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Title: Tales from "Blackwood," Volume 1
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 "Tales from "Blackwood," Volume 1" ***

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 TALES
 FROM
 "BLACKWOOD"

 Contents of this Volume

 _The Glenmutchkin Railway. By Professor Aytoun_

 _Vanderdecken's Message Home_

 _The Floating Beacon_

 _Colonna the Painter_

 _Napoleon. By J. G. Lockhart_

 _A Legend of Gibraltar. By Col. E. B. Hamley_

 _The Iron Shroud. By William Mudford_

 WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
 EDINBURGH AND LONDON



TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."



 HOW WE GOT UP THE GLENMUTCHKIN RAILWAY
 AND HOW WE GOT OUT OF IT

BY PROFESSOR AYTOUN.

[_MAGA._ OCTOBER 1845.]

[The following Tale appeared in the Magazine for October 1845. It was
intended by the writer as a sketch of some of the more striking
features of the railway mania (then in full progress throughout Great
Britain), as exhibited in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Although bearing the
appearance of a burlesque, it was in truth an accurate delineation (as
will be acknowledged by many a gentleman who had the misfortune to be
"out in the Forty-five"); and subsequent disclosures have shown that
it was in no way exaggerated.

Although the "Glenmutchkin line" was purely imaginary, and not
intended by the writer to apply to any particular scheme then before
the public, it was identified in Scotland with more than one reckless
and impracticable project; and even the characters introduced were
supposed to be typical of personages who had attained some notoriety
in the throng of speculation. Any such resemblances must be considered
as fortuitous; for the writer cannot charge himself with the
discourtesy of individual satire or allusion.]


I was confoundedly hard up. My patrimony, never of the largest, had
been for the last year on the decrease--a herald would have emblazoned
it, "ARGENT, a money-bag improper, in detriment"--and though the
attenuating process was not excessively rapid, it was, nevertheless,
proceeding at a steady ratio. As for the ordinary means and appliances
by which men contrive to recruit their exhausted exchequers, I knew
none of them. Work I abhorred with a detestation worthy of a scion of
nobility; and, I believe, you could just as soon have persuaded the
lineal representative of the Howards or Percys to exhibit himself in
the character of a mountebank, as have got me to trust my person on
the pinnacle of a three-legged stool. The rule of three is all very
well for base mechanical souls; but I flatter myself I have an
intellect too large to be limited to a ledger. "Augustus," said my
poor mother to me, while stroking my hyacinthine tresses, one fine
morning, in the very dawn and budding-time of my existence--"Augustus,
my dear boy, whatever you do, never forget that you are a gentleman."
The maternal maxim sunk deeply into my heart, and I never for a moment
have forgotten it.

Notwithstanding this aristocratic resolution, the great practical
question, "How am I to live?" began to thrust itself unpleasantly
before me. I am one of that unfortunate class who have neither uncles
nor aunts. For me, no yellow liverless individual, with characteristic
bamboo and pigtail--emblems of half-a-million--returned to his native
shores from Ceylon or remote Penang. For me, no venerable spinster
hoarded in the Trongate, permitting herself few luxuries during a
long-protracted life, save a lass and a lanthorn, a parrot, and the
invariable baudrons of antiquity. No such luck was mine. Had all
Glasgow perished by some vast epidemic, I should not have found myself
one farthing the richer. There would have been no golden balsam for me
in the accumulated woes of Tradestown, Shettleston, and Camlachie. The
time has been when--according to Washington Irving and other veracious
historians--a young man had no sooner got into difficulties than a
guardian angel appeared to him in a dream, with the information that
at such and such a bridge, or under such and such a tree, he might
find, at a slight expenditure of labour, a gallipot secured with
bladder, and filled with glittering tomauns; or in the extremity
of despair, the youth had only to append himself to a cord, and
straightway the other end thereof, forsaking its staple in the
roof, would disclose amidst the fractured ceiling the glories of a
profitable pose. These blessed days have long since gone by--at any
rate, no such luck was mine. My guardian angel was either woefully
ignorant of metallurgy or the stores had been surreptitiously
ransacked; and as to the other expedient, I frankly confess I should
have liked some better security for its result, than the precedent
of the "Heir of Lynn."

It is a great consolation amidst all the evils of life, to know that,
however bad your circumstances may be, there is always somebody else
in nearly the same predicament. My chosen friend and ally, Bob
M'Corkindale, was equally hard up with myself, and, if possible, more
averse to exertion. Bob was essentially a speculative man--that is, in
a philosophical sense. He had once got hold of a stray volume of Adam
Smith, and muddled his brains for a whole week over the intricacies of
the _Wealth of Nations_. The result was a crude farrago of notions
regarding the true nature of money, the soundness of currency, and
relative value of capital, with which he nightly favoured an admiring
audience at "The Crow;" for Bob was by no means--in the literal
acceptation of the word--a dry philosopher. On the contrary, he
perfectly appreciated the merits of each distinct distillery; and was
understood to be the compiler of a statistical work, entitled, _A Tour
through the Alcoholic Districts of Scotland_. It had very early
occurred to me, who knew as much of political economy as of the
bagpipes, that a gentleman so well versed in the art of accumulating
national wealth, must have some remote ideas of applying his
principles profitably on a smaller scale. Accordingly, I gave
M'Corkindale an unlimited invitation to my lodgings; and, like a good
hearty fellow as he was, he availed himself every evening of the
license; for I had laid in a fourteen-gallon cask of Oban whisky, and
the quality of the malt was undeniable.

These were the first glorious days of general speculation. Railroads
were emerging from the hands of the greater into the fingers of the
lesser capitalists. Two successful harvests had given a fearful
stimulus to the national energy; and it appeared perfectly certain
that all the populous towns would be united, and the rich agricultural
districts intersected, by the magical bands of iron. The columns of
the newspapers teemed every week with the parturition of novel
schemes; and the shares were no sooner announced than they were
rapidly subscribed for. But what is the use of my saying anything more
about the history of last year? Every one of us remembers it perfectly
well. It was a capital year on the whole, and put money into many a
pocket. About that time, Bob and I commenced operations. Our available
capital, or negotiable bullion, in the language of my friend, amounted
to about three hundred pounds, which we set aside as a joint fund for
speculation. Bob, in a series of learned discourses, had convinced me
that it was not only folly, but a positive sin, to leave this sum
lying in the bank at a pitiful rate of interest, and otherwise
unemployed, whilst every one else in the kingdom was having a pluck at
the public pigeon. Somehow or other, we were unlucky in our first
attempts. Speculators are like wasps; for when they have once got hold
of a ripening and peach-like project, they keep it rigidly for their
own swarm, and repel the approach of interlopers. Notwithstanding all
our efforts, and very ingenious ones they were, we never, in a single
instance, succeeded in procuring an allocation of original shares; and
though we did now and then make a hit by purchase, we more frequently
bought at a premium, and parted with our scrip at a discount. At the
end of six months, we were not twenty pounds richer than before.

"This will never do," said Bob, as he sat one evening in my rooms
compounding his second tumbler. "I thought we were living in an
enlightened age; but I find I was mistaken. That brutal spirit of
monopoly is still abroad and uncurbed. The principles of free-trade
are utterly forgotten, or misunderstood. Else how comes it that David
Spreul received but yesterday an allocation of two hundred shares in
the Westermidden Junction; whilst your application and mine, for a
thousand each, were overlooked? Is this a state of things to be
tolerated? Why should he, with his fifty thousand pounds, receive a
slapping premium, whilst our three hundred of available capital
remains unrepresented? The fact is monstrous, and demands the
immediate and serious interference of the legislature."

"It is a burning shame," said I, fully alive to the manifold
advantages of a premium.

"I'll tell you what, Dunshunner," rejoined M'Corkindale, "it's no use
going on in this way. We haven't shown half pluck enough. These
fellows consider us as snobs, because we don't take the bull by the
horns. Now's the time for a bold stroke. The public are quite ready to
subscribe for anything--and we'll start a railway for ourselves."

"Start a railway with three hundred pounds of capital!"

"Pshaw, man! you don't know what you're talking about--we've a great
deal more capital than that. Have not I told you seventy times over,
that everything a man has--his coat, his hat, the tumblers he drinks
from, nay, his very corporeal existence--is absolute marketable
capital? What do you call that fourteen-gallon cask, I should like to
know?"

"A compound of hoops and staves, containing about a quart and a half
of spirits--you have effectually accounted for the rest."

"Then it has gone to the fund of profit and loss, that's all.
Never let me hear you sport those old theories again. Capital is
indestructible, as I am ready to prove to you any day, in half an
hour. But let us sit down seriously to business. We are rich enough to
pay for the advertisements, and that is all we need care for in the
mean time. The public is sure to step in, and bear us out handsomely
with the rest."

"But where in the face of the habitable globe shall the railway be?
England is out of the question, and I hardly know a spot in the
Lowlands that is not occupied already."

"What do you say to a Spanish scheme--the Alcantara Union? Hang me
if I know whether Alcantara is in Spain or Portugal; but nobody
else does, and the one is quite as good as the other. Or what would
you think of the Palermo Railway, with a branch to the sulphur
mines?--that would be popular in the North--or the Pyrenees Direct?
They would all go to a premium."

"I must confess I should prefer a line at home."

"Well, then, why not try the Highlands? There must be lots of traffic
there in the shape of sheep, grouse, and Cockney tourists, not to
mention salmon and other et-ceteras. Couldn't we tip them a railway
somewhere in the west?"

"There's Glenmutchkin, for instance----"

"Capital, my dear fellow! Glorious! By Jove, first-rate!" shouted Bob
in an ecstasy of delight. "There's a distillery there, you know, and a
fishing-village at the foot--at least there used to be six years ago,
when I was living with the exciseman. There may be some bother about
the population, though. The last laird shipped every mother's son of
the aboriginal Celts to America; but, after all, that's not of much
consequence. I see the whole thing! Unrivalled scenery--stupendous
waterfalls--herds of black cattle--spot where Prince Charles Edward
met Macgrugar of Glengrugar and his clan! We could not possibly have
lighted on a more promising place. Hand us over that sheet of paper,
like a good fellow, and a pen. There is no time to be lost, and the
sooner we get out the prospectus the better."

"But, heaven bless you, Bob, there's a great deal to be thought of
first. Who are we to get for a Provisional Committee?"

"That's very true," said Bob, musingly. "We _must_ treat them to some
respectable names, that is, good sounding ones. I'm afraid there is
little chance of our producing a Peer to begin with?"

"None whatever--unless we could invent one, and that's hardly
safe--_Burke's Peerage_ has gone through too many editions. Couldn't
we try the Dormants?"

"That would be rather dangerous in the teeth of the standing orders.
But what do you say to a baronet? There's Sir Polloxfen Tremens. He
got himself served the other day to a Nova Scotia baronetcy, with just
as much title as you or I have; and he has sported the riband, and
dined out on the strength of it ever since. He'll join us at once, for
he has not a sixpence to lose."

"Down with him, then," and we headed the Provisional list with the
pseudo Orange-tawny.

"Now," said Bob, "it's quite indispensable, as this is a Highland
line, that we should put forward a Chief or two. That has always a
great effect upon the English, whose feudal notions are rather of the
mistiest, and principally derived from Waverley."

"Why not write yourself down as the Laird of M'Corkindale?" said I. "I
daresay you would not be negatived by a counter-claim."

"That would hardly do," replied Bob, "as I intend to be Secretary.
After all, what's the use of thinking about it? Here goes for an
extempore Chief;" and the villain wrote down the name of Tavish
M'Tavish of Invertavish.

"I say, though," said I, "we must have a real Highlander on the list.
If we go on this way, it will become a Justiciary matter."

"You're devilish scrupulous, Gus," said Bob, who, if left to himself,
would have stuck in the names of the heathen gods and goddesses, or
borrowed his directors from the Ossianic chronicles, rather than have
delayed the prospectus. "Where the mischief are we to find the men? I
can think of no others likely to go the whole hog; can you?"

"I don't know a single Celt in Glasgow except old M'Closkie, the
drunken porter at the corner of Jamaica Street."

"He's the very man! I suppose, after the manner of his tribe, he will
do anything for a pint of whisky. But what shall we call him? Jamaica
Street, I fear, will hardly do for a designation."

"Call him THE M'CLOSKIE. It will be sonorous in the ears of the
Saxon!"

"Bravo!" and another Chief was added to the roll of the clans.

"Now," said Bob, "we must put you down. Recollect, all the
management--that is, the allocation--will be intrusted to you.
Augustus--you haven't a middle name, I think?--well, then, suppose we
interpolate 'Reginald;' it has a smack of the Crusades. Augustus
Reginald Dunshunner, Esq. of--where, in the name of Munchausen!"

"I'm sure I don't know. I never had any land beyond the contents of a
flower-pot. Stay--I rather think I have a superiority somewhere about
Paisley."

"Just the thing," cried Bob. "It's heritable property, and therefore
titular. What's the denomination?"

"St Mirrens."

"Beautiful! Dunshunner of St Mirrens, I give you joy! Had you
discovered that a little sooner--and I wonder you did not think of
it--we might both of us have had lots of allocations. These are not
the times to conceal hereditary distinctions. But now comes the
serious work. We must have one or two men of known wealth upon the
list. The chaff is nothing without a decoy-bird. Now, can't you help
me with a name?"

"In that case," said I, "the game is up, and the whole scheme
exploded. I would as soon undertake to evoke the Ghost of Croesus."

"Dunshunner," said Bob very seriously, "to be a man of information,
you are possessed of marvellous few resources. I am quite ashamed of
you. Now listen to me. I have thought deeply upon this subject, and am
quite convinced that, with some little trouble, we may secure the
co-operation of a most wealthy and influential body--one, too, that is
generally supposed to have stood aloof from all speculation of the
kind, and whose name would be a tower of strength in the moneyed
quarters. I allude," continued Bob, reaching across for the kettle,
"to the great Dissenting Interest."

"The what?" cried I, aghast.

"The great Dissenting Interest. You can't have failed to observe the
row they have lately been making about Sunday travelling and
education. Old Sam Sawley, the coffin-maker, is their principal
spokesman here; and wherever he goes the rest will follow, like a
flock of sheep bounding after a patriarchal ram. I propose, therefore,
to wait upon him to-morrow, and request his co-operation in a scheme
which is not only to prove profitable, but to make head against the
lax principles of the present age. Leave me alone to tickle him. I
consider his name, and those of one or two others belonging to the
same meeting-house--fellows with bank-stock, and all sorts of tin, as
perfectly secure. These dissenters smell a premium from an almost
incredible distance. We can fill up the rest of the committee with
ciphers, and the whole thing is done."

"But the engineer--we must announce such an officer as a matter of
course."

"I never thought of that," said Bob. "Couldn't we hire a fellow from
one of the steamboats?"

"I fear that might get us into trouble: You know there are such things
as gradients and sections to be prepared. But there's Watty Solder,
the gas-fitter, who failed the other day. He's a sort of civil
engineer by trade, and will jump at the proposal like a trout at the
tail of a May fly."

"Agreed. Now, then, let's fix the number of shares. This is our first
experiment, and I think we ought to be moderate. No sound political
economist is avaricious. Let us say twelve thousand, at twenty pounds
a-piece."

"So be it."

"Well, then, that's arranged. I'll see Sawley and the rest to-morrow;
settle with Solder, and then write out the prospectus. You look in
upon me in the evening, and we'll revise it together. Now, by your
leave, let's have in the Welsh rabbit and another tumbler to drink
success and prosperity to the Glenmutchkin Railway."

I confess that, when I rose on the morrow, with a slight headache and
a tongue indifferently parched, I recalled to memory, not without
perturbation of conscience, and some internal qualms, the conversation
of the previous evening. I felt relieved, however, after two spoonfuls
of carbonate of soda, and a glance at the newspaper, wherein I
perceived the announcement of no less than four other schemes equally
preposterous with our own. But, after all, what right had I to assume
that the Glenmutchkin project would prove an ultimate failure? I had
not a scrap of statistical information that might entitle me to form
such an opinion. At any rate, Parliament, by substituting the Board of
Trade as an initiating body of inquiry, had created a responsible
tribunal, and freed us from the chance of obloquy. I saw before me a
vision of six months' steady gambling, at manifest advantage, in the
shares, before a report could possibly be pronounced, or our
proceedings be in any way overhauled. Of course I attended that
evening punctually at my friend M'Corkindale's. Bob was in high
feather; for Sawley no sooner heard of the principles upon which the
railway was to be conducted, and his own nomination as a director,
than he gave in his adhesion, and promised his unflinching support to
the uttermost. The Prospectus ran as follows:--

     "DIRECT GLENMUTCHKIN RAILWAY.
     IN 12,000 SHARES OF £20 EACH. DEPOSIT £1 PER SHARE

     _Provisional Committee._

 SIR POLLOXFEN TREMENS, Bart. of Toddymains.
 TAVISH M'TAVISH of Invertavish.
 THE M'CLOSKIE.
 AUGUSTUS REGINALD DUNSHUNNER, Esq. of St Mirrens.
 SAMUEL SAWLEY, Esq., Merchant.
 MHIC-MHAC-VICH-INDUIBH.
 PHELIM O'FINLAN, Esq. of Castle-rook, Ireland.
 THE CAPTAIN of M'ALCOHOL.
 FACTOR for GLENTUMBLERS.
 JOHN JOB JOBSON, Esq., Manufacturer.
 EVAN M'CLAW of Glenscart and Inveryewky.
 JOSEPH HECKLES, Esq.
 HABBAKUK GRABBIE, Portioner in Ramoth-Drumclog.

 _Engineer_--WALTER SOLDER, Esq.
 _Interim-Secretary_--ROBERT M'CORKINDALE, Esq.

     "The necessity of a direct line of Railway communication
     through the fertile and populous district known as the
     VALLEY of GLENMUTCHKIN, has been long felt and universally
     acknowledged. Independently of the surpassing grandeur of
     its mountain scenery, which shall immediately be referred
     to, and other considerations of even greater importance,
     GLENMUTCHKIN is known to the capitalist as the most
     important BREEDING STATION in the Highlands of Scotland, and
     indeed as the great emporium from which the southern markets
     are supplied. It has been calculated by a most eminent
     authority, that every acre in the strath is capable of
     rearing twenty head of cattle; and, as has been ascertained
     after a careful admeasurement, that there are not less than
     TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND improvable acres immediately contiguous
     to the proposed line of Railway, it may confidently be
     assumed that the number of cattle to be conveyed along the
     line will amount to FOUR MILLIONS annually, which, at the
     lowest estimate, would yield a revenue larger, in proportion
     to the capital subscribed, than that of any Railway as yet
     completed within the United Kingdom. From this estimate the
     traffic in Sheep and Goats, with which the mountains are
     literally covered, has been carefully excluded, it having
     been found quite impossible (from its extent) to compute the
     actual revenue to be drawn from that most important branch.
     It may, however, be roughly assumed as from seventeen to
     nineteen per cent upon the whole, after deduction of the
     working expenses.

     "The population of Glenmutchkin is extremely dense. Its
     situation on the west coast has afforded it the means of
     direct communication with America, of which for many years
     the inhabitants have actively availed themselves. Indeed,
     the amount of exportation of live stock from this part of
     the Highlands to the Western continent, has more than once
     attracted the attention of Parliament. The Manufactures
     are large and comprehensive, and include the most famous
     distilleries in the world. The Minerals are most abundant,
     and amongst these may be reckoned quartz, porphyry, felspar,
     malachite, manganese, and basalt.

     "At the foot of the valley, and close to the sea, lies the
     important village known as the CLACHAN of INVERSTARVE. It is
     supposed by various eminent antiquaries to have been the
     capital of the Picts, and, amongst the busy inroads of
     commercial prosperity, it still retains some interesting
     traces of its former grandeur. There is a large fishing
     station here, to which vessels from every nation resort, and
     the demand for foreign produce is daily and steadily
     increasing.

     "As a sporting country Glenmutchkin is unrivalled; but it
     is by the tourists that its beauties will most greedily be
     sought. These consist of every combination which plastic
     nature can afford--cliffs of unusual magnitude and
     grandeur--waterfalls only second to the sublime cascades of
     Norway--woods, of which the bark is a remarkable valuable
     commodity. It need scarcely be added, to rouse the
     enthusiasm inseparable from this glorious glen, that here,
     in 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, then in the zenith of
     his hopes, was joined by the brave Sir Grugar M'Grugar at
     the head of his devoted clan.

     "The Railway will be twelve miles long, and can be completed
     within six months after the Act of Parliament is obtained.
     The gradients are easy, and the curves obtuse. There are no
     viaducts of any importance, and only four tunnels along the
     whole length of the line. The shortest of these does not
     exceed a mile and a half.

     "In conclusion, the projectors of this Railway beg to state
     that they have determined, as a principle, to set their face
     AGAINST ALL SUNDAY TRAVELLING WHATSOEVER, and to oppose
     EVERY BILL which may hereafter be brought into Parliament,
     unless it shall contain a clause to that effect. It is also
     their intention to take up the cause of the poor and
     neglected STOKER, for whose accommodation, and social,
     moral, religious, and intellectual improvement, a large
     stock of evangelical tracts will speedily be required.
     Tenders of these, in quantities of not less than 12,000, may
     be sent in to the Interim Secretary. Shares must be applied
     for within ten days from the present date.

               "By order of the Provisional Committee,
                    "ROBT. M'CORKINDALE, _Secretary_."

"There!" said Bob, slapping down the prospectus on the table, with as
much triumph as if it had been the original of Magna Charta--"What do
you think of that? If it doesn't do the business effectually, I shall
submit to be called a Dutchman. That last touch about the stoker will
bring us in the subscriptions of the old ladies by the score."

"Very masterly, indeed," said I. "But who the deuce is
Mhic-Mhac-vich-Induibh?"

"A _bona fide_ chief, I assure you, though a little reduced: I picked
him up upon the Broomielaw. His grandfather had an island somewhere to
the west of the Hebrides; but it is not laid down in the maps."

"And the Captain of M'Alcohol?"

"A crack distiller."

"And the Factor for Glentumblers?"

"His principal customer. But, bless you, my dear St Mirrens! don't
bother yourself any more about the committee. They are as respectable
a set--on paper at least--as you would wish to see of a summer's
morning, and the beauty of it is that they will give us no manner of
trouble. Now about the allocation. You and I must restrict ourselves
to a couple of thousand shares a-piece. That's only a third of the
whole, but it won't do to be greedy."

"But, Bob, consider! Where on earth are we to find the money to pay up
the deposits?"

"Can you, the principal director of the Glenmutchkin Railway, ask me,
the secretary, such a question? Don't you know that any of the banks
will give us tick to the amount 'of half the deposits.' All that is
settled already, and you can get your two thousand pounds whenever you
please merely for the signing of a bill. Sawley must get a thousand
according to stipulation--Jobson, Heckles, and Grabbie, at least five
hundred a-piece, and another five hundred, I should think, will
exhaust the remaining means of the committee. So that, out of our
whole stock, there remain just five thousand shares to be allocated to
the speculative and evangelical public. My eyes! won't there be a
scramble for them!"

Next day our prospectus appeared in the newspapers. It was read,
canvassed, and generally approved of. During the afternoon, I took an
opportunity of looking into the Tontine, and whilst under shelter of
the _Glasgow Herald_, my ears were solaced with such ejaculations as
the following:--

"I say, Jimsy, hae ye seen this grand new prospectus for a railway tae
Glenmutchkin?"

"Ay--it looks no that ill. The Hieland lairds are pitting their best
fit foremost. Will ye apply for shares?"

"I think I'll tak' twa hundred. Wha's Sir Polloxfen Tremens?"

"He'll be yin o' the Ayrshire folk. He used to rin horses at the
Paisley races."

("The devil he did!" thought I.)

"D'ye ken ony o' the directors, Jimsy?"

"I ken Sawley fine. Ye may depend on't, it's a gude thing if he's
in't, for he's a howkin' body."

"Then it's sure to gae up. What prem. d'ye think it will bring?"

"Twa pund a share, and maybe mair."

"'Od, I'll apply for three hundred!"

"Heaven bless you, my dear countrymen!" thought I as I sallied forth
to refresh myself with a basin of soup, "do but maintain this liberal
and patriotic feeling--this thirst for national improvement, internal
communication, and premiums--a short while longer, and I know whose
fortune will be made."

On the following morning my breakfast-table was covered with shoals of
letters, from fellows whom I scarcely ever had spoken to--or who, to
use a franker phraseology, had scarcely ever condescended to speak to
me--entreating my influence as a director to obtain them shares in the
new undertaking. I never bore malice in my life, so I chalked them
down, without favouritism, for a certain proportion. Whilst engaged in
this charitable work, the door flew open, and M'Corkindale, looking
utterly haggard with excitement, rushed in.

"You may buy an estate whenever you please, Dunshunner," cried he,
"the world's gone perfectly mad! I have been to Blazes the broker, and
he tells me that the whole amount of the stock has been subscribed for
four times over already, and he has not yet got in the returns from
Edinburgh and Liverpool!"

"Are they good names though, Bob--sure cards--none of your M'Closkies,
and M'Alcohols?"

"The first names in the city, I assure you, and most of them holders
for investment. I wouldn't take ten millions for their capital."

"Then the sooner we close the list the better."

"I think so too. I suspect a rival company will be out before long.
Blazes says the shares are selling already conditionally on allotment,
at seven-and-sixpence premium."

"The deuce they are! I say, Bob, since we have the cards in our hands,
would it not be wise to favour them with a few hundreds at that rate?
A bird in the hand, you know, is worth two in the bush, eh?"

"I know no such maxim in political economy," replied the secretary.
"Are you mad, Dunshunner? How are the shares ever to go up, if it gets
wind that the directors are selling already? Our business just now, is
to _bull_ the line, not to _bear_ it; and if you will trust me, I
shall show them such an operation on the ascending scale, as the Stock
Exchange has not witnessed for this long and many a day. Then,
to-morrow, I shall advertise in the papers that the committee, having
received applications for ten times the amount of stock, have been
compelled, unwillingly, to close the lists. That will be a slap in the
face to the dilatory gentlemen, and send up the shares like wildfire."

Bob was right. No sooner did the advertisement appear, than a
simultaneous groan was uttered by some hundreds of disappointed
speculators, who with unwonted and unnecessary caution had been
anxious to see their way a little before committing themselves to our
splendid enterprise. In consequence, they rushed into the market, with
intense anxiety to make what terms they could at the earliest stage,
and the seven-and-sixpence of premium was doubled in the course of a
forenoon.

The allocation passed over very peaceably. Sawley, Heckles, Jobson,
Grabbie, and the Captain of M'Alcohol, besides myself, attended, and
took part in the business. We were also threatened with the presence
of the M'Closkie and Vich-Induibh; but M'Corkindale, entertaining some
reasonable doubts as to the effect which their corporeal appearance
might have upon the representatives of the dissenting interest, had
taken the precaution to get them snugly housed in a tavern, where an
unbounded supply of gratuitous Ferintosh deprived us of the benefit of
their experience. We, however, allotted them twenty shares a-piece.
Sir Polloxfen Tremens sent a handsome, though rather illegible letter
of apology, dated from an island in Lochlomond, where he was said to
be detained on particular business.

Mr Sawley, who officiated as our chairman, was kind enough, before
parting, to pass a very flattering eulogium upon the excellence and
candour of all the preliminary arrangements. It would now, he said,
go forth to the public that this line was not, like some others he
could mention, a mere bubble, emanating from the stank of private
interest, but a solid, lasting superstructure, based upon the
principles of sound return for capital, and serious evangelical truth
(hear, hear). The time was fast approaching, when the gravestone, with
the words "HIC OBIIT" chiselled upon it, would be placed at the head
of all the other lines which rejected the grand opportunity of
conveying education to the stoker. The stoker, in his (Mr Sawley's)
opinion, had a right to ask the all-important question, "Am I not a
man and a brother?" (Cheers). Much had been said and written lately
about a work called _Tracts for the Times_. With the opinions
contained in that publication he was not conversant, as it was
conducted by persons of another community from that to which he (Mr
Sawley) had the privilege to belong. But he hoped very soon, under the
auspices of the Glenmutchkin Railway Company, to see a new periodical
established, under the title of _Tracts for the Trains_. He never for
a moment would relax his efforts to knock a nail into the coffin,
which, he might say, was already made, and measured, and cloth-covered
for the reception of all establishments; and with these sentiments,
and the conviction that the shares must rise, could it be doubted that
he would remain a fast friend to the interests of this Company for
ever? (Much cheering.)

After having delivered this address, Mr Sawley affectionately squeezed
the hands of his brother directors, and departed, leaving several of
us much overcome. As, however, M'Corkindale had told me that every
one of Sawley's shares had been disposed of in the market the day
before, I felt less compunction at having refused to allow that
excellent man an extra thousand beyond the amount he had applied for,
notwithstanding of his broadest hints, and even private entreaties.

"Confound the greedy hypocrite!" said Bob; "does he think we shall let
him Burke the line for nothing? No--no! I let him go to the brokers
and buy his shares back, if he thinks they are likely to rise. I'll be
bound he has made a cool five hundred out of them already."

On the day which succeeded the allocation, the following entry
appeared in the Glasgow share-lists. "Direct Glenmutchkin Railway 15s.
15s. 6d. 15s. 6d. 16s. 15s. 6d. 16s. 16s. 6d. 16s. 6d. 16s. 17s. 18s.
18s. 19s. 6d. 21s. 21s. 22s. 6d. 24s. 25s. 6d. 27s. 29s. 29s. 6d. 30s.
31s. pm."

"They might go higher, and they ought to go higher," said Bob
musingly; "but there's not much more stock to come and go upon, and
these two share-sharks, Jobson and Grabbie, I know, will be in the
market to-morrow. We must not let them have the whip-hand of us. I
think upon the whole, Dunshunner, though it's letting them go dog
cheap, that we ought to sell half our shares at the present premium,
whilst there is a certainty of getting it."

"Why not sell the whole? I'm sure I have no objections to part with
every stiver of the scrip on such terms."

"Perhaps," said Bob, "upon general principles you may be right; but
then remember that we have a vested interest in the line."

"Vested interest be hanged!"

"That's very well--at the same time it is no use to kill your salmon
in a hurry. The bulls have done their work pretty well for us, and we
ought to keep something on hand for the bears; they are snuffing at it
already. I could almost swear that some of those fellows who have sold
to-day are working for a time-bargain."

We accordingly got rid of a couple of thousand shares, the proceeds of
which not only enabled us to discharge the deposit loan, but left us a
material surplus. Under these circumstances, a two-handed banquet was
proposed and unanimously carried, the commencement of which I
distinctly remember, but am rather dubious as to the end. So many
stories have lately been circulated to the prejudice of railway
directors, that I think it my duty to state that this entertainment
was scrupulously defrayed by ourselves, and _not_ carried to account,
either of the preliminary survey, or the expenses of the provisional
committee.

Nothing effects so great a metamorphosis in the bearing of the outer
man, as a sudden change of fortune. The anemone of the garden differs
scarcely more from its unpretending prototype of the woods, than
Robert M'Corkindale, Esq., Secretary and Projector of the Glenmutchkin
Railway, differed from Bob M'Corkindale, the seedy frequenter of "The
Crow." In the days of yore, men eyed the surtout--napless at the
velvet collar, and preternaturally white at the seams--which Bob
vouchsafed to wear, with looks of dim suspicion, as if some faint
reminiscence, similar to that which is said to recall the memory of a
former state of existence, suggested to them a notion that the garment
had once been their own. Indeed, his whole appearance was then
wonderfully second-hand. Now he had cast his slough. A most undeniable
Taglioni, with trimmings just bordering upon frogs, gave dignity to
his demeanour and twofold amplitude to his chest. The horn eyeglass
was exchanged for one of purest gold, the dingy high-lows for
well-waxed Wellingtons, the Paisley fogle for the fabric of the China
loom. Moreover, he walked with a swagger, and affected in common
conversation a peculiar dialect which he opined to be the purest
English, but which no one--except a bagman--could be reasonably
expected to understand. His pockets were invariably crammed with
share-lists; and he quoted, if he did not comprehend, the money
article from the _Times_. This sort of assumption, though very
ludicrous in itself, goes down wonderfully. Bob gradually became a
sort of authority, and his opinions got quoted on 'Change. He was no
ass, notwithstanding his peculiarities, and made good use of his
opportunity.

For myself, I bore my new dignities with an air of modest meekness. A
certain degree of starchness is indispensable for a railway director,
if he means to go forward in his high calling and prosper; he must
abandon all juvenile eccentricities, and aim at the appearance of a
decided enemy to free trade in the article of Wild Oats. Accordingly,
as the first step towards respectability, I eschewed coloured
waistcoats, and gave out that I was a marrying man. No man under
forty, unless he is a positive idiot, will stand forth as a XXXX
theoretical bachelor. It is all nonsense to say that there is anything
unpleasant in being courted. Attention, whether from male or female,
tickles the vanity; and although I have a reasonable, and, I hope, not
unwholesome regard for the gratification of my other appetites, I
confess that this same vanity is by far the most poignant of the
whole. I therefore surrendered myself freely to the soft allurements
thrown in my way by such matronly denizens of Glasgow as were
possessed of stock in the shape of marriageable daughters; and walked
the more readily into their toils, because every party, though
nominally for the purposes of tea, wound up with a hot supper, and
something hotter still by way of assisting the digestion.

I don't know whether it was my determined conduct at the allocation,
my territorial title, or a most exaggerated idea of my circumstances,
that worked upon the mind of Mr Sawley. Possibly it was a combination
of the three; but sure enough few days had elapsed before I received a
formal card of invitation to a tea and serious conversation. Now
serious conversation is a sort of thing that I never shone in,
possibly because my early studies were framed in a different
direction; but as I really was unwilling to offend the respectable
coffin-maker, and as I found that the Captain of M'Alcohol--a decided
trump in his way--had also received a summons, I notified my
acceptance.

M'Alcohol and I went together. The Captain, an enormous brawny Celt,
with superhuman whiskers, and a shock of the fieriest hair, had figged
himself out, _more majorum_, in the full Highland costume. I never saw
Rob Roy on the stage look half so dignified or ferocious. He glittered
from head to foot, with dirk, pistol, and skean-dhu, and at least a
hundred-weight of cairngorms cast a prismatic glory around his person.
I felt quite abashed beside him.

We were ushered into Mr Sawley's drawing-room. Round the walls, and at
considerable distances from each other, were seated about a dozen
characters, male and female, all of them dressed in sable, and wearing
countenances of woe. Sawley advanced, and wrung me by the hand with so
piteous an expression of visage, that I could not help thinking some
awful catastrophe had just befallen his family.

"You are welcome, Mr Dunshunner--welcome to my humble tabernacle. Let
me present you to Mrs Sawley"--and a lady, who seemed to have bathed
in the Yellow Sea, rose from her seat, and favoured me with a profound
curtsy.

"My daughter--Miss Selina Sawley."

I felt in my brain the scorching glance of the two darkest eyes it
ever was my fortune to behold, as the beauteous Selina looked up from
the perusal of her handkerchief hem. It was a pity that the other
features were not corresponding; for the nose was flat, and the mouth
of such dimensions, that a Harlequin might have jumped down it with
impunity--but the eyes _were_ splendid.

In obedience to a sign from the hostess, I sank into a chair beside
Selina; and not knowing exactly what to say, hazarded some observation
about the weather.

"Yes, it is indeed a suggestive season. How deeply, Mr Dunshunner, we
ought to feel the pensive progress of autumn towards a soft and
premature decay! I always think, about this time of the year, that
nature is falling into a consumption!"

"To be sure, ma'am," said I, rather taken aback by this style of
colloquy, "the trees are looking devilishly hectic."

"Ah, you have remarked that too! Strange! it was but yesterday that I
was wandering through Kelvin Grove, and as the phantom breeze brought
down the withered foliage from the spray, I thought how probable it
was that they might ere long rustle over young and glowing hearts
deposited prematurely in the tomb!"

This, which struck me as a very passable imitation of Dickens's
pathetic writings, was a poser. In default of language, I looked Miss
Sawley straight in the face, and attempted a substitute for a sigh. I
was rewarded with a tender glance.

"Ah!" said she, "I see you are a congenial spirit. How delightful, and
yet how rare it is to meet with any one who thinks in unison with
yourself! Do you ever walk in the Necropolis, Mr Dunshunner? It is my
favourite haunt of a morning. There we can wean ourselves, as it were,
from life, and, beneath the melancholy yew and cypress, anticipate the
setting star. How often there have I seen the procession--the funeral
of some very, very little child"----

"Selina, my love," said Mrs Sawley, "have the kindness to ring for the
cookies."

I, as in duty bound, started up to save the fair enthusiast the
trouble, and was not sorry to observe my seat immediately occupied by
a very cadaverous gentleman, who was evidently jealous of the progress
I was rapidly making. Sawley, with an air of great mystery, informed
me that this was a Mr Dalgleish of Raxmathrapple, the representative
of an ancient Scottish family who claimed an important heritable
office. The name, I thought, was familiar to me, but there was
something in the appearance of Mr Dalgleish which, notwithstanding the
smiles of Miss Selina, rendered a rivalship in that quarter utterly
out of the question.

I hate injustice, so let me do due honour in description to the Sawley
banquet. The tea-urn most literally corresponded to its name. The
table was decked out with divers platters, containing seed-cakes cut
into rhomboids, almond biscuits, and ratafia drops. Also, on the
sideboard, there were two salvers, each of which contained a
congregation of glasses, filled with port and sherry. The former
fluid, as I afterwards ascertained, was of the kind advertised as
"curious," and proffered for sale at the reasonable rate of sixteen
shillings per dozen. The banquet, on the whole, was rather peculiar
than enticing; and, for the life of me, I could not divest myself of
the idea that the selfsame viands had figured, not long before, as
funeral refreshments at a dirgie. No such suspicion seemed to cross
the mind of M'Alcohol, who hitherto had remained uneasily surveying
his nails in a corner, but at the first symptom of food started
forwards, and was in the act of making a clean sweep of the china,
when Sawley proposed the singular preliminary of a hymn.

The hymn was accordingly sung. I am thankful to say it was such a
one as I never heard before, or expect to hear again; and unless
it was composed by the Reverend Saunders Peden in an hour of paroxysm
on the moors, I cannot conjecture the author. After this original
symphony, tea was discussed, and after tea, to my amazement, more hot
brandy-and-water than I ever remember to have seen circulated at the
most convivial party. Of course this effected a radical change in the
spirits and conversation of the circle. It was again my lot to be
placed by the side of the fascinating Selina, whose sentimentality
gradually thawed away beneath the influence of sundry sips, which
she accepted with a delicate reluctance. This time Dalgleish of
Raxmathrapple had not the remotest chance. M'Alcohol got furious, sang
Gaelic songs, and even delivered a sermon in genuine Erse, without
incurring a rebuke; whilst, for my own part, I must needs confess that
I waxed unnecessarily amorous, and the last thing I recollect was the
pressure of Mr Sawley's hand at the door, as he denominated me his
dear boy, and hoped I would soon come back and visit Mrs Sawley and
Selina. The recollection of these passages next morning was the surest
antidote to my return.

Three weeks had elapsed, and still the Glenmutchkin Railway shares
were at a premium, though rather lower than when we sold. Our
engineer, Watty Solder, returned from his first survey of the line,
along with an assistant who really appeared to have some remote
glimmerings of the science and practice of mensuration. It seemed,
from a verbal report, that the line was actually practicable; and the
survey would have been completed in a very short time--"If," according
to the account of Solder, "there had been ae hoos in the glen. But
ever sin' the distillery stoppit--and that was twa year last
Martinmas--there wasna a hole whaur a Christian could lay his head,
muckle less get white sugar to his toddy, forbye the change-house at
the clachan; and the auld luckie that keepit it was sair forfochten
wi' the palsy, and maist in the dead-thraws. There was naebody else
living within twal miles o' the line, barring a taxman, a lamiter,
and a bauldie."

We had some difficulty in preventing Mr Solder from making this report
open and patent to the public, which premature disclosure might have
interfered materially with the preparation of our traffic tables, not
to mention the marketable value of the shares. We therefore kept him
steadily at work out of Glasgow, upon a very liberal allowance, to
which, apparently, he did not object.

"Dunshunner," said M'Corkindale to me one day, "I suspect that there
is something going on about our railway more than we are aware of.
Have you observed that the shares are preternaturally high just now?"

"So much the better. Let's sell."

"I did so this morning--both yours and mine, at two pounds ten
shillings premium."

"The deuce you did! Then we're out of the whole concern."

"Not quite. If my suspicions are correct, there's a good deal more
money yet to be got from the speculation. Somebody has been bulling
the stock without orders; and, as they can have no information which
we are not perfectly up to, depend upon it, it is done for a purpose.
I suspect Sawley and his friends. They have never been quite happy
since the allocation; and I caught him yesterday pumping our broker in
the back shop. We'll see in a day or two. If they are beginning a
bearing operation, I know how to catch them."

