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Title: Tales from Blackwood - Volume 9
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 9" ***

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 Contents of this Volume

 _Rosaura: A Tale of Madrid_

 _Adventure in the North-West Territory_

 _Harry Bolton's Curacy_

 _The Florida Pirate_

 _The Pandour and his Princess_

 _The Beauty Draught_




_MAGA._ MAY 1847.

In the year 1833 there dwelt in Madrid a certain student, who went by
the name of El Rubio, or the Red. Not by his acquaintances and intimates
alone was he thus designated, but by all the various classes of idlers
with whom the Spanish capital abounds; by the listless loiterers at the
coffeehouse doors, by the lounging gossips of the Puerta del Sol, and by
the cloaked saunterers who, when the siesta is over, pace the alleys of
the Retiro, puffing their beloved havanas, retailing the latest news,
discussing the chances of a change of ministry, or the most recent and
interesting scandalous anecdote current in that gallant metropolis. It
would be wrong to infer, from his somewhat ambiguous appellation, that
the student's skin had the copper hue of a Pawnee or an Osage, or his
hair the ruddy tint usually deemed detrimental and unbecoming. The name
implied no sneer--it was given and taken as a compliment; and Federico
was at least as proud of it as of the abundant golden curls to which he
owed it, and that flowed in waving luxuriance down his graceful neck,
and even to his well-formed shoulders.

In southern climes, where the ardent sun embrowns the children of the
soil, fair locks and eyes of azure are prized in proportion to their
rarity. No wonder, then, that Federico found favour in the sight of the
dark-browed and inflammable Madrileñas. Many were the tender glances
darted at him from beneath veil and mantilla, as he took his evening
stroll upon the Prado; oftentimes, when he passed along the street,
white and slender fingers, protruded through half-closed _jalousies_,
dropped upon his handsome head a shower of fragrant jasmin blossoms.
Amongst the dames and damsels who thus signified their favour and
partiality, not a few--so it is certified by the veracious authority
whence we derive this history--dwelt in stately mansions, and went
abroad in brave equipage, drawn by prancing steeds and comely mules, all
glittering with trappings of silk and gold. These, it may be thought,
condescended over-much thus to notice an humble student. But the
love-breathing daughters of Castile reck little of rank and station; and
Federico, by all personal endowments, well deserved the distinction he
obtained. Poor hidalgo though he was, no count or duke, or blue-blooded
grandee, from Cadiz to Corunna, bore himself better, or had more the
mien of a well-born and thoroughbred _caballero_. None more gallantly
wore the broad-leafed sombrero, none more gracefully draped the ample
cloak; and all Spain might have been searched in vain to match the
bright and joyous glance of the student's dark-blue eye. Excepting on
the coast, and in certain districts where Mohammedan forefathers have
bequeathed their oriental physiognomy and tall slender frame to their
Christian descendants, Spaniards are rarely of very lofty stature.
Federico was from the flat and arid province of La Mancha, where, as in
compensation for the unproductiveness of the parched soil, handsome men
and beauteous women abound. Of the middle height, his figure was
symmetrical, elastic, and muscular, formed for feats of agility and
strength; his step was light, but firm; his countenance manly,--the
expression of his regular and agreeable features denoted a passionate
nature and lofty character. Like most of his countrymen, he was quickly
roused, but easy to appease. Generosity and forbearance were prominent
amongst his good qualities; and he had nobly displayed them in more than
one encounter with antagonists whose feebleness placed them at his mercy
and rendered them unworthy of his wrath. For in the use of arms, as in
all manly exercises, Federico was an adept; and there were few men in
Spain who would not have found in him a formidable and dangerous

Strange to tell of so young a man, and of a Spaniard, in one respect our
student appeared passionless. He met the advances of his female admirers
with the utmost coldness--seemed, indeed, to avoid the society of the
fair sex, threw love-letters into the fire, unread and unanswered,
neglected invitations, went to no rendezvous. Favours which other
men would gladly have purchased with years of life, he disdainfully
rejected. The wrinkled duennas, who under various pretexts brought him
tender messages and tempting assignations, met, instead of the golden
guerdon with which such Mercuries are usually rewarded, harsh rebuffs
and cutting sarcasm at the hands of the stoic of two-and-twenty. And
with so much scorn did this Manchegan Joseph repel on one occasion the
amorous attentions of a lady of birth and station, that her indiscreet
love was changed into bitter hate, and Federico narrowly escaped
a dagger-stab and a premature death. From that day he was more
inaccessible than ever, not only to women, but to men. Gradually he
withdrew from intercourse with his former associates, and was seldom
seen in the streets or public places, but sat at home, buried amongst
books, and diligently studying, with the intention, he was heard to
declare, of going to Ciudad Real, and passing his examination as
advocate in the royal courts. And thus, little by little, it happened
with Federico as it does with most persons who neglect and forget the
world. The world forgot him. His old intimates--joyous, light-hearted
lads, revelling in the enjoyments and dissipation of the capital--voted
him a spoil-sport and a pedant, and thought of him no more: friends,
in the true sense of the word, he had none; and so, after a very short
time, the list of visitors to the gloomy old apartment in which the
eccentric youth mused and studied was reduced to one man, and that a
very odd one, but whom Federico loved, because he in some sort owed him
his life.

This second hero of our tale was one of those strange characters to be
met with in Spain only. Don Geronimo Regato was a little wizened old
creature, blind of an eye, and with a very ugly face, whose life had
been a series of extraordinary adventures and bustling incidents. He had
served his country in the most opposite capacities. In 1808, he fought
the French in the streets of Madrid; two years later, he headed a
guerilla band in the wild passes of the Sierra Morena; another two
years, and he took the oath to the constitution of Cadiz, and was seen
at Wellington's headquarters as colonel of the Spanish line, and
delegate from the Cortes. In 1814, he changed his colours, and was
noted, after the return of Ferdinand VII., as a stanch Royalist. But
variety was his motto; and the revolution of 1820 saw him in the ranks
of the Liberals, to whom he continued faithful until their cause was
ruined and hopeless. That was the signal, with this Talleyrand on a
small scale, for another _vuelta casaca_: once more he turned his coat;
and as an earnest of penitence for past offences, opened to the Royalist
troops the gates of a small Estremaduran fortress. Notwithstanding this
act of tardy allegiance, he was thrown into prison at Madrid, and
owed it entirely to the intercession and good offices of an old
school-fellow, the influential Father Cyrillo, that his neck was not
brought into unpleasant contact with the iron hoop of the _garrote_.
Either warned by this narrow escape, or because the comparatively
tranquil state of Spain afforded no scope for his restless activity,
since 1823 this political Proteus had lived in retirement, apparently
eschewing plots and intrigues; although he was frequently seen in the
very highest circles of the capital, where his great experience, his
conversational powers and social qualities sufficiently accounted for
the welcome he at all times met.

Returning late one night from a tertulia at the house of Ferdinand's
prime minister, Don Geronimo heard the clash of steel and sound of a
scuffle, and, hurrying to the spot, saw a young man defending himself
against the attack of two bravos. Forthwith Regato set himself to shout
out words of command, as if he had a whole regiment at his back, and
the ruffians, thinking the patrol was upon them, instantly took to
flight. Federico was the person assailed; and although he boldly
asserted, and doubtless fully believed, that, left to himself, he would
speedily have defeated his cowardly opponents, he was still not
altogether sorry to be relieved from such odds by the old gentleman's
timely arrival and ingenious stratagem. This was the origin of his
acquaintance with Regato. From that night forward they visited each
other, and soon Geronimo took particular pleasure in the society of the
handsome youth, whose earnestness and vigour of mind, he was heard
cynically to remark, were refreshing to contemplate in a century when
the actions of most men made them resemble beasts and apes, rather than
beings formed in the image of their Creator. The young student, for his
part, found much to interest him in his new friend, the only person who
now varied the monotony of his solitude. He listened eagerly to Regato's
discourse, as he alternately poured out his stores of knowledge and
experience, and broke into a vein of keen and bitter sarcasm on the men,
parties, and circumstances of distracted and unhappy Spain. Federico
enthusiastically loved his country, and his proud eyes often filled with
tears when the old man placed its former greatness in striking contrast
with its present degradation. In spite of all the veerings and
weathercock variations of his political life, Regato was at heart a
Liberal. He set forth in glowing colours the evils and tyranny of
Ferdinand's government, expatiated on the barbarous executions of Riego,
Torrijos, and other martyrs to freedom's cause, and exposed the
corruption and villany of the men who retained their country in the
bonds of slavery and fanaticism; until Federico's cheeks glowed, and his
heart beat quick with patriotic indignation, and he felt that he too,
when the battle-hour should strike, would joyfully draw his sword and
lose his life for the liberation of the land he loved so well. At times
the student would take down his guitar, and sing, with closed doors
and windows--for Ferdinand's spies were a quick-eared legion--the
spirit-stirring Hymn of the Constitution, or the wild Tragala--that
Spanish Marseillaise, to whose exciting notes rivers of blood have
flowed. And then old Regato beat time with his hand, and his solitary
eye gleamed like a ball of fire, whilst he mingled his hoarse and
suppressed bass with Federico's mellow tenor.

Notwithstanding their vast difference of age and character, and although
the one was but commencing, whilst the other had nearly run, the up-hill
race of life, the more these two men saw of each other the stronger grew
their sympathy and friendship. Don Geronimo's visits to the student
became more and more frequent; and often, forgetful or careless of the
time, they would sit talking till far into the night. It seemed a
relief to Regato to disburden his heart and mind of their innermost
secrets; and he rejoiced to have found a man to whose honour, truth,
and secresy he felt he could safely intrust them. Federico repaid his
confidence with one equally unlimited. He not only told his friend the
history of his short life from infancy upwards, but he made him his
father confessor, informed him of the progress of his studies, confided
to him his doubts and hopes, his religious creed and political
aspirations, and even his connection with some of the secret orders and
societies, of which, at that period, notwithstanding the vigilance of
the police, a multitude existed in Spain.

"And can it be, my young friend," said Geronimo one evening, when a
brief pause succeeded to some of the fiery Federico's vehement political
diatribes--"can it be," he said, fixing his penetrating eye upon the
flushed and impassioned countenance of the student, "that you have
reached your present age and never loved woman?"

"Pshaw!" replied the student, "you have asked the question before, and I
have answered it."

"But 'tis incomprehensible and out of nature," cried the old Don. "Why
have you a heart in your bosom, blood in your veins, strong limbs, and
bright eyes?"

"Was all that given me that I might love woman?" retorted Federico, with
a merry laugh.

"Certainly: what is life worth, without love to sweeten it? Nothing,
worse than nothing. It is that gentle sympathy of hearts, that strange
fever of the soul, those sweet hopes and joyous transports, and tremors
scarce less pleasing, that render life endurable, and reconcile man to
the vileness of mortality. The nearest approach to paradise on earth is
found in bright eyes that beam for us alone--in gentle lips that murmur
to our ears words of pure tenderness and unselfish affection."

"By the Virgin!" cried Federico, "I am neither of wood nor stone. Yes,
there are creatures of heavenly beauty whom I _could_ love. But I am
like the Moorish Prince of Granada, who was too proud to eat common
food, and fed on gold. The metal was over-hard for his royal stomach,
and so he starved."

"Which means that what you could have, you don't like, and what you
would like, you can't get."

"Possible," replied Federico, smiling. "I strike high."

"And why not? To dare is often to succeed. For the bold and the prudent
no aim is too lofty. But tell me more."

"Nonsense!" cried the student. "I did but jest. It occurred to me that
this very day I saw a lady whose fair face I shall not easily forget.
She was richly dressed, and sat in an open carriage, drawn by
magnificent horses."

"What colour was the carriage?"

"Brown, lined with purple velvet. The arms on the panels were supported
by coroneted griffins; and on the luxurious cushions my goddess
reclined, in a robe of rose-coloured satin. A black lace mantilla
floated over her alabaster shoulders, further veiled by a cloud
of glossy ebon hair; and her eyes, friend Geronimo, her beauteous
eyes--they were soft and heavenly as a spring day in the almond groves
of Valencia."

"You are poetical," said Regato. "A good sign. Federico, you are in
love; but, by our Lady, you are audacious in your choice."

"Do you know her?" eagerly exclaimed Federico.

"Did she appear to notice you?" inquired Geronimo, leaving the question

"Paralysed by her exceeding beauty," replied the student, "I stood dumb
and motionless in the carriage-way, and was nearly run over. I sprang
aside, but just in time. She observed me and smiled: I almost think she
blushed. One thing I am sure of--she could not help seeing that her
wondrous beauty had turned my head."

"And that is all?" said Regato, slyly.

"What more could there be?" cried the young lawyer, indignantly. "Would
you have such an angel throw flowers at me, or appoint a rendezvous?
When the carriage turned out of the street towards the Prado, she
looked back. Holy Mother of Sorrows! even at that distance, the sunshine
of those eyes scorched my very heart!--But this is folly, sheer folly!
Next week I go to Ciudad Real, and amongst dusty deeds and dry folios I
shall soon forget the eyes and their owner."

Señor Regato assumed a thoughtful countenance, look a large pinch of
snuff, and lit a fresh cigar. After three or four puffs, emitted through
his nostrils with the delectation of a veteran smoker, he broke silence.

"You will not go to Ciudad Real."

"And why not?" cried Federico.

"Because, if I am not greatly mistaken, you will remain here."

"Strange if I do!" laughed the student.

"Less so, perhaps, than you imagine. Would you go if the rose-coloured
lady bid you stay? What if she sent a tender billet to the young
woman-hater, and said, 'Come and love me, if you have the heart and
courage of a man.' I think I see you then, though ten thousand devils
barred the way. Ciudad Real and the royal courts would soon be

"Perhaps," replied Federico. "But you tantalise me with

Don Geronimo put on his hat, took his young friend's hand, and said,
with great gravity, "Nothing is impossible. And as regards love, nought
in this world can withstand it--no bolt, or lock, or bar, or rank, or
power. Bear that in mind, and be of good courage, if you again fall in
with her of the rose-coloured robe. I should not wonder if you saw her
this very night. Be happy whilst you may, whilst youth and beauty last.
They quickly pass, and never return; and in love be adventurous and
bold, like a true Spaniard and gallant gentleman. Daring wins the day."

He departed. Federico remained alone. With a smile at his friend's
advice, the young man sat down to study. But he soon started up, and
gazed like one in a dream at the massive volumes encumbering his table.
He knew not how it happened, but the well-known letters of the alphabet
seemed changed into inexplicable hieroglyphics. The simplest passages
were wholly unintelligible; the paragraphs were all rose-coloured;
black locks and brilliant eyes twined and sparkled through the quaint
arabesques and angular capitals that commenced each chapter of the
code, confusing and dazzling his brain. At last he angrily slammed the
parchment-bound volume, muttered a curse on his own folly, then laughed
aloud at the recollection of that comical old fellow, Geronimo Regato,
and went to bed. There he found little rest. When he closed his eyes,
the slender form of the incognita glided before them. Her white hand,
extended from beneath her mantilla, beckoned him to follow; nay, he
felt the pressure of the tiny fingers, her warm breath upon his cheek,
her velvet lips gently laid to his. And when he started from his sleep,
it was to fancy the rustle of a dress, and a sweet low voice that
timidly uttered his name. So passed the night, and only towards daybreak
did he sink into a sounder and more refreshing slumber. But when he
arose, he found, to his consternation, that she who had haunted his
dreams was equally present to his waking imagination. The fascinating
image of the beautiful stranger had established itself in his heart, and
Federico felt that all efforts to dislodge it would be as fruitless as

"If I believed in sorcery," he soliloquised, "I should think that old
rogue Geronimo had cast a charm over me. He predicted that she would
visit me this night, and truly she has done so, and here remains.
Whether it be for the best, I greatly doubt."

Musing on the fair apparition that thus pertinaciously intruded upon
him, the student dressed himself. It was late, and to atone for lost
time, he resolved to remain at home, and study hard the whole day. But
somehow or other, exactly at the same hour as on the previous one, he
found himself in the Calle Alcala; and scarcely was he there, when the
brown carriage and the splendid horses came rattling by. And there, upon
the purple cushions, sat, more beautiful than ever, the divinity who
for the last twenty-four hours had monopolised so large a share of his
thoughts. He gazed at her with rapture, and involuntarily bowed his
head, as to a being not of the earth. She smiled: her look had something
inquiring and mysterious; then, as if by accident, she placed her hand
upon the edge of the carriage, and let a flower fall. Almost before it
reached the ground, Federico caught and concealed it in his bosom, as
though it had been some precious jewel which all would seek to tear
from him. It was an almond blossom, a symbol of love and hope. Like a
criminal, he hurried away, lest his prize should be reclaimed, when he
suddenly found himself face to face with Geronimo, who gravely took off
his hat and greeted his friend.

"How goes it?" said the old Don, his widowed eye twinkling significantly
as he spoke. "How have you slept? Did the lady visit you or not?"

"You saw her!" cried Federico, imploringly. "For heaven's sake, her

"Bah!" replied Geronimo; "I saw nothing. But if it be she who sits in
yonder carriage, beware, young man! 'Tis dangerous jesting with giants,
who can crush us like straws beneath their finger. Your life is in
danger," he continued in a whisper; "forget this folly. There are plenty
of handsome faces in the world. Throw away the silly flower that peeps
from your vest, and be off to Ciudad Real, where scores of pretty girls
await you."

He turned to depart; Federico detained him.

"Let me go," said Geronimo: "I am in haste. I will call upon you
presently, and you shall hear more."

But, notwithstanding his promise, and although Federico remained all day
at home, impatiently expecting him, Geronimo came not. Never had the
student been so out of temper. He bitterly reproached himself as a
dreamer, a fool, an idiot: and yet there he remained, his thoughts fixed
upon one object, his eyes riveted on the almond blossom, which he had
placed in water, and whose graceful cup, now fully open, emitted a
delicate perfume. And as he gazed, fancy played her wildest pranks
with the enamoured youth. Small fairy-like creatures glided and danced
between the dusty stamina of the flower. At times, its leaves seemed
partly to close, and from out the contracted aperture, the lady of his
thoughts smiled sweetly upon him. Then the welcome vision vanished, and
was succeeded by stern frowning faces of men, armed from head to heel,
who levelled daggers at his heart.

"By St Jago!" the bewildered student at last exclaimed, "this is too
much. When will it end? What ails me? Have I so long withstood the
fascinations of the black-eyed traitresses, to be thus at last entrapped
and unmanned? Geronimo was right; at daybreak I start for Ciudad Real.
I will think no more of that perilous syren." He plucked the almond
blossom from its vase. "And this flower," he pensively murmured, "has
touched her hand, perhaps her lips! Oh! were it possible that she loves
me!" As he spoke, he pressed the flower so impetuously to his mouth that
its tender leaves were crushed and tarnished. He laughed scornfully.
"Thus is it," he exclaimed, "with woman's love; as fair and as fragile
as this poor blossom. Begone, then! Wither, and become dust, thou
perishable emblem of frailty!" Approaching the open window, he was about
to throw away the flower, when something flew into the room, struck his
breast, and rolled upon the ground. Federico started back, and his eye
fell upon the clock that regulated his studies. The hands were on the
stroke of midnight, and for a moment, in his then excited state, a
feeling of superstitious fear stole over him. The next instant he was
again at the window, straining his eyes through the gloom. He could see
nothing. The night was dark: a few large stars twinkled in the sable
canopy, the jasmin bushes in his balcony rustled in the breeze, and
brushed their cool leaves against his heated temples. "Who is there?" he
cried. His question was unanswered. Closing the _jalousies_, he took a
light and sought about the room till he perceived something white under
a table. It was a paper wrapped round a small roll of wood, and secured
by a silken thread. Trembling with eagerness, he detached the scroll.
Upon it were traced a few lines in a woman's delicate handwriting. "If
you are willing," so ran the missive, "to encounter some risk for an
interview with her who writes this, you will repair, to-morrow evening
at nine o'clock, to the western door of the church of St James. One will
meet you there in whom you may confide, if he asks you what flower you
love best."

"And though death were in the path," exclaimed Federico with vehement
passion--"though a thousand swords opposed me, and King Ferdinand
himself--" He paused at that name, with the habitual caution of a
Manchegan. "I will go," he resumed, in a calmer but equally decided
tone. "I will go; and though certain to be stabbed at her feet, I still
would go."

Lazily, to the impetuous student's thinking, did the long hours loiter
till that of his rendezvous arrived. Tormented by a thousand doubts and
anxieties, not the least of these sprang from the probability that the
assignation came not whence he hoped, and was, perhaps, the work of some
mischievous jester, to send him on a fool's errand to the distant church
of St James. Above all things, he wished to see his friend Geronimo; but
although he passed the day in invoking his presence and heaping curses
on his head, that personage did not appear. Evening came; the sun went
down behind the gardens of Buen Retiro; at last it was quite dark.
Federico wrapped himself in his cloak, pressed his hat over his brows,
concealed in the breast of his coat one of those knives whose strong
keen-pointed blade is so terrible a weapon in a Spaniard's hand, and,
crossing the Plaza Mayor, glided swiftly through streets and lanes,
until, exactly as the clock of St James's church struck nine, he stood
beneath the massive arches of the western portico. All was still as the
grave. The dark enclosure of a convent arose at a short distance, and
from a small high window a solitary ray of light fell upon the painted
figure of the Virgin that stood in its grated niche on the church wall.

His back against the stone parapet, in the darkest corner of the
portico, Federico posted himself, silent and motionless. He had not long
waited, when he heard the sound of footsteps upon the rough pavement.
They came nearer: a shadow crossed the front of the arched gateway
and was merged in the gloom, as its owner, muttering indistinctly to
himself, entered the portico. It was a man, closely muffled in a dark
cloak. To judge from his high and pointed hat, he belonged to the lower
class of the people; a wild black beard, a moment visible in the light
from the convent window, was all of his physiognomy discernible by the
student. He might be anything--a Gallego, a muleteer, or a robber.

After a moment, Federico made a slight noise, and advanced a step from
his corner. "Who is there?" cried the stranger.--"Who is there?" he
repeated. "Answer, in God's name. What do you here at this hour of the

"Who questions me?" boldly demanded the young man; and at the same time
he approached the speaker.

For a moment the two men gazed suspiciously at each other; then the
stranger again spoke. "Night and solitude enjoin prudence, señor,"
said he; "and so, keep your distance. What brings you to this gloomy
church-door? At this hour such gay cavaliers are oftener found in the
Prado or the Delicias, plucking flowers for their mistresses."

"I love flowers," replied Federico, "but I also love solitude."

"And what flower, my gallant young gentleman, do you best love?"

"Enough! enough!" joyfully exclaimed the student. "'Tis you I seek: I
am ready to follow."

Without reply, the stranger produced a long black cloth.

"What is that?" said Federico, who vigilantly observed his movements.

"To blindfold you."


"Señor, that you may not see whither I conduct you."

"Not so!" cried the student, suspiciously. "I will follow, but with open

The Gallego threw the skirt of his large cloak over his left shoulder,
touched his pointed hat by way of salutation, and said courteously,
"_Buenas noches, señor_. May you sleep well, and live a thousand years."

"Stop!" cried Federico; "you are mad. Whither away?"


"Without me?"

"Without you, señor. The truth is, you are wanted blind, or not at all."

The result of the colloquy that ensued was, that the Gallego twisted
his cloth thrice round the student's eyes, ears, and nose, and led him
carefully down a street and round sundry corners and turnings, till at
last he deposited him in a carriage, which instantly set off at a rapid
pace. After a tolerably long drive, by no means a pleasant one for our
adventurer, whose guide held his hands firmly in his--probably to
prevent his removing the bandage--the coach stopped, the two men got
out, and Federico was again conducted for some distance on foot. He knew
that he was still in Madrid, for he walked over pavement, and, in spite
of the thick cloth that impeded his hearing, he could distinguish the
distant sound of carriages and hum of life. Presently a door creaked,
and he apparently entered a garden, for there was a smell of flowers
and a rustling of leaves; then he ascended a staircase, and was
conducted through cool lofty apartments, and through doors which seemed
to open and shut of themselves. Suddenly his companion let go his hand.
Federico stood for a minute in silent expectation, then, groping around
him with extended arms, he said in a low voice, "Am I at my journey's
end? Answer!" But nobody replied.

By one decided pull, the student removed the bandage from his eyes, and
gazed around him in wonder and bewilderment. He was alone in a spacious
and magnificent apartment, whose walls were tapestried with striped blue
and white satin, and whose carved ceiling was richly gilt and decorated.
The tall Venetian mirrors, the costly furniture, the beautifully fine
Indian matting, everything in the room, in short, convinced him that
he was in the favoured abode of wealth, and rank, and luxury. A lamp,
suspended by silver chains, shed a soft light over the apartment.
Federico's position was a doubtful, probably a dangerous one; but love
emboldened him, and he felt the truth of a saying of Geronimo's, that
courage grows with peril. Happen what might, there he was, and he knew
no fear. The only perceptible exit from the room was by the large
folding-doors through which he had entered. He tried them--they were
fastened. His mother-wit suggested to him that his retreat had perhaps
been thus cut off that he might seek another outlet. He did so, and
presently perceived hinges under the tapestry. A silver handle protruded
from the wall; he grasped it, a door opened, and a cry of astonishment
and delight burst from the student. Beaming with loveliness, a blush
upon her cheek, a soft smile upon her rosy lips, the lady of his
thoughts stood before him.

For a moment the pair gazed at each other in silence, their looks
telling more eloquently than any words the love that filled their
hearts. But soon Federico started from his brief trance, threw himself
at the feet of the incognita, and, seizing her hand, pressed it ardently
to his lips, murmuring the while, in low and passionate accents, such
broken and rapturous sentences as only lovers speak and love alone can
comprehend. The lady stood over him, her graceful form slightly bowed,
her large lustrous eyes alternately fixed upon the kneeling youth and
roving anxiously round the apartment.

"Don Federico," she said, in tones whose sweetness thrilled his blood,
"may the Holy Virgin forgive my unmaidenly boldness. I have yielded to
an impulse stronger than my reason--to the desire of seeing you, of

"That I love you," interrupted Federico--"that I adore you from the
first hour I beheld you,--that I will die at your feet if you refuse
me hope!"

She bent forward, and laid her small rosy hand upon his throbbing
forehead. The touch was electric, the fiery glow of passion flashed in
her glance. "Light of my eyes!" she whispered, "it were vain to deny
that my heart is thine. But our love is a flower on the precipice's

"I fear not the fall," Federico impetuously exclaimed.

"Dare you risk everything?"

"For your love, everything!" was the enthusiastic reply.

"Listen, then, to the difficulties that beset us, and say if they are

The maiden paused, started, grew pale.

"Hark!" she exclaimed--"what is that? He comes! Be still! be silent!"
With wild and terrified haste she seized Federico's hand, dragged him
across the room, and opened a door. The student felt a burning kiss upon
his lips, and, before he knew where he was, the door was shut, and he
was in total darkness. All that had happened since he entered the house
had occurred so rapidly, was so mysterious and startling, that he was
utterly bewildered. For a moment he thought himself betrayed, groped
round his prison, which was a narrow closet, found the door, and,
grasping his stiletto, was about to force his way through all
opposition, when he suddenly heard heavy steps on the other side
of the tapestried screen. Motionless, he listened.

"Bring lights!" said a deep commanding voice; "the lamp burns dim as in
a bridal chamber."

"It anticipates its office," replied another male voice, with a laugh.
"Is not your wedding-day fixed?"

"Not yet; in the course of next week, perhaps," answered the first
speaker, striding up and down the apartment.

"You are in small haste," returned his companion, "to enjoy what all
envy you. Never did I behold beauty more divine and captivating."

"Beautiful she certainly is," was the reply; "but what is woman's
beauty! The vision of a day; snow, sullied and dispelled in a night."

"You are in exceeding good humour," said the friend of this morose and
moralising bridegroom.

A pause ensued, during which Federico's heart beat so strongly that he
thought its throbbings must surely be audible through the slight barrier
separating him from the speakers. A servant brought lights, and a
slender bright ray shot through a small opening in the tapestry,
previously unobserved by the student. Applying his eye to the crevice,
he obtained a view of the apartment, and of the persons whose
conversation he had overheard. One of these wore a uniform glittering
with embroidery; the other was dressed in black, with several stars and
orders on his breast. Both were in the middle period of life: the one in
uniform was the youngest and most agreeable looking; the dark features
of the other were of a sombre and unpleasing cast.

The servant left the room, and the man in black suspended his walk and
paused opposite his friend.

"You had something to communicate?" he said, in a suppressed voice.

"Are we secure from listeners?" asked the officer, in French.

"Entirely; and doubly so if we speak French. Rosaura herself, did she
overhear us, would be none the wiser."

"Count," said the soldier, "I sincerely wish you joy of this marriage."

"A thousand thanks! But with equal sincerity I tell you that I am
heartily weary of such congratulations. In marrying, one gives and
takes. I give Rosaura my name and rank, titles and dignities, honours
and privileges."

"And you take your lovely ward and a rich estate. A fair exchange,
Excellency. I can only say that the world wonders at the delay of so
suitable a union, and even inclines to the belief that a certain

"The world is greatly mistaken," interrupted the Count. "I ardently love
Rosaura, and I have his Majesty's consent to the marriage. But what a
fool men take me for, if they suppose----" he stopped short, and tossed
his head with a scornful smile.

"Well?" said the officer.

"Solve the riddle yourself."

"I understand! Your position is uneasy, the future dark, the decisive
moment at hand. With one's feet on a volcano, one is little disposed to
enjoy a honeymoon."

"But when the mine explodes, and one is tossed into the air, it is
pleasant to fall in the soft lap of love, there to forget one's wounds."

"Bravo! But what if the lap refuse to receive the luckless engineer?"

"_Amigo!_" replied the Count--"I thought you knew me better. Under all
circumstances, Rosaura remains mine. For myself have I trained and
nurtured this fair and delicate plant, and to me, as the gardener, it

"She loves you, then?"

"Loves me? What a question! Of course she does. She has grown up with
the idea that she is to be my wife. Her heart is pure and unblemished as
a diamond: it shall be my care to keep it so."

"You fear rivals?"

"Fear!" repeated the Count, a smile flitting over his dark countenance.
"But we trifle precious time. What have you to tell me?"

"Something important to our cause," replied the officer, drawing nearer
to his companion. "But first, how goes it yonder?"

He pointed with his finger in the direction of the closet. Federico
instinctively started back, but again applied his eye to the loophole on
hearing the Count's answer. "I have just come thence," he said, "and
must soon return. The hand of death is upon him--in vain would he parry
the blow. Still the struggle is a hard one; he persists in discrediting
his danger, and will abandon none of his habits. But the remorseless
tyrant is there, soon to claim him for his own."

"Then we must take our measures without delay," said the officer.

"They are already taken," was his companion's quiet answer.

"Your colleagues are agreed?"

"Fully agreed."

"And now?"

"Read that," said the Count, taking a large folded paper from a
portfolio, and spreading it before his friend, who devoured its contents
with every demonstration of extreme surprise.

"His handwriting! his signature!" he cried. "A revocation, annihilating
the shameless intrigues and machinations of years! Now, Heaven be
praised, our country and religion--the faith, honour, and dignity of
Spain are rescued! How was it obtained? How possible? My noble friend,
you are indeed a great statesman!"

"Take this priceless document," calmly replied the Count; "convey it to
your master. Only in his hands is it entirely safe. The future welfare
of Spain, the salvation of us all, is suspended to its seal. That I
obtained it," he continued, his voice sinking to a whisper, "is the work
of Providence. During the last two days he has had spasms and fainting
fits that have weakened his mind and energies. The secret is well kept,
and without the palace gates nought is known of these dangerous
symptoms. In such moments of agony and depression, the weary soul
recalls the past, and trembles for the future. Then, in vivid colours, I
placed before him the confusion and unhappiness, and infernal mischief,
to which his deplorable decision must give rise; I urged the injustice
he had committed, the sin that would lie at his door; and showed how,
almost before his eyes had closed, the work he had achieved at peril to
his soul would sink and crumble in an ocean of blood and tears. Alcudia
supported me; the others chimed in; this document was ready, and----he

"And now we have got it," cried the officer, triumphantly, "we will hold
it fast with hands and teeth. How long, think you, may he still live?"

"Castillo says not more than two days, and that he will hardly regain
the full use of his intellects." The eyes of the conspirators met; for a
moment they gazed at each other, and then broke into a smile.

"Well," said the officer, "I came commissioned to assure you special
favour and high reward, but, by my honour as a soldier, no gain or
recompense can worthily requite such service as yours."

"For me little can be done," replied the Count. "My desires tend to a
peaceful existence in the arms of my young wife, far removed from cares
of state. Such is the reward I promise myself. Let your acts be speedy
and decided, for it might well happen that----" his brow contracted into
deeper folds, and his voice assumed a discordant harshness--"I have
decimated the ranks of the scoundrels, but enough yet remain to give
much trouble. Take sure measures, and muster your resources. You will
need them all."

"Fear not," replied the confident soldier. "We, too, have been active,
and have good and steady friends. At a word, the Realista volunteers and
the trusty Agraviados fly to their arms. Romagosa, Caraval, Erro,
Gonzalez, and the venerable Cyrillo, still live. The Guards are for us;
so are the civil authorities and captains-general of eleven provinces.
Let the moment come, and you will see that, with this document in our
hand, all is done. Confidence for confidence," he continued. "Read this
list of names. It contains those of our most approved friends, and will
reassure you as to the chances of the future."

He handed a paper to the Count, who, barely looking at it, said

"Leave it with me till to-morrow. At the critical moment it will be of
immense weight with many waverers. 'Tis late; in a few minutes I must go
out. Place me at the feet of your gracious master, and tell him he will
have no more faithful subject than his humble slave."

"Will you see him?" said the officer, gently. His companion shook his

"'Twere not wise," he replied. "The time is not yet come. When it
arrives, I shall be the first to bend knee before him. Be watchful,
prudent, and prompt. Yet one word. You have confided somewhat in that
fellow Regato. Trust him not too far. I deem him a traitor. Let him be
proved such, and he shall not escape the rope he has long deserved. And
now, farewell!"

The two men parted, and, as the Count returned from the door, Federico
heard a rustling of silks that materially increased the rapidity of his
heart's pulsations.

