agitation, no such almighty triumph. Here was the _second_
chapter of the history; and lastly, that the nine nights' debate
attached itself as the _third_, is evident from its real purpose,
which may be expressed strictly in this problem: Given, as a fact
beyond all doubt, that O'Connell's Repeal conspiracy is for ever
shattered; let it now be proposed, as a thing worthy of the combined
parties in opposition, to find out some vicarious or supplementary
matter for sedition. A new agitation must be found, gentlemen--a new
grievance must be had, or Ireland is tranquillized, and we are lost.
Was there ever a case illustrating so strongly the maxim, that no man
can be effectually ruined except by himself? Here is Lord John
Russell, taxed a thousand times with having not merely used Mr
O'Connell as an ally, but actually as having lent himself to Mr
O'Connell as an instrument. Is that true? A wise man, kind-hearted,
and liberal in the construction of motives, will have found himself
hitherto unwilling to suppose a thing so full of disgrace; he will
have fancied arguments for scepticism. But just at this moment of
critical suspense, forth steps Lord John himself, and by his own act
dissipates all doubts, frankly subscribing the whole charge against
himself; for his own motion reveals and publishes his wrath against
the ministers for having extinguished the only man, viz. a piratical
conspirator, by whose private license there was any safety for
navigating the sea of Irish politics. The exact relation in which Lord
John had hitherto stood to Mr O'Connell, was that of a land-owner
paying black-mail to the cateran who guaranteed his flocks from
molestation: how naturally must the grazier turn with fury on the man
who, by suppressing his guardian, has made it hopeless for the future
to gain private ease by trafficking in public wrongs! The real
grievance was, the lopping Dagon of all power to stand erect, and thus
laying the Whig-radical under the necessity of "walking in the light
of the constitution" without aid from Irish crutches. The real _onus_
imposed on Lord John's party is, where to look for, and how to suborn,
some new idol and some fresh idolatry. Still to dispense with the laws
in Ireland in the event of their own return to power, still to banish
tranquillity from Ireland in the event of Sir Robert's power
continuing, required that some new conspiracy should be cited to the
public service, possibly (after the 15th of April) some new
conspirator. The new seditious movement could not be doubtful: by many
degrees of preference, the war upon the Irish church had the "call."
This is to be the war now pursued, and with advantages (as we have
already said) never possessed by the Repeal cause. The chief advantage
of _that_ lay in the utter darkness to the Irish peasantry of the word
"Repeal." What it meant no wizard could guess; and merely as a subject
to allure by uncertain hopes, on the old maxim of "omne ignotum pro
magnifico," the choice of that word had considerable merit. But the
cause of Popery has another kind of merit, and (again we remind the
reader) reposes upon another kind of support. In that cause the Irish
peasantry will be unaffectedly and spontaneously zealous; in that
cause there will be a confluence from many quarters of English aid.
Far other phenomena will now come forward. Meetings, even of the kind
convened by Mr O'Connell, are not, we must remember, found to be
unlawful by the issue of the late trials. Had certain melodramatic
features been as cautiously banished from Mr O'Connell's parades as
latterly they were affectedly sought, it is certain that, to this
hour, he and his pretended myriads would have been untouched by the
petrific mace of the policeman. Lay aside this theatrical costuming of
cavalry, of military step, &c., and it will be found that these
meetings were lawful. Most certainly a meeting for the purpose of
petitioning is not, and (unless by its own folly) never can be, found

    [29] The trial of the seven bishops for declining to obey the
    king's order in council against what, in conscience, they
    believed to be the law of the land, is the more strictly a
    parallel case, because, as in Ireland, the whole Popish part
    of the population--in effect, therefore, the whole physical
    strength of the land--_seemed_ to have arrayed itself on the
    side of the conspiracy; so in England, the only armed force,
    and that close to London, was supposed to have been bought
    over by the systematic indulgence of the king. Himself and the
    queen (Mary of Modena) had courted them through the summer.
    But all was fruitless against the overwhelming sympathy of the
    troops with an universal popular feeling. Bishop Burnet
    mentions that this army (about 10,000 men, and then encamped
    beyond Hounslow) broke into tremendous cheers at the moment
    when the news of the acquittal reached them. Whilst lauding
    their Creator his majesty was present. But a far more
    picturesque account of the case is given by an ancestor of the
    present Lord Lonsdale's, whose memoirs (still in MS.) are
    alluded to in one of his Ecclesiastic Sonnets by Mr
    Wordsworth, our present illustrious laureate. One trait is of
    a nature so fine, and so inevitable under similar
    circumstances of interest, that, but for the intervention of
    the sea, we should certainly have witnessed its repetition on
    the termination of the Dublin trials. Lord Lowther (such was
    the title at that time) mentions that, as the bishops came
    down the Thames in their boat after their acquittal, a
    perpetual series of men, linked knee to knee, knelt down along
    the shore. The blessing given, up rose a continuous thunder of
    huzzas; and these, by a kind of natural telegraph, ran along
    the streets and the river, through Brentford, and so on to
    Hounslow. According to the illustration of Lord L., this voice
    of a nation rolled like a _feu-de-joie_, or running fire, the
    whole ten miles from London to Hounslow, within a few minutes;
    or, like a train of gunpowder laid from London to the camp,
    this irresistible sentiment finally involved in its torrent
    evenits professional and hired enemies. Cæsar mentions that
    such a transmission, telegraphically propagated from mouth to
    mouth, of a Roman victory, reached himself, at a distance of
    160 miles, within about four hours.