And, in effect, the bearing operation commenced. Next day, heavy
sales were effected for delivery in three weeks; and the stock,
as if water-logged, began to sink. The same thing continued for the
following two days, until the premium became nearly nominal. In the
mean time, Bob and I, in conjunction with two leading capitalists
whom we let into the secret, bought up steadily every share that was
offered; and at the end of a fortnight we found that we had purchased
rather more than double the amount of the whole original stock. Sawley
and his disciples, who, as M'Corkindale suspected, were at the bottom
of the whole transaction, having beared to their heart's content,
now came into the market to purchase, in order to redeem their
engagements. The following extracts from the weekly share-lists will
show the result of their endeavours to regain their lost position:--

                    Sat.    Mon.   Tues.    Wed.   Thurs.   Frid.   Sat.

 GLENMUTCHKIN
 RAIL.,   £1 paid, 1-1/8 | 2-1/4 | 4-3/8 | 7-1/2 | 10-3/4 | 15-3/8 | 17,

and Monday was the day of delivery.

I have no means of knowing in what frame of mind Mr Sawley spent the
Sunday, or whether he had recourse for mental consolation to Peden;
but on Monday morning he presented himself at my door in full funeral
costume, with about a quarter of a mile of crape swathed round his
hat, black gloves, and a countenance infinitely more doleful than if
he had been attending the interment of his beloved wife.

"Walk in, Mr Sawley," said I cheerfully. "What a long time it is since
I have had the pleasure of seeing you--too long indeed for brother
directors. How are Mrs Sawley and Miss Selina--won't you take a cup of
coffee?"

"Grass, sir, grass!" said Mr Sawley, with a sigh like the groan of a
furnace-bellows. "We are all flowers of the oven--weak, erring
creatures, every one of us. Ah! Mr Dunshunner! you have been a great
stranger at Lykewake Terrace!"

"Take a muffin, Mr Sawley. Anything new in the railway world?"

"Ah, my dear sir--my good Mr Augustus Reginald--I wanted to have some
serious conversation with you on that very point. I am afraid there is
something far wrong indeed in the present state of our stock."

"Why, to be sure it is high; but that, you know, is a token of the
public confidence in the line. After all, the rise is nothing compared
to that of several English railways; and individually, I suppose,
neither of us have any reason to complain."

"I don't like it," said Sawley, watching me over the margin of his
coffee-cup. "I don't like it. It savours too much of gambling for a
man of my habits. Selina, who is a sensible girl, has serious qualms
on the subject."

"Then why not get out of it? I have no objection to run the risk, and
if you like to transact with me, I will pay you ready money for every
share you have at the present market price."

Sawley writhed uneasily in his chair.

"Will you sell me five hundred, Mr Sawley? Say the word and it is a
bargain."

"A time bargain?" quavered the coffin-maker.

"No. Money down, and scrip handed over."

"I--I can't. The fact is, my dear young friend, I have sold all my
stock already!"

"Then permit me to ask, Mr Sawley, what possible objection you can
have to the present aspect of affairs? You do not surely suppose that
we are going to issue new shares and bring down the market, simply
because you have realised at a handsome premium?"

"A handsome premium! O Lord!" moaned Sawley.

"Why, what did you get for them?"

"Four, three, and two and a half."

"A very considerable profit indeed," said I; "and you ought to be
abundantly thankful. We shall talk this matter over at another time,
Mr Sawley, but just now I must beg you to excuse me. I have a
particular engagement this morning with my broker--rather a heavy
transaction to settle--and so"----

"It's no use beating about the bush any longer," said Mr Sawley in an
excited tone, at the same time dashing down his crape-covered castor
on the floor. "Did you ever see a ruined man with a large family? Look
at me, Mr Dunshunner--I'm one, and you've done it!"

"Mr Sawley! are you in your senses?"

"That depends on circumstances. Haven't you been buying stock lately?"

"I am glad to say I have--two thousand Glenmutchkins, I think, and
this is the day of delivery."

"Well, then--can't you see how the matter stands? It was I who sold
them!"

"Well!"

"Mother of Moses, sir! don't you see I'm ruined?"

"By no means--but you must not swear. I pay over the money for your
scrip, and you pocket a premium. It seems to me a very simple
transaction."

"But I tell you I haven't got the scrip!" cried Sawley, gnashing his
teeth, whilst the cold beads of perspiration gathered largely on his
brow.

"That is very unfortunate! Have you lost it?"

"No!--the devil tempted me, and I oversold!"

There was a very long pause, during which I assumed an aspect of
serious and dignified rebuke.

"Is it possible?" said I in a low tone, after the manner of Kean's
offended fathers. "What! you, Mr Sawley--the stoker's friend--the
enemy of gambling--the father of Selina--condescend to so equivocal a
transaction? You amaze me! But I never was the man to press heavily on
a friend"--here Sawley brightened up--"your secret is safe with me,
and it shall be your own fault if it reaches the ears of the Session.
Pay me over the difference at the present market price, and I release
you of your obligation."

"Then I'm in the Gazette, that's all," said Sawley doggedly, "and a
wife and nine beautiful babes upon the parish! I had hoped other
things from you, Mr Dunshunner--I thought you and Selina"--

"Nonsense, man! Nobody goes into the Gazette just now--it will be time
enough when the general crash comes. Out with your cheque-book, and
write me an order for four-and-twenty thousand. Confound fractions! in
these days one can afford to be liberal."

"I haven't got it," said Sawley. "You have no idea how bad our trade
has been of late, for nobody seems to think of dying. I have not sold
a gross of coffins this fortnight. But I'll tell you what--I'll give
you five thousand down in cash, and ten thousand in shares--further I
can't go."

"Now, Mr Sawley," said I, "I may be blamed by worldly-minded persons
for what I am going to do; but I am a man of principle, and feel
deeply for the situation of your amiable wife and family. I bear no
malice, though it is quite clear that you intended to make me the
sufferer. Pay me fifteen thousand over the counter, and we cry quits
for ever."

"Won't you take Camlachie Cemetery shares? They are sure to go up."

"No!"

"Twelve Hundred Cowcaddens' Water, with an issue of new stock next
week?"

"Not if they disseminated the Ganges!"

"A thousand Ramshorn Gas--four per cent guaranteed until the act?"

"Not if they promised twenty, and melted down the sun in their
retort!"

"Blawweary Iron? Best spec. going."

"No, I tell you once for all! If you don't like my offer--and it is an
uncommonly liberal one--say so, and I'll expose you this afternoon
upon 'Change."

"Well, then--there's a cheque. But may the"----

"Stop, sir! Any such profane expressions, and I shall insist upon the
original bargain. So, then--now we're quits. I wish you a very
good-morning, Mr Sawley, and better luck next time. Pray remember me
to your amiable family."

The door had hardly closed upon the discomfited coffin-maker, and I
was still in the preliminary steps of an extempore _pas seul_,
intended as the outward demonstration of exceeding inward joy, when
Bob M'Corkindale entered. I told him the result of the morning's
conference.

"You have let him off too easily," said the Political Economist. "Had
I been his creditor, I certainly should have sacked the shares into
the bargain. There is nothing like rigid dealing between man and man."

"I am contented with moderate profits," said I; "besides, the image of
Selina overcame me. How goes it with Jobson and Grabbie?"

"Jobson has paid, and Grabbie compounded. Heckles--may he die an evil
death!--has repudiated, become a lame duck, and waddled; but no doubt
his estate will pay a dividend."

"So, then, we are clear of the whole Glenmutchkin business, and at a
handsome profit."

"A fair interest for the outlay of capital--nothing more. But I'm not
quite done with the concern yet."

"How so? not another bearing operation?"

"No; that cock would hardly fight. But you forget that I am secretary
to the company, and have a small account against them for services
already rendered. I must do what I can to carry the bill through
Parliament; and, as you have now sold your whole shares, I advise you
to resign from the direction, go down straight to Glenmutchkin, and
qualify yourself for a witness. We shall give you five guineas a-day,
and pay all your expenses."

"Not a bad notion. But what has become of M'Closkie, and the other
fellow with the jaw-breaking name?"

"Vich-Induibh? I have looked after their interests, as in duty bound,
sold their shares at a large premium, and despatched them to their
native hills on annuities."

"And Sir Polloxfen?"

"Died yesterday of spontaneous combustion."

As the company seemed breaking up, I thought I could not do better
than take M'Corkindale's hint, and accordingly betook myself to
Glenmutchkin, along with the Captain of M'Alcohol, and we quartered
ourselves upon the Factor for Glentumblers. We found Watty Solder very
shakey, and his assistant also lapsing into habits of painful
inebriety. We saw little of them except of an evening, for we shot and
fished the whole day, and made ourselves remarkably comfortable. By
singular good-luck, the plans and sections were lodged in time, and
the Board of Trade very handsomely reported in our favour, with a
recommendation of what they were pleased to call "the Glenmutchkin
system," and a hope that it might generally be carried out. What this
system was, I never clearly understood; but, of course, none of us had
any objections. This circumstance gave an additional impetus to the
shares, and they once more went up. I was, however, too cautious to
plunge a second time into Charybdis, but M'Corkindale did, and again
emerged with plunder.

When the time came for the parliamentary contest, we all emigrated to
London. I still recollect, with lively satisfaction, the many pleasant
days we spent in the metropolis at the company's expense. There were
just a neat fifty of us, and we occupied the whole of an hotel. The
discussion before the committee was long and formidable. We were
opposed by four other companies who patronised lines, of which the
nearest was at least a hundred miles distant from Glenmutchkin; but as
they founded their opposition upon dissent from "the Glenmutchkin
system" generally, the committee allowed them to be heard. We fought
for three weeks a most desperate battle, and might in the end have
been victorious, had not our last antagonist, at the very close of his
case, pointed out no less than seventy-three fatal errors in the
parliamentary plan deposited by the unfortunate Solder. Why this was
not done earlier, I never exactly understood; it may be, that our
opponents, with gentlemanly consideration, were unwilling to curtail
our sojourn in London--and their own. The drama was now finally
closed, and after all preliminary expenses were paid, sixpence per
share was returned to the holders upon surrender of their scrip.

Such is an accurate history of the Origin, Rise, Progress, and Fall of
the Direct Glenmutchkin Railway. It contains a deep moral, if anybody
has sense enough to see it; if not, I have a new project in my eye for
next session, of which timely notice shall be given.



 VANDERDECKEN'S MESSAGE HOME;
 OR, THE TENACITY OF NATURAL AFFECTION.

[_MAGA._ MAY 1821.]


Our ship, after touching at the Cape, went out again, and soon losing
sight of the Table Mountain, began to be assailed by the impetuous
attacks of the sea, which is well known to be more formidable there
than in most parts of the known ocean. The day had grown dull and
hazy, and the breeze, which had formerly blown fresh, now sometimes
subsided almost entirely, and then recovering its strength, for a
short time, and changing its direction, blew with temporary violence,
and died away again, as if exercising a melancholy caprice. A heavy
swell began to come from the south-east. Our sails flapped against the
masts, and the ship rolled from side to side, as heavily as if she had
been water-logged. There was so little wind that she would not steer.

At two P.M. we had a squall, accompanied by thunder and rain. The
seamen, growing restless, looked anxiously ahead. They said we would
have a dirty night of it, and that it would not be worth while to
turn into their hammocks. As the second mate was describing a gale he
had encountered off Cape Race, Newfoundland, we were suddenly taken
all aback, and the blast came upon us furiously. We continued to scud
under a double-reefed mainsail and fore-topsail till dusk; but, as the
sea ran high, the captain thought it safest to bring her to. The watch
on deck consisted of four men, one of whom was appointed to keep a
look-out ahead, for the weather was so hazy that we could not see two
cables' length from the bows. This man, whose name was Tom Willis,
went frequently to the bows, as if to observe something; and when the
others called to him, inquiring what he was looking at, he would give
no definite answer. They therefore went also to the bows, and appeared
startled, and at first said nothing. But presently one of them cried,
"William, go call the watch."

The seamen, having been asleep in their hammocks, murmured at this
unseasonable summons, and called to know how it looked upon deck. To
which Tom Willis replied, "Come up and see. What we are minding is not
on deck, but ahead."

On hearing this, they ran up without putting on their jackets, and
when they came to the bows there was a whispering.

One of them asked, "Where is she? I do not see her." To which another
replied, "The last flash of lightning showed there was not a reef in
one of her sails; but we, who know her history, know that all her
canvass will never carry her into port."

By this time, the talking of the seamen had brought some of the
passengers on deck. They could see nothing, however, for the ship was
surrounded by thick darkness, and by the noise of the dashing waters,
and the seamen evaded the questions that were put to them.

At this juncture the chaplain came on deck. He was a man of grave and
modest demeanour, and was much liked among the seamen, who called him
Gentle George. He overheard one of the men asking another, "If he had
ever seen the Flying Dutchman before, and if he knew the story about
her?" To which the other replied, "I have heard of her beating about
in these seas. What is the reason she never reaches port?"

The first speaker replied, "They give different reasons for it, but my
story is this: She was an Amsterdam vessel, and sailed from that port
seventy years ago. Her master's name was Vanderdecken. He was a stanch
seaman, and would have his own way, in spite of the devil. For all
that, never a sailor under him had reason to complain; though how it
is on board with them now, nobody knows;--the story is this, that in
doubling the Cape, they were a long day trying to weather the Table
Bay, which we saw this morning. However, the wind headed them, and
went against them more and more, and Vanderdecken walked the deck,
swearing at the wind. Just after sunset, a vessel spoke him, asking if
he did not mean to go into the bay that night. Vanderdecken replied,
'May I be eternally d--d if I do, though I should beat about here till
the day of judgment!' And to be sure, Vanderdecken never did go into
that bay; for it is believed that he continues to beat about in these
seas still, and will do so long enough. This vessel is never seen but
with foul weather along with her."

To which another replied, "We must keep clear of her. They say that
her captain mans his jolly boat, when a vessel comes in sight, and
tries hard to get alongside, to put letters on board, but no good
comes to them who have communication with him."

Tom Willis said, "There is such a sea between us at present, as should
keep us safe from such visits."

To which the other answered: "We cannot trust to that, if Vanderdecken
sends out his men."

Some of this conversation having been overheard by the passengers,
there was a commotion among them. In the mean time, the noise of the
waves against the vessel could scarcely be distinguished from the
sounds of the distant thunder. The wind had extinguished the light in
the binnacle, where the compass was, and no one could tell which way
the ship's head lay. The passengers were afraid to ask questions,
lest they should augment the secret sensation of fear which chilled
every heart, or learn any more than they already knew. For while they
attributed their agitation of mind to the state of the weather, it was
sufficiently perceptible that their alarms also arose from a cause
which they did not acknowledge.

The lamp at the binnacle being relighted, they perceived that the ship
lay closer to the wind than she had hitherto done, and the spirits of
the passengers were somewhat revived.

Nevertheless, neither the tempestuous state of the atmosphere nor the
thunder had ceased, and soon a vivid flash of lightning showed the
waves tumbling around us, and, in the distance, the Flying Dutchman
scudding furiously before the wind, under a press of canvass. The
sight was but momentary, but it was sufficient to remove all doubt
from the minds of the passengers. One of the men cried aloud, "There
she goes, topgallants and all."

The chaplain had brought up his prayer-book, in order that he might
draw from thence something to fortify and tranquillise the minds of
the rest. Therefore, taking his seat near the binnacle, so that the
light shone upon the white leaves of the book, he, in a solemn tone,
read out the service for those distressed at sea. The sailors stood
round with folded arms, and looked as if they thought it would be of
little use. But this served to occupy the attention of those on deck
for a while.

In the mean time the flashes of lightning, becoming less vivid, showed
nothing else, far or near, but the billows weltering round the vessel.
The sailors seemed to think that they had not yet seen the worst, but
confined their remarks and prognostications to their own circle.

At this time, the captain, who had hitherto remained in his berth,
came on deck, and, with a gay and unconcerned air, inquired what was
the cause of the general dread. He said he thought they had already
seen the worst of the weather, and wondered that his men had raised
such a hubbub about a capful of wind. Mention being made of the Flying
Dutchman, the captain laughed. He said, "he would like very much to
see any vessel carrying topgallant-sails in such a night, for it would
be a sight worth looking at." The chaplain, taking him by one of the
buttons of his coat, drew him aside, and appeared to enter into
serious conversation with him.

While they were talking together, the captain was heard to say, "Let
us look to our own ship, and not mind such things;" and accordingly,
he sent a man aloft, to see if all was right about the fore-topsail
yard, which was chafing the mast with a loud noise.

It was Tom Willis who went up; and when he came down, he said that all
was tight, and that he hoped it would soon get clearer; and that they
would see no more of what they were most afraid of.

The captain and first mate were heard laughing loudly together, while
the chaplain observed, that it would be better to repress such
unseasonable gaiety. The second mate, a native of Scotland, whose name
was Duncan Saunderson, having attended one of the University classes
at Aberdeen, thought himself too wise to believe all that the sailors
said, and took part with the captain. He jestingly told Tom Willis to
borrow his grandam's spectacles the next time he was sent to keep a
look-out ahead. Tom walked sulkily away, muttering, that he would
nevertheless trust to his own eyes till morning, and accordingly took
his station at the bow, and appeared to watch as attentively as
before.

The sound of talking soon ceased, for many returned to their berths,
and we heard nothing but the clanking of the ropes upon the masts, and
the bursting of the billows ahead, as the vessel successively took the
seas.

But after a considerable interval of darkness, gleams of lightning
began to reappear. Tom Willis suddenly called out, "Vanderdecken,
again! Vanderdecken, again! I see them letting down a boat."

All who were on deck ran to the bows. The next flash of lightning
shone far and wide over the raging sea, and showed us not only the
Flying Dutchman at a distance, but also a boat coming from her with
four men. The boat was within two cables' length of our ship's side.

The man who first saw her ran to the captain, and asked whether they
should hail her or not. The captain, walking about in great agitation,
made no reply. The first mate cried, "Who's going to heave a rope to
that boat?" The men looked at each other without offering to do
anything. The boat had come very near the chains, when Tom Willis
called out, "What do you want? or what devil has blown you here in
such weather?" A piercing voice from the boat replied in English, "We
want to speak with your captain." The captain took no notice of this,
and Vanderdecken's boat having come close alongside, one of the men
came upon deck, and appeared like a fatigued and weatherbeaten seaman,
holding some letters in his hand.

Our sailors all drew back. The chaplain, however, looking steadfastly
upon him, went forward a few steps, and asked, "What is the purpose of
this visit?"

The stranger replied, "We have long been kept here by foul weather,
and Vanderdecken wishes to send these letters to his friends in
Europe."

Our captain now came forward, and said as firmly as he could, "I wish
Vanderdecken would put his letters on board of any other vessel
rather than mine."

The stranger replied, "We have tried many a ship, but most of them
refuse our letters."

Upon which, Tom Willis muttered, "It will be best for us if we do the
same, for they say there is sometimes a sinking weight in your paper."

The stranger took no notice of this, but asked where we were from. On
being told that we were from Portsmouth, he said, as if with strong
feeling, "Would that you had rather been from Amsterdam. Oh that we
saw it again!--We must see our friends again." When he uttered these
words, the men who were in the boat below wrung their hands, and cried
in a piercing tone, in Dutch, "Oh that we saw it again! We have been
long here beating about: but we must see our friends again."

The chaplain asked the stranger, "How long have you been at sea?"

He replied, "We have lost our count; for our almanac was blown
overboard. Our ship, you see, is there still; so why should you ask
how long we have been at sea; for Vanderdecken only wishes to write
home and comfort his friends."

To which the chaplain replied, "Your letters, I fear, would be of no
use in Amsterdam, even if they were delivered, for the persons to whom
they are addressed are probably no longer to be found there, except
under very ancient green turf in the churchyard."

The unwelcome stranger then wrung his hands and appeared to weep, and
replied: "It is impossible. We cannot believe you. We have been long
driving about here, but country nor relations cannot be so easily
forgotten. There is not a raindrop in the air but feels itself kindred
to all the rest, and they fall back into the sea to meet with each
other again. How then can kindred blood be made to forget where it
came from? Even our bodies are part of the ground of Holland; and
Vanderdecken says, if he once were come to Amsterdam, he would rather
be changed into a stone post, well fixed into the ground, than leave
it again, if that were to die elsewhere. But in the mean time, we only
ask you to take these letters."

The chaplain, looking at him with astonishment, said, "This is the
insanity of natural affection, which rebels against all measures of
time and distance."

The stranger continued, "Here is a letter from our second mate, to his
dear and only remaining friend, his uncle, the merchant who lives in
the second house on Stuncken Yacht Quay."

He held forth the letter, but no one would approach to take it.

Tom Willis raised his voice and said, "One of our men, here, says that
he was in Amsterdam last summer, and he knows for certain that the
street called Stuncken Yacht Quay was pulled down sixty years ago,
and now there is only a large church at that place."

The man from the Flying Dutchman said: "It is impossible, we cannot
believe you. Here is another letter from myself, in which I have sent
a bank-note to my dear sister, to buy some gallant lace, to make her a
high head-dress."

Tom Willis hearing this said: "It is most likely that her head now
lies under a tombstone, which will outlast all the changes of the
fashion. But on what house is your bank-note?"

The stranger replied, "On the house of Vanderbrucker and Company."

The man, of whom Tom Willis had spoken, said: "I guess there will now
be some discount upon it, for that banking-house was gone to
destruction forty years ago; and Vanderbrucker was afterwards
amissing.--But to remember these things is like raking up the bottom
of an old canal."

The stranger called out passionately: "It is impossible--We cannot
believe it! It is cruel to say such things to people in our condition.
There is a letter from our captain himself, to his much-beloved and
faithful wife, whom he left at a pleasant summer dwelling, on
the border of the Haarlemer Mer. She promised to have the house
beautifully painted and gilded before he came back, and to get a new
set of looking-glasses for the principal chamber, that she might see
as many images of Vanderdecken as if she had six husbands at once."

The man replied, "There has been time enough for her to have had six
husbands since then; but were she alive still, there is no fear that
Vanderdecken would ever get home to disturb her."

On hearing this the stranger again shed tears, and said, if they would
not take the letters, he would leave them; and looking around he
offered the parcel to the captain, chaplain, and to the rest of the
crew successively, but each drew back as it was offered, and put his
hands behind his back. He then laid the letters upon the deck, and
placed upon them a piece of iron, which was lying near, to prevent
them from being blown away. Having done this, he swung himself over
the gangway, and went into the boat.

We heard the others speak to him, but the rise of a sudden squall
prevented us from distinguishing his reply. The boat was seen to quit
the ship's side, and in a few moments there were no more traces of her
than if she had never been there. The sailors rubbed their eyes, as if
doubting what they had witnessed, but the parcel still lay upon deck,
and proved the reality of all that had passed.

Duncan Saunderson, the Scotch mate, asked the captain if he should
take them up, and put them in the letter-bag? Receiving no reply, he
would have lifted them if it had not been for Tom Willis, who pulled
him back, saying that nobody should touch them.

In the mean time the captain went down to the cabin, and the chaplain,
having followed him, found him at his bottle-case, pouring out a
large dram of brandy. The captain, although somewhat disconcerted,
immediately offered the glass to him, saying, "Here, Charters, is what
is good in a cold night." The chaplain declined drinking anything, and
the captain having swallowed the bumper, they both returned to the
deck, where they found the seamen giving their opinions concerning
what should be done with the letters. Tom Willis proposed to pick them
up on a harpoon, and throw it overboard.

Another speaker said, "I have always heard it asserted that it is
neither safe to accept them voluntarily, nor when they are left to
throw them out of the ship."

"Let no one touch them," said the carpenter. "The way to do with the
letters from the Flying Dutchman is, to case them upon deck, so that,
if he sends back for them, they are still there to give him."

The carpenter went to fetch his tools. During his absence, the ship
gave so violent a pitch that the piece of iron slid off the letters,
and they were whirled overboard by the wind, like birds of evil omen
whirring through the air. There was a cry of joy among the sailors,
and they ascribed the favourable change which soon took place in the
weather, to our having got quit of Vanderdecken. We soon got under
weigh again. The night watch being set, the rest of the crew retired
to their berths.



THE FLOATING BEACON.

[_MAGA._ OCTOBER 1821.]


One dark and stormy night we were on a voyage from Bergen to
Christiansand in a small sloop. Our captain suspected that he had
approached too near the Norwegian coast, though he could not discern
any land, and the wind blew with such violence that we were in
momentary dread of being driven upon a lee-shore. We had endeavoured,
for more than an hour, to keep our vessel away; but our efforts proved
unavailing, and we soon found that we could scarcely hold our own. A
clouded sky, a hazy atmosphere, and irregular showers of sleety rain,
combined to deepen the obscurity of night, and nothing whatever was
visible, except the sparkling of the distant waves, when their tops
happened to break into a wreath of foam. The sea ran very high, and
sometimes broke over the deck so furiously that the men were obliged
to hold by the rigging, lest they should be carried away. Our captain
was a person of timid and irresolute character, and the dangers that
environed us made him gradually lose confidence in himself. He often
gave orders, and countermanded them in the same moment, all the while
taking small quantities of ardent spirits at intervals. Fear and
intoxication soon stupified him completely, and the crew ceased to
consult him, or to pay any respect to his authority, in so far as
regarded the management of the vessel.

About midnight our mainsail was split, and shortly after we found that
the sloop had sprung a leak. We had before shipped a good deal of
water through the hatches, and the quantity that now entered from
below was so great that we thought she would go down every moment. Our
only chance of escape lay in our boat, which was immediately lowered.
After we had all got on board of her, except the captain, who stood
leaning against the mast, we called to him, requesting that he would
follow us without delay. "How dare you quit the sloop without my
permission?" cried he, staggering forwards. "This is not fit weather
to go a-fishing. Come back--back with you all!"--"No, no," returned
one of the crew; "we don't want to be sent to the bottom for your
obstinacy. Bear a hand there, or we'll leave you behind."--"Captain,
you are drunk," said another; "you cannot take care of yourself. You
must obey _us_ now."--"Silence! mutinous villain!" answered the
captain. "What are you all afraid of? This is a fine breeze--Up
mainsail, and steer her right in the wind's eye."

The sea knocked the boat so violently and constantly against the side
of the sloop, that we feared the former would be injured or upset if
we did not immediately row away; but, anxious as we were to preserve
our lives, we could not reconcile ourselves to the idea of abandoning
the captain, who grew more obstinate the more we attempted to persuade
him to accompany us. At length one of the crew leaped on board the
sloop, and having seized hold of him, tried to drag him along by
force; but he struggled resolutely, and soon freed himself from the
grasp of the seaman, who immediately resumed his place among us, and
urged that we should not any longer risk our lives for the sake of a
drunkard and a madman. Most of the party declared they were of the
same opinion, and began to push off the boat; but I entreated them to
make one effort more to induce their infatuated commander to accompany
us. At that moment he came up from the cabin, to which he had
descended a little time before, and we immediately perceived that he
was more under the influence of ardent spirits than ever. He abused us
all in the grossest terms, and threatened his crew with severe
punishment, if they did not come on board, and return to their duty.
His manner was so violent that no one seemed willing to attempt to
constrain him to come on board the boat; and after vainly representing
the absurdity of his conduct; and the danger of his situation, we bid
him farewell, and rowed away.

The sea ran so high, and had such a terrific appearance, that I almost
wished myself in the sloop again. The crew plied the oars in silence,
and we heard nothing but the hissing of the enormous billows as they
gently rose up, and slowly subsided again, without breaking. At
intervals our boat was elevated far above the surface of the ocean,
and remained for a few moments trembling upon the pinnacle of a surge,
from which it would quietly descend into a gulf so deep and awful that
we often thought the dense black mass of waters which formed its sides
were on the point of over-arching us, and bursting upon our heads. We
glided with regular undulations from one billow to another; but every
time we sank into the trough of the sea my heart died within me, for I
felt as if we were going lower down than we had ever done before, and
clung instinctively to the board on which I sat.

Notwithstanding my terrors, I frequently looked towards the sloop. The
fragments of her mainsail, which remained attached to the yard, and
fluttered in the wind, enabled us to discern exactly where she lay,
and showed, by their motion, that she pitched about in a terrible
manner. We occasionally heard the voice of her unfortunate commander,
calling to us in tones of frantic derision, and by turns vociferating
curses and blasphemous oaths, and singing sea-songs with a wild and
frightful energy. I sometimes almost wished that the crew would
make another effort to save him, but next moment the principle
of self-preservation repressed all feelings of humanity, and I
endeavoured, by closing my ears, to banish the idea of his sufferings
from my mind.

After a little time the shivering canvass disappeared, and we heard a
tumultuous roaring and bursting of billows, and saw an unusual
sparkling of the sea about a quarter of a mile from us. One of the
sailors cried out that the sloop was now on her beam ends, and that
the noise to which we listened was that of the waves breaking over
her. We could sometimes perceive a large black mass heaving itself up
irregularly among the flashing surges, and then disappearing for a few
moments, and knew but too well that it was the hull of the vessel. At
intervals a shrill and agonised voice uttered some exclamations, but
we could not distinguish what they were, and then a long-drawn shriek
came across the ocean, which suddenly grew more furiously agitated
near the spot where the sloop lay, and in a few moments she sank down,
and a black wave formed itself out of the waters that had engulfed
her, and swelled gloomily into a magnitude greater than that of the
surrounding billows.

The seamen dropped their oars, as if by one impulse, and looked
expressively at each other, without speaking a word. Awful XXXX
forebodings of a fate similar to that of the captain appeared to chill
every heart, and to repress the energy that had hitherto excited us to
make unremitting exertions for our common safety. While we were in
this state of hopeless inaction, the man at the helm called out that
he saw a light ahead. We all strained our eyes to discern it, but at
the moment the boat was sinking down between two immense waves, one of
which closed the prospect, and we remained in breathless anxiety till
a rising surge elevated us above the level of the surrounding ocean. A
light like a dazzling star then suddenly flashed upon our view, and
joyful exclamations burst from every mouth. "That," cried one of the
crew, "must be the floating beacon which our captain was looking out
for this afternoon. If we can but gain it, we'll be safe enough yet."
This intelligence cheered us all, and the men began to ply the oars
with redoubled vigour, while I employed myself in baling out the water
that sometimes rushed over the gunnel of the boat when a sea happened
to strike her.

An hour's hard rowing brought us so near the lighthouse that we almost
ceased to apprehend any further danger; but it was suddenly obscured
from our view, and at the same time a confused roaring and dashing
commenced at a little distance, and rapidly increased in loudness. We
soon perceived a tremendous billow rolling towards us. Its top, part
of which had already broke, overhung the base, as if unwilling to
burst until we were within the reach of its violence. The man who
steered the boat brought her head to the sea, but all to no purpose,
for the water rushed furiously over us, and we were completely
immersed. I felt the boat swept from under me, and was left struggling
and groping about in hopeless desperation for something to catch hold
of. When nearly exhausted, I received a severe blow on the side from a
small cask of water which the sea had forced against me. I immediately
twined my arms round it, and, after recovering myself a little, began
to look for the boat, and to call to my companions; but I could not
discover any vestige of them, or of their vessel. However, I still had
a faint hope that they were in existence, and that the intervention of
the billows concealed them from my view. I continued to shout as loud
as possible, for the sound of my own voice in some measure relieved
me from the feeling of awful and heart-chilling loneliness which my
situation inspired; but not even an echo responded to my cries, and,
convinced that my comrades had all perished, I ceased looking for
them, and pushed towards the beacon in the best manner I could. A long
series of fatiguing exertions brought me close to the side of the
vessel which contained it, and I called out loudly, in hopes that
those on board might hear me and come to my assistance; but no one
appearing, I waited patiently till a wave raised me on a level with
the chains, and then caught hold of them, and succeeded in getting on
board.

As I did not see any person on deck, I went forwards to the skylight,
and looked down. Two men were seated below at a table; and a lamp,
which was suspended above them, being swung backwards and forwards
by the rolling of the vessel, threw its light upon their faces
alternately. One seemed agitated with passion, and the other surveyed
him with a scornful look. They both talked very loudly, and used
threatening gestures, but the sea made so much noise that I could not
distinguish what was said. After a little time they started up, and
seemed to be on the point of closing and wrestling together, when a
woman rushed through a small door and prevented them. I beat upon deck
with my feet at the same time, and the attention of the whole party
was soon transferred to the noise. One of the men immediately came up
the cabin stairs, but stopped short on seeing me, as if irresolute
whether to advance or hasten below again. I approached him, and told
my story in a few words, but instead of making any reply, he went down
to the cabin, and began to relate to the others what he had seen. I
soon followed him, and easily found my way into the apartment where
they all were. They appeared to feel mingled sensations of fear and
astonishment at my presence, and it was some time before any of them
entered into conversation with me, or afforded those comforts which I
stood so much in need of.

After I had refreshed myself with food, and been provided with a
change of clothing, I went upon deck, and surveyed the singular asylum
in which Providence had enabled me to take refuge from the fury of the
storm. It did not exceed thirty feet long, and was very strongly
built, and completely decked over, except at the entrance to the
cabin. It had a thick mast at midships, with a large lantern,
containing several burners and reflectors, on the top of it; and this
could be lowered and hoisted up again as often as required, by means
of ropes and pulleys. The vessel was firmly moored upon an extensive
sand-bank, the beacon being intended to warn seamen to avoid a part of
the ocean where many lives and vessels had been lost in consequence
of the latter running aground. The accommodations below decks were
narrow, and of an inferior description; however, I gladly retired to
the berth that was allotted me by my entertainers, and fatigue and
the rocking of billows combined to lull me into a quiet and dreamless
sleep.

Next morning, one of the men, whose name was Angerstoff, came to my
bedside, and called me to breakfast in a surly and imperious manner.

Others looked coldly and distrustfully when I joined them, and I saw
that they regarded me as an intruder and an unwelcome guest. The meal
passed without almost any conversation, and I went upon deck whenever
it was over. The tempest of the preceding night had in a great measure
abated, but the sea still ran very high, and a black mist hovered over
it, through which the Norwegian coast, lying at eleven miles distance,
could be dimly seen. I looked in vain for some remains of the sloop or
boat. Not a bird enlivened the heaving expanse of waters, and I turned
shuddering from the dreary scene, and asked Morvalden, the youngest of
the men, when he thought I had any chance of getting ashore. "Not very
soon, I'm afraid," returned he. "We are visited once a-month by people
from yonder land, who are appointed to bring us supply of provisions
and other necessaries. They were here only six days ago, so you may
count how long it will be before they return. Fishing-boats sometimes
pass us during fine weather, but we won't have much of that this moon
at least."

No intelligence could have been more depressing to me than this. The
idea of spending perhaps three weeks in such a place was almost
insupportable, and the more so, as I could not hasten my deliverance
by any exertions of my own, but would be obliged to remain, in a state
of inactive suspense, till good fortune, or the regular course of
events, afforded me the means of getting ashore. Neither Angerstoff
nor Morvalden seemed to sympathise with my distress, or even to care
that I should have it in my power to leave the vessel, except in so
far as my departure would free them from the expense of supporting me.
They returned indistinct and repulsive answers to all the questions I
asked, and appeared anxious to avoid having the least communication
with me. During the greater part of the forenoon, they employed
themselves in trimming the lamps and cleaning the reflectors, but
never conversed any. I easily perceived that a mutual animosity
existed between them, but was unable to discover the cause of it.
Morvalden seemed to fear Angerstoff, and at the same time to feel a
deep resentment towards him, which he did not dare to express.
Angerstoff apparently was aware of this, for he behaved to his
companion with the undisguised fierceness of determined hate, and
openly thwarted him in everything.

Marietta, the female on board, was the wife of Morvalden. She remained
chiefly below decks, and attended to the domestic concerns of the
vessel. She was rather good-looking, but so reserved and forbidding in
her manners that she formed no desirable acquisition to our party,
already so heartless and unsociable in its character.

When night approached, after the lapse of a wearisome and monotonous
day, I went on deck to see the beacon lighted, and continued walking
backwards and forwards till a late hour. I watched the lantern, as it
swung from side to side, and flashed upon different portions of the
sea alternately, and sometimes fancied I saw men struggling among the
billows that tumbled around, and at other times imagined I could
discern the white sail of an approaching vessel. Human voices seemed
to mingle with the noise of the bursting waves, and I often listened
intently, almost in the expectation of hearing articulate sounds. My
mind grew sombre as the scene itself, and strange and fearful ideas
obtruded themselves in rapid succession. It was dreadful to be chained
in the middle of the deep--to be the continual sport of the quietless
billows--to be shunned as a fatal thing by those who traversed the
solitary ocean. Though within sight of the shore, our situation was
more dreary than if we had been sailing a thousand miles from it. We
felt not the pleasure of moving forwards, nor the hope of reaching
port, nor the delights arising from favourable breezes and genial
weather. When a billow drove us to one side, we were tossed back again
by another; our imprisonment had no variety or definite termination;
and the calm and the tempest were alike uninteresting to us. I felt as
if my fate had already become linked with that of those who were on
board the vessel. My hopes of being again permitted to mingle with
mankind died away, and I anticipated long years of gloom and despair
in the company of these repulsive persons into whose hands fate had
unexpectedly consigned me.

Angerstoff and Morvalden tended the beacon alternately during the
night. The latter had the watch while I remained upon deck. His
appearance and manner indicated much perturbation of mind, and he
paced hurriedly from side to side, sometimes muttering to himself,
and sometimes stopping suddenly to look through the skylight, as
if anxious to discover what was going on below. He would then gaze
intently upon the heavens, and next moment take out his watch, and
contemplate the motions of its hands. I did not offer to disturb these
reveries, and thought myself altogether unobserved by him, till he
suddenly advanced to the spot where I stood, and said, in a loud
whisper, "There's a villain below--a desperate villain--this is
true--he is capable of anything--and the woman is as bad as him." I
asked what proof he had of all this. "Oh, I know it," returned he;
"that wretch Angerstoff, whom I once thought my friend, has gained
my wife's affections. She has been faithless to me--yes, she has.
They both wish I were out of the way. Perhaps they are now planning
my destruction. What can I do? It is very terrible to be shut
up in such narrow limits with those who hate me, and to have
no means of escaping, or defending myself from their infernal
machinations."--"Why do you not leave the beacon," inquired I, "and
abandon your companion and guilty wife?"--"Ah, that is impossible,"
answered Morvalden; "if I went on shore I would forfeit my liberty. I
live here that I may escape the vengeance of the law, which I once
outraged for the sake of her who has now withdrawn her love from me.
What ingratitude! Mine is indeed a terrible fate, but I must bear it.
And shall I never again wander through the green fields, and climb the
rocks that encircle my native place? Are the weary dashings of the
sea, and the moanings of the wind, to fill my ears continually, all
the while telling me that I am an exile?--a hopeless despairing exile.
But it won't last long," cried he, catching hold of my arm; "they will
murder me!--I am sure of it--I never go to sleep without dreaming that
Angerstoff has pushed me overboard."

"Your lonely situation and inactive life dispose you to give way to
these chimeras," said I; "you must endeavour to resist them. Perhaps
things aren't so bad as you suppose."--"This is not a lonely
situation," replied Morvalden, in a solemn tone. "Perhaps you will
have proof of what I say before you leave us. Many vessels used to be
lost here, and a few are wrecked still; and the skeletons and corpses
of those who have perished lie all over the sand-bank. Sometimes, at
midnight, I have seen crowds of human figures moving backwards and
forwards upon the surface of the ocean, almost as far as the eye could
reach. I neither knew who they were, nor what they did there. When
watching the lantern alone, I often hear a number of voices talking
together, as it were, under the waves; and I twice caught the very
words they uttered, but I cannot repeat them--they dwell incessantly
in my memory, but my tongue refuses to pronounce them, or to explain
to others what they meant."