"My fair bride!" gallantly exclaimed his Excellency, "I am enchanted to
see you. How lovely you look, Rosaura! and how deeply I regret that
important affairs leave me but a few moments to devote to you."

"It would seem," said the lady, with cold severity, "that your
Excellency has converted my poor apartment into an audience-chamber."

"A thousand pardons, dear Rosaura," was the reply. "A particular friend
craved a short interview."

"It is late," said the lady, pointedly. "I wish your Excellency a

"What!" cried the Count, impatiently. "You dismiss me thus?"

"I am indisposed to-night."

"You are a cruel tyrant, Rosaura."

"I, Excellency? They say worse things of you."

"Who, and what?"

"No matter. May your Excellency live a thousand years."

"With you, Rosaura," replied the Count, assuming an air of tenderness
which, as Federico thought, sat supremely ill upon him, and endeavouring
to take her hand. She drew it quickly back.

"_Veremos, Excelencia._ We shall see."

"The devil take the Excellency!" cried the Count, losing all
self-command, and stamping angrily with his foot. Rosaura curtsied low.

"You forget my rights over you, Rosaura. I came to tell you that in a
few days, as I hope, my dearest wishes will be accomplished."

"We shall see, Excellency," repeated the provoking beauty.

The Count stepped up to her, and said, with his sullen smile, "You
rejoice not at it, Rosaura?"

"No," was her laconic reply.

"You love me not?"

"Love _you_, Excellency? a great statesman like you! Certainly not,

"I grieve to hear it, my beautiful bride; but, fortunately, love often
comes with marriage. You shall learn to love me, Rosaura. Our existence
shall be a happy and envied one. You detest state affairs: I will leave
them and devote myself solely to you. Far from the capital, we will lead
a pastoral life, amidst myrtles and meadows, flocks and shepherds, in
all the sweet tranquillity of a terrestrial paradise."

Whether sketched in jest or in earnest, this picture of rustic felicity
had evidently few charms for Rosaura, at least in the companionship
proposed. Suddenly she stepped up to the Count, took his hand, looked
full into his dark serious countenance, and laughed aloud and most

"What do I hear, Excellency," she exclaimed; "_you_ in myrtle groves and
smiling meadows--_you_ leading a shepherd's tranquil life! Oh, ye
Saints! _he_ a shepherd in the Alpuxarras. Ah! the flocks would fly and
scatter themselves when they beheld the gloomy lines upon your brow.
Where are sheep to be found who would be tended by that ensanguined
hand? Where could _you_ find repose? Is there a place free from the
echoes of the curses that martyred Liberals have heaped upon you? Where
is the domestic hearth around which would not range themselves the
spectres of the wretches who, at your command, have been blotted from
the book of life. Count, I shudder at the thought! Holy Mother of God!
is that the happy future you would compel me to share? No, no,
never!--though the garrote were to encircle my neck, as it did that of
the unhappy lady at Granada, who refused to betray her husband, and whom
you sent to the scaffold in his stead! Has she never appeared to your
Excellency, cold and pale, and with sightless eyes? For Quito's
treasures would I not behold her--her and the whole ghastly train;
hundreds, ay hundreds of them, in the long, black-bordered shrouds, and
the bare-footed friars with their fearful _misericordia_! Mercy, mercy,
Excellency! with me would come the evil spirits, and a thousand----but,
good-night, good-night, Excellency."

With a graceful movement of hand and head she glided from the room. The
Count attempted not to detain her. He stood motionless, his hand thrust
into his breast, and followed her with his eyes in mute astonishment.

"The silly child!" he at last murmured. "But how lovely she is! I, whom
all fear--even HE," he emphatically added--"I almost quail before her
mad petulance. Well, well!" he continued after a pause, "the priest
first, and discipline afterwards. A man who has bowed and broken so many
stubborn spirits, will hardly be vanquished by the humours of a wilful
girl. Good-night, my lovely bride. 'We shall see,' you said; and
assuredly we _will_ see."

He took his hat, and was about to leave the room, when, by an
inadvertent movement, Federico let fall his poniard. The Count was quick
of hearing, and the noise, slight as it was, drew his attention. He
turned sharply towards the spot where the student was concealed.

"What was that?" he cried. "Something fell in the closet. Have we
listeners here?"

For an instant he hesitated; then, taking one of the massive silver
candlesticks, he stepped briskly to the closet, and was almost knocked
down by the door, which Federico pushed violently open. The waxlights
fell to the ground; like a winged shadow, the student sprang past the
astonished Count, reached the door before the latter recovered from his
alarm, and would doubtless have got clear off, had he not, in hurry and
ignorance, turned the wrong handle. The Count grasped his coat-skirt,
and pulled him back.

"Scoundrel!" he cried. "What do you here?"

For sole reply, Federico seized his assailant by the throat, and a
struggle began, which, although speedily decided in favour of the
active student, was destined to have most important results. The Count
was vigorous, and defended himself well. He had little opportunity of
calling out, closely grappled as he was, but he dealt his antagonist
more than one heavy blow. At last Federico dashed him to the ground, and
disappeared from the room, leaving behind him one of his coat-skirts,
torn off in the contest. In falling, the Count's head struck against a
table, and he lay for a few seconds stunned by the shock. Recovering
himself, he sprang to his feet, foaming with rage, his dark visage black
with shame and anger. "Seize him!" he cried, hurrying down the corridor.
Twenty servants flew to obey the order. But it was too late. The student
passed like a fire-flash before the porter, and made good his escape
from the house. "Follow him!" shouted the Count--"a hundred ounces for
his capture!" And, stimulated by this princely reward, the eager
domestics ran, like hounds after a deer, on the track of the student,
who soon heard the shouts of his enemies, and the shrill whistle of the
_serenos_, around and on all sides of him.

Although panting from his brief but violent struggle with the Count,
Federico traversed with extreme swiftness several streets and squares,
until want of breath at last compelled him to a moment's pause. He
looked around, and observed the locality. Before him lay the massive
buildings of the royal palace, favoured by whose shadow he continued his
flight, now up-hill. But the numbers of his pursuers gave them a great
advantage; and, to his dismay, he found himself so closely and
accurately followed, that capture appeared inevitable.

"Had I but my knife," he exclaimed aloud, pausing in despair, "I would
keep them off or die! Fool that I have been! Sentries on all sides! They
have taken alarm! What can I do?"

"Go to Ciudad Real, if not too late," said a man, wrapped in a cloak,
and wearing a small three-cornered hat, who suddenly stepped from behind
a massive stone column, close to where the student stood.

Federico at once recognised the speaker.

"For God's sake, Geronimo!" he cried, "assist me in this strait. If they
catch me, I am lost. And hark! yonder they come! I hear the baying of
the menial pack. On all sides the way is barred!"

Geronimo seized Federico's hand, and hurried him behind the pillar.
"There is only one chance," he said; "muffle yourself in my cloak, take
my hat, assume a stoop, and walk slowly, like an old man."

"What is your plan?" cried the student.

"Ask no questions. Do as I bid you. Do you see yonder door?"

"Of the palace?"

"Go in there."

"Into the palace?"

"Of course. Look neither right nor left; cross the first court to the
great portal. There await me. Quick, quick--they come!" And he pushed
him away.

Not without doubt and disquietude did Federico obey the orders of the
old man, who displayed, in this conjuncture, a promptitude and decision
rare at his age. But the student had no alternative. Wrapped in Regato's
cloak, and feigning a feeble gait, he passed slowly and unquestioned
before the soldiers of the royal guard. This impunity in a palace where
the strictest watch and ward were usually kept, was an enigma to
Federico; and he was still more puzzled, when, whilst waiting at the
portal, several persons, shrouded like himself in dark cloaks, passed
before him, greeting him as they went with a muttered "_buenas noches_"
and disappeared in the corridors of the palace. At last came Geronimo.
He had provided himself in the interval with another cloak. His
appearance was an immense relief to the student.

"Are they gone?" said Federico. "May I venture out?"

"Thank the saints that you are here!" replied Geronimo. "And now, tell
me what has happened."

Federico told his adventures; and old Regato listened to the narrative
with marks of the strongest interest. When he heard what the Count had
said of him and of his probable fate, he laughed heartily. "Bah!" said
he; "threatened men live long. I have had hotter broth cooked for me,
and cooled it with my breath. I hope to die in my bed like a good
Christian; and as for my chance of a rope, I would not change with his
Excellency. The infernal schemer! I'll pay him off now. _Madre de todas
gracias!_ had we but the list of the conspirators, what a blow might be

"The list!" repeated Federico. "Stay, let me remember!" and, plunging
his hand into his pocket, he pulled out a torn paper. "When I threw the
man down, this remained sticking between my waistcoat and neckcloth,
where he had grappled me. I noticed it when I got outside, and thrust it
into my pocket."

Without listening to this explanation, Geronimo seized the paper, and,
by the light of a lamp under the portal, examined it with eager
curiosity. At sight of its contents, a savage joy sparkled in his eye.

"Ah, _maldito_!" he exclaimed with a laugh of triumph; "we have you now.
Federico, the rose-coloured lady is ten times more surely yours than if
you had remained in the closet and his Excellency had not discovered
you. Follow, and be silent. Whatever happens, not a word till I bid you;
then speak boldly, and tell what you know."

Through winding corridors, up and down stairs, along galleries where
sentries stood like statues, Geronimo led the way, until he reached a
room whose door was opened by a gigantic lackey in the gaudy royal
livery. Federico, who followed close upon his heels, suddenly found
himself in the presence of a number of men, for the most part elderly
and of grave respectable aspect, who stood in small knots about the
apartment, or sat at tables on which were wine and refreshments,
conversing in a low tone. Amongst these a hum of interest arose on
Regato's entrance; and under cover of the attention he attracted, his
companion passed unnoticed.

It at once flashed upon Federico, that he had penetrated into that
notorious camarilla or secret council of King Ferdinand VII., so much
spoken of, so often cursed and scoffed at, so greatly feared and justly
hated. This was the cringing and pernicious conclave of whose vile
proceedings so many tales were told; these were the men, of all ranks
and classes, who poured into the jealous despot's ear the venom of
calumny and falsehood; these the spies and traitors who, by secret and
insidious denunciations, brought sudden arrest and unmerited punishment
upon their innocent fellow-citizens, and who kept the King advised of
all that passed in Madrid, from the amorous intrigues of a grocer's
wife, to the political ones concerted in the cabinet of the Infante Don

The student's first uneasiness at finding himself upon such new and
perilous ground, vanished when he saw that he was wholly unheeded. He
remembered to have heard that persons once admitted to the camarilla,
and honoured by the King's confidence, were at liberty to return when
they thought fit, at short or long intervals; and thus it might well
happen that some of the members were unknown to each other. And on that
night, those illicit counsellors of majesty were evidently pre-occupied
with some pressing and important matter. They crowded round Regato, took
his arm, seized him by the button, whispered so eagerly, and questioned
him so fast, that the little man lost all patience.

"Hands off, gentlemen!" he cried. "Which of you will buy me a new coat
when you have torn mine? 'Tis true that this morning our gracious lord
the King was very ill: but I hear that he is now better; and by the
grace of our blessed Lady, he will rejoice his humble and loving slaves,
and dispel their deep anxiety, by the sunshine of his presence."

The words had scarce left Geronimo's lips, when the opening of a
side-door proved the signal for a respectful silence in the apartment.
The whole assembly bowed profoundly, and preserved that posture,
although no cause was yet apparent for such extraordinary greeting. At
last one showed itself, in the person of a man who tottered slowly and
feebly into the room, supported on the arms of two attendants, his livid
and bloated countenance distorted by a smile as painful to behold as if
compelled by thumbscrews. The face of the new comer, who nodded in reply
to the humble salutation of all present, might once have been handsome,
but it could never have been intellectual or prepossessing, and now it
was hideously cadaverous and ghastly. The features were those
characterising a well-known family, world-renowned for the high places
it has filled, rather than for the virtues or abilities of its members.
The eyes were sunk deep in their sockets, the straight, scanty black
hair shaded a brow blue and transparent from disease; the tall person
and once well-formed limbs were swollen and unwieldy. The sick man's
dress would have suited some plain burgher taking his ease in his
summer-house: it consisted of a light nankeen jacket, a white neckcloth
knotted loosely round the throat, linen trousers, and large shoes. He
seemed scarcely able to set foot to ground, and the agony each step
occasioned him betrayed itself in spasmodic twitchings of the nerves and
muscles. Still there was a violent effort of the will to conceal the
pangs that racked the enfeebled frame; a fruitless attempt to hide, by
the assumption of smiling ease and gracious condescension, the approach
of that equalising hour when human greatness and human misery sink to
one level.

The sick man propped himself against a table, beside which stood an
easy-chair, and with an affable wave of his hand, addressed the company.

"Good evening, señores!" he said: "we have felt ourselves somewhat
unwell, and our careful physician Castillo, as also our trusty Grijalva,
was solicitous on our account. But we would not put off this meeting. We
love to meet our good friends, and are not to be kept from them by
slight bodily inconvenience. Men fancy us more ailing than we are. You
can refute such reports. What say you, Mexas--and you, Salcedo? Is our
aspect so very sickly? We know that many build hopes upon our death; but
they are mistaken, and by Our Lady, they shall be disappointed."

"God preserve our gracious lord a thousand years!" exclaimed several

"An example should be made," said the man appealed to as Salcedo, "of
the traitors who dare spread lying reports concerning the royal health."

"'Tis too true," observed another, "that such rumours are used to the
most criminal ends."

"We will sit down," said the sick monarch. And with the assistance of
his attendants, he deposited his exhausted person in the elbow-chair.
"Drink, my friends, and tell me the news. Give me a cigar, good
Castillo. Señor Regato, how goes it? what is new in our fair city of

"Little is heard," replied Geronimo, "save lamentations for the
indisposition of our beloved master."

"The good people!" exclaimed Ferdinand. "We will have care of their

"And yet," said a little old man with a countenance of repulsive
ugliness, "there be reprobates who laugh whilst all true and faithful
subjects weep. There is my neighbour, the merchant Alvaro. Yesterday he
married his daughter to a young nobleman, Don Francisco Palavar, who
claims relationship with the Marquis of Santa Cruz. The wedding-guests
were numerous; they sang and danced, and rejoiced beyond measure. Señor
Alvaro, said I, are you not ashamed to be so joyous at such a time?
'Friend,' was his answer, 'let the times wag--they are certainly bad
enough, but must soon change. All things have an end. We rejoice in
hopes of a better future.'"

"The wretch!" exclaimed another of the camarilla. "I know him well; he
was always a negro."

"A knave grown grey in the sins of the Exaltados," cried a third.

"He must be looked to," said the sick King. "Salcedo, what have you to

"I have gathered intelligence," replied Salcedo, "from an equerry of a
certain illustrious personage." He paused and looked meaningly at the
King, whose brow contracted, and whose lips muttered a well-known name.
"The equerry," Salcedo said, "tattled of great bustle and many visits at
his master's palace. For days past its courtyard had been filled with
carriages, bringing generals, ministers, dignitaries of the church, and
many officers, chiefly of the Royal Guard." On hearing this, a feverish
and uneasy flush reddened Ferdinand's pale countenance, and his dim eyes
glared angrily.

"I know them," he said, "the old conspirators, the Catalan volunteers,
the Agraviados. Why have I not heard this sooner? But I will take order
with them. Ha, Tadeo!--you there? Why has this been kept from me?"

Uttering these last words, the King looked directly at the spot where
Federico stood. So, at least, it seemed to the student, who, much
confused, and apprehensive of discovery, averted his eyes from the royal
gaze. But his embarrassment was exchanged for consternation, when he
beheld, in the person addressed by Ferdinand as Tadeo his recent
antagonist, the affianced of Rosaura. The Count, who stood at his elbow,
gave him but one look, but that one comprised everything--astonishment,
anger, hatred, confidence of power, and a fixed determination of
revenge. A chill came over the poor student, and he debated in his mind
whether to rush from the room, or to fall at the King's feet and reveal
all he knew. His first surprise over, and seeing that Don Tadeo took no
further notice of him, he thought it wisest to follow Geronimo's
directions and remain quiet.

"My gracious liege," said Tadeo to the King, with his usual gloomy
decision of manner, "it was unnecessary to importune your majesty by
such reports, seeing that they are merely lying devices of the
evil-disposed. And even were it true that many visits are paid to that
palace, its master has right and reason to receive them, without----"

By an impatient gesture, the King interrupted the speaker.

"It needs but to name the visitors," said Regato, with a quick sharp
glance at Tadeo. "Eguia is one of them; San Juan, O'Donnel, Moreno,
Caraval, are others."

"Has it not been remarked," said Mexas, with a sarcastic smile, "that in
the apartments of a certain illustrious lady, meetings are also held, to
which repair the Dukes of San Lorenzo and Fernando, Martinez de la Rosa,
Cambronero, and many others? What can be said against that?"

A dead silence followed this bold remark: all knew well who the
illustrious lady was who thus assembled round her the leaders of the
Liberals. Suddenly the ominous pause was broken by the voice of
Federico, to whom Regato had made a sign, significant although barely

"Don Tadeo," cried the audacious student, his mellow manly tones ringing
through the apartment, "is a traitor to his King. This very night he
delivered an all-important document to an agent of the Infante Don

The words were an electric shock to the camarilla. The King started, and
showed symptoms of extraordinary agitation. "What is that? Who says
that?" he cried, rising from his chair with the vigour of sudden
excitement. "Who knows of the document? where is it? Seize him--he shall

"Seize the scoundrel," cried Tadeo, "who has dared intrude himself

"My guards! my guards!" cried the King, his eyes rolling wildly, his
features frightfully convulsed. "Where is the paper? Tadeo, I _will_
have it back! Ha! what is this! mercy! blessed Virgin, mer----!" The
word was unfinished; and Ferdinand, doubly tortured by bodily pain and
mental anguish, fell back into the arms of his physician.

"The King is dead!" exclaimed Tadeo. "Help here!"

The camarilla crowded round Ferdinand, who lay without sense or motion.
"What is it, Señor Castillo?" said Tadeo. The physician let fall his
patient's wrist.

"A sudden paroxysm, your Excellency," he replied in a low voice. "It was
to be apprehended--all is over!"

The Count turned away, and his eye fell upon Federico, who, seeing
resistance useless, stood passive in the custody of several of the
camarilla. With a vindictive frown, Tadeo pulled open the student's
cloak, and pointed to his skirtless coat.

"You cannot deny it," he said. "The proof of your guilt is in my
possession. Who is the fellow?"

Geronimo Regato stepped forward and stared in the student's face.

"What!" cried he, "is not that Don Federico, the young advocate,
well-known in the coffee-houses as a virulent Exaltado, a determined
scoffer, a propagator of atrocious doctrines?"

"I thought as much," said the Count. "None but such an unprincipled
scoundrel would dare to act the spy in the very palace. Call the guard,
and away with him to prison. Let this man be securely ironed," he added,
to the soldiers who now entered; "and let none have speech of him."

The order was promptly obeyed. A very brief space elapsed before
Federico found himself in a narrow dungeon, stretched on damp straw,
with manacles on hands and feet. In total darkness, and seated
despondingly upon his comfortless couch, the events of the evening
appeared to him like some frightful nightmare. But in vain did he rub
his eyes and try to awake from his imaginary sleep; the terrible reality
forced itself upon him. He thought of Rosaura, the original cause of his
misfortunes, and almost doubted whether she were indeed a woman, or
some demon in angel's form, sent to lure him to destruction. Of
Geronimo, too, he thought with feelings of inexpressible bitterness. He,
the friend in whom he had placed such implicit reliance, to betray him
thus; for his own advantage, doubtless, and to draw his own head out of
the noose! There were none, then, to whom he could now look for succour.
The King was dead; his successor, the apostolical ruler, the partisan
and defender of the Inquisition, whose name, for years past, had been
the rallying-cry of the disaffected, owed his crown to the powerful
Tadeo whom the student had offended and ill-treated, whose love he had
dared to cross, whose revenge he must now encounter. Federico felt that
his fate was sealed. Already he heard, in imagination, the clank of
ponderous fetters in the dismal halls of the Inquisition; already he saw
the terrible machines--the screws and weights, the ladder and iron
couch, and felt the burning sulphur, as it was dropped hissing upon
his naked flesh by the masked and pitiless executioner. He thought
of Arguelles, the Divine, whom he had seen an animated corpse, his
limbs crushed and distorted by similar tortures; and in spite of his
natural courage, a shudder came over him as he heard the bars of his
dungeon-door withdrawn, and the heavy bolts shot back into their
sockets. The next instant he closed his eyes, dazzled by a glare of

When he reopened them, the Count or Tadeo--whichever was his most
fitting appellation--stood before him. With the courage of pride and
despair, Federico boldly met his searching gaze. For some moments they
looked at each other in silence, broken at last by Tadeo.

"I come to question you," he said: "answer truly, and your captivity
may be very brief. Deceive me, and your life shall be yet shorter.
Your crimes shall meet their just reward."

"I am guilty of no crime," retorted Federico. "I am the victim of

"And what are they?" eagerly inquired the Count.

Federico was silent.

"Do you know me, señor?" said the Count.

"No," was the reply.

"Beware, then, lest you learn to know me too well. What did you,
concealed in yonder closet? Where is the paper you robbed me of? Who
admitted you into the house? Do you belong to a secret society? Were you
sent as a spy? A dagger was found in the closet: did you come to
assassinate me?"

He paused after each question, but Federico answered none of them,
save the last, to which he replied by a stern negative. "You had best
confess," resumed Tadeo. "If you are no political offender, if no
criminal project led you where I found you, I pledge my word, señor--and
I pledge it only to what I can and will perform--you shall at once be

"I can say but this," replied the prisoner--"it was not my object to
overhear you. An accident conducted me where you discovered me, and
I heartily regret that a casual noise betrayed my presence."

"Is that all you will say?"


"You know not with whom you deal," cried the Count. Then, lowering his
voice, and with a smile that he strove to render amiable, "It was,
perhaps, a love-affair," he said. "Young man, which of Doña Rosaura's
handmaidens did you seek? Who introduced you into that apartment? Tell
me this--satisfy me on a point that concerns myself personally--and not
only will I forget all, but remain your debtor."

Whilst thus he spoke, the Count's features expressed very different
sentiments from those announced by his smooth and placable speech. In
their convulsive workings, and in the savage fire of his eyes, jealousy
and hatred were plainly to be read; he looked like a tiger about to
spring upon its prey.

"Señor," said Federico, contemptuously, "you waste time. If a lady did
introduce me into your house, rest assured I am not base enough to
reveal her name. From me you get no further answer. Do with me as you
will. In this unhappy land, might is above right."

"Wretch!" exclaimed the Count, fiercely advancing upon his undaunted
captive, "you have betrayed yourself. I will destroy you, knave, like
an insect. A lady conceal you! What audacious slander is this?" He
struggled with his rage, and, mastering himself, resumed: "It has been
proved that you are the spy of a dangerous and treasonable association.
Where is the paper you stole?"

"I have no paper," replied Federico, "and will answer no more questions.
I am in your power; do your worst."

The Count stepped to the dungeon door. Two men entered. Whilst one of
them searched Federico, closely examining each pocket and fold of his
dress, but without discovering the much-coveted document, the other
listened respectfully to the Count, who gave him instructions in a low
voice. His last words, which reached the ear of the student, were not
calculated to reassure him as to the future. "Be it so," said Don Tadeo.
"The necessary warrant shall at once be made out, and then--despatch."
And with a vindictive glance at his prisoner, he left the prison.

It was some consolation to the unfortunate Federico, when again in
dismal solitude, and with the prospect of a cruel death before his eyes,
to reflect on the firmness he had shown, and on the agony of jealous
doubt he had inflicted on his rival. In his defenceless and desperate
circumstances, such revenge was doubly sweet; and for a while he dwelt
on it with pleasure. Then his thoughts took other direction, and an
active and excited imagination transported him from that gloomy cell to
the chamber of the beautiful cause of his misfortunes. She knelt before
a crucifix, and wept and prayed for him. He heard her breathe his name,
and invoke the saints to his assistance; and in a transport of love and
gratitude he extended his arms to clasp her to his heart. They were
rudely checked by the chain that linked them to the wall. And now pale
spectres flitted through the gloom, and grinned at him with their
skeleton mouths, and murmured in his ear that he must die, and never
again see her whose kiss was yet hot upon his lips. And the last ominous
words and deadly look of his foe recurred to him, chasing all hope. Who
would miss him, the humble and friendless student? who inquire where or
how he had met his fate? Far greater than he, the wealthy, the titled,
the powerful, had met the fate he anticipated, at hangman's hands, in
the dark and silent recesses of Spanish dungeons. To the long list
of illustrious victims, he, an insignificant one, would be added
unnoticed. And the remembrance of those who had preceded him, ennobling
an ignominious death, gave Federico courage. "Yes!" he exclaimed aloud,
"I will die as so many great and good men have died before me! Would
that I had done service to my poor oppressed country, something to
deserve the tyrant's hate! But for thee, Rosaura, will I gladly perish,
and to thee only shall my last sigh be given."

His words yet echoed in the dungeon, when he heard steps at the door,
and its fastenings again withdrawn. This time he doubted not it was his
death-warrant and the executioner. Nerving himself to endure the worst,
he gazed sternly and steadily at his visitors.

"That is he," said the turnkey, to a tall, sullen-looking man.

"Take off his chains," was the answer; "and you, señor, follow me."

"Quick with your work," cried Federico. "Call your aids. I am prepared."

"Silence and follow!" harshly replied the stranger. "Lucky for you if
you are prepared for all."

Without the dungeon stood a third man, muffled in a short mantle.
Federico shuddered. "Another of the hangman brood!" he murmured. "Lead
on, I fear thee not!" The man followed without a word. After traversing
several corridors, they ascended a lofty staircase. Behind each door
Federico fancied a torture chamber or a garrote, but none of them
revealed what he expected. At last his conductor paused.

"Are you ready," he said, "to appear before your Supreme Judge?"

"I am ready," Federico solemnly replied.

"Then enter here."

A door opened, the student set foot across the threshold, and hardly
restrained a cry of surprise. Instead of the garrote, instead of racks
and torturers, he beheld a gorgeous saloon, brilliantly lighted up with
a profusion of wax tapers. Five or six men of distinguished mien and
elegant appearance, with stars and orders upon their breasts, were
grouped round a large carved chair, and looked curiously and expectantly
at Federico. But he scarcely observed them. Even on a lady of great
beauty and majestic aspect, who sat in the chair, wrapped in a costly
mantle of embroidered velvet, his attention was fixed but for an
instant, for behind her stood another lady, somewhat pale and
anxious-looking, but who yet bore so strong a resemblance to the cause
of his sufferings, to her of the rose-coloured robe, to Rosaura herself,
that all the blood in his veins rushed to his heart. Her name hovered on
his lips, and, forgetting everything but love and newly-revived hope, he
was about to spring forward and throw himself at her feet, when the
lady in the chair addressed him:

"Remain there, señor," she said, with a smile and gracious movement of
her head, as if she divined the impulse to which the impetuous student
so nearly yielded. "You have had strange adventures, I am told, within
the last few hours. They will terminate happily for you, if you tell the
whole truth, and relate without reserve all that has occurred. Where
have you passed this night? What took you to the house in which you were
found hidden? What heard you there?"

"Señora," replied Federico, respectfully but firmly, "I have already
preferred death to the revelation of a secret that is not mine. My
resolution is unchanged. I can answer no questions."

The lady cast a friendly and approving glance at the steadfast youth.

"Now, by Our Lady!" she said, turning to the gentlemen around her, "this
is a chivalrous fidelity, right pleasant to behold in these unchivalrous
days. I doubt not, young sir, that the lady of your affections will know
how to repay it. But here are great interests at stake, and your excuse
may not avail. You must relate all, truly and without reserve. And to
remove your scruples, know that the secret you have so bravely kept is
no longer one for any here present. Proceed!"

A look from Rosaura confirmed this assurance, and without further
hesitation Federico told his adventures, and repeated the dialogue he
had heard from the closet. At times the listeners seemed surprised; at
times they smiled, or looked significantly at each other, and spoke
together in brief whispers. Twice had the student to tell his tale, and
his words were taken down by one of the gentlemen present. That done,
the lady rose quickly from her chair, laid a hand upon his shoulder,
and, fixing her keen bright eyes searchingly upon his face, pointed to
the deposition.

"Can you swear to that?" she cried. "Is it all true? Before God and his
saints, did all pass as you have said? No word too much or too little?
Saw you the document with your own eyes? _Santa Madre!_ Is it possible?
Surely it cannot be; and yet--my friends, what say you? What think you,
Duke of San Fernando, and you, Marquis of Santa Cruz? What says his
Grace of San Lorenzo, and our discreet friend, Martinez de la Rosa? No,
I need not fear, whilst thus surrounded by the best and wisest in the
land. Cambronero, advise us. How may we defeat the machinations of our
crafty foes?"

The gentleman who had written down the deposition, raised his head, and
Federico recognised the features of one renowned throughout Spain as a
wise counsellor and learned lawyer. With surprise and respect the
student gazed at the distinguished and illustrious persons he had just
heard named.

"Much depends," said Cambronero, "on his Majesty's health. If unhappily
he departs this life without regaining consciousness, we must recover
the surreptitiously obtained document at point of sword. No other course
will then be open to us. But if, by God's gracious mercy, the King's
senses return, not a moment must be lost in obtaining from his hand a
revocation of the act. He must be told everything; he must be shown how
his confidence has been abused, and what base advantage has been taken
of a momentary weakness. He must hear the witnesses whom Heaven has
raised up for your Majesty."

"Ha!" cried the lady, with an impatient and energetic gesture, "you are
right, Cambronero; we must act! All that can be done, Christina will do.
They shall not triumph by weakness of hers! Don Fernando still lives,
can yet retract. He shall hear how they have laboured to bring shame
upon his name; shall learn the perfidy of those who have environed him
with their snares! I go to tell him."

The Queen left the room. "To me it seems, señores," said Cambronero, a
quiet smile playing on his shrewd features, "that things have happened
for the best, and that the result of all this is not doubtful, provided
only the king be not already dead. The Apostolicals have been active.
Their creatures have worked their way into the cabinet and the
camarilla. The guards, the captains-general, and many officers of state
are long since gained over. In all cases, on King Ferdinand's death, a
war is inevitable. The succession to the throne is a Gordian knot, to be
cut only by the sword. The Infante will never yield his claim, or admit
as valid the abrogation of the ancient Salic law.[A] And doubtless the
crown would be his, were not the people and the spirit of the times
opposed to him. He is retrograde; the Spain of to-day is and must be
progressive. The nation is uneasy; it hates despotic government; it
ferments from north to south, from Portugal to the Mediterranean; but
that fermentation would lack a rallying point without the decree which
commands all to cling to Christina and her children, and repel the
Infante. The partisans of Carlos have striven to obtain by craft what
they could not hope to conquer by the strong hand, and they have
succeeded in making a dying monarch revoke in a moment of delirium or
imbecility that all-important act. The revocation is in the hands of the
Infante; the Salic law is once more the law of the land, and Christina's
children are in their turn disinherited. And if it be impossible to
restore the King to consciousness, I fear----"

[Footnote A: By the Pragmatic Sanction, promulgated during the first
pregnancy of Christina, in May 1830.]

"What?" cried the Marquis of Santa Cruz.

"That we are on the eve of a great revolution."

"Hush!" said the Duke of San Lorenzo, looking anxiously around him.
"These are dangerous words, my friend." And his eye fell upon the
handsome countenance of Martinez de la Rosa, who smiled thoughtfully.

"Call it reform, Cambronero," he said; "wise progress of the times,
moderate, cautious, adapted to the circumstances; not rash, reckless,
sweeping revolution."

The lawyer cast a keen glance at the former minister of the Cortes.

"Reform!" he cried. "Ay, certainly; but what reform? Does Señor de la
Rosa mean such reform as he helped to bring about? I bid him beware:
these are no times for trifling. Here we stand, but a few paces from the
deathbed of a powerful prince. He fettered this revolution or reform;
but, señores, it was only for a while and in appearance. Like the mole,
it has laboured and advanced, surely and unseen. Happy for our king if
he expire before the vanity of his efforts, and the inutility of the
bloodshed and misery they have occasioned, are demonstrated; before he
learns that a principle never dies, though all the artillery of the
world be brought to bear upon it. History judges the dead; nations judge
the living. Let us so act that we may stand with honour before both

"The subject leads us too far," said the poet and minister, rising from
his chair and glancing at Federico, who, struck and delighted by
Cambronero's words, gazed at him with expanded brow and flashing eyes.
"Let us beware of kindling fanaticism: coolness and prudence are
becoming to men, and, God knows, we need both."

He took Cambronero's arm, and led him to the other end of the spacious
apartment. The noblemen followed, and the conversation was resumed in a
lower tone. So enthralling had been the interest with which Federico had
listened to the words of these influential Liberals, that for an instant
he had neglected Rosaura, who stood nearly concealed behind the swelling
cushions and high gilt back of the throne-like chair. Her beautiful face
wore an anxious, inquiring expression, which seemed to reproach him with
forgetting her; but as he drew near, she smiled, and rays of love and
hope broke from beneath her long dark lashes. And under the magic
influence of those beaming eyes, Federico's doubts and fears vanished
like frost before the mid-day sun, and were replaced by a transport of
blissful emotion.

"Rosaura!" he exclaimed, "what unspeakable joy is this! Strange, indeed,
have been the events of the night! The wonders of Arabian tales are
realised. A moment ago I awaited death in a dungeon; and behold, I am in
a king's chamber, and at your feet, Rosaura. Explain these things,
adored mistress of my heart! How do we thus meet? How came you hither?"

"With our friend, Geronimo Regato," replied the lady.

"The traitor!" indignantly exclaimed Federico. "No thanks to him if I
escape with life."

"Judge not so hastily," cried Rosaura: "you know not all you owe Regato.
From him I first heard your name. He was my confidant; he knew my
aversion to the detested man, who considered me already his own. My
father, of an old family, although not of the highest nobility, was
President of the Burgos Tribunal, and by commercial transactions, in the
time of the Constitution, he acquired great wealth. My hated suitor is
also sprung from the people. My father was his friend, and at one time
had to thank his influence for escape from persecution. Out of gratitude
he promised him my hand, and, dying a year ago, left him my guardian. In
that capacity he administered my estates, and had me in his power. But,
thanks to the Virgin, I am at last free from his odious control."