But may not this new conspiracy, which is now mustering and organizing
itself, be put down summarily by force? We may judge of _that_ by what
has happened to the old conspiracy. Put down by martial violence, or
by the police, Repeal would have retired for the moment only to come
forward and reconstruct itself in successive shapes of mischief not
provided for by law, or not shaped to meet the grasp of an executive
so limited as, in these days, any English executive must find itself.
On the other hand, once brought under the cognizance of law, it has
been crushed in its fraudulent form, and compelled to transmigrate at
once into that sincere, substantial, and final form, towards which it
was always tending. Whatever of extra peril is connected with a
movement so much more intelligible than Repeal, and so much more in
alliance with the natural prepossessions of the Irish mind--better it
is, after all, that this peril should be forced to show itself in open
daylight, than that it should be lurking in ambush or mining
underground; ready for a burst when other mischief might be abroad, or
evading the clue of our public guardians. Besides that, Repeal also
had its own peculiar terrors, notwithstanding that it did not grow up
originally upon any stock of popular wishes, but had been an
artificial growth propagated by an artificial inoculation. That flame
also could burn fiercely when fanned by incendiaries, although it did
not supply its own combustibles. And, think as we may of the two
evils, valued as mischief against mischief, Repeal against
Anti-protestantism, certain it is, that one most important advantage
has accrued to Government from the change. Fighting against Repeal,
they had to rely upon one sole resource of doubtful issue; for, after
all, the law stood on the interpretation of a jury, and therefore too
much on the soundness of individual minds; whereas in meeting the
assaults of Anti-protestantism, backed as it is by six millions of
combatants, ministers will find themselves reposing on the whole
strength of two nations, and of that section, even amongst the Irish,
which is socially the strongest. An old enemy is thus replaced by a
new one many hundred-fold more naturally malignant; true, but
immediately the new one will call forth a natural antagonism many
thousand-fold more determined. Such is the result; and, though
alarming in itself, for ministers it remains an advantage and a
trophy. How was this result accomplished? By a Fabian policy of
watching, waiting, warding, and assaulting at the right moment. Three
times within the last twelve months have the Government been thrown
upon their energies of attack and defence; three times have they been
summoned to the most trying exercise of skill--vigilantly to parry,
and seasonably to strike: _first_, when their duty was to watch and to
arrest agitation; _secondly_, when their duty was, by process of law,
to crush agitation; _thirdly_, when their duty was to explain and
justify before Parliament whatsoever they had done through the two
former stages. Now, then, let us rapidly pursue the steps of our
ministers through each severally of these three stages; and by
seasonable _resumé_ or recapitulation, however brief, let us claim the
public praise for what merits praise, and apply our vindication to
what has been most misrepresented. The first charge preferred against
the Government was, that it did not instantly attack the Repealers on
their earliest appearance. We must all recollect this charge, and the
bitterness with which it was urged during the whole of last summer;
for, in fact, the difference of opinion upon this question led to a
schism even amongst the Conservative party and press. The majority,
headed by the leading morning paper, have treated it to this day as a
ground of suspicion against Government, or at least as an impeachment
of their courage, that they should have lingered or hesitated upon the
proper policy. Our Journal was amongst the few which, after
considerable reflection and perhaps doubt, defended the course
adopted; and specifically upon the following suggestion, _inter alia_,
viz. that Peel and the Wellesley were assuredly at that moment
watching Mr O'Connell, not at all, therefore, hesitating as to the
general character of the policy to be observed, but only waiting for
the best mode (best in effect, best in popularity) of enforcing that
policy. And we may remind our readers, that on that occasion we
applied to the situation of the two parties, as they stood watching
and watched, the passage from Wordsworth--

    "The vacillating bondsman of the Pope
    Shrinks from the verdict of that steadfast eye."