"Do not let your senses be imposed upon by a distempered imagination,"
said I; "there is no reality in the things you have told XXXX
me."--"Perhaps my mind occasionally wanders a little, for it has a
heavy burden upon it," returned Morvalden. "I have been guilty of a
dreadful crime. Many that now lie in the deep below us might start up
and accuse me of what I am just going to reveal to you. One stormy
night, shortly after I began to take charge of this beacon, while
watching on deck, I fell into a profound sleep. I know not how long it
continued, but I was awakened by horrible shouts and cries. I started
up, and instantly perceived that all the lamps in the lantern were
extinguished. It was very dark, and the sea raged furiously; but
notwithstanding all this, I observed a ship aground on the bank, a
little way from me, her sails fluttering in the wind, and the waves
breaking over her with violence. Half frantic with horror, I ran down
to the cabin for a taper, and lighted the lamps as fast as possible.
The lantern, when hoisted to the top of the mast, threw a vivid glare
on the surrounding ocean, and showed me the vessel disappearing among
the billows. Hundreds of people lay gasping in the water near her.
Men, women, and children writhed together in agonising struggles,
and uttered soul-harrowing cries; and their countenances, as they
gradually stiffened under the hand of death, were all turned towards
me with glassy stare, while the lurid expression of their glistening
eyes upbraided me with having been the cause of their untimely end.
Never shall I forget these looks. They haunt me wherever I am--asleep
and awake--night and day. I have kept this tale of horror secret till
now, and do not know if I shall ever have courage to relate it again.
The masts of the vessel projected above the surface of the sea for
several months after she was lost, as if to keep me in recollection of
the night in which so many human creatures perished, in consequence of
my neglect and carelessness. Would to God I had no memory! I sometimes
think I am getting mad. The past and present are equally dreadful to
me; and I dare not anticipate the future."

I felt a sort of superstitious dread steal over me, while Morvalden
related his story, and we continued walking the deck in silence till
the period of his watch expired. I then went below, and took refuge
in my berth, though I was but little inclined for sleep. The gloomy
ideas and dark forebodings expressed by Morvalden weighed heavily upon
my mind, without my knowing why; and my situation, which had at first
seemed only dreary and depressing, began to have something
indefinitely terrible in its aspect.

Next day, when Morvalden proceeded as usual to put the beacon in
order, he called upon Angerstoff to come and assist him, which the
latter peremptorily refused. Morvalden then went down to the cabin,
where his companion was, and requested to know why his orders were not
obeyed. "Because I hate trouble," replied Angerstoff. "I am master
here," said Morvalden, "and have been intrusted with the direction of
everything. Do not attempt to trifle with me."--"Trifle with you!"
exclaimed Angerstoff, looking contemptuously. "No, no, I am no
trifler; and I advise you to walk up-stairs again, lest I prove this
to your cost." "Why, husband," cried Marietta, "I believe there are no
bounds to your laziness. You make this young man toil from morning to
night, and take advantage of his good nature in the most shameful
manner."--"Peace, infamous woman!" said Morvalden; "I know very well
why you stand up in his defence; but I'll put a stop to the intimacy
that exists between you. Go to your room instantly! You are my
wife, and shall obey me." "Is this usage to be borne?" exclaimed
Marietta, "Will no one step forward to protect me from his violence?"
"Insolent fellow!" cried Angerstoff, "don't presume to insult my
mistress."--"Mistress!" repeated Morvalden. "This to my face!"
and struck him a severe blow. Angerstoff sprung forward, with the
intention of returning it, but I got between them, and prevented him.
Marietta then began to shed tears, and applauded the generosity her
paramour had evinced in sparing her husband, who immediately went upon
deck, without speaking a word, and hurriedly resumed the work that had
engaged his attention previous to the quarrel.

Neither of the two men seemed at all disposed for a reconciliation,
and they had no intercourse during the whole day, except angry and
revengeful looks. I frequently observed Marietta in deep consultation
with Angerstoff, and easily perceived that the subject of debate had
some relation to her injured husband, whose manner evinced much alarm
and anxiety, although he endeavoured to look calm and cheerful. He did
not make his appearance at meals, but spent all his time upon deck.
Whenever Angerstoff accidentally passed him, he shrank back with an
expression of dread, and intuitively, as it were, caught hold of a
rope, or any other object to which he could cling. The day proved a
wretched and fearful one to me, for I momentarily expected that some
terrible affray would occur on board, and that I would be implicated
in it. I gazed upon the surrounding sea almost without intermission,
ardently hoping that some boat might approach near enough to afford me
an opportunity of quitting the horrid and dangerous abode in which I
was imprisoned.

It was Angerstoff's watch on deck till midnight; and as I did not wish
to have any communication with him, I remained below. At twelve
o'clock Morvalden got up and relieved him, and he came down to the
cabin, and soon after retired to his berth. Believing, from this
arrangement, that they had no hostile intentions, I lay down in bed
with composure, and fell asleep. It was not long before a noise
overhead awakened me. I started up, and listened intently. The
sound appeared to be that of two persons scuffling together, for a
succession of irregular footsteps beat the deck, and I could hear
violent blows given at intervals. I got out of my berth, and entered
the cabin, where I found Marietta standing alone, with a lamp in her
hand. "Do you hear that?" cried I.--"Hear what?" returned she; "I have
had a dreadful dream--I am all trembling." "Is Angerstoff below?"
demanded I.--"No--Yes, I mean," said Marietta. "Why do you ask that?
He went up-stairs." "Your husband and he are fighting. We must part
them instantly."--"How can that be?" answered Marietta; "Angerstoff is
asleep." "Asleep! Didn't you say he went up-stairs?"--"I don't know,"
returned she; "I am hardly awake yet--Let us listen for a moment."

Everything was still for a few seconds; then a voice shrieked out,
"Ah! that knife! you are murdering me! Draw it out! No help! Are you
done? Now--now--now!" A heavy body fell suddenly along the deck, and
some words were spoken in a faint tone, but the roaring of the sea
prevented me from hearing what they were.

I rushed up the cabin stairs, and tried to push open the folding-doors
at the head of them, but they resisted my utmost efforts. I knocked
violently and repeatedly to no purpose. "Some one is killed," cried I.
"The person who barred these doors on the outside is guilty."--"I know
nothing of that," returned Marietta. "We can't be of any use
now.--Come here again!--how dreadfully quiet it is. My God!--a drop of
blood has fallen through the skylight.--What faces are yon looking
down upon us?--But this lamp is going out.--We must be going through
the water at a terrible rate--how it rushes past us!--I am getting
dizzy.--Do you hear these bells ringing? and strange voices----"

The cabin doors were suddenly burst open, and Angerstoff next moment
appeared before us, crying out, "Morvalden has fallen overboard. Throw
a rope to him!--He will be drowned." His hands and dress were marked
with blood, and he had a frightful look of horror and confusion.
"You are a murderer!" exclaimed I, almost involuntarily.--"How do
you know that?" said he, staggering back; "I'm sure you never saw--"
"Hush, hush," cried Marietta to him; "are you mad? Speak again!--What
frightens you?--Why don't you run and help Morvalden?" "Has XXXX
anything happened to him?" inquired Angerstoff, with a gaze of
consternation.--"You told us he had fallen overboard," returned
Marietta; "must my husband perish?"--"Give me some water to wash my
hands," said Angerstoff, growing deadly pale, and catching hold of
the table for support.

I now hastened upon deck, but Morvalden was not there. I then went to
the side of the vessel, and put my hands on the gunwale, while I
leaned over, and looked downwards. On taking them off, I found them
marked with blood. I grew sick at heart, and began to identify
myself with Angerstoff the murderer. The sea, the beacon, and the
sky, appeared of a sanguine hue; and I thought I heard the dying
exclamations of Morvalden sounding a hundred fathom below me, and
echoing through the caverns of the deep. I advanced to the cabin door,
intending to descend the stairs, but found that some one had fastened
it firmly on the inside. I felt convinced that I was intentionally
shut out, and a cold shuddering pervaded my frame. I covered my face
with my hands, not daring to look around; for it seemed as if I
was excluded from the company of the living, and doomed to be the
associate of the spirits of drowned and murdered men. After a little
time I began to walk hastily backwards and forwards; but the light of
the lantern happened to flash on a stream of blood that ran along the
deck, and I could not summon up resolution to pass the spot where it
was a second time. The sky looked black and threatening--the sea had a
fierceness in its sound and motions--and the wind swept over its bosom
with melancholy sighs. Everything was sombre and ominous; and I looked
in vain for some object that would, by its soothing aspect, remove the
dark impressions which crowded upon my mind.

While standing near the bows of the vessel, I saw a hand and arm rise
slowly behind the stern, and wave from side to side. I started back as
far as I could go in horrible affright, and looked again, expecting to
behold the entire spectral figure of which I supposed they formed a
part. But nothing more was visible. I struck my eyes till the light
flashed from them, in hopes that my senses had been imposed upon by
distempered vision. However, it was in vain, for the hand still
motioned me to advance, and I rushed forwards with wild desperation,
and caught hold of it. I was pulled along a little way notwithstanding
the resistance I made, and soon discovered a man stretched along the
stern-cable, and clinging to it in a convulsive manner. It was
Morvalden. He raised his head feebly, and said something, but I could
only distinguish the words "murdered--overboard--reached this
rope--terrible death."--I stretched out my arms to support him, but at
that moment the vessel plunged violently, and he was shaken off the
cable, and dropped among the waves. He floated for an instant, and
then disappeared under the keel.

I seized the first rope I could find, and threw one end of it over the
stern, and likewise flung some planks into the sea, thinking that the
unfortunate Morvalden might still retain strength enough to catch hold
of them if they came within his reach. I continued on the watch for a
considerable time, but at last abandoned all hopes of saving him, and
made another attempt to get down to the cabin. The doors were now
unfastened, and I opened them without any difficulty. The first thing
I saw on going below, was Angerstoff stretched along the floor,
and fast asleep. His torpid look, flushed countenance, and uneasy
respiration, convinced me that he had taken a large quantity of ardent
spirits. Marietta was in her own apartment. Even the presence of a
murderer appeared less terrible than the frightful solitariness of the
deck, and I lay down upon a bench determining to spend the remainder
of the night there. The lamp that hung from the roof soon went out,
and left me in total darkness. Imagination began to conjure up a
thousand appalling forms, and the voice of Angerstoff, speaking in his
sleep, filled my ears at intervals--"Hoist up the beacon!--the lamps
won't burn--horrible!--they contain blood instead of oil. Is that a
boat coming?--Yes, yes, I hear the oars. Damnation!--why is that
corpse so long of sinking?--if it doesn't go down soon they'll find me
out. How terribly the wind blows!--we are driving ashore--See! see!
Morvalden is swimming after us--how he writhes in the water!" Marietta
now rushed from her room, with a light in her hand, and seizing
Angerstoff by the arm, tried to awake him. He soon rose up with
chattering teeth and shivering limbs, and was on the point of
speaking, but she prevented him, and he staggered away to his berth,
and lay down in it.

Next morning, when I went upon deck, after a short and perturbed
sleep, I found Marietta dashing water over it, that she might efface
all vestige of the transactions of the preceding night. Angerstoff did
not make his appearance till noon, and his looks were ghastly and
agonised. He seemed stupified with horror, and sometimes entirely lost
all perception of the things around him for a considerable time. He
suddenly came close up to me, and demanded, with a bold air, but
quivering voice, what I had meant by calling him a murderer?--"Why,
that you are one," replied I, after a pause.

"Beware what you say," returned he fiercely,--"you cannot escape my
power now--I tell you, sir, Morvalden fell overboard."--"Whence, then,
came that blood that covered the deck?" inquired I. He grew pale, and
then cried, "You lie--you lie infernally--there was none!"--"I saw
it," said I--"I saw Morvalden himself--long after midnight. He was
clinging to the stern-cable, and said"--"Ha, ha, ha--devils!--curses!"
exclaimed Angerstoff--"Did you hear me dreaming?--I was mad last
night--Come, come, come!--We shall tend the beacon together--Let us
make friends, and don't be afraid, for you'll find me a good fellow in
the end." He now forcibly shook hands with me, and then hurried down
to the cabin.

In the afternoon, while sitting on deck, I discerned a boat far off,
but I determined to conceal this from Angerstoff and Marietta,
lest they should use some means to prevent its approach. I walked
carelessly about, casting a glance upon the sea occasionally, and
meditating how I could best take advantage of the means of deliverance
which I had in prospect. After the lapse of an hour, the boat was not
more than half a mile distant from us, but she suddenly changed her
course, and bore away towards the shore. I immediately shouted, and
waved a handkerchief over my head, as signals for her to return.
Angerstoff rushed from the cabin, and seized my arm, threatening at
the same time to push me overboard if I attempted to hail her again.
I disengaged myself from his grasp, and dashed him violently from me.
The noise brought Marietta upon deck, who immediately perceived the
cause of the affray, and cried, "Does the wretch mean to make his
escape? For Godsake, prevent the possibility of that!"--"Yes, yes,"
returned Angerstoff; "he never shall leave the vessel--He had as well
take care, lest I do to him what I did to--" "To Morvalden, I
suppose you mean," said I.--"Well, well, speak it out," replied
he ferociously; "there is no one here to listen to your damnable
falsehoods, and I'll not be fool enough to give you an opportunity
of uttering them elsewhere. I'll strangle you the next time you
tell these lies about--" "Come," interrupted Marietta, "don't be
uneasy--the boat will soon be far enough away--If he wants to give you
the slip, he must leap overboard."

I was irritated and disappointed beyond measure at the failure of the
plan of escape I had formed, but thought it most prudent to conceal my
feelings. I now perceived the rashness and bad consequences of my
bold assertions respecting the murder of Morvalden; for Angerstoff
evidently thought that his personal safety, and even his life, would
be endangered, if I ever found an opportunity of accusing and giving
evidence against him. All my motions were now watched with double
vigilance. Marietta and her paramour kept upon deck by turns during
the whole day, and the latter looked over the surrounding ocean,
through a glass, at intervals, to discover if any boat or vessel was
approaching us. He often muttered threats as he walked past me,
and, more than once, seemed waiting for an opportunity to push me
overboard. Marietta and he frequently whispered together, and I always
imagined I heard my name mentioned in the course of these
conversations.

I now felt completely miserable, being satisfied that Angerstoff
was bent upon my destruction. I wandered, in a state of fearful
circumspection, from one part of the vessel to the other, not knowing
how to secure myself from his designs. Every time he approached me, my
heart palpitated dreadfully; and when night came on, I was agonised
with terror, and could not remain in one spot, but hurried backwards
and forwards between the cabin and the deck, looking wildly from side
to side, and momentarily expecting to feel a cold knife entering my
vitals. My forehead began to burn, and my eyes dazzled; I became
acutely sensitive, and the slightest murmur, or the faintest breath of
wind, set my whole frame in a state of uncontrollable vibration. At
first, I sometimes thought of throwing myself into the sea; but I soon
acquired such an intense feeling of existence, that the mere idea of
death was horrible to me.

Shortly after midnight I lay down in my berth, almost exhausted by the
harrowing emotions that had careered through my mind during the past
day. I felt a strong desire to sleep, yet dared not indulge myself;
soul and body seemed at war. Every noise excited my imagination, and
scarcely a minute passed, in the course of which I did not start up
and look around. Angerstoff paced the deck overhead, and when the
sound of his footsteps accidentally ceased at any time, I grew deadly
sick at heart, expecting that he was silently coming to murder me. At
length I thought I heard some one near my bed--I sprung from it, and,
having seized a bar of iron that lay on the floor, rushed into the
cabin. I found Angerstoff there, who started back when he saw me, and
said, "What is the matter? Did you think that--I want you to watch the
beacon, that I may have some rest. Follow me upon deck, and I will
give you directions about it." I hesitated a moment, and then went up
the gangway stairs behind him. We walked forward to the mast together,
and he showed how I was to lower the lantern when any of the lamps
happened to go out, and bidding me beware of sleep, returned to the
cabin. Most of my fears forsook me the moment he disappeared. I felt
nearly as happy as if I had been set at liberty, and, for a time,
forgot that my situation had anything painful or alarming connected
with it. Angerstoff resumed his station in about three hours, and I
again took refuge in my berth, where I enjoyed a short but undisturbed
slumber.

Next day while I was walking the deck, and anxiously surveying the
expanse of ocean around, Angerstoff requested me to come down to the
cabin. I obeyed his summons, and found him there. He gave me a book,
saying it was very entertaining, and would serve to amuse me during my
idle hours; and then went above, shutting the doors carefully behind
him. I was struck with his behaviour, but felt no alarm, for Marietta
sat at work near me, apparently unconscious of what had passed. I
began to peruse the volume I held in my hand, and found it so
interesting that I paid little attention to anything else, till the
dashing of oars struck my ear. I sprang from my chair, with the
intention of hastening upon deck, but Marietta stopped me, saying, "It
is of no use--the gangway doors are fastened." Notwithstanding this
information, I made an attempt to open them, but could not succeed. I
was now convinced, by the percussion against the vessel, that a boat
lay alongside, and I heard a strange voice addressing Angerstoff.
Fired with the idea of deliverance, I leaped upon a table which stood
in the middle of the cabin, and tried to push off the skylight, but
was suddenly stunned by a violent blow on the back of my head. I
staggered back and looked round. Marietta stood close behind me,
brandishing an axe, as if in the act of repeating the stroke. Her
face was flushed with rage, and, having seized my arm, she cried,
"Come down instantly, accursed villain! I know you want to betray us,
but may we all go to the bottom if you find a chance of doing so." I
struggled to free myself from her grasp, but, being in a state of
dizziness and confusion, I was unable to effect this, and she soon
pulled me to the ground. At that moment, Angerstoff hurriedly entered
the cabin, exclaiming, "What noise is this? Oh, just as I expected!
Has that devil--that spy--been trying to get above boards? Why haven't
I the heart to despatch him at once? But there's no time now. The
people are waiting--Marietta, come and lend a hand." They now forced
me down upon the floor, and bound me to an iron ring that was fixed in
it. This being done, Angerstoff directed his female accomplice to
prevent me from speaking, and went upon deck again.

While in this state of bondage, I heard distinctly all that passed
without. Some one asked Angerstoff how Morvalden did.--"Well, quite
well," replied the former; "but he's below, and so sick that he can't
see any person." "Strange enough," said the first speaker, laughing.
"Is he ill and in good health at the same time? he had as well be
overboard as in that condition."--"Overboard!" repeated Angerstoff,
"what!--how do you mean?--all false!--but listen to me,--Are there any
news stirring ashore?"--"Why," said the stranger, "the chief talk
there just now is about a curious thing that happened this morning. A
dead man was found upon the beach, and they suspect, from the wounds
on his body, that he hasn't got fair play. They are making a great
noise about it, and Government means to send out a boat, with an
officer on board, who is to visit all the shipping round this, that he
may ascertain if any of them has lost a man lately. 'Tis a dark
business; but they'll get to the bottom of it, I warrant ye.--Why, you
look as pale as if you knew more about this matter than you choose to
tell."--"No, no, no," returned Angerstoff; "I never hear of a murder
but I think of a friend of mine who--but I won't detain you, for the
sea is getting up--we'll have a blowy night, I'm afraid." "So you
don't want any fish to-day?" cried the stranger, "then I'll be
off--Good morning, good morning. I suppose you'll have the Government
boat alongside by-and-by." I now heard the sound of oars, and
supposed, from the conversation having ceased, that the fishermen had
departed. Angerstoff came down to the cabin soon after, and released
me without speaking a word.

Marietta then approached him, and, taking hold of his arm, said, "Do
you believe what that man has told you?"--"Yes, by the eternal hell!"
cried he, vehemently; "I suspect I will find the truth of it soon
enough." "My God!" exclaimed she, "what is to become of us?--How
dreadful! We are chained here, and cannot escape."--"Escape what?"
interrupted Angerstoff;--"girl, you have lost your senses. Why should
we fear the officers of justice? Keep a guard over your tongue." "Oh,"
returned Marietta, "I talk without thinking, or understanding my own
words; but come upon deck, and let me speak with you there." They now
went up the gangway stairs together, and continued in deep
conversation for some time.

Angerstoff gradually became more agitated as the day advanced. He
watched upon deck almost without intermission, and seemed irresolute
what to do, sometimes sitting down composedly, and at other times
hurrying backwards and forwards, with clenched hands and bloodless
cheeks. The wind blew pretty fresh from the shore, and there was a
heavy swell; and I supposed, from the anxious looks with which he
contemplated the sky, that he hoped the threatening aspect of the
weather would prevent the government boat from putting out to sea. He
kept his glass constantly in his hand, and surveyed the ocean through
it in all directions.

At length he suddenly dashed the instrument away, and exclaimed, "God
help us! they are coming now!" Marietta, on hearing this, ran wildly
towards him, and put her hands in his, but he pushed her to one side,
and began to pace the deck, apparently in deep thought. After a
little time, he started, and cried, "I have it now!--It's the only
plan--I'll manage the business--yes, yes--I'll cut the cables, and
off we'll go--that's settled!" He then seized an axe, and first
divided the hawser at the bows, and afterwards the one attached to
the stern.

The vessel immediately began to drift away, and having no sails or
helm to steady her, rolled with such violence that I was dashed from
side to side several times. She often swung over so much that I
thought she would not regain the upright position, and Angerstoff all
the while unconsciously strengthened this belief, by exclaiming, "She
will capsize! shift the ballast, or we must go to the bottom!" In the
midst of this, I kept my station upon deck, intently watching the
boat, which was still several miles distant. I waited in fearful
expectation, thinking that every new wave against which we were
impelled would burst upon our vessel and overwhelm us, while our
pursuers were too far off to afford any assistance. The idea of
perishing when on the point of being saved was inexpressibly
agonising.

As the day advanced, the hopes I had entertained of the boat making up
with us gradually diminished. The wind blew violently, and we drifted
along at a rapid rate, and the weather grew so hazy that our pursuers
soon became quite indistinguishable. Marietta and Angerstoff appeared
to be stupified with terror. They stood motionless, holding firmly by
the bulwarks of the vessel; and though the waves frequently broke
over the deck, and rushed down the gangway, they did not offer to shut
the companion door, which would have remained open had I not closed
it. The tempest, gloom, and danger that thickened around us, neither
elicited from them any expressions of mutual regard, nor seemed to
produce the slightest sympathetic emotion in their bosoms. They gazed
sternly at each other and at me, and every time the vessel rolled,
clung with convulsive eagerness to whatever lay within their reach.

About sunset our attention was attracted by a dreadful roaring, which
evidently did not proceed from the waves around us; but the atmosphere
being very hazy, we were unable to ascertain the cause of it for a
long time. At length we distinguished a range of high cliffs, against
which the sea beat with terrible fury. Whenever the surge broke upon
them, large jets of foam started up to a great height, and flashed
angrily over their black and rugged surfaces, while the wind moaned
and whistled with fearful caprice among the projecting points of rock.
A dense mist covered the upper part of the cliffs, and prevented us
from seeing if there were any houses upon their summits, though this
point appeared of little importance, for we drifted towards the shore
so fast that immediate death seemed inevitable.

We soon felt our vessel bound twice against the sand, and in a little
time after a heavy sea carried her up the beach, where she remained
imbedded and hard aground. During the ebb of the waves there was not
more than two feet of water round her bows. I immediately perceived
this, and watching a favourable opportunity, swung myself down to the
beach by means of part of the cable that projected through the
hawse-hole. I began to run towards the cliffs the moment my feet
touched the ground, and Angerstoff attempted to follow me, that he
might prevent my escape; but, while in the act of descending from the
vessel, the sea flowed in with such violence that he was obliged to
spring on board again to save himself from being overwhelmed by its
waters.

I hurried on and began to climb up the rocks, which were very steep
and slippery; but I soon grew breathless from fatigue, and found it
necessary to stop. It was now almost dark, and when I looked around, I
neither saw anything distinctly, nor could form the least idea how far
I had still to ascend before I reached the top of the cliffs. I knew
not which way to turn my steps, and remained irresolute, till the
barking of a dog faintly struck my ear. I joyfully followed the sound,
and, after an hour of perilous exertion, discovered a light at some
distance, which I soon found to proceed from the window of a small
hut.

After I had knocked repeatedly, the door was opened by an old man,
with a lamp in his hand. He started back on seeing me, for my dress
was wet and disordered, my face and hands had been wounded while
scrambling among the rocks, and fatigue and terror had given me a wan
and agitated look. I entered the house, the inmates of which were a
woman and a boy, and having seated myself near the fire, related to my
host all that had occurred on board the floating beacon, and then
requested him to accompany me down to the beach, that we might search
for Angerstoff and Marietta. "No, no," cried he; "that is impossible.
Hear how the storm rages! Worlds would not induce me to have any
communication with murderers. It would be impious to attempt it on
such a night as this. The Almighty is surely punishing them now! Come
here and look out."

I followed him to the door, but the moment he opened it the wind
extinguished the lamp. Total darkness prevailed without, and a chaos
of rushing, bursting, and moaning sounds swelled upon the ear with
irregular loudness. The blast swept round the hut in violent eddyings,
and we felt the chilly spray of the sea driving upon our faces at
intervals. I shuddered, and the old man closed the door, and then
resumed his seat near the fire.

My entertainer made a bed for me upon the floor, but the noise of the
tempest, and the anxiety I felt about the fate of Angerstoff and
Marietta, kept me awake the greater part of the night. Soon after
dawn my host accompanied me down to the beach. We found the wreck of
the floating beacon, but were unable to discover any traces of the
guilty pair whom I had left on board of it.



 COLONNA THE PAINTER.
 A TALE OF ITALY AND THE ARTS.

[_MAGA._ SEPTEMBER 1829.]

[The following "Tale of Italy and the Arts" was submitted in MS. to
the late Mr Coleridge, who signified his approval by giving to the
writer, as an appropriate heading, two then unpublished stanzas from
his admirable translation of Goethe's Song of Mignon in "Wilhelm
Meister," beginning "Kennst du das Land?"]

     Know'st thou the Land where the pale Citrons blow,
     And Golden Fruits through dark green foliage glow?
     O soft the breeze that breathes from that blue sky!
     Still stand the Myrtles and the Laurels high.
       Know'st thou it well? O thither, Friend!
       Thither with thee, Beloved! would I wend.

     Know'st thou the House? On Columns rests its Height;
     Shines the Saloon; the Chambers glisten bright;
     And Marble Figures stand and look at me--
     Ah, thou poor Child! what have they done to thee!
       Know'st thou it well? O thither, Friend!
       Thither with thee, Protector! would I wend.

               S. T. COLERIDGE, _from_ GOETHE.


INTRODUCTION.

After the fall of Napoleon had given peace to Europe, and insipidity
to a soldier's life, I returned with my regiment to B----, and too
soon discovered that the lounging habits and quiet security of parade
and garrison service were miserable substitutes for the high and
stirring excitement of the bivouac, the skirmish, and the battle. I
found myself gradually sinking into a state of mental atrophy,
perilous alike to physical and moral health; and, after a fruitless
struggle of some months with these morbid longings for old habits and
associations, I determined to quit the army, and to realise the
favourite daydream of my early youth--a walk through Italy; hoping, by
two years of travel and incessant intercourse with men and books, to
gain a fresh hold upon life and happiness, and to repair, in some
measure, those deficiencies in my education, which the premature
adoption of a military life had necessarily involved.

Pausing a few days at Vienna, I formed a friendly intimacy with a
young and intelligent Venetian, of the ancient senatorial house of
F----i; and, on my return through Venice, after a rewarding and
delightful residence of two years in various parts of Italy, I met my
Vienna friend in one of the taverns of St Mark's. After a cordial
greeting, he told me that he was obliged to leave Venice on the
ensuing day, to take possession of an estate and villa in Lombardy,
bequeathed to him by a deceased relative. The gardens, he added,
covered the slope of a woody hill, which commanded a wide view over
the classic shores and environs of the Lake of Garda; and the mansion,
although time-worn and ruinous, contained some fine old paintings, and
a store of old books and manuscripts which had not seen the light for
ages. I had already experienced the keen delight of exploring the
mines of literary wealth contained in the old libraries of Italy, and
I did not hesitate to accept the cordial invitation to accompany him
which closed this alluring description of his Lombard villa.

We left Venice the following morning, and, proceeding by easy journeys
through Padua and Verona, we reached the villa on the evening of the
third day, and installed ourselves in the least decayed apartments of
the ruinous but still imposing and spacious mansion. On the ensuing
day I rose early, and hastened to examine some large fresco paintings
in the saloon, which had powerfully excited my curiosity during a
cursory view by lamp-light. They were admirably designed, and, from
the recurrence in all of the remarkable form and features of a young
man of great personal beauty, they were evidently a connected series;
but, with the exception of two, the colouring and details were nearly
obliterated by time and the humid air from the contiguous lake. Upon
scrolls beneath the two least injured paintings were the inscriptions
of _La Scoperta_ and _La Vendetta_; and the incidents delineated in
them were so powerfully drawn, and so full of dramatic expression,
that a novelist of moderate ingenuity would readily have constructed
from them an effective romance. The picture subscribed _La Scoperta_
represented the interior of an elegant saloon decorated in Italian
taste with pictures, busts, and candelabra. In the foreground was
seated a young artist in the plain garb rendered familiar to modern
eyes by the portraits of Raphael and other painters of the sixteenth
century; a short cloak and doublet of black cloth, and tight black
pantaloons of woven silk. The form and features of this youth were
eminently noble. His countenance beamed with dignity and power, and
his tall figure displayed a classic symmetry and grandeur which
forcibly reminded me of that magnificent statue, the reposing
Discobolus. Before him were an easel and canvass, on which was
distinguishable the roughly sketched likeness of a robust and
middle-aged man sitting opposite to him in the middle-ground of the
picture, and richly attired in a Spanish mantle of velvet. His sleeves
were slashed and embroidered in the fashion of the period, and his
belt and dagger glittered with adornments of gold and jewels; while
his golden spurs, and the steel corselet which covered his ample
chest, indicated a soldier of distinguished rank. In the background
stood a tall and handsome youth leaning with folded arms against the
window-niche. He was attired in the splendid costume of the Venetian
nobles, as represented in the portraits of Titian and Paul Veronese,
and his dark eyes were fixed upon the painter and his model with an
expression of intense and wondering solicitude. And truly the
impassioned looks and attitudes of the individuals before him were
well adapted to excite sympathy and astonishment. The young artist sat
erect, his tall figure somewhat thrown back, and his right hand,
holding the pencil, was resting on the elbow of his chair; while from
his glowing and dilated features, intense hatred and mortal defiance
blazed out upon the man whose portrait he had begun to paint. In the
delineation of the broad and knitted brow, the eagle-fierceness of the
full and brilliant eye, and the stern compression of the lips, the
unknown artist had been wonderfully successful, and not less so in the
display of very opposite emotions in the harsh and repulsive
lineaments of the personage sitting for his portrait. The wild
expression of every feature indicated that he had suddenly made some
strange and startling discovery. His face was of a livid and deadly
yellow; his small and deep-set eyes were fixed in the wide stare of
terror upon the artist; and his person was half raised from his seat,
while his hands convulsively clutched the elbows of the chair. In
short, his look and gesture were those of a man who, while unconscious
of danger, had suddenly roused a sleeping lion.

The companion picture, called _La Vendetta_, portrayed a widely
different scene and circumstance. The locality was a deep ravine, the
shelving sides of which were thickly covered with trees; and the
background of this woody hollow was blocked up to a considerable
height by the leafy branches of recently hewn timber. In the right
foreground were two horses, saddled and bridled, and at their feet
the bleeding corpses of two men, clothed in splendid Greek costume. On
the left of the painting appeared the young Venetian nobleman before
described: he was on horseback, and watching, with looks of deep
interest and excitement, the issue of a mortal combat between the two
prominent figures in _La Scoperta_. But here the younger man was no
longer in the plain and unassuming garb of an artist. He was attired
in a richly embroidered vest of scarlet and gold; white pantaloons of
woven silk displayed advantageously the full and perfect contour of
his limbs; while a short mantello of dark-blue velvet fell gracefully
from his shoulders, and a glossy feather in his Spanish hat waved over
his fine features, which told an eloquent tale of triumph and of
gratified revenge.

His antagonist, a man of large and muscular proportions, was
apparelled as in the other picture, excepting that he had no mantle,
and was cased in back and breast armour of scaled steel. He had been
just disarmed; his sword, of formidable length, had flown above his
head; while a naked dagger lay on the ground under his left hand,
which hung lifeless by his side, and from a gaping wound in the wrist
issued a stream of blood.

The sword-point of the young painter was buried in the throat of his
mailed opponent, whose livid hue and rayless eyeballs already
indicated that his wound was mortal.

I was intently gazing upon these mysterious pictures when my friend
entered the saloon, and in reply to my eager inquiries, informed me
that the series of paintings around us portrayed some romantic family
incidents which had occurred in the sixteenth century; and that these
frescos had been designed by an able amateur artist, who was indeed
the hero of this romance of Italian life, and after whom this
apartment was still called the Saloon of Colonna. The late proprietor
of the villa, he continued, had mentioned some years since the
discovery of a manuscript in the library, which gave a detailed
account of the incidents on these pictured walls, and which, if we
could find it, would well reward the trouble of perusal.

My curiosity received a fresh impulse from this intelligence. Telling
my friend that I would investigate his books while he visited his
tenants, I proceeded after breakfast to the library; and, after some
hours of fruitless search, I discovered, in a mass of worm-eaten
manuscripts, an untitled, but apparently connected narrative, which
forcibly arrested my attention by the romantic charm of the incidents,
the energy of the language, and the spirited criticisms on fine art
with which it was interwoven. The hero of the tale was an ardent and
imaginative Italian; at once a painter and an improvisatore; a man of
powerful and expansive intellect; and glowing with intense enthusiasm
for classic and ancient lore, and for the beautiful in art and
nature. The diction of this manuscript was, like the man it portrayed,
lofty and impassioned; and, when describing the rich landscapes of
Italy, or the wonders of human art which adorn that favoured region,
it occasionally rose into a sustained harmony, a rhythmical beauty and
balance, of which no modern language but that of Italy is susceptible.
Dipping at random through its pages, I saw with delight the name of
Colonna; and, ere long, discovered an animated description of the
singular scene portrayed in _La Scoperta_.

On my friend's return in the evening, I held up the manuscript in
triumph as he approached; and, after a repast in the Colonna saloon,
F----i, who, although a Venetian, could read his native tongue with
Roman purity of accent, opened at my request the time-stained volume,
and read as follows.


CHAPTER I.

On a bright May morning, in the year 1575, my gondola was gliding
under the guns of a Turkish frigate in the harbour of Venice, when she
fired a broadside in compliment to the Doge's marriage with the
Adriatic. The rolling of the stately vessel gave a sudden impulse to
the light vehicle in which I was then standing to obtain a better view
of the festivities around me; the unexpected and stunning report
deprived me for a moment of self-possession and balance, and I was
precipitated into the water. The encumbrance of a cloak rendered
swimming impracticable, and, after some vain attempts to remain on the
surface, I went down. When restored to consciousness, I found myself
in the gondola, supported by a young man, whose dripping garments told
me that I had been saved from untimely death by his courage and
promptitude. "Our bath has been a cold one," said he, addressing me
with a friendly and cheering smile. Too much exhausted to reply, I
could only grasp his hand with silent and expressive fervour. This
incident deprived the festival of all attraction; and, soon as I had
regained sufficient strength, the young stranger proposed that we
should return to the city for a change of dress. Still weak and
exhausted, I gladly assented to his proposal, and we left the
Bucentoro escorted by a thousand vessels, and saluted by the thunders
of innumerable cannon, proceeding to the open sea to celebrate the
high espousals.

My companion left me at the portal of my father's palace. He refused
to enter it, nor would he reveal his name and residence; but he
embraced me cordially, and promised an early visit. During the
remainder of the day, I could not for a moment banish the image of my
unknown benefactor from my memory. It was obvious, from his accent,
that he was no Venetian. His language was the purest Tuscan, and
conveyed in a voice rich, deep, and impassioned, beyond any in my
experience. He was attired in the dark and homely garb of a student
in painting; but he was in the full bloom of youth, and his tall
figure was cast in the finest mould of manlike beauty. His raven
locks clustered round a lofty and capacious brow; his full dark
eyes sparkled with intelligence and fire; while his fresh and
finely-compressed lips indicated habits of decision and refinement,
and gave a nameless charm to all he uttered. His deportment was noble
and commanding; his step bounding and elastic; and there was an
impressive and startling vehemence, a fervour and impetuosity in every
look and gesture, which made me regard him as one of a new and almost
supernatural order of beings. My heart swelled with an aching and
uncontrollable impatience to see him again, which quickened every
pulse to feverish rapidity; my senses, however, were still confused
and giddy with long immersion in the water, and I endeavoured to
recruit my exhausted powers by repose. The evening found me more
tranquil, and I wandered forth to view the regatta on the grand canal.
These boat-races greatly contribute to form the skill and energy which
distinguish the Venetian mariners. Strength, dexterity, and ardour,
are indispensable to success in contending for the prizes; and the
eager competition of the candidates imparts an intense interest to
these festivities, which require only a Pindar to elevate them into
classical importance. The entire surface of the spacious canal was
foaming with the dash of oars, and resounding with the exuberant
gaiety of the Venetians; while the tapestried balconies of the
surrounding palaces were crowded with all the beauty and chivalry of
Venice; and the glittering windows reflected the rays of the setting
sun upon happy faces innumerable.

Proceeding to the place of St Mark, I paced in a contemplative mood
over its surface until the day closed, and the night-breeze diffused a
delicious coolness. I looked into several of the taverns under the
arcades to observe the company assembled, and fancied that I discerned
in one of them the generous youth who had rescued me from such
imminent danger. Availing myself of Venetian privilege, I entered
without unmasking, and found my conjecture verified. This tavern was
the habitual resort of the artists resident in Venice, and the
assembled individuals appeared to be engaged in vehement controversy.

Paul Veronese was addressing them as I entered. "Who," said he, "is
most competent to pass judgment upon a work of art? Certainly the man
who has accurately observed the appearances of nature, and who can
determine the limits of art. I despise the dotards who contend that a
man of taste and intellect must have been a dauber of canvass, before
he can decide upon the merits of a picture. The ludicrous certificate
of approval which the German horse-dealers chalked upon the bronze
horses of St Mark's, outweighed, in my estimation, a volume of
professional cant. Trained to a sound knowledge of their trade in the
studs of Germany, they felt and understood all the excellence of these
magnificent works of art. They recognised at once the noble character
of the animal, and even distinguished the peculiar attributes of each
individual horse. The superlative excellence of their heads, and the
fiery impatience of control which they exhibit, cannot be understood
or conveyed by mere perseverance in drawing. No painter, who resides
in the interior, can understand the merits of a sea-piece; nor can the
devout Fra Bartolomeo criticise a Venus of our venerable Titian so
well as any despot of the East who owns a seraglio."

"True," replied another artist, whose full round tones and rich
emphasis bespoke him a Roman; "but taste is not intuitive; nor can it
be attained by merely studying the appearances of nature and the
theories of art. We must also explore the rich treasures of painting
which adorn and dignify our beautiful Italy. It is not enough,
however, to study a single specimen of each great master; we must
patiently and repeatedly examine his progressive improvements and his
various styles. By perseverance in this process, a young artist will
beneficially exercise his eye and his judgment, and will readily
distinguish the best pictures in a collection. Any degree of
discipline short of this will be inadequate to raise him above the
level of the mob, which followed in procession the Madonna of Cimabue,
and lauded it as the _ne plus ultra_ of art because they had never
seen anything better."

The young stranger now addressed them with much animation: "I presume
not to decide," said he, "how far the last speaker is correct in his
opinions. The incessant noise on the piazza precludes any deliberate
consideration of the subject; but so far as I could collect the
subject of Maestro Paul's opinion, I understood him to insist upon
the necessity of knowing the limits of art. I trust he will pardon
so young an artist for uttering sentiments at variance with his own;
and that I shall not lose ground in his esteem if I contend that
every object in art is material, and that ideal forms and models of
excellence are absurdities. An Aspasia and a Phryne, youthful and
lovely, maybe elevated into a Pallas and a Venus by an able and
imaginative painter, whose excited fancy will readily improve upon
his models, and invest each feature, form, and attitude, with
classical and appropriate expression. But an ideal and perfectly
beautiful woman, destitute of every attribute arising from climate and
national peculiarities, is a phantom of the brain. And yet how many
common-place artists, who have consumed the most valuable portion of
their lives in drawing from plaster-casts, call these insufferably
vacant faces and forms genuine art, and affect to look down upon the
master-spirits who have immortalised themselves by matchless portraits
of the great men and beautiful women of their own times!"

The parties soon after separated, and Paul Veronese left the tavern,
accompanied by the stranger. I followed, and observed them walking
round the piazza, and pausing occasionally to listen to the melodious
barcarolos, and sportive sallies of the gay Venetians. At the entrance
of the Merceria the youth saluted and left his companion, and I
promptly availed myself of the opportunity to unmask and approach him.
He immediately recognised me, and expressed himself gratified to
observe that my accident had been unattended with evil consequence.
I repeated warmly my acknowledgments, and assured him of my ardent
wish to prove my gratitude by rendering him any service in my power.
He appeared, however, rather disconcerted than pleased by these
professions, and exclaimed with some vehemence, "What have I done for
you that I would not readily have attempted for the lowest of human
beings? How many a wretch throws himself from a precipice into the
deep to bring up a paltry coin! I have been taught to think that
exaggerated praise for the performance of a mere act of duty has a
tendency to promote vanity and cowardice; and I predict the decay
of true heroism and public spirit from the growing practice of
commemorating trivial events and trivial men by statues, columns,
and inscriptions."