She gazed tenderly at Federico, and held out her hand, which he covered
with kisses. But she hastily withdrew it, on becoming aware that their
proceedings were observed by the group of politicians.

"Is this the time and place?" she said, with a smile of sweet confusion
and arch reproach. "And yet, Federico, best beloved, why should I feign
indifference, or conceal that my heart is wholly yours?"

"Angel!" cried the enraptured student, trembling with ecstasy.

"Hush!" whispered Rosaura. "Cambronero looks and laughs at us. Hear me,
Federico. The decisive moment approaches; but I fear it not--I love and
hope. It was Geronimo, disguised as a Gallego, who brought you to my
abode; Geronimo hates him whom we hate; he knew me as a child, was my
father's friend, and loves us both. He spoke to me of you long before I
saw you; he told me the hour of your walks in the Prado. At the first
glance I recognised you."

"And where is that singular man?" Federico inquired.

"I know not, but doubtless at no great distance. This night, a few hours
ago, I lay sleepless on my pillow, anxious for your fate, when a
carriage stopped at the door. It was surrounded with guards and
torch-bearers, and I was told that my presence was instantly required at
the palace. My alarm at so untimely a summons was dissipated by the
arrival of Geronimo. 'Fear nothing,' he said: 'the hour of happiness is
at hand. He whom you hate is vanquished. Federico is his conqueror.'"

"I his conqueror!" cried the student. And then, recalling all that had
occurred, "Strange destiny!" he continued. "Yes, I now see that the
secret intrigues of a dangerous and powerful man have been revealed by
my means. But who is he? I in vain conjecture."

"You do not know him?" cried Rosaura, greatly astonished--"not
know----?" She suddenly paused, for at that moment the door burst open,
and the Queen entered the room, in extreme haste and violent agitation.

"His Majesty is recovered," she exclaimed, her voice shrill and
quivering with contending emotions; "his swoon is over, God's grace be
thanked. I have spoken, my noble friends, and not in vain. The King will
himself hear the witnesses. These young people must come with me. Call
Geronimo Regato. Remain here, Cambronero, and all of you: I must see you
again, I need your counsel--desert me not!"

"When your Majesty next honours us with your presence," said Cambronero,
bowing low, and raising his voice, "it will be as Queen-Regent of

Regato entered the room, and Federico rubbed his eyes in fresh
astonishment. It was the same man in the dark mantle who had followed
him from his dungeon to the Queen's audience chamber, and whom he had
taken for an executioner. Gradually the mysteries of the night
unravelled themselves. He understood that if Regato had accused him, it
had been to avert suspicion from himself, and that he might work more
effectually for both, by revealing to the Queen or to Cambronero what he
had learned from Federico, and by placing before them the list of the
conspirators. Musing upon this, and each moment more convinced of
Geronimo's wisdom and good faith, he followed the Queen, who, with rapid
step, led him and Rosaura through a suite of splendid apartments.
Stopping before a door, she turned to the student.

"Speak fearlessly," she said: "suppress no word of truth, and reckon on
my favour and protection."

Federico bowed. The door turned noiselessly on its hinges, and the Queen
paused a moment as in anger and surprise, whilst a dark glow flushed her
excited and passionate countenance. From the door a view was commanded
of the whole apartment, which was dimly lighted, and occupied by several
persons, standing in a half-circle, round a bed placed near a marble
chimney-piece. Upon this bed, propped by cushions into a half-sitting
posture, lay Ferdinand VII., his suffering features and livid complexion
looking ghastly and spectral in the faint light, and contrasted with the
snow-white linen of his pillow. A black-robed priest knelt at his feet,
and mumbled the prayer for the dying; Castillo the physician held his
arm, and reckoned the slow throbs of the feeble pulse. At the bedside
sat a lady, her hands folded on the velvet counterpane, her large dark
eyes glancing uneasily, almost fiercely, around the room--her
countenance by no means that of a sorrowing and resigned mourner.

"The document!" groaned the sick man, with painful effort; "the
document, where is it? To your hands I intrusted it; from you I claim it
back. Produce it instantly."

"My gracious sovereign," replied the person addressed--and at the sound
of that sinister voice, Federico felt Rosaura's hand tremble in his--"my
gracious sovereign, that paper, that weighty and important document,
signed after wise and long deliberation, cannot thus lightly be revoked
by a momentary impulse."

"Where is it?" interrupted the King, angrily.

"In the safest keeping."

"In the hands of the Infante," cried the Queen, entering the room, and
approaching the bed.

"Traitor!" exclaimed Ferdinand, making a violent but fruitless effort to
raise himself. "Is it thus you repay my confidence?"

"Hear me, gracious sir," cried Tadeo; but his tongue faltered, and he
turned deadly pale, for just then he perceived Rosaura, Federico, and
Regato standing at the door.

"Hear these," said the Queen, placing her arm affectionately round her
suffering husband, and bowing her head over him, whilst tears, real or
feigned, of sympathy or passion, fell fast from her eyes. "They have
betrayed you, Sire; they have abused your confidence; they have
conspired against me, against you, against your innocent children.
Approach, Don Federico; speak freely and fearlessly. You are under the
safeguard of your King, who demands of you the entire truth."

"Enough!" said Ferdinand; "I have read the young man's deposition. Look
at it, sir," he added, to Tadeo, pointing to the paper, "and deny it if
you can."

Tadeo obeyed; as he read, his hand visibly shook, and at last he dropped
the paper, and sank upon his knees.

"I cannot deny it," he said, in a troubled voice, "but let your majesty
hear my justification. I implore permission to explain my conduct."

The little lady who sat beside the King's bed sprang to her feet, her
countenance flaming with wrath, and rushed upon the kneeling man.
Unbridled rage flashed from her eyes, and distorted each feature of her

"Traitor!" she cried, "where is the document? what have you done with
it? You stole it, to deliver to men as vile and base as yourself!
Traitor, produce it!"

"Madam!" exclaimed the astonished object of this furious apostrophe.

His remonstrance was cut short, for, quick as lightning, the
ungovernable Infanta raised her hand, and let it fall upon his face with
such vigour and good-will that the minister, unprepared for so unwomanly
an assault, staggered backwards, and narrowly avoided a fall.

"Carlotta!" cried the Queen, seizing her sister's arm, and restraining
her from further violence.

"The villain! the traitor!" shrieked the Infanta, in tones that
resounded through the palace.

"Away with him from my sight!" cried Ferdinand, his voice growing
fainter as he spoke. "The Queen, whom I appoint Regent during my
illness, will decide upon his fate. I myself strip him of all offices
and honours. Away with him, and for ever! You are no longer my minister,
TADEO CALOMARDE. Oh, God! what a bitter deception! He too! He too! By
all the saints, he shall rue it. His treachery is my death-stroke!"

The King sank back like a corpse upon his cushions, but presently
recovered himself, and with all speed, before the assembled ministers,
the extorted decree was annulled, the Pragmatic Sanction again declared
in full force, and the Queen nominated Regent. Whilst this took place,
Federico, unheeded in the bustle of such important business, remained
like one entranced. It was Calomarde, then, the man whose ruthless hand
had been so pitilessly stretched forth over the suffering land--it was
the all-powerful minister, the curse of Spain, the butcher of the noble
Torrijos and his unhappy companions, whom he, the insignificant student,
had cast down from his high state! The giant had succumbed before the
pigmy; the virtual ruler of the kingdom had fallen by the agency of one
whom, a day previously, he might with impunity have annihilated. Events
so extraordinary and of such rapid occurrence were hard to comprehend;
and Federico had scarcely convinced himself of their reality, when he
received, a few hours afterwards, a summons to the Queen's presence.

The morning sun shone into the royal apartment, revealing the traces of
a sleepless night and recent agitation upon the handsome features of the
newly-made Regent. She received the student with a smile, and placed
Rosaura's hand in his.

"Fear nothing from Calomarde," she said. "He has fled his well-merited
punishment. Those sent for his arrest sought him in vain. You are under
my protection, Rosaura--and you also, Don Federico. You have established
a lasting claim upon my gratitude, and my friendship shall never fail

It does not appear how long these fair promises were borne in mind by a
queen whose word, since that time, has been far oftener pledged than
redeemed. Perhaps she thought she had acquitted herself of all
obligations when, three months later, she honoured with her presence the
nuptials of Federico and Rosaura, and with her own hand twined a costly
wreath of brilliants through the sable ringlets of the beautiful bride.
And perhaps the young couple neither needed nor desired further marks of
her favour, for they withdrew from Madrid to reside in happy retirement
upon Rosaura's estates. Geronimo Regato went with them; and for a while
was their welcome guest. But his old habits were too confirmed to be
eradicated, even by the influence of those he loved best. The atmosphere
of a court, the excitement of political intrigue, were essential to his
existence, and he soon returned to the capital. There, under a very
different name from that by which he has here been designated, he played
an important part in the stirring epoch that succeeded the death of
Ferdinand the Well-beloved.



After residing nearly a year in one of the most distant posts of the
North-west Company, and conducting the fur trade there, I began to look
forward to my return to Montreal. I waited with the greatest impatience
for the arrival of the period which was to terminate my banishment, and
restore me to society. I was nearly three thousand miles distant from
any settlements, and my only companions were two young men, clerks of
the establishment, whose characters, and limited acquirements, rendered
them very uninteresting associates. My situation was one of considerable
responsibility. A great number of Canadians, in the service of the
Company, resided at the post, and were under my control; but I found it
a very difficult matter to keep them in a state of due subordination,
and to prevent them from quarrelling and fighting with the detached
parties of Indians that occasionally visited us for the purpose of
trading. Interest and personal safety alike required that we should be
on friendly terms with the natives; and I spent many anxious hours in
endeavouring to promote mutual peace and good-humour.

Our post was situated upon the banks of a small lake, about sixteen
miles broad. This lake discharged itself by means of a river into
another of much greater dimensions, and thick forests covered every part
of the neighbouring country.

One afternoon I took my gun, and strolled out in search of game. Though
it was now the beginning of spring, the lake was still frozen completely
across, the cold of the preceding winter having been very intense. I
soon fell in with a flock of wild ducks, but before I could get a shot
at them, they began to fly towards the middle of the lake; however, I
followed them fearlessly over the ice, in the expectation that they
would soon alight. The weather was mild, though rather blowy. Detached
black clouds moved rapidly along the face of Heaven in immense masses,
and the sun blazed forth in unobscured splendour at one moment, and was
completely shrouded from the eye the next. I was so intent on the
pursuit of my game that I hastened forwards almost unconsciously, my
progress being much facilitated by a thin layer of snow which covered
the ice, and rendered the footing tolerably secure. At last I fired at
the ducks, and killed one and wounded another. I immediately picked up
the first, but its companion, having only been winged, began to leap
away before I caught hold of it. I followed, but had not advanced more
than twenty yards, when, to my astonishment, I found that the ice was in
many places covered with water to the depth of several inches. I stopped
short full of alarm, and irresolute what to do. It was evident that a
thaw had already commenced, and as I well knew with what rapidity the
ice broke up when once affected by a change of temperature, I became
alive to all the dangers of my situation, and almost shuddered at the
thought of moving from the spot on which I stood.

The weather had grown calm and hazy, and the sky was very black and
lowering. Large flakes of snow soon began to fall languidly and
perpendicularly through the air; and after a little time, these were
accompanied by a thick shower of sleety rain, which gradually became so
dense that I could not discern the shore. I strained my eyes to catch a
glance of some living object, but a dreary and motionless expanse
stretched around me on every side, and the appalling silence that
prevailed was sometimes interrupted by the receding cries of the wounded
bird. All nature seemed to be awaiting some terrible event. I listened
in fearful suspense, though I knew not what I expected to hear. I soon
distinguished a distant thundering noise, which gradually became
stronger, and appeared to approach the place where I stood. Repeated
explosions, and hollow murmurings of irregular loudness, were succeeded
by a tremendous sound, like that of rocks bursting asunder. The ice
trembled beneath my feet, and the next moment it was disunited by a vast
chasm, which opened itself within a few yards of me. The water of the
lake rushed upwards through the gap with foaming fury, and began to
flood the surface all around.

I started backwards, and ran, as I conceived, towards the shore; but my
progress was soon stopped by one of those weak parts of the ice called
_air-holes_. While walking cautiously round it, my mind grew somewhat
composed, and I resolved not to advance any farther until I had fixed
upon some way of regulating my course; but I found this to be
impossible. I vainly endeavoured to discern land, and the moaning of the
wind among the distant forests alone indicated that there was any at all
near me. Strong and irregular blasts, loaded with snow and sleet, swept
wildly along, involving everything in obscurity, and bewildering my
steps with malignant influence. I sometimes fancied I saw the spot where
our post was situated, and even the trees and houses upon it; but the
next moment a gust of wind would whirl away the fantastic-shaped fogs
that had produced the agreeable illusion, and reduce me to actionless
despair. I fired my gun repeatedly, in the hope that the report
would bring some one to my assistance; however, the shores alone
acknowledged, by feeble echoes, that the sound had reached them.

The storm increased in violence, and at intervals the sound of the ice
breaking up rolled upon my ear like distant thunder, and seemed to
mutter appalling threats. Alarm and fatigue made me dizzy, and I threw
down my gun and rushed forwards in the face of the drifting showers,
which were now so thick as to affect my respiration. I soon lost all
sense of fear, and began to feel a sort of frantic delight in struggling
against the careering blasts. I hurried on, sometimes running along the
brink of a circular opening in the ice, and sometimes leaping across
frightful chasms--all the while unconscious of having any object in
view. The ice everywhere creaked under my feet, and I knew that death
awaited me, whether I fled away or remained on the same spot. I felt
as one would do, if forced by some persecuting fiend to range over the
surface of a black and shoreless ocean; and aware, that whenever his
tormentor withdrew his sustaining power, he would sink down and be
suffocated among the billows that struggled beneath him.

At last night came on, and, exhausted by fatigue and mental excitement,
I wrapped myself in my cloak, and lay down upon the ice. It was so dark
that I could not have moved one step without running the risk of falling
into the lake. I almost wished that the drowsiness produced by intense
cold would begin to affect me; but I did not feel in the slightest
degree chilled, and the temperature of the air was in reality above
freezing. I had lain only a few minutes when I heard the howl of a wolf.
The sound was indescribably delightful to my ear, and I started up with
the intention of hastening to the spot from whence it seemed to proceed;
but, hopeless as my situation then was, my heart shrunk within me when I
contemplated the dangers I would encounter in making such an attempt. My
courage failed, and I resumed my former position, and listened to the
undulations of the water as they undermined and beat against the lower
part of the ice on which I lay.

About midnight the storm ceased, and most of the clouds gradually
forsook the sky, while the rising moon dispelled the darkness that had
previously prevailed. However, a thick haze covered the heavens, and
rendered her light dim and ghastly, and similar to that shed during an
eclipse. A succession of noises had continued with little interruption
for several hours, and at last the ice beneath me began to move. I
started up, and, on looking around, saw that the whole surface of the
lake was in a state of agitation. My eyes became dim, and I stretched
out my arms to catch hold of some object, and felt as if all created
things were passing away. The hissing, grinding, and crashing, produced
by the different masses of ice coming into collision, were tremendous.
Large fragments sometimes got wedged together, and impeded the progress
of those behind them, which being pushed forward by others still farther
back, were forced upon the top of the first, and fantastic-shaped
pyramids and towers could be indistinctly seen rising among the mists of
night, and momentarily changing their forms, and finally disorganising
themselves with magical rapidity and fearful tumult. At other times, an
immense mass of ice would start up into a perpendicular position, and
continue gleaming in the moonshine for a little period, and then vanish
like a spectre among the abyss of waters beneath it. The piece of ice on
which I had first taken my position happened to be very large and thick,
but other fragments were soon forced above it, and formed a mound six or
seven feet high, on the top of which I stood, contemplating the awful
scene around me, and feeling as if I no longer had the least connection
with the world, or retained anything human or earthly in my composition.

The wind, which was pretty strong, drove the ice down the lake very
fast. My alarms and anxieties had gradually become less intense, and I
was several times overcome by a sort of stupor, during the continuance
of which, imagination and reality combined their distracting influence.
At one time I fancied that the snow still drifted as violently as ever,
and that I distinguished, through its hazy medium, a band of Indian
chiefs walking past me upon the surface of the lake. Their steps were
noiseless, and they went along with wan and dejected looks and downcast
eyes, and paid no attention to my exclamations and entreaties for
relief. At another, I thought I was floating in the middle of the ocean,
and that a blazing sun flamed in the cloudless sky, and made the ice
which supported me melt so fast that I heard streams of water pouring
from its sides, and felt myself every moment descending towards the
surface of the billows. I was usually wakened from such dreams by some
noise or violent concussion, but always relapsed into them whenever the
cause of disturbance ceased to operate.

The longest and last of these slumbers was broken by a terrible shock
which my ice island received, and which threw me from my seat, and
nearly precipitated me into the lake. On regaining my former position,
and looking round, I perceived, to my joy and astonishment, that I was
in a river. The water between me and the shore was still frozen over,
and was about thirty yards wide, consequently the fragment of ice on
which I stood could not approach any nearer than this. After a moment of
irresolution, I leaped upon the frozen surface, and began to run towards
the bank of the river. My feet seemed scarcely to touch the ice, so
great was my terror lest it should give way beneath me; but I reached
the shore in safety, and dropped down completely exhausted by fatigue
and agitation.

It was now broad daylight, but I neither saw animals nor human beings,
nor any vestiges of them. Thick forests covered the banks of the river,
and extended back as far as my eye could reach. I feared to penetrate
them, lest I should get bewildered in their recesses, and accordingly
walked along the edge of the stream. It was not long before I discovered
a column of smoke rising among the trees. I immediately directed my
steps towards the spot, and, on reaching it, found a party seated round
a fire.

They received me with an air of indifference and unconcern, not very
agreeable or encouraging to one in my destitute condition. However, I
placed myself in their circle, and tried to discover to what tribe they
belonged, by addressing them in the different Indian languages with
which I was acquainted. I soon made myself intelligible, and related the
circumstances that had brought me so unexpectedly among them. At the
conclusion of my narrative, the men pulled their tomahawk pipes from
their mouths, and looked at each other with incredulous smiles. I did
not make any attempt to convince them of the truth of what I said,
knowing it would be vain to do so, but asked for something to eat. After
some deliberation, they gave me a small quantity of pemican, but with
an unwillingness that did not evince such a spirit of hospitality as I
had usually met with among Indians.

The party consisted of three men, two women, and a couple of children,
all of whom sat or lay near the fire in absolute idleness; and their
minds seemed to be as unoccupied as their bodies, for nothing resembling
conversation ever passed between them. The weather was dreary and
comfortless. A thick small rain, such as usually falls in North America
during a thaw, filled the air, and the wigwam under which we sat
afforded but an imperfect shelter from it. I passed the time in the most
gloomy and desponding reflections. I saw no means by which I could
return to the trading-post, and the behaviour of the Indians made me
doubt if they would be inclined to grant me that support and protection
without which I could not long exist. One man gazed upon me so
constantly and steadily that his scrutiny annoyed me, and attracted my
particular attention. He appeared to be the youngest of the party, and
was very reserved and unprepossessing in his aspect, and seemed to know
me, but I could not recollect of ever having seen him before.

In the afternoon the rain ceased, and the Indians began to prepare for
travelling. When they had accoutred themselves, they all rose from the
ground without speaking a word, and walked away, one man taking the
lead. I perceived that they did not intend that I should be of the
party, but I followed them immediately, and, addressing myself to the
person who preceded the others, told him that I must accompany them, as
I neither could live in the woods alone nor knew in what part of the
country I was. He stopped and surveyed me from head to foot, saying,
"Where is your gun? where is your knife? where is your tomahawk?" I
replied, that I had lost them among the ice. "My friend," returned he,
"don't make the Great Spirit angry by saying what is not. That man knows
who you are," pointing to the Indian who had observed me so closely. "We
all know who you are. You have come to trade with us, and I suppose your
companions have concealed themselves at a distance, lest the appearance
of a number of white men should intimidate us. They are right.
Experience has taught us to fear white men; but their art, not their
strength, makes us tremble. Go away; we do not wish to have any
transactions with you. We are not to be betrayed or overpowered by
liquid fire,[B] or anything else you can offer us. None of us shall harm
you. I have spoken the truth, for I have not two mouths."

[Footnote B: Spirituous liquors.]

When he had finished this oration, he remained silent, and I felt at a
loss what to reply. At last I repeated my story, and endeavoured to
convince him that I neither had any companions nor was at all in a
situation to trade with his people, or do them the slightest injury. He
listened calmly to my arguments, and seemed to think there was some
weight in them; and the young man already mentioned stepped forward and
said, "Let the stranger go with us: the bones of my father cry out
against our leaving him behind. I am young, but I dare to advise. Listen
for once to the counsels of Thakakawerenté." The first speaker then
waved his hand, as a signal that I should follow them, and the whole
party proceeded in the same order as before.

Our leader pushed forward, apparently without the least hesitation,
though, accustomed as I was to the woods, I could not discover the
slightest trace of a footpath. He sometimes slackened his pace for a few
moments, and looked thoughtfully at the trees, and then advanced as fast
as before. None of the party spoke a word, and the rustling of the dry
leaves under their feet was the only sound that disturbed the silence of
the forest. Though freed from the fear of perishing for want, I could
not reflect upon my situation without uneasiness and alarm; and my
chance of being able to return to the post seemed to diminish every step
I took. I felt excessively fatigued, not having enjoyed any natural or
composed sleep the preceding night, and the roughness of the ground over
which we passed added to my weariness in an intolerable degree; but I
could not venture to rest by the way, lest I should lose sight of the
Indians for ever.

Soon after sunset we stopped for the night, and the men set about
erecting a wigwam, while the women kindled a fire. One of our party had
killed a small deer in the course of our journey, and he immediately
proceeded to skin the animal, that a portion of it might be dressed for
supper. When the venison was ready, they all sat down and partook of it,
and a liberal allowance was handed to me; but the same silence prevailed
that had hitherto been observed among them, and the comforts of a
plentiful repast after a long journey did not appear in the least degree
to promote social communication. The meal being finished, the men filled
their pipes with odoriferous herbs, and began to smoke in the most
sedate manner, and the women prepared beds by spreading skins upon the
ground. The composed demeanour of the party harmonised well with the
silence and gloominess of the night; and it seemed that the awful
solitude of the forests in which they lived, and the sublime and
enduring forms under which nature continually presented herself to their
eyes, had impressed them with a sense of their own insignificance, and
of the transitoriness of their daily occupations and enjoyments, and
rendered them thoughtful, taciturn, and unsusceptible. I seated myself
at the root of a large tree near the wigwam, and continued observing
its inmates, till, overcome by fatigue, I sank into a deep sleep.

About midnight I was awakened by some one pulling my hand, and, on
looking up, I perceived the Indian who had opposed my accompanying them,
and whose name was Outalisso, standing beside me. He put his finger on
his lips, by way of enjoining silence, and motioned that I should rise
and follow him. I obeyed, and he led me behind a large tree which grew
at a little distance from the wigwam, and said, in a low voice, "Listen
to me, my friend.--I told you that you would receive no harm from us;
and shall I belie my words? Thakakawerenté, who requested that you might
be allowed to follow our steps, says that his father was murdered by a
party of people under your command, about nine moons ago. This may be
true, and you at the same time may be guiltless; for we cannot always
control those who are placed under our authority. He tells me that the
spirit of the old man has twice appeared to him in his dreams to-night,
desiring him to put you to death. He has gone to repose himself again,
and if his father visits him a third time during sleep, he will
certainly kill you whenever he awakes. You must therefore hasten away,
if you wish to live any longer." "What can I do?" cried I; "death awaits
me whether I remain here or fly from Thakakawerenté. It is impossible
for me to reach home alone." "Be patient," returned Outalisso, "and I
will try to save you. Not far from hence, the roots of a large oak,
which has been blown down by the wind, stretch high into the air, and
may be seen at a great distance. You must go there, and wait till I come
to you. Keep the mossy side of the trees on your left hand, and you will
find the place without any difficulty."

Outalisso motioned me to hurry away, and I departed with a palpitating
heart, and plunged into the recesses of the forest, and regulated my
course in the manner he directed. The moon was rising, and I could see
to a considerable distance around. The rustling of the dry leaves among
my feet often made me think that some one walked close behind me, and I
scarcely dared to look back, lest I should see an uplifted tomahawk
descending upon my head. I sometimes fancied I observed Thakakawerenté
lurking among the brushwood, and stopped short till imagination conjured
up his form in a different part of the forest, and rendered me
irresolute which phantom I should endeavour to avoid.

I reached the tree sooner than I expected: it lay along the ground, and
its immense roots projected from the trunk, at right angles, to the
height of twelve or fourteen feet, their interstices being so filled
with earth that it was impossible to see through them.

I sat down, and found the agitation of my spirits gradually subside
under the tranquillising influence of the scene. Not a breath of wind
shook the trees, the leafless and delicately-fibred boughs of which,
when viewed against the cloudless sky, seemed like a sable network
spread overhead. The nests which the birds had made the preceding summer
still remained among the branches, silent, deserted, and unsheltered,
making the loneliness of the forest, as it were, visible to the mind;
while a withered leaf sometimes dropped slowly down--a sad memorial of
the departed glories of the vegetable world. A small rivulet ran within
a little distance of me, but its course was so concealed by long grass
that I would have been aware of its existence by the murmuring of its
waters only, had it not glittered dazzlingly in the moonshine at one
spot, while flowing over a large smooth stone. When I looked into the
recesses of the forest, I saw the trees ranged before each other like
colossal pillars, and gradually blending their stems together, until
they formed a dark and undefined mass. In some places, a scathed trunk,
whitened with the moss of successive centuries, stood erect in spectral
grandeur, like a being whom immense age and associations, riveted to
long-past times, had isolated from the sympathies of his fellow-mortals.
As the moon gradually rose on the arch of heaven, her light fell at
different angles, and the aspect of the woods was continually changing.
New and grander groups of trees came into view, and mighty oaks and
chestnuts seemed to stalk forward, with majestic slowness, from the
surrounding obscurity, and, after a time, to give place to a succession
of others, by retiring amidst the darkness from which they had at first
emerged. Tremors of awe began to pervade my frame, and I almost expected
that the tones of some superhuman voice would break the appalling
silence that prevailed in the wilderness around me.

My mind, by degrees, became so calm that I dropped into a half-slumber,
during which I had a distinct perception where I was, but totally
forgot the circumstances connected with my situation. A slight noise at
length startled me, and I awaked full of terror, but could not conceive
why I should feel such alarm, until recollection made the form of
Thakakawerenté flash upon my mind. I saw a number of indistinct forms
moving backwards and forwards a little way from me, and heard something
beating gently upon the ground. A small cloud floated before the moon,
and I waited with breathless impatience till it passed away, and allowed
her full radiance to reach the earth. I then discovered that five deer
had come to drink at the rivulet, and that the noise of them striking
their fore-feet against its banks had aroused me. They stood gazing at
me with an aspect so meek and beautiful that they almost seemed to
incorporate with the moonlight, but, after a little time, they started
away, and disappeared among the mazes of the forest.

When I surveyed the heavens, I perceived, by the alteration which had
taken place in their appearance, that I had slept a considerable time.
The moon had begun to descend towards the horizon; a new succession of
stars glittered upon the sky; the respective positions of the different
constellations were changed; and one of the planets which had been
conspicuous from its dazzling lustre a few hours before, had set, and
was no longer distinguishable. It was overpowering to think that all
these changes had been effected without noise, tumult, or confusion,
and that worlds performed their revolutions, and travelled through the
boundlessness of space, with a silence too profound to awaken an echo in
the noiseless depths of the forest, or disturb the slumbers of a feeble
human being.

I waited impatiently for the appearance of Outalisso, who had not
informed me at what hour I might expect to see him. The stars now
twinkled feebly amidst the faint glow of dawn that began to light the
eastern horizon, and the setting moon appeared behind some pines, and
threw a rich yellow radiance upon their dark-green boughs. Gentle
rustlings among the trees, and low chirpings, announced that the birds
began to feel the influence of approaching day; and I sometimes observed
a solitary wolf stealing cautiously along in the distance. While
engaged in contemplating the scene, I suddenly thought I saw an Indian
a little way off. I could not ascertain whether or not it was Outalisso,
but, fearing it might be Thakakawerenté, whom I dreaded to encounter in
my unarmed state, I retired from the roots of the tree, and concealed
myself among some brushwood.

I remained there for some time, but did not perceive any one near me;
and thinking that I had been deceived by fancy, I resolved to return to
my former station, and accordingly set out towards the great tree, but
shortly became alarmed at neither reaching it nor seeing it so soon as I
expected. I turned back in much agitation, and endeavoured to retrace my
steps to the brushwood, but all in vain. I examined the most remarkable
trees around me, without being able to recollect of having seen one of
them before. I perceived that I had lost myself. The moment I became
aware of this, my faculties and perceptions seemed to desert me one
after another, and at last I was conscious of being in existence only by
the feeling of chaotic and insupportable hopelessness which remained;
but after a little time, all my intellectual powers returned with
increased vigour and acuteness, and appeared to vie with each other in
giving me a vivid sense of the horrors of my situation. My soul seemed
incapable of affording play to the tumultuous crowd of feelings that
struggled to manifest themselves. I hurried wildly from one place to
another, calling on Outalisso and Thakakawerenté by turns. The horrible
silence that prevailed was more distracting than a thousand deafening
noises would have been. I staggered about in a state of dizzy
perturbation. My ears began to ring with unearthly sounds, and every
object became distorted and terrific. The trees seemed to start from
their places, and rush past each other, intermingling their branches
with furious violence and horrible crashings, while the moon careered
along the sky, and the stars hurried backwards and forwards with eddying
and impetuous motions.

I tried in vain for a long time to compose myself, and to bring my
feelings under due subordination. The remembrance of the past was
obliterated and renewed by fits and starts; but at best, my recollection
of anything that had occurred to me previous to the breaking-up of the
ice upon the lake, was shadowy, dim, and unsatisfactory, and I felt as
if the former part of my life had been spent in another world. I lay
down among the withered leaves, and covered my face with my hands, that
I might avoid the mental distraction occasioned by the sight of external
objects. I began to reflect that I could not possibly have as yet
wandered far from the great tree, and that if I called upon Outalisso at
intervals, he might perhaps hear me and come to my relief. Consoled by
the idea, I gradually became quiet and resigned.

I soon began to make the woods resound with the name of Outalisso; but
in the course of the day a tempest of wind arose, and raged with so much
noise that I could hardly hear my own voice. A dense mist filled the
air, and involved everything in such obscurity that the sphere of my
vision did not extend beyond five or six yards. The fog was in continual
agitation, rolling along in volumes, ascending and descending, bursting
open and closing again, and assuming strange and transitory forms. Every
time the blast received an accession of force, I heard a confused
roaring and crashing at a distance, which gradually increased in
strength and distinctness, till it reached that part of the forest
that stretched around me. Then the trees began to creak and groan
incessantly, their boughs were shattered against each other, fibres of
wood whirled through the air in every direction, and showers of withered
leaves, caught up and swept along by the wind, met and mingled with
them, and rendered the confusion still more distracting. I stood still
in one spot, looking fearfully from side to side, in the prospect of
being crushed to death by some immense mass of falling timber, for the
trees around me, when viewed through the distorting medium of the fog,
often appeared to have lost their perpendicularity, and to be bending
towards the earth, although they only waved in the wind. At last I crept
under the trunk of an oak that lay along the ground, resolving to remain
there until the tempest should abate.

A short time before sunset the wind had ceased, the mists were
dissipated, and a portion of the blue sky appeared directly above me.
Encouraged by these favourable appearances, I ventured from my place of
refuge, and began to think of making another attempt to regain the great
tree, when I heard the report of a rifle. I was so petrified with joy
and surprise that I had no power to call out till the firing was
repeated. I then shouted "Outalisso!" several times, and soon saw him
advancing towards me.

"Why are you not at the place I appointed?" cried he; "I feared you had
lost yourself, and discharged my gun as a signal. But all danger is
past. Thakakawerenté is dead--I killed him." There was some blood on
Outalisso's dress, but he looked so calm and careless that I hesitated
to believe what he told me.

"I do not deceive you," said he, "and I will tell you how Thakakawerenté
came by his death. He awaked soon after midnight, and not finding you in
the camp, suspected that I had told you that he intended to kill you. He
taxed me with having done so, and I scorned to deny it. His anger made
him forget the truth, and he said I had betrayed my trust, and at the
same time struck me on the face. Now, you know, an Indian never forgives
a blow, or an accusation such as he uttered. I buried my tomahawk in his
head. His friends lay asleep in the wigwam, and I dragged away his body
to some distance, and covered it with leaves, and then concealed myself
till I saw them set out on their journey, which they soon did, doubtless
supposing that Thakakawerenté and I had gone on before. I have been at
the great tree since morning, but the mist and the tempest prevented me
from seeking you till now. Be satisfied, you shall see the corpse of
Thakakawerenté. Follow me!"

Outalisso now began to proceed rapidly through the forest, and I walked
behind him without uttering a word. We soon reached the spot where the
Indians had slept the preceding night, and found the wigwam remaining,
and likewise several embers of fire. My companion immediately fanned
them into a state of brightness, and then collected some pieces of dry
wood that lay around, and piled them upon the charcoal. The whole soon
burst into a blaze, and we both sat down within its influence, Outalisso
at the same time presenting me with a quantity of pemican, which proved
very acceptable, as I had eaten nothing for more than twenty hours.

After we had reposed ourselves a little, Outalisso rose up and motioned
that I should accompany him. He conducted me to a small pile of
brushwood and dry leaves, part of which he immediately removed, and
I saw the corpse of Thakakawerenté stretched beneath. I shrank back,
shuddering with horror, but he pulled me forwards, and said I must
assist him in conveying the body to the fire. Seeing me still unwilling,
he took it up in his arms, and, hurrying away, deposited it in the
wigwam. I followed him, and asked what he meant by doing so. "Are you
ignorant of our customs?" said he. "When an Indian dies, all his
property must be buried with him. He who takes anything that belonged to
a dead person, will receive a curse from the Great Spirit in addition.
After I had killed Thakakawerenté, I took up his tomahawk by mistake,
and carried it away with me. I must now restore it, and also cover him
with earth lest his bones should whiten in the sun."