There was no great merit in being right; but it is proper to remind
our readers that we _were_ right. And there is considerable merit,
more merit than appears, in not having been wrong; for in that we
should have followed not only a vast leading majority amongst public
authorities, but we should have followed an instinct of impassioned
justice, which cannot endure to witness the triumph, though known to
be but fugitive, of insolence and hyperbolical audacity. Not as
partisans, which was proved by the caution of our manner, but after
some deliberation, we expressed our conviction that Government was not
slumbering, but surveying its ground, taking up its position, and
trying the range of its artillery, in order to strike surely, to
strike once, but so that no second blow should be needed. All this
has been done; so far our predictions have been realized; and to that
extent the Government has vindicated itself. But still it may be
asked, to _what_ extent? Doubtless the thing has been done, and done
completely. Yet _that_ will not necessarily excuse the Government. To
be well done is, in many cases, all that we require; but in questions
of civil policy often there is even more importance that it should be
_soon_ done, done maturely, (that is, seasonably done with a view to
certain evils growing up concurrently with the evil,) done even
prematurely with respect to immediate bad consequences open to instant
arrest. At this moment amongst the parliamentary opponents of
ministers, though some are taxing them with unconstitutional
harshness, (or at least with that _summum jus_ which the Roman proverb
denounces as _summa injuria_,) in having ever interfered at all with
Mr O'Connell, others of the same faction are roundly imputing to them
a system of decoy, a "laying of traps," (that was the word,) in
waiting so patiently for the ripening of the Repeal frenzy. Upon the
same principle, a criminal may have a right to complain that her
Majesty, when extending mercy to a first crime, or a crime palliated
by its circumstances, and that a merciful prosecutor who intercedes
effectually on his behalf with the court, have both been laying a trap
for his future conduct; since, assuredly, there is one motive the less
to a base nature for abstaining from evil in the mitigated
consequences which the evil drew after it. On the same principle the
Repealers, having found Sir R. Peel so anxious, in the first stages of
their career, to spare them altogether, were seduced into thinking
that surely he never would strike so hard when at length he had made
ready to strike. Still, with submission, we think that to found false
expectations upon a spirit of lenity, and upon that mistake to found
an abuse of goodness that was really sincere, was not the fault of Sir
R. Peel, but of the Repealers. Any man's goodness becomes a trap to
him who is capable of making it such; since the most noble
forbearance, misinterpreted as fear, will probably enough operate as a
snare for such a person by tempting him into excesses calculated to
rouse that courage with which all genuine forbearance is associated.
If the early moderation of Government did really entrap any man, that
man has himself, and his own meanness of heart, to thank for his
delusion. But were it otherwise, and the Government became properly
responsible for any possible misinterpretation of their own
lenity--even in that case, it will remain to be enquired whether
Government _could_ have acted otherwise than it did. For else, though
Government could owe little enough to the conspirator; yet with
respect to the ill-educated and misled labouring man, whose honest
sensibilities were so grievously played upon by traitors, we do
ourselves conceive that Government had a clamorous duty. If such men
by thousands believed that the cause of Repeal was patriotic, that we
consider a delusion not of a kind or a class to challenge exposure
from Government; they have neither such functions assigned to them,
nor could they assume any office of teaching without suspicion. But
when the credulity of the poor was shown also in anticipating impunity
for the leader of Repeal, and upon the ground that ministers feared
him, when for this belief there was really much plausible sanction in
the behaviour of the Whig ministers--too plainly it became a marked
duty of Sir Robert Peel to warn them how matters stood; to let them
know that sedition tended to dangerous results, and that _his_
Government was bound by no secret understanding, with sedition for
averting its natural penalties. So much, we all agree, was due from
the present Government to the poorer classes; and exactly because
former governments had practically taken another view of sedition. If,
therefore, Sir R. Peel had left unpaid this great debt, he failed
grievously in the duties of his high office; but we are of opinion
that he did _not_. We have an obscure remembrance that the Queen's
speech uttered a voice on this point--a solemn, a monitory, a parental
voice. We seem to recollect also, that in his own parliamentary place
he warned the deluded followers of Repeal--that they were engaged in a
chase that must be fruitless, and might easily become criminal. What
was open to him, therefore, Sir Robert did. He applied motives, such
as there were within his power, to lure men away from this seditious
service. The "traps" he laid were all in that direction. If more is
required of him by people arguing the case at present, it remains to
ask whether more was at that time in his power.