"You may disclaim all merit," I replied; "but I cannot forget that, to
save the life of a stranger, you bounded from the lofty bulwark of a
frigate. I maintain that there is something god-like in the man who
hazards his life with such generous promptitude; and I think you
cannot but admit that gratitude is the strongest and most agreeable
tie which binds society together. Surely, then, if the fervent and
enthusiastic expression of it be a failing, it is an amiable one."

He took my hand and gave me a look of cordial sympathy, but said
nothing in reply. I warmly urged him to pass the evening with me; he
assented, and we proceeded in a gondola up the grand canal to my
abode. During supper the conversation was gay and spirited, but
confined to generalities; and it was not until we were released from
the presence of menials that our ideas flowed with unrestrained
freedom and confidence. The government and state-policy of Venice were
passed in review; and my guest lauded the wisdom of the senate in
having embraced the first opportunity of concluding with honour the
arduous struggle they had maintained against the formidable power of
Turkey. He rejoiced that the Doge could again espouse the Adriatic
sea-nymph with all the accustomed display of pomp and power, and
remarked how essential to the safety and independence of Venice was
the uninterrupted annual celebration of a festival which fostered the
pride and courage of the people.

"Our ancient bride," I replied, "has of late exhibited some ominous
symptoms of caprice and inconstancy. The ceremony should have taken
place two days since, but the wild goddess was restive and untameable,
and insulted the old Doge, her destined spouse, by rolling the bodies
of a dozen drowned wretches up the grand canal to the stairs of his
palace. Pope Alexander III., who exercised some influence over the
capricious fair one, is unfortunately no more; and Columbus, the hero
of whom Genoa proved herself so unworthy, has explored and subdued for
the princes of Castile the genuine Amphitrite, in comparison with whom
the bride of Venice is a mere nymph."

"The destinies of Venice," he observed, with a touch of sarcasm in his
manner, "must be accomplished. She has reached, and probably passed,
the climax of her political greatness. Other nations, in the vigour of
youth, and possessing greater local advantages, have commenced their
maritime career, and this proud republic must submit to decline and
fall, as mightier states have done before her. Already I perceive
symptoms of unsoundness in her political institutions, of declining
energy and shallow policy in the conduct of her wars and negotiations.
If you could not preserve by resolute defence the Isle of Cyprus,
which has owned your sway for a century, you might have saved it by
the easy and obvious expedient of allowing the Sultan to receive at a
cheaper rate his annual supply of its delicious wines, and by refusing
to shelter in the harbour of Famaugusta the Christian corsairs who
capture the beauties destined for the seraglio. The sweet island of
Love is now lost for ever to the state of Venice, and its incomparable
wines become every year more rare and costly throughout Italy."

The keen edge of his remarks touched me sensibly, and wounded all my
pride of birth and country. This revulsion of feeling did not escape
the quick perceptions of my guest: the recollection that he was
speaking thus unguardedly to the son of a Venetian senator seemed to
flash upon him, and he closed the discussion by remarking, with a
smile, that we were in Venice, that Venetian walls possessed the
faculty of hearing, and that there would be discretion in a change of
subject. I briefly assented to the necessity of being guarded in the
vicinity of Venetian domestics, who were occasionally agents of the
police; and, after a pause of recollection, he resumed.

"It is time," said he, "that I should speak of myself and of my object
in Venice. I am a native of Florence, and a painter. Wearied and
disgusted with the skeletons of Florentine art, I came here to study
the flesh and blood of the Venetian school. The works of Titian
realise everything which is valuable and essential in the art of
painting, and the student who does not pursue the track of this great
master will never attain high rank as a painter. In Venice, the public
voice has supreme jurisdiction in matters of taste and fine art,
and the artists collectively exercise little influence on public
opinion. Titian fascinates all amateurs, and every artist admits his
incomparable excellence in the great essential of painting, which is
truth of colouring."

"I am still too much a novice in the theories of your beautiful art,"
I replied, "to contend this point with you; but you will pardon me if
I suggest the probability that you are disgusted with the severity of
the Tuscan school. Your abhorrence of the yoke you have escaped from
impels you to the other extreme, and your admiration of Venetian art
is heightened by contrasting the flesh and blood of Titian with the
bones and sinews of Michael Angelo. Nevertheless, I will hazard a
prediction, that instead of abandoning for ever the sound principles
of the Florentine school, you will eventually resume and abide by
them. Our graceful Titian is the prince of colourists, but it must be
admitted that his drawing seldom rises above mediocrity."

"You must excuse me," he retorted with a smile, "if I doubt whether
your position can be maintained. I infer from the tendency of your
remarks that you consider drawing of primary importance. I admit that
drawing is essential to give truth and symmetry of proportion, and is
therefore a necessary evil; but a finished picture represents the
surfaces of things: surfaces are distinguishable only by colouring,
and therefore I maintain that colouring is the real object--the alpha
and omega--of art. To class drawing above painting, is to prefer the
scaffold to the building--the rude and early stages to the full and
rich maturity of art. What are the sharp and vigorous lines of Michael
Angelo but dreams and shadows, compared with the pure and exquisite
vitality of a head by Titian? Any beardless tyro may, by plodding
industry, produce a drawing as accurate, if not as free, as the
off-hand sketches of Raffaelle; but to delineate real life with its
exquisitely blended tints and demi-tints; its tender outlines, and
evanescent shades of character and expression,--to accomplish all this
by lines and angles is impossible. It requires the magic aid of
colouring, controlled by that deep and rare perception of the
beautiful, that wondrous harmony of intellect and feeling, which is
the immediate gift of heaven, and the proudest, highest attribute of
man."

"I am by no means insensible to the charms of the Venetian school," I
rejoined; "and I admit, in many respects, the force of your reasoning.
It is, however, a question with me, whether the enthusiastic disciples
of Titian are not in danger of pursuing the material and perishable,
rather than the intellectual and permanent in painting. The glorious
colouring of this great master will fade under the action of time and
humidity, and betray his deficiencies in drawing; whereas the moral
grandeur of Michael Angelo's frescos, which derive no aid from colour,
will endure as long as the walls which they adorn. I would gladly hear
you contest this point with the Roman artist who addressed Maestro
Paul this evening at the tavern. I feel too much my own deficiency in
technical phrase and knowledge to vindicate my opinions successfully."

"That Roman," said he, "is an intellectual and accomplished man, but
he wants a painter's eye, and should rather have devoted his time and
talents to literature. He has, however, pursued the fine arts
professionally, and he is eloquent and resolute in the defence of his
opinions: but the nature which he has studied is destitute of life and
colouring; it exists only in marble and plaster, and he would rather
copy the single and motionless attitude of an antique statue, than
study the fine forms and eloquent features with which Italy abounds.
He is, in short, a sedentary idler, who will not take the trouble to
read the great book of nature, and would rather fire at a wooden eagle
on a pole, than pursue the kingly bird amidst the wild scenery of the
Apennines. He assumed the unwarrantable liberty of severely censuring
Paul Veronese's grand picture of the 'Nuptials of Cana,' in the
presence of that noble artist. He objected to the insignificant
appearance of Jesus and his disciples, and to their position at the
table in the middle-ground of the picture. The painter introduced them
into this great work because their presence was indispensable; but he
avoided giving them any prominent position, conceiving it impossible
for any human artist to convey an adequate personification of our
glorious Redeemer. Moreover, they were but accessary to his real
object, which was to represent the busy crowd of guests, the banquet,
and the architecture. In these respects the artist has been eminently
successful. The painting abounds with harmony, and the incidents are
told with all the life and spirit of a Spanish novel. The most
prominent figures are musicians at a table in the foreground,
performing a concert upon elegant instruments. Paul Veronese is
leading with grace and spirit on the violin; Titian, the great ruler
of harmony, is performing on the violoncello; Bassano and Tintorett,
upon other instruments. They are painted with wonderful truth of
character and expression; they are magnificently attired; and their
personal appearance is eminently noble and dignified. Around the
bride's table are assembled the most distinguished personages of the
present age; all admirable portraits, and abounding with dramatic
expression. The atmosphere in the background is clear and transparent,
and exhibits in sharp and brilliant relief the Palladian magnificence
of the architecture; while the busy foreground is enriched with a
gorgeous display of vases and other materials of the banquet, adorned
with chasings of splendid and classical design. The light throughout
the foreground and middle distance is wonderfully natural, and clearly
develops the numerous groups and figures comprehended in this colossal
work. What man of sense and feeling can behold this wondrous
achievement of human art, and not long to feast his eyes upon it for
ever?

"This fastidious Roman expressed also his annoyance at the inaccuracy
of the costume, in Paul's fine picture of the 'Family of Darius
presented to Alexander,' and lamented that so admirable a work should
have been blemished by this gross anachronism. You are, doubtless,
well acquainted with a painting which belongs to a branch of your
family. It may be truly called the triumph of colouring; and certainly
more harmony, splendour, and loveliness, never met together in one
picture. To these merits must be added the truth of character which
prevails in all the heads, most of which are portraits. Forget for a
moment that the incident is borrowed from ancient story; imagine it
the victory of a hero of the sixteenth century, and the painting
becomes, in all respects, a masterpiece. The architecture, in the
background, gives a tone to the whole; but it required the delicate
outlines and the exquisite perception of harmonious colouring which
distinguish Paul Veronese, to give relief and contrast to the figures
and draperies on so light a ground. The pyramidal group, formed by
anold man and four female figures, is superlatively lovely; the
countenances wonderfully expressive, and sparkling with animation. The
head of Alexander is beautiful, but deficient in masculine firmness,
and more adapted to charm the softer sex than to awe the world; while
the nobler features of Parmenia exhibit a strength of character finely
contrasted with the more feminine graces of the royal conqueror, and
his yellow drapery is admirably folded and coloured. How exquisitely
finished, too, is the long and beautifully braided flaxen hair of
the Persian Princesses! And what a host of figures in this noble
picture, most of them the size of life, as in the 'Nuptials of Cana!'
Certainly, this painting is nearly unrivalled in close fidelity to
nature; and in the truth and splendour of its colouring, it yields
only to that triumphant specimen of Venetian art in the Scuola della
Carità, Titian's 'Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple,' These
two pictures will long maintain their glorious supremacy, and will
probably never be surpassed. This painter's violation of costume is,
in fact, only a defect in the eyes of antiquarians. The great mass of
society overlook it, and care only for what gratifies the eye and the
imagination. Nevertheless I would recommend to artists generally the
avoidance of subjects borrowed from ancient history. It is far easier
to excel in the folds and colourings of modern drapery, than to
delineate the light garb and native elegance of Grecian forms. Nor
could any painters, but those who lived in the times of Pericles and
Aspasia, do justice to those most classical and graceful of all
subjects. Oh! how I burn with impatient ardour to behold the storied
isles and continent of Greece! Their ancient splendour is no more, but
their pure and temperate clime still develops the noblest specimens of
the human race."

"Had our acquaintance commenced some years sooner," said I,
interrupting him, "I could have gratified your wish. I accompanied my
father, who went to Greece on a mission from the republic, and I
remained three years on the classic soil of Homer and Sophocles. I was
too young to make the most of my opportunities, but I succeeded in my
attempts to master the modern language, and at the same time greatly
improved my knowledge of ancient Greek."

At these words my companion started impetuously from his chair, and
strained me in a vehement embrace.

"Oh! rare and fortunate incident!" he exclaimed; "you are the
companion I have so long and vainly sought. A man so distinguished by
nobility of mind and person, and yet so young, it has never been my
good fortune to meet with. You will, you must be, the chosen friend of
my soul!"

I could not but suspect that some mystery was involved in this abrupt
and somewhat premature tender of his friendship; but I returned his
embrace with grateful ardour. It was impossible to resist the
contagion of his impassioned and headlong feelings. I trembled with
emotion, and vainly endeavoured to express in connected language how
greatly I valued his good opinion. It was midnight when he left me,
promising a long and early visit on the succeeding day.

I retired to bed in a state of excitement which banished sleep. To
subdue the vivid impression made upon me by the events of the day and
evening was impossible. I had, perhaps too unwarily, given a pledge of
fervent and enduring friendship to a man whose name and connections
were a mystery, and of whose character and previous life my ignorance
was absolute: but the singular charm of his language and deportment
was even enhanced by the obscurity which enveloped him, and I yielded
unresistingly to the spell in which he had bound me.

I had never yet beheld the man whose tastes and pursuits assimilated
so entirely with my own. He was, however, incomparably my superior in
natural and acquired advantages. He possessed more variety, more
fulness and accuracy of knowledge, and he displayed a vigour and
opulence of language which often rose with the occasion into the lofty
and impassioned eloquence of poetry. His soul was more expansive and
liberal than mine, but at the same time more uncontrolled, rash, and
intemperate. He had doubtless those defects, which, in Italy, often
accompany an ardent and impetuous character; and, under strong
provocation, he would not hesitate probably to inflict an unsparing
and formidable revenge: but surely a generous heart and a commanding
intellect will redeem many failings, and even palliate those desperate
alternatives to which men of noble nature and of pure intention are
sometimes impelled by the defects of our social institutions.


CHAPTER II.

At an early hour on the following morning I heard the emphatic tread
of the young painter in the corridor. In a moment he entered my
apartment, and his appearance renewed in some degree my emotion. "Our
feelings had too much of lyric riot in them last night," said he,
smiling; "such excitement is exhausting, and cannot be long sustained
without approximation to fever. I shall never learn moderation in my
attachments, but I am resolved to lower the expression of them to a
more temperate standard; and with this object I will, if agreeable to
you, endeavour to create occupation for our intellects as well as our
feelings."

He then inquired if I had practised drawing, and to what extent. I
told him that I had been in the habit of sketching the fine lake and
mountain scenery of Lombardy; but that my ambition was to draw the
human figure from living models, which I regarded as the only avenue
by which any degree of excellence could be attained.

"If you will accept of my assistance," he replied, "we can immediately
commence a course of elementary studies of the human figure; after
which," added he sportively, "you may employ me as a model. In return
for my instructions in painting, you must promote my ardent wish to
attain a competent knowledge of modern Greek. I have a sacred duty to
perform in one of the Greek islands, and shall proceed there in the
ensuing autumn."

"We cannot effectually realise your suggestion," I rejoined, "unless
we abandon for a while the riot and revelry of Venice. My father is at
present in Dalmatia, and I am pledged to pass the summer in the
country with my excellent and respected mother, who is preparing for
departure, and will probably quit Venice at the close of the present
week. The villa we inhabit during the summer heats is in the most
charming district of Lombardy, and near the spot where the rapid
Mincio receives the pure waters of the lake of Garda. You must
accompany me to this earthly paradise, where we can enjoy the cool
breezes from the lake and mountains, and explore the bright scenery of
its classic shores and the peninsula of Sirmio, sung in glowing verse
by Catullus. There we can repose under the dark umbrage of orange and
myrtle groves, drink deep of the beauties of Pindar, and bind our
temples with wreaths of laurel. But I have not yet introduced you to
my mother. She is aware that a stranger saved me from a watery death
in the harbour, and will welcome gratefully the preserver of her only
son. She has a fine taste for pictures, and is an enthusiastic admirer
of beautiful Madonnas. If you will paint one for her private chapel,
and subdue in some measure the impetuous ardour of your deportment in
her presence, she will receive and cherish you as a son."

While thus addressing him, I perceived a sudden contraction of his
fine features, indicative of strong internal emotion, the mystery of
which was not developed for a considerable period after this
conversation. At length he approached me, and, with a look of intense
interest, inquired how near my father's villa was to Peschiera on the
lake of Garda. "Within a league of it," I replied. Again he paced the
apartment in silent abstraction, when suddenly his eagle-eye was
lighted up with more than its wonted fire, and he exclaimed with
animation, "Agreed! I will accompany you to Lombardy, and should I
prove acceptable to your mother as a guest, I will paint a Madonna for
her chapel. On my discretion, and my respect for her habits and
feelings, you may rely."

On the succeeding day I introduced him to my mother. The elegant
freedom of his address, and the spirit and originality of his
conversation, made an immediate and favourable impression upon
my beloved parent; and she afterwards acknowledged to me that,
independently of his noble exterior, and his powerful claim upon her
gratitude, she had never been so strongly prepossessed. It was on this
occasion that he named himself Colonna. Since his refusal to reveal
his name on the first day of our acquaintance, I had never repeated
the inquiry. Subsequently, however, I discovered that this appellation
had been assumed under circumstances of a disastrous and compulsory
nature. After his interview with my mother, I accompanied him to his
abode, where I was gratified with a view of the paintings and sketches
which he had executed in Venice. His figures were fresh and masterly;
his colouring had all the brilliant glow of the Venetian painters;
while his bold and beautiful designs betrayed, as I had anticipated,
the accurate drawing of the Tuscan school. His studies were from the
antique, and from Italian life: naked figures, or with little drapery;
female heads abounding with expression and loveliness; arms and legs,
backs and busts; naked boys, bathing, running, and wrestling. He
intimated that he had never yet painted for emolument, nor for the
gratification of others; and added, carelessly, "what farther concerns
me shall be revealed to you in our hours of leisure by the lake of
Garda."

On the appointed morning we quitted Venice. Our bark issued from the
grand canal at an early hour, glided silently over the smooth surface
of the laguna, and approached the entrance of the Brenta. The sun was
rising in veiled and purple majesty through the soft mists of a
summer morning, and the towers and churches of Venice appeared
floating in thin vapour. Colonna ascended the deck, and, folding his
arms, gazed with evident emotion on the "City of Palaces," until it
disappeared behind a bank of fog. His chest heaved with some powerful
sympathy, and, for a moment, tears suffused his eyes and veiled their
brightness. His manner implied, I thought, some painful recollections,
or a presentiment that he should never behold Venice again. To me our
departure was a source of relief and enjoyment. In the winter season
Venice is a cheerful and desirable abode, because the population is
dense, and the local peculiarities contribute greatly to promote
public and private festivity: but, during the heats of summer and the
exhalations of autumn, no place is more offensive and pestilential.

At Padua we separated from my mother, who proceeded with her domestics
by the direct road to Peschiera, while Colonna and I made a deviation
to Vicenza, whither we journeyed on foot; a mode of travelling the
most favourable to colloquial enjoyment, and to an accurate and
comprehensive view of the country. We found the numerous edifices of
Palladio in Vicenza and its vicinity in many respects unworthy of that
noble architect; many of them are indeed remodelled fronts of old
houses, in which the pure taste of the artist was warped by the want
of capability in the original elevations. The palaces built after
his designs are deficient in extent and variety, and may be termed
experimental models, rather than effective illustrations, of his
chaste and classical conceptions. In his triumphal arch at the
entrance of the Campo Marzo we found much to admire, and not less
in his beautiful bridge which spans the Bacchiglione. How bold, and
light, and elegant the arch, like the daring leap of a youthful
amazon! And how cheerful the open balustrade, through which the clear
and sparkling waters are seen rolling their rapid course to the
adjacent city!

It is in Venice that the fine genius of Palladio develops all its
supremacy. The Cornaro palace on the grand canal, and the unfinished
convent of La Carità, are splendid efforts of pure taste in design and
decoration; and as perfect in execution and finish as if cast in
a mould. His churches too, especially that glorious edifice, Al
Redentore--how simple in design, and yet how beautifully effective
and harmonious in proportion and outline!

We proceeded on the following morning to Verona, which excited a
stronger interest than Vicenza by its classical associations and
striking position on the river Adige, a lively daughter of the Alps.
Rushing from her mountain bed, she urges her rapid and devious course
through the city, dividing it into two portions, connected by the
bridge of Scaliger. This fine edifice rises on bold arches, wider, and
more heroic, and more scientific, than that of the Rialto, the wonder
of Venice, which is indeed no bridge, but a huge and inconvenient
staircase.

Pursuing as we journeyed onward the subject of architecture, I
commented on the insignificant appearance of the temples of Pantheism,
when compared with the majestic cathedrals for which the Christian
world is indebted to the barbarians of the middle ages.

"The Greeks and Romans," observed Colonna, "erected a temple to
each individual of their numerous deities. These buildings were
consequently of limited extent, and their columns of corresponding
proportions. The citizens sacrificed singly to the gods, or attended
public festivals, comprehending large masses of the people; in which
event the officiating priest or priestess entered the temple, and the
assembled votaries were grouped without. In our churches, on the
contrary, the population of a city is often congregated for hours; and
how magnificently adapted for this object is the vast and solemn
interior of a Gothic cathedral, in which the voice of the priest
reverberates like thunder, and the chorus of the people rises like a
mountain-gust, praising the great Father of all, and rousing the
affrighted conscience of the infidel; while the mighty organ, the
tyrant of music, rages like a hurricane, and rolls his deep floods
of sound in sublime accompaniment! How grand were the conceptions of
the rational barbarians, to whom Europe is indebted for these vast
and noble structures! And how immeasurably they surpass, for all
meditative and devotional objects, the modern application of Greek and
Roman temples, on an enlarged scale, to the purposes of Christian
worship! Had any necessity existed to borrow designs from these
sources, we should rather have modelled our churches from their
theatres, the plan of which is admirably fitted for oratorical
purposes, and for the accommodation of numbers."

We accomplished the last portion of our journey during a night of
superlative beauty. A brilliant and nearly full moon glided with us
through long avenues of lofty elms, linked together by the clustering
tendrils of vines, festooned from tree to tree, and at this season
prodigal of foliage. The coruscations of distant lightning shot
through the clear darkness of Italian night; the moon and evening
star, and Sirius and Orion, soared above us in pure ether, and seemed
to approach our sphere like guardian spirits. The cool breezes which
usher in the dawn now began to whisper through the foliage; a light
vapour arose in the east; and the soft radiance of the first sunbeams
faintly illumined the horizon as we arrived at our destination. Here
the romantic lake of Garda lay expanded before us; its broad surface
ruffled by the mountain breeze, and gleaming like silver in the
moonlight. The waves were heaving in broken and foaming masses, and
reverberated along the rocky shores, finely illustrating the accuracy
of Virgil's descriptive line:

     "Fluctibus et fremitu assurgens marino."

I retired immediately to rest, not having slept for the preceding
twenty-four hours; while Colonna preferred a morning walk, and
wandered out to view the environs. In the course of the day we
completed our domestic arrangements. My friend occupied a saloon on
the north side of the villa, which commanded an extensive prospect, a
light favourable for painting, and private egress into the open
country; an accommodation which he requested, that his rambling and
irregular habits might occasion no inconvenience to the other inmates
of the mansion.

After a few days had been devoted to excursions upon and around the
lake, and over the picturesque hills as far as Brescia, we commenced a
more useful and methodical distribution of our time. Colonna began and
completed the sketch of a Madonna for my mother, that he might work
upon it at his leisure; and we read together the Greek poets and
historians: nor did I forget to avail myself of my friend's proffered
assistance to improve my knowledge of drawing and design. Under his
masterly guidance I persevered in drawing geometrical figures until I
could trace them with quickness, freedom, and accuracy. He then
annoyed me for a brief interval with skeletons and anatomical
subjects, directing my attention to the articulation of the joints and
the insertion of the muscles; after which I proceeded to copy his fine
studies of human limbs, both round and muscular, and in the various
attitudes of action and repose. Finally, I began to sketch from living
models, and was pursuing my object with ardour and success, when a
tragical event severed me for a considerable period from my beloved
tutor and friend.

It had been arranged between us that each should, in his habits, be
perfectly uncontrolled, and independent of the other. Our excursions
were alternately separate, and in company, and Colonna was often
absent from the villa for one or more days and nights, without
exciting observation or surprise.

He delighted in ranging over the green pastures of Lombardy, hedged in
by lofty trees, festooned with vines, and irrigated by transparent
streams innumerable. The young Tuscan had never before seen nature in
a garb so lovely and inviting; he wandered through the picturesque
villages which margin or overhang the lake of Garda, sojourned with
the peasantry, and sketched their figures and costume. From these
rambles he would often return at sunset over the lake in a small bark,
crowned like a youthful Bacchus with vine leaves and ivy, and singing
wild Dithirambics to his guitar, while the surrounding villagers, by
whom he was idolised, followed him in their boats with shouts of joy
and festivity.

During the cool nights which, in this hilly region, temper the sickly
heat of an Italian summer, we often wandered along the breezy shores
of our classic Benacus, or sought refreshment in its dark blue waters.
Colonna was an adept in the delightful exercise of swimming, and his
instructions soon imparted to me requisite skill and self-possession.
We plunged from the marble terraces of the villa into the delicious
element, cleaving its moonlit waves, and sporting over its wide
surface like water-gods.

The Madonna for my mother was finished in August. The artist had
selected the incident of the flight into Egypt, and the mother of
Jesus was reposing in deep shade, under the giant arms and dense
foliage of a maple tree. In the middle distance, a few ilex and
cypress trees were effectively and naturally distributed. The
background was mountain scenery; and from a lofty cliff a river was
precipitated, in a bold and picturesque fall. The waters rebounded
from the gulf below in silver spray, and flowed through a verdant
level into a tranquil and beautiful lake. The most romantic features
of the wilderness around the lake of Garda were faithfully and
beautifully introduced; and the brilliant rays of a sun approaching
the horizon, threw a flood of gold over rock, and wood, and water. The
Madonna was a young and lovely woman, giving nourishment to her
first-born son, and bending over her pleasing task with delighted
attention. The head of the Virgin was after a sketch from life, but
developed and elevated in character, and invested with a breathing
tenderness, a hallowed innocence and purity of expression, which at
once thrilled and saddened the beholder. The boy was a model of
infantine beauty; he supported himself with one little hand on his
mother's breast, which was partially veiled with red drapery, and he
had raised his cherub head and glossy curls from the sweet fount of
life, to look with bright and earnest gaze upon the glowing landscape.
The luxuriant brown hair of the Madonna was confined in a net, from
which a few locks had strayed over her brow and cheek; and her blue
mantle flowed with modest grace over her fine person, revealing,
through its light and well-distributed folds, the graceful and easy
position of the limbs. The eyes of both were radiantly bright, and in
the large, well-opened orbs of the infant Saviour, the painter had
introduced a something never seen in life--a premature and pathetic
seriousness, awfully indicative of his high and hallowed destiny.
Above the stately plane-tree were soaring three angels of more than
Grecian beauty; and their features, in which a sacred innocence of
look was blended with feminine grace and softness, reminded me
powerfully of that exquisite design in Raffaelle's pictorial
Bible--the "three angels before Abraham's threshold."

In the middle-distance the ass was grazing, and Joseph, whose features
the artist had borrowed from the well-chiselled head of an old
peasant, stood leaning on his staff, like a faithful servant who has
succeeded in rescuing from imminent peril the treasure intrusted to
him. The picture was upright and on a large scale; the Madonna and
Bambino were painted the size of life, and the rich colouring of the
heads and draperies was finely relieved by the local tints and highly
finished bark and leafage of the plane-tree, behind which the immense
landscape receded in wide and brilliant perspective.

My mother was inexpressibly delighted with this valuable token of his
regard, and her affection for the highly-gifted painter became truly
maternal.

About this period I remarked a mysterious change in the looks and
habits of Colonna. His prompt and flowing language gave place to a
moody and oppressive silence; his deportment was occasionally more
abrupt and impassioned; and his eloquent features betrayed some hidden
source of grief and perplexity. The increased duration and frequency
of his rambles from the villa excited at length my attention and
remonstrance. In justification, he pleaded, as before, that he was a
man of itinerant habits, and too mercurial in temperament to remain
long in any place. This explanation had now, however, ceased to
be satisfactory. Our intercourse was obviously less cordial and
incessant. He had of late rarely sought my society in his excursions,
and this circumstance, in connection with his altered look and manner,
made me suspect some change in his feelings towards me. I determined
to solve a mystery so painful and embarrassing, and succeeded ere
long in obtaining his confession, during a still and beautiful night,
a large portion of which we passed together in a myrtle arbour, which
crowned a cool eminence in the villa gardens. We had passed some hours
in this delicious solitude, enjoying the pure night-breeze, and
admiring the soft and silver tints diffused by an Italian moon over
the lake and landscape. Our spirits were elevated by wine, and song,
and conversation; and our hearts communed together, and expanded into
more than usual freedom and confidence. I described to him the fair
objects of several fleeting attachments, and acknowledged that
my experience of female excellence had never yet realised the
expectations I had formed. "I anticipated from you, however," I
continued, "some illustrations of that wayward thing, the human heart.
A youth so ardent in feeling, and so adorned by nature and education,
must necessarily have had no limited experience of the tender passion;
and surely some of the beautiful heads in your portfolio have been
sketched from life, and _con amore_."

"I do not willingly," he replied, "enter upon acknowledgments of this
nature. They tend to excite feelings of envy, and sometimes expose the
warmest friendship to a severe test. We have now, however, enjoyed
abundant opportunity to study the lights, and shades, and inmost
recesses of our respective characters, and as you have made me your
father-confessor, I shall no longer hesitate to repose in you a
responsive and unbounded confidence. Know, then, that I love, with all
the enthusiasm of a first passion, the most beautiful woman of her
time--that she is the only daughter of the proudest senator in
Venice--that she is no stranger to your family, and now resides within
a league of us. Her name is Laura Foscari; and she is, alas! the
destined and unwilling bride of the opulent Ercole Barozzo, governor
of Candia."

At this unexpected intelligence, I almost started on my feet with
astonishment. My consternation was too great for utterance, and I
listened with breathless and eager attention.

"We became acquainted," he continued, "by a singular accident. I had
long admired her as the most lovely woman in Venice. Her head has all
the beauty of a fine antique, lighted up by dark eyes of radiant
lustre, and heightened by a smile of magic power and sweetness. I have
more than once sketched her unrivalled features when she was kneeling
at church, and her fine eyes were upraised in devotional rapture. In
public places, and at mass, I had frequently seen her, and our eyes
had so often met, that she could not but learn from mine how fervently
I admired her. My endeavours to obtain an introduction as an artist to
her father and brothers had been unsuccessful, and at length I was
indebted to a fortunate incident for an opportunity of conversing
with her unobserved. One evening, near the close of the last Carnival,
I saw her enter with her friends the place of St Mark, near the new
church of San Geminiano. She wore only a half-mask, and her graceful
mien and fine person could not be disguised. My mask and domino were
similar to those of her youngest brother, who resembled me also
somewhat in person. The imperfect light and the confusion of the
assembled crowd separated her from her party; and while endeavouring
to rejoin them, she approached me, mistook me for her brother, put her
arm within mine, and with charming vivacity, whispered in my ear some
comments on the motley groups around us. You will readily conjecture
that I promptly availed myself of the brief and golden opportunity. I
glanced rapidly around, and finding that we were unobserved, I
partially raised my mask. She had so often observed me gazing upon her
with undisguised and rapturous admiration, that she recognised me at
once, and tacitly acknowledged it by a blush which suffused every
visible feature with crimson. In glowing and beautiful confusion she
attempted to withdraw her arm, but I retained it firmly, and in
low but emphatic tones, I told her that I had long loved her with
sincerity and ardour; that I could fairly boast of constancy and
discretion, of education and refinement; that no man so well
understood her value, or would encounter and endure so much to win
her affections. All this and more I poured into her ear with rapid and
glowing diction, and with the impassioned gesture which is natural to
me. Timid and irresolute, she accompanied me some paces, paused, and
in trembling emotion again attempted to withdraw her arm, but was
still urged forward by my impetuosity. At length, by a sudden effort,
she escaped; but, as she quitted, whispered with bewitching hesitation
and timidity--'_To-morrow morning, at Santi Giovanni e Paolo._' Soon
as these words fell on my delighted ear, I plunged into the crowd of
masks, in token of my discretion and prompt obedience to her will. The
emotion excited by this early and unexpected proof of sympathy was
so rapturous and overwhelming, that I abandoned myself to all the
extravagance of sudden bliss. I flew on wings of ecstasy along the
streets, bounded over the stairs of the Rialto, and reached my abode
in a state of mind bordering on delirium. During that interminable but
delicious night I neither sought nor wished for repose. I felt as if I
had never known sleep--as if I should never sleep again; and, when my
waking dreams occasionally yielded to brief and agitated slumber, my
excited feelings called up a flitting train of images not less vivid
and enchanting.

"Long before the commencement of the early mass, I had reached the
church indicated by the beauteous Laura. I was the first to enter it,
and I waited her arrival with an impatience which no words can
describe. Never had the celebration of the mass appeared to me so
wearisome and monotonous; and, in hopes to subdue in some measure the
wild agitation which chafed me, I withdrew the curtain which veiled
Titian's divine picture of Pietro Martire, in which the saint lies
wounded and dying before his assassin. The companion of the prostrate
Pietro is endeavouring to escape a similar fate; and two angels, whose
features are not Italian but Greek, are soaring amidst the foliage,
environed with a heavenly lustre, which throws its bright effulgence
over the foreground of the immense landscape. What a masterpiece! How
full of animation and contrast! What rich and lively local tints in
the slender and graceful stems of the lofty chestnuts, which are
painted the size of nature! And how naturally the glorious landscape
fades into the blue and distant mountains! The half-naked murderer
has all the ferocity of a mountain bandit, in figure, attitude, and
menace; while the wounded saint exhibits in his pale and collapsed
features the dying agony of a good man, blended with a consciousness
that he has achieved the rewarding glories of martyrdom.

"But no masterpiece could allay the glowing tumults of my soul, and
again I paced the church with feverish impatience. At length the
peerless Laura entered, and, alas, poor Titian! the charms of thy
creative pencil withered as she approached--the vivid splendours of
thy colouring faded before the paramount beauties of nature! She
was attired in the picturesque garb and head-dress of Venice; her
veil was raised; and her fine countenance, radiant with beauty and
intelligence, imparted life, dignity, and lustre to every surrounding
object.

"She was accompanied by her mother, and after prostration before the
altar, they retired to their devotions in the body of the church.
I stood in a position which enabled me to observe every look and
gesture, and it did not escape me that Laura, while kneeling, cast a
look of supplication towards heaven, and sighed deeply. She soon
became conscious of my presence; and rising, she took a chair, and
fixed upon me a look so deeply penetrative, so fraught with tender
meaning, and yet so timidly, so truly modest, that every chord
of feeling in my frame was thrilled with sudden transport. To
uninterested observers her deportment was tranquil, but ere long I
could discern tokens of deep and anxious thought clouding her lovely
face. Her lips quivered as if in sympathy with some inward feeling of
doubt and apprehension, which at length subsided, and her angelic
features were suddenly irradiated with a tender and enchanting smile.
She then read for some time in her book, and marked a place in it with
a card, to which, by an expressive glance, she directed my attention.
The mass was concluded, the congregation quitted the church, and I
availed myself of the crowded portal to approach and take the card,
which she conveyed to me unperceived. I hastened from the spot, and
seized the first opportunity to read these words--'_Two hours after
midnight, at the postern near the canal._' The card said no more; but,
to a lover, it spoke volumes.

"These magic words, and the enchantress who had penned them, absorbed
every thought and feeling throughout the never-ending day. In the
evening, I passed and repassed the Foscari palace, until the shape and
position of every door and window were engraven on my memory. I
provided myself with weapons, ordered my gondolier to hold himself
in readiness, and at midnight I proceeded to the Piazza near Maria
Formosa. Enveloped in my mantle, I traversed the pavement with
feverish impetuosity for two hours, which appeared like ages. The
course of nature seemed to stagnate, and the constellations to pause
in their career, as if in mockery of my feelings. I walked with
increased rapidity, and even vaulted into the air with childish
eagerness as if to grasp the heavenly bodies, and accelerate their
lingering progress. At length the last quarter struck. I hastened
through the silent and deserted streets, and strode over the bridges
with a bound as vehement as if I would have spurned them from under
me. I soon arrived at the appointed postern, and waited, all eye and
ear, in a contiguous angle of the wall. Ere long the door was gently
opened, and I heard the music of an angel's voice, bidding me enter
with noiseless steps, and beware of rousing her brothers, whose
violence would endanger my life. In obedient silence I followed her up
a dark staircase into a saloon adjoining the grand canal, and dimly
lighted by a single lamp. The enchanting Laura was attired in a white
robe of elegant simplicity, well fitted to display the perfect
symmetry and luxuriant fulness of her incomparable shape. Her head was
uncovered, and her waving tresses floated in rich profusion over her
shoulders and bosom. Thus unadorned, her beauty was so dazzling and
celestial, that I could have knelt and worshipped her as the Aphrodite
of the Adriatic Paphos. I gazed upon her until I became giddy with
admiration and rapture. Yielding to an irresistible impulse, I lost
all discretion--folded the lovely creature in my embrace--and
impressed a fervent kiss upon her coral lips.

"'Unhand me, daring youth!' she exclaimed, her fine features flashing
with indignant eloquence as she repulsed me. 'Remember that I am
Foscari's daughter, and do me the justice to believe, that I have not
unadvisedly received you at an hour so unseemly. I was impelled to
this step not only by the regard due to your personal safety, but by
my implicit confidence in the honour of a cavalier. Think not, rash
youth! that a Foscari would condescend, like Bianca Capello, to an
obscure stranger. I know that you are not what you would seem. I know
that 'Colonna the painter' is but the outward shell which hides the
pearl and pride of the Florentine nobility. I have a friend in Venice
who is in confidential intercourse by letter with your aunt Veronica,
and from her I heard in secresy that the study of painting was not
your primary object in Venice, but assumed only to mask some more
important purpose.'

"Mortified by the indiscretion of my aunt, and sensible of the fatal
consequences it might involve, I soon recovered some degree of
self-control, and apologised to the still offended Laura for the
inconsiderate freedom in which I had indulged. I then disclosed to her
some particulars of my previous history, and expressed, in ardent and
grateful terms my sense of the flattering distinction conferred upon
me by the loveliest woman in Venice.

"'Ah, Montalto!' she replied, with glowing cheeks, and a look of
enchanting tenderness, 'you know not the dreadful risk to which my
wish to become better acquainted with your merits exposes me. I am
watched with jealous and unceasing vigilance by an ambitious father,
whose sole object is the aggrandisement of his sons; and to the
accomplishment of this purpose he will not hesitate to sacrifice an
only and affectionate daughter. Destined to become the unwilling
bride of heartless opulence, or to the living sepulture of a convent,
and formed, by an affectionate mother, for every social and domestic
relation, there have been moments when I wished it had pleased Heaven
to cast my lot in free and humble mediocrity. My affections were then
unappropriated----'

"She paused in blushing and beautiful embarrassment, but soon
resumed:--'It would be affectation to deny that they are no longer so.
I must have been more than woman to have remarked, without some
responsive feeling, the obvious regard----' Here she paused anew, the
rose of sweet confusion dyed her cheek more deeply than before, and
after a momentary struggle, she continued, with averted looks: 'The
heroic cast and expression of your features, and the unembarrassed
ease and elegance of your deportment, bore the genuine stamp of
nobility by descent and education. The instinctive discrimination
peculiar to woman is often more accurate in its conclusions than the
boasted experience of man. Appearances taught me to suspect, that your
homely garb and professional pursuit were a delusion; and I heard with
more pleasure than surprise that my conjecture was well-founded.'

"Such, my Angelo! was the ingenuous and flattering avowal of the
transcendent Laura Foscari, the pride of Venice, and paragon of her
sex. No words can portray the boundless gratitude and affection with
which she inspired me; nor will I attempt to describe the enchanting
grace and varied intelligence of her conversation during the brief and
delightful hour I remained with her. Too soon the breezes which
announce the dawn shook the windows of the saloon; a luminous streak
bordered the eastern sky; and Laura, starting suddenly from her chair,
bade me begone.

"Thus terminated my first interview with this high-minded and
incomparable woman. To-morrow, should no obstacle intervene, I will
resume my narrative, and, at the same time, impart to you some
particulars of my family and early life."

We then returned to the villa, and separated for the night.


CHAPTER III.

If the opening of Colonna's confession had excited surprise and
emotion, the incidents detailed in his interesting narrative were a
fertile source of anxiety and dismay. The veil of mystery was indeed
raised, but the scene disclosed was haunted by menacing appearances;
and I looked forward to the future with indescribable solicitude. The
vehemence of Colonna's passions was alarming, and his impetuosity
would too probably betray him into formidable peril. After mature
consideration, however, I determined to rest my hopes of a happy
termination to these difficulties upon his clear intellect, and his
noble and generous heart. I mentally renewed my vow of everlasting
friendship, and pledged myself to assist and defend him to the
uttermost, under all circumstances of difficulty and peril.