Outalisso now proceeded to arrange the dress of the dead man, and
likewise stuck the tomahawk in his girdle. He next went a little way
into the forest for the purpose of collecting some bark to put in the
bottom of the grave, and I was left alone.

The night was dark, dim, and dreary, and the fire blazed feebly and
irregularly. A superstitious awe stole over me, and I dared hardly look
around, though I sometimes cast an almost involuntary glance at the
corpse, which had a wild and fearful appearance. Thakakawerenté lay upon
his back, and his long, lank, black hair was spread confusedly upon his
breast and neck. His half-open eyes still retained a glassy lustre, and
his teeth were firmly set against each other. Large dashes of blood
stained his vest, and his clenched hands and contracted limbs showed
what struggles had preceded death. When the flickering light of the fire
happened to fall upon him, I almost fancied that he began to move, and
would have started away had not a depressing dread chained me to the
spot; but the sound of Outalisso's axe in some degree dissipated the
fears that chilled my heart, and I spent the time in listening to the
regular recurrence of its strokes, until he came back with an armful of

I assisted him in burying Thakakawerenté under the shade of a tall
walnut-tree; and when we had accomplished this, we returned to the fire,
and waited till moonlight would enable us to pursue our journey.
Outalisso had willingly agreed to conduct me home, for he wished to
change his abode for a season, lest Thakakawerenté's relations should
discover his guilt, and execute vengeance upon him.

We set out about an hour after midnight, and travelled through the woods
till dawn, when we came in sight of the river, on the banks of which I
had first fallen in with the Indians. In the course of the day Outalisso
procured a canoe, and we paddled up the stream, and next morning reached
the trading-post on the side of the lake.


[_MAGA._ FEBRUARY 1851.]

One of the greatest enjoyments which are likely to fall to the lot
of a man in middle life, is to spend a week or so with the old
school-and-college companion whom he has not seen since the graver
page of life has been turned over for both parties. It is as unlike
any ordinary visit-making as possible. It is one of the very few
instances in which the complimentary dialogue between the guest and his
entertainer comes to have a real force and meaning. One has to unlearn,
for this special occasion, the art so necessary in ordinary society, of
interpreting terms by their contraries. And in fact it is difficult, at
first, for one who has been used for some years to a social atmosphere
whose warmth is mainly artificial, to breathe freely in the natural
sunshine of an old friend's company; just as a native Londoner is said
sometimes to pine away, when removed into the fresh air of the country.
We are so used to consider the shake of the hand, and the "Very glad to
see you," of the hundred and one people who ask us to dinner, as merely
a polite and poetical form of expressing, "You certainly are a bore;
but as you are here, I must make the best of you"--that it costs us an
effort to comprehend that "How are you, old fellow?" does, in the
present case, imply a _bonâ fide_ hope that we are as sound in health
and heart, if not as young, as formerly. And especially when a man's
pursuits have led him a good deal into the world, and many of his warmer
feelings have been, insensibly perhaps, chilled by the contact, the
heartiness of his reception by some old college friend who has led a
simple life, the squire of his paternal acres, or the occupant of a
country parsonage, and has gained and lost less by the polishing process
of society, will come upon him with a strangeness almost reproachful.
But once fairly fixed within the hospitable walls, the natural tone is
recognised, and proves contagious; the formal encrustations of years
melt in the first hour of after-dinner chat, and the heart is opened to
feelings and language which it had persuaded itself were long forgotten.
And when the end of your three weeks' holiday arrives at last, which you
cannot persuade yourself has been more than three days (though you seem
to have lived over again the best half of your life in the time), you
have so far forgotten the conventional rules of good-breeding, that when
your friend says to you on the last evening, "Must you really go? Can't
you stay till Monday?" you actually take him at his word, and begin to
cast about in your mind for some possible excuse for stealing another
couple of days or so, though you have heard the same expression from the
master of every house where you have happened to visit, and never
dreamt of understanding it in any other than its civilised (_i. e.,
non-natural_) sense--as a hint to fix a day for going, and stick to it,
that your entertainer may "know the worst."

I was heartily glad, therefore, when at last I found that there was
nothing to prevent me from paying a visit (long promised, and long
looked forward to, but against which, I began to think, gods and men
had conspired) to my old and true friend Lumley. I dare say he has
a Christian name; indeed, I have no reason to doubt it, and, on the
strength of an initial not very decipherable, prefixed to the L in his
signature, I have never hesitated to address him, "J. Lumley, Esq.;"
but I know him as Long Lumley, and so does every man who, like myself,
remembers him at Oxford; and as Long Lumley do all his cotemporaries
know him best, and esteem him accordingly; and he must excuse me if I
immortalise him to the public, in spite of godfathers and godmothers,
by that more familiar appellation. A cousin was with him at college, a
miserable sneaking fellow, who was known as "Little Lumley;" and if, as
I suspect, they were both Johns or Jameses, it is quite desirable to
distinguish them unmistakably; for though the other _has_ the best
shooting in the country, I would not be suspected of spending even the
first week of September inside such a fellow's gates.

But Long Lumley was and is of a very different stamp; six feet three,
and every inch a gentleman. I wish he was not, of late years, quite so
fond of farming: a man who can shoot, ride, and translate an ode of
Horace as he can, ought to have a soul above turnips. It is almost the
only point on which we are diametrically opposed in tastes and habits.
We nearly fell out about it the very first morning after my arrival.

Breakfast was over--a somewhat late one in honour of the supposed
fatigues of yesterday's journey, and it became necessary to arrange
proceedings for the day. What a false politeness it is, which makes
a host responsible for his guests' amusement! and how often, in
consequence, are they compelled to do, with grimaces of forced
satisfaction, the very thing they would not! However, Lumley and myself
were too old friends to have any scruples of delicacy on that point. I
had been eyeing him for some minutes while he was fastening on a pair of
formidable high-lows, and was not taken by surprise when the proposal
came out, "Now, old fellow, will you come and have a look at my farm?"

"Can't I see it from the window?"

"Stuff! come, I must show you my sheep: I assure you they are considered
about the best in this neighbourhood."

"Well, then, I'll taste the mutton any day you like, and give you my
honest opinion."

"Don't be an ass now, but get your hat and come along; it's going to be
a lovely day; and we'll just take a turn over the farm--there's a new
thrashing-machine I want to show you, too, and then back here to lunch."

"Seriously, then, Lumley, I won't do anything of the kind. I do you the
justice to believe, that you asked me here to enjoy myself; and that I
am quite ready to do in any fairly rational manner; and I flatter myself
I am in nowise particular; but as to going bogging myself among turnips,
or staring into the faces and poking the ribs of shorthorns and
south-downs--why, as an old friend, you'll excuse me."

"Hem! there's no accounting for tastes," said Lumley, in a
half-disappointed tone.

"No," said I, "there certainly is not."

"Well, then," said he--he never lost his good-humour--"what shall we do?
I'll tell you--you remember Harry Bolton? rather your junior, but you
must have known him well, because he was quite in our set from the
first--to be sure, didn't you spill him out of a tandem at Abingdon
corner? Well, he is living now about nine miles from here, and we'll
drive over and see him. I meant to write to ask him to dine here, and
this will save the trouble."

"With all my heart," said I; "I never saw him since I left Oxford. I
fancied I heard of his getting into some mess--involved in some way,
was he not?"

"Not involved exactly; but he certainly did make himself scarce from a
very nice house and curacy which he had when he first left Oxford, and
buried himself alive for I don't know how long, and all for the very
queerest reason, or rather without any reason at all. Did you never
hear of it?"

"No; only some vague rumour, as I said just now."

"You never heard, then, how he came into this neighbourhood? Have the
dog-cart round in ten minutes, Sam, and we dine at seven. Now, get
yourself in marching order, and I'll tell you the whole story as we go

He did so, but it was so interrupted by continual expostulations with
his horse, and remarks upon the country through which we were driving,
that it will be at least as intelligible if I tell it in my own words;
especially as I had many of the most graphic passages from Bolton's own
lips afterwards.

It was before he left Oxford, I think, that Bolton lost his father, and
was thrown pretty much upon his own resources. A physician with a large
family, however good his practice, seldom leaves much behind him; and
poor Harry found himself, after spending a handsome allowance and
something more, left to begin life on his own account, with a degree,
a good many bills, and a few hundreds, quite insufficient to pay them.
However, he was not the sort of man to look upon the dark side of
things; and no heir, long expectant, and just stepping into his
thousands per annum, carried away from the university a lighter heart
and a merrier face than Harry Bolton. He got ordained in due course;
and though not exactly the material out of which one would prefer to
cut a country curate, still he threw off, with his sporting coats and
many-coloured waist-coats, most of the habits thereto belonging, and
less suited to his profession. To live upon a curate's stipend he found
more difficult; and being a fair scholar, and having plenty of friends
and connections, he announced his intention of "driving," as he called
it, a pair of pupils, whom he might train up in so much Latin and
Greek, and other elements of general knowledge (including, perhaps,
a little shooting and gig-driving), as they might require for their
matriculations. The desired youths were soon found; and Harry entered
upon this new employment with considerable ardour, and a very honest
intention of doing his best. How the Latin and Greek prospered is a
point in some degree obscure to present historians; but all the pupils
were unanimous in declaring the wine to be unexceptionable, and their
preceptor's dogs and shooting first-rate; in fact, he sustained, with
them as with the public generally, the reputation of being one of the
heartiest and best fellows in the world. From the poorest among his
parishioners, to whom he was charitable above his means, but who felt
almost more than his gifts the manner of his giving, to the squire ten
miles off, who met his pleasant face and smile once a-year at a dinner
party, all spoke well of Harry Bolton. No wonder that his pupils looked
upon him as the very paragon of tutors, and found their path of learning
strewed with unexpected flowers. How many scholars he made is still
unknown; but he made many friends: with the uncalculating gratitude
of youth, all remembered the pleasant companion when they might have
forgotten the hard-working instructor: and frequent were the tokens of
such remembrance, varying with the tastes of the senders, which reached
the little parsonage by the Oxford coach, from those who successively
assumed the _toga virilis_, and became (university) _men_. Collars of
brawn and cases of claret were indeed but perishable memorials; but
there came also whips extravagantly mounted, and tomes of orthodox
divinity in the soberest bindings, all bearing inscriptions more or
less classical, from his "_quondam alumni_." The first-named delicacies
were duly passed on, with Harry's compliments, to grace more fittingly
the tables of some of his hospitable entertainers; and, in an equally
unselfish spirit, he seldom sat down alone to any of his literary
dainties, but kept them in honourable state on his most conspicuous
book-shelf, for the use and behoof of any friend who might wish to enjoy

But here I am anticipating. For some time the pupilising went on pretty
smoothly. Two or three couple of youths were fairly launched upon the
university, and nothing particularly untoward had occurred to ruffle the
curate's good-humour or injure his reputation. There had been no attempt
at elopement with the cook or housemaid (Bolton's precaution had secured
ugly ones); no poaching on Sir Thomas's favourite preserve, though
close at hand, and sportsmen of eighteen are not over nice in their
distinctions: a tall Irishman had been with him, summer vacations and
all, for nearly two years, and had _not_ made love to either of the
squire's undeniably pretty daughters. In short, the pupils were less of
a bore than Harry had supposed it possible, and, in some cases, very
agreeable companions to enliven the occasional dulness of a country

But somehow or other, in one chief point which he had aimed at, he found
himself disappointed. In counting so many additional hundreds to his
scanty income, Harry Bolton had fancied he was going to make himself
a rich man. He was not avaricious, or even selfish--far from it; but
he wanted to be independent; there were visions, perhaps, flitting
indistinctly before him, of a time when he might tire of a solitary
home, and resign into some fair and gentle hand the reins of the liberty
he was so fond of boasting as a bachelor. He did not grudge his time or
labour; he had cast off much of his old habit of idleness, and took a
real interest in his pupils; still he had expected some of the results
to himself would take the tangible shape of pounds shillings and pence.
But though the cheques came duly in at Midsummer and Christmas, the
balance at his banker's increased but very slowly; in short, he found
that the additional expenses, necessary and unnecessary, entailed upon
him by the change in his establishment, nearly counterbalanced the
additional income. Not to speak of such ordinary matters as butchers'
and bakers' and wine-merchants' bills--for his table was always most
liberal, now that he had to entertain others, as it had been simple and
economical while alone--indeed the hospitality of the neighbourhood had
then made his housekeeping almost a sinecure; but, independently of
this, Harry had been led to extend his expenses--he said unavoidably--in
other directions. A rough pony had hitherto contented him to gallop into
the neighbouring town for letters, and to carry him and his valise to
the dinner-parties even of his most aristocratic entertainers. But now,
inasmuch as sometimes an hospitable invitation extended itself to
"the young men," he had felt in duty bound, for his and their joint
accommodation, to replace the pony by a showy-looking mare, and to
invest the legal sum of nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence
in the purchase of a dog-cart. As an almost necessary consequence, the
boy "Jim" gave way to a grown-up groom, who did rather less work for
considerably more wages, hissing and whistling over the said mare and
dog-cart in the most knowing manner, and condescending, though with some
scruples of conscience, to clean boots and knives. Harry's reminiscences
of his more sporting days were yet fresh enough for him to make a point
of seeing his turn-out "look as it ought to do." Jim and the pony, and
all their accoutrements, were rough, and useful, and cheap, and made no
pretensions to be otherwise. Now, things were changed, and saddlery and
harness of the best (there was no economy, as Harry observed, in buying
a poor article) found their place among the bills at Christmas. In
short, he was led into a maze of new wants, individually trifling, but
collectively sufficient to tell upon his yearly expenditure; and he was
beginning gravely to attempt to solve that universal problem--the asses'
bridge, which the wisest domestic economists stick fast at year after
year--"where the deuce all the money goes to?"--when circumstances
occurred which put all such useless inquiries out of his head, and
indeed put his debtor and creditor transactions on a much more primitive

In the final settlement of the accounts of one of his pupils, who was
leaving him for the university, some misunderstanding arose between
himself and the father. The sum in question was but a few pounds; but
the objection was put forward in a manner which Bolton considered as
reflecting upon his own straightforward and liberal dealing; and it so
happened that the young man had, from circumstances, been indebted
in an unusual degree to his kindness. He therefore, I have no doubt,
took the matter up warmly; for those who remember him as I do, can well
imagine how his blood would boil at anything he considered mean or
unhandsome. It ended in his insisting on the whole amount--a hundred or
so--respecting which the difference had arisen, being paid in to the
treasurer of the county hospital instead of to himself; and he vowed
silently, but determinedly, to renounce pupilising thenceforth for
ever. In vain did some of his best friends persuade him to change his
resolution; he kept two who were with him at the time for a few months,
when they also were to enter college; but he steadily refused any other
offers: he sold off at once all his superfluous luxuries, and, as soon
as practicable, gave up his curacy, and quitted the neighbourhood, to
the general regret of all who knew him, and to the astonishment of all
but the very few who were in the secret.

When Bolton's friends next heard of him, he was living in a remote
district of H----shire, on an income necessarily very small; for it
could have been scarcely more than the proceeds of his curacy; and
curacies in that part of the country were then but a wretched provision
for any man--especially for one accustomed as he had been to good living
and good society. However, he was not much troubled with the latter
in his present position; not to speak of the fact that his nearest
conversible neighbour lived seven miles off. Wherever parsons are mostly
poor, and many of them ill-educated, they are not thought much of,
either by farmers or gentlemen. And as it did not suit Harry's tastes to
enjoy his pipe and pot in the society of the first, as his predecessor
had done with much contentment, nor yet to wait for the arrival of the
one landed proprietor in the parish before he commenced the morning
service, he was voted by the overseers and churchwardens to be "mighty
set up," and by the squire to be "a d--d unmannerly fellow." Both,
indeed, soon found out that they were wrong; and the farmers had the
grace to confess it, and came, in course of time, to believe it possible
for a curate to be a gentleman without being proud, and that it was at
least as well for him to be visiting the sick and poor, and overlooking
the parish school, and able to give a little good advice to themselves
in matters of difficulty, as to be boosing in their company at the Crown
and Thistle. And, in course of time, those rough but honest people
came to respect him almost as much perhaps, in their way, as his more
enlightened neighbours had done in his former position. It must have
been a great change, however, to a man like Bolton, used to good
society, fond of it, and readily welcomed in it, as he had always been.
No doubt he felt it; yet he declared that, after the first few weeks, he
never was happier in his life. His gun was given up, as an indulgence
too expensive, but there was excellent trout-fishing for miles on both
sides of his cottage; and, though a sport to which he had no great
liking in his earlier days, he now took to it vigorously as the only
amusement at hand, and became no unworthy disciple of honest Isaac. The
worst effect of this new life of isolation was, that he became somewhat
negligent in his habits; took to smoking a great deal, and made his
tobacconist's account a good deal longer than his tailor's. He had still
many old friends and connections at a distance, with whom he might have
spent half the year if he had pleased; but, in his first pique with the
world in general, he had fixed himself purposely as far out of their
reach as possible; travelling was expensive (railways as yet were not);
assistance in his clerical duties was not easily obtained; and so,
partly from choice, and partly from necessity, his new life became one
of almost utter isolation.

Of course there were occasions when he found it necessary to visit the
neighbouring market-town--if it could be called neighbouring when it was
twelve miles off. The main road lay about a mile from Harry's little
cottage, and a coach, passing daily, would usually deposit him safely in
the High Street in the course of the forenoon--allowing an hour for
waiting for it at the crossing (it was always after its time), and about
two more, if the roads were not unusually heavy, for getting over the
distance. It was not a very luxurious style of travelling; and Harry
often preferred to walk in one day, and return the next. It was on
one of these rare visits that a soaking rain discouraged him from
setting out for home on foot, and give the Regulator the unusually full
complement of one inside and one outside passenger. On the box was our
friend Harry, inside a rather precise-looking personage, whose costume,
as far as a large cloak allowed it to be seen, looked somewhat more
clerical than the Curate's, the latter being clad in a smart upper
benjamin of the landlord's of the Swan, finished round the throat with a
very gay shawl of his daughter's, both forced upon him in consideration
of the weather; for Harry, though by no means a frequent, was a highly
favoured guest, and they would sooner have kept him in No. 1 for a week
gratis, than have allowed him to turn out in the rain without due

Slower than usual that day was the Regulator's progress through the mud
and against the wind, and briefer than usual its driver's replies to
Harry's good-humoured attempts at conversation.

"Whom have we inside, do you know, Haines?"

"Well, I reckon it's what you'd call a hopposition coach like," grunted
out Joe Haines.

"Eh? I don't exactly understand."

"Why, I mean a Methodist bishop, or summat o' that sort. You see there
was a great opening of the Independent College here o' Tuesday, and
there was a lot o' them gentry about the town, looking too good to live.
I druv' five on 'em down yesterday, and they gev' me a shilling and a
fourpenny amongst the whole lot. Oh! I loves them sort, don't I just?"
and Joe gave his near wheeler a cut, illustrative of his affection. It
was a longer speech than he had made all the way, and he relapsed into a
gloomy silence.

The wind was driving right into their teeth, and the evening closing
fast, and they were passing the last milestone to the turning without
any farther attempt at conversation, when there came first an ominous
crack from under their feet, then a jolt, an unsteady wavering motion
for a few seconds, when, with scarcely time for an exclamation, the
coach toppled over on one side, and Bolton found himself reclining on
the portly person of Mr Joseph Haines, who, in his turn, was saved from
contusions by a friendly heap of mud by the roadside. Beyond a broken
axle, however, no damage was done. The horses were glad of any
opportunity to stand still. Bolton got up, shook himself, and laughed.
Joe Haines was proceeding to philosophise rather strongly on the
accident, not exactly after the manner of Job or Seneca, when the inside
passenger, putting his head out of the only practicable window, begged
him to spare his oaths, and help him out of his prison.

The stranger was soon extricated, and the horses taken out; and the
driver, requesting his passengers to await his return, set off to seek
assistance at the nearest cottage. As to the coach itself proceeding
farther until partially repaired, that was evidently out of the
question; and so Harry observed to his companion, who did not appear
very knowing in such matters.

"And how far may we be from S----, sir?" inquired he, upon receiving
this not very agreeable intelligence.

"Fifteen miles at least," replied Bolton.

"Indeed! so far, and is there no place near where I could procure a
conveyance of any kind? I have an engagement there I particularly wished
to keep to-morrow."

"Really, I fear not; this is quite an out-of-the-way place: the driver
can tell you better than I can, but I know the neighbourhood pretty
well, and think you would have to send back to the Swan at B---- for

"It is very unfortunate, and it is past nine already; what is the
nearest place, sir, where I could get decent accommodation for the

"Why, the nearest place," said Harry, hesitatingly, "is the 'Crown and
Thistle,' about three miles off, but I can't say much for the
accommodation. Wo-ho,"--one of the horses, tired at last of standing in
the drizzling rain, was showing symptoms of an immediate return to his
stable. The stranger merely gave vent to a dissatisfied "Humph!" and
they stood silently awaiting the approach of a light along the road,
which betokened Joe's return with assistance. The coach was soon
righted, and set up against the side of a bank; and Mr Haines, having
given charge to one of his aids-extraordinary to keep watch by it till
dawn with a light, both to prevent accidents and abstraction of the
luggage, announced his intention of returning with the horses to B----,
offering to his inside passenger the choice of a ride back, or taking a
nap in the coach till morning. "_You_ won't be long getting home, Mr
Bolton, anyhow,"--and the pronoun was emphasised, to show that even this
sympathy was little extended to his fellow-traveller.

"No, Joe, I must say you have been pretty considerate: as you _were_ to
break down, you could hardly have arranged it more handily for me. Just
look me out my little carpet-bag, and I suppose you'll expect an extra
shilling for your performance to-night, eh?"

Joe gave a hoarse laugh, and proceeded to rummage the boot; and Harry
took advantage of the opportunity to whisper a few inquiries about his

"Well, I be pretty sure, sir, it's a Dr Bates, as preached at the
opening on Tuesday. There was two or three black-coats came with him to
the yard afore we started; he's quite a top-sawyer among 'em, and can
hold on for two hours good, best pace, they tell me. He's gev' out to
preach over at S---- to-morrow morning. I see'd the printed bills stuck
all over town to-day."

To-morrow was Sunday; and Bolton thought of a certain manuscript, not
quite finished, lying on his desk at home. He glanced again at the
stranger, and possibly, in the orthodoxy of his heart, did not feel
particularly grieved at the disappointment probably in store for the
itching ears of the S---- non-conformists.

"Well, good-night, Haines," said he. But seeing his late companion still
standing in the road, looking rather helpless, and hesitating to leave
him altogether to the tender mercies of the coachman, "I am walking in
the direction of the village inn," he continued, "and if I can show you
the way, I shall be very glad to do so. I dare say I can also find some
one to fetch your luggage."

"Thank you, sir," said the other. "I cannot do better than follow your
example;" and he at once selected and shouldered, with some activity for
a man obviously on the wrong side of forty, a carpet-bag of more
cumbersome dimensions than Bolton's; and they strode down the road
together, nearly in darkness, and with the rain still falling.

They had nearly reached the curate's humble cottage, without much
further conversation, when the stranger repeated his inquiries as to the
distance to the inn, and the probability of his obtaining there any
tolerable accommodation. "A _clean_ bed," he said, "would content him;
was he likely to find one?"

A struggle had been going on, from the time they left the coach, between
Harry Bolton's good-nature, and what he thought his due dignity. Every
word his fellow-passenger had uttered had convinced him, more and more,
that he was a man of education and good sense, to say the least; a
totally different being from the class of whom Jabez Green, who
expounded at Mount Pisgah in his own parish on Sundays, and did a little
shoemaking and poaching on week-days, formed a specimen ever before his
eyes; and if it had not seemed a ludicrous misapplication of hospitality
to have entertained the great gun of schism within the lares of the
"_persona ecclesia_" he would long ago have offered the very respectable
and mild-mannered gentleman, dropped by an unlucky accident almost at
his door, at least a good fire and a pair of clean sheets for the night.
Sleep at the Crown and Thistle!--why, on consideration, it was scarcely
creditable to himself to send him there. The landlord was one of the
most disreputable fellows in the parish, and, by ten o'clock on a
Saturday night, was usually so drunk as to be more likely to refuse a
guest any accommodation at all, than to take any extra pains for him.
And the dirt, and the noise, and the etceteras! No, Dr Bates had better
have stuck to the inside of the coach than have tried the Crown and
Thistle. But where else was he to go? There was a good spare bedroom, no
doubt, at Barby farm, within half a mile; but it had not been occupied
since Harry had slept in it himself on his first arrival in the parish,
and then it took a week's notice to move the piles of wool and cheese,
and have it duly aired. The stranger coughed, Harry grew desperate, and
spoke out.

"We are close to my little place now, sir. I think I can offer you what
you will hardly find at the inn--a clean room and a well-aired bed; and
it seems a mere act of common civility to beg you to accept it."

With many thanks, but with the natural politeness and ease with which a
gentleman receives from another the courtesy which he is always ready to
offer himself, the hospitable invitation was at once freely accepted:
and in five minutes they had passed the little gate, and were awaiting
the opening of the door.

This service was performed by the whole available force of Harry's
establishment. One active little elderly woman, who was there on
resident and permanent duty, in all capacities, assisted on this
occasion by Samuel Shears, parish clerk, sexton, barber, bird-fancier,
fishing-tackle maker, &c. &c. &c.; and acting gardener, valet, butler,
and footman, when required, to the reverend the curate. Loud was the
welcome he received from both. "Had he walked through all the rain,
sure_ly_! The coach was very late then; they'd 'most given him up: no,
Sam hadn't, 'cause of service to-morrow;" when their volubility was
somewhat checked by the sight of his companion; and the old lady's face
underwent no very favourable change when informed she must prepare a
second bed.

"Walk in, pray, and warm yourself--that room--Sam, take these bags;" and
Harry stepped aside into the kitchen, to negotiate with his housekeeper
for the stranger's accommodation; a matter not to be effected but by
some little tact; for Molly, like servants of higher pretensions, did
not like being put out of her way, by people "coming tramping in," as
she said, at all hours of the night; and if Bolton had replied to her
close inquiries, as to who and whence the new guest was, with the
statement that he was a stray Methodist preacher, it is probable that
Molly, who had lived with clergymen since she was a child, and would
sooner have missed her dinner than "her church," would have resigned her
keys of office at once in high disgust.

"The gentleman will sleep in my room, of course, Molly, and I shall have
my things put into the other;--anything will do for supper--bread and
cheese, Molly, quite well--toast a little, will you? Poor man, he seems
to have a cough."

"Toasted cheese an't good for a cough."

"No; to be sure not. Well, you can fry a little bacon, and a few eggs,
you know."

"There an't no eggs. I don't know what's come to the 'ens: they behaves
'orrid, they does."

"Well, anything, anything, Molly. I'm very tired, and I don't care what
it is: we shall both be very glad to get to bed."

"Lor, I dare say you be tired, sir," said Molly, somewhat pacified.
"You've had a very wet ride, to be sure; lawk-a-me, why this coat might
be a-wringed out." And she hastened to relieve her master of some of his
outer wrappings, and supply him with a warm dressing-gown and slippers,
in which he soon joined his guest in the little parlour; and having
introduced him to the room he was to occupy for the night, left him
also to make himself comfortable.

If Harry Bolton did not repent of his hospitality, which would have been
very unlike him, yet, upon consideration, he certainly felt he was
acting the good Samaritan somewhat more literally than he had ever
expected to do.

"What on earth shall I do with him to-morrow, I should like to know?"
was the first question that suggested itself--much more readily than did
the answer. He could not be expected to go to church, perhaps; but would
he stay quietly at home? or walk off to assist the very reverend Jabez
at Mount Pisgah? As to his keeping his appointment at S----, that, at
least, was out of the question; and, after all, there seemed so much
good sense and feeling of propriety about the traveller, that it was
most probable--at least Harry thought so--that he would not in any way
offend against the rules of the household which he had entered under
such circumstances.

So the curate brushed the clinging rain from his hair, and the cloud
from his brow, with one and the same motion, and relapsed into his usual
state of good-humour. Supper came in, and he and his guest sat down
opposite to each other, and prepared to discuss old Molly's simple
cookery. Really, now that one could look at him well, the man was very
presentable in person as well as in manner. Harry said grace in a very
few words, and the other's "Amen" was audible and unexceptionable;
reverent, and not nasal. He had a capital appetite; it was said to be
characteristic of his calling, but in that point Harry fully kept pace
with him; and the conversation was not, for the present, a very lively
one. Sam came in at last to take away.

"Sam," said the curate, in a half-aside, "_is_ there a bottle of
port?--here's the key."

"La! sir, you bid me take it down to old Nan, you know; and it wor the
last bottle, I tell'd you then."

"Ha! so I did, so I did. Did she like it, Sam?"

"Like it?" said Sam, opening his eyes, "I warrant her!"

"Well, Sam, I hope it did her good;--never mind. You must fare as I do,
I am afraid," said he to the other. "Bring out the whisky-jar, Sam."

Bolton mixed himself a glass without further preface or apology; and his
neighbour, with the remark that it could not be much amiss after a
wetting, very moderately followed his example.

"And now," said Bolton, rummaging in a little cupboard behind him, "I
hope you don't dislike the smell of tobacco. I'm rather too fond of it
myself. My weakness is a pipe: I could find you a cigar, perhaps, if you
are ever--"

"Thank you, I never do smoke; but pray do not mind me: I was at a German
university for a year and a half, and that is a pretty fair
apprenticeship to cloud-raising."

Took a doctor's degree there, no doubt, thought Harry; but it served
excellently as an opening for general conversation; and two pipes had
been consumed, and Molly had twice informed the gentlemen that the beds
were all ready, and that Sam was waiting to know if there were any
orders for to-morrow, before Harry remembered that he had a sermon still
to finish, and that it was verging upon Sunday morning--so intelligent
and agreeable had been the discourse of the stranger.

"If you please, sir," said the clerk, putting his head in at the door,
"the rain is a-coming down like nothing, and that great hole over the
pulpit ben't mended yet. Master Brooks promised me it should be done
afore to-night; but he's never seen to it."

"That Brooks is the very--but, there, it can't be helped to-night, Sam,
at all events," said Bolton, rather ashamed that the defects of his
parochial administration should be exposed, as it were, to the enemy. "I
must speak to him about it myself."

"I clapped a couple of sods over it as well as I could, sir," said the
persevering Sam; "and I don't think much wet can come in to hurt, like.
Will this gentleman 'ficiate to-morrow?" (this was in a loud
confidential whisper) "'cause the t'other surplice an't--"

"Don't bother now--there's a good fellow," said Harry, considerably
annoyed, as he shut the door in the face of his astonished subordinate,
who was generally privileged to gossip as much as he pleased. He covered
his embarrassment by showing his visitor at once to his room, and then
sat down to complete his own preparations for the next day's duties.

The rain was as busily falling in the morning as if it had only
just begun, instead of having been at it all night. Harry had been
more than usually scrupulous in his dress; but when they met at the
breakfast-table, his guest's clerical _tout ensemble_ beat him hollow.
After a rather silent meal, in which both, as if by tacit consent,
avoided all allusion to subjects connected with the day and its duties,
Bolton mustered his courage, as they rose from table, to say--"My
service is at eleven, and I shall have rather a wet walk; you, perhaps,
are not disposed to accompany me?"

"By all means," said the stranger, bowing; "I am quite ready;--is it
time to set out?" And in a few minutes they were picking their way, side
by side, down the little miry lane.

The church, it must be confessed, was not a comely edifice. Its
architectural pretensions must originally have been of the humblest
order; and now, damp and dilapidated, it was one of the many which, in
those days, were a disgrace to any Christian community. There was the
hole in the roof, immediately over the curate's head, imperfectly
stopped by Sam's extempore repairs; and very wretched and comfortless
did the few who composed the congregation look, as they came dripping
in, and dispersed themselves among the crumbling pews. The service
proceeded, and none showed such reverent attention as the stranger; and
being placed in the rectorial pew, immediately opposite the clerk, the
distinct though subdued tone of his responses was so audible, and so
disturbed that functionary (who had that part of the service usually
pretty much to himself, and had come to consider it as in some sort his
exclusive privilege), that he made some terrible blunders in the hard
verses in the Psalms, and occasionally looked round upon his rival, on
these latter occasions especially, with unmistakable indignation.

The service concluded, Bolton found his guest awaiting him in the porch;
and some ten minutes' sharp walking, with few remarks, except in
admiration of the pertinacity of the rain, brought them home again to
the cottage. A plain early dinner was discussed: there was no afternoon
service; and the curate had just stepped into his kitchen to listen to
some petition from a parishioner, when the stranger took the opportunity
of retiring to his own apartment, and did not reappear until summoned to

Bolton's visit to the kitchen had interrupted a most animated debate.
In that lower house of his little commonwealth the new arrival had been
a fruitful topic of discussion. The speakers were three: Molly, Sam,
and Binns the wheelwright, who had looked in, as he said, on a little
business with the parson. Molly, as has been said, was a rigid
churchwoman. Her notions of her duty in that capacity might not have
been unexceptionable, but they were, so far as the Sunday went, as
follows: Church in the morning and afternoon, if practicable; as much
reading as her eyes--not quite what they used to be--could comfortably
manage; pudding for dinner, and tea and gossip in the evening. If fine,
a walk would have come among the day's arrangements; but with the rain
coming down as it did, and after having rather puzzled herself with a
sermon upon the origin of evil, the sudden, and in a degree mysterious,
visit of a strange gentleman--where visitors of any kind were so
rare--became invaluable as a topic of interesting--for aught we know,
of profitable--discourse. Sam Shears dined with her always on this
day, and was allowed, not without scruples, to have his pipe in the
chimney-corner; in consideration of which indulgence, he felt it his
duty to make himself as agreeable as possible; and inasmuch as his
stock-stories respecting enormous perch caught, or gifted starlings
educated by him, Samuel Shears, had long ceased to interest--indeed had
never much interested--his fair listener here, though they still went
down, with variations, at the Crown and Thistle, he was reduced very
often, in the absence of anything of modern interest stirring in the
neighbouring town of S----, to keep up his credit as a "rare good
companion," by entering into politics--for which study, next to
divinity, Molly had a decided taste--talking about reforms and
revolutions in a manner that Molly declared made her "creep," and
varying this pleasurable excitement by gloomy forebodings with regard
to"Rooshia and Prooshia."