The present administration came into power in September 1841. Why the
Repealers did not go to work instantly, is more than we can explain;
but so it was. In March of 1843, and not sooner, Mr O'Connell opened a
new shop of mercenary agitation, and probably for the last time that
he will ever do so. The _surveillance_ of Government, it now appears,
commenced almost simultaneously; why not the reaction of Government?
Upon that it is worth spending a few words. It is now made known to
the public, that from the very first Sir R. Peel had taken such
measures of precaution as were really open to him. In communicating,
officially with any district whatsoever, in any one of the three
kingdoms, the proper channel through which the directions travel is
the lord-lieutenant of the particular county in which the district
lies. He is the direct representative of the sovereign--he stands at
the head of the county magistrates, and is officially the organ
between the executive and his own rural province. To this officer in
every county, Sir R. Peel addressed a letter of instructions; and the
principle on which these instructions turned was--that for the present
he was to exercise a jealous neutrality; not interfering without
further directions in ordinary cases, that is, where simply Repeal was
advocated, or individuals were abused; but that, on the first
_suggestion_ of local outrages, the first _incitement_ to mischief,
arrests and other precautionary measures were to take place. Not much
more than twenty years are gone by, since magistrates moved on
principles so wholly different, that now, and to the youthful of this
generation, they would seem monstrous. In those days, let any man be
found to swear that he apprehended danger to his property, or violence
to his person, from the assembling of a mob in a place assigned, and
the magistrate would have held it his duty to disperse or prevent that
meeting. But now _on a changé tout cela_; and as easily might a
magistrate of this day commit Fanny Elssler as a vagabond. Yet even in
these days we have heard it mooted--

1. On the mere ground of _numerical amount_, and as for that reason
alone an uncontrollable mass, might not such a meeting have been
liable to dispersion? _Answer_--this allegation of monstrous numbers
was uniformly a falsehood; and a falsehood gross and childish. Was it
for the dignity of Government to assume, as grounds of action, fables
so absurd as these? _Not_ to have assumed them, will never be made an
argument of blame against the Executive; and, indeed, it was not
possible to do so, since Government had employed qualified persons to
estimate the numbers, and in some instances to measure the ground. The
only real charge against Government, in connexion with these fables,
is (and we grieve to say it) that of having echoed them, in an
ambiguous way, at one point of the trials; not exactly assuming them
for true, and resting any other truth upon their credit, but repeating
them as parts _inter alia_ of current popular hearsay. Now this,
though probably the act of some subordinate officer, does a double
indignity to Government; it is discreditable to the understanding, if
such palpable nursery tales are adopted for any purpose; and openly to
adulterate with falsehood, even in those cases where the falsehood is
not associated with folly, still more deeply wounds the character of
an honourable government. But, besides, had the numerical estimates
stood upon any footing of truth, mere numbers could not have been
pleaded as an argument for reasonable alarm. The false estimate was
not pleaded by the Repealers until _after_ the meetings, and as an
inference from facts. But the use of the argument was _before_ the
meeting, and to prevent the meeting. And if the experience of past
meetings were urged as an argument for presuming that the coming one
would be not less numerous, concurrently would be urged this same
experience as a demonstration that no danger was to be apprehended.
Dangerous the meetings certainly were in another sense; but, in the
police sense, so little dangerous, that each successive meeting
squared, cubed, &c., in geometrical progression the guarantee in point
of safety for all meetings that were to follow.