On the following day we were surprised by an unwelcome visit from the
brothers and destined husband of Laura. She had previously accompanied
her mother more than once in a morning visit to our villa; but I had
never surmised sympathy, nor even acquaintance, between her and
Colonna, so skilfully did they preserve appearances. When he spoke of
her, it was invariably in the language of an artist. He admired the
rare and absolute symmetry of her face and form, in which she
surpassed every woman he had seen. He even remarked, with well-assumed
professional enthusiasm, how much it was to be regretted that her rank
and education precluded the possibility of her benefiting the arts as
a model. He deemed the proportions of her figure as admirable as those
of the Grecian Venus at Florence; and her head, arms, and hands as
greatly superior. On farther retrospection, I recollected to have
observed a richer glow on the cheek of Laura, whenever the lute of
Colonna vibrated from the villa-gardens; or, when his thrilling and
seductive voice sang some tender aria to the guitar.

The younger Foscari was fascinated by the appearance and conversation
of Colonna, and expressed a wish to see his paintings. The party
proceeded to his saloon, and readily acknowledged his fine taste, and
evident promise of high excellence. Barozzo alone, a man of large
stature, of haughty deportment, and of a repulsive and sinister
aspect, assumed the critic; and betrayed, by his uncouth remarks, an
utter ignorance of fine art. Colonna, however, with admirable
self-possession, preserved the unassuming deportment of a young
artist, ambitious of patronage; spoke of the extreme difficulty of
attaining excellence in his profession, and gravely complimented
Barozzo upon the accuracy of his judgment. The haughty senator was
gratified and won by an admission so flattering to his pride; and
condescended to request that Colonna would paint the portraits of his
bride and himself. The young painter bit his lip as he bowed his
acknowledgments; but expressed his high sense of the honour conferred,
and his conviction that the portraits, if successful, would powerfully
recommend him to the nobles of Venice, and prove a certain avenue to
fame and fortune. It was agreed that, on an early day, Colonna should
proceed with the requisite materials to the villa Foscari, and
commence the portrait of Laura; after which, the cavaliers mounted
their horses, and returned home.

To prevent a similar interruption on the succeeding day from any other
quarter, I agreed with Colonna to rise with the sun, and proceed over
the lake into the mountains, with provisions for the day. We met at
early dawn; and the birds were caroling their morning hymn, as, with
expanded sail, our bark bounded lightly across the lake. Ere long we
saw the god of day peeping with golden brow above the ridge of Monte
Baldo; then, majestically advancing over the mountains near Verona,
he poured a flood of bright and glowing beauty over the immense
landscape. The water was partially concealed by the vapours of
morning, and mists of purple hue floated like regal canopies above
the cliffs, while a light breeze, rippling the centre of the lake,
dispersed its tranquil slumber, and roused it into life and beauty.
The peninsula of Sirmio lay basking in sunny radiance before us; and
the mountains beyond displayed the grandeur of their immeasurable
outline, varied by prominent and rugged masses, which were piled up in
chaos like Ossa on Pelion. The eastern sky was robed in vapours of
rosy tint; light clouds of pearly lustre floated in tranquil beauty
through the heavens; and the Alpine eagles were careering in joyous
and sweeping circles amid the pure ether.

Certainly the lake of Garda displays a rare combination of the
beautiful and sublime. The shores abound in the wild and majestic,
in variety and beauty of local tints, and picturesque vicissitudes
of light and shade; while the olive-crowned Sirmio, like the
island-realm of a Calypso, reposes in regal pride upon the waters,
and seems to hold in vassalage the opposite shores and amphitheatre
of mountains.

There have been some days in my existence which will ever be dear to
my memory, and this was one of them. It was a cool and delicious
morning in the beginning of October; my senses were refreshed with
sleep; I was awake to the calm and holy influences of nature; and I
anticipated the promised narrative of Colonna's early life with a
lively interest, which imparted new zest to every feeling, and new
beauty to the glowing landscape. It was still early when we landed
under the cliff, and availed ourselves of the dewy freshness of the
morning to ascend a rugged path, which conducted us to a sequestered
grove of beech and chestnut. From a crevice in the base of a rock,
feathered with flowering creepers, issued a limpid spring, which,
after dispensing coolness and verdure to the grove, rolled onward
with mild and soothing murmurs to the lower levels. Plunging our
wine-flasks into the pure element where it burst into life from the
parent rock, we extended ourselves on the soft grass, and dismissed
our boatmen, with orders to return at sunset. I then reminded Colonna
of his promise to reveal to me some particulars of his early fortunes;
and after a pause, during which his features were slightly convulsed,
as if by painful recollections, he thus began:

"I am the sole survivor of one of the most illustrious families in
Florence. My father was Leone di Montalto; and my mother was of the
persecuted and noble race of the Albizi. They are both deceased; and I
remain a solitary mourner, their first and only child. My mother died
the day after my birth, and my father grieved for her long and
sincerely; but the lapse of years, and frequent absences from Florence
in the naval service of the state, healed his wounded spirit; and in
an evil hour he became deeply enamoured of Isabella, third daughter of
Cosmo de' Medici, the tyrant of unhappy Florence. She was the wife of
Paul Orsini, the Roman, who, without any formal repudiation, had
abandoned her, and resided entirely in Rome. This extraordinary woman
was distinguished throughout Italy for personal beauty and rare
intellectual accomplishment. Her conversation not only sparkled with
wit, grace, and vivacity, but was full of knowledge and originality;
and her great natural powers had been so highly cultivated, that she
conversed with fluency in French, Spanish, and even in Latin. She
performed with skill on various instruments--sang like a Siren, and
was an admirable improvisatrice. Thus highly gifted and adorned by
nature and education, she was the idol of Cosmo, and ruled his
court like a presiding goddess. Her time and her affections being
unoccupied, she did not discourage the attentions of my father, who
was one of the most elegant and accomplished men of his time, and
blended the grace of a courtier with the free and gallant bearing of a
distinguished commander. The dormant sensibilities of Isabella were
soon awakened by the enthusiastic fervour of his attachment; and their
secret intelligence had subsisted some time, when it was discovered
by the jealous and vindictive Cosmo. My unfortunate parent was
immediately arrested and imprisoned, but effected his escape, fled to
Venice, and from thence to the Levant. His estates were confiscated
under the pretext of treasonable practices; and I found a refuge and a
home under the roof of my widowed aunt, Veronica Della Torre.

"The heartless and meretricious Isabella relinquished my father
without a sigh, or a struggle to save him, and consoled herself with
court-pageantry, and a succession of new lovers, many of whom
were sacrificed by her cunning and ruthless father. As a selfish
voluptuary, and the destroyer of his country's liberty, Cosmo has
been compared with Augustus; but in gratuitous and deliberate cruelty,
he far surpasses his prototype.

"I was indebted to neglect and accident for the best of all XXXX
educations. My father loved and cherished me; but his domestic
calamity, his frequent absences from Florence, and, subsequently,
his pursuit of Isabella, interfered with the customary course of
education, and saved me from the despotism of a regular tutor, and
from the debasing tyranny, the selfish and vulgar profligacy, of those
institutions of monkery called public academies.

"It was surely the intention of Providence that the faculties of early
life should not be strained by labours hostile to the healthful growth
of mind and body, and that the heart, the senses, and the principles
should alone be tutored in the first ten years of life. And yet how
egregiously has the folly of the creature perverted the benevolent
purpose of the Creator! With thoughtless, heartless indifference he
commits his tender offspring to the crushing tyranny of pedants and
task-masters, who rack and stupify the imperfect brain by vain
attempts to convey dead languages through a dead medium, and inflict
upon their helpless pupils the occult mysteries of grammar, which
is the philosophy of language, and intelligible only to ripened
faculties. Ask the youth who has toiled in prostration of spirit
through the joyless years of school existence in the preparatory
seminaries of Italy--bid him look back upon his tedious pilgrimage,
and weigh the scanty knowledge he has won against the abundant
miseries he has endured from the harsh discipline of monkish tutors,
and the selfish brutality of senior class-fellows! His pride may
prompt him to deny, but in honesty and fairness he must admit, that
the established system of education is radically vicious; that his
attainments are meagre and superficial; that his knowledge of the
world is selfishness and cunning; and that, to rise above the herd of
slaves and dunces, he must give himself a second and widely different
education; more liberal, comprehensive, and practical.

"It was my happier fate to enjoy, until the age of ten, unbounded
liberty. I associated with boys of my own age, selecting for frequent
intercourse those most distinguished by strength of body, resource of
mind, and a lofty and determined spirit. I disdained to be outdone in
feats of bodily activity, and persevered with inflexible ardour until
I surpassed all my competitors in running, wrestling, and swimming,
and in every species of juvenile and daring exploit.

"From my aunt, who was an accomplished and high-minded woman, I
learned to read and write, and gained with ease and pleasure a more
than elementary knowledge of history; and when I had attained the age
of twelve, my father, who was an able and distinguished commander,
took me for three years on board his galley, in frequent cruises
against the Corsairs. These voyages had a powerful and salutary
influence upon my habits and character; the daily contemplation of the
world of waters expanded and exalted my imagination; while the
enlightened converse and daily instructions of my noble father, the
regular discipline observed on board the galley, and occasional
exposure to danger in tempests or in contact with an enemy, induced
energy and concentration of thought, decision and promptitude
in action, contempt of fatigue and hardship, and a degree of
self-possession which no common dangers could either daunt or
disconcert.

"At the age of fifteen I returned to Florence, abandoned all boyish
pursuits, and commenced a more regular and elaborate course of
education. I had accumulated a store of ideas and associations which
enabled me to apply my faculties with facility to every desirable
attainment. The transition from material objects to the world of
spirits is natural and easy. I had already investigated with deep
interest the histories of Greece and Rome; I now studied with ardour
and success the languages of those high-minded nations; and, ere long,
perused with insatiable delight the pages of those master-spirits
whose glorious names blaze like constellations through the dark night
of antiquity.

"My early and ruling passion for the liberal arts, and especially for
painting and architecture, induced me to seek the instructions of
Giorgio Vasari. As an artist he had never produced an original design,
but he was an able teacher; and, notwithstanding his prejudices, he
was unquestionably a man of refined taste and extensive knowledge. The
garrulous old painter was delighted with the glow of my enthusiasm,
and failed not to fan the flame with abundant encouragement.

"My indulgent father was induced, by the exuberant praises of Vasari,
to permit my devotion of some hours daily to his instructions; but the
year before his imprisonment and flight, he took the precaution to
introduce me to a literary circle, eminent for clearness of intellect,
and a sound and liberal philosophy. Intercourse with men of this class
modified, in a considerable degree, my habits and opinions; but it
could not for a moment weaken my devotion to that sublime art which
has ennobled modern Italy, and raised it from prostration and contempt
to moral dignity and grandeur.

"Several years elapsed after my father's escape, without bringing us
any intelligence of his fate. This mysterious silence was a source of
intense anxiety. Florence was hateful to me, and my impatience to
rejoin my beloved parent became at length too vehement to be
controlled any longer by the remonstrances of my aunt. I keenly felt
all the injustice exercised by the tyrannous and reckless Cosmo
against my family, and my departure was accelerated by the intimation
from a friend at court that my proceedings were watched by the secret
agents of the usurper, and that any unguarded expression of political
discontent, would be the signal of my incarceration, and, too
probably, of banishment or death. I quitted Florence unobserved,
changed my name, and proceeded to Venice, intending, while I pursued
my inquiries after my father, to study the works of Titian, and to
avail myself of the instructions of Tintorett and Paul Veronese. The
latter honoured me with his friendship, and the venerable Titian
encouraged me to visit him. I succeeded in my endeavours to cheer,
with poetry and music, the declining spirits of the benevolent old
man. He became attached to me, and finding that I had a painter's eye,
he imparted to me some invaluable secrets of his art, a compliment the
more gratifying and important, because it opened to me a source of
honourable and independent provision, in case my paternal estate
should never be restored to me.

"Last autumn I received intelligence from Florence that my father had
entered the service of your republic on his arrival in the Levant, and
had received the appointment of captain in the garrison of Candia,
under General Malatesta, a Florentine, whose son had been assassinated
by order of Cosmo, on the discovery of an intrigue between this youth
and his eldest daughter, Maria de' Medici. Nor did the hapless female
escape the vengeance of her cruel parent. Her death was premature, and
attended with circumstances which amounted to the clearest evidence
that she was poisoned by her monstrous and unnatural parent. I had
completed my preparations for departure, and waited only a change
of wind to sail for Candia, when I received from my aunt the
heart-rending communication that my father had shared the fate of
young Malatesta, and been assassinated some years since, at the
instigation of the ferocious Cosmo. This intelligence fell upon
my soul like a thunderbolt. The wound which my beloved father's
disappearance had inflicted on my happiness opened anew, and my
lacerated heart bled at every core. I vowed implacable hatred and
deadly vengeance against the prime mover and every subordinate agent
in this atrocious murder of my noble parent. He was a great and
admirable man, and I shall never cease to venerate his memory, and
lament his untimely death. For many months, life was an intolerable
burden to me, and I endured existence only in the hope of avenging
him. The cruel instigator, Cosmo, was, alas! equally beyond the reach
of my personal defiance and of my dagger. Hedged round by guards and
minions, and compelled by his infirmities to seclude himself within
the recesses of his palace, every attempt to approach him would have
been vain, and my youthful and unenjoyed existence would have been
sacrificed without an equivalent. Nor have I yet been able to trace
the agents of his bloody will; but my investigations have been
vigilant and unceasing, and revenge, although delayed, is ripening
over their heads."

Here the noble youth was checked in his narrative by a sudden burst of
agony, which defied all disguise and control. Tears rolled in rapid
succession down his cheeks, and his manly chest heaved with the
audible sobs of bitter and deeply-seated anguish. Springing hastily
from the turf, he threw himself on the margin of the stream, and
immersed his face in its pure waters, to cool the fever of his burning
cheeks. Surely there is no sorrow like the sorrow of a resolute and
high-minded man. The sobs of woman in affliction awake our tenderest
sympathies, but they do not shake our souls like the audible anguish
of man. To see the iron frame of such a being as Colonna heaving with
loud and convulsive agony, was so truly appalling, that no time will
erase the deep impression from my memory.

I respected his grief too much to interrupt it by premature attempts
at consolation; but when he arose, I embraced him in silent sympathy,
and endeavoured to direct the current of his thoughts from the bitter
past to a brighter future. I spoke of the advanced age and broken
constitution of the licentious Cosmo, and inferred, from the mild
and amiable character of his son, a speedy restoration to rank and
property. I dwelt upon his own pre-eminence in strength of mind, and
in every natural and acquired advantage; and I predicted that, in
defiance of adverse circumstances, he would, by his own unassisted
efforts, accomplish a high and brilliant destiny. I proposed to obtain
for him, through my father's influence, a naval command in the service
of Venice, or a powerful recommendation to the valiant Genoese,
Giovanni Doria.

He thanked me, with a look full of eloquent meaning, but made no
comment on my proposal. After a brief pause, he subdued his emotion,
and exclaimed, with a melancholy smile,--"Happy Venetians and Genoese!
_Your_ liberties have not been basely destroyed by an individual
family, as those of Tuscany by the Medici. Your glorious republics
adorn the east and west of Italy with splendid achievements, while
Florence, once the pride and glory of our country, lies prostrate in
mourning and in slavery, betrayed and manacled by her unnatural sons!"

I availed myself of this apostrophe to make some comments upon the
history of these distinguished republics, and insensibly drew Colonna
into a discussion which was prolonged until the increasing heat made
us sensible of the want of refreshment. The sun had reached the
meridian, and the centre of the lake below, still fretted by the
mountain breeze, was seething and glittering in the sunbeams, like a
huge cauldron of melted silver, while the smooth and crystal surface
near its shores reflected, like a mirror, projecting and receding
cliffs of every form and elevation, crowned with venerable trees,
and fringed with gay varieties of vegetable ornament. The timid
and transparent lizards darted playfully around us, and golden
beetles buzzed on heavy wings in the foliage above, while the light
grasshoppers chirped their multitudinous chorus of delight, and
myriads of gay and glittering insects held their jubilee in the
burning atmosphere. Amidst this universal carnival of nature, we
reclined in deep shade, soothed by the tinkling music of the stream,
and enjoying the dewy freshness which exhaled from its translucent
waters. The inspiring juice of the Cyprus grape, and a light repast,
rapidly recruited the strength and spirits of Colonna. Bounding
vigorously from the green turf, he gazed with delight through the
aged stems upon the bright landscape, and exclaimed, with glowing
enthusiasm,--"All-bounteous Providence! Creator of the glorious sun
and teeming earth! how supremely blest were thy creatures, did they
not embitter so much good by crime and folly!"

After a brief pause of rapturous contemplation, we resumed our
wine-flasks, our cheerfulness rose into exhilaration, and we reposed
like sylvan deities in the green shade, enjoying the elasticity and
freshness of youthful existence, forgetful of the past and regardless
of the future. But this daydream was too delightful to last. I
recollected that I had not heard the sequel of Colonna's adventures
in Venice, and I broke the spell by whispering in his ear the name of
"Laura."

"Alas!" he replied, with visible emotion, "I fear this incomparable
woman will never be mine, unless miracle or magic should interpose to
vanquish the many obstacles to our union. Our interviews in Venice
were attended with such imminent hazard of discovery, as to render
them brief and of rare occurrence. My adored Laura was in the morning
of life, and with the creative imagination of early youth, she
cherished sanguine hopes that the death of the infirm Cosmo would, ere
long, enable me to resume rank and property, and to demand her openly
of her father. Until then, my resources were merely adequate to my
personal support, being limited to a small maternal estate, left under
the friendly guardianship of my aunt.

"Nevertheless, plans of elopement were frequently discussed, and I
vehemently urged her to become mine, and to accompany me to Greece,
from whence, after I had accomplished a momentous object, we could
embark for Marseilles, and proceed to Paris, where my skill as a
painter, in addition to my maternal estate, would preserve us from
indigence. As she did not peremptorily forbid me to expect her consent
to this scheme, I ventured to build upon it; but when my preparations
for flight were completed, her resolution failed, and I discovered, in
the deeply-rooted attachment of Laura to her mother, an insuperable
obstacle to the accomplishment of my purpose. For this kind and
indulgent parent her affection was all but idolatrous; and when she
told me, with tearful eyes and throbbing bosom, that her beloved
mother was in precarious health, that she was entirely dependent on
her only daughter for earthly happiness, and that the loss of that
daughter would destroy her, I must have been dead to every generous
and disinterested feeling had I not complied with her earnest
entreaty, that we should await a more favourable course of events.

"Meanwhile the distinguished beauty and numberless graces of Laura
attracted many suitors. Some of these were not ineligible, and one of
them especially, young Contarini--whose passion for her was ardent,
almost to frenzy--was a man of noble qualities, of prepossessing
exterior, and of equal rank, but, as you well know, too moderately
endowed with the gifts of fortune. Every proposal was, however,
promptly rejected by the ambitious Foscari, who, like a cold and
calculating trader, measured the merits of each suitor by the extent
of his possessions. At length, after the conclusion of the war with
Turkey in the spring, arrived from Greece the governor of Candia,
Ercole Barozzo, whose splendid establishment and lavish expenditure
attracted universal attention. His originally large possessions had
been swelled into princely opulence by clandestine traffic with the
enemy, and by every species of cruelty and exaction. His wife and two
infant sons had fallen victims to the plague in the Levant; and being
desirous of children to inherit his vast possessions, he surveyed
the fair daughters of Venice, and was quickly fascinated by the
superlative beauty of Laura Foscari, who shone unrivalled in a city
distinguished for the beauty of the softer sex. Barozzo was not a
suitor to be rejected by her sordid father; and, without any appeal to
his daughter's inclinations, her hand was promised to a man of more
than twice her age, forbidding in his exterior, coarse and revolting
in his manners, and utterly destitute of redeeming qualities. I had
determined, before my acquaintance with you commenced, to make
occasional visits during the summer to Peschiera, and I hesitated to
accept your proposal, from an apprehension that it would impede my
interviews with Laura. On farther consideration, however, I perceived
that my abode under your roof would not be incompatible with nocturnal
visits to the Villa Foscari, and I became your guest. My interviews
with Laura have been more frequent in this quiet and rural district,
than in the narrow streets and numerous obstacles of Venice. The
wide extent of her father's garden enables me to scale the wall
unperceived, and to reach a garden saloon communicating by a covered
trellice walk with the villa. Laura's abhorrence of the presuming and
insolent Barozzo has proved a powerful auxiliary to my renewed
entreaties that she would fly with me from the miseries which menace
her, and I have recently succeeded in obtaining her reluctant consent
to accompany me to Genoa, and from thence to Greece. A fortnight hence
is appointed for the celebration of her marriage to the wretch who
basely wooes her, with a consciousness of her unqualified antipathy to
his person and character. If the strong attachment of Laura to her
mother does not again baffle my hopes, we shall effect our escape
three days before the one appointed for her marriage with Barozzo; but
I can discern too well, through her invincible dejection, that she is
still balancing the dreadful alternatives of a marriage abhorrent to
her feelings, and the abandonment of her mother."

Such was the tale of Colonna's brief, but trying and calamitous
career. Deeply as I lamented his approaching departure, I felt too
much interested in his success to withhold my active co-operation, and
I pledged myself to promote his views as far as I could, without
openly compromising myself with the Foscari family; but I entreated
him to relinquish his design of painting the portraits of Laura
and Barozzo, from an apprehension that a lover so fervent and
demonstrative would, in some unguarded moment, excite suspicion, and
frustrate the accomplishment of his ultimate views. He thanked me for
the ready zeal with which I had entered into his feelings, and assured
me that he had no intention of proceeding beyond the outlines of the
governor's portrait; but that, as a lover and an artist, he could not
deny himself the gratification of portraying the matchless form and
features of the woman he adored.

The day was declining when we quitted our cool retreat to ascend the
mountain behind us, and inhale the pure breezes which played around
its summit. We gazed with long and lingering delight upon the bright
landscapes of Lombardy, as they glowed beneath us in the parting
sunbeams, and the shades of night were fast falling around us when we
crossed the lake on our return to the villa.


CHAPTER IV.

Early on the following morning, the younger brother of Laura called to
request the promised attendance of Colonna at the Villa Foscari, and I
determined to accompany him, hoping, by my presence, to remind the
young painter of the necessity of exercising a vigilant control over
his feelings. The precaution was, however, unnecessary. He sustained,
with singular self-mastery, the demeanour of an artist and a stranger;
and appeared, while sketching the form and features of his lovely
mistress, to have no other object than to seize the most important and
characteristic peculiarities of his model. He requested that she would
occasionally walk round the saloon, and freely indulge in familiar
converse with her friends, as if no artist were present. His object
was, he added, to accomplish, not a tame and lifeless copy, but a
portrait, stamped with those peculiar attributes and graces which are
best elicited by a free and unconstrained movement of limb and
feature.

Thus admirably did he mask the lover, and assume the look and language
of an artist ambitious to recommend himself to opulent employers.

The sensitive and unhappy Laura had less command over her feelings,
and I could occasionally observe a furtive glance beaming from her
dark and humid eye upon the elegant painter; but when she addressed
him, it was with the air and language of condescension to one whose
services might be purchased; thus endeavouring to disguise the strong
and almost irrepressible emotion which quivered beneath the surface.

Her mother never quitted her during the sitting; Barozzo and the
Foscari visited the saloon occasionally; and I remained to control
the lover, and, at the same time, to improve myself by observing
the artist. The fine lineaments of Laura were too deeply engraven on
the heart of Colonna to render frequent sittings essential; and,
in compliance with my remonstrances, he abridged them as much as
possible. After the second sitting he told her that he should not
again require her presence until he had completed the portrait, when
some finishing detail might be requisite. He devoted a large portion
of the five following days to a task so soothing to his feelings; and,
on the morning of the sixth day, astonished the assembled family by
producing a highly-finished and admirable resemblance.

The charming subject of his portrait was painted the size of life,
and attired in a light morning robe of green silk. The full and
elegant symmetry of her form was indicated through the graceful folds,
which fell around her like the richest sculpture. She stood in a
contemplative attitude, leaning, like some heavenly muse, upon a
golden tripod of chaste and classical design. High intelligence
adorned with its imperishable beauty her fair and lofty forehead. Her
large dark eyes, which beamed through their long fringes with soft and
melting lustre, were gazing as if into futurity, and their tender and
eloquent expression went to the soul of the observer. The finely
moulded oval of her cheek glowed with the roseate hues of life, and
the pearly lustre of the neck and arms was surpassed only by the
clear and brilliant fairness of the lovely original, while in the
beautifully curved lips, Colonna had introduced a slight compression,
indicative of that heroic firmness in the character of Laura, which
had not escaped his penetration, but did not, until a later period,
fully develop itself.

The scene was a garden saloon, and through an open window an extensive
view over the lake of Garda arrested with magic power the eye of every
beholder. Sirmio appeared like a woody island in the middle distance,
and beyond the lake rose an amphitheatre of mountains, surmounted by
the distant summits of the Tyrolese Alps. There was in this admirable
portrait all the charm and witchery of life. It possessed much of
the dignity, and ease, and harmonious colouring of Titian; and the
exquisite blending and management of the tints betrayed the favourite
pupil of Paul Veronese, whom indeed he surpassed in the natural
folding and classical distribution of draperies, and fully equalled in
the force of light and shade, which makes the portraits of that able
master appear to stand out from the canvass.

The next day was devoted to the finishing of some details in the
portrait of Laura; and on the succeeding morning I accompanied Colonna
to the apartment of Barozzo, who was desirous that his portrait should
be completed before his marriage. The artist fixed upon the haughty
governor that firm gaze of his dark and piercing eye, and proceeded to
pencil the outlines of his stern and massive features. After the lapse
of a few minutes, he remarked to Barozzo, that he had never seen a
countenance, the character of which he found so difficult to trace to
its primitive elements. "The lineaments of mature age," he continued,
"are hard and inflexible, and when the eloquent play and pliancy of
youthful feelings have left the features, it is impossible, without
frequent intercourse, to detect the peculiarities and secret recesses
of character with sufficient accuracy to give force and truth to a
portrait." He conceived that to accomplish the perfect delineation of
a man of middle age and of distinguished rank, a painter should not
only share his society, but know the history of his life, and study
the lights and shades of his character. It was thus that Raffaelle
succeeded in conveying to the portraits of Julius II., Leo X., and
their Cardinals, such intellectual dignity, such truth and grandeur of
expression. He doubted, nevertheless, whether any artist could achieve
a perfect portrait of a man of high station if he did not rise above
his employer, not only in imaginative power, but in strength of mind
and penetration into character.

The riveted and searching looks, which from time to time accompanied
this singular and equivocal strain of compliment, appeared greatly to
perplex and annoy the haughty Barozzo. His tawny visage was dyed with
the dusky red of some strong inward emotion, which I was eager but
unable to interpret. This suffusion was soon succeeded by an ashy
paleness, and suddenly he quitted his chair and walked to the window.

During this ominous and unaccountable interruption, I gave Colonna a
warning glance. He composed his excited features into tranquillity;
and after a long pause, of which I endeavoured to disguise the
embarrassment by some comments on the Venetian school of painting,
Barozzo returned from the window and resumed his seat. Colonna seized
his pencil, and proceeded to sketch the outline of the governor's
figure, during which process I observed in his looks nothing beyond
the earnest gaze of a portrait-painter. For some time Barozzo avoided
the encounter; but at length, as if controlled by some secret and
irresistible fascination, his eyes again met those of the young
artist. The effect of this collision was mysterious and startling. The
brilliant orbs of Colonna gradually assumed a stern and indignant
expression, and darted their searching beams upon the governor, as if
to pierce the inmost recesses of his soul. The dull grey eyes of the
again agitated Barozzo quailed and fell under this intolerable
scrutiny; his sallow visage was suffused with a ghastly yellow; again
he glanced in terror at the artist, and then half rose from his chair
in undisguised consternation. Controlling, however, with sudden effort
his agitation, he resumed his seat, and, with averted looks and
seeming indifference, inquired if Colonna had resided long in Venice.
The painter filled his brush, and answered carelessly, that he had
lived there a few months.

"Your accent is Tuscan," continued Barozzo. "Are you a native of
Florence?"

"I am," replied the painter, seemingly intent upon his employment.

"Do your parents reside there?" resumed the other, with rising
emphasis.

"Parents!" exclaimed Colonna, with a keen glance at the inquisitive
governor; "I have none! They are dead!"

"Who and what was your father?" demanded Barozzo imperiously.

This inquiry and its peremptory tone exhausted the patience of
Colonna. Dashing the paint out of his brush, he fixed a look of
startling fierceness on Barozzo, and answered, with marked and bitter
emphasis,--"He was a sword-cutler, and made excellent blades."

At this critical moment Laura entered the room with her mother to
observe the progress of Barozzo's portrait. Casting a hasty glance at
the imperfect sketch, she remarked that it did not at all realise her
expectations. The painter replied, that he should have succeeded
better if he had enjoyed the honour of a longer acquaintance with the
governor. "It is immaterial," exclaimed Barozzo, who had fully
regained his self-possession. "We shall ere long become better known
to each other, and you may finish my portrait at Venice in the course
of the ensuing winter."

"As your excellency pleases," replied Colonna, and removed the canvass
from the easel. The ladies now quitted the saloon with the governor;
and, soon as the door was closed, the artist defaced the ill-fated
portrait with a blow of his fist, packed up his drawing materials for
removal, and accompanied me home.

Conceiving that the portentous agitation of Barozzo had grown out of
some incipient feelings of jealousy and suspicion, I remonstrated with
Colonna, during our walk, on the gratuitous imprudence of his
deportment, and pointed out the personal danger he had incurred by
thus taunting a man so powerful and irritable as the governor of
Candia. I urged him to accelerate his flight, and, meanwhile, never to
leave the villa unarmed.

In reply, however, he expressed his conviction that the sudden change
of countenance and colour in Barozzo did not originate in jealousy,
and that a man so imperious and overbearing would have betrayed this
spirit-stirring passion in a manner widely different. "No, Pisani!" he
continued, in a voice quivering with emotion; "my suspicions go
farther. The springs of this man's actions lie deep, and a prophetic
spirit tells me that he is not innocent of my noble father's murder.
Until this morning, he deigned not to bestow more than a superficial
glance upon the features of an obscure artist in homely apparel, but
when our eyes met, in keen and unavoidable collision, the resemblance
I bear to my deceased parent flashed upon his guilty soul; and from
his sudden and uncontrollable emotion, I cannot but infer his
participation in the crimes of Cosmo. Inference, you will say, is no
proof; but it gives me a clue which I will track until I reach
conviction. It is the intention of Laura, who cannot resolve to quit
her mother, to retard for a considerable period the celebration of her
marriage, by feigned paroxysms of indisposition. I will avail myself
of this delay to bring home to Barozzo the evidence of his guilt, and
defy him to mortal combat; or, should he shrink from it, I will treat
him as a savage and noxious animal, and hunt him to death."

I could not but admit that there was some ground for the suspicions of
Colonna; but, from an apprehension of rousing his whirlwind passions
into premature activity, I concealed from him my knowledge that,
before the departure of Barozzo for Candia, he had passed some
weeks at Florence, where his congenial disposition had powerfully
recommended him to the good graces of Cosmo. They were in habits
of daily intercourse, and Barozzo was not the man who would, from
honourable feeling, decline to forward the murderous views of the
implacable ruler of Tuscany.

From this eventful day Colonna was an altered man. Revenge became the
ruling passion of his soul; and while he awaited with gnawing
impatience the long-expected letters from his friends in Florence and
Candia, he seemed to find no relief from the feverish rage which fired
his blood, and wasted his fine form, but in the bodily fatigue of
daily and nightly rambles in the mountains.

It was the design of Laura to assume the appearance of sudden and
violent illness on the day before her intended marriage, and to
sustain the deception, by occasional relapses, for months, or even
years, should the governor's patience endure so long. But the
probability was, that a man, advancing towards the autumn of life, and
determined to marry, would rather recede from his engagement and seek
another mate, than run the risk of such indefinite delay. The spirit
and address of Laura Foscari were fully equal to the deep game she had
determined to play. She purposed to assist the deception by staining
her fair face with an artificial and sickly hue; and she found an
effective auxiliary in her mother, who thought the brutal Barozzo
utterly unworthy to win and wear so bright a jewel as her angelic
daughter. These expedients were, however, rendered unnecessary by the
bloody catastrophes which were now at hand.

Three days before the appointed celebration of the marriage, I was
reading, near midnight, in my chamber, when Colonna entered, with
vehement and hasty strides. His large eyes glittered with terrific
energy; his forehead streamed with perspiration; his dress and hair
were in wild disorder, and his hands were dyed with blood. He said not
a word, but paced the apartment for some time with rapidity. His
deportment was that of a man whose rage had risen above his control,
and overwhelmed all power of articulation. I awaited in silent and
wondering sympathy the termination of emotions so tempestuous. At
length, seating himself opposite to me, he struck the table vehemently
with his clenched hand, and after some vain attempts to speak,
exclaimed, in hoarse and hurried tones, which gave an appalling force
to his expressions--"Pisani! all doubt is at an end--I have this night
obtained conclusive evidence of Barozzo's guilt. I have sworn to
avenge my noble father's wrongs in the traitor's blood--and to-morrow
he must face me in fair combat, or feel my dagger in his craven heart.
The alternative will hinge upon your friendly agency--but of that
hereafter.--About three hours since I reached the heights beyond the
lake. Exhausted with a long and toilsome ramble, I threw myself
beneath our favourite beech, and was soon lulled by the rippling
waters into brief and agitated slumber. My sleep was haunted by a
succession of fearful forms and painful incidents, which at length
assumed a shape distinctly and horribly significant. Methought I lay
upon the summit of a cliff, close to the sloping brink, and gazed into
a gulf too deep and dark for human eye to fathom. Suddenly the immense
void was illumined by sheets of vivid lightning--a monstrous peal of
thunder broke upon my ear--and a colossal form, lengthened and scaly
as a serpent, rose like the demon of the storm, approached the edge of
the precipice, and brought his horrid visage to the level of mine.
Again the lightning flashed, and I distinguished the assassin features
of Barozzo, expanded into horrible and revolting magnitude. Eyes,
lurid and menacing as meteors, glared upon me with a malignant scowl,
and huge lips, parted in a fiendish grin, disclosed an array of fangs,
pointed and glittering as poniards. He extended two gaunt and bony
hands, stained, methought, with my father's blood, and tried to seize
and drag me into the gulf. While writhing to escape the monster's
grasp the thunder again rolled through the abyss; the cliff beneath me
reeled from its foundations, the brink began to crumble, and my
destruction appeared inevitable--when, suddenly, the strains of sweet
and solemn music floated round me--the demon vanished, and I beheld
the pale phantom of my murdered father, extending towards me his
protecting arms. At this moment of intense excitement, the spell which
bound me was dissolved--I awoke, and saw by the brilliant moonlight a
tall figure, enveloped in a mantle, approaching me in stealthy
silence. Gazing more intently, I discovered a dagger in his grasp. In
an instant I was on my feet--the figure rushed forward, but ere he
could reach me, I stood behind the tree, and thus gained time to level
a pistol at his head. Seeing me thus prepared, the villain retreated
hastily, but escaped not the bullet, which my unerring weapon buried
in his back. He reeled and fell; and his life-blood was ebbing fast,
when I stooped to examine his features. Raising the slouched hat which
concealed his face, I immediately recognised a handsome Greek,
attached to the retinue of Barozzo. I had occasionally seen this man
in a tavern at Peschiera. His demeanour was fierce and repulsive, but
my eagerness to learn some particulars of my father's untimely death
in Candia prompted me to cultivate his acquaintance, and I played with
him the game of Morra, forgave his losses, and paid for his wine.
Whether the remembrance of this kindness excited his compunction, or
whether he wished to atone for his past offences, I know not, but he
thus addressed me in broken accents:

"'Son of Montalto! a just retribution has overtaken me. My necessities
sold me to the savage Barozzo. _He_ hired the dagger which pierced thy
noble father, and the same weapon would have destroyed thee had not
thy better fortune interposed. Listen to the counsel of a dying man.
Beware of Barozzo! He has a long grasp, and will not spare thy young
life. Fly, without delay, or thy destruction is inevitable!'

"Here his voice failed him; a convulsive tremor shook his frame; he
became motionless, and apparently lifeless. But Greeks are cunning to
a proverb, and as it was of vital moment to conceal from the governor
the failure of his murderous design, I struck the assassin's dagger
deep into his heart, and rolled him down the slope of a contiguous
ravine. I now recollected that Barozzo had twenty Greek bloodhounds
carousing in the taverns of Peschiera, and thinking it too probable
that he had commissioned more than one of them to hunt me down, I
crossed the lake, to devise with you the means to detach this demon
from his myrmidons, and force him into single combat. I have bound
myself, by all that is most sacred, to destroy him, or to perish in
the attempt; and should no fair and open avenue to vengeance offer, I
will stab him at Foscari's table, or even rend him limb from limb at
Laura's feet. And now, my Angelo! I conjure you by our bond of
friendship, by every generous feeling in your nature, to lend me that
aid, without which I shall be driven to the desperate and ignoble
alternative of assassination. You know well that it would be in vain
to summon the governor of Candia to a personal encounter. He is a
veteran soldier of established reputation, and he knows that he need
not fight to maintain it; nor will a man who has reached the summit
of opulence and distinction descend from his vantage-ground, and risk
the loss of so much earthly good in mortal combat with the proscribed
and desperate son of Montalto."

To this tale of visionary and real horrors, heightened and dramatised
by the indignant eloquence of Colonna, I listened with intense
interest, and my abhorrence of the monstrous cruelty of Barozzo
swelled into active sympathy and a firm resolve to second, at all
hazards, the just vengeance of this noble and deeply-injured youth. I
felt also the necessity of immediate interference to save his life.
The governor was evidently fearful of the retribution so justly due to
his unparalleled atrocity, and he had, moreover, been galled to the
quick by the taunting deportment of the young artist while sitting for
his portrait. He would soon suspect the failure of his first attempt
upon the life of Colonna, and would inevitably follow up his base
design by employing the numerous daggers in his pay. The hatred of the
young Florentine was deadly and implacable, and his determination to
sacrifice this mortal foe of his family spurned all control, and raged
like a tempest; but his impetuosity would prevent the accomplishment
of his object, and too probably betray him into the toils of his cool
and crafty enemy, who never quitted the Villa Foscari without one or
more well-armed attendants. From an affectation, too, of military
display, or probably from a consciousness that he had many personal
enemies, the governor wore at all times a corselet of scaled armour,
composed of the light, well-tempered Spanish steel, which resists the
point of sword or dagger. Had I wished to save the life of this
lawless pander to the cruelty of Cosmo, I saw no expedient which
would not expose my valued friend to imminent and deadly peril; and
could I for a moment hesitate between the chivalrous, the princely
Colonna, so unrivalled in form and feature, so elevated and pure in
sentiment, so eminently fitted, by his high intelligence, his glowing
diction, and his kindling, all-impelling energies, to rouse a better,
higher, nobler spirit, in all who came within the sphere of his
activity--could I pause an instant between this first of nature's
nobles and the base Barozzo, who, inaccessible to pity, and fortified
against all compunction by years of crime, had, unprovoked, and with
the malice of a demon, destroyed the best and bravest of the sons of
Florence?

With prompt and ardent enthusiasm, I assured him of my devotion to
his cause, and unfolded to him a stratagem, which my knowledge
of the surrounding country, and of the habits of Barozzo, had
readily suggested. During the frequent absence of Colonna, I had
occasionally joined the governor in his equestrian excursions, and,
from neighbourly feeling to the senator Foscari, had escorted his
guest to the most picturesque scenery of this romantic district. His
rides were daily, and at the same hour. I proposed to join him as
usual, and to lead him into a narrow and unfrequented defile in the
mountains, which rise from the lake about three leagues from Peschiera.
Colonna might there await and force him into personal encounter, while
I would act as umpire, and prevent any interference from the Greek
escort of the wary chieftain. At this proposal Colonna eagerly
approached, and embraced me with grateful rapture. His dark eye
kindled with its wonted fire; his pallid cheeks were flushed; the
settled gloom, which had so long clouded his fine features, vanished
like mists before the sun, and was succeeded by a radiant and exulting
energy, eloquently expressive of his conviction that the hope on which
he had lived so long--the hope of just revenge--would now be realised.

I urged him to seek, in immediate repose, the restoration of his
exhausted strength, and undertook to provide him with a managed horse,
armour, and weapons, which should place him upon a level with his
mailed and well-mounted antagonist. Horse and armour, however, he
promptly declined. He would find an expedient, he said, to compel
Barozzo to fight him foot to foot, and he pledged himself to find a
way with a good weapon through the scaly corselet of his serpent foe.
He requested only a straight two-edged sword, of well-tried temper;
and a woodman's axe, the purpose of which he did not explain. He then
left me, to plunge into the lake, and to find in its pure and bracing
waters that refreshment which, he said, it would be a vain attempt
to obtain in sleep, while I proceeded to my father's armoury, and
selected from the numerous weapons which adorned it, a long and
powerful two-edged blade, which he had brought from the Levant. This
sword was black from hilt to point, and destitute of ornament, except
some golden hieroglyphics near the guard; but I knew that it had stood
the brunt of several stirring campaigns, without material injury to
its admirable edge and temper.