On this particular evening, however, the subject of debate was of a
domestic nature, and Molly and the clerk had taken opposite sides: Binns
arriving opportunely to be appealed to by both, and being a man of few
words, who shook his head with great gravity, and usually gave a nod of
encouragement to the last speaker. Molly, after her first indignation
at the intrusion of a wet stranger, without notice, at ten o'clock of
a Saturday night, had been so softened by the courteous address and
bearing of the enemy, that she had gradually admitted him at least to a
neutrality; and when Sam Shears had in confidence hinted that he "hadn't
quite made up his mind about un," her woman's kindness of heart, or her
spirit of contradiction, rushed forth as to the rescue of a friend.

"I wonder at you, Sam," said she; "you've had heddication enough to know
a gentleman when you sees him; and you'd ought to have more respect for
the cloth."

"Cloth! There now," replied Sam, "that's just it; I an't so sure about
his cloth, as you call it."

"Why, what ever do you mean, Sam Shears?"

"I mean," rejoined Sam, boldly, though he felt that Molly's fiercest
glance was upon him, and almost choked himself in the endeavour to hide
himself in a cloud of his own creating--"I mean, I don't think as he's
a regular parson. If he had been, you see, he'd have took some of the
duty. Besides," continued the official, reassured by Binns' respectful
attention, "we had a little talk while we was a-waiting for master
after church--I offered him a humbereller, you see--and I just asked
whereabouts his church was, and he looked queerish at me, and said he
hadn't no church, not exactly; and then I begged his pardon, and said
I thought he was a clergyman; and he said, so he was, but somehow he
seemed to put me off, as it might be." Binns nodded.

"To be sure," said Molly; "and 'twas like your manners, Sam, to go
questioning of him in that way."

"Bless you, I was as civil as could be; however, I say again, I 'as my
doubts: he'd a quakerish-looking coat too, such as I never see'd on a
regular college parson. He's the very moral of a new Irvingite

"And what's their doctrines, Sam?" asked Molly, whose theological
curiosity was irresistibly excited.

"Why," said the clerk, after a puff or two to collect his thoughts,
"they believes in transmigration."

Binns made a gesture of awe and abjuration.

"Stuff!" said Molly, "that's popery: nor you don't suppose, Sam, that
master would have anybody of that sort in his house--eh, Mr Binns?"

The benefit of that gentleman's opinion was lost to both parties, for it
was at that juncture "master" himself entered, and having discussed his
communication, which related to a sick wife, bid him call again in the
morning, and the wheelwright took his leave.

"And now, Shears," said the curate, "(don't put your pipe behind you,
man; do you suppose I have not smelt it this half-hour--I wish you would
buy better tobacco)--you must be off to S---- to-morrow at daylight, and
order a chaise to be here, for this gentleman, by nine o'clock at the
latest. Do you understand, now?"

"Yes, sir, yes. I'll be sure to go. And what name shall I say, sir?"

"Name, eh! oh, it doesn't matter. Say for me, of course. And look here:
there will be five shillings for you if the chaise is here in time. Ay,
you may well make a bow; I told the gentleman it was too much for you."

"I'm very much obliged to you both," said Sam, slily, "I'm sure, sir;
I'll be off at cock-crow."

"There, Sam Shears," said Molly, as soon as they had the kitchen
to themselves again, "did you ever hear of one of your new
what-d'ye-call-ums ordering a chaise to go ranting about in, I
should like to know? What have you got to say now?"

"I say," said Sam, "as he's a gentleman, and no mistake."

The evening passed away very quietly in the little parlour. The
favourable impression made upon Bolton by his guest's manners and
conversation was certainly deepened by their further intercourse: but
the position seemed felt by both parties to be an awkward one; and when
his departure early on the following morning was proposed, Bolton of
course made no effort to detain him. Both employed most of the evening
in reading; and one or two remarks made by the stranger, as he made his
selection from the curate's library, proved at least his acquaintance
with the works which it contained, though nothing escaped him, as he
wiped the dust from some of Harry's presentation volumes, which could
indicate either his agreement or disagreement with the sound divines
he was handling, and his clever criticisms were rather those of the
bibliographer than the theologian. At last he seemed to bury himself in
a volume of old South, and carried it off with him early to his chamber.

The morning came, and eight o'clock brought breakfast, and half-past
eight the chaise, with Sam Shears fast asleep inside of it. The curate
and his guest parted with mutual good-will, and with a short but warm
acknowledgment, on the part of the latter, of the hospitality he had
received. Sam was not forgotten; he received the promised gratuity with
many bows, and did not put his hat on again until the chaise had fairly
turned the corner.

"Uncommon nice gentleman that, sir, to be sure," said he to his master,
with whom he seldom missed the chance of a little conversation, if he
could help it--and Bolton was generally good-natured enough to indulge
him--"uncommon nice gentleman; what a thousand pities it is he should be
a Methody!"

"A _what_!" inquired the curate, turning round upon him in ludicrous

"A Methody preacher, sir," said Sam, boldly; for Harry's countenance
quite confirmed his suspicions. "Oh! I know all about it, sir; but it
ain't of no account with me, sir, you know, not none whatever,"--and he
redoubled his negatives with a confidential mysteriousness which made
Harry inclined to kick him. "I met Joe Haines, as drives the Regulator,
this morning, and he asked me very particular about you, you see, sir,
and how you got home o' Saturday night; and then I told him as how this
gentleman came with you; and when he heard as he'd been staying here
all day yesterday, how he did laugh, to be sure; and then he told

"I'll tell you something, Sam, too. You had much better mind your own
business, and not trouble yourself to talk to Joe Haines, or anybody
else, about what goes on in my house."

There was no mistaking the fact that his master was angry; and as such a
thing had very seldom happened within Sam's experience, it was a result
of which he stood considerably in awe; and he hastened, with some
confusion, to apologise, and to resume his praises of the "very nice
gentleman, whatever he was,"--"And as you say, sir, that's no business
of mine: I'm sure I should be most happy to wait upon him at any time,

But Bolton had retired, and shut the door of his little sitting-room in
an unmistakable manner. So Sam was obliged to soliloquise the rest of
his apologies, which began to be very sincere, as he consoled himself by
gazing at the two half-crowns which had come into his possession so
easily. "Of course; if so be as he's a gentleman, what matters? That's
what I say: that's what I said to master: that's what I said to
Molly:--hallo! hey?--if this here half-crown ain't a smasher!"

'Twas too true: it rung upon the flag-stone like an unadulterated piece
of lead.

"What's the matter now, Sam?" said Mrs Molly who heard the sound, and
met his blank face in the passage.

"I told you what he was," said Sam--"look here!" Molly examined the
unfortunate coin with every wish to give it the benefit of a doubt,
but was obliged finally to pronounce against it. She had to listen,
also, to the story which Sam had heard from Joe Haines; and though
she clung pertinaciously to her previously-formed conclusions in the
stranger's favour, Sam had now decidedly the best of the argument,
which he clinched at last with what he considered an unanswerable
proposition--"If you says as he's a parson and a gentleman, will you
give me two-and-sixpence for this here half-crown?"

Weeks passed on, and other events wore out the interest of the
stranger's visit, even in those dull localities. Binns' wife had
a baby; and another piece of the church roof fell in, and nearly
carried Brooks the churchwarden with it, as he was mounted on a ladder
estimating its repairs--for there was an archdeacon's visitation coming
on, and not even the vulcanised conscience of a parish functionary could
be brought to pronounce, on oath, its present state of repair to be good
and sufficient. And Harry received an invitation to dine with the said
archdeacon, who was a good kind of man on the whole--that is, his good
qualities would not very well bear taking to pieces--but he rather
patronised the younger clergy in his neighbourhood, provided that they
were young men of tolerable family, and good address, and not, as he
expressed it, _ultra_ in any way. It so happened, that he was almost
the only acquaintance that Harry had made in the neighbourhood. He had
written to request his interference in enforcing the repair of the
church; and as that was a compliment seldom paid to his official
dignity, the archdeacon had actually driven over thirteen miles to
inspect the place personally; and, arriving quite unexpectedly, had
caught the curate just sallying forth equipped for fishing--an art to
which he himself occasionally condescended--for even archdeacons do
unbend. And very soon ascertaining that there was no tendency to an
objectionable _ultra_, of any kind, in our hero, and that he was in fact
rather an eligible rear-rank man for a dinner-table, he had made a
mental memorandum of the fact, and, in consequence, had twice favoured
him with an invitation, which Harry, according to his present humour,
had declined. On this occasion, however--as a third refusal would have
seemed ungracious--he had determined to go; and, with some compunction
at the expense (he had thought nothing at Oxford of a hunter, and a
"team" to cover, at about five guineas for the day), he found himself in
a hired gig at the archdeacon's door, a little before the dinner hour on
the day appointed. None of the guests were as yet assembled. His host,
however, met him in the drawing-room, and presented him, with
considerable cordiality, to his lady and her daughters.

"It was very good indeed of Mr Bolton to come so far to see us," said
the archdeacon. "Indeed, I am particularly glad you came to-day,"
continued he, with a sort of pompous kindness, "for I have the bishop
staying here, and I wished you to meet him."

Harry was interrupted in his acknowledgments by the entrance of two men
of the expected party: the Honourable and Reverend Mr Luttridge, a young
man, who eyed his brother curate, on his introduction, with what he
intended for a critical and interrogative glance, but which had by
no means the effect upon that party which he intended; and another
archdeacon, or dean, or some such dignitary, who made Bolton a very low
bow indeed; and, turning his back upon him forthwith, began to discourse
with the other two upon the business of the last Petit Sessions. A
discussion upon some point of magisterial law was interrupted by a
burst of shrill and hearty laughter from the younger of the Misses
Archdeacons--a fat merry girl, with whom Harry had struck up an
acquaintance instantly--_that_ was a point he never failed in; and
although the other two gentlemen looked rather astonished, and turned
round again to resume their argument, the father--she was his favourite
daughter, and ludicrously like him--was delighted to see her amused,
and insisted upon knowing what the fun was between them. Some absurd
remark of Harry's was repeated, as well as her continued merriment would
allow her; and the archdeacon, after a preparatory shaking of his sides,
had just burst into a stentorian "ha-ha," when the drawing-room door
again opened, and the Bishop of F---- was most audibly announced.

Every one tried to look deferential, of course; and the two gentlemen in
front of Harry separated, and took open order to receive his lordship.
Everybody recovered their propriety, in fact, in an instant, except Miss
Harriet, to whom a bishop was no treat at all--not to be compared with
an amusing young curate. She kept her eyes fixed upon Harry Bolton--she
thought he was going to faint. Could it be possible?--oh! there was no
doubt about it. Schismatic Doctor Bates, or Bishop of F----, there he
was!--there was the man he had walked home in the rain with!

Harry's quondam guest walked forward with an easy grace, which
contrasted strikingly with the stiff dignity of his subordinates. He
shook hands politely with Mr Luttridge, and returned the greeting of
his companion somewhat more warmly. The archdeacon was preparing to
introduce Bolton, without noticing his embarrassment, when the bishop
anticipated the introductory speech by saying, as he held out his hand,
"Mr Bolton and I are old friends--may I not say so?"

A man of less self-possession than our friend the curate might have been
put quite at his ease by the kind tone and manner, and warm grasp of the
hand. "Certainly," was his reply, "your lordship and myself _have_ met
under rather different circumstances."

The archdeacon's respectable face expressed considerable astonishment,
as well it might; and the other two gentlemen began to eye his
lordship's "old friend" with interested and inquisitive glances.

"My dear archdeacon," said the bishop, laughing, "pardon my
mystification; this is the friend with whom I spent a day or two on my
last visit to this neighbourhood, when you really thought you had lost
me altogether; though, if you had told me I was to have the pleasure of
meeting him at your table to-day, I might, perhaps, have let you into
the secret."

"But, my dear Bolton," said the host--he had dropped the Mr at once, and
for ever--"why did you not tell me that you knew his lordship?--eh?"

Harry laughed, and got a little confused again; but the bishop answered
the question for him, before he had time to frame an intelligible reply.

"Oh, that's a long story; but it was no mystery of Mr Bolton's, be
assured. I am afraid, indeed, it will tell rather better for him than
for me; but I promise you the explanation, some day," continued the
bishop, good-humouredly, "when we have nothing better to talk about."
The archdeacon took the hint, and turned the conversation. Another guest
or two joined the party; dinner succeeded, and passed off much as such
affairs usually do. The bishop, although he did not address much of his
conversation directly to Bolton, took care to make him feel at his ease;
and Mr Luttridge, who sat next to him, became remarkably friendly--was
quite surprised that he had not heard of him before, being, in fact,
quite a near neighbour--only nine miles--nothing at all in that part of
the country--should ride over to call on him one of the first days he
could spare--and, in fact, said what became him to the bishop's friend
and _protégé_.

Whatever curiosity might have been felt on the subject by the rest of
the company, it was not until they had taken their departure that the
bishop thought proper to explain to Bolton and the archdeacon the
circumstances which had led to his paying an incognito visit to the
former. He had only lately been appointed to the diocese, and was
therefore personally known to but few of his clergy. The archdeacon and
himself, however, were old college acquaintances, and he had accepted
an invitation to spend a few days with him, at the time of his casual
meeting with Harry Bolton. Being averse at all times to any kind of
ceremony or etiquette, which he could reasonably dispense with, it had
been arranged that the archdeacon's carriage should meet him at B----,
to which place his own had conveyed him. Upon his arrival in the town
somewhat before the hour appointed, he had, according to his custom,
walked out quietly to make himself acquainted with the localities, and
had unconsciously passed some hours in exploring some ruins at a little
distance. Meanwhile, the archdeacon, not so punctual as his diocesan,
drove up to the hotel door in hot haste, considerably too late for his
appointment, and was saluted with the unpleasant information that his
lordship had been there, and was gone on these two hours,--for his
previous orders had been duly obeyed, and the episcopal equipage, with a
portly gentleman inside, who sustained the dignity of his position as
chaplain very carefully, had really rolled away on its road homeward.
The archdeacon doubted, but mine host was positive; and strengthened his
position by the assertion that his lordship had said he was going to
Bircham rectory, a piece of intelligence picked up from the servants,
with exactly enough truth in it to do mischief. Off went the archdeacon
again, annoyed at his own dilatoriness; and great was his consternation
on reaching home to find no bishop; and great was the bishop's surprise,
on returning at last to the hotel, to find no archdeacon; and great the
confusion throughout the King's Arms; the landlord throwing the blame
upon the waiters, and the waiters upon each other. Post-horses to S----,
which was within a short three miles of the archdeacon's rectory, were
ordered at once. But, alas! after many delays and apologies, none were
to be had; almost every quadruped in the town was engaged in taking
parties home from the opening of the Independent College. The bishop was
not a man to make difficulties; so, leaving his only remaining servant
to await any remedial measures which the archdeacon might take when he
discovered his error, and to give an intelligible account of his
movements, he himself, without mentioning his intention to any other
person, walked down to the coach-office at the Swan, paid his fare, and
became an inside passenger by the Regulator.

Of course, when the archdeacon discovered his mistake, no time was lost
in procuring fresh horses, and sending back the carriage to B----, in
the hope that his lordship might still be forthcoming; but it brought
back to the anxious expectants at the rectory only a servant and a
portmanteau; and as they did not pass the spot where the accident
occurred, and all inquiries made at S---- only resulted in the
intelligence that "there had been an upset, that no one was hurt, and
that the passengers had walked home," they made up their minds to await
some accurate information as to his lordship's whereabouts from himself,
when he relieved his friends from their uncomfortable suspense by
making his appearance personally at breakfast on the Monday morning;
though, to punish, as he jokingly said, the archdeacon, for leaving him
in such a predicament, he would tell them nothing more than that he had
spent the Sunday very pleasantly with a friend.

Much amusement ensued at the bishop's details of his visit, though he
good-naturedly avoided any allusions that could possibly be embarrassing
to his late host. Bolton had accepted the offer of a bed, and it was
late before they separated for the night. Before he took his leave on
the following morning, the bishop, to his surprise, announced his
intention of paying him a second visit. "I think, Mr Bolton," said he,
"that, having intruded upon you once in disguise, as I may say, I am
bound to come and preach for you some Sunday, if it be only to clear my
own character in the eyes of your parishioners" (for Harry had
confessed, to the exceeding amusement of all parties, his own and his
clerk's suspicions). "So, if you please, and if my good friend here will
accompany me, we will drive over to you next Sunday morning; and I'll
try," continued the bishop slily, "if I cannot get Mr Churchwarden
Brooks to put your church a little to rights for you."

The morning arrived, and the archdeacon and the bishop. A proud woman
had Molly been from the moment the announcement was made to her of the
intended honour; and the luncheon which she had prepared was,
considering her limited resources, something extraordinary. But when his
lordship alighted, and, catching a sight of her eager face in the
passage, called to her by name, and addressed her kindly--and she
recognised the features of the unknown guest, whom Sam had so
irreverently slandered--the good old woman, between shame and
gratification, was quite overcome, and was wholly unable to recover her
self-possession throughout the day. During the whole of the service, she
looked at the bishop instead of the prayer-book, made responses at
random, and was only saved by the good-natured interference of his
lordship's own man from totally ruining the luncheon. Of course, the
church was crowded; the sermon was plain and impressive: and when, after
service, the whole of the rustic congregation, collected in the
church-yard to see as much as they could of a personage few of them had
ever seen before, formed a lane respectfully, with their hats off, for
him to pass to the gate, the bishop, taking off his hat and claiming
their attention for a few moments, spoke a few words, homely and
audible, approving their behaviour during the service, and representing
to them the advantages they might derive from the residence among them
of an exemplary minister, such as he believed they had at present, and
such as he would endeavour to provide them with in the possible event
of his removal. And when afterwards he begged to be introduced to the
churchwarden, and, taking him familiarly by the arm, walked with him
round the building, pointed out indispensable repairs, and, without any
word of reproof, explained to him the harm done by injudicious patching,
and put into his hands a liberal contribution towards the expenses--it
might have seemed quite wonderful to those who either overrate or
underrate poor human nature, how much more popular a notion, and how
much better understood a bishop was in that remote village from that
time forth. The landlord of the Crown and Thistle was quite surprised at
the change that had come over Mr Brooks. He used to be rather a popular
orator on club nights and other convivial occasions, taking that
economical view of church dignitaries and their salaries which, by an
amusing euphemism, is called "liberal" in politics; but subsequently to
this occasion he seldom joined in these discussions, was seen less
frequently by degrees in the taproom of the Crown and Thistle, and more
regularly at church; and once, when hard pressed for an opinion by some
of his former supporters, was asserted to have told them that the Crown
and Thistle took more money out of people's pockets than ever the
bishops did.

Harry had anticipated much amusement from Sam Shears' confusion, when he
should encounter, in his full canonicals, the bishop of the diocese in
the person of the apocryphal Dr Bates; but whatever that worthy's secret
discomfiture might have been, he carried it off wonderfully well, and
met his lordship in the vestry with a lurking smile in his humble
obeisance, as if he had all along penetrated the mystery of his
incognito. With Molly in the kitchen, indeed, he had for some evenings a
hard time of it; but a threat of absenting himself altogether, which he
ventured in some fear of being taken at his word, had the effect of
moderating her tone of triumph. Before the Bishop left, he called Sam
aside, and presented him with a substantial token of remembrance; when
Sam took the opportunity of producing, with many prefaces of apology,
the condemned half-crown, which had fretted in his pocket ever since.

"Please your lordship's worship and reverence," said Sam, "this here
ain't a _very_ good half-crown; at least, I can't pass it noways down
here. I dare say as your lordship's worship might pass it away easy
enough among your friends, but--"

"Here, here," said the bishop, laughing heartily, "here's another for
you, by all means, my man; but pray excuse my having anything more to do
with the bad one."

Again the bishop parted from his entertainer with many expressions of
regard, and an invitation to spend some time with him at his palace,
which Bolton did much to his satisfaction; and received from him so
much valuable advice and paternal kindness, that he always considered
the snug living with which, some months afterwards, he was presented,
one of the least of his obligations.

       *       *       *       *       *

"And that's how Harry Bolton came to be a neighbour of mine," concluded
Long Lumley; "and a nice place he has here, and a capital neighbour he

We discussed the whole story over Lumley's wine after dinner the next
day, when the Hon. and Rev. Mr Luttridge, who had since married the
bishop's niece, and was said to have been a disappointed expectant of
the living given to Bolton, made one of our party.

"A very odd man, certainly, the bishop is," was that gentleman's remark;
"very strange, you know, to go poking about the country in that kind of
way. Scarcely the thing, in fact, I must say."

"Upon my honour," said Lumley, "you parsons ought to be better judges of
what is or is not 'the thing' for a bishop, than I can be; but if the
Bishop of F---- is an odd man, I know, if I had the making of bishops,
I'd look out for a match for him."


[_MAGA._ AUGUST 1821.]

A series of misfortunes had unexpectedly thrown me upon a foreign land,
and entirely deprived me of the means of subsistence. I knew not where
to apply for relief, or how to avoid the alarming evils that threatened
me on every side. I was on one of the Bahama islands. I could not enjoy
the temporary asylum I then possessed longer than two days, without
involving myself in debts which I was unable to pay, and consequently
bringing my person under the power of individuals, who, I was inclined
to suspect, had nothing humane or generous in their characters. I
wandered along the seashore, sometimes shuddering at the dreariness of
my prospects, and sometimes trembling lest the horrors of want should
urge me to obtain the necessaries of life by concealing from others that
I was in absolute poverty.

When about a mile distant from the small town where I lodged, my
attention was attracted by a schooner lying at anchor behind a
projecting point of land. I knew that vessels did not usually moor in
such a situation, and inquired at a fisherman, whom I met on the beach,
if he could tell me what the schooner did there? "I am not quite sure,"
returned he, "but I rather suspect she's a pirate. Those on board of her
are mostly blacks, and they seem very anxious to keep out of sight. Had
she been a fair trader, she would have come into the harbour at once."

This information startled me a good deal. I became excessively agitated
without knowing the reason; and felt an anxious desire to repress some
idea that had, as it were, arisen in my mind, without my being conscious
of its existence.

I left my informant, and seated myself under a cliff. Half of the sun
had disappeared below the horizon. I watched his descending orb, and
wished I could retard the flight of time, when I reflected, that, after
the lapse of two days, I should perhaps be destitute of an asylum, and
perishing from want. "Something must be done," I exclaimed, starting up:
"If these are pirates, I will join them. My profession will enable me to
render them valuable services. I shall be guilty of no crime in doing
so;--the law of nature compels me to violate the laws of man." I looked
anxiously towards the schooner, which lay within half a mile of the
shore, in hopes that I should see her boat approaching, and thus find
means of speaking with the person who commanded her.

I waited upwards of an hour, but could not discover that those on board
made any preparations for coming ashore. It was now dark, and the beach
was silent and deserted. I found a small boat lying upon the sand; and,
having pushed her off, I cautiously embarked, and began to row towards
the schooner--but, after a few strokes of the oars, my resolution almost
failed. I shuddered at the idea of forming a league with the outcasts of
society, and rendering myself amenable to the laws of every civilised
nation. The gloom of the night, the calmness of the ocean, and the
brightness of the sky, seemed to urge me to reflect upon what I was
doing. I did reflect--I looked towards the town--a sense of the
wretchedness of my condition struck irresistibly upon my mind, and I
pushed furiously forward.

When I had got within a short distance of the schooner, one of her crew
called out, "Avast, avast! whom have we here?" On reaching the side of
the vessel, I said I wished to see the captain. "What do you want with
him?" demanded the same voice. "I must speak with him alone," answered
I. The questioner retired to the stern, and I heard the sound of people
talking, as if in consultation, for a little time. I was then desired to
come on board; and, the moment I stepped upon deck, a negro led me
towards a man who stood near the helm.

He was very tall and athletic, and of a jet black, and wore only a shirt
and white trousers. His face had a bold and contemplative expression,
and he wanted his right hand. "I presume you are the commander of this
vessel," said I. He nodded impatiently. "I understand you are going upon
an expedition."--"I don't care what you understand--to your business,
master," returned he, haughtily. "I know you are pirates," continued I,
"and it is my wish to accompany you in the capacity of a medical
attendant." He surveyed me with a look of astonishment, that seemed to
demand an avowal of the motives that had prompted me to make such a
proposal. "You surely will not decline my offer," said I, "for you must
be aware that I am able to render you very essential services. I have
been unfortunate every way, and----" "O, you be unfortunate! and seek
relief from a black man--from a negro!" interrupted he, with a scornful
laugh. "Well, stay on board; you cannot leave this vessel again.
Remember, we are not to be betrayed." "But I have something on shore
that I wish to carry along with me." "I will send one of my men for it,"
replied he, "to-morrow morning at dawn."

He walked coolly away to the bows of the vessel, and began to give some
orders to the seamen, who formed a very numerous body. Most of them were
loitering together on the forecastle, and smoking cigars, and they all
seemed to be blacks. French and English were spoken indiscriminately
among them; and their conversation was incessant and vociferous, and
intermingled with disgusting execrations. Several disputes took place,
in the course of which the parties struck each other, and wrestled
together; but their companions neither endeavoured to separate them, nor
paid any attention to the affrays. They appeared to have a set of jests,
the spirit of which was intelligible to themselves alone; for they
frequently gave way to violent laughter, when their conversation, taken
in a literal sense, expressed nothing that could excite mirth.

When it was near midnight, the captain, whose name was Manuel, conducted
me to the cabin, and made many inquiries, which evidently had for their
object to discover if I really was what I professed to be. His doubts
being removed, he pointed to a berth, and told me I might occupy it
whenever I chose, and went upon deck again. I extinguished the light,
and lay down in bed. The enthusiasm of desperation, and the pride of
deciding with boldness and alacrity, had now subsided, and I could
calmly reflect upon what I had done. My anticipations respecting the
life I was now to lead were gloomy and revolting. I scarcely dared to
look forward to the termination of the enterprise in which I had
embarked; but, when I considered what would have been my fate had I
remained on shore, I could not condemn my choice. Contempt, abject
poverty, and the horrors of want, were the evils I fled from--tyranny,
danger, and an ignominious death, formed those towards which I was
perhaps hastening.

Next morning, Captain Manuel desired me to write an order for my
portmanteau, that he might send one of his men to bring it on board. I
obeyed him, and also enclosed the sum I owed the persons with whom I had
resided. Shortly after the messenger returned the crew began to heave up
the anchor; and we soon put to sea with a light wind, and gradually
receded from the shores of the island.

I breakfasted in the cabin with Manuel. His manner was chilly and
supercilious; and he had more dignity about him than any negro I had
ever before seen. The want of his right hand made his person very
striking; and he seemed aware of this: for when he observed me gazing on
the mutilated arm, he frowned, and enveloped it in the folds of the

We lost sight of land in a few hours, but I knew not where we were
bound, and Manuel's reserved behaviour prevented me from making any
inquiry. He walked upon deck all day with folded arms, and scarcely ever
raised his eyes, except to look at the compass, or give directions to
the helmsman.

The schooner, which was named the Esperanza, was about one hundred and
twenty tons burden, carried six guns, and had forty-three men on board
of her, and several boys. There appeared to be very little discipline
among the crew; all of whom amused themselves in any way, and in any
place, they chose, except when the working of the vessel required their
attention. The presence of the captain did not impose any restraint upon
them; and one who was called the mate snatched a chart unceremoniously
from his hand, and told him he did not know what he was about, without
receiving any reproof for his insolence. A number of the negroes lay
round the fire, roasting ears of Indian corn, which were eagerly
snatched off the embers the moment they were ready. An expression of
disgusting sensuality characterised this part of the crew; and they
looked as if they were strangers to retrospection and anticipation, and
felt existence only in so far as the passing moment was concerned. One
man, of a mild aspect, sat at a distance from the others, and played
upon an old guitar. Many were half naked, and I could distinguish the
marks of the whip on the shoulders of some of them. The limbs of others
had been distorted by the weight and galling of fetters, as was evident
from the indentations exhibited by their flesh.

On awaking the second morning of the voyage, I found that Manuel was
still asleep. The difficulty of the navigation had obliged him to keep
on deck all night, that he might direct the course of the vessel, and he
was now reposing himself after the fatigues of his long watch. The crew
were preparing breakfast, and conversing together.

Some dispute took place about the distribution of the provisions, and
one of them called the other a rascally runaway. "You lie," cried the
accused person, "I guess you're something worse yourself, Philip."--"You
had as well be quiet, Antony. Has any body anything to say against
me?"--"Why, that you're a Yankey slave, that's all," returned Philip.
"Damn you," cried he, "I'm a free man--yes, free and independent." Here
they all laughed loudly, and he demanded with fury who would venture to
contradict him, or to assert that he had a master. "Why, we know well
enough you ha'n't a master _now_, you pricked him under the ribs,"
replied one of the crew. This excited another laugh, and Antony cried,
"Curse you for a _niger_--belike I'll do the same to you."--"Don't be
calling me a niger," said Philip, "I was born in the States."--"I
wouldn't believe it," said Antony, "for you know no more than if you was
fresh off the coast--You can't roast corn."

"Come, let us to breakfast," interrupted another, "and leave these
two black sheep to fight together, as soon as they can pick up
courage."--"I'm sure you've nothing to say, Mandingo," cried Antony;
"you can't tell where you came from."--"To be sure I can," answered
Mandingo, "I was very ill used by my master, and made my escape."--"Yes,
from the gallows," cried one of the crew, to the great amusement of the

"I guess there's ne'er a man on board this schooner whose life can be
better looked into than mine," said a negro, who had not before
spoken--"I was born in a Christian country, and when I was twenty years
old, a great army captain made me his servant. I had the care of all his
money and clothes, and could do what I pleased. I went to plays and
_consorts_, and was so like a gentleman that a white mistress fell in
love with me, and we were married. What a grand sight the marriage
was! My master gave me a gold ring to put on my wife's finger."--"And
did you put it on her finger?" demanded Antony.--"Why do you ask
that?"--"Because I guess from the look of your shins, that you put it
on your own leg." The whole crew joined in a loud laugh, and looked at
the limb of the first speaker, which was strongly galled by fetters.
"It must have been a pretty heavy ring," said Antony; "and yet, for
all the gold that was in it, I daresay you was glad to get quit of
t."--"I've done," returned the object of their ridicule; "I'll say no
more. I thought I was speaking to gentlemen."--"Never mind him. We are
all liable to flesh-marks," observed Philip. "There now, what say you
of our captain's wanting a----" "Hush, hush," interrupted Mandingo,
"that is a sore subject."

In the course of three days, we came in sight of the north shore of
Cuba; but to my great satisfaction had not met with a single vessel of
any description. Manuel hourly became less reserved, and we often had
long conversations together; and one evening he promised to relate the
history of his life to me, the first favourable opportunity.

After cruising about for a week, we cast anchor at the mouth of the
Xibara harbour, which lies near the eastern extremity of Cuba. Our
object in doing so was to obtain a supply of firewood from the banks of
a small river that disembogues into the harbour. Manuel requested me to
accompany the party destined for this purpose, as he was to command it;
and at a late hour one night we set out in a boat, along with seven of
the crew.

The weather was clear, calm, and delightful; and we soon entered the
river, and rowed slowly up its windings. The banks were for the most
part thickly covered with trees, which over-arched us completely, and
rendered it so dark that Manuel could scarcely see to steer the boat.
We sometimes could discern far before us a portion of the sky vividly
reflected in the bosom of the stream--bright and dazzling, amidst
the surrounding gloom, as the contrast of divine purity with mortal
corruption. Not a sound could be heard, except the regular dashing of
the oars, and the rustling of fields of Indian corn, shaken by the wind.
The most delicious perfumes filled the air, and fruits of different
kinds, that had apparently just dropt from the tree, floated past us,
silently proclaiming the luxuriance of the region that bordered both
sides of the river.

I sat in the stern of the boat beside Manuel, but neither of us
spoke a word. The emotions produced by the surrounding objects
were so delightful, that the mind contentedly remained in a state of
passiveness, receiving, without resistance, every idea that presented
itself. Within the space of an hour I had exchanged the confinement and
pitching of a vessel, the monotony of a sea prospect, and the noise and
brutality of a set of criminals, for the harmony of wood and water--the
richness of vegetable perfumes, and the quiet enjoyment of an inspiring
summer's night.

When we had got about two miles above the mouth of the river, the men
disembarked, and began to cut wood at a little distance from us. "I
believe my people are out of hearing," said Manuel, after a long pause,
"and while we wait for their return, I shall tell you something about my
past life.

"I need not give you a minute account of my early years, as they were
not distinguished by anything remarkable. My mother came from the coast
of Africa, but I was born in South Carolina, where my master had a large
estate, in the cultivation of which more than one hundred negroes were
employed. My mother being a house-servant, was exempted from many of
the hardships and privations to which the other slaves were exposed,
but she owed the comparative comfort of her situation entirely to her
capability of ministering to the voluptuousness of Mr Sexton, who was
much addicted to the pleasures of the table. He gave orders that I
should be brought up within doors, as he intended me for a waiting man.

"After I had attained the age of sixteen years, I was obliged to be
in continual attendance upon my master, and to submit quietly to all
his caprices. The treatment I received from him, and the knowledge I
acquired of his character, made me feel what a degrading thing slavery
was. Had I been forced to work in the fields, like the other negroes, I
might not perhaps have repined at my condition, because I would have
known nothing better, and at the same time believed that my condition
was irremediable, and consistent with the laws of nature. But being
continually in the presence of Mr Sexton, and of other white people,
and daily hearing their conversation, I soon discovered that they were
superior to us in nothing but knowledge; that they were mean, wicked,
cruel, and unjust; and that they sometimes feared we would assert our
rights, and overpower them by numbers.

"They seemed to consider negroes as creatures who were destitute of
souls and understandings. Though I felt indignant when I heard these
opinions uttered, I was aware that I derived some advantage from their
being acted upon; for my master and his friends, not believing that I
could comprehend a sentence of their conversation, felt no restraint
when I was present, and thus afforded me an opportunity of hearing their
sentiments upon every subject, and becoming acquainted with their
principles and characters.