2. On the ground of _sedition_, and disaffection to the Government,
might not these assemblages have been lawfully dispersed or prevented?
Unfortunately, not under our modern atmosphere of political
liberality. In time of war, when it may again become necessary, for
the very salvation of the land, to suspend the _habeas corpus_ act,
sedition would revive into a new meaning. But, at all times, sedition
is of too unlimited a nature to form the basis of an affidavit sworn
before a police magistrate; and it is an idea which very much
sympathizes with the _general_ principles of political rights. When
these are unusually licentious, sedition is interpreted liberally and
laxly. Where danger tightens the restraints upon popular liberty, the
idea of sedition is more narrowly defined. Sedition, besides, very
much depends upon overt acts as expounding it. And to take any
controversial ground for the basis of restraint upon personal liberty,
would probably end in disappointment. At the same time, we must make
one remark. Some months ago, in considering what offence was committed
by the public avowal of the Repeal doctrine, we contended, that it
amounted constructively to treason; and on the following argument--Why
had any body supposed it lawful to entertain or to propagate such a
doctrine? Simply, on the reflexion that, up to the summer of 1800,
there _was_ no union with Ireland: since August of that 1800, this
great change had been made. And by what? By an act of Parliament. But
could there be any harm in seeking the repeal of a parliamentary act?
Is not _that_ done in every session of the two Houses? And as to the
more or less importance of an act, _that_ is a matter of opinion. But
we contended, that the sanctity of an act is to be deduced from the
sanctity of the subjects for which it legislates. And in proof of
this, we alleged the _Act of Settlement_. Were it so, that simply the
term _Act of Parliament_ implied a license universally for undoing and
canceling it, then how came the Act of Settlement to enjoy so peculiar
a consecration? We take upon us to say--that, in any year since the
Revolution of 1688-9, to have called a meeting for the purpose of
framing a petition against this act, would have been treason. Might
not Parliament itself entertain a motion for repealing it, or for
modifying it? Certainly; for we have no laws resembling those Athenian
laws, which made it capitally punishable to propose their repeal. And
secondly,--no body external to the two Houses, however venerable, can
have power to take cognizance of words uttered in either of those
Houses. Every Parliament, of necessity, must be invested with a
discretionary power over every arrangement made by their predecessors.
Each several Parliament must have the same power to _undo_, which
former Parliaments had to _do_. The two Houses have the keys of St
Peter--to unloose in the nineteenth century whatever the earliest
Parliament in the twelfth century could bind. But this privilege is
proper and exclusive to the two Houses acting in conjunction. Outside
their walls, no man has power to do more than to propose as a
petitioner some lawful change. But how could that be a lawful change
which must begin by proposing to shift the allegiance into some other
channel than that in which it now flows? The line of succession, as
limited in the act, is composed of persons all interested. As against
_them_, merely contingent and reversionary heirs, no treason could
exist. But we have supposed the attempt to be against the individual
family then occupying the throne. And it is clear that no pretence,
drawn from the repealable nature of an English law, can avail to make
it less, or other than treason, for a person outside of Parliament to
propose the repeal of _this_ act as to any point affecting the
existing royal family, or at least, so many of that family as are
privileged persons known to the constitution. Now, then, this remark
instantly points to two classes of acts; one upon which to all men is
open the right of calling for Repeal; another upon which no such
right is open. But if this be so, then to urge the legality of calling
for a Repeal of the Union, on the ground that this union rests only
upon an act of Parliament, is absurd; because that leaves it still
doubtful whether this act falls under the one class or the other.

Why do we mention this? Because we think it exceedingly important that
the attention of parliament should be called to the subject, and to
the necessity of holding certain points in our constitution as
absolutely sacred. If a man or party should go about proclaiming the
unlawfulness, in a religious sense, of _property_, and agitating for
that doctrine amongst the lower classes by appropriate arguments--it
would soon be found necessary to check them, and the sanctity of
property would soon be felt to merit civil support. Possibly it will
be replied--"Supposing the revolutionary doctrines followed by overt
acts, then the true redress is by attacking these acts." Yet every
body feels that, if the doctrine and the acts continued to propagate
themselves, very soon both would be punished. In the case where
missionaries incited negro slaves to outrages on property, or were
said to do so, nobody proposed to punish only the overt outrages. So,
again, in the event of those doctrines being revived which denounced
all differences of rank, and the official distinctions of civil
government, it would be too late to punish the results after the bonds
of society were generally relaxed. Ministers are placed in a very
false position, continually taxing a man with proposing the repeal of
a law as if _that_ were an admitted crime, and yet also pronouncing
the proposed repeal of any law to be a privilege of every citizen.
They will soon find it necessary to make their election for one or
other of these incompatible views.

Meantime, in direct opposition to this uncertainty of the ministers,
the Irish Attorney-General has drawn the same argument from the Act of
Settlement which we have drawn. In February 1844, the Irish
Attorney-General pronounced his views; _Blackwood's Magazine_ in
August or September 1843. A fact which we mention--not as imputing to
that learned gentleman any obligation to ourselves; for, on the
contrary, it strengthens the opinion to have been _independently_
adopted by different minds, but in order to acquit ourselves from the
natural suspicion of having, in a legal question, derived our own
views from a high legal authority.