After a short and unrefreshing slumber, I arose with the sun, and
hastened, with the sword and woodman's axe, to the saloon of Colonna.
His garb was usually plain, almost to homeliness, and chosen probably
with a view to the better concealment of his rank; but for this day of
vengeance he had donned the princely costume of the Tuscan nobles. A
rich vest of embroidered scarlet, and pantaloons of woven silk, were
closely fitted to his noble person, which, I have said before, was
fashioned in the choicest mould of manly beauty, and now, so worthily
adorned, displayed in all its high perfection that faultless union of
symmetry and strength, so rarely seen in life; equalling, indeed, the
Vatican Antinous in classic elegance of form, but far surpassing that
fine statue in stature and heroic character of look and bearing. A
mantle of the richest velvet hung from his well-formed shoulders,
while a nodding plume adorned his Spanish hat and shaded his dark
eyes, which lighted up as they beheld me with bright and eager flashes
of impatience.

"Thou art indeed the 'pearl and pride of Florence,' my Colonna!" I
exclaimed, in irrepressible admiration, applying, as I approached him,
the poetical simile of his Laura.

Regardless of the compliment, he grasped the unpretending weapon I
held out to him, and plucked it from the scabbard. Tracing at a glance
its Oriental pedigree, he doubled the strong blade with ease, until
the point touched and rebounded from the guard, and then severed with
its unyielding edge an iron nail projecting from the wall. "This plain
old weapon," said he, with an exulting smile, "is worth a dukedom.
'Twill pierce a panoply of Milan steel, and I pledge myself to make it
search the vitals of this ruffian governor. But these are words,
Pisani; and words, the Roman proverb says, are feminine, while deeds
alone are masculine. Farewell, then, till we meet in the defile. It is
essential to my purpose that I reach the ground some hours before
Barozzo."

He then embraced me cordially, concealed the axe beneath his mantle,
and departed for the mountains, intending to cross the lake to a point
not distant from the scene of action. At an early hour I mounted
my horse, and rode towards the Villa Foscari. In the vicinity of
Peschiera I descried the governor proceeding on his daily morning
excursion to the mountains. I had hitherto rarely seen him with
more than one attendant, but he was now closely followed by two
well-mounted Greeks of lofty stature, attired in the gorgeous costume
of the Levant, and armed with scimitar and dagger. The square and
athletic person of their chief was arrayed in the splendid garb of a
military commander of distinguished rank. His ample chest was covered
with a corselet of light scale-armour, which yielded to every motion
of his frame, and was partially concealed by a broad sash, and a
capacious velvet mantle. A sword of unusual length hung from his belt,
whence also projected the handle of a poniard, which blazed with
jewels of great lustre and value. At the age of forty-two, Barozzo was
still in the full vigour of manhood; and the martial ease and energy
of his movements indicated that he would find full occupation for the
quick eye and unrivalled skill of the comparatively unarmed Colonna.

The governor saluted me as usual, and after some remarks upon the
beauty of the surrounding scenery, he carelessly inquired where my
friend the painter was. I replied, that he was gone up the lake in his
bark, and described him as an itinerant personage, who delighted in
ranging over the Brescian mountains, where he passed a considerable
portion of his time in sketching, and was but an occasional inmate
of my father's villa. The governor made no comment, and resumed
his observations on the wild mountain scenery to which we were
approaching. I inquired if he had yet discovered in his rides a defile
of singular and romantic beauty, the avenue to which, from the
main-road, was concealed by a grove of beech. He replied in the
negative, and assented to my proposal that we should explore it. A
ride of two hours brought us to the secluded entrance of this
picturesque ravine, and we descended into its deep and silent
recesses. The road was stony, rugged, and unfrequented; and, except at
intervals, admitted only two horsemen abreast. The mountains on each
side rose with bold abruptness, and their mossy surfaces were dotted
with perennial oaks and lofty beeches, which threw their arched and
interwoven branches across the chasm, and intercepted agreeably the
glare and heat of the morning sun. We had proceeded about a league
along this still and dusky hollow, when we distinguished the sound of
a woodman's axe, and the sharp report of its echo from the opposite
cliffs. We soon reached the spot above which the labourer was
employed; but the profusion of foliage and underwood entirely screened
the person of the woodman, whose axe continued to descend with
unabated energy. We had advanced about a hundred paces beyond this
point, when our course was arrested by a groaning and mighty crash,
succeeded by a stunning shock, which shook the ravine like an
earthquake, and was re-echoed in deep, long mutterings by the adjacent
rocks. Tranquillising our startled coursers, we looked around and
beheld a colossal beech, lying in the narrow pathway, which it filled
up like a rampart. The Greeks, who had loitered to discern, if
possible, the person of the vigorous woodman, were intercepted by the
fallen giant of the mountain, but had escaped injury, as we could
perceive them in their saddles through the foliage.

Startled by the ominous appearance of this incident, the governor
immediately rode back, and bade his attendants dismount and lead their
horses over a sheep-path which rose on the mountain slope, above the
level of the fallen tree, while he would ride on slowly until they
rejoined him. Execrating the peasant who had thus annoyed him, he
turned his courser's head, and we proceeded at a slow pace to the
now contiguous spot which I had described to Colonna as best suited
to his purpose. Here the base of an enormous cliff projected like a
rampart into the defile, and sloped abruptly into two right angles,
connected by a level line of nearly perpendicular rock, which rose
in castellated grandeur to a towering height. The numerous crevices
and hollows were fringed with dazzling heath-flowers and luxuriant
creepers, between which the bare black surface of the rock frowned on
the passing gazer like the ruined stronghold of some mountain robber.
We now turned the first angle of the cliff, looking upward as we rode
at the majestic front of this singular work of nature. Still gazing,
we had proceeded about fifty paces, and the governor was remarking,
that the level and lofty summit would make a commanding military
station, when suddenly our coursers halted, and looking down we saw
before us the tall and kingly figure of Colonna, standing like an
apparition in the pathway. His right hand rested on his unsheathed
sword, and his attitude was that of careless and assured composure;
but in his gathered brow, and in the boding glitter of his eye, I
could discern the deadly purpose of the forest lion, about to spring
upon his prey, and fully confident in his own powers and resources. At
this sudden encounter of Montalto's son, who seemed to start with
spectral abruptness from the ground beneath us, Barozzo shook in his
saddle as if he had seen an accusing spirit. For a moment the blood
left his face, his breath shortened, and his chest heaved with strong
internal emotion, but his iron features soon regained their wonted
character of intrepidity. He then darted upon me a keen look of
inquiry and suspicion; before, however, he had time to speak, Colonna
was upon him. Rapidly advancing, he seized the bridle of his horse,
and thus addressed him:--"Barozzo! the measure of thy crimes is full,
and retribution is at hand! Colonna the painter is no more, but the
son of Montalto has escaped thy dagger, and demands atonement for his
father's blood. Dismount, assassin! and defend thy worthless life!"

The deep and startling grandeur of Colonna's voice, and the implacable
hostility which flashed from his fierce eyeballs, shook the firm
sinews of the guilty governor, and again his swarthy lineaments were
blanched with terror. By a sudden and powerful effort, however, he
regained self-mastery, and gathering into his grim features all the
pride and insolence of his soul, he darted upon his youthful enemy a
sneer of contempt. "Presuming vagrant!" he shouted, in accents hoarse
with wrath, "dare to impede my progress, and my retinue, which is at
hand, shall scatter thy limbs on the highway!"

Still firmly grasping the bridle, Colonna eyed him for a moment with
quiet scorn, and then he smiled--briefly indeed, but with a stinging
mockery, a hot and withering scorn of eye and lip, that seared the
haughty chieftain to the brain. Writhing with sudden frenzy, he
spurred his mettled charger, and endeavoured to ride down his
opponent; but the generous animal, true to the instincts of a nature
nobler than his master's, refused to advance, and plunged and
demi-volted with a violence which would have unseated a less
experienced rider. At this moment, the heavy trampling of approaching
horses rolled in doubling echoes through the ravine. Encouraged by the
welcome sound, Barozzo attempted to draw his sword, but before the
plunging of his horse would allow him to reach the hilt, the vigilant
Colonna smote him on the cheek with his sheathed weapon. Then
relinquishing the bridle, and stepping lightly sideways, he struck the
horse's flank, and the startled animal, straining every sinew, bounded
away like a ball, and quickly disappeared round the second angle of
the cliff, followed by the loud laugh of the exulting Colonna, whose
fierce ha! ha! re-echoed through the rocky hollow like a trumpet-call.
Meanwhile the Greeks, who had turned the first angle in time to behold
the termination of the struggle, drew their sabres, and pushing their
horses into a gallop, rushed down upon us like infuriated tigers.
Anticipating their attack, I was not unprepared to aid my gallant
friend in this emergency; but all assistance was superfluous to one so
fertile in resources. He turned with graceful promptitude upon the
savage Cretans, and before their powerful steeds could measure the
short intervening distance, his sword was firmly set between his
teeth, and two pistols appeared with magical abruptness in his grasp.
Levelled by an eye which never failed, these weapons lodged a bullet
in the breast of each approaching Greek. The colossal riders reeled in
their saddles; their sabres quivered in their weakened grasp, and
reclining for support upon the necks of their startled horses, they
successively passed us, and turned the angle beyond which their chief
had disappeared. Colonna now threw down his pistols, and exclaimed
exultingly, "Now is the crowning hour, my Angelo! follow me, and you
shall find the scaly monster of my dream caught in a trap from which
no human power can free him."

I rode by his side in wondering anticipation, and when we had passed
the angle, I beheld a scene which still remains engraven on my memory.
The defile here expanded into an irregular oval, the extremity of
which was blocked up by a dense and impervious mass of young beech and
poplar, rising above thrice the height of a tall man, and levelled
that morning by the ponderous axe of the indefatigable Colonna. The
courser of Barozzo had plunged deep into the leafy labyrinth, and the
unhorsed governor, entangled by his velvet drapery, was endeavouring
to extricate himself from the forked and intersecting branches, while
the horses of the Greeks stood panting in the shade, near the bleeding
bodies of their fallen masters, and the noble brutes snorted with
horror, and shook in every joint, as with lowered necks and flaming
eyes, they snuffed the blood of the expiring wretches.

As we approached the governor, he succeeded in releasing himself by
cutting his rich mantle into shreds with his dagger. Stepping out of
his leafy toils, he stood before us like a wild beast caught in a
hunter's trap, foaming, furious, and breathless, but evidently
dismayed by the sudden and irremediable loss of his armed followers.
Divested of the drapery which had served the double purpose of
concealment and display, we observed that he was accoutred in back and
breast proof armour, of the light steel scales I have before
described. He looked the very serpent of Colonna's dream, and the
malignant scowl of his small and snaky eyes gave singular force to the
resemblance. His generous enemy allowed him time to recover from the
fatigue of disentangling himself, and then approached him. "Barozzo!"
said he, "last night I shot thy cowardly assassin. In dying penitence
he called himself _thy_ agent in the murder of my noble parent, and
bade me shun the daggers of thy savage Cretans. But Montalto's son
would risk a thousand lives to gain his just revenge, and again he
warns thee to defend thy life. Pisani shall be umpire of the combat,
and his time-honoured name is pledge enough that no foul play is meant
thee."

The governor, who had now recovered breath and self-possession, folded
his arms, and met the stern defiance of his youthful foe with a look
of contemptuous indifference. Not deigning a reply, he addressed
himself to me in tones of angry expostulation, and expressed his
indignant surprise that a son of the Senator Pisani should thus lend
himself to the designs of a young vagrant, who was destined to grace
the benches of a galley. My reply was anticipated by the fiery
Colonna, whose sword flashed with lightning quickness from the
scabbard, while his haughty lip curled up with unutterable scorn.

"Remorseless villain!" he shouted, in a voice of appalling wrath, "I
know a venom yet shall sting thy recreant spirit into action. Know,
Ercole Barozzo! that Foscari's daughter was wooed and won by
_me_--plighted her troth to _me_--long ere she saw thy truculent and
yellow visage. Nay, more, she would ere this have fled with me from
Lombardy, had not higher duties staid our mutual purpose."

The governor, although a renowned and fearless soldier in earlier
life, had betrayed a terror on the first view of Colonna, and a
reluctance to engage with him in single-handed conflict, which I had
referred to the depressing action of a diseased conscience, or to the
increased love of life generated by his prosperous condition; but a
taunt like this was beyond all human endurance; it stung him to the
very soul, and roused his lazy valour into life and fury. His sinews
stiffened with rage, and his widely-opened eyes glared upon Colonna
like those of a tigress at bay, while his teeth remained firmly
clenched, and inaudible maledictions quivered on his working lips.
Tearing his formidable sword from its sheath, he rushed like one
delirious upon his adversary, and their blades met with a clash which
told the deadly rancour of the combatants.

I now witnessed a conflict unparalleled for intense and eager
thirst of blood. It was truly the death-grapple of the lion and
the serpent. The noble and generous Colonna, pursuing his just
revenge, and trusting, like the kingly animal, to native strength
and courage, sought no unfair advantage; while the crafty Barozzo,
huge in body, tortuous in mind, and scaled with impenetrable steel,
well personified the reptile of Colonna's vision. Although a
practised and wary swordsman, he did not wield his weapon like
Colonna, who, with equal skill in stratagem and feint, was unrivalled
in that lightning-quickness and ready sympathy of eye and hand, for
which the Italians are pre-eminent amongst the swordsmen of Europe;
but the courage and self-possession of the governor had been exercised
in frequent conflicts with the Moslem; his sinews were strung with
martial toil and daily exercise; and his well-mailed person presented
so little vulnerable surface as greatly to protract and facilitate his
defence. He soon learned, however, to respect the formidable skill and
untiring arm of his young opponent, whose weapon played with a motion
so rapid and incessant, that he seemed to parry and thrust at the same
instant; and had not the large and powerful hand of Barozzo retained
a firm grasp of his hilt, he would have been disarmed at the first
onset. After a few passes, Colonna's point struck the centre of the
governor's corselet with a force which made the scales sink deep
beneath the pressure, but the tempered steel resisted this and many
other well-directed hits. The conflict proceeded with unabated
fierceness, and for a period which would have utterly exhausted men
of ordinary lungs and sinews, when Barozzo, finding all his lunges
ineffective, and fearing premature exhaustion, endeavoured to sustain
and collect his powers by remaining on the defensive; but it was now
too late. His sword was irrecoverably entangled in the whirlwind
involutions of Colonna's weapon--his hold began to relax--and he saw
the moment rapidly approaching when he should be disarmed, and at the
mercy of an unappeasable foe.[A] Despairing of success, thirsting for
revenge, and regardless of the laws of fair and open combat, he
suddenly drew his long dagger, dropped on one knee, and made a thrust
which would have proved fatal to a less vigilant adversary. But
Colonna had anticipated the possibility of this base attempt from one
so destitute of all chivalrous feeling, and his quick eye observed and
met the movement. Stepping lightly back, he whirled his keen-edged
blade with a force which cut deep into Barozzo's wrist. The dagger
dropped from his palsied grasp, and, at the same instant, his sword
flew above his head. Colonna, having disarmed his treacherous enemy
while still kneeling, disdained to follow up his advantage, and coolly
said to him, "That trick was worthy of you, governor! but your
murderous game is nearly up. Resume your sword, and clutch the guard
more firmly, or in three passes more you will be food for vultures!"

[Footnote A: When a student in Germany, the writer had twelve months'
drill in fencing from a French emigrant, and saw a fencing-match _à
l'outrance_ between that equivocal personage the Chevalier d'Eon--then
an elderly man or woman--with a young and vigorous fencing-master, an
emigrant nobleman, who, like Colonna, by rapid involutions, so
entangled the foil of the Chevalier, that he was at length quite
exhausted, and unable to ward off the incessant attacks of his
adversary. He recollects, too, a curious fact, that the Chevalier,
when fencing, emitted, whenever he lunged out, a succession of sounds
from the throat, which he can only compare with the short grunts of a
frightened pig.--_April 1858._]

Barozzo, who had started from the ground, and now stood foaming at the
mouth like a chafed panther, said nothing in reply, but seized his
sword, and rushed upon his generous adversary with desperate but
unavailing ferocity. I could now perceive that Colonna pressed him
more hotly than before, and that his point no longer sought the
corselet, but the throat of Barozzo, where indeed alone he was
mortally vulnerable, and where, ere long, the death-stroke reached
him. A few passes had been exchanged without a hit, when suddenly
Barozzo's sword again flew from his grasp, and long before it reached
the ground, Colonna's point was buried in his throat. The thrust was
mortal. The steel had severed the duct of life; the hot blood bubbled
out in streams; and the huge Barozzo staggered, reeled, and fell upon
his back. A bloody froth now gathered round his lips, which worked
with agony and rage; the life-blood ebbed apace, and soon the trunk
and limbs of the colossal chieftain were stiffened in death. But even
in death the dominant passions of his soul were strongly written in
his livid features. His glazed and sunken eyes still glared with
fiend-like malice on his conqueror, and every lineament was inwrought
with reckless and insatiable ferocity.

Colonna gazed a while in solemn and impressive silence upon the foe he
had destroyed. His broad forehead darkened with deep thought, and his
eyes saddened with painful recollections of the beloved parent whose
untimely death he had so well avenged. Soon, however, his noble
features brightened with a fervent look of blended filial piety and
exultation. He wiped his reeking blade upon the remnants of Barozzo's
mantle, and we retraced our steps. Colonna ascended a sheep-path, and
crossed the mountain to regain his boat, while I returned by a
circuitous road to the villa, leaving the governor of Candia and his
retinue to the vultures of the Apennine, which, with unerring ken, had
espied the dead Greeks, and were already sailing in wide eddies high
above the scene of blood.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here my friend, who had with difficulty pursued his way through the
mouldy pages of the decayed manuscript, was compelled to make a final
pause. The long action of time and damp had nearly obliterated the
remainder of the narrative, and glimpses only of romantic perils by
sea and land were occasionally discernible. We were obliged to suspend
all farther gratification of our curiosity until our return to Venice,
where we hoped by a chemical process to succeed in restoring to a more
legible tint the pale characters of this interesting manuscript.



NAPOLEON.

BY J. G. LOCKHART.

[_MAGA._ JULY 1821.]


     The mighty sun had just gone down
       Into the chambers of the deep;
     The ocean birds had upward flown,
       Each in his cave to sleep.

     And silent was the island shore,
       And breathless all the broad red sea,
     And motionless beside the door
       Our solitary tree.

     Our only tree, our ancient palm,
       Whose shadow sleeps our door beside.
     Partook the universal calm,
       When Buonaparte died.

     An ancient man, a stately man,
       Came forth beneath the spreading tree,
     His silent thoughts I could not scan,
       His tears I needs must see.

     A trembling hand had partly cover'd
       The old man's weeping countenance,
     Yet something o'er his sorrow hover'd
       That spake of War and France;

     Something that spake of other days,
       When trumpets pierced the kindling air,
     And the keen eye could firmly gaze
       Through battle's crimson glare.

     Said I, Perchance this faded hand,
       When Life beat high, and Hope was young,
     By Lodi's wave--on Syria's sand--
       The bolt of death hath flung.

     Young Buonaparte's battle-cry
       Perchance hath kindled this old cheek;
     It is no shame that he should sigh,--
       His heart is like to break.

     He hath been with him, young and old;
       He climb'd with him the Alpine snow;
     He heard the cannon when they roll'd
       Along the silver Po.

     His soul was as a sword, to leap
       At his accustom'd leader's word;
     I love to see the old man weep,--
       He knew no other lord.

     As if it were but yesternight,
       This man remembers dark Eylau,--
     His dreams are of the Eagle's flight,
       Victorious long ago.

     The memories of worser time
       Are all as shadows unto him;
     Fresh stands the picture of his prime,--
       The later trace is dim.

     I enter'd, and I saw him lie
       Within the chamber, all alone,
     I drew near very solemnly
       To dead Napoleon.

     He was not shrouded in a shroud,
       He lay not like the vulgar dead,
     Yet all of haughty, stern, and proud
       From his pale brow was fled.

     He had put harness on to die,
       The eagle-star shone on his breast,
     His sword lay bare his pillow nigh,--
       The sword he liked the best.

     But calm--most calm was all his face,
       A solemn smile was on his lips,
     His eyes were closed in pensive grace--
       A most serene eclipse!

     You would have said some sainted sprite
       Had left its passionless abode,--
     Some man, whose prayer at morn and night
       Had duly risen to God.

     What thoughts had calm'd his dying breast
       (For calm he died) cannot be known;
     Nor would I wound a warrior's rest--
       Farewell, Napoleon!

     No sculptured pile our hands shall rear;
       Thy simple sod the stream shall lave.
     The native Holly's leaf severe
       Shall grace and guard thy grave.

     The Eagle stooping from the sky
       Shall fold his wing and rest him here,
     And sunwards gaze with glowing eye
       From Buonaparte's bier.



A LEGEND OF GIBRALTAR.

BY COLONEL E. B. HAMLEY.

[_MAGA._ NOVEMBER 1851.]


CHAPTER I.

The Governor's residence at Gibraltar was, in days of Spanish
domination, a religious house, and still retains the name of the
Convent. Two sides of a long quadrangular gallery, traversing the
interior of the building, are hung with portraits of officers present
at the great siege in 1779-83, executed in a style which proves that
Pre-Raphaelite painters existed in those days. One of these portraits
represents my grandfather. To judge from a painting of him by Sir
Joshua, and a small miniature likeness, both still in possession of
the family, he must have been rather a good-looking old gentleman,
with an affable, soldier-like air, and very respectable features. The
portrait at the Convent is doubtless a strong likeness, but by no
means so flattering; it represents him much as he might have appeared
in life, if looked at through a cheap opera-glass. A full inch has
been abstracted from his forehead and added to his chin; the bold nose
has become a great promontory in the midst of the level countenance;
the eyes have gained in ferocity what they have lost in speculation,
and would, indeed, go far to convey a disagreeable impression of my
ancestor's character, but for the inflexible smile of the mouth.
Altogether, the grimness of the air, the buckram rigidity of figure,
and the uncompromising hardness of his shirt-frill and the curls of
his wig, are such as are to be met with in few works of art, besides
the figure-heads of vessels and the sign-boards of country inns.

However, my grandfather is no worse off than his compeers. Not far
from this one is another larger painting, representing a council of
officers held during the siege, where, notwithstanding the gravity of
the occasion and the imminence of the danger, not a single face in the
intrepid assembly wears the slightest expression of anxiety or fear,
or, indeed, of anything else; and though my progenitor, in addition to
the graces of the other portrait, is here depicted with a squint, yet
he is by no means the most ill-looking individual present. But the
illustrious governor, Eliott, has suffered more than anybody at the
hands of the artist. Besides figuring in the production aforesaid, a
statue of him stands in the Alameda, carved in some sort of wood,
unluckily for him, of a durable nature. The features are of a very
elevated cast, especially the nose; the little legs seem by no means
equal to the task of sustaining the enormous cocked-hat; and the
bearing is so excessively military, that it has been found necessary
to prop the great commander from behind to prevent him from falling
backwards.

My grandfather, John Flinders, joined the garrison of Gibraltar
as a major of infantry a few years before the siege. He was then
forty-seven years of age, and up to that time had remained one of the
most determined old bachelors that ever existed. Not that he ever
declaimed against matrimony in the style of some of our young moderns,
who fancy themselves too strong-minded to marry; the truth being that
they remain single, either because they have not been gifted by nature
with tastes sufficiently strong to like one woman better than another,
or else, because no woman ever took the trouble to lay siege to them.
My grandfather had never married, simply, I believe, because matrimony
had never entered his head. He seldom ventured, of his own choice,
into ladies' society, but, when he did, no man was more emphatically
gallant to the sex. One after one, he saw his old friends abandoning
the irresponsible ease of bachelorhood for the cares of wedded life;
but while he duly congratulated them on their felicity, and officiated
as godfather to their progeny, he never seemed to anticipate a
similar destiny for himself. All his habits showed that he had been
too long accustomed to single harness to go cleverly as one of a pair.
He had particular hours of rising and going to bed; of riding out and
returning; of settling himself down for the evening to a book and
pipe, which the presence of a helpmate would have materially deranged.
And therefore, without holding any Malthusian tenets, without pitying
his Benedick acquaintances, or entertaining a thought of the sex which
would have been in the least degree derogatory to the character of a
De Coverley, his castles in the air were never tenanted by any of his
own posterity.

It was fortunate for my grandfather that in his time people did
not suffer so much as now from that chronic inflammation of the
conscience, which renders them perfectly miserable unless they are
engaged in some tangible pursuit--"improving their minds," or "adding
to the general stock of information." A more useless, contented person
never existed. He never made even a show of employing himself
profitably, and never complained of weariness in maintaining the
monotonous jog-trot of his simple daily life. He read a good deal,
certainly, but it was not to improve his mind, only to amuse himself.
Strong-minded books, to stimulate his thinking faculties, would have
had no charms for him; he would as soon have thought of getting
galvanised for the pleasure of looking at his muscles. And I don't
know whether it was not just as well. In systematically cultivating
his mind, he would merely have been laying a top-dressing on a thin
soil--manuring where there would never have been a crop--and some
pleasant old weeds would have been pulled up in the process. A green
thistly common, even though a goose could hardly find sustenance
there, is nature still, which can hardly be said of a patch of earth
covered with guano.

So my grandfather went on enjoying himself without remorse after his
own fashion, and never troubled himself to think--an operation that
would have been inconvenient to himself, and productive of no great
results to the world. He transplanted his English habits to Gibraltar;
and, after being two years there, knew nothing more of Spain or
Spaniards than the view of the Andaluçian hills from the Rock, and a
short constitutional daily ride along the beach beyond the Spanish
lines, to promote appetite and digestion, afforded him. And so he
might have continued to vegetate during the remainder of his service
there, but for a new acquaintance that he made about this time.

Frank Owen, commonly called Garry Owen by his familiars, was one of
those joyous spirits whose pleasant faces and engaging manners serve
as a perpetual act of indemnity for all breaches of decorum, and
trespasses over social and conventional fences, committed by them in
the gaiety of their hearts. In reproving his many derelictions of
military duty, the grim colonel of the regiment would insensibly
exchange his habitual tone of severe displeasure for one of mild
remonstrance--influenced, probably, quite as much, in secret, by the
popularity of the unrepentant offender, as by any personal regard
for him. Captain Hedgehog, who had shot a man through the heart for
corking his face one night when he was drunk, and all contact with
whose detonating points of honour was as carefully avoided by his
acquaintance as if they had been the wires of a spring-gun, sustained
Garry's reckless personalities with a sort of warning growl utterly
thrown away upon the imperturbable wag, who would still persist, in
the innocence of his heart, in playing round the den of this military
cockatrice. And three months after his arrival in Gibraltar, being one
day detected by a fierce old Spanish lady in the very act of kissing
her daughter behind the little señorita's great painted fan, his
good-humoured impudence converted the impending storm into a mild
drizzle of reproof, ending in his complete restoration to favour.

This youth had brought with him from England a letter from his mother,
a widow lady, an old friend of my grandfather, who had some thirty
years before held with her a juvenile flirtation. It recommended to
his protection her son Frank, about to join the regiment as an ensign,
pathetically enlarging on the various excellencies, domestic and
religious, which shone forth conspicuously in the youth's character,
and of the comfort of contemplating and superintending which she was
about to be deprived. In fact, it had led my grandfather to expect a
youth of extreme docility and modesty, requiring a protector rather to
embolden than to restrain him. After in vain attempting to espy in his
young acquaintance any of the characteristics ascribed to him in his
mother's letter, the Major, naturally good-natured and accessible to
his youthful comrades, very soon suffered himself to be influenced by
the good-humour, vigorous vitality, and careless cleverness of the
Ensign, to an extent that caused him sometimes to wonder secretly at
his own transformation. His retired habits were broken in upon, one
after the other, till he had scarcely a secluded hour in his sixteen
waking ones to enjoy alone his book and his pipe. His peaceful
quarters, silent in general as a monk's cell, would now be invaded at
all sorts of hours by the jovial Garry, followed by the admiring
satellites who usually revolved around him; and the Major, with a
sound between a groan and a chuckle, would close his well-beloved
volume to listen to the facetious details of, and sometimes to
participate in, the uncongenial freaks of the humorous subaltern. Once
he had actually consented, at about the hour he usually went to bed,
to accompany the youth to a Carnival ball--one of a series of
entertainments at which the Catholic youth of the city are wont to
indemnify themselves for the mortifications of Lent, and where masks,
dominoes, and fancy dresses lend their aid to defeat the vigilance of
the lynx-eyed duennas and mammas who look anxiously on, perfectly
aware, in general, that their own watchfulness is more to be relied on
for nipping in the bud an indiscreet amour, than any innate iciness of
temperament or austere propriety in the objects of their care. Not
only did the Major mingle in the scene, but he actually, about
midnight, found himself figuring in a cotillon with a well-developed
señorita of thirteen years, whose glances and deportment showed a
precocious proficiency in the arts of flirtation. At this ball Garry
had become enamoured beyond all former passions (and they were
numerous and inconstant, in general, as if he had been a Grand Turk)
of one of his partners, a young Spanish lady. Her graceful figure and
motions in the dance had at first captivated him--and when, after
dancing with her himself, his eloquent entreaties, delivered in
indifferent Spanish, had prevailed on her to lift her mask for one coy
moment, the vision of eyes and eyebrows (the common beauties of a
Spanish countenance), and the clear rosy complexion, a much more rare
perfection, then revealed, had accomplished the utter subjugation of
his errant fancy. She had vanished from the ball silently and
irremediably, as a houri of Paradise from the awakening eyes of an
opium-eating Pasha; and all his attempts to trace her, continued
unceasingly for a couple of months afterwards, had proved in vain.

One morning my grandfather was seated at breakfast in the verandah of
his quarters, situated high up the rock above the town. Below him lay
the roofs, terraced and balconied, and populous with cats, for whose
convenience the little flat stone squares at the top of most of the
houses appeared to have been devised. Tall towers, called mirandas,
shot up at intervals, from whose summits the half-baked inhabitants,
pent within close walls and streets, might catch refreshing glimpses
of the blue sea and the hills of Spain--conveniences destined soon
afterwards to be ruined by the enemy's fire, or pulled down to avoid
attracting it, and never rebuilt. Beyond the white sunny ridge of the
line wall came the sharp edge of the bay, rising in high perspective
to the purple coast of Spain opposite, which was sprinkled with
buildings white as the sails that dotted the water. My grandfather was
in a state of great sensual enjoyment, sniffing up the odour of the
large geranium-bushes that grew in clumps in the little garden in
front, and the roses that twined thickly round the trellis of the
vine-roofed verandah; sipping thick creamy Spanish chocolate between
the mouthfuls of red mullet, broiled in white paper, the flavour of
which he was diligently comparing with that of some specimens of
the same fish which he remembered to have eaten in his youth in
Devonshire; and glancing sideways over the cup at an open volume of
Shakespeare, leaned slopingly on the edge of a plate of black figs
bursting with ripeness, like trunk-hose slashed with crimson. The
Major was none of your skimming readers, who glance through a work
of art as if it were a newspaper--measure, weigh it, and deliver a
critical opinion on it, before the more reverential student has
extricated himself from the toils of the first act or opening chapter:
not he; he read every word, and affixed a meaning, right or wrong, to
all the hard, obsolete ones. The dramatic fitness of the characters
was not to be questioned by him, any more than that of the authentic
personages of history. He would reason on their acts and proceedings
as on those of his own intimate acquaintances. He never could account
for Hamlet's madness otherwise than by supposing the Prince must have,
some time or other, got an ugly rap on the head--let fall, perhaps,
when a baby, by a gin-drinking nurse--producing, as in some persons he
had himself from time to time been acquainted with, a temporary
aberration of the wits; a piece of original criticism that has not
occurred to any of the other commentators on this much-discussed
point. Of Iago he has recorded an opinion in an old note-book still
extant, where his observations appear in indifferent orthography, and
ink yellow with age, that he was a cursed scoundrel--an opinion
delivered with all the emphasis of an original detector of crime,
anxious that full though tardy justice should be done to the
delinquent's memory. But his great favourite was Falstaff: "A
wonderful clever fellow, sir," he would say, "and no more a coward
than you or I, sir."

My grandfather proceeded slowly with his meal, holding the cup to his
lips with one hand and turning a leaf with the other--an operation
which he was delaying till a great mosquito-hawk (a beautiful brown
moth mottled like a pheasant), that had settled on the page, should
think proper to take flight. He had lately come from a parade, as was
evidenced by his regimental leather breeches and laced red waistcoat;
but a chintz dressing-gown and a pair of yellow Moorish slippers
softened down the warlike tone of these garments to one more congenial
with his peaceable and festive pursuits. Presently the garden door
opened, and a well-known step ascended to the verandah. Frank Owen,
dressed in a cool Spanish costume, advanced, and, stopping three paces
from the Major, took off his tufted sombrero and made a low bow.

"You are the picture, my dear sir," he said, "of serene enjoyment
slightly tinged with sensuality. But how long, may I ask, have you
taken to breakfasting on spiders?"--pointing, as he took a chair
opposite the Major, at an immense red-spotted one that had dropt from
the ceiling on the morsel my grandfather was in the act of conveying
to his mouth.

The Major tenderly removed the insect by a leg.

"'Tis the worst of these al-fresco meals, Frank," said he. "Yesterday
I cut a green lizard in two that had got on my plate, mistaking him
for a bit of salad--being, as usual, more intent on my book than my
food--and had very near swallowed the tail-half of the unfortunate
animal."

"There are worse things than lizards in the world," quoth Garry.
"Ants, I should say, were certainly less wholesome"--and he directed
the Major's attention to a long black line of those interesting
creatures issuing from a hole in the pavement, passing in an unbroken
series up my ancestor's left leg, the foot of which rested on the
ground, then traversing the cloth, and terminating at the loaf, the
object of their expedition.

"Bless me," said the Major, as he rose and shook his breeches gently
free from the marauders, "I must be more careful, or I shall chance to
do myself a mischief. But they're worse at night. I've been obliged to
leave off reading here in the evenings, for it went to my heart to see
the moths scorching their pretty gauzy wings in the candle till the
wicks were half-choked with them."

"Do you know, Major," said Owen, gravely, "that either this insect
diet, or the sedentary life you lead, is making you quite fat, and
utterly destroying the symmetry of your figure? In another week there
will be one unbroken line of rotundity from your chin to your knees."

My grandfather glanced downward at his waistcoat. "No, my boy, no,"
said he; "if there had been any difference, I should have known it by
my clothes. I don't think I've gained a pound this twelvemonth."

"More than a stone," quoth Garry. "We all remarked it on parade
to-day--and remarked it with sorrow. Now, look you, a sea voyage is
the very thing to restore your true proportions, and I propose that we
shall take a short one together."

"A sea voyage!" quoth my grandfather; "the boy is mad! Not if all the
wonders seen by Sinbad the Sailor lay within a day's sail. Did I not
suffer enough coming here from England? I don't think," said my
grandfather with considerable pathos, "that my digestion has ever been
quite right to this day."

"'Sick of a calm,' eh?--Like your friend Mistress Tearsheet," said the
youngster. "But I've settled it all, and count on you. Look here," he
continued, drawing from his pocket a large printed bill, and unfolding
it before my ancestor. At the top appeared in large capitals the
words, "Plaza de Toros;" and underneath was a woodcut representing a
bull, gazing, with his tail in the air, and an approving smile on his
countenance, on the matadore about to transfix him. Then followed a
glowing account in Spanish of the delights of a great bull-fight
shortly to take place at Cadiz, setting forth the ferocity of the
bulls, the number of horses that might be expected to die in the
arena, and the fame of the picadores and espadas who were then and
there to exhibit.

The Major shook his head--the captivating prospectus had no charms for
him: he had not, as I have before said, an inquiring mind, and habit
was so strong in him, that a change was like the dislocation of a
joint. The Ensign proceeded to paint the delights of the excursion in
the brightest colours he could command. They were to go to Cadiz in a
boat which he had lately bought; she was a capital sailer--there was a
half-deck forward, under which the Major might sleep as comfortably as
in his own bed--a cooking apparatus (and here, as he expatiated on the
grills and stews and devils that were to be cooked and eaten, with the
additional stimulus to appetite afforded by sea air, there was a spark
of relenting in my grandfather's eye). "You shall return," said the
tempter, "with a digestion so completely renovated, that my name
shall rise to your tongue at each meal as a grace before meat, and a
thanksgiving after it; and as to sea-sickness, why, this Levanter
will take us there in twelve hours, so smoothly that you may balance
a straw upon your nose the whole way." Finally, the cunning Ensign
laid before him an application for leave already made out, and only
awaiting his signature.

My grandfather made some feeble objections, which Owen pooh-poohed in
his usual off-hand fashion. There was no standing against the
youngster's strong will, and at five o'clock that same evening the
Major found himself proceeding through the town towards the Waterport
for embarkation, by no means fully reconciled to the abandonment of
his beloved Lares. My luckless grandfather! did no presentiment warn
you of a consequence then hanging in the clouds, that was to change
utterly for you the untroubled aspect of those household gods?

Owen had attired himself for the trip in a half-nautical costume--a
shirt of light-blue flannel, fastened at the collar with a smart
bandana, a blue jacket, loose duck trousers, and a montero cap, which
costume became the puppy well enough. He seemed of this opinion
himself, as he walked gaily along beside the Major: so did the
black-eyed occupants of many houses on each side, who peeped forth
smilingly from behind their green lattices, sometimes nodding, and
kissing their hands--for the Ensign had an incredible acquaintance
with the budding and full-blown portion of the population of
Gibraltar. The Major had stuck to his buckskins, (which stuck to him
in return), over which he had drawn a pair of jack-boots, and wore his
red-laced coat and regimental hat--for in those days that passion for
mufti, now so prevalent in the army, did not exist. Whenever he caught
sight of any of the greetings bestowed from the windows, he would take
off his laced hat, and, fixing his eyes on the tittering señorita, who
generally let fall the lattice with a slam, would make her a low
bow--and, after each of these acts of courtesy, my grandfather walked
on more elated than before.

They passed the drawbridge at Waterport, and, struggling through the
crowd of Turks, Jews, infidels, and heretics, who usually throng the
quay, entered a shore-boat that was to row them out to where Owen's
vessel--the _Fair Unknown_, as he had christened her, in memory of his
unforgotten partner at the Carnival ball--lay moored. In her they
found a sailor who was to accompany them on their voyage--a noted
contrabandista, called Francisco, whose friendship Owen had lately
acquired, and who acted as his lieutenant on his marine excursions.
The boat was a neat affair--a small cutter, smartly painted, well
found, and capable of holding several persons comfortably; and
Francisco was a ruddy, portly, dark-skinned, large-whiskered son of
the sea, the picture of good-humour. My grandfather stept in, in his
jack-boots. There was much settling of carpet-bags and stowing of
provisions in the lockers, and then they hoisted sail, and glided
smoothly out from among the shipping into the bay.

The breeze was light and fair, and they went on, as Frank had
promised, pleasantly enough. My grandfather for the first time
surveyed the scene of his two years' residence from the sea. The grey
old rock looked mellow in the evening light, as an elderly gentleman
over his wine--the window-panes glanced ruddily, the walls gleamed
whitely, and the trees were tinted with a yellower green; behind, in
the eastern sky, floated one single purple cloud. As the objects
became confused in the distance, the sharp rugged outline of the rock
assumed the appearance that has caused the Spaniards to call it El
Cuerpo--the appearance of a vast human body laid out on its back, and
covered with a winding-sheet, like a dead Titan on his funeral
pile--the head towards Spain, the chest arched at Middle Hill, the
legs rising gently upward to the knees at O'Hara's Tower, and then
sloping down till the feet rest on Europa. The sun went down as they
rounded Cabrita Point, and the breeze, freshening, took them swiftly
along under the huge hills that rise abruptly upward from the Spanish
coast. Then Francisco, lighting a charcoal fire, placed thereon, in a
frying-pan, tender steaks thickly strewn with sliced tomatas and
onions, from whence arose a steam that brought tears of gratitude and
delight into my grandfather's eyes. He anxiously watched the
cooking--even threw out slight suggestions, such as another pinch of
pepper, an additional onion, a slight dash of cayenne, and the like;
and then, settling a plate firmly on the knees of his jack-boots, with
a piece of bread and a cup by his side, and a knife and fork pointing
upwards in his hands like lightning-conductors, gazed cheerfully
around him. And when Francisco, rising from his knees, where he had
been blowing the charcoal fire, removed the hissing pan towards my
grandfather's plate, transferring to it a liberal portion of the
contents, the good man, gazing on the white and red streaks of
vegetable relieved by the brown background of steak, and the whole
picture swimming in a juicy atmosphere of gravy, felt sentiments of
positive friendship towards that lawless individual, and, filling a
bumper of Xerez, drank success to the voyage.