"Often, while waiting at table, and listening to their disgusting
opinions, I have been called forward by one of them, and struck severely
on the face, for some trivial mistake I had committed in serving him
with food or wine. In South Carolina, the guests do not hesitate to
chastise their entertainer's servants, whenever they feel inclined; and
a party of white people there often make the cursing and beating of the
slaves in attendance their chief employment during dinner. On such
occasions, the burning tears of resentment would rush into my eyes,
I would tremble with ill-dissembled rage, and implore the God of my
fathers to let loose his rage upon my tormentors, although I should
become its victim along with them.

"There was an old free negro upon the plantation, who had travelled
through the Northern States of America. He could read and write
tolerably well, and knew a good deal about the countries he had visited.
I happened to become a favourite of his, and he often gave me minute
accounts of the condition of the Africans who lived in New York, and
contrasted their independence with the abject state of our race
everywhere else. I listened to these details with the deepest attention,
which pleased him so much, that he offered to teach me to read. I gladly
availed myself of his instructions, and profited so much by them, that
in the course of five or six months, I was able to peruse the newspapers
which my master received from different parts of the Union; many of them
contained paragraphs upon the subject of slavery, and I was delighted to
find that some men exclaimed against it, and denied that white people
had the least right to tyrannise over negroes.

"I used often to steal into my master's room, when he slept, and read
the New York Journals. One afternoon he caught me with one in my hand,
and demanded angrily what I was doing. I told him I was reading. He
struck me a violent blow on the head with his cane, and said he would
order me forty lashes if I ever again looked at a book or newspaper. He
soon discovered that the old negro had been my teacher, and immediately
sent him off the estate, not being able to inflict any other punishment,
in consequence of his having purchased his freedom.

"Next day, a neighbouring planter called upon Mr Sexton, and the latter,
in the course of conversation, said, 'What do you think I caught that
young hell-dog doing the other night? He was reading a newspaper.' The
other broke into a loud laugh, and cried, 'Why didn't you kill him? Were
any of my negroes able to read, I would soon flog the scholarship out of
them. Why, the little devil will begin to direct you now to manage your
estate by-and-by.'--'Oh, I'll bring him to his senses,' returned my
master; 'Hark ye, fellow,' continued he, addressing himself to me, 'if
you ever look at a printed paper again, I'll put out your eyes with a
red-hot poker. The whole of your duty is to clean the knives, and wait
at table. Damn me, if I don't make it pretty bad for any fellow of mine
who does either more or less than I want him to do.'

"I easily perceived that my master and his friend were aware that their
strength lay in our ignorance, and feared lest the slightest acquisition
of knowledge should enable us to discover that they had not a shadow of
right to enslave and tyrannise over our race. What excuse is there for
the oppressor, when he is conscious of being guilty of oppression!

"As my ideas expanded, my situation gradually became more intolerable.
I had no one to whom I could communicate my thoughts. My fellow-slaves
were so ignorant and degraded, that I could hardly look at them without
pity and disgust. I used to watch them when they assembled to receive
their weekly allowance of provisions. Worn out by fatigue, clad in rags,
and branded with lashes, they would wait for their respective portions
with eager greediness, and then hurry away in a state of tumultuous
delight, which was scarcely repressed by the clanking of the overseer's
whip behind them. They had sunk so low that they seemed willing to
accept life upon any terms.

"In the midst of my misery I became attached to a young girl named
Sabrina. She was a slave upon the adjoining estate, and therefore we
seldom had an opportunity of seeing each other except by stealth. I used
to leave my master's house at midnight, when every one was in bed, and
go across the plantation to the huts in which Sabrina and her mother
lived. But Mr Sexton once awoke during my absence on one of these
nocturnal visits, and the whole affair was soon discovered. He flogged
me severely, and ordered me to remain at home in future; and the
proprietor of the adjoining estate, to whom he made a complaint, caused
Sabrina's hut to be burned to the ground, that it might no longer afford
us a place of meeting. I became half-maddened with rage and misery.
However, my feelings were unnoticed or disregarded by Mr Sexton, who,
like other American planters, did not believe that negroes were
susceptible of love or sorrow.

"Mr Sexton had a daughter, who resided in the house with him, and
took charge of his domestic affairs. The proprietor of the adjoining
estate, whose name was Lusher, loved her, and wished to marry her,
but Mr Sexton would not consent to their union, and prohibited all
correspondence between them. However, notwithstanding this, they
sometimes met in secret, and often wrote to each other. Miss Sexton
privately employed me to carry her letters to Mr Lusher, promising that
she would satisfy her father respecting my absence should he discover
it, and likewise secure me from any risk of suffering punishment on her
account. I willingly became a channel of communication between the two
lovers, for I hoped by doing so to be able to forward my own views.

"One day I ventured to hint to Miss Sexton that I expected some little
reward for my services, and begged her to entreat her father to purchase
Sabrina, and bring her upon his estate, that we might get married. She
engaged to propose the thing to him, and really did so; but he refused
to agree to it, and, at the same time, told her that he suspected she
had some private reasons for interceding so strongly in my behalf, and
was resolved to discover what they were.

"Shortly after this Miss Sexton desired me to carry a letter to the next
estate, and bid me be extremely cautious lest her father should see me
going there, but said that if he did, she would find means to shield me
from all blame. I took a by-path which led across our plantation, and
reached Mr Lusher's house without interruption; however, he was not at
home, and the servants pointed to a small building a little way off, and
told me I would find him there.

"On entering it the first object that struck my eyes was poor Sabrina,
whom I had not seen for many weeks. She lay upon some planks which were
covered with the dry husks of Indian corn, and seemed to be dying.
The place had no window in it, and an old negro woman sat beside her,
holding a candle, while Mr Lusher and a medical man stood at the foot of
the bed. The doctor muttered, 'She's been a fine slave--confounded pity
to lose her--can't help it though;' and then began to whistle and play
with his cane. 'What an unfortunate devil I am!' exclaimed Mr Lusher,
angrily. 'Hang her for falling sick--what right has a niger to fall
sick?--Ods, I believe she was not sound when I bought her--I'll trounce
somebody for that. So you think there's no chance of her hoeing any more
corn?'--'No, no,' returned the doctor, laughing; 'I wouldn't like to
have as little chance of eating my dinner to-day as she has of living
two hours.'

"I stood in agony, not daring to express my feelings. I advanced towards
Sabrina, and took hold of her arm. She raised her eyes, but it was only
that I might see their lustre extinguished, for in a moment or two she
fell dead upon her pillow. 'Ah, she's given you the slip,' said the
doctor. Mr Lusher cried, 'Damn her soul to hell--there's four hundred
dollars lost,' and hurried away, banging the door furiously behind him.

"However, he soon returned; and seeing me gazing on Sabrina, asked what
I did there. I said I had a letter for him, and delivered it. 'Oh,'
cries he, 'you're the fellow that wanted that girl for a wife. I wish Mr
Sexton had bought her, and then the loss would have fallen on his
shoulders. Well, you may take her now, and bury her, or marry
her--whichever you like. Begone, I don't want you.'

"I hurried home, equally afflicted at the death of Sabrina, and enraged
by the inhuman insults I had received from her master. When I had come
within a little distance of the house, I observed Mr Sexton and his
daughter walking towards me. 'How do you do, Manuel?' cried he, in that
style of derision which he always assumed when infuriated with passion;
'I hope your walk has been a pleasant one. Be so good as suggest what
improvements ought to be made on this estate. Do the crops look well?
Slave! baboon! imp of the devil! where have you been?'

"I made no reply, but looked to Miss Sexton. She coloured, and cried,
'What does the wretch mean by looking at me? You surely do not say that
I sent you anywhere.'--'Answer me,' vociferated her father, raising his
cane. 'Miss Sexton will inform you,' returned I. 'This is beyond my
patience!' exclaimed she. 'I'll tell you how it is, father--he has been
paying a visit to Sabrina, notwithstanding your orders to the contrary,
and wishes to make you believe that I sent him somewhere. Manuel, say
instantly if you saw Sabrina this morning.'--'Yes,' answered I, 'I did,
but----' 'None of your buts, you equivocating villain!' interrupted my
master. Stung with indignation at Miss Sexton's ingratitude, I cried
out, 'Your daughter sent me with a letter to Mr Lusher.' 'What! you give
us the lie then?' replied Mr Sexton, striking me over the head. I
returned the blow with my fist, and he fell flat upon the ground.

"Miss Sexton shrieked loudly, and the overseer, followed by several
slaves, hastened towards me with a drawn cutlass in his hand. I made no
resistance, and was immediately seized and bound. My master received
very little injury from the blow, but his lips quivered with rage; and
having given orders that I should be put in confinement, he walked
toward the house crying out, 'Struck by a slave! struck by a slave!--It
is impossible! Am I dreaming?--Does God Almighty really permit this?--A
slave! a black! a negro!--Strike me--a noble Carolinian! Is there a law
to punish this? Law--nonsense--tortures, death, eternal curses!'

"I was immediately thrown into a dark apartment in a large store-house,
and remained there all night without being visited by any one. In the
morning the overseer took me out and made one of the negroes flog me
severely, in presence of Mr Sexton and his daughter. My sufferings were
dreadful. In short, I was indicted for striking my master, and tried,
and found guilty. You know the punishment which the law awards in such
cases; it was inflicted upon me. They cut off my right hand!--they
cut off my right hand!" Here Manuel stretched out the mutilated arm,
and sobbed convulsively. "But thank God I've another," continued he,
vehemently; "and may it never be better employed than in resenting the
tyranny of slave-masters. Oh! that every negro in the Southern States
would risk the loss of his right hand by doing what I have done! then
would we prove that our race was not made to be trampled upon. But let
me proceed.

"I was confined in jail for three months, and then sent back to my
master. I anticipated a life of wretchedness, and was not mistaken.
Scarcely a day passed, in the course of which Mr Sexton did not find an
excuse for punishing me. As the want of my hand rendered me unable to
do the duties of a house-servant, I was employed in tending the cattle,
and thus had many opportunities of conversing with my fellow-slaves who
worked out of doors. I confided my thoughts to three of them, who seemed
willing to attempt the execution of any project, however daring. In
short, we determined to burn our master's house, and spent much time in
planning how we could best effect this without the risk of being

"At last we fixed upon a time for our revenge. It was a holiday among
the negroes, who were all amusing themselves in various ways on
different parts of the estate. My master was dining with a planter in
the neighbourhood; and as part of his road lay through a retired forest,
we resolved to intercept him on his way home, lest his presence there
should prove any hindrance to the success of our scheme.

"We had, at different times, placed combustibles in those parts of his
house and offices that were least exposed to observation. About eight in
the evening we set fire to them, and then hastened to the wood, and
stationed ourselves among the trees which bordered the road. We had
scarcely waited half-an-hour when we saw smoke beginning to ascend from
the house, which was nearly a mile distant, and heard a tumultuous noise
of voices. I gazed and listened with silent satisfaction till my master
made his appearance. He was in a gig, and a negro rode on horseback
behind him. Two of my companions seized the reins of the horses, and,
assisted by a third, I dragged Mr Sexton out of his carriage. He was
almost speechless with indignation and terror, and doubtless supposed
that I intended murdering him. He soon began to entreat for mercy in
the most abject manner, solemnly promising that he would grant me my
freedom if I allowed him to go home unmolested. 'You may well desire to
be at home,' said I--'Look to the south.'--'Ha,' cried he, 'what do you
mean? Desperate wretch, have you taken your revenge already?--My house
is on fire!--But if I cannot punish you, others will suffer for this!'

"We now bound him to a tree, with his face towards the conflagration,
which had evidently increased very much. A bright glare of light
extended far over the sky, and tinged the tops of the trees like the
setting sun; volumes of smoke rose from two different spots; we heard
the negroes shouting confusedly; and the crackling, crashing, and
thundering of timbers falling to the ground, announced that the work
of destruction made furious progress.

"Having secured the negro-man in the same way as Mr Sexton, and tied the
horses lest they should go to the house and be the means of inducing the
people there to set out in quest of my master, we left them, and plunged
into the recesses of the forest. We travelled all night towards the
seashore, but did not venture to pass through any inhabited place. The
want of my hand rendered my appearance too remarkable to allow me to
hope that I would escape notice. I need not describe the hardships we
encountered during our journey. In two days we reached the coast, where
we stole a boat and put out to sea, intending, if possible, to elude
any search that might be made for us. We soon fell in with a pirate, who
immediately took us on board, and I gradually acquired some knowledge of
seamanship. We cruised about for a considerable time, and got a great
many prizes, but our vessel at last became so generally known, that the
captain could not continue to sail her without running much risk of
being captured. He therefore went into a port in one of the West India
islands, and managed to get her sold. He paid his crew very generously,
and by means of his bounty, and a series of fortunate accidents, I was
enabled to purchase this schooner and to commence pirate myself. My mode
of life is far from being an agreeable one, and I have as yet made but
little of it. However, I have a more exalted object in view than mere
gain. You must not judge of my character by that of the persons with
whom you see me surrounded. I am well aware that my crew is composed of
the lowest and most debased part of society, and often feel ashamed of
the concessions I am obliged to make them. They consider themselves on
an equality with me, and will not submit to any kind of discipline,
beyond what mutual security and self-preservation render necessary.
But I value and endure them only in so far as they are the means of
forwarding my views. I would consider it an insult to be classed with
such desperadoes."

Here Manuel ceased speaking. I did not venture to make any comments upon
his story, and we sat in silence till the men came to the side of the
river with a large quantity of firewood. We immediately took it on board
the boat, and rowed down the stream, and reached the schooner a short
time before dawn. At sunrise we weighed anchor, and put to sea again.

Next day, while walking the deck, I heard one negro say to another,
"Mark, what was that you was telling me about Cæsar having been
hanged at Baltimore?"--"Why, only that he was hanged," replied Mark.
"When I was last ashore, I heard so from one who had read it in a
newspaper."--"What did they make him swing for?" inquired the first,
whose name was Mendez. "Did he look sulky at his master, break a
wine-glass, or bring him a knife when he wanted a fork?"--"No, no, he
did nothing so bad as that," replied Mark, laughing. "He was a cruiser,
like our Captain, and meeting with a vessel, he went on board and helped
himself to some biscuit and rum, and a little hard cash. Her crew wished
to put him on short allowance, but he took what he wanted in spite of
them all. He was afterwards caught by a Yankee ship-of-war, and carried
to Baltimore. The folks there found him guilty of piracy, as they called
it, and hanged him and some of his crew besides."

"Why, I think," said Mendez, "he had a right to taste the rum, if he
had helped to make as much of it as you and I have done. We nigers have
a pretty time of it. They won't let us live by land or by water. I
wonder if we could please our masters by flying in the air? Why, now,
wasn't Cæsar hanged for what we've been doing?"--"To be sure he was,"
returned Mark; "we must keep a sharp look-out. I guess our best plan
will be to hinder any one from ever becoming a witness against us."
"How can we manage that?" demanded Mendez.--"Why, by _pinking_ a hole
in the bottom of our prizes, and making those on board of them drink our
healths in salt-water," said Mark. "Dead men tell no tales, you know."
"Well, I conclude it our only way," replied Mendez, "though I should
feel a little strange about sending a crew of white men to hell in a
moment."--"Why, they must all go there at last, you fool," returned
Mark; "think of the floggings you've got."--"Ha, your words sound in my
ear like the crack of a whip," cried Mendez. "But I wonder the Yankees
don't know better than to hang us for being pirates. They can't suppose
that we'll be so soft _now_ as to let away the people who fall into our
hands, and so give them a chance of informing against us. I'll bet you
we'll kill five whites for every negro that is hanged."--"Ay, and more
too, if we choose," said Mark. "Oh, we've a weary time of it, for most
people think that we blacks do not deserve to live, unless we are
slaves and beasts of burden. Faith, I'm getting tired of a sea-life.
If I could but scrape together four hundred dollars, I would give up
cruising, and go to St Domingo."--"Why, you could have made that
sum when you was last in Charleston," returned Mendez.--"How so?"
inquired his companion.--"Wasn't you advertised as an outlaw?" said
Mendez--"Wasn't there a price set upon your life? you should have cut
off your head and carried it to the magistrates, and demanded the sum
that they offered for it."--"Damn it now, Mendez, don't begin to run
me," cried Mark, laughing. "I would have been a pretty figure without a
head upon my shoulders."--"Ah," returned the other, "if you ever had
had one upon them, you would not have let slip such a good opportunity
of making money."

We had now been cruising about for nearly three weeks without ever
seeing a vessel. The mental and bodily inaction which had characterised
the course of my life during that period were very depressing, and I
began to wish for the appearance of a ship almost as ardently as the
crew, though from totally different motives. Manuel neither seemed to
feel much weariness nor impatience. He spent most of his time upon deck,
and when the navigation of the schooner did not require his attention,
he lay along the companion, basking in the sun, and smoking a cigar. He
sometimes entered into familiar conversation with the seamen, though,
in doing so, his object evidently was to keep them in good humour,
rather than to amuse or gratify himself.

One morning, Manuel, after having looked through his glass at intervals
during nearly two hours, announced that he saw a vessel off our lee-bow,
and gave orders that the deck should be cleared, and the guns got ready
for action. In a moment everything was bustle and confusion. On the word
of command being given, the negroes threw off a large part of their
clothes, and dispersed over different parts of the schooner, shouting to
each other, and hurrying through their respective duties with a violence
and eagerness which showed how congenial the prospect of bloodshed,
oppression, and plunder, was to their feelings. They soon began to
converse gaily and unconcernedly. One talked of the resistance we
should probably meet with from the vessel we were in chase of; another
jestingly said "he wished to write his will," and mentioned what
articles he intended bequeathing to his companions, should he perish
in the conflict; a third complained of the defective state of his
wardrobe, and enumerated the additions he hoped to make to it, when the
anticipated prize fell into our hands. Manuel walked anxiously about
the deck, sometimes looking through his glass, and sometimes giving
directions to the helmsman.

I alone remained unoccupied and unattended to amidst the general
activity. The quiescent and monotonous life I had led since I came
on board the schooner, had lulled me into a forgetfulness of my real
situation, all the horrors of which now burst upon my mind with
appalling force. I had outlawed myself from society. I was surrounded
with wretches, with whom I could have no community of feeling. I was
soon to become, as it were, an accomplice in the work of rapine and
bloodshed. We might, perhaps, be overpowered by those whom we proposed
to attack, and I should be seized and classed with pirates. There was no
one to testify my innocence, to prove that I had no connection with the
guilty, or to save me from an ignominious death.

We soon discovered that the object of our pursuit was a brig of about
two hundred tons burden. She seemed to suspect what we were, for she
made all sail, and began to go large, although she had kept very close
hauled before perceiving us; but our schooner, being very fast, and to
the windward of her, gained upon her every moment.

About mid-day, we came within shot of the brig, and Manuel ordered a gun
to be fired, as a signal for her to heave to. She paid no attention to
it, and her crew seemed to be preparing for defence. He then pointed a
cannon himself, and sent a ball through the lower part of her main-sail;
but this not being what he wanted, he aimed again, and disabled her

She was now completely in our power, and we came within thirty yards
of her. The boat being lowered down, Manuel, and fifteen of his crew,
under arms, embarked, and rowed alongside of the brig, and ascended her
gangway without meeting with any resistance. The Captain immediately
advanced towards them, and said, "What right have you to stop me in the
high seas?"--"Right! right!" returned Manuel; "none that I know of--only
I'm stronger than you--but show me your manifest."--"That I cannot do,"
cried the Captain, "unless you promise----" "I'll promise nothing,"
interrupted Manuel; "yes, yes, one thing; none of you shall be
maltreated, unless you offer to oppose my orders."--"Fine conditions,
indeed!" exclaimed the Captain; "Be pleased to tell me what you want
here?"--"Bring me your manifest," replied Manuel, "and then I'll inform
you. I mean to take whatever part of your cargo I choose, and likewise
all the specie that is on board. Come down to the cabin, I must not be

They now both went below, and the negroes having received a signal
from Manuel, ranged themselves on each side of the companion. They
had scarcely done this, when a voice requested them to make way, and
a gentleman, with a young lady leaning on his arm, and followed by
a mulatto woman, came upon deck. They looked around them with an
expression of terror and astonishment. The young lady on seeing the
blacks turned pale, and clung tremblingly to her protector's arm, and
said something to him, but in such a low tone of voice that nothing but
the word father was distinguishable. The gentleman once or twice seemed
to be on the point of addressing the negroes, but he suddenly stopped
as if aware that interference was useless.

A dead silence prevailed upon deck for some time, but the countenances
of the different parties who occupied it, expressed more than words
could have done. The females betrayed marks of deadening fear; the crew
of the brig evidently struggled to resist the impulses of indignation,
and the negroes seemed full of hope and impatience.

The young lady wore a beautiful Indian shawl, and one of the blacks,
smiling to his companions, stepped forward and pulled it off her
shoulders. Her father, furious at this insult, seized a block that
lay near him, and struck the daring wretch upon the face with so much
violence that he staggered back, and nearly fell into the hold. However,
he quickly recovered himself, and rushing forwards, plunged his cutlass
into the side of his antagonist, who dropped, apparently lifeless,
upon deck. The seamen belonging to the brig could no longer restrain
themselves; a loud cry burst from them, and they hastily seized the
murderer, and threw him overboard; but being an expert swimmer, he
soon gained the surface of the water, and made furiously towards the
vessel's side, with flashing eyes and loud curses. The noise of the
affray brought the Captain and Manuel from the cabin, and the first
object that struck the eyes of the latter was the wounded man weltering
in blood, and supported in the arms of his daughter. "Who did this?"
cried Manuel, with a voice half suffocated with emotion. The assassin
was standing upon the chains, and endeavouring to climb over the
bulwarks, when some one pointed him out. Manuel drew a pistol from his
bosom, and fired at the negro's head; the ball took effect. Its victim
lost hold of the rigging, sprang convulsively upwards, and fell headlong
among the waves. A murmur of applause proceeded from the crew; but the
blacks shrank away with baleful frowns from Manuel, who, turning to the
Captain, said haughtily, "This is my discipline!" and then took a paper
out of his pocket and began to read.

The young lady's father, whose name was Mr R----, was now conveyed
to the cabin, and accompanied by his daughter and her attendant, the
mulatto woman. Manuel then ordered his men to lift the hatches, and
descended through one of them into the hold. After a little time he
returned, and pointed out what articles he wished to have brought upon
deck. The negroes set to work, and presently every part of the vessel
was covered with bales, casks, and packages, while Manuel walked coolly
among them, and selected such as he conceived to be most useful and
valuable. His men would evidently have begun to plunder privately, had
they not been restrained by fear; but the instance of their leader's
severity which they had just witnessed, seemed to dwell upon their
minds, for while occupied in getting out the cargo, they muttered
threats, and viewed him with scowling and wrathful looks.

Manuel having collected together all the articles he wanted, ordered
them to be handed into the boat, which he sent off with part of his men
to the schooner. He retained in his hand a bag of specie, and several
other things. The boat being unloaded, they returned to take him on
board his own vessel, and as he was descending the gangway of the brig,
he bowed to her Captain, and said, "I wish you a good voyage, sir."

On reaching the schooner, Manuel ordered the crew to hoist up the boat
and to bear away; however, the wind was light and baffling, and we made
but little progress. I fixed my eyes upon the brig as we gradually
receded from her, and reflected upon the unhappy situation of Mr R----
and his daughter, in both of whom I felt powerfully interested. I had
several times been on the point of entreating Manuel to allow me to
assist the wounded man; but he had always turned away, as if aware
of what I intended, and unwilling to render himself chargeable with
inhumanity by refusing to grant my request. I now ventured to address
him on the subject. "We cannot part with you," said he; "if we did, it
might ruin us all. He who becomes a pirate, must die a pirate. There is
no middle course. I fervently hope Mr R---- may recover. I have at least
executed justice upon his murderer. Perhaps you may think me a murderer
myself, but I did no more than was necessary. My crew are not to be
restrained except by very terrible means. And yet," continued he,
starting, "in my anxiety to save others, I have perhaps brought
destruction upon myself. I am guilty of murder; there are plenty of
witnesses to prove it.--Oh that both my hands had been cut off, then I
could not have committed this rash act, which at once puts me on a level
with my crew. Good-night, good-night. Go to sleep."

About two hours after sunset I retired to my berth; but the events
of the day had made such a strong impression that I could not sleep,
and I rose at midnight and went upon deck. It was clear moonlight,
and perfectly calm. On looking for the brig, I perceived, to my
astonishment, that she lay within a mile of us, and had heeled over so
much, that she seemed almost on her beam-ends. I immediately informed
Manuel of this, and he looked at her through his night glass, and said
she was aground upon a sand-bank. "What is to be done?" cried I; "you
surely will not allow those on board to perish?" "To-morrow's dawn shall
determine that," returned he.

At daybreak we found that the brig was still in the situation already
described, and Manuel, accompanied by me and several of the crew, went
towards her in the boat. The Captain seemed at a loss how to receive us,
being doubtful whether our intentions were hostile or friendly; but
when we had satisfied him on this point, he informed us that his vessel,
having become quite unmanageable in consequence of the loss of her
rudder, had drifted away towards a sand-bank, and run hard aground the
preceding night. We soon ascertained that her bottom was a good deal
damaged, and that she could not be got off. "This brig will go to pieces
the first time there is a heavy sea," said Manuel to the Captain; "and
those who remain in her must perish. I will take you all on board my
schooner, and put you ashore about forty miles above Matanzas, seeking
no compensation but part of the cargo, which you of course have no means
of preserving." After some deliberation this proposal was acceded to by
all parties, and Manuel's crew again began to unload the brig.

While they were thus engaged I went down to the cabin, and found Mr
R---- and his daughter there. The former had a look of ghastliness which
gave me an unfavourable idea of the nature of his wound; and the latter
sat beside his bed, and seemed at once hopeless and resigned. On seeing
me they both started, but said nothing. I told them that, although I
came along with the pirates, I had no connection with such persons,
and that my object in intruding upon them was to offer my professional
services to Mr R----. The young lady sprung from her chair, and
expressed her gratitude in the warmest manner, while her father's
flushed countenance and beaming eyes evinced that hopes of life began to
revive in his heart.

When Manuel had carried away as much of the cargo as his vessel could
conveniently contain, he informed us that the boat was ready to take us
all on board the schooner; we accordingly embarked, placing Mr R----
upon a mattress, and rowed away from the brig, towards which the Captain
and his crew directed many anxious and regretful looks.

On getting on board the schooner, our first object was to contrive
accommodations for so many new passengers. I resigned my berth to Mr
R----, and Manuel allowed the young lady and her attendant to occupy his
state-room. The Captain and his crew reposed upon deck, but the latter
were so indignant at the familiarity with which the negroes treated
them, that they would have resented it by force, had not the fear of
being overcome by superior numbers restrained their fury. However, the
two parties poured forth torrents of abuse against each other; and the
clamour of their tongues, the groans of Mr R----, the agonies of his
daughter, and the confinement of a crowded vessel, all combined to
render the day and succeeding night insupportably tedious and
distressing to me.

In about forty hours we made the Pan of Matanzas, and Manuel told the
Captain and the white crew to hold themselves in readiness, as he soon
intended to put them ashore. At sunset we were scarcely two leagues
from the coast of Cuba. The negroes lowered a small boat, and stowed a
quantity of water and provisions in her; and Manuel came down to the
cabin, and informed Mr R---- and his daughter that it was time for them
to embark. "Where?--What do you mean?" cried the young lady.--"Why,
madam," returned Manuel, "didn't I say that all the people belonging to
the brig were to put ashore here?"--"Oh, thanked be Heaven," exclaimed
she; "then we are near a harbour and a town?--My dear father!"--"No,
no," interrupted Manuel, "the coast opposite is uninhabited."--"What
do you tell me?" cried she, bursting into tears; "you surely cannot be
so barbarous--my father is dying;--have a little pity. It is indeed
dreadful to be here, to be among such people;--but what will become of
my parent if you send us away? I have no more money to give you, but
perhaps----" Here she covered her face with her hands, and sobbed so
violently that her whole frame trembled.

Manuel began to pace about the cabin; I saw that he was affected, and
therefore did not venture to speak. "Well, lady," said he, after a
pause, "you may remain here. I will protect you and your father--yes,
even though I should bring myself into difficulty by doing so." He then
went upon deck and ordered the Captain and his crew, who had already
seated themselves in the boat, to row away. The dashing of their oars,
which at first broke upon the stillness of the night, gradually became
fainter, and soon subsided into almost undistinguishable murmurs.

In the course of the evening Manuel asked me if I thought Mr R---- would
recover from his wound. I told him that I feared he would soon be
relieved from the inconvenience of having such a passenger on board. "So
I suspect," returned he; "but what is to become of his daughter and the
mulatto woman? I wish I had sent them off in the boat to-night."--"It
would have been unmerciful," said I; "perhaps the seamen themselves may
perish."--"Don't fear; don't fear," cried he; "I treated them very
generously. Most pirates would have left the whole party to drown in the
brig, and been glad of such an opportunity of getting them out of the
way. I gave them a good boat and plenty of provisions; they will easily
reach Matanzas. My crew are enraged at my conduct in this affair. I must
be on my guard; and, listen to me, be you also on yours!"

A short time before midnight Mr R---- complained of the oppressive
closeness of the cabin, and begged to be lifted upon deck. We
immediately complied with his wishes, and spread a mattress for him near
the stern of the vessel. Elizabeth, his daughter, seated herself beside
his couch, and the mulatto woman waited behind. I threw myself upon a
_ceroon_ at a little distance, and felt so fatigued that I gradually
began to slumber, although within hearing of the sick man's feeble
groans and hurried inspirations.

I was suddenly awakened by the sound of light footsteps. I opened my
eyes, and saw Elizabeth. "My father is----" She could say no more. I
rose and followed her. Mr R---- lay upon his back with half-closed eyes,
and seemed scarcely sensible of our approach; but in a little time he
turned his face towards me, and tried to smile. He then took hold of his
daughter's hand, and attempted to greet her in the same way, but it was
impossible; his lips trembled, and some tears rushed down his cheeks.
None of us uttered a word, or even ventured to sigh.

It was the finest moonlight, and the whole heavens were covered with
one continuous expanse of dappled white clouds. The celestial network,
extending from horizon to horizon, floated in motionless repose, and the
stars could be seen twinkling faintly through its apertures. The calm
was such that our sails scarcely even flapped upon the masts, and our
vessel lay as still as if she had been imbedded in a field of crystal.
The balmy murmurings of the little surges upon the distant beach swelled
upon the ear, and died away again, with a caprice that seemed in unison
with the irregular motions of a tall cocoa-nut tree, which stood alone
upon a projecting rock, and was waved in a melancholy manner by a
land-breeze too feeble and unsteady to reach or affect us.

Elizabeth knelt silently beside her father, with clasped hands, and had
that frozen look of condensed despair, which is almost too terrible for
an inhabitant of this world. Her face and lips were colourless, and she
seemed like a spirit waiting for a departing soul. None of us knew the
exact moment at which Mr R---- died. I soon after took his daughter by
the hand, and conducted her to the cabin. She neither spoke a word nor
made the least resistance, and I began to fear that grief had bewildered
her perceptions. Her attendant followed us, and I left them together.

I did not attempt to sleep any that night. I was occupied in thinking of
Elizabeth, who had soon awakened to a full sense of her misery, and
whose sobs haunted my ears wherever I went. In the morning she sank into
a gentle slumber, which, after continuing two hours, left her in a state
of comparative rationality and composure. I requested to see her, and
we had an interview. I offered myself as a protector, and promised to
do everything in my power to extricate her from her present unhappy
situation, and said I would escort her to a place of safety whenever I
had the good fortune to effect this. I then told who I was, and related
the circumstances that had induced me to seek an asylum among the
pirates. In return, she thanked me for my unremitting attentions to her
father, and declared that she fully believed me to be what I professed.

The calm continued during the whole of that day, and Manuel exhibited
many signs of impatience at its long duration; and the more so, as the
current was gradually carrying us towards Matanzas, a place which he
wished anxiously to avoid. Next morning a gentle breeze sprung up, and
we had scarcely begun to profit by it, when we discovered a small brig
of war, with American colours, bearing towards us under full sail.
Manuel ordered his men to crowd all canvass, and tried various nautical
manoeuvres in the hope of escaping her; but she gained upon us every

The negroes, when they perceived that we could not get out of her reach,
were thrown into a state of consternation, and totally neglected their
duty. They assembled together in groups, and conversed with outrageous
looks and violent gesticulations, occasionally throwing baleful glances
at Manuel. He saw that a storm was gathering, and immediately went
below, and secured the door of the apartment which contained the arms.
He then appeared upon deck, with a brace of pistols in his girdle, a
dagger by his side, and a naked scimitar in his hand, and took his
station beside the companion door.

The boldness of his deportment seemed to increase the fury of the
blacks; some of whom called out, "Down with him! down with him! he has
betrayed us." Manuel paid no attention to their cries, but ordered them,
in a voice of thunder, to load the guns, and rushed forward, waving his
sword in the air. They became intimidated, and hastened to obey him; and
while they were engaged in doing so, I ran down to the cabin, and armed
myself as well as possible, at the same time comforting Elizabeth, and
bidding her remain in her state-room.

When I went upon deck again I found that the negroes had openly
mutinied. They were ranged round the foremast, and stood glaring at
Manuel, and at each other, like a set of demons. "Hell curse you,
captain!" cried one of them, "what right had you to bring us here? Were
we all to be sent to the devil, that you might put ashore them damned
whites that you picked out of the brig?"--"Ay, ay, it was mercy that
made him do so," said another; "but see if we'll get any mercy from the
tyrants that are in chase of us. Ha, Mr Manuel! I would almost be
hanged myself to have the satisfaction of seeing you swing by the
throat!"--"They couldn't get him hanged," vociferated a third, "for he
would always untie the rope with his right hand. Oh, captain, may the
devil scorch your soul for bringing us here!"--"He thinks us a set of
_niger_ slaves," cried the first speaker, "who haven't spirit to do
anything but what he bids us--but we'll show him another story. Come on;
let us have revenge! Down with him and his companion!"