3. Might not the Repeal Association have been arrested and prosecuted
at first, viz. in March 1843, as six months afterwards they were, on a
charge of conspiracy? That was a happy thought, by whomsoever
suggested; and strange that an idea, so often applied to minor
offences as well as to political offences, should not at once have
been seen to press with crushing effect upon these disturbers of the
public peace. Since the great change in the combination laws, this
doctrine of conspiracy is the only means by which masters retain any
power at all. Wheresoever there are reciprocal rights, for one of the
two antagonist interests to combine in defence of their own,
presupposes in very many cases an unfair disturbance of the legal
equilibrium. Society, as being an inert body in relation to any
separate interests of its own, and chiefly from the obscurity of these
interests, cannot be supposed to combine; and therefore cannot combine
even to prevent combinations. Government is the perpetual guardian and
organ of society in relation to its interests. Government, therefore,
prosecutes. This, however, left the original question as to the Repeal
of the Irish Union act, whether a lawful attempt or not lawful,
untouched. And necessary it was to do so. Had the prosecutor even been
satisfied on that point, no jury would have regarded it as other than
a delicate question in the casuistry of political metaphysics. But the
offence of combining, by means of tumultuous meetings, and by means of
connecting with this obscure question rancorous nationalities or
personalities, so as to make _that_ a matter of agitating interest to
poor men, which else they would have regarded as a pure scholastic
abstraction--this was a crime well understood by the jury; and thence
flowed the verdict. But could not the same verdict have been obtained
in the month of March? Certainly not. For the act of _conspiracy_ must
prove itself by collusion between speeches and speeches, between
speeches and newspapers, between reporters and newspapers, between
newspaper and newspaper. But in the infancy of such a concern, these
links of concert and mutual reverberation are few, hard to collect,
and unless carelessly diffused, (as in the palmy days of the Repeal
Association they were,) difficult to prove.

In short, no indictment could have availed that was not founded on the
offence of conspiracy; and _that_ would not have been available with
certainty much before the autumn, when in fact the conspirators were
held to bail. To have failed would have been ruinous. We have seen how
hardly the furious Opposition have submitted to the Government
measure, under its present principle of simple confidence in the law
as it is: had new laws, or suspension of old ones, been found
requisite--the desperate resistance of the Liberals would have reacted
contagiously on the excitement in Ireland, so as to cause more
mischief in a secondary way, than any measure of restraint upon the
Repealers could have healed directly.

It is certain, meantime, that Sir R. Peel did not wish to provoke a
struggle with the Repealers. Feeling, probably, considerable doubts
upon the issue of any trial, moving upon whatsoever principle--because
in any case the composition of the jury must depend a good deal upon
chance, and one recusant juror, or one juror falling ill at a critical
moment, might have reduced the whole process to a nihility--Sir
Robert, like any moderate man, hoped that his warnings might meet with
attention. They did not. So far from _that_, the Repealers kindled
into more frenzy through their own violence, irritated no doubt by
public sympathy with their worst counsels in America and elsewhere. At
length the case indicated in the minister's instructions to the
lords-lieutenant of counties, the _casus fæderis_, actually occurred.
One meeting was fixed ostentatiously on the anniversary of the
rebellion in 1798; and against the intended meeting at Clontarf, large
displays of cavalry and of military discipline were publicly
advertised. These things were decisive: the viceroy returned suddenly
to Ireland: the Privy Council of Ireland assembled: a proclamation
issued from government: the conspirators were arrested: and in the
regular course the trials came on.

Such is our account of the first stage in this great political
transaction; and this first stage it is which most concerns the
reputation of Government. For though the merit of the trials, or
second stage, must also belong to Government, so far as regards the
resolution to adopt this course, and the general principle of their
movement; yet in the particular conduct of their parts, these trials
naturally devolved upon the law-officers. In the admirable balance of
firmness and forbearance it is hardly possible to imagine the minister
exceeded. And here, where chiefly he stood between a double fire of
attacks, irreconcilable in themselves, and proceeding not less on
friends than foes, it is now found by official exposures that Sir
Robert's conduct is not open to a trivial demur. He made his
preparations for vindicating the laws in such a spirit of energy, as
though he had resolved upon allowing no escape for the enemy; he
opened a _locus penitentiæ_, noiseless and indulgent to the feelings
of the offenders, with so constant an overture of placability as if he
had resolved upon letting them _all_ escape. The kindness of the
manner was as perfect as the brilliancy of the success.