Three times was my grandfather's plate replenished from the
thrice-filled pan. Afterwards he dallied a little with a cold pie,
followed by a bit of cheese for digestion. Then, folding his hands
across his stomach, he expressed his sincere opinion, that he had
never tasted anything so good as that steak; and when Owen placed in
his hand a smoking can of grog, he looked on the young man with a
truly paternal eye. He talked complacently and benevolently, as men
do who have dined well--praised the weather, the boat, the scene--and
wondered where a man was going who rode slowly along a mountain-path
above them, within hail, following him, in imagination, to his home,
in a sort of dreamy contentment. After a second can he began to
grow drowsy, and, just aware that Owen said the breeze was still
freshening, retired to the soft mattress spread for him under the
half-deck, and replacing his cocked-hat by a red nightcap, slept till
morning.

It was broad daylight when he woke, conscious that for an hour or two
past he had been sleeping most uneasily. There was a violent swinging
motion, a rushing of wind and of water, that confused him extremely;
and, forgetting where he was, he nearly fractured his skull by rising
suddenly into a sitting posture. Steadying himself on his hands, in
the posture of the Dying Gladiator, he slewed himself round on the
pivot of his stern, and protruded his powdered head, like an old
beaver, out of his hole. Owen and Francisco were sitting in a pool
of water, trying to shelter themselves under the weather-side of the
boat--dripping wet, and breakfasting on cold potatoes and fragments
of meat left from last night's meal. My grandfather did not like the
appearance of things at all. Rent in twain by horrible qualms, he
inquired feebly of Owen if they were near Cadiz? Frank, in reply,
shook his head, and said they were at anchor. Then my grandfather,
making a vigorous effort, emerged completely from his place of repose,
and, rising to his feet, looked over the gunwale. The scene he beheld
was in dreary contrast to that of the evening before. Ridges of white
foam were all around--ahead was a long low line of sandy coast,
terminating in a point of rock whereon stood a lighthouse; and to
leeward the bay was enclosed by steep hills. Over the low coast-line
the wind blew with steady violence. A bright sun rather increased
the dreariness of the prospect, which was suddenly closed to my
grandfather by a shower of spray, that blinded him, and drenched him
to the skin, converting his jack-boots into buckets. The wind had
increased to a gale during the night, and they had been forced to take
precarious shelter in the harbour of Tarifa. The Major did not venture
on a second peep, but sat, dismally wet and sea-sick, the whole
morning, trying to shelter himself as he best could. Once, a man came
down to the beach, and gesticulated like a scaramouch, screaming also
at the same time; but what his gestures and screams signified nobody
on board could tell. At length, as the gale did not moderate, while
their position increased in discomfort, and was also becoming
precarious (for one of their anchors was gone, and great fears were
entertained for the other), Owen and Francisco decided to weigh, and
stand in for the shore, trusting to the smuggler's seamanship for a
safe run. The Major, in spite of his sickness, stood up and pulled
gallantly at the cable, the wind blowing his pigtail and skirts
perpendicularly out from his person. "Heaf!" screamed Francisco from
the bows; "Heave!" echoed Owen; and as the words flew past him on the
gale, my grandfather's exertions were prodigious. At last, after
tremendous tugging, the anchor came up. The jib was hoisted with a
reef in it, Owen holding the sheet, while the smuggler ran aft and
took the helm. They bent over to the gale, till the Major stood
almost perpendicularly on the lee gunwale, with his back against
the weather-side, and ran in till he thought they were going to bump
ashore; then tacking, they stood up along the coast, close to the
wind, till Francisco gave the word. Owen let go the sheet, and the jib
fluttered loosely out as they ran through a narrow passage into smooth
water behind the sea-wall, and made fast to a flight of steps.

Presently some functionary appertaining to the harbour appeared, and
with him an emissary from the Governor of the place, who, aware of
their plight, had civilly sent to offer assistance. The messenger was
the same man who had made signals to them from the beach in the
morning; and he seemed to think it advisable that they should wait on
the Governor in person, saying that he was always disposed to be civil
to British officers. This advice they resolved to act upon at once,
before it should grow dark, foreseeing that, in case of their
detention from bad weather in Tarifa, the Governor might prove a
potent auxiliary. The Major would have wished to make some little
alterations in his toilette, after his late disasters; but, after
trying in vain to pull off his jack-boots, which clung to him like his
skin, he was obliged to abandon the idea, and contented himself with
standing on his head to let the water run out of them. As they
advanced along the causeway leading to the town (the point where they
landed is connected with the town by a long narrow sandy isthmus),
the gale swept over them volumes of sand, which, sticking on my
grandfather's wet uniform, gave him somewhat the appearance of
a brick-wall partially rough-cast. His beard was of two days'
growth--his hair-powder was converted into green paste by the
sea-water--and his whole appearance was travel-stained and deplorable.
Nevertheless his dignity by no means forsook him as they traversed the
narrow alleys of the ancient town of Tarifa on their way to the
approaching interview.

His excellency Don Pablo Dotto, a wonderfully fat little man, received
them very courteously. He was a Spaniard of the old school, and
returned the stately greeting of my grandfather, and the easy one of
the Ensign, with such a profusion of bows, that for the space of a
minute they saw little more of his person than the shining baldness
on the top of his head. Then they were presented to his wife, a
good-natured, motherly sort of old lady, who seemed to compassionate
them much. But, while Owen was explaining to her the object of
their trip, and its disastrous interruption, he suddenly stopped,
open-mouthed, and blushing violently, with his gaze directed towards
the open door of a neighbouring apartment. There he beheld advancing
towards him, the Beauty of the Carnival ball.

The Governor's lady named her as "her daughter, the Señorita Juana."
Spite of the different dress and circumstances, she too recognised
Frank, and coloured slightly as she came forward to receive his
greeting. The Ensign, an impudent scamp enough in general, was,
however, the more confused of the two; and his embarrassed salutation
was entirely thrown into the shade by the magnificence of my
grandfather's bow. However, he presently recovered his assurance,
and explained to the elder lady how he had previously enjoyed the
pleasure (with a great stress upon the word) of making her daughter's
acquaintance. Then he recounted to Juana the manner in which they had
been driven in here, when on their way to Cadiz to see the bull-fight.

"We also are going to ride thither to-morrow," said the Señorita,
softly.

"Ah, then, we shall meet there," said Frank, who presently after was
seized with a fit of absence, and made incoherent replies. He was
considering how they might travel together, and had almost resolved
to offer to take the whole family to Cadiz in his boat--a proposal
that would probably have somewhat astonished the little Governor,
especially if he had seen the dimensions of the craft thus destined
to accommodate himself and retinue. But Garry was an adept in
manoeuvring, and marched skilfully upon the point he had in view. He
drew such a pathetic picture of the hardships they had endured on the
voyage--their probable detention here for most of their short
leave--their friendless condition, and their desire to see something
of the country--that the little Governor was in a manner impelled
(fancying all the time that the impulse sprung altogether from his own
native benevolence) to desire that the two forlorn Englishmen would
travel to Cadiz under his escort. So it being settled entirely to
Garry's satisfaction that they were to start next morning at break
of day on horseback--an arrangement which my grandfather's total
ignorance of Spanish prevented him from knowing anything about--they
retired to the principal fonda, where the Major speedily forgot, over
a tolerable dinner, the toils and perils of the voyage.


CHAPTER II.

Daybreak the next morning found them issuing forth from the ancient
city of Tarifa on a couple of respectable-looking hacks, hired from
the innkeeper. Frank had, with his accustomed generalship, managed to
secure a position at the off-rein of the Señorita Juana, who was
mounted on a beautiful little white barb. Under her side-saddle, of
green velvet studded with gilt nails, was a Moorish saddle-cloth,
striped with vivid red and white, and fringed deeply. From the
throat-lash of the bridle hung a long tassel, as an artificial
auxiliary to the barb's tail in the task of keeping the flies off,
further assisted by a tuft of white horse-hair attached to the butt of
her whip. She wore a looped hat and white plume, a riding-skirt, and
an embroidered jacket of blue cloth, fastened, as was the wrought
bosom of her chemise, with small gold buttons. Frank could not keep
his eyes off her, now riding off to the further side of the road to
take in at once the whole of the beauteous vision, now coming close
up to study it in its delightful details.

In front of the pair rode the little Governor, side by side with a
Spaniard of about thirty, the long-betrothed lover of Juana--so long,
in fact, that he did not trouble himself to secure his authority in a
territory so undeniably his own, but smoked his cigar as coolly as if
there were no good-looking Englishman within fifty miles of his
mistress. He wore garments of the Spanish cut, made of nankeen--the
jacket frogged with silver cords, tagged with little silver XXXX
fishes--the latter appended, perhaps, as suitable companions to the
frogs. A hundred yards ahead was an escort of four horse-soldiers with
carbines on their thighs, their steel accoutrements flashing ruddily
in the level sunlight. Behind Frank came Major Flinders, clean shaved,
and with jack-boots and regimental coat restored to something like
their pristine splendour: by his side rode another lady, the Señorita
Carlota, Juana's aunt, somewhere about thirty years old, plump and
merry, her upper lip fringed at the corners with a line of dark down,
quite decided enough for a cornet of eighteen to be proud of--a
feminine embellishment too common for remark in these southern
regions, and, in the opinion of some connoisseurs, rather enhancing
the beauty of the fair wearers. She talked incessantly, at first,
to my grandfather, who did not understand a word she said, but
whose native politeness prompted him to say, "Si, Señorita," to
everything--sometimes laying at the same moment his hand on his heart,
and bowing with considerable grace. Behind this pair came another
interesting couple--viz. two servants on mules, with great saddle-bags
stuffed to extreme corpulence with provisions.

It was a glorious morning--a gentle breeze sweeping on their faces as
they mounted the hills, but dying into silence in the deep valleys,
fresh, and glistening with dew. Sometimes they rode along a rocky
common, yellowed with a flowering shrub like furze--sometimes through
unfenced fields--sometimes along broad plains, where patches of
blossoming beans made the air rich with scent, and along which they
galloped full speed, the Governor standing high in the stirrups of his
demi-pique, the Señorita's white barb arching his neck till his muzzle
touched his chest under the pressure of the long bit, and my
grandfather prancing somewhat uneasily on his hard-mouthed Spanish
entero, whose nose was, for the most part, projected horizontally in
the air. The Major was not a first-rate seat--he rode with a long
stirrup, his heel well down, his leg straight, and slanting a little
forward, body upright, and elbows back, as may be seen in the plates
to ancient works on equitation--a posture imposing enough, but not
safe across country: galloping deranged it materially, for the steed
was hard-mouthed, and required a long, strong pull, with the body
back, and a good purchase on the stirrups. The animal had a most
voracious appetite, quite overcoming his sense of what was due to his
rider; and, on seeing a tuft of juicy grass, down went his nose,
drawing my grandfather, by means of the tight reins, well over the
pummel. On these occasions, the Major, feeling resistance to be in
vain, would sit looking easily about him, feigning to be absorbed in
admiration of the prospect--which was all very well, where there was a
prospect to look at, but wore a less plausible appearance when the
animal paused in a hollow between two hedges, or ran his nose
into a barn-door. But whenever this happened, Carlota, instead of
half-smothering a laugh, as a mischievous English girl would, ten to
one, have done, sat most patiently till the Major and his steed came
to an understanding, and would greet him, as they moved on again, with
a good-natured smile, that won her, each time, a higher place in his
estimation.

Thus they proceeded till the sun rose high in the heavens, when, on
reaching a grove on the edge of one of the plains, they halted
under a huge cork-tree, near which ran a rivulet. The cavalcade
dismounted--the horses were tethered, the mules disburthened of the
saddle-bags, and the contents displayed under the tree; horse-cloths
and cloaks were spread around on the ground, and a fire of dry sticks
was lit on the edge of the stream with such marvellous celerity that,
before my grandfather had time to take more than a hasty survey of the
eatables, after seating himself on the root of a tree, a cup of
steaming chocolate was placed in his hand.

"Confess, Major," said Garry, speaking with his mouth full of
sausage, "that a man may lose some of the pleasures of existence by
leading the life of a hermit. Don't you feel grateful to me for
dragging you out of your cobweb to such a pleasant place as this?"

"'Tis an excellent breakfast," said my grandfather, who had just
assisted the Señorita Carlota to a slice of turkey's breast, and
himself to an entire leg and thigh--dividing with her, at the
same time, a crisp white loaf, having a handle like a teapot or
smoothing-iron--"and my appetite is really very good. I should be
perfectly easy if I could only understand the remarks of this very
agreeable lady, and make suitable replies."

"Let me interpret your sentiments," said Garry; "and though I may not
succeed in conveying them in their original force and poetry, yet they
shall lose as little as possible in transmission. Just try me--what
would you wish to say?"

"Why, really," said my grandfather, pondering, "I had a great many
things to say as we came along, but they've gone out of my head. Do
you think she ever read Shakespeare?"

"Not a chance of it," said Owen.

Here the Señorita laughingly appealed to Frank to know what my
grandfather was saying about her.

"Ah," quoth my grandfather, quoting his friend Shakespeare--

     "'I understand thy _looks_--the pretty Spanish
     Which thou pourest down from these swelling heavens
     I am _not_ perfect in----'

"She's an extremely agreeable woman, Frank, I'll be sworn, if one only
understood her," quoth my grandfather, casting on her a glance full of
gallantry.

The Ensign was not so entirely occupied in prosecuting his own
love affair as to be insensible to the facilities afforded him for
amusing himself at the Major's expense. Accordingly, he made a
speech in Spanish to Carlota, purporting to be a faithful translation
of my grandfather's, but teeming, in fact, with the most romantic
expressions of chivalrous admiration, as was apparent from the
frequent recurrence of the words "ojos" (eyes), "corazon" (heart),
and the like amatory currency.

"There, Major," said the interpreter, as he finished; "I've told her
what you said of her."

The Major endorsed the compliments by laying his hand upon his heart,
and bowing with a tender air. Whereupon Carlota, laughing, and
blushing a deeper red, made her acknowledgments.

"She says," quoth Frank, "that she knew the English before to be a
gallant nation; but that if all the caballéros (that's gentlemen) of
that favoured race are equal to the present specimen, her own
countrymen must be thrown entirely into the shade."

"Delightful!" cried my grandfather; but it is doubtful whether this
expression of pleasure was called forth by the sentiments attributed
to the Señorita, or by the crisp succulent tenderness of a mouthful of
sucking-pig which was at that moment spreading itself over his palate.

Following up his idea, the mischievous Ensign continued to diversify
the graver pursuit of prosecuting his own suit with Juana, by
impressing Carlota and the Major with the idea that each was
disposed to think favourably of the other. In this he was tolerably
successful--the speeches he made to Carlota, supposed to originate
with my grandfather, had a very genuine warmth about them, being, in
fact, very often identical with those he had just been making, under
immediate inspiration, to his own divinity; while as for the Major, it
would have been an insult to the simplicity of that worthy man's
nature to exert any great ingenuity in deceiving him; it would have
been like setting a trap for a snail. So they journeyed on, highly
pleased with each other, and occasionally, in the absence of their
faithful interpreter, conversed by means of smiles and courteous
gesticulations, till my grandfather felt entirely at his ease, and was
almost sorry when, on the evening of the second day, they got to
Cadiz.


CHAPTER III.

A whole city full of people condensed into one broad amphitheatre, all
bearing a national resemblance to each other in countenance and
costume, all apparently animated by the same spirit--for nothing could
be more unanimous than the applause which greeted a favourite
smilingly crossing the arena, the abuse which overwhelmed an object
offensive to the eye of the many-headed, or the ridicule which
descended in a joyous uproarious flood on the hapless individual in
whose appearance, dress, or manner, anything was detected calculated
to appeal to the highly sensitive risible faculty of a Spanish
assembly;--a gay and picturesque mixture of colours, waving and
tossing like a garden in a breeze, as the masses of white mantillas,
heads black as coal, decorated with flowers and green leaves, red
sashes, tufted sombreros, and yellow gaiters, with here and there a
blue-and-white soldier standing stiffly up, were agitated by each new
emotion--such was the scene that met the eyes of our travellers on
entering the bull-ring at Cadiz before the sport commenced.

My grandfather had made his entry in spectacles--appendages highly
provocative of the public mirth--and had looked wonderingly for a
minute or two through the obnoxious glasses on a sea of faces
upturned, sideturned, and downturned, all looking at him, and all
shouting some indistinguishable chorus; while the men beat time, each
with the long, forked, painted stick, without which no Spaniard
possessing sentiments of propriety ever comes to a bull-fight, in a
manner most embarrassing to a somewhat bashful stranger, till their
attention was luckily diverted to an unhappy man in a white hat, in
derision of whom they immediately sang a song, the burden of which
was "El del sombrero blanco," (he of the white hat), the multitude
conducting itself throughout like one man.

My grandfather and his friends occupied a distinguished position
in a box high above the multitude, and near that of the alcalde.
The Señorita Juana looked more lovely than ever in a white dress,
over which flowed a white gauzy mantilla, giving a kind of misty
indistinctness to the wavy outlines of her figure, and the warm tint
of her neck and arms. From her masses of black hair peeped one spot of
vivid white, a rosebud; and a green plumy leaf, a favourite ornament
with Spanish girls, drooped, bending, and soft as a feather, on one
side of her gold-and-tortoiseshell comb. The Major sat beside Carlota,
who, naturally frank, and looking upon him now as an old acquaintance,
would tap his arm most bewitchingly with her fan when she wanted to
direct his attention to any object of interest. So the Major sat by
her, all gallantry and smiles, gazing about him with wonder through
the double gold eyeglass, which still, in spite of the late expression
of popular feeling, bestrid his nose. He looked with the interest of a
child at everything--at the faces and dresses around him, distinct in
their proximity, and at those, confused in their details by distance,
on the opposite side of the arena. He shared in the distress of an
unfortunate person (a contractor for bulls, who had palmed some bad
ones on the public) who tried, as he walked conspicuously across
the ring, to smile off a torrent of popular execration about as
successfully as a lady might attempt to ward off Niagara with her
parasol, and who was, as it were, washed out at an opposite door,
drenched and sodden with jeers. And when the folding-gates were
opened, and the gay procession entered, my grandfather gazed on it
with delight, and shouted "Bravo!" as enthusiastically as if he had
been an habitual frequenter of bull-rings from his earliest youth.
First came the espadas or matadores, their hair clubbed behind like a
woman's, dressed in bright-coloured jackets, and breeches seamed with
broad silver lace, white stockings, shoes fastened with immense
rosettes, and having their waists girt with silk sashes, bearing on
their arms the blood-coloured cloaks that were to lure the bull upon
the sword-point. Next followed the chulos, similarly attired; then the
picadores, riding stiffly, with padded legs, on their doomed steeds;
and mules, whose office it was to drag off the dead bulls and horses,
harnessed three abreast as in classic chariots, and almost hidden
under a mass of gay housings, closed the procession. Marching across
the middle of the ring to the alcalde's box, they requested permission
to begin, and, it being granted, the picadores stationed themselves at
equal distances from each other round the circumference of the arena.
Then, at a signal from the alcalde, two trumpeters in scarlet, behind
him, stood up and sounded--a man, standing with his hand ready on a
bolt in a door underneath, drew it, and pulled the door swiftly back,
shutting himself into a niche, as the dark space thus opened was
filled by the formidable figure of a bull, who, with glancing horns
and tail erect, bounded out, and, looking around during one fierce
brief pause, made straight at the first picador. The cavalier,
standing straight in his stirrups, his lance tucked firmly under his
arm, fixed the point fairly in the shoulder of the brute, who, never
pausing for that, straightway upset man and horse. Then my grandfather
might be seen stretching far over the front of his box, his eyes
staring on the prostrate picador, and his hands clenched above his
head, while he shouted, "By the Lord, sir, he'll be killed!" And when
a chulo, darting alongside, waved his cloak before the bull's eyes and
lured him away, the Major, drawing a long breath, turned to a calm
Spaniard beside him, and said, "By heaven, sir, 'twas the mercy of
Providence!"--but the Spaniard, taking his cigar from his mouth, and
expelling the smoke through his nostrils, merely said, "Bien está"
('tis very well.) Meanwhile, the bull (who, like his predecessor in
the china-shop, seemed to have it all his own way) had run his horn
into the heart of a second horse, and the picador, perceiving from the
shivering of the wounded creature that the hurt was mortal, dismounted
in all haste, while the horse, giving one long, blundering stagger,
fell over and died, and was immediately stript of his accoutrements.
This my grandfather didn't like at all; but, seeing no kindred disgust
in the faces round him, he nerved himself, considering that it was a
soldier's business to look on wounds and death. He even beheld, with
tolerable firmness, the spectacle of a horse dashing blindfold and
riderless, and mad with fear and pain, against the barrier--rebounding
whence to the earth with a broken shoulder, it was forced again on its
three legs, and led stumbling from the ring. But when he saw another
horse raised to its feet, and, all ript open as it was, spurred to a
second assault, the Major, who hadn't the heart himself to hurt a fly,
could stand it no longer, but, feeling unwell, retired precipitately
from the scene. On reaching the door, he wrote over the same, with a
bit of chalk, part of the speech of Henry V., "the royal imp of fame,"
to his soldiers at Agincourt:--

     "He that hath not stomach for the fight,
     Let him depart----"

to the great astonishment of the two Spanish sentries, who gazed on
the words as if they contained a magical spell.

Frank sat till it was over--"played out the play." Not that he saw
much of the fight, however; he had eyes and speech for nothing but
Juana, and was able to indulge his _penchant_ without interruption, as
the little Governor took great interest in the fight, and the lover
with the silver fishes was a connoisseur in the sport, and laid bets
on the number of horses that each particular bull would kill with
great accuracy. So the Ensign had it all his own way, and, being by no
means the sort of person to throw away this or any other opportunity
with which fortune might favour him, got on quite as well, probably,
as you or I might have done in his place.

Leaving Cadiz next morning, they resumed the order of march they had
adopted in coming--Don Pablo riding, as before, in front with the
knight of the silver fishes, discussing with him the incidents of the
bull-ring. The old gentleman, though very courteous when addressing
the two Englishmen, had but little to say to them--neither did he
trouble himself to talk much to the ladies; and when he did, a sharp
expression would sometimes slip out, convincing Owen that he was
something of a domestic tyrant in private--a character by no means
inconsistent with the blandest demeanour in public. The Ensign was at
great pains to encourage the Major to be gracious to Carlota. "Get a
little more tropical in your looks, Major," he would say; "these
Spanish ladies are not accustomed to frigid glances. She's desperately
in love with you--pity she can't express what she feels; and she
mightn't like to trust an interpreter with her sentiments."

"Pooh, nonsense, boy," said the Major, colouring with pleasure, "she
doesn't care for an old fellow like me."

"Doesn't she?--see what her eyes say--that's what I call ocular
demonstration," quoth the Ensign. "If you don't return it, you're a
stock, a stone." Then he would say something to Carlota, causing her
eyes to sparkle, and canter on to rejoin Juana.

It was genial summer-time with Carlota--she had passed the age of
maiden diffidence, without having attained that of soured and faded
spinsterhood. She had a sort of jovial confidence in herself, and an
easy demeanour towards the male sex, such as is seen in widows. These
supposed advances of the Major were accordingly met by her rather more
than half-way. None but the Major was permitted to assist her into the
saddle, or to receive her plump form descending from it. None but the
Major was beckoned to her rein when the path was broken and perilous,
or caught on his protecting arm the pressure of her outstretched hand,
when her steed stumbled over the loose pebbles. None was repaid for a
slight courtesy by so many warm, confiding smiles as he. These,
following fast one on another, began to penetrate the rusty casing of
the Major's heart. On his own ground--that is, in his own quarters--he
could have given battle, successfully, to a score of such insidious
enemies: his books, his flowers, his pipe, his slippers, and a hundred
other Penates would have encircled him; but here, with all his strong
palisading of habit torn up and scattered, all his wonted trains of
ideas upset and routed by the novelty of situation and scenery, he lay
totally defenceless, and open to attack. The circumstance of himself
and Carlota being ignorant of each other's language, far from being an
obstacle to their mutual good-will, rather favoured its progress. In
company with an Englishwoman, in similar circumstances, my grandfather
would have considered himself bound to entertain her with his
conversation, and, perhaps, have spoiled all by trying to make himself
agreeable--it would have been a tax on the patience of both: but being
absolved from any such duty in the present instance, he could without
awkwardness ride onward in full and silent communion with his own
thoughts, and enjoy the pleasure of being smiled upon without being
at any pains to earn it.

His note-book, containing an account of the expedition, which I have
seen--and whence, indeed, the greater part of this chronicle is
gathered--exhibits, at this period of the journey, sufficient proof
that the Major enjoyed this new state of being extremely, and felt
his intellect, his heart, and his stomach all stimulated at once.

"Spain," says my grandfather, in a compendious descriptive sentence,
"is a country of garlicky odours, of dirty contentment, of XXXX
overburthened donkeys, and of excellent pork; but a fine air in the
hills, and the country much sweeter than the towns. The people don't
seem to know what comfort is, or cleanliness, but are nevertheless
very contented in their ignorance. My saddle is bad, I think, for
I dismounted very sore to-day. The Señorita mighty pleasant and
gracious. I entertain a great regard for her--no doubt a sensible
woman, as well as a handsome. A pig to-day at breakfast, the best
I have tasted in Spain."

The desultory style of the composition of these notes prevents me
from quoting largely from them. Statistics, incidents of travel,
philosophic reflections, and the state of his digestive organs, are
all chronicled indiscriminately. But, from the above mixture of
sentiments, it will be perceived that the Major's admiration for
Carlota was of a sober nature, by no means ardent or Quixotic, and
pretty much on a par with his passion for pig.

This was far from being the case with Garry, who became more and more
enamoured every hour. The Spanish lover continued to conduct himself
as if he had been married to Juana for twenty years, never troubling
himself to be particularly agreeable or attentive, for which obliging
conduct Garry felt very grateful to him. The Major had been too long
accustomed to witness Owen's philanderings to see anything peculiar in
the present case, till his attention was attracted by a little
incident he accidentally witnessed. After the last halt they made
before reaching Tarifa, Garry was, as usual, at hand, to assist Juana
to her saddle. Her horse was fastened in a thicket of oleanders, whose
flowers and leaves formed a screen such as Cupid himself might have
planted. Garry seized the charming opportunity to offer to re-tie the
ribbons of her hat, which was very considerate; for, to tie them
herself, she would have been obliged to take off her gloves, which
would have been a great trouble. Having done so, still retaining his
hold of the strings, he glanced quickly around, and then drew her
blooming face towards his own till their lips met--for which piece of
impudence he only suffered the slight penalty of a gentle tap with her
whip. My grandfather discreetly and modestly withdrew his eyes, but he
was not the only observer. He of the silver fishes was regarding them
with a fixed look from among some neighbouring trees, where he had
tethered his horse. Probably the Spaniard, with all his indifference,
thought this was carrying matters a little too far, for, after
conversing a moment with the Governor, he took his place at Juana's
side, and did not again quit it till they arrived at Tarifa. Then both
he and the Governor took leave of our travellers with a cold civility,
defying all Garry's attempts to thaw it, and seeming to forbid all
prospect of a speedy renewal of the acquaintance.


CHAPTER IV.

At the inn, that night, the Major betook himself to rest early, that
he might be ready to start for Gibraltar betimes in the morning, for
on the following day their leave was to expire.

He had slept soundly for several hours, when he was awoke by Owen, who
entered with a candle in his hand. The Major sat up in bed and rubbed
his eyes.

"Time's up, my boy, eh?" said he, with a cavernous yawn. "I should
have liked another hour of it, but it can't be helped," (preparing to
turn out).

"I didn't want to spoil your rest last night," said Owen, seating
himself on the edge of the bed, "so I said nothing about a mishap
that has occurred. That smuggling villain, Francisco, took advantage
of our absence to fetch a contraband cargo in the boat from Gibraltar,
and has been caught in attempting to run it here."

"God bless me," said my grandfather, "who would have thought it!--and
he such a capital cook! But what's to be done? where's the boat?"

"The boat is, for the present, confiscated," said Garry; "but I
daresay the Governor would let us have it in the morning, on
explaining, and would perhaps release Francisco, with the loss of
his cargo; but--but--in fact, Major, I don't want the Governor to
know anything about our departure."

My grandfather stared at him, awaiting further explanation.

"Juana looked pale last night," said the Ensign after a pause.

The Major did not dispute the fact, though he could not, for the life
of him, see what the state of Juana's complexion had to do with the
subject.

"She never liked that dingy Spanish lover of hers," said the Ensign,
"and her father intends she shall marry him in a month. 'Twould make
her miserable for life."

"Dear me," said my grandfather, "how do you know that?"

"She told me so. You see," said Owen, shading the candle with his
hand, so that my grandfather couldn't see his face, and speaking
hurriedly, "I didn't intend we should start alone--in fact--that
is--Juana has agreed to fly with me to Gibraltar."

"Agreed!--fly!"--gasped my grandsire: "what an extraordinary young
fellow!"

"She's waiting for us now," resumed Garry, gathering courage after the
first plunge into the subject; "we ought to be off before daylight.
Oblige me, my dear sir" (smiling irresistibly), "by getting up
immediately."

"And how are we to get away," asked my grandfather, "supposing this
insane scheme of yours to be attempted?"

"I've bribed the sentry at Francisco's place of durance," returned the
Ensign. "We shall get out of the town the instant the gates are
opened; and the boat is tied to the steps, as before, only under the
charge of a sentry whom we can easily evade. Every guarda costa in the
place was sent out last night to blockade a noted smuggler who has
taken refuge in Tangier; so, once out, we are safe from pursuit: I
found it all out after you had gone to bed."

The disposition of Major Flinders, as the reader knows, was the
reverse of enterprising--he wouldn't have given a straw to be
concerned in the finest adventure that ever happened in romance. He
paused with one stocking on, inclined, like the little woman whose
garments had been curtailed by the licentious shears of the pedlar, to
doubt his own identity, and wondering if it could be really he, John
Flinders, to whom such a proposition was broached, requiring him to
assist in invading the peace of a family. As soon as he recovered his
powers of speech, of which astonishment had for a moment deprived him,
he began earnestly to dissuade the Ensign from the enterprise; but
Owen knew his man too well, and had too much youthful vivacity of will
to allow much time for remonstrance.

"Look you, Major," said he, "I'm positive I can't live without Juana.
I'll make a bold stroke for a wife. The thing's settled--no going back
now for me; and I shall go through with it with or without you. But
you're not the man, I'm sure, to desert a fellow in extremity, at a
time, too, when the advantages of your experience and coolness are so
peculiarly needed. 'Call you that backing of your friends?'"

The compliment, or the quotation, or both, softened the Major. "'Would
it were night, Hal, and all well,'" said he, half mechanically
following the Falstaffian train of ideas Owen had artfully conjured
up, and at the same time drawing on the breeches which that astute
youth obsequiously handed to him.

It was still dark when they issued forth into the narrow and dingy
streets of Tarifa. My grandfather, totally unaccustomed to visit the
glimpses of the moon in this adventurous fashion, was full of strange
fears--heard as many imaginary suspicious noises and voices as
Bunyan's Pilgrim in the dark valley--and once or twice stopt abruptly
and grasped Owen's arm, while he pointed to a spy dogging them in the
distant gloom, who turned out to be a door-post. But Owen was now in
his element; no tom-cat in Tarifa was more familiar with housetops and
balconies at the witching hour than he, and he stepped gaily on.
Presently they were challenged by a sentry, to whom Owen promptly
advanced and slipped into his itching palm a doubloon, when the
trustworthy warrior immediately turned upon his heel, and, walking to
the extremity of his post, looked with great vigilance in the opposite
direction.

Owen advanced to a grated window and tapped. Immediately the burly
face of Francisco showed itself thereat, his white teeth glancing
merrily in a glimmer of moonshine. A bar, previously filed through,
was removed from the window, and Owen, taking him by the collar to
assist his egress, drew him through as far as the third button of his
waistcoat, where he stuck for a moment; but the substance was elastic,
and a lusty tug landed him in the middle of the narrow street.
Receiving Frank's instructions given in a hurried whisper, to go at
once to where the boat lay, and cast her off, ready to shove off on
the instant, he nodded and disappeared in the darkness, while Owen and
the Major made for the Governor's house.

Arrived near it, Owen gave a low whistle--a peculiar one, that my
grandfather remembered to have heard him practising to Juana on the
previous day--when, to the unutterable surprise of the Major, _two_
veiled figures appeared on the balcony.

"Why, Owen, boy, d'ye see!" quoth the Major, stuttering with anxiety,
"who can the other be?--her maid, eh?"--indistinct stage recollections
of intriguing waiting-women dawning on him.

"Ahem!--why, you see, Major," whispered Owen, "she wouldn't come
alone--couldn't manage it at all, in fact, without the knowledge of
her aunt, who sleeps in the next room; so I persuaded Carlota _to come
too_, and gave her a sort of half promise that _you_ would _take care
of her_." Here, wishing to cut short a rather awkward explanation, he
ran under the balcony--one of the ladies dropped a cord--and Owen
producing from under his coat a rope ladder, (he had sat up all night
making it), attached it, and, as soon as it was drawn up, ascended,
motioning to my astounded grandfather to keep it steady below. The
Major, after a moment's desperate half-resolve to make a hasty retreat
from the perilous incidents which seemed momentarily to thicken round
him, and leave his reckless friend to his fate, yielded to the force
of circumstances, and did what was required of him. Then Owen lifted
the ladies, one after the other, over the railing of the balcony, and
they swiftly descended. First came Juana, who, scarcely touching the
Major's offered hand, lit on the pavement like gossamer; then Carlota
descended, and making, in her trepidation, a false step near the
bottom, came so heavily on the Major, that they rolled together on the
stones. By the time they were on their feet again, Owen had slipped
down the ladder, and, taking Juana under his arm, set off rapidly
towards the bay.

If anything could have added to the Major's discomfiture and
embarrassment, it would have been the pressure of Carlota's arm on
his, as she hung confidingly on him--a pressure not proceeding from
her weight only, but active, and with a meaning in it; but he was
in that state of mental numbness from the successive shocks of
astonishment, that, as with a soldier after the first two dozen, any
additional laceration passed unheeded. He was embarked in an adventure
of which he could by no means see the end; all was strange and dark in
the foreground of his future; and if he had been at that moment tried,
cast, and condemned for an imaginary crime, he would have been too
apathetic to say anything in arrest of judgment.

With the silence and swiftness of a forlorn hope, they passed through
the town and along the sandy causeway. The succession of white rolling
waves on their left, where extended the full breadth of the Straits,
while the bay on their right was almost smooth, showed the wind to be
still against them; but it was now so moderate that they might safely
beat up for the Rock. Arrived at the head of the stairs leading to the
water, they paused in the angle of the wall to reconnoitre. Francisco
was lying coiled up in the head of the boat, his hand on the rope,
ready to cast her loose, and the boat-hook projecting over the bow.
Above them, and behind the wall, at a little distance, they could hear
the measured tread of the sentry, and catch the gleam of his bayonet
as he turned upon his walk: a few vigorous shoves would carry them
outside the sea-wall and beyond his ken. All depended on their
silence; and like two stealthy cats did Owen and Juana descend to the
boat--the Major and Carlota watching the success of their attempt with
protruded necks. Cautiously did Owen stride from the last stair to the
deck--cautiously did he transfer Juana to the bark, and guide her aft.
The Major was just preparing to follow, when a noise from the boat
startled him: Juana had upset an unlucky wine-jar which Francisco had
left there. The sentry put his head over the wall, and challenged;
Francisco, starting up, shoved hastily off; the sentry fired his
piece, his bullet shattering the wine-jar that had caused the
mischief. Juana screamed, Owen swore in English, and Francisco
surpassed him in Spanish. There was no time to return or wait for the
other pair, for the guard was alarmed by the sentry's shot, and their
accoutrements might be heard rattling near at hand, as they turned
hastily out. Before they reached the wall, however, the boat had
disappeared.

Major Flinders watched it till it was out of sight, and, at first,
experienced a feeling of despair at being thus deprived of the aid of
Garry's boldness and promptitude, and left to his own resources.
Presently, however, a gleam of comfort dawned upon him--perhaps
Carlota would now abandon the enterprise, and he should thus, at any
rate, be freed from the embarrassment her presence occasioned him. In
this hope he was shortly undeceived. To have added the shame of
failure and exposure to her present disappointment, while an opening
to persevere still remained, did not suit that lady's ardent spirit;
and whether it was that the unscrupulous Garry had really represented
the Major as very much in love, or whether such an impression resulted
from her own lively imagination, she certainly thought her companion
would be as much chagrined at such a denouement as herself. She
displayed a prompt decision in this emergency, being, indeed, as
remarkable for presence as the Major was for absence of mind. Taking
the Major's arm, she caused him swiftly to retrace his steps with
her to the inn where he had slept. As they retreated, they heard the
boom of a gun behind them, fired, doubtless, from the Point, at the
Fair Unknown. At Carlota's orders, a couple of horses, one with a
side-saddle, were speedily at the inn-door; they mounted, and, before
the sun was yet risen, had issued forth from the gate of Tarifa, on
the road to Gibraltar.

The Major rode beside her like a man in a dream--in fact, he was
partly asleep, having been deprived of a large portion of his natural
and accustomed rest, and partly bewildered. A few days before he had
been the most methodical, unromantic, not to say humdrum, old bachelor
in his Majesty's service; and here he was, how or why he did not well
know, galloping away at daybreak with a foreign lady, of whose
existence he had been ignorant a week before, with the prospect of
being apprehended by her relatives for her abduction, and incarcerated
by the Government for assisting in the escape of a smuggler. When at
length roused to complete consciousness by the rapidity of their
motion, he positively groaned in anguish of spirit, and vowed
internally that, once within the shelter of his own quiet quarters,
nothing on earth should again tempt him forth on such harum-scarum
expeditions.

It was near noon when they reached Algeçiras, where they stopped to
breakfast, both of them rather exhausted with fatigue and hunger. This
town stands just opposite Gibraltar, across the bay--the road they had
come by forms the base of a triangle, of which Cabrita Point is the
apex, the bay washing one side of the projecting coast, the Straits
the other. The Major was reserved and embarrassed; there was a
tenderness about Carlota's manner that frightened him out of his usual
gallantry, and, to avoid meeting her glance, he looked steadily out of
the window at the rock of Gibraltar, casting wistful glances at the
spot where his quarters lay hidden in a little clump of foliage.
Immediately after the meal he quitted the room, on pretence of looking
after the horses. He determined to protract their stay in Algeçiras
till late in the afternoon, that they might enter Gibraltar in the
dusk, and thus avoid awkward meetings with equestrian parties from the
garrison, who would then be hastening homewards, in order to be in
before gun-fire, when the gates are shut.

On returning, still out of temper, to the room where he had left
Carlota, he found her, quite overcome with fatigue, asleep on the
sofa. Her head was thrown a little back on the cushion; her lips were
just parted, and she looked in her sleep like a weary child. The Major
approached on tiptoe, and stood regarding her. His ill-humour melted
fast into pity. He thought of all her kindness to him, and, by a
sudden soft-hearted impulse, took gently one of her hands projecting
over the side of the sofa. Carlota opened her eyes, and squeezed the
hand that held hers; whereupon the Major suddenly quitted his hold,
and, retreating with great discomposure to the window, did not venture
to look at her again till it was time to resume their journey.

At a little distance from Algeçiras is the river Palmones, called by
the English the Second River. This was crossed by a floating bridge,
pulled from shore to shore by a ferryman warping on a rope extended
across. They had just reached the opposite bank of the stream, when
Carlota noticed two horsemen galloping fast along the road they had
just traversed. A second glance showed them to be Don Pablo and the
lover of Juana. The first inquiries of the Governor had led him to
suppose that all had escaped in the boat, and it was not till some
time after that he had learned the true state of affairs.

The fugitives now hastened on in earnest, and roused their horses to
a steady gallop, never pausing till they reached the Guadaranque, or
First River, about a mile nearer Gibraltar than the other, and
furnished with a similar bridge. The delay of the pursuers at the
former ferry had thrown them far in rear; and my grandfather, inspired
by the imminence of the peril, now conceived a bright idea--the
brightest, probably, that ever flashed upon him--by executing which
they might effectually distance their pursuers. Dropping his glove at
a little distance from the shore, he sent the ferryman to fetch it,
and then pushed off (Carlota having already embarked), and warped the
bridge to the opposite bank, heedless of the frantic gesticulations of
the proprietor, who screamed furiously after them to stop. When
he reached the opposite side, he took out his pocket-knife and
deliberately cut the rope. Having thus, as it were, blown up the
communication in his rear, my grandfather, without the loss of his
baggage, continued his retreat to the fortress; while the little
Governor, who galloped up just as they were disappearing, was, like
Lord Ullin, left lamenting.