Several of the crew now rushed towards us with threatening gestures.
Manuel fired a pistol among them, and wounded one with his scimitar, and
I struck down another with the butt-end of a blunderbuss, and then acted
upon the defensive. They were repelled; but would apparently have made a
second attack, had not a shot from the brig raked us fore and aft, and
carried away the binnacle. "Now, now!" shouted Manuel, "if you are worth
anything, fight for your lives! The enemy is close upon us; we shall be
blown out of the water! Here is the key of the armoury--go and equip
yourselves, and show some real spirit."

The negroes were almost instantaneously animated by a new feeling. Some
provided themselves with muskets and cutlasses, and others took their
station at the guns. They all had a look of savage and determined
resistance; which showed that they would rather perish in battle, than
run the risk of terminating their lives upon a scaffold.

The brig had now come nearly alongside of us, and her captain commanded
us to heave-to, if we desired any quarter. He was answered by the
discharge of four cannon, and by a shower of musket-balls. They gave a
broadside in return, which carried away our mainmast, and then bore down
upon the schooner, with the intention of boarding her. The smoke
prevented the helmsman of the brig from steering justly, and he suddenly
brought her so close to us that she swept away our chains, and stove
in our bulwarks, and dragged us through the water for a considerable
distance. The fight now became very desperate. The bayonet and cutlass
had usurped the place of firearms, and the negroes, who were not
provided with weapons of any kind, attacked the American seamen with
their fists, beating them down, attempting to choke them, and pushing
them overboard. They all the while animated each other with shouts,
execrations, and blasphemous cries, and rushed furiously to the combat,
half-naked, and covered with dust, and sweat, and blood.

I kept as near Manuel as possible. He sometimes fought vigorously for a
few moments, and then stood idle, apparently irresolute what to do. At
last he cried out, "It is easy to see how this day will end, but I
must hasten its termination," and then hurried down to the cabin. I
instinctively followed him, and found Elizabeth and her maid nearly
speechless with terror. Manuel tore open the hatch in the floor, and
pulled up a small cask, the head of which he knocked in with his hand.
It was full of gunpowder. He placed it upon the table. I grew
breathless. He put a steel between his teeth, and then seizing a flint,
began to strike the one against the other. The pulsations of my heart
ceased, and my eyes became dim. Manuel seemed suddenly to dilate into
fearful and gigantic size, and to pour torrents of fire upon the
gunpowder. My senses were suddenly recalled by a loud crash, and by the
appearance of water rushing down upon us through the skylight. I thought
we were going to the bottom, and started up and pulled the fainting
Elizabeth towards the gangway. There we encountered an American officer;
he gave us a look of astonishment, and hastening towards Manuel, seized
his arm, and said, "Surrender yourself--you are my prisoner."

Manuel did not attempt any resistance, but followed the officer upon
deck. Having left Elizabeth, whose recollection was now pretty well
restored, with her maid, I went there also. Everything had become quiet.
The American seamen were in possession of the schooner, and the negroes
had been removed on board the brig of war. Her captain ordered Manuel to
be put in irons, and directed that Elizabeth and I should have
accommodations in his own vessel.

I was a good deal astonished to meet with several of the crew that had
belonged to the brig we had plundered, and to hear them say that they
were the means of capturing the schooner. Having been fortunate enough
to reach Matanzas the day after Manuel had set them adrift in the boat,
they found an American brig of war there, which had run into the harbour
that she might repair some damage she had sustained while on her voyage
from Jamaica to Charleston. They immediately gave her captain
information respecting the pirate, and he set out in pursuit of them,
making the seamen warp his brig along, till a breeze sprang up which
enabled him to come in sight of the schooner. During the battle, a young
officer who boarded her along with the American crew, happened to
observe Manuel's attempts to blow them up, and with great presence of
mind, dashed his foot through the skylight, and averted the danger, by
pouring down a large quantity of water upon the gunpowder.

A few hours after the capture of the schooner, we set sail for
Charleston, where the brig was bound. We reached that port in ten days.
The pirate crew were immediately lodged in jail. I underwent an
examination, and was then taken into custody, it being evident, from my
own confession, that I had not been forced on board the schooner.
Elizabeth, to whom I had hourly become more devoted during the voyage,
found an asylum in the house of a distant relation, who resided in
Charleston, and was summoned as a witness against the negroes. In three
weeks their trial came on, and Manuel and seven others were condemned to
death. No evidence having appeared against me, I was liberated from
confinement at an early period, by the intercession of several persons
who appeared to take an interest in my fate. I supplied myself with
means of support, by disposing of some valuables I had in my possession.

I was filled with sorrow when I heard that Manuel was condemned to
death, aware that he deserved a better fate. I visited him in jail, the
day after he had received his sentence. He was loaded with fetters, and
occupied a small cell by himself, through which he paced as quickly as
the weight of his irons would permit; though he had a subdued look, the
expression of his countenance was neither abject nor sorrowful.

"Ah, is it you, sir?" cried he, advancing towards me, as I entered; "you
are the person I most wished to see. How kind it is in you to visit a
poor negro! For I am no more now. I am glad to be treated as a rational
creature by at least one white man. I wonder they have let you escape.
In this country it is a crime for a man to have anything to do with
blacks, except in the way of flogging them."--"You do not deserve to
die," said I, after a pause.--"Oh, perhaps not," returned he; "but
law--law--law, you know--however, 'tis better I should. I had a weary
life of it. I was chased from the land, and took refuge upon the sea;
but, notwithstanding that, I could not escape the blood-hounds of the
Southern States of America. But here I have written out something for
you. Take this letter to Gustavus H----, and accept what he gives you in
return, as a remembrance of me. But don't tell him that I'm sentenced to
death." He then presented me with a paper, and having given directions
where I should find the person to whom it was addressed, bid me

I immediately proceeded in search of Manuel's acquaintance, and after
some time reached his house, which was situated in the most obscure part
of a narrow and dirty alley. The door was opened by an old negro, and I
inquired if Gustavus H---- lived there. "I am the man," returned he;
"walk in, master." I entered, and gave him the letter, and at his
request seated myself upon an old stool in one corner of the apartment
until he read it. "Strange, very strange," muttered he, gazing on me
intently. "How is Mr Manuel?"--"Well enough at present," returned I;
"but----." He stood still a moment, as if waiting the conclusion of my
reply, and then went out of the room, but soon came back, carrying a
bag, which he immediately put into my hands. Its weight was immense.
"That's all," said he, "I guess Manuel don't intend that I should be his
_bankeer_ long. Good morning, sir."

When I returned to my lodgings, I opened the bag, and, to my
astonishment, found it full of doubloons. I could not believe that
Manuel intended leaving me such a legacy, and went to the prison in the
afternoon, that I might see him, and converse with him upon the subject;
but I arrived there too late; he had anticipated the law by putting a
period to his existence.

Fortune had now bestowed upon me the means of returning to my native
country. I communicated this to Elizabeth, and entreated that we might
make the journey of life together. She consented, and our mutual
happiness was soon as great as our individual misery had been, when fate
first brought us together.



[_MAGA._ JULY 1832.]

"What is the day's news? Tell me something, my dear Colonel, for I am
dying of _ennui_," said the showy Prince Charles of Buntzlau, one of the
handsomest men about the court, and incomparably the greatest coxcomb.

"Not much more than yesterday," was the answer of Colonel the Baron von
Herbert. "The world goes on pretty much the same as ever. We have an
Emperor, five Electors, and fifty sovereign princes, in Presburg; men
eat, drink, and sleep notwithstanding; and, until there is some change
in these points, one day will not differ much from another to the end of
the world."

"My dear Colonel," said the Prince, smoothing down the blackest and
longest pair of mustaches in the imperial cuirassiers, "you seem to
think little of us, the blood, the _couronnés_, the salt of the earth,
who preserve Germany from being as vulgar as Holland. But I forget; you
have a partiality for the _gens du peuple_."

"Pardon me, Prince," said Herbert, with a smile, "I pity them
infinitely, and wish that they might exchange with the Landgraves and
Margraves, with all my heart. I have no doubt that the change would
often be advantageous to both, for I have seen many a prince of the
empire who would make a capital ploughman, while he made but a very
clumsy prince; and I have, at this moment, three prodigiously high
personages commanding three troops in my regiment, whom nature palpably
intended to clean their own horses' heels, and who, I charitably
believe, might, by dint of drilling and half-a-dozen years' practice,
make three decent dragoons."

"Just as you please, Colonel," said the Prince, "but beware of letting
your private opinion go forth. Leopold is one of the new light, I allow,
and loves a philosopher; but he is an Emperor still, and expects all his
philosophers to be of his own opinion.--But here comes Collini."

Collini was his Italian valet, who came to inform his Highness, that it
was time for him to pay his respects to the Princess of Marosin. This
Italian's principal office was, to serve his master in place of a
memory--to recognise his acquaintance for him as he drove through the
streets--and to tell him when to see and when to be blind. The Prince
looked at his diamond watch, started from the sofa, gave himself a
congratulatory glance in a mirror, and, turning to Collini, asked, "When
am I to be married to the Princess?"

"Poh, Prince," interrupted the Colonel, with something of disdain, "this
is too absurd. Send this grimacing fellow about his business, and make
love on your own account, if you will; or if not, choose some woman
whose beauty and virtue, or whose want of them both, will not be
dishonoured by such trifling."

"You then actually think _her_ worth the attentions of a Prince of the
Empire?" said the handsome coxcomb, as, with one finger curling his
mustaches, he again, and more deliberately, surveyed himself in the

"I think the Princess of Marosin worthy of the attentions of any King on
earth," said the Baron, emphatically; "she is worthy of a throne, if
beauty, intelligence, and dignity of mind, can make her worthy of one."

The Prince stared. "My dear Colonel!" he exclaimed, "may I half presume
you have been speculating on the lady yourself? But I can assure you it
is in vain. The Princess is a woman; and allowing, as I do,"--and this
he said with a Parisian bow, that bow which is the very language of
superiority,--"the infinite pre-eminence of the Baron von Herbert in
everything, the circumstance of her being a woman, and my being a
Prince, is prodigiously in my favour."

The Baron had involuntarily laid his hand upon his sword at the
commencement of this speech, but the conclusion disarmed him. He had no
right to quarrel with any man for his own good opinion, and he amused
himself by contemplating the Prince, who continued arranging his
mustaches. The sound of a trumpet put an end to the conference.

"Well, Prince, the trumpet sounds for parade," said the Baron, "and I
have not time to discuss so extensive a subject as your perfections. But
take my parting information with you. I am not in love with the lady,
nor the lady with me; her one-and-twenty, and my one-and-fifty, are
sufficient reasons on both sides. You are not in love with the lady
either, and--I beg of you to hear the news like a hero--the lady is
_not_ in love with you; for the plain reason, that so showy a figure
cannot possibly be in love with anything but itself; and the Princess
is, I will venture to say, too proud to share a heart with a bottle
of lavender water, a looking-glass, and a poodle."

The Prince raised his eyebrows, but Von Herbert proceeded. "Buntzlau
will be without a female sovereign, and its very accomplished Prince
will remain, to the last, the best dressed _bachelor_ in Vienna. _Au
revoir_, I see my Pandours on parade."

Von Herbert and the Prince parted with mutual smiles. But the Prince's
were of the sardonic order; and after another contemplation of his
features, which seemed, unaccountably, to be determined to disappoint
him for the day, he rang for Collini, examined a new packet of uniforms,
bijouterie, and otto of roses, from Paris, and was closeted with him for
two profound hours.

       *       *       *       *       *

A forest untouched since the flood overhung the road, and a half-ruined
huge dwelling.

"Have the patrol passed?"

"Within the last five minutes."

"I wish them at the bottom of the river; they cost me a Turkish
carabine, a brace of diamond watches, as I'll be sworn, from the showy
fellow that I levelled at, with the valise behind his courier, scented
enough to perfume a forest of brown bears."

"Hang those Hulans," was the answer. "Ever since the Emperor's arrival,
they have done nothing but gallop about, putting honester men than
themselves in fear of their lives, and cutting up our employment so
woefully, that it is impossible to make money enough on the road to give
a decent education to one's children. But here comes the captain. We
shall now have some news. Speranski never makes his appearance unless
something is in the wind."

This dialogue passed between two Transylvanian pedlars, if a judgment
were to be formed from their blue caps, brown cloaks, and the packs
strapped to their shoulders. A narrower inspection might have
discovered within those cloaks the little heads of a pair of short
scimitars; their trousers would have displayed to the curious the
profile of two horse-pistols, and their boots developed a pair of those
large-bladed knives which the Hungarian robber uses, alike to slice away
the trunks of the britchska, to cut the harness of the horse, the throat
of the rider, and carve his own sheep's-milk cheese.

The captain came in, a tall, bold figure, in the dress of an innkeeper.
He flung a purse upon the table, and ordered supper. The pedlars
disburdened themselves of their boxes, kindled a fire on a hearth which
seemed guiltless of having administered to the wants of mankind for many
a wild year; produced from an unsuspected store-house under the floor
some dried venison, and the paws of a bear, preserved in the most
luxurious style of Hungarian cookery; decorated their table even with
some pieces of plate, which, though evidently of different fashions,
gave proof of their having been under noble roofs, by their armorial
bearings and workmanship, though the rest of their history did not lie
altogether so much in high life; and in a few minutes the captain,
throwing off his innkeeper hat and drab-coloured coat, half sat, half
lay down, to a supper worthy of an Emperor, or of a man who generally
sups much better--an imperial commissary.

The whole party were forest robbers; the thing must be confessed. But
the spirit of the country prevailed even under the rotting roof of "the
Ghost's house,"--the ominous name which this old and ruinous, though
still stately mansion, had earned among the peasantry. The name did not
exactly express the fact; for, when tenanted at all, it was tenanted by
anything rather than ghosts; by some dozens of rough, raw-boned, bold,
and hard-living fellows--as solid specimens of flesh and blood as had
ever sent a shot right in front of the four horses of a courier's
cabriolet, or had brought to a full stop, scimitar in hand, the heyducs
and chasseurs, the shivering valets and frightened postilions of a court
chamberlain, whirling along the Vienna road with six to his britchska.

Etiquette was preserved at this supper. The inferior plunderers waited
on the superior. Captain Speranski ate his meal alone, and in solemn
silence. The pedlars watched his nod; filled out the successive goblets
at a glance, and having performed their office, watched, at a respectful
distance, the will of the man of authority. A silver chime announced the
hour of ten. One of the pedlars drew aside a fragment of a ragged shawl,
which covered one of the most superb _pendules_ of the Palais Royal.

If the Apollo who sat harping in gold upon its stytolate, could have
given words to his melodies, he might have told a curious narrative; for
he had already seen a good deal of the various world of adventure.
Since his first transit from the magnificent Horlogerie of M. Sismonde,
of all earthly watchmakers the most renowned, this Apollo had first sung
to the world and his sister muses in the chamber of the unlucky Prince
de Soubise. The fates of France had next transferred him, with the
Prince's camp-plate, despatches, secret orders, and military chest, into
the hands of a regiment of Prussian hussars, at the memorable battle of
Rosbach, that modern "battle of the Spurs." But the Prussian colonel was
either too much or too little a lover of the arts, to keep Apollo and
the Nine all to himself; and the _pendule_ next rang its silver notes
over the roulette-table of the most brilliant of Parisian opera-dancers,
transferred from the _salle_ of the _Academie_ to the Grand Comedie at
Berlin. But roulette, wheel of Plutus as it is, is sometimes the wheel
of fortune; and the fair La Pirouette, in spite of the patronage of the
court and the nation, found that she must, like generals and monarchs,
submit to fate, and part with her brilliant superfluities. The pendule
fled from her Parisian mantel-piece, and its chimes were thenceforth to
awake the eyelids of the handsomest woman in Hungary, the Countess
Lublin née Joblonsky, memorable for her beauty, her skill at _loto_, and
the greatest profusion of rouge since the days of Philip Augustus. Its
history now drew to a close. It had scarcely excited the envy of all
the countesses of her circle, and, of course, became invaluable to the
fair Joblonsky, when it disappeared. A reward of ten times its value was
instantly offered. The Princess of Marosin, the arbiter of all elegance,
who had once expressed her admiration of its taste, was heard to regret
its loss as a specimen of foreign art. The undone proprietor was only
still more undone; for of all beauties living or dead, she most hated
the Princess, blooming, youthful, and worshipped as she was, to the
infinite detriment of all the fading Joblonskys of the creation. But no
reward could bring it back. This one source of triumph was irrecoverably
gone; and from Presburg to Vienna, all was conjecture, conversation, and
consternation. So ended the court history of the _pendule_.

When the repast was fully over, Speranski, pouring out a glass of Tokay
from a bottle which bore the impress of the Black Eagle of the House of
Hapsburg, and which had evidently been arrested on its road to the
Emperor's table, ordered one of the pedlars to give him the papers,
"which," said he, with a smile, "that Turkish courier _mislaid_ where he
slept last night." A small packet was handed to him;--he perused it over
and over with a vigilant eye, but it was obvious, without any of the
results which he expected; for, after a few minutes' pause, during which
he examined every part of the case in which they were enclosed, he
threw the letters aside. "What," said he, in a disappointed tone, "was
to be expected from those opium-eaters? Yet they are shrewd in their
generation, and the scandals of the harem, the propitious day for
shaving the Sultan's head, the lucky star for combing his illustrious
beard, or the price of a dagger-hilt, are as good topics as any that
pass in our own diplomacy. Here, Sturnwold, put back this circumcised
nonsense into its case, and send it, do you hear, by one of our _own_
couriers, to the Turkish secretary at Vienna; let it be thrown on his
pillow, or tied to his turban, just as you please; but, at all events,
we must not do the business like a clumsy cabinet messenger. Now,
begone; and you, Heinrich, hand me the Turk's meerschaum."

The bandit brought him a very handsome pipe, which he said would
probably be more suited to the Turk's tobacco, of which he had deposited
a box upon the table. Speranski took the pipe, but, at his first
experiment, he found the neck obstructed. His quick conception
ascertained the point at once. Cutting the wood across, he found a long
roll of paper within. He glanced over its contents, instantly sprang up,
ordered the attendance of half a dozen of "his friends" on horseback,
looked to the priming of his pistols, and galloped off through the

       *       *       *       *       *

On the evening of one of the most sultry days of July, and in one of
the most delicious yet most lonely spots of the Carpathian hills, a
trampling of hoofs, and a jingling of horse-furniture, and a confusion
of loud and dissonant voices, announced that strangers were at hand. The
sounds told true, for, gradually emerging from the glade covered with
terebinth trees, wild vines that hung their rich and impenetrable folds
over elms, hazels, and cypress, like draperies of green and brown silk
over the pillars of some Oriental palace, came a long train of sumpter
mules, led horses, and Albanian grooms; next came a more formidable
group of horsemen, the body-guards of the Hospodar of Moldavia, sent to
escort Mohammed Ali Hunkiar, the Moslem ambassador, through the Bannat;
and then came, seated on the Persian charger given to him from the
stables of the Padishah, the brother of the Sun and father of the Moon,
Sultan Selim, the most mighty--a little bitter-visaged old Turk, with
the crafty countenance of the hereditary hunchbacks of the great city of
the faithful. Nothing could be more luxurious than the hour, the golden
sunset; nothing lovelier than its light streaming in a thousand rays,
shifts and shapes of inimitable lustre through the blooms and foliage of
the huge ravine; and nothing less lovely or more luxurious than the
little old ambassador, who had earned his elevation from a cobbler's
stall to the Divan, by his skill in cutting off heads, and had now
earned his appointment to the imperial embassy, by his dexterity in
applying a purse of ten thousand sequins to the conscience of the
slipper-bearer to the slipper-bearer of his highness the Vizier.

Nothing could seem less inclined to look at the dark side of things at
this moment, or to throw away the enjoyments of this world for the good
of Moslem diplomacy, than Mohammed Ali Hunkiar, as he sat and smoked,
and stroked his long beard, and inhaled the mingled fumes of his Smyrna
pipe, and the air aromatic with a host of flowers. But the Turkish
proverb, "The smoker is often blinded by his own smoke," was to find its
verification even in the diplomatic hunchback. As he had just reached
the highest stone of the pass, and was looking with the triumph of
avarice--or ambition, if it be the nobler name--down the valley
checkered with the troop that meandered through paths as devious and as
many-coloured as an Indian snake, a shot struck his charger in the
forehead; the animal sprang high in the air, fell, and flung the
ambassador at once from his seat, his luxury, and a certain dream of
clearing ten times the ten thousand sequins which he had disbursed for
his place, by a genuine Turkish business of the dagger, before he left
the portcullis of Presburg.

All was instant confusion. The shots began to fall thick, though the
enemy might have been the beasts of the earth or the fowls of the air,
for any evidence that sight could give to the contrary. The whole troop
were of one opinion, that they must have fallen into the power of the
fiend himself; for the shots poured on them from every quarter at once.
Wherever they turned, they were met by a volley. The cavalry of the
Hospodar, though brave as panthers on parade, yet were not used to waste
their valour or their time on struggles of this irregular nature. They
had bought their own places, and paid the due purchase of a well-fed
sinecure; they had bought their own clothes, and felt answerable to
themselves for keeping them in preservation worthy of a court; they had
bought their own horses, and, like true Greeks, considered that the best
return their horses could make was to carry them as safe out of the
field as into it. The consequence was, that in the next five minutes the
whole escort was seen riding at will in whatever direction the destiny
that watches over the guards of sovereign princes might point the safest
way. The ravine, the hill, the forest, the river, were all speckled with
turbans, like flowers, in full gallop; the muleteers, being of slower
movement, took the simpler precaution of turning their mules, baggage
and all, up the retired corners of the forest, from which they emerged
only to turn them with their lading to their several homes. All was the
most picturesque mêlée for the first half-dozen rounds, all was the most
picturesque flight for the next. All was silence thenceforth; broken
only by the shot that came dropping through the thickets wherever a
lurking turban suddenly seemed to recover its energies, and fly off at
full speed. At length even the shots ceased, and all was still and lone.
The forest looked as if it had been unshaken since the deluge; the
ravine--calm, rich, and tufted with thicket, shrub, and tree--looked as
if it had never heard the hoof of cavalry. The wood-dove came out again,
rubbed down its plumage, and cooed in peace to the setting sun; the
setting-sun threw a long radiance, that looked like a pyramid of amber,
up the pass. Turban, Turk, skirmish, and clamour, all were gone. One
remnant of the time alone remained.

Under a huge cypress, that covered the ground with its draperies, like a
funeral pall, lay a charger, and under it a green and scarlet bale. The
bale had once been a man, and that man the Turkish ambassador. But his
embassy was over. He had made his last salaam, he had gained his last
sequin, he had played his last trick, he had told his last lie. "Dust to
dust" was now the history of Mohammed Ali Hunkiar.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Hall of the Diet at Presburg is one of the wonders of the capital.
The heroes and magnates of Upper Hungary frown in immeasurable
magnitude of mustache and majestic longitude of beard on its walls.
The conquerors of the Bannat, the ravagers of Transylvania, the
_potentissimi_ of Sclavonia, there gleam in solidity of armour, that at
once gives a prodigious idea of both their strength and their terrors.
The famous rivers, figured by all the variety of barbarian genius, pour
their pictured torrents over the ceiling. The Draave embraces the Saave,
the Grau rushes in fluid glory through the Keisse; and floods that
disdain a bridge, and flow a hundred leagues asunder, there interlace
each other in streams as smiling and affectionate as if they slept in
the same fountain. Entering that hall, every true Hungarian lifts up his
hands, and rejoices that he is born in the country of the arts, and,
leaving it, compassionates the fallen honours of Florence and Rome.

Yet in that hall the Emperor Leopold, monarch of fifty provinces, and
even sovereign of Hungary, was pacing backwards and forwards without
casting a glance on the wonders of the Hungarian hand. Colonel the Baron
von Herbert was at the end of the saloon, waiting the Imperial pleasure.
The dialogue, which was renewed and broken off as the Emperor approached
or left him, was, of course, one of fragments. The Emperor was in
obvious agitation. "It is the most unaccountable thing that I ever heard
of," said Leopold. "He had, I understand, a strong escort; his own train
were numerous; the roads regularly patroled; every precaution taken;
and yet the thing is done in full sunshine. A man is murdered almost
under my own eyes, travelling with my passport; an ambassador, and above
all ambassadors, a Turk."

"But your Majesty," said Von Herbert, "is not now in Vienna. Your
Hungarian subjects have peculiar ideas on the subject of human justice;
and they would as soon shoot an ambassador, if the idea struck them, as
a squirrel."

"But a Turk," said the Emperor, "against whom there could not have
existed a shadow of personal pique; who could have roused no jealousy at
court; who could have been known, in fact, by nobody here; to be killed
almost within sight of the city gates, and every paper that he had upon
him, every present, every jewel, everything carried off, without the
slightest clue to discovery! Baron, I shall begin to doubt the activity
of your Pandours."

The Baron's grave countenance flushed at the remark, and he answered
with more than even his usual gravity. "Your Majesty must decide. But,
whoever has been in fault, allow me to vindicate my regiment. The
Pandour patrol were on the spot on the first alarm; but the whole affair
was so quickly over, that all their activity was utterly useless. It
actually seemed supernatural."

"Has the ground been examined?" asked Leopold.

"Every thicket," answered Von Herbert. "I would stake my troopers, for
sagacity and perseverance, against so many blood-hounds; and yet, I must
acknowledge to your Majesty that, except for the marks of the horse's
hoofs on the ground, the bullets sticking in the trees, and the body of
the Turk himself, which had been stripped of every valuable, we might
have thought that we had mistaken the place altogether."

"The whole business," said Leopold, "is a mystery; and it must be
unravelled." He then broke off, resumed his walk to the end of the hall;
then returning, said abruptly--"Look to the affair, Colonel. The Turks
have no good opinion of us as it is, and they will now have a fresh
pretext, in charging us with the assassination of their ambassador. Go,
send out your Pandours, offer a hundred ducats for the first man who
brings any information of the murder; offer a thousand, if you please,
for the murderer himself. Even the crown would not be safe if these
things were to be done with impunity. Look to your Pandours more
carefully in future."

The Baron, with a vexation which he could not suppress, hastily
replied--"Your Majesty does not attribute this outrage to any of my

"Certainly not to the Baron von Herbert," said the Emperor, with a
reconciling smile. "But, my dear Baron, your heroes of the Bannat have
no love for a Turk, while they have a very considerable love for his
plunder. For an embroidered saddle or a diamond-hilted dagger, they
would go as far as most men. In short, you must give those bold
barbarians of yours employment, and let their first be to find out the

       *       *       *       *       *

It was afternoon, and the Wiener Straat was crowded with equipages
of the great and fair. The place of this brilliant reunion was the
drawing-room of the Princess of Marosin, and the occasion was the
celebration of her birthday. Princesses have so many advantages over
humbler beauties that they must submit to one calamity, which, in the
estimation of many a beauty, is more than a balance for all the gifts of
fortune. They must acknowledge their age. The art of printing, combined
with the scrutiny of etiquette, prohibits all power of making the years
of a princess a secret confided to the bosoms of the privy council. As
the hour of her first unclosing the brilliancy of her eyes, in a world
which all the court poets profess must be left in darkness without them,
so the regular periods by which the bud advances to the bloom, and the
bloom matures into ripened loveliness, are registered with an annual
activity of verse, prose, and prostration, that precludes all
chronological error. Even at the period when the autumnal touch begins
to tinge the cheek, and the fair possessor of so much homage would
willingly forget the exact number of the years during which she has
borne the sceptre, the calculation is continued with fatal accuracy.
Not an hour can be silently subducted from the long arrear of Time; and
while, with all the female world beneath her, he suddenly seems to stand
still, or even to retrograde, with the unhappy object of regal reckoning
he moves mercilessly onward, with full expanded wing carries her from
climacteric to climacteric, unrestrained and irrestrainable by all the
skill of female oblivion, defies the antagonist dexterity of the toilet,
makes coiffeur and cosmetics null and void, and fixes the reluctant and
lovely victim of the calendar in the awful elevation of "the world gone
by." She is a calendar saint, and, like most of that high sisterhood,
has purchased her dignity by martyrdom.

But the Princess of Marosin had no reason to dread the keenest reckoning
of rivalry. She was on that day eighteen. Eighteen years before that
morning the guns from the grey and war-worn towers of Marosin had
announced, through a circuit of one of the loveliest principalities of
Upper Hungary, that one of the loveliest beings that even Hungary had
ever seen was come from its original skies, or from whatever part of
creation handsome princesses visit this sublunar world. As the only
descendant of her illustrious house, she was the ward of the Emperor,
but having the still nearer claims of blood, her marriage now occupied
the Imperial care. A crowd of Marshals and Margraves felt that they
would make excellent guardians of the Principality, and offered their
generous protection. The lady seemed indifferent to the choice; but
Prince Charles of Buntzlau, by all acknowledgment the best dressed
Prince in the Empire, at the head of the hussar guard of the Emperor,
incalculably rich, and incomparably self-satisfied, had already made up
his own mind on the subject, and decided that the Principality, and the
lady annexed, were to be his. The Emperor, too, had given his sanction.
Prince Charles was not the man whom Leopold would have chosen for the
President of the Aulic Council, though his claims as a master of the
ceremonies were beyond all discussion. But the Imperial policy was not
reconcilable with the idea of suffering this important inheritance to
fall into the hands of a Hungarian noble. Hungary, always turbulent,
requires coercives, not stimulants; and two hundred thousand ducats
a-year, in the hands of one of her dashing captains, would have been
sufficient to make another Tekeli. The handsome Prince was evidently not
shaped for raising the banner of revolt, or heading the cavaliers of the
Ukraine. He was an Austrian in all points, and a new pelisse would have
won him from the car of Alexander on the day of his entry into Babylon.

Among the faithful of the empire the Sovereign's nod is politics,
religion, and law. The Marshals and Margraves instinctively bowed
before the supremacy of the superhuman thing that wore the crown of
Charlemagne, and Prince Charles's claim was worshipped by the whole
embroidered circle as one of the decisions which it would be court
impiety to question, as it was court destiny to fulfil.

Hungary was once the land of kings, and it was still the land of nobles.
Half oriental, half western, the Hungarian is next in magnificence to
the Moslem. He gives his last ducat for a shawl, a jewel-hilted sabre,
or a gilded cap, which nothing but his fear of being mistaken for a Turk
prevents him from turning into a turban. The Princess Juliana of Marosin
sat in the centre of a chamber that might have made the cabinet of the
favourite Sultana of the Lord of the Infidels. She sat on a low sofa
covered with tapestry from Smyrna; her caftan, girdled with the largest
emeralds, was made by the fair fingers of the Greek maidens of Saloniki;
her hair, long, black, and drooping round her person, in rich sable
wreaths, like the branches of a cypress, was surmounted by a crescent
which had won many an eye in the jewel mart of Constantinople; and in
her hand she waved a fan of peacocks' plumes, made by the principal
artist to the serail of Teheran. Thus Oriental in her drapery, colours,
and costume, she sat in the centre of a chamber, which, for its gloomy
carvings, yet singular stateliness of decoration, might have reminded
the spectator of some Indian shrine, or subterranean dungeon of the
dark spirits enclosing a spirit of light; or, to abandon poetry, and
tell the truth in plain speech, the chamber reminded the spectator
of the formal, yet lavish splendour of the old kingly times of the
land, while its possessor compelled him to feel the fact, that all
magnificence is forgotten in the presence of a beautiful woman.

The Princess received the homage of the glittering circle with the
complacency of conscious rank, and repaid every bow with one of those
sweet smiles, which to a courtier are irresistible evidences of his
personal merit; to a lover, are spells that raise him from the lowest
depths to the most rapturous altitudes; and to a woman, cost nothing
whatever. But, to an eye which none of these smiles had deprived of all
its powers of reading the human countenance, there was in even this
creature of birth, beauty, and admiration, some secret anxiety, which,
in despite of all conjecture, proved that she was no more than mortal.
There was a wavering of her colour, that bespoke inward perturbation;
a paleness followed by a flush that threw the crimson of her gorgeous
shawl into the shade; a restless movement of the fingers loaded with
gems; a quick turn of the head towards the door, though the most
potential flattery was at the moment pouring into the ear at the
opposite side. There were times, when a slight expression of scorn upon
her fine features escaped her politeness, and gave sign that she agreed
with mankind of all ages, in the infinite monotony, dulness, and
commonplace of the _élite_ of the earth, the starred and ribboned
society of the high places of mankind. But all was peace to the emotion
of her features, when the door slowly opened; and after a note of
preparation worthy of the arrival of the Great Mogul, the chamberlain
announced, "Prince Charles of Buntzlau." Pride and resentment flashed
across her physiognomy, like lightning across the serenity of a summer
sky. Her cheek grew crimson, as the gallant lover, the affianced
husband, came bowing up to her; her brow contracted, and the man would
have been wise who had augured from that brow the hazard of taking her
hand without first securing her heart. But all was soon over; the lovely
lady soon restrained her emotion, with a power which showed her presence
of mind. But her cheek would not obey even her determination, it
continued alternately glowing and pale; wild thoughts were colouring and
blanching that cheek; and the fever of the soul was burning in her
restless and dazzling eye. On the birthdays of the great in Hungary, it
is the custom that none shall come empty-handed. A brilliant variety of
presents already filled the tables and sofas of the apartment. But the
Prince's present eclipsed them all; it was a watch from the Horlogerie
of the most famous artist of Paris, and a _chef-d'oeuvre_ in point of
setting. The Princess looked at it with a disdain which it cost her an
effort to conceal. "Prince," said she, "I regret the want of patriotism
which sends our nobles to purchase the works of strangers, instead of
encouraging the talents of our own country."--"Yes, but your Highness
may condescend to reflect," said the lover, "on the utter impossibility
of finding anything of this kind tolerable except in Paris." The
Princess turned to one of the Bohemians who formed her band of
minstrels, and said, "Vladimir, desire the jewel-keeper to bring my
Hungarian watch." The Bohemian went on his mission--the jewel-keeper
appeared with the watch, and it was instantly declared, by the unanimous
admiration of the circle, to be altogether unrivalled in the art. The
Prince, chagrined at this discomfiture, asked, with more than the
authority of a lover, if the Princess "would do him the honour to
mention the artist so deserving of her patronage." She handed the watch
over to him. He opened it, and a paper dropped out. On it was written
the name of Mohammed Ali Hunkiar.