Next, as regards the trials, there is so very much diffused through
the speeches or the incidents of what is noticeable on one ground or
other--that we shall confine ourselves to those points which are
chiefly concerned in the one great factious (let us add fraudulent)
attempt within the House of Commons to disparage the justice of the
trial. In all history, we remember nothing that ever issued from a
baffled and mortified party more audacious than this. As, on the other
hand, in all history we remember nothing more anxiously or sublimely
conscientious than the whole conduct of the trial. More conspicuously
are these qualities displayed, as it was inevitable they should, in
the verdict. Never yet has there been a document of this nature more
elaborate and fervent in the energy of its distinctions, than this
most memorable verdict; and the immortal twelve will send down their
names to posterity as the roll-call of those upright citizens, who, in
defiance of menaces, purchased peace to their afflicted country at the
price of peril to themselves. With partisans, of course, all this goes
for nothing; and no cry was more steadily raised in the House of
Commons than the revolting falsehood--that the conspirators had not
obtained a fair trial. Upon the three pretences by which this
monstrous allegation endeavoured to sustain itself, we will say a
word. Two quarrels have been raised with incidents occurring at
separate stages in the striking of the jury. What happened first of
all was supposed to be a mere casual effect of hurry. Good reason
there has since appeared, to suspect in this affair no such excusable
accident, but a very fraudulent result of a plan for vitiating the
whole proceedings. Such things are likely enough to be attempted by
obscure partisans. But at all events any trick that may have been
practised, is traced decisively to the party of the defendants. But
the whole effect of the trick, if such it were, was to diminish the
original fund from which the names of the second list were to be
drawn, by about one twenty-ninth part. But this inconsiderable loss
was as likely to serve the defendants as not; for the object, as we
have said, was--simply by vitiating the proceeding to protract the
trial, and thus to benefit by a larger range of favourable accidents.
But why not cure this irregularity, however caused, by the means open
to the court? Simply for these reasons, explained by the
Attorney-General:--1st, that such a proceeding would operate
injuriously upon many other trials; and 2d, as to this particular
trial, that it would delay it until the year 1845. The next incident
is still more illustrative of the determination, taken beforehand, to
quarrel with the arrangements, on whatever principle conducted. When
the list of persons eligible as jurors has been reduced by the
unobjectionable process of balloting to forty-eight, from that amount
they are further reduced by ultimate challenges; and the necessity
resting upon each party to make these challenges is not discretional,
but peremptory. It happened that the officer who challenged on behalf
of the crown, struck off about ten Roman Catholics. The public are
weary of hearing it explained--that these names were not challenged
_as_ Catholics, but as Repealers. Some persons have gone so far as to
maintain--that even Repealers ought not to have been challenged. This,
however, has been found rather too strong a doctrine for the House of
Commons--to have asked for a verdict of guilty from men glorying in
the very name which expresses the offence. Did any man ever suggest a
special jury of smugglers in a suit of our lady the Queen, for the
offence of "running" goods? Yet certainly they are well qualified as
respects professional knowledge of the case. We on our part maintain,
that not merely Repealers were inadmissible on the Dublin jury, but
generally Roman Catholics; and we say this without disrespect to that
body, as will appear from what follows. It will often happen that men
are challenged as labouring under prejudices which disqualify them for
an impartial discharge of a juror's duty. But these prejudices may be
of two kinds. First, they may be the natural product of a certain
birth, education, and connexion; and these are cases in which it will
almost be a _duty_ for one so biased to have contracted something of a
permanent inability to judge fairly under circumstances which interest
his prejudices. But secondly, there are other prejudices, as, for
instance, of passions, of blind anger, or of selfish interest. Such
cases of prejudice are less honourable; and yet no man scruples to
tell another, under circumstances of this nature, that he cannot place
confidence in his impartiality. No offence is either meant or taken. A
trial is transferred from Radnorshire to Warwickshire in order to
secure justice: yet Radnorshire is not offended. And every day a
witness is told to stand down, when he is acknowledged to have the
slightest pecuniary interest in the case, without feeling himself
insulted. Yet the insinuation is a most gross one--that, because he
might be ten guineas richer or poorer by the event of the trial, he is
not capable of giving a fair testimony. This would be humiliating,
were it not seen that keen interests compel men to speak bluntly and
plainly: men cannot sacrifice their prospects of justice to ceremony
and form. Now, when a Roman Catholic is challenged as a juryman, it is
under the first and comparatively inoffensive mode of imputation. It
is not said--you are under a cloud of passion, or under a bias of
gross self-interest. But simply--you have certain religious opinions:
no imputation is made on your integrity. On the contrary, it is
honourable to you that you should be alive to the interests of your
class. Some think, and so may you, that separation from England would
elevate the Catholics; since, in such a case, undoubtedly your
religion would become predominant in Ireland. It is but natural,
therefore, that you should lean to the cause of those who favour
yours. In setting aside a Catholic as a juryman on the trial of
Repealers, this is the imputation made upon him. Now, what is there in
that to wound any man's feelings? Lastly, it is alleged that the
presiding judge summed up in terms unfavourable to the Repealers. Of
course he did; and, as an upright judge, how could he have done
otherwise? Let us for one moment consider this point also. It is often
said that the judge is counsel for the prisoner. But this is a gross
misconception. The judge, properly speaking, is counsel for the law,
and for every thing which can effect the right understanding of the
evidence. Consequently he sometimes appears to be advocating the
prisoner's cause, merely because the point which he is clearing up
happens to make for the prisoner. But equally he would have appeared
to be against the prisoner, if he found it necessary to dissipate
perplexities that would have benefited the prisoner. His business is
with no personal interest, but generally with the interest of truth
and equity--whichever way those may point. Upon this principle, in
summing up, it is the judge's duty to appraise the entire evidence;
and if any argument lurks obscurely in the evidence, he must strip it
of its obscurity, and bring it forward with fuller advantage. That may
happen to favour the prisoner, or it may weigh against him. But the
judge cannot have any regard to these consequences. His concern is
simply with the pressure and incidence of the testimony. If,
therefore, a prisoner has brought forward witnesses who were able to
depose any thing in his favour, be assured that the judge will not
overlook that deposition. But, if no such deposition were made, is it
meant that the judge is to invent it? The whole notion has grown out
of the original conceit--that a defendant in relation to the judge is
in the relation of a client to an advocate. But this is no otherwise
true than as it is true of every party and interest connected with the
case. All these alike the judge is to uphold in their true equitable
position and rights. In summing up, the judge used such facts as had
been furnished to him. All these happened to be against the Repealers;
and therefore the judge appeared to be against then. But the same
impression would have resulted, if he had simply read his notes of the