The sun was already declining, and threw their shadows far before them
on the sands, as they rode along the beach close to the water. The bay
at this inner extremity makes a great circular sweep--radii drawn from
the rock to different distant points of the arc would be almost equal;
and for half an hour they continued to see Gibraltar at nearly the
same distance to the right and in front of them, holding itself aloof
most provokingly. Twilight descended as they passed the Spanish lines
and entered on the Neutral Ground. The Major glanced anxiously at his
watch--in a few minutes the gun from Middle Hill would give the signal
for shutting the gates, and doom them irretrievably to return into
Spain for the night. For the first time in his life Major Flinders
really punished his horse, lifting the tired beast along with whip and
rein. Carlota's kept easily beside him under her lighter weight, and
they rapidly neared the barrier. Just as they passed it, a stream
of flame shot from the rock, illumining objects like a flash of
lightning;--then came the heavy report of the gun--another minute and
the drawbridge at Landport would be lifted; but they were upon it.
They dashed across somewhat in the style of Marmion quitting Douglas's
castle, "just as it trembled on the rise," and were safe in Gibraltar.


CHAPTER V.

After life's fitful fever, the Major did not sleep well. He had left
Carlota comfortably established at the inn; and he now lay nervously
thinking how his embarrassment with regard to her was to terminate,
especially if Owen did not shortly make his appearance. Then he
was worried by doubts as to the fate of the Fair Unknown and her
passengers. They might have been recaptured, as escaped smugglers, by
a guarda costa--they might be detained in the Straits by adverse winds
or calms--they might have run ashore into some bay, and come on
overland. This last supposition haunted him most pertinaciously, and
he resolved to go up the rock as soon as it should be daylight, to
look out for them along the road from Spain. He lay tossing restlessly
till the morning gun gave the signal of the approach of dawn, and
before the echoes died away he had his breeches on.

Night was at odds with morning when my grandfather, with a telescope
under his arm, sallied forth and began the ascent. Silence was over
the rock, except an occasional sighing of a remnant of night wind that
had lost itself among the crags. At first, the only clear outline
visible was that of the rugged edge of the rock above against the
colourless sky; but as he toiled up the steep zigzag path, the
day kept pace with him--each moment threw a broader light on the
scene--blots of shadow became bushes or deep fissures, and new shapes
of stone glided into view. The only symptoms of animal life that he
beheld were a rabbit that fled silently to his hole, and a great white
vulture that, startled from his perch on a grey crag, sailed slowly
upward on his black-tipped wings, circling higher and higher, till his
breast was crimsoned by the yet unrisen sun.

The path led diagonally to the summit; and, turning a sharp level
corner, my grandfather looked perpendicularly down on the XXXX
Mediterranean, whose lazy waves, sending up a gentle murmur, rippled
far below him. On his left, also steep down below him, was the
Neutral Ground, level as the sea itself, extending northward into
sandy plains, abruptly crossed by tumbled heaps of brown mountains. A
reddening of the sky showed that the sun was at hand; and presently
the glowing disk came swiftly up from behind the eastern hills; the
pale earth shared in the ruddiness of the sky, and a long rosy gleam
swept gradually over the breadth of the grey sea, like an unwilling
smile spreading itself from a man's lips to his eyes and forehead.

Conspicuous on the highest point in the landscape stood my
grandfather, panting with his exertions as he wiped his forehead.
After standing for a moment, bronzed in front like a smith at the
furnace, face to face with the sun, he turned and swept with his
telescope the road into Spain. Early peasants, microscopic as ants,
were bringing their fruits and vegetables into the fortress--a laden
mule or two advanced along the beach over which the Major had last
night galloped--but nothing resembling what he sought was in sight.
Then turning completely round, with his face to the path he had just
ascended, he gave a long look towards the Straits; and as he did so,
the wind, which had shifted to the south-west towards morning, blew
gently on his face. A sail or two was discernible in the distance,
outward bound, but nothing resembling the cutter. As the Major
looked, a signal was made from Cabrita, and directly two feluccas
left their station at Algeçiras, and swooped out, like two white
birds, as if to intercept some bark yet hidden by the Point. Again my
grandfather looked out to the Strait, and presently a small white
sail came in sight near Cabrita. For a quarter of an hour he stood
steadily, with levelled telescope, and then he was almost sure--yes,
he could swear--that he saw the small English ensign relieved against
the sail; and above, at the masthead, the yellow-striped flag that
Francisco hoisted before as the mark of a yacht. It was the Fair
Unknown--and my grandfather at once comprehended that the pursuers,
whom he had escaped the night before, had, on returning to Algeçiras,
made arrangements for her capture as soon as she should appear.

The breeze was on her beam, and much fresher with her than farther in
the bay, so that the feluccas steered slantingly across her course as
she made for the rock. They held on thus, the pursuers and pursued,
till within a mile of each other, when the cutter suddenly altered her
course to one nearly parallel with that of the feluccas. The latter,
however, now gained fast upon her, and presently a puff of smoke from
the bow of the foremost was followed by the report of a gun. My
grandfather could look no longer through his glass, for his hand shook
like a reed, but began, with huge strides, more resembling those of
a kangaroo than a quiet middle-aged gentleman, to descend the rock.
Breathless, he reached his quarters, had his horse saddled and brought
out, and galloped off towards Europa.

Europa Point is at the southern extremity of the rock, and commands at
once the entrance of the bay and the passage of the Straits. The road
to it from the north, where the Major was quartered, affords, for the
most part, a view of the bay. Many an anxious glance did he cast, as
he sped along, at the state of affairs on the water. The feluccas
fired several shots, but all seemed to fall wide, and were probably
intended only to frighten the chase, out of consideration for her fair
freight. Still, however, the English colours floated, and still the
cutter held her course.

Some artillerymen and an officer were assembled at the Point as the
Major galloped up.

"Can't you fire at 'em?" said he, as he drew up beside the battery.

"Too far off," said the Lieutenant, rising from the parapet on which
he was leaning, and showing a drowsy unshaven countenance; "we should
only frighten them."

"By heavens!" said my grandfather, "'tis horrible. I shall see the boy
taken before my eyes!"

"Boy!" quoth the Lieutenant, wondering what particular interest the
Major could take in the smuggler. "What boy?"

"Why, Owen of ours--he's running away with a Spanish lady."

"The devil!" cried the Lieutenant, jumping down. "What, Garry
Owen!--we must try a long shot. Pull those quoins out" (to a gunner).
"Corporal, lay that gun; a dollar if you hit the felucca. I'll try a
shot with this one." So saying, he laid the thirty-two pounder next
him with great care.

"Fire!" said he, jumping on the parapet to see the effect of the shot.
At the second rebound it splashed under the bows of the leading
felucca, which still held on. She was now scarcely three hundred yards
from the cutter.

"Why, d--n their impudence!" muttered the Lieutenant, on seeing his
warning pass unheeded, "they won't take a hint. Corporal, let drive at
'em."

The Corporal earned his dollar. The shot went through the side of the
felucca, on board of which all was presently confusion; in a few
minutes it was apparent she was sinking. The other, abandoning the
chase, went to the assistance of her consort, lifting the crew out,
some of whom were evidently hurt.

"A blessed shot!" cried my grandfather, giving the lucky Corporal a
bit of gold; "but I'm glad they're picking up the crew."

The cutter instantly stood in for the harbour, and half an hour
afterwards the Major bade his young friend and Juana welcome to
Gibraltar.

Carlota was beside herself with joy at seeing the wanderers safe. She
first cast herself upon Juana, and cried over her; then embraced the
Ensign, who made no scruple of kissing her; lastly, threw herself
tenderly upon the Major, who gazed over her head as it lay on his
shoulder with a dismayed expression, moving his arms uneasily, as if
he didn't know what he was expected to do with them. Every moment it
was becoming clearer to him that he was a compromised man, no longer
his own property. On his way through the streets that morning he had
passed a knot of officers, one of whom he overheard describing "Old
Flinders" as "a sly old boy," for that he "had run away with a
devilish handsome Spaniard--who would have thought it?" "Ay, who
indeed!" groaned the Major, internally. But the seal was put to his
doom by the Colonel, who, when he went to report himself, slapped him
on the shoulder, and congratulated him on his happiness. "Fine woman,
I hear, Flinders--didn't give you credit for such spirit--hope you'll
be happy together." The Major, muttering an inarticulate denial,
hastily retreated, and from that moment surrendered himself to his
fate an unresisting victim.

About dusk that night, Owen came to him.

"By heavens!" the Ensign began, throwing himself into a chair, "I'm
the most unlucky scoundrel! Nothing goes right with me. I promised
myself that this should be my wedding-night--and here I am, as
forlorn a bachelor as ever."

"What has gone wrong?" inquired my grandfather, removing his pipe from
his mouth.

"I pressed her with all my eloquence," said Owen; "reminded her of her
promise to marry me the day we should arrive here--of the necessity of
caring for her reputation, after leaving her father's house and coming
here under my protection" (here my grandfather winced;) "talked, in
fact, like an angel who had been bred a special pleader--yet it was
all of no use."

"Deliberating about marriage!" said the Major, "after leaving her
father and lover for you! What gnat can she be straining at, after
swallowing a camel of such magnitude?"

"A piece of female Quixotry," returned Owen. "She says she can't think
of such selfishness as being comfortably married herself, while
Carlota is so unhappy, and her fate so unsettled." Here he made a
significant pause; but my grandfather was immovably silent, only
glancing nervously at him, and smoking very hard.

"In fact, she protests she won't hear of marrying me, till you have
settled when you will marry Carlota."

"Marry Carlota!" gasped the Major in an agonised whisper.

"Why, you don't mean to say you're not going to marry her!" exclaimed
the Ensign, throwing a vast quantity of surprise into his expressive
countenance.

"Why--why, what should I marry her for?" stammered the Major.

"Oh, Lord!" said Garry, "here will be pleasant news for her! Curse me
if I break it to her."

"But really now, Frank," the Major repeated--"marriage, you know--why,
I never thought of such a thing."

"You're the only person that hasn't, then," rejoined Owen. "Why, what
can the garrison think, after the way you smuggled her in; what can
she herself think, after all your attentions?"

"Attentions, my dear boy;--the merest civility."

"Oh,--ah! 'twas civility, I suppose, to squeeze her hand in the inn at
Algeçiras, in the way she told Juana of--and heaven knows what else
you may have done during the flight. Juana is outrageous against
you--actually called you a vile deceiver; but Carlota's feeling is
more of sorrow than of anger. She is persuaded that nothing but your
ignorance of Spanish has prevented your tongue from confirming what
your looks have so faithfully promised. I was really quite affected
to-day at the appealing look she cast on me after you left the room;
she evidently expected me to communicate her destiny."

My grandfather smoked hard.

"Lots of fellows would give their ears for such a wife," pursued the
Ensign. "Lovelace, the Governor's aide-de-camp, bribed the waiter of
the hotel to lend him his apron to-day, at dinner, that he might come
in and look at her--swears she's a splendid woman, and that he'd run
away with such another to-morrow."

Still my grandfather smoked hard, but said nothing, though there was a
slight gleam of pride in his countenance.

"Poor thing!" sighed Garry. "All her prospects blighted for ever.
Swears she never can love another."

At this my grandfather's eyes grew moist, and he coughed as if he had
swallowed some tobacco-smoke.

"And as for me, to have Juana at my lips, as it were, and yet not
mine--for she's as inflexible as if she'd been born a Mede or
Persian--to know that you are coming between me and happiness as
surely as if you were an inexorable father or a cruel guardian--worse,
indeed; for those might be evaded. Major, major, have you no
compassion!--two days of this will drive me crazy."

The Major changed his pipe from his right hand to his left, and,
stretching the former across the table, sympathetically pressed that
of the Ensign.

"Do, Major," quoth Garry, changing his flank movement for a direct
attack--"do consent to make yourself and me happy; do empower me to
negotiate for our all going to church to-morrow." (My grandfather gave
a little jump in his chair at this, as if he were sitting on a pin.)
"I'll manage it all, you shan't have the least trouble in the matter."

My grandfather spoke not.

"Silence gives consent," said the Ensign, rising. "Come, now, if you
don't forbid me, I'll depart on my embassy at once; you needn't speak,
I'll spare your blushes. I see this delay has only been from modesty,
or perhaps a little ruse on your part. Once, twice, thrice,--I go."
And he vanished.

The Major remained in his chair, in the same posture. His pipe was
smoked out, but he continued to suck absently at the empty tube. His
bewilderment and perturbation were so great that, though he sat up
till two in the morning, during which time he smoked eleven pipes, and
increased the two glasses of grog with which he was accustomed to
prepare for his pillow to four, he was still, when he went to bed,
as agitated as ever.

In this state of mind he went to the altar, for next day a double
ceremony was performed, making Owen happy with Juana, and giving
Carlota a husband and me a grandfather. The Major was more like a
proxy than a principal in the affair; for Owen, taking the entire
management upon himself, left him little more to do than to make the
necessary responses.

Carlota made a very good-tempered, quiet, inobtrusive helpmate, and
continued to be fond of her spouse even after he was a grey-headed
colonel. My grandfather, though credulous in most matters, could with
difficulty be brought to consider himself married. He would sometimes
seem to forget the circumstance for a whole day together, till it came
to be forced on his recollection at bed-time. And when, about a year
after his marriage, a new-born female Flinders (now my venerable aunt)
was brought one morning by the nurse for his inspection and approval,
he gazed at it with a puzzled air, and could not be convinced that he
was actually in the presence of his own flesh and blood, till he
had touched the cheek of his first-born with the point of his
tobacco-pipe, removed from his mouth for that purpose, making on
the infant's countenance a small indentation.

The little Governor, Don Pablo, was subsequently induced to forgive
his relatives, and frequent visits and attentions were interchanged,
till the commencement of the siege put a stop to all intercourse
between Gibraltar and Spain.

I have often, on a summer's evening, sat looking across the bay at a
gorgeous sunset, and retracing in imagination the incidents I have
related. My grandfather's establishment was broken up during the siege
by the enemy's shells, but a similar one now stands on what I think
must have been about the site of it. The world has changed since
then; but Spain is no land of change; and, looking on the imperishable
outline of the Andaluçian hills, unaltered, probably, since a time to
which the period of my tale is but as yesterday, it is easy for me to
"daff aside" the noisy world without, and, dropping quietly behind the
age, to picture to myself my old-fashioned grandfather issuing forth
from yonder white-walled town of Algeçiras with his future bride.



THE IRON SHROUD.

BY WILLIAM MUDFORD.

[_MAGA._ AUGUST 1830.]


The castle of the Prince of Tolfi was built on the summit of the
towering and precipitous rock of Scylla, and commanded a magnificent
view of Sicily in all its grandeur. Here, during the wars of the
middle ages, when the fertile plains of Italy were devastated by
hostile factions, those prisoners were confined, for whose ransom a
costly price was demanded. Here, too, in a dungeon, excavated deep in
the solid rock, the miserable victim was immured, whom revenge
pursued,--the dark, fierce, and unpitying revenge of an Italian heart.

VIVENZIO--the noble and the generous, the fearless in battle, and the
pride of Naples in her sunny hours of peace--the young, the brave, the
proud Vivenzio, fell beneath this subtle and remorseless spirit. He
was the prisoner of Tolfi, and he languished in that rock-encircled
dungeon, which stood alone, and whose portals never opened twice upon
a living captive.

It had the semblance of a vast cage, for the roof, and floor, and
sides, were of iron, solidly wrought, and spaciously constructed. High
above there ran a range of seven grated windows, guarded with massy
bars of the same metal, which admitted light and air. Save these, and
the tall folding-doors beneath them which occupied the centre, no
chink, or chasm, or projection, broke the smooth black surface of the
walls. An iron bedstead, littered with straw, stood in one corner: and
beside it, a vessel with water, and a coarse dish filled with coarser
food.

Even the intrepid soul of Vivenzio shrunk with dismay as he entered
this abode, and heard the ponderous doors triple-locked by the silent
ruffians who conducted him to it. Their silence seemed prophetic of
his fate, of the living grave that had been prepared for him. His
menaces and his entreaties, his indignant appeals for justice, and his
impatient questioning of their intentions, were alike vain. They
listened, but spoke not. Fit ministers of a crime that should have no
tongue!

How dismal was the sound of their retiring steps! And, as their faint
echoes died along the winding passages, a fearful presage grew within
him, that never more the face, or voice, or tread, of man, would greet
his senses. He had seen human beings for the last time! And he had
looked his last upon the bright sky, and upon the smiling earth, and
upon a beautiful world he loved, and whose minion he had been! Here
he was to end his life--a life he had just begun to revel in! And by
what means? By secret poison? or by murderous assault? No--for then it
had been needless to bring him thither. Famine perhaps--a thousand
deaths in one! It was terrible to think of it; but it was yet more
terrible to picture long, long years of captivity, in a solitude so
appalling, a loneliness so dreary, that thought, for want of
fellowship, would lose itself in madness, or stagnate into idiocy.

He could not hope to escape, unless he had the power, with his bare
hands, of rending asunder the solid iron walls of his prison. He could
not hope for liberty from the relenting mercies of his enemy. His
instant death, under any form of refined cruelty, was not the object
of Tolfi, for he might have inflicted it, and he had not. It was too
evident, therefore, he was reserved for some premeditated scheme of
subtle vengeance; and what vengeance could transcend in fiendish
malice, either the slow death of famine, or the still slower one of
solitary incarceration, till the last lingering spark of life expired,
or till reason fled, and nothing should remain to perish but the brute
functions of the body?

It was evening when Vivenzio entered his dungeon, and the approaching
shades of night wrapped it in total darkness, as he paced up and down,
revolving in his mind these horrible forebodings. No tolling bell
from the castle, or from any neighbouring church or convent, struck
upon his ear to tell how the hours passed. Frequently he would stop
and listen for some sound that might betoken the vicinity of man; but
the solitude of the desert, the silence of the tomb, are not so still
and deep as the oppressive desolation by which he was encompassed. His
heart sank within him, and he threw himself dejectedly down upon his
couch of straw. Here sleep gradually obliterated the consciousness of
misery, and bland dreams wafted his delighted spirit to scenes which
were once glowing realities for him, in whose ravishing illusions he
soon lost the remembrance that he was Tolfi's prisoner.

When he awoke, it was daylight; but how long he had slept he knew not.
It might be early morning, or it might be sultry noon, for he could
measure time by no other note of its progress than light and darkness.
He had been so happy in his sleep, amid friends who loved him, and the
sweeter endearments of those who loved him as friends could not, that
in the first moments of waking, his startled mind seemed to admit the
knowledge of his situation, as if it had burst upon it for the first
time, fresh in all its appalling horrors. He gazed round with an air
of doubt and amazement, and took up a handful of the straw upon which
he lay, as though he would ask himself what it meant. But memory, too
faithful to her office, soon unveiled the melancholy past, while
reason, shuddering at the task, flashed before his eyes the tremendous
future. The contrast overpowered him. He remained for some time
lamenting, like a truth, the bright visions that had vanished; and
recoiling from the present, which clung to him as a poisoned garment.

When he grew more calm, he surveyed his gloomy dungeon. Alas! the
stronger light of day only served to confirm what the gloomy
indistinctness of the preceding evening had partially disclosed, the
utter impossibility of escape. As, however, his eyes wandered round
and round, and from place to place, he noticed two circumstances which
excited his surprise and curiosity. The one, he thought, might be
fancy; but the other was positive. His pitcher of water, and the dish
which contained his food, had been removed from his side while he
slept, and now stood near the door. Were he even inclined to doubt
this, by supposing he had mistaken the spot where he saw them
over-night, he could not, for the pitcher now in his dungeon was
neither of the same form nor colour as the other, while the food was
changed for some other of better quality. He had been visited,
therefore, during the night. But how had the person obtained entrance?
Could he have slept so soundly, that the unlocking and opening of
those ponderous portals were effected without waking him? He would
have said this was not possible, but that in doing so, he must admit
a greater difficulty, an entrance by other means, of which he was
convinced there existed none. It was not intended, then, that he
should be left to perish from hunger. But the secret and mysterious
mode of supplying him with food, seemed to indicate he was to have no
opportunity of communicating with a human being.

The other circumstance which had attracted his notice, was the
disappearance, as he believed, of one of the seven grated windows that
ran along the top of his prison. He felt confident that he had
observed and counted them; for he was rather surprised at their
number, and there was something peculiar in their form, as well as in
the manner of their arrangement, at unequal distances. It was so much
easier, however, to suppose he was mistaken, than that a portion of
the solid iron, which formed the walls, could have escaped from its
position, that he soon dismissed the thought from his mind.

Vivenzio partook of the food that was before him, without
apprehension. It might be poisoned; but if it were he knew he could
not escape death, should such be the design of Tolfi, and the quickest
death would be the speediest release.

The day passed wearily and gloomily; though not without a faint hope
that, by keeping watch at night, he might observe when the person came
again to bring him food, which he supposed he would do in the same
way as before. The mere thought of being approached by a living
creature, and the opportunity it might present of learning the doom
prepared, or preparing, for him, imparted some comfort. Besides, if he
came alone, might he not in a furious onset overpower him? Or he might
be accessible to pity, or the influence of such munificent rewards as
he could bestow, if once more at liberty and master of himself. Say he
were armed. The worst that could befall, if nor bribe, nor prayers,
nor force prevailed, was a friendly blow, which, though dealt in a
damned cause, might work a desired end. There was no chance so
desperate, but it looked lovely in Vivenzio's eyes, compared with the
idea of being totally abandoned.

The night came, and Vivenzio watched. Morning came, and Vivenzio was
confounded! He must have slumbered without knowing it. Sleep must have
stolen over him when exhausted by fatigue, and in that interval of
feverish repose, he had been baffled: for there stood his replenished
pitcher of water, and there his day's meal! Nor was this all. Casting
his looks towards the windows of his dungeon, he counted but FIVE!
_Here_ was no deception; and he was now convinced there had been none
the day before. But what did all this portend? Into what strange and
mysterious den had he been cast? He gazed till his eyes ached; he
could discover nothing to explain the mystery. That it was so, he
knew. Why it was so, he racked his imagination in vain to conjecture.
He examined the doors. A simple circumstance convinced him they had
not been opened.

A wisp of straw, which he had carelessly thrown against them the
preceding day, as he paced to and fro, remained where he had cast it,
though it must have been displaced by the slightest motion of either
of the doors. This was evidence that could not be disputed; and it
followed there must be some secret machinery in the walls by which a
person could enter. He inspected them closely. They appeared to him
one solid and compact mass of iron; or joined, if joined they were,
with such nice art, that no mark of division was perceptible. Again
and again he surveyed them--and the floor--and the roof--and that
range of visionary windows, as he was now almost tempted to consider
them: he could discover nothing, absolutely nothing, to relieve his
doubts or satisfy his curiosity. Sometimes he fancied that altogether
the dungeon had a more contracted appearance--that it looked smaller;
but this he ascribed to fancy, and the impression naturally produced
upon his mind by the undeniable disappearance of two of the windows.

With intense anxiety, Vivenzio looked forward to the return of night;
and as it approached, he resolved that no treacherous sleep should
again betray him. Instead of seeking his bed of straw, he continued
to walk up and down his dungeon till daylight, straining his eyes in
every direction through the darkness, to watch for any appearances
that might explain these mysteries. While thus engaged, and as nearly
as he could judge (by the time that afterwards elapsed before the
morning came in), about two o'clock, there was a slight tremulous
motion of the floors. He stooped. The motion lasted nearly a minute;
but it was so extremely gentle, that he almost doubted whether it was
real, or only imaginary. He listened. Not a sound could be heard.
Presently, however, he felt a rush of cold air blow upon him; and
dashing towards the quarter whence it seemed to proceed, he stumbled
over something which he judged to be the water ewer. The rush of cold
air was no longer perceptible; and as Vivenzio stretched out his
hands, he found himself close to the walls. He remained motionless for
a considerable time; but nothing occurred during the remainder of the
night to excite his attention, though he continued to watch with
unabated vigilance.

The first approaches of the morning were visible through the grated
windows, breaking, with faint divisions of light, the darkness that
still pervaded every other part, long before Vivenzio was enabled to
distinguish any object in his dungeon. Instinctively and fearfully he
turned his eyes, hot and inflamed with watching, towards them. There
were FOUR! He could _see_ only four: but it might be that some
intervening object prevented the fifth from becoming perceptible; and
he waited impatiently to ascertain if it were so. As the light
strengthened, however, and penetrated every corner of the cell, other
objects of amazement struck his sight. On the ground lay the broken
fragments of the pitcher he had used the day before, and at a small
distance from them, nearer to the wall, stood the one he had noticed
the first night. It was filled with water, and beside it was his food.
He was now certain that, by some mechanical contrivance, an opening
was obtained through the iron wall, and that through this opening the
current of air had found entrance. But how noiseless! For had a
feather almost waved at the time, he must have heard it. Again he
examined that part of the wall; but both to sight and touch it
appeared one even and uniform surface, while to repeated and violent
blows there was no reverberating sound indicative of hollowness.

This perplexing mystery had for a time withdrawn his thoughts from the
windows; but now, directing his eyes again towards them, he saw that
the fifth had disappeared in the same manner as the preceding two,
without the least distinguishable alteration of external appearances.
The remaining four looked as the seven had originally looked; that is,
occupying, at irregular distances, the top of the wall on that side
of the dungeon. The tall folding-door, too, still seemed to stand
beneath, in the centre of these four, as it had at first stood in
the centre of the seven. But he could no longer doubt, what, on the
preceding day, he fancied might be the effect of visual deception.
The dungeon _was_ smaller. The roof had lowered--and the opposite ends
had contracted the intermediate distance by a space equal, he thought,
to that over which the three windows had extended. He was bewildered
in vain imaginings to account for these things. Some frightful
purpose--some devilish torture of mind or body--some unheard-of device
for producing exquisite misery, lurked, he was sure, in what had taken
place.

Oppressed with this belief, and distracted more by the dreadful
uncertainty of whatever fate impended, than he could be dismayed, he
thought, by the knowledge of the worst, he sat ruminating, hour after
hour, yielding his fears in succession to every haggard fancy. At last
a horrible suspicion flashed suddenly across his mind, and he started
up with a frantic air. "Yes!" he exclaimed, looking wildly round his
dungeon, and shuddering as he spoke--"Yes! it must be so! I see it!--I
feel the maddening truth like scorching flames upon my brain! Eternal
God!--support me! it must be so!--Yes, yes, _that_ is to be my fate!
Yon roof will descend!--these walls will hem me round--and slowly,
slowly, crush me in their iron arms! Lord God! look down upon me, and
in mercy strike me with instant death! Oh, fiend--oh, devil--is this
your revenge?"

He dashed himself upon the ground in agony;--tears burst from him, and
the sweat stood in large drops upon his face--he sobbed aloud--he tore
his hair--he rolled about like one suffering intolerable anguish of
body, and would have bitten the iron floor beneath him; he breathed
fearful curses upon Tolfi, and the next moment passionate prayers to
heaven for immediate death. Then the violence of his grief became
exhausted, and he lay still, weeping as a child would weep. The
twilight of departing day shed its gloom around him ere he arose from
that posture of utter and hopeless sorrow. He had taken no food. Not
one drop of water had cooled the fever of his parched lips. Sleep had
not visited his eyes for six-and-thirty hours. He was faint with
hunger; weary with watching, and with the excess of his emotions. He
tasted of his food; he drank with avidity of the water; and reeling
like a drunken man to his straw, cast himself upon it to brood again
over the appalling image that had fastened itself upon his almost
frenzied thoughts.

He slept. But his slumbers were not tranquil. He resisted, as long as
he could, their approach; and when, at last, enfeebled nature yielded
to their influence, he found no oblivion from his cares. Terrible
dreams haunted him--ghastly visions harrowed up his imagination--he
shouted and screamed, as if he already felt the dungeon's ponderous
roof descending on him--he breathed hard and thick, as though writhing
between its iron walls. Then would he spring up--stare wildly about
him--stretch forth his hands, to be sure he yet had space enough to
live--and, muttering some incoherent words, sink down again, to pass
through the same fierce vicissitudes of delirious sleep.

The morning of the fourth day dawned upon Vivenzio. But it was high
noon before his mind shook off its stupor, or he awoke to a full
consciousness of his situation. And what a fixed energy of despair sat
upon his pale features, as he cast his eyes upwards, and gazed upon
the THREE windows that now alone remained! The three!--there were no
more!--and they seemed to number his own allotted days. Slowly and
calmly he next surveyed the top and sides, and comprehended all the
meaning of the diminished height of the former, as well as of the
gradual approximation of the latter. The contracted dimensions of his
mysterious prison were now too gross and palpable to be the juggle of
his heated imagination. Still lost in wonder at the means, Vivenzio
could put no cheat upon his reason, as to the end. By what horrible
ingenuity it was contrived, that walls, and roof, and windows, should
thus silently and imperceptibly, without noise, and without motion
almost, fold, as it were, within each other, he knew not. He only
knew they did so; and he vainly strove to persuade himself it was the
intention of the contriver, to rack the miserable wretch who might be
immured there with anticipation, merely, of a fate, from which, in the
very crisis of his agony, he was to be reprieved.

Gladly would he have clung even to this possibility, if his heart
would have let him; but he felt a dreadful assurance of its fallacy.
And what matchless inhumanity it was to doom the sufferer to such
lingering torments--to lead him day by day to so appalling a death,
unsupported by the consolations of religion, unvisited by any human
being, abandoned to himself, deserted of all, and denied even the sad
privilege of knowing that his cruel destiny would awaken pity! Alone
he was to perish!--alone he was to wait a slow coming torture, whose
most exquisite pangs would be inflicted by that very solitude and that
tardy coming!

"It is not death I fear," he exclaimed, "but the death I must prepare
for! Methinks, too, I could meet even that--all horrible and revolting
as it is--if it might overtake me now. But where shall I find
fortitude to tarry till it come? How can I outlive the three long days
and nights I have to live? There is no power within me to bid the
hideous spectre hence--none to make it familiar to my thoughts; or
myself, patient of its errand. My thoughts, rather, will flee from me,
and I grow mad in looking at it. Oh! for a deep sleep to fall upon
me! That so, in death's likeness, I might embrace death itself, and
drink no more of the cup that is presented to me, than my fainting
spirit has already tasted!"

In the midst of these lamentations, Vivenzio noticed that his
accustomed meal, with the pitcher of water, had been conveyed, as
before, into his dungeon. But this circumstance no longer excited his
surprise. His mind was overwhelmed with others of a far greater
magnitude. It suggested, however, a feeble hope of deliverance; and
there is no hope so feeble as not to yield some support to a heart
bending under despair. He resolved to watch, during the ensuing night,
for the signs he had before observed; and should he again feel the
gentle, tremulous motion of the floor, or the current of air, to seize
that moment for giving audible expression to his misery. Some person
must be near him, and within reach of his voice, at the instant when
his food was supplied; some one, perhaps, susceptible of pity. Or if
not, to be told even that his apprehensions were just, and that his
fate _was_ to be what he foreboded, would be preferable to a suspense
which hung upon the possibility of his worst fears being visionary.

The night came; and as the hour approached when Vivenzio imagined he
might expect the signs, he stood fixed and silent as a statue. He
feared to breathe, almost, lest he might lose any sound which would
warn him of their coming. While thus listening, with every faculty of
mind and body strained to an agony of attention, it occurred to him he
should be more sensible of the motion, probably, if he stretched
himself along the iron floor. He accordingly laid himself softly down,
and had not been long in that position when--yes--he was certain of
it--the floor moved under him! He sprang up, and in a voice suffocated
nearly with emotion, called aloud. He paused--the motion ceased--he
felt no stream of air--all was hushed--no voice answered to his--he
burst into tears, and as he sank to the ground, in renewed anguish,
exclaimed--"Oh, my God! my God! You alone have power to save me now,
or strengthen me for the trial you permit."

Another morning dawned upon the wretched captive, and the fatal index
of his doom met his eyes. Two windows!--and _two_ days--and all would
be over! Fresh food--fresh water! The mysterious visit had been paid,
though he had implored it in vain. But how awfully was his prayer
answered in what he now saw! The roof of the dungeon was within a foot
of his head. The two ends were so near, that in six paces he trod the
space between them. Vivenzio shuddered as he gazed, and as his steps
traversed the narrowed area. But his feelings no longer vented
themselves in frantic wailings. With folded arms, and clenched teeth,
with eyes that were bloodshot from much watching, and fixed with a
vacant glare upon the ground, with a hard quick breathing, and a
hurried walk, he strode backwards and forwards in silent musing for
several hours. What mind shall conceive, what tongue utter, or what
pen describe the dark and terrible character of his thoughts? Like the
fate that moulded them, they had no similitude in the wide range of
this world's agony for man. Suddenly he stopped, and his eyes were
riveted upon that part of the wall which was over his bed of straw.
Words are inscribed there! A human language, traced by a human hand!
He rushes towards them; but his blood freezes as he reads:--

"I, Ludovico Sforza, tempted by the gold of the Prince of Tolfi, spent
three years in contriving and executing this accursed triumph of my
art. When it was completed, the perfidious Tolfi, more devil than man,
who conducted me hither one morning, to be witness, as he said, of its
perfection, doomed me to be the first victim of my own pernicious
skill; lest, as he declared, I should divulge the secret, or repeat
the effort of my ingenuity. May God pardon him, as I hope he will me,
that ministered to his unhallowed purpose! Miserable wretch, whoe'er
thou art, that readest these lines, fall on thy knees, and invoke, as
I have done, His sustaining mercy, who alone can nerve thee to meet
the vengeance of Tolfi, armed with this tremendous engine which, in a
few hours, must crush _you_, as it will the needy wretch who made it."

A deep groan burst from Vivenzio. He stood, like one transfixed, with
dilated eyes, expanded nostrils, and quivering lips, gazing at this
fatal inscription. It was as if a voice from the sepulchre had sounded
in his ears, "Prepare!" Hope forsook him. There was his sentence,
recorded in those dismal words. The future stood unveiled before him,
ghastly and appalling. His brain already feels the descending
horror--his bones seem to crack and crumble in the mighty grasp of the
iron walls! Unknowing what it is he does, he fumbles in his garment
for some weapon of self-destruction. He clenches his throat in his
convulsive gripe, as though he would strangle himself at once. He
stares upon the walls, and his warring spirit demands, "Will they not
anticipate their office if I dash my head against them?" An hysterical
laugh chokes him as he exclaims, "Why should I? He was but a man who
died first in their fierce embrace; and I should be less than man not
to do as much!"

The evening sun was descending, and Vivenzio beheld its golden beams
streaming through one of the windows. What a thrill of joy shot
through his soul at the sight! It was a precious link, that united
him, for the moment, with the world beyond. There was ecstasy in the
thought. As he gazed, long and earnestly, it seemed as if the windows
had lowered sufficiently for him to reach them. With one bound he was
beneath them--with one wild spring he clung to the bars. Whether it
was so contrived, purposely to madden with delight the wretch who
looked, he knew not; but, at the extremity of a long vista, cut
through the solid rocks, the ocean, the sky, the setting sun, olive
groves, shady walks, and, in the farthest distance, delicious glimpses
of magnificent Sicily, burst upon his sight. How exquisite was the
cool breeze as it swept across his cheek, loaded with fragrance! He
inhaled it as though it were the breath of continued life. And there
was a freshness in the landscape, and in the rippling of the calm
green sea, that fell upon his withering heart like dew upon the
parched earth. How he gazed, and panted, and still clung to his hold!
sometimes hanging by one hand, sometimes by the other, and then
grasping the bars with both, as loth to quit the smiling paradise
outstretched before him; till exhausted, and his hands swollen and
benumbed, he dropped helpless down, and lay stunned for a considerable
time by the fall.

When he recovered, the glorious vision had vanished. He was in
darkness. He doubted whether it was not a dream that had passed before
his sleeping fancy; but gradually his scattered thoughts returned, and
with them came remembrance. Yes! he had looked once again upon the
gorgeous splendour of nature! Once again his eyes had trembled
beneath their veiled lids, at the sun's radiance, and sought repose in
the soft verdure of the olive-tree, or the gentle swell of undulating
waves. Oh, that he were a mariner, exposed upon those waves to the
worst fury of storm and tempest; or a very wretch, loathsome with
disease, plague-stricken, and his body one leprous contagion from
crown to sole, hunted forth to gasp out the remnant of infectious life
beneath those verdant trees, so he might shun the destiny upon whose
edge he tottered!

Vain thoughts like these would steal over his mind from time to time,
in spite of himself; but they scarcely moved it from that stupor into
which it had sunk, and which kept him, during the whole night, like
one who had been drugged with opium. He was equally insensible to the
calls of hunger and of thirst, though the third day was now commencing
since even a drop of water had passed his lips. He remained on the
ground, sometimes sitting, sometimes lying; at intervals, sleeping
heavily; and when not sleeping, silently brooding over what was to
come, or talking aloud, in disordered speech, of his wrongs, of his
friends, of his home, and of those he loved, with a confused mingling
of all.

In this pitiable condition, the sixth and last morning dawned upon
Vivenzio, if dawn it might be called--the dim, obscure light which
faintly struggled through the ONE SOLITARY window of his dungeon. He
could hardly be said to notice the melancholy token. And yet he did
notice it; for as he raised his eyes and saw the portentous sign,
there was a slight convulsive distortion of his countenance. But what
did attract his notice, and at the sight of which his agitation was
excessive, was the change his iron bed had undergone. It was a bed no
longer. It stood before him, the visible semblance of a funeral couch
or bier! When he beheld this, he started from the ground; and, in
raising himself, suddenly struck his head against the roof, which was
now so low that he could no longer stand upright. "God's will be
done!" was all he said, as he crouched his body, and placed his hand
upon the bier; for such it was. The iron bedstead had been so
contrived, by the mechanical art of Ludovico Sforza, that as the
advancing walls came in contact with its head and feet, a pressure was
produced upon concealed springs, which, when made to play, set in
motion a very simple though ingeniously-contrived machinery, that
effected the transformation. The object was, of course, to heighten,
in the closing scene of this horrible drama, all the feelings of
despair and anguish, which the preceding ones had aroused. For the
same reason, the last window was so made as to admit only a shadowy
kind of gloom rather than light, that the wretched captive might be
surrounded, as it were, with every seeming preparation for
approaching death.

Vivenzio seated himself on his bier. Then he knelt and prayed
fervently; and sometimes tears would gush from him. The air seemed
thick, and he breathed with difficulty; or it might be that he fancied
it was so, from the hot and narrow limits of his dungeon, which were
now so diminished that he could neither stand up nor lie down at his
full length. But his wasted spirits and oppressed mind no longer
struggled within him. He was past hope, and fear shook him no more.
Happy if thus revenge had struck its final blow; for he would have
fallen beneath it almost unconscious of a pang. But such a lethargy of
the soul, after such an excitement of its fiercest passions, had
entered into the diabolical calculations of Tolfi; and the fell
artificer of his designs had imagined a counteracting device.

The tolling of an enormous bell struck upon the ears of Vivenzio! He
started. It beat but once. The sound was so close and stunning, that
it seemed to shatter his very brain, while it echoed through the rocky
passages like reverberating peals of thunder. This was followed by a
sudden crash of the roof and walls, as if they were about to fall upon
and close around him at once. Vivenzio screamed, and instinctively
spread forth his arms, as though he had a giant's strength to hold
them back. They had moved nearer to him, and were now motionless.
Vivenzio looked up, and saw the roof almost touching his head, even as
he sat cowering beneath it; and he felt that a farther contraction of
but a few inches only must commence the frightful operation. Roused as
he had been, he now gasped for breath. His body shook violently--he
was bent nearly double. His hands rested upon either wall, and his
feet were drawn under him to avoid the pressure in front. Thus he
remained for more than an hour, when that deafening bell beat again,
and again there came the crash of horrid death. But the concussion was
now so great that it struck Vivenzio down. As he lay gathered up in
lessened bulk, the bell beat loud and frequent--crash succeeded
crash--and on, and on, and on came the mysterious engine of death,
till Vivenzio's smothered groans were heard no more! He was horribly
crushed by the ponderous roof and collapsing sides--and the flattened
bier was his _Iron Shroud_.


PRINTED BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:

Minor changes have been made to correct obvious typesetters' errors;
otherwise, every effort has been made to remain true to the authors'
words and intent.





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