Such are the desperate attempts to fasten charges of unfairness on
this fairest of all recorded trials. And with an interest so keen in
promoting the belief of some unfairness, was there ever yet a trial
that could have satisfied the losing party? Losers have a proverbial
privilege for being out of temper. But in this case more is sought
than the mere gratification of wrath. Fresh hopes spring up in every
stage of this protracted contest, and they are all equally groundless.
First, Mr O'Connell was not to be arrested: it was impossible and
absurd to suppose it. Next, _being_ arrested, he was not to be tried.
We must all remember the many assurances in Dublin papers--that all
was done to save appearances, but that no trial would take place.
Then, when it was past denial that the trial had really begun, it was
to break down on grounds past numbering. Finally, the jury would
never dare to record a verdict of guilty. This, however, being
actually done, then was Mr O'Connell to bring writs of error; he was
to "take the sense" of the whole Irish bench; and, having taken all
that, he was to take the sense of the Lords. And after all these
things were accomplished, finally (as we then understood it) he was to
take himself off in the direction pointed out by the judges. But we
find that he has not yet reconciled himself to _that_. Intimations
come out at intervals that the judges will never dare to pass any but
a nominal sentence upon him. We conclude that all these endless
conflicts with the legal necessities of his case are the mere
gasconades of Irish newspapers, addressing themselves to provincial
readers. Were there reason to suppose them authorized by the
Repealers, there would be still higher argument for what we are going
to say. But under any circumstances, we agree with the opinion
expressed dispassionately and seasonably by the _Times_
newspaper--that judgment must be executed in this case. We agree with
that journal--that the nation requires it as a homage rendered
necessary to the violated majesty of law. Nobody wishes that, at Mr
O'Connell's age, any _severe_ punishment should be inflicted. Nobody
will misunderstand, in such a case, the mitigation of the sentence.
The very absence of all claim to mitigation, makes it impossible to
mistake the motive to lenity in _his_ case. But judgment must be done
on Cawdor. Two aggravations, and heavy ones, of the offence have
occurred even since the trial. One is the tone of defiance still
maintained by newspapers under his control. Already, with one voice,
they are ready to assure the country, in case of the sentence being
incommensurate to the case, that Government wished to be severe, but
had not courage for the effort; and that Government dares not enforce
the sentence. The other aggravation lies in this--that he, a convicted
conspirator, has presumed to take his seat amongst the senators of the
land--"Venit in senatum, fit particeps consilii." Yet Catiline, here
denounced to the public rage, _was_ not a _convicted_ conspirator; and
even his conspiracy rests very much on the word of an enemy. It is
true that, in some formal sense, a man's conviction is not complete in
our law until sentence has been pronounced. But this makes no real
difference as to the scandalous affront which Mr O'Connell has thus
put upon the laws of the land. And in that view it is, viz. as an
atonement for the many outrages offered to the laws, that the nation
waits for the consummation of this public example.

       *       *       *       *       *

Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work_

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