"The murdered ambassador!" instinctively exclaimed fifty voices.--The
Princess rose from her seat, overwhelmed with surprise and alarm. "The
Turkish ambassador!" said she; "then this must have been a part of
his plunder." The jewel-keeper was summoned to give account of the
circumstances connected with the purchase. His answer was, that "it was
no purchase whatever." But he produced a note which he had received
along with it. The note was "a request that her Highness would accept so
trivial a present on her birthday, from one of her faithful subjects;"
and that, unable to discover the name of the donor, he had accepted it
accordingly. Her circle soon after broke up. In a court all things are
known; in a province all things known or unknown are an invaluable topic
as long as they are new. The story of the Hungarian watch was turned
into shapes innumerable. But the result of the investigation which
immediately took place, by order of the Princess, was, that it had
actually been made by an artist of Buda for the Sultan, by whom it was
sent among the presents designed for the Emperor. On the fall of the
Turk it had disappeared, like all the rest of his plunder, and had been
unheard of until it started into light in the household of the Princess
of Marosin.

The little perturbation excited by this incident lasted but till the
high and mighty of the circle had withdrawn, to communicate the fact
to a dozen other circles, and talk of it until the world was weary
alike of the tale and the tellers. But there was a perturbation in the
mind of this young and lovely being, which came from a deeper source,
and lasted longer than even the delight of her dear five hundred
friends, in surmising all the possible modes in which the stately
relative of Emperors had contrived to charm into her fair hands the
most superb _montre_ under the roofs of the city of Presburg.

Sunset began to shed its quiet gold on the hill-tops round the city--the
sounds of day were fading fast--the glittering crowd had left her halls
to silence--and as she walked through the suite of magnificent chambers
in her gala dress, tissued with emeralds and rubies, and her regal
loveliness contrasting with her eye fixed upon the ground, and her slow
and meditative step, she might have been taken for the guardian genius
of those halls of ancestry, or a new avatar of the tragic muse. Arrived
at the balcony, she almost fell into the flowery seat, below which
spread a vast and various view of the most fertile plain of Hungary. But
the vision on her eye was not of the harvest heavily swelling before her
at every wave of the breeze. Her thoughts were of valleys, where the sun
never reached their green depths; of forests, where the roebuck fed and
sported in scorn of the hunter; of mountains, whose marble spines were
covered only with clouds, and whose only echoes were those of the
thunder or the eagle. All before her eye was beauty cultured, and calm
pleasure. The peasantry were driving their wains homeward loaded with
the luxuriance of the Hungarian fields, proverbially rich where they are
cultivated at all. Large droves of quiet cattle were speckling the
distant pasture, and enjoying the heat and light of evening. The
citizens were issuing from the city gates to taste the freshness of
the hour, and troops of the nobles attendant on the imperial ceremony,
relieved from the labours of etiquette and antechambers, were driving
their glittering equipages through the avenues, or caracolling their
Ukraine chargers through the meadows. Yet for the living landscape the
young gazer had no eyes. The scene on which her spirit dwelt was one of
savage majesty and lonely power. A vast pile of rocks, through which a
way seemed to have been cloven by the thunderbolt, opened on a glen as
desolate as if it had never been trodden by the foot of man. Yet, under
the shelter of one of its overhanging cliffs, peeping out from a drapery
of heath, lichens, and wild flowers, as rich as a Persian carpet, was
seen the outline of a rude building, half cottage, half tower, and
resting on the slope beside it, a hunter with his boar-spear fixed
upright in the turf--a greyhound beside him, and his whole soul employed
in listening to the roar of the Mediterranean, whose waters chafed and
swelled at the entrance of the ravine, and spread to the horizon like a
gigantic sheet of sanguined steel.

The murmur of the church bells for the evening service at length
scattered the vision. The mountain forests vanished, the glen of eternal
marble was a garden embroidered with all the cultivation of art, and
nothing was left of the whole proud picture but the star that now came,
like a bride from her chamber, and stood showering radiance upon her
head. That star, too, had gleamed upon the sky of the Croatian ravine,
and in her enthusiasm she could almost have addressed it like a friend,
or put up a prayer to its shrine as that of a beneficent divinity.
In the strong sensibility of the moment she uttered a few broken
aspirations to its brightness, and a wish that she might escape the
infinite weariness of life, and, like that star, be a gazer on
existence, from a height above the cares and clouds of this world. A
sudden movement among the shrubs below caught her ear; she glanced
down, and saw, with his countenance turned full on her, as if she were
something more than human, the hunter whom her fancy had pictured in
the glen!

       *       *       *       *       *

It was midnight, when twenty individuals, evidently of high rank, had
assembled in an obscure house in one of the suburbs. But it was evident,
from the plainness of their dress, that they had some object in
concealing their rank; and from the weapons under their cloaks it was
equally evident that they had come upon some business, in which either
danger was to be guarded against, or violence intended.

For some time there was silence, the only words exchanged were in
whispers. At intervals, a low knock at the door, a watchword, and a sign
exchanged between the keeper of the entrance and the applicant without,
announced a new comer. Still nothing was done; and as the cathedral
bells tolled midnight, the anxiety for the arrival of some distinguished
stranger, who had unaccountably delayed his coming, grew excessive. It
gradually escaped, too, that the Cardinal di Lecco, the Papal
Internuncio, was the expected individual.

The signal was given at last; the door opened, and a pale, decrepit
Roman ecclesiastic entered. "Are all our friends here?" was his first
question. But the answer was by no means a hospitable one. "By what
means, Monsignore," said a tall dark-featured personage, advancing to
him, "have we the honour of seeing _you_ here? We are upon private
business."--"I come by your own invitation," said the ecclesiastic
mildly, producing at the same time a letter, which was handed round the
circle. "But this letter is to the nuncio of his Holiness; and it was
only from him that we desired an answer in person." Then, in a higher
tone, and half drawing his sword, an action which was imitated by all,
"We must know, reverend signor, who you are, and by what authority you
have intruded yourself into this room, or you must prepare to receive
the reward due to all spies and traitors." The venerable priest's
countenance betrayed the most obvious alarm; surrounded by this conflux
of indignant visages, and with twenty swords already flashing round his
head, it required more than usual firmness to contemplate his situation
without awe. The single glance which he cast to the door seemed to
say how gladly he would have escaped from this specimen of Hungarian
deliberation. His perturbation evidently deprived him of defence; he
tried to explain the cause of his coming; he searched his dress for some
paper, which, by his signs rather than his words, he intimated, would
answer for his character. He searched his bosom, all was in vain; his
hands became entangled; he made a sudden step to the door, but suspicion
was now thoroughly roused. Every sword was flashing there against his
bosom. He tottered back, uttered some indistinct sounds of terror, and
fell fainting into a chair.

The question was now how to dispose of him, for that he was not the
Cardinal was a matter of personal knowledge to Count Colvellino, the
personage who had first addressed him.

The Count, a man of habitual ferocity, proposed that he should be
stabbed on the spot--an opinion which met with universal assent; but the
difficulty was, how to dispose of the body. To bury it where they were
was impossible for men with no other instruments than their swords; to
fling it into the river would inevitably betray the murder by daylight;
and even to convey it through the streets, to the river side, might be
perilous, from the number of guards and loiterers brought together by
the Imperial residence. During the deliberation the old ecclesiastic
returned to his senses. By some accident his hand had fallen upon the
secret packet which contained his credentials; the discovery acted on
him as a cure for all his feebleness; and in his delivery of his mission
he even wore an air of dignity. "The length and haste of my journey from
Rome," said the venerable man, "may apologise, most noble lords, for my
weakness; but this paper will, I presume, be satisfactory. It is, as
you see, the rescript of his Holiness to the Cardinal di Lecco, whose
servant and secretary stands before you. The Cardinal, suddenly occupied
by the high concerns of the Secreta Concilia, of which he has just been
appointed president, has sent me with his signet, his sign-manual, and
his instructions, as contained in this cipher, to attend the high
deliberations of my most honoured Lords, the Barons of Upper Hungary."
The credentials were delivered. All were authentic. Colvellino sullenly
acknowledged that he had been premature in condemning the Papal envoy,
who now announced himself as the Father Jiacomo di Estrella, of the
Friars Minors of the Capital; and the point at issue was directly
entered upon. It was of a nature which justified all their caution. The
Emperor Leopold was supposed to have brought with him to the throne
some ideas, hostile alike to the ancient feudalism of Hungary, and the
supremacy of the Roman See. Revolution was threatening in Europe; and
the Barons felt violent suspicions of a revolutionary inroad on their
privileges, headed by the possessor of the Imperial Crown. The simple
plan of the conspirators on this occasion, was the extinction of the
hazard by the extinction of the instrument. Leopold was to be put to
death in the moment of his coronation, and the heir of the former royal
race of Hungary, a monk in the convent of St Isidore, was to be placed
on the vacant throne. The debate lasted long, and assumed various
shapes, in which the Papal Envoy exhibited the complete recovery of his
faculties, and showed singular vividness and subtlety in obviating the
impediments started to the project of getting rid of Leopold. Still, to
overthrow an imperial dynasty, in the very day when its head was in the
fulness of power, surrounded by troops, and still more protected by the
etiquette that kept all strangers at a distance from the royal person,
had difficulties which profoundly perplexed the Barons. But the deed
must be done; Colvellino, already obnoxious to suspicion, from his
habitual love of blood and violence of life, led the general opinion.
After long deliberation, it was decided that, as poison was slow, and
might fail--as the pistol was too public, might miss the mark, and but
wound after all--the secure way was the dagger. But how was this to find
the Emperor, through a host of attendants, who surrounded him like a
Persian monarch, and through ten thousand men-at-arms, covered with iron
up to the teeth, and as watchful as wolves? Fra Jiacomo then made his
proposal. "To attack the Emperor in his chamber," said he, "would be
impossible; and, besides, would be an unmanliness disgraceful to the
warlike spirit of the nobles of Hungary." All voices joined in the
sentiment. "To attack him in his passage through the streets, on the day
of the coronation, would be equally impossible, from the number of his
guards, and equally dishonourable to the high character of the Hungarian
nobles for fidelity to all who trust them." A second plaudit, almost
an acclamation, followed the sentiment. Fra Jiacomo now paused, as
evidently waiting to collect his thoughts, and asked in the humblest
voice, whether it was absolutely necessary that Leopold should die?
"He or we," cried Colvellino, indignant at the delay of the timid old
priest. "He or we," echoed all the voices. "I obey," said the Friar,
with a sigh, and clasping his trembling hands upon his bosom. "It is not
for an old monk, a feeble and simple man like me, my noble lords, to
resist the will of so many destined to lead the land of their fathers.
But let us, if we must be just, also be merciful. Let the victim
die at the high altar of the cathedral." A murmur rose at the seeming
profanation. The Friar's sallow cheek coloured at this mark of
disapproval. He was silent; but Colvellino's impatience spoke. "Let us,"
said he, "have no womanish qualms now; what matters it where or when a
tyrant falls? Church or chamber, street or council, all are alike. The
only question is, who shall first or surest send the dagger to his
heart? Who among us shall be the liberator of his country?" The question
remained without an answer. The service was obviously a difficult one at
best, and the Brutus was sure of being sacrificed by the swords of the
guards. "Cowards!" exclaimed Colvellino, "is this your spirit? 'Tis but
a moment since you were all ready to shed your blood for the death of
this German puppet, and now you shrink like children." "If it were not
in the cathedral," muttered some of the conspirators. "Fools," retorted
the haughty Count, "to such scruples all places are cathedrals. But the
cause shall not be disgraced by hands like yours. Colvellino himself
shall do it; aye, and this good friar shall give me his benediction too
on the enterprise." The ruffian burst out into a loud laugh. "Peace, my
son," said the priest, with hand meekly waving, and his eyes fixed on
the ground. "Let us not disturb our souls, bent as they are on the pious
services of the Church and his Holiness the father of the faithful, by
unseemly mirth. But let us, in all humility and sincere soberness, do
our duty. The Count Colvellino has nobly offered, with a heroism worthy
of his high name, to consummate the freedom of the Hungarian church and
state. But this must not be, his life is too precious. If Prince Octar,
the last hope of the ancient line of Ladislaus, should die, Count
Colvellino is the rightful heir. The hopes of Hungary must not be

The Count's dark eye flashed, and his cheek burned up with the flame of
an ambition which he had long cherished, and which had stimulated him to
this sudden and suspicious zeal for his country. "The Emperor must not
put the crown of Hungary on his head and live," said he, in a tone of
expressed scorn and hope. "To-morrow," said the Friar, rising as
if he could throw off the infirmities of age in the strength of his
resolution--"To-morrow, at the moment of the mass, Leopold dies, and
dies by my hand." All stared. "Noble lords," said the Friar, almost
abashed into his former humility by the sight of so many bold and proud
countenances gazing on him, in every expression of surprise, doubt,
wonder, and applause--"Noble lords," he pursued, "what is my life that
I should value it, except as the means of serving his Holiness and this
illustrious country, which has for so many centuries been the most
faithful daughter of the Church? To me life and death are the same. But
I shall not die. My sacred function to-morrow will bring me close to the
Emperor unsuspected. I shall be among the prelates who lead him up to
the altar. At the moment when he takes the crown into his hand, and
before he has profaned it by its resting on his brow, Hungary shall be

A loud outcry of admiration burst from the whole assembly. Colvellino
alone seemed to resent the loss of the honour. His countenance lowered,
and grasping the self-devoted Friar's sleeve, he said, in a tone of
wrath but ill stifled, "Friar, remember your promise. No parleying now.
No scruples. Beware of treachery to the cause. But to make all secure, I
tell you that you shall be watched. As Grand Chamberlain, I myself shall
be on the steps of the altar, and the slightest attempt at evasion shall
be punished by a dagger at least as sharp as ever was carried by a
priest in either church or chamber." Fra Jiacomo bowed his head to his
girdle, and only asked, in a tone of the deepest meekness, "Count, have
I deserved this? Noble lords of Hungary, have I deserved this? Is
treason laid rightly to my charge? If you doubt me, let me go." He
turned to the door as he spoke, but even Colvellino's disdain felt the
folly of losing so willing an accomplice, and one who, besides, was now
so much master of the conspiracy. "Well, then, so be it," murmured the
Count; "the cause will be disgraced by the instrument. But this Emperor
at least will molest Hungary no more." Fra Jiacomo bowed but the
deeper. All was now concerted for the deed. The conspirators were
appointed to wait in the church of Saint Veronica, behind the cathedral,
for the signal of Leopold's death, and thence to proceed to the convent
where the heir of Ladislaus was kept, and proclaim him King. Colvellino
listened to the latter part of the arrangement with a smile of scorn.
They were separated by the sound of the cannon announcing the dawn of
the great ceremonial.

       *       *       *       *       *

The morning of the coronation found all Presburg awake. The streets were
thronged before day with citizens; nobles hastening to the palace;
troops moving to their various posts in the ceremony; peasants pouring
in from all the provinces, in all the wild festivity and uncouth
dialects of the land of the Huns. Then came the magnates, riding on
their richly-caparisoned horses, and followed by their long train of
armed attendants, a most brilliant and picturesque display. The
equipages contained all that the kingdom could boast of female beauty
and high birth, and the whole formed a singular and vivid contrast of
the strange, the lovely, the bold, and the graceful, the rude and the
magnificent, the Oriental and the Western--all that a feudal,
half-barbarian people could exhibit of wild exultation--and all that an
empire as old as Charlemagne could combine of antique dignity and
civilised splendour.

The sun, which so seldom condescends to shine on regal processions,
threw his most auspicious beams on the city of Presburg on this
memorable day. But it was in the cathedral that all the opulence of the
imperial and national pomp was displayed. The aisles were hung with
tapestry and banners of the great feudal families, and crowded with the
body-guards of the Emperor, and the richly-costumed heyducs and
chasseurs of the Hungarian lords. The centre aisle was one canopy of
scarlet tissue, covering, like an immense tent, the royal train, the
great officers of the court, and the Emperor as he waited for the
consecration. Farther on, surrounding the high altar, stood a circle of
the Hungarian prelacy in their embroidered robes, surrounding the
Archbishop of Presburg, and in their unmoving splendour looking like a
vast circle of images of silver and gold. Above them all, glittering in
jewels, looked down from clouds of every brilliant dye, and luminous
with the full radiance of the morning, the Virgin Mother, in celestial
beauty, the patroness of Presburg, a wonder-working Madonna, "whom Jews
might kiss, and infidels adore."

At length, to the sound of unnumbered voices, and amid the flourish of
trumpets, and the roar of cannon from all the bastions, Leopold entered
the golden rails of the altar, ascended the steps, followed by the
great officers of the kingdom, and laid his hand upon the crown. At that
moment the Grand Chamberlain, Count Colvellino, had knelt before him to
present the book of the oath by which he bound himself to maintain the
rights and privileges of Hungary. In the act of pronouncing the oath the
Emperor was seen to start back suddenly, and the book fell from his
hand. At the same moment a wild scream of agony rang through the
cathedral; there was a manifest confusion among the prelacy; the circle
was broken, some rushed down the steps; some retreated to the pillars of
the high altar; and some seemed stooping, as if round one who had
fallen. Vases, flowers, censers, images--all the pompous ornaments which
attend the Romish ritual on its great days--were trampled under foot in
the tumult; and prelate, priest, and acolyte were flung together in the
terror of the time. The first impression of all was, that the Emperor
had been assassinated, and the startled flying nobles, and the populace
at the gates, spread the report through the city, with the hundred
additions of popular alarm. But the imperial body-guard instantly
drawing their swords, and pressing their way through the nobles and
multitude up to the altar, soon proved that the chief terror was
unfounded, by bringing forward the Emperor in their midst, and showing
him to the whole assemblage unhurt. He was received with an acclamation
that shook the dome.

But blood had been spilled--the Grand Chamberlain was found pierced to
the heart. He had died at the instant from the blow. But by whom he was
thus foully murdered, or for what cause, baffled all conjecture. The
general idea, from the position in which he fell, was, that he had
offered his life for the Emperor's; had thrown himself forward between
his royal master and the assassin, and had been slain by accident or
revenge. Leopold recollected, too, that, in the act of taking the book
of the Oath, he had felt some hand pluck his robe; but, on looking
round, had seen only the Grand Chamberlain kneeling before him. Inquiry
was urged in all quarters, but in vain. Colvellino was a corpse; he
remained bathed in his loyal blood, the heroic defender of his liege
lord, the declared victim of his loyalty; and a reward of a thousand
ducats was declared on the spot by his indignant sovereign, for the
discovery of the murderer. The gates of the cathedral were instantly
closed; strict search was made, but totally in vain. Order was slowly
restored. But the ceremony was too important to be delayed. The crown
was placed upon the Imperial brow, and a shout like thunder hailed
Leopold "King of Hungary." In courts all things are forgotten.

As the stately procession returned down the aisle all was smiles and
salutation, answered by the noble ladies of the court and provinces, who
sat ranged down the sides according to their precedency, under pavilions
tissued with the arms of the great Hungarian families. In this review of
the young, the lovely, and the high-born, all eyes gave the prize of
beauty, that prize which is awarded by spontaneous admiration, and the
long and lingering gaze of silent delight, to the Princess of Marosin.
Her dress was, of course, suitable to her rank and relationship to the
imperial line, all that magnificence could add to the natural grace, or
dignity of the form; but there was in her countenance a remarkable
contrast to the general animation of the youthful and noble faces round
her--a melancholy that was not grief, and a depth of thought that was
not reverie, which gave an irresistible superiority to features, which,
under their most careless aspect, must have been pronounced formed in
the finest mould of nature. Her eyes were cast down, and even the slight
bending of her head had a degree of mental beauty. It was clearly the
unconscious attitude of one whose thoughts were busied upon other things
than the pomps of the hour. It might have been the transient regret of
a lofty spirit for the transitory being of all those splendours which
so few years must extinguish in the grave; it might have been the
reluctance of a generous and free spirit at the approach of that hour
which would see her hand given by Imperial policy where her heart
disowned the gift; it might be patriot sorrow for the fallen glories of
Hungary; it might be romance; it might be love. But whatever might be
the cause, all remarked the melancholy, and all felt that it gave a
deep and touching effect to her beauty, which fixed the eye on her
as if spell-bound. Even when the Emperor passed, and honoured the
distinguished loveliness of his fair cousin by an especial wave of his
sceptred hand, she answered it by scarcely more than a lower bend of the
head, and the slight customary pressure of the hand upon the heart. With
her glittering robe, worth the purchase of a principality, drawn round
her as closely as if it were the common drapery of a statue, she sat not
unlike the statue in classic gracefulness, but cold and unmoving as the

But all this was suddenly changed. As the procession continued to pass
along, some object arrested her glance which penetrated to her heart.
Her cheek absolutely burned with crimson; her eye flashed; her whole
frame seemed to be instinct with a new principle of existence; with one
hand she threw back the tresses, heavy with jewels, that hung over her
forehead, as if they obstructed her power of following the vision; with
the other she strongly attempted to still the beatings of her heart;
and thus she remained for a few moments, as if unconscious of the place,
of the time, and of the innumerable eyes of wonder and admiration
that were fixed upon her. There she sat--her lips apart, her breath
suspended, her whole frame fevered with emotion, the statue turned to
life--all beauty, feeling, amaze, passion. But a new discharge of
cannon, a new flourish of trumpet and cymbal, as the Emperor reached the
gates of the cathedral, and appeared before the assembled and shouting
thousands without, urged on the procession. The magic was gone. The
countenance, this moment like a summer heaven, with every hue of
loveliness flying across it in rich succession, was the next colourless.
The eye was again veiled in its long lashes; the head was again
dejected; the marble had again become classic and cold; the beauty
remained, but the joy, the enchantment, was no more.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Baron von Herbert was sitting at a desk in the armoury of the
palace. Javelins rude enough to have been grasped by the hands of the
primordial Huns; bone-headed arrows that had pierced the gilded corslets
of the Greeks of Constantinople; stone axes that had dashed their rough
way through the iron headpieces of many a son of Saxon chivalry;
and the later devices of war--mail, gold-enamelled, silver-twisted,
purple-grained--and Austrian, Italian, and Oriental escutcheons gleamed,
frowned, gloomed, and rusted, in the huge effigies of a line of
warriors, who, if weight of limb, and sullenness of visage, are the
elements of glory, must have fairly trampled out all Greek and all Roman

A key turned in the door, and the Emperor entered hastily, and in
evident perturbation. He turned the key again as he entered. The Baron
stopped his pen, and awaited the commands of his sovereign. But Leopold
was scarcely prepared to give counsel or command. He threw a letter on
the table.

"Read this, Von Herbert," said he, "and tell me what you think of it. Is
it an impudent falsehood, or a truth, concerning the public safety? Read
it again to me."

The Baron read:--

     "Emperor, you think yourself surrounded by honest men. You are
     mistaken. You are surrounded by conspirators. You think that,
     in offering a reward for Colvellino's murderer, you are
     repaying a debt of gratitude. You are mistaken. You are
     honouring the memory of a murderer. You think that, in giving
     the hand of the Princess of Marosin to Prince Charles of
     Buntzlau, you are uniting two persons of rank in an honourable
     marriage. You are mistaken. You are pampering a coxcomb's
     vanity, and breaking a noble heart. You think that, in sending
     your Pandours to scour the country, you can protect your court,
     your palace, or yourself.

     "You are mistaken. The whole three are in _my_ power.


The Baron laid down the paper, and gravely paused for the Emperor's
commands. But the Emperor had none to give. He put the simple query--"Is
this a burlesque or a reality? Is the writer a charlatan or a

"Evidently something of both, in my conception," said the Colonel; "the
paper is not courtly, but it may be true, nevertheless. The writer is
apparently not one of your Majesty's chamberlains, and yet he is clearly
master of some points that mark him for either a very dangerous inmate
of the court, or a very useful one."

Leopold's anxious gesture bade the Baron proceed. He looked again over
the letter, and commented on it as he passed along.

"'Surrounded by conspirators!' Possible enough. The Hungarian nobles
never knew how to obey. They must be free as the winds, or in fetters.
The mild government of Austria is at once too much felt and too little.
No government or all tyranny, is the only maxim for the magnates. If not
slaves, they will be conspirators."

"Then this rascal, this Speranski, tells the truth after all?" said the

"For the fact of conspiracy I cannot answer yet," said Von Herbert;
"but for the inclination I can, at any hour of the twenty-four." He
proceeded with the letter--"You are honouring the memory of a murderer."

"An atrocious and palpable calumny!" exclaimed the Emperor. "What! the
man who died at my feet? If blood is not to answer for honour and
loyalty, where can the proof be given? He had got, besides, everything
that he could desire. I had just made him Grand Chamberlain."

Von Herbert's grave countenance showed that he was not so perfectly

"I knew Colvellino," said he, "and if appearances were not so much
in his favour by the manner of his death, I should have thought him
one of the last men in your Majesty's dominions to die for loyalty."

"You are notoriously a philosopher, Von Herbert," said Leopold,
impatiently. "Your creed is mistrust."

"I knew the Grand Chamberlain from our school-days," said the Baron,
calmly. "At school he was haughty and headstrong. We entered the royal
Hungarian guard together; there he was selfish and profligate. We then
separated for years. On my return as your Majesty's aide-de-camp, I
found him the successor to an estate which he had ruined, the husband of
a wife whom he had banished from his palace, the Colonel of a regiment
of Hulans which he had turned into a school of tyranny, and Grand
Chamberlain to your Majesty, an office which I have strong reason to
think he used but as a step to objects of a more daring ambition."

"But his death--his courageous devotion of himself--the dagger in his
heart!" exclaimed the Emperor.

"They perplex, without convincing me," said the Baron.

He looked again at the letter, and came to the words, "Breaking a noble

"What can be the meaning of this?" asked Leopold, angrily. "Am I not to
arrange the alliances of my family as I please? Am I to forfeit my word
to my relative, the Prince of Buntzlau, when he makes the most suitable
match in the empire for my relative the Princess of Marosin? This is
mere insolence, read no more."

The Baron laid down the letter, and stood in silence.

"Apropos of the Princess," said Leopold, willing to turn the
conversation from topics which vexed him, "has there been any further
intelligence of her mysterious purchase--that far-famed plunder of the
Turk, her Hungarian _chef d'oeuvre_?"

"If your Majesty alludes to the Princess's very splendid watch," said
the Baron, "I understand that all possible inquiry has been made, but
without the effect of tracing any connection between its sale and the
unfortunate assassination of the Turkish envoy."

"So, my cousin," said the Emperor, with a half smile, "is to be set
down by the scandalous Chronicle of Presburg as an accomplice in rifling
the pockets of Mohammed? But the whole place seems full of gipsyism,
gossiping, and juggling. I should not wonder if that superannuated
belle, the Countess Joblonsky, lays the loss of her _pendule_ to my
charge, and that the Emperor shall quit Hungary with the character of
a receiver of stolen goods."

"Your Majesty may be the depredator to a much more serious extent, if
you will condescend but to take the Countess's heart along with you,"
said the Colonel, with a grave smile. "It is, I have no doubt, too loyal
not to be quite at your Majesty's mercy."

"Hah!" said Leopold; "I must be expeditious then, or she will be
_devoté_, or in the other world--incapable of any love but for a lapdog,
or turned into a canonised saint. But in the mean time look to these
nobles. If conspiracy there be, let us be ready for it. I have
confidence in your Pandours. They have no love for the Hungarians. Place
a couple of your captains in my antechamber. Let the rest be on the
alert. You will be in the palace, and within call, for the next
forty-eight hours."

The Emperor then left the room. Von Herbert wrote an order to the Major
of the Pandours for a detachment to take the duty of the imperial
apartments. The evening was spent at the opera, followed by a court
ball; and the Emperor retired, more than satisfied with the dancing
loyalty of the Hungarian beaux and belles.

       *       *       *       *       *

The night was lovely, and the moon shone with full-orbed radiance upon
the cloth of gold, embroidered velvet curtains, and high enchased silver
sculptures of the imperial bed. The Emperor was deep in a midsummer
night's dream of waltzing with a dozen winged visions, a ballet in the
Grand Opera given before their Majesties of Fairyland, on the occasion
of his arrival in their realm. He found his feet buoyant with all the
delightful levity of his new region; wings could not have made him spurn
the ground with more rapturous elasticity. The partner round whom he
whirled was Oberon's youngest daughter, just come from a finishing
school in the Evening Star, and _brought out_ for the first time. But a
sudden sound of evil smote his ear; every fairy drooped at the instant;
he felt his winged heels heavy as if they were booted for a German
parade; his blooming partner grew dizzy in the very moment of a whirl,
and dropped fainting in his arms; Titania, with a scream, expanded her
pinions, and darted into the tops of the tallest trees. Oberon, with a
frown, descended from his throne, and stalked away in indignant majesty.

The sound was soon renewed; it was a French quadrille, played by a
Golden Apollo on the harp--a sound, however pleasing to earthly ears,
too coarse for the exquisite sensibilities of more ethereal tempers.
The God of Song was sitting on a beautiful pendule, with the name of
_Sismonde_ conspicuous on its dial above, and the name of the Countess
Joblonsky engraved on its marble pedestal below. The Emperor gazed first
with utter astonishment, then with a burst of laughter; his words had
been verified. He was in a new position. He was to be the "receiver of
stolen goods" after all. But in the moonlight lay at his feet a paper;
it contained these words:--

    "Emperor--You have friends about you, on whom you set no value;
    you have enemies, too, about you, of whom you are not aware.
    Keep the _pendule_; it will serve to remind you of the hours
    that may pass between the throne and the dagger. It will serve,
    also, to remind you how few hours it may take to bring a noble
    heart to the altar and to the grave. The toy is yours. The
    Countess Joblonsky has already received more than its value.


       *       *       *       *       *

The Countess Joblonsky _had been_ the handsomest woman in Paris twenty
years before. But in Paris, the reign of beauty never lasts supreme
longer than a new Opera--possibly, among other reasons, for the one that
both are exhibited without mercy for the eyes or ears of mankind. The
Opera displays its charms incessantly, until all that remain to witness
the triumph are the fiddlers and the scene-shifters. The Belle
electrifies the world with such persevering attacks on their nervous
system, that it becomes absolutely benumbed. A second season of triumph
is as rare for the Belle as the Opera, and no man living ever has seen,
or will see, a third season for either. The Countess retired at the end
of her second season, like Diocletian, but not, like Diocletian, to the
cultivation of cabbages. She drew off her forces to Vienna, which she
entered with the air of a conqueror, and the rights of one; for the
fashion that has fallen into the "sere and yellow leaf" in Paris, is
entitled to consider itself in full bloom at Vienna. At the Austrian
capital she carried all before her, for the time. She had all the first
of the very first circle in her chains. All the Archdukes were at her
bidding; were fed at her _petits soupers_ of five hundred hungry
noblesse, _en comité_; were pilfered at her loto-tables; were
spell-bound by her smiles, laughed at in her boudoir, and successively
wooed to make the fairest of Countesses the haughtiest of Princesses.
Still the last point was incomplete,--she was still in widowed

The coronation suddenly broke up the Vienna circle. She who had hitherto
led or driven the world, now condescended to follow it; and the Countess
instantly removed her whole establishment, her French Abbé, her Italian
Chevaliers, ordinaires and extraordinaires, her Flemish lapdogs, her
Ceylonese monkeys, and her six beautiful Polish horses, to Presburg,
with the determination to die _devoté_, or make an impress on the
imperial soul, which Leopold should carry back, and the impression along
with it, to Vienna. But cares of state had till now interposed a shield
between the Emperor's bosom and the lady's diamond eyes. She had at last
begun actually to despair; and on this morning she had summoned her Abbé
to teach her the most becoming way for a beauty to renounce the world.
She was enthroned on a couch of rose-coloured silk, worthy of Cytherea
herself, half-sitting, half-reposing, with her highly rouged cheek
resting on her snowy hand, that hand supported on a richly bound volume
of the Life of La Vallière, delicious model of the wasted dexterity,
cheated ambition, and profitless passion of a court beauty, and her eyes
gazing on the letter which this pretty charlatan wrote on her knees, in
the incredible hope of making a Frenchman feel. The Countess decided
upon trying the La Vallière experiment upon the spot, writing a letter
to the Emperor, declaring the "secret flame which had so long consumed
her," "confessing" her resolution to fly into a convent, and compelling
his obdurate spirit to meditate upon the means of rescuing so brilliant
an ornament of his court from four bare walls, the fearful sight of
monks and nuns, and the performance of matins and vespers as duly as
the day.

At this critical moment, one of the imperial carriages entered the
_porte cochère_. A gentleman of the court, stiff with embroidery, and
stiffer with Austrian etiquette, descended from it, was introduced by
the pages in attendance, and with his knee almost touching the ground,
as to the future possessor of the diadem, presented to the Countess a
morocco case. It contained a letter. The perusal of the missive brought
into the fair reader's face a colour that fairly outburned all the
labours of her three hours' toilette. It requested the Countess
Joblonsky's acceptance of the trifle accompanying the note, and was
signed Leopold. The case was eagerly opened. A burst of brilliancy
flashed into the gazers eyes. It was the superb watch, the long-talked
of--the watch of the Princess Marosin, and now given as an
acknowledgment of the personal superiority of her handsome competitor.
She saw a crown glittering in strong imagination above her head. The
Life of La Vallière was spurned from her. The Abbé was instantly
countermanded. The Countess had given up the nunnery; she ordered her
six Polish steeds, and drove off to make her acknowledgments to the
Emperor in person.

But what is the world? The Countess had come at an inauspicious time.
She found the streets crowded with people talking of some extraordinary
event, though whether of the general conflagration, or the flight of one
of the Archduchesses, it was impossible to discover from the popular
ideas on the subject. Further on, she found her progress impeded by the
troops. The palace was double-guarded. There had evidently been some
formidable occurrence. A scaffold was standing in the court, with two
dead bodies in the Pandour uniform lying upon it. Cannon, with lighted
matches, were pointed down the principal streets. The regiment of
Pandours passed her, with Von Herbert at their head, looking so deeply
intent upon something or other, that she in vain tried to obtain a
glance towards her equipage. The Pandours, a gallant-looking but wild
set, rushed out of the gates, and galloped forward to scour the forest
like wolf-dogs in full cry. The regiment of Imperial Guards, with Prince
Charles of Buntzlau witching the world with the best-perfumed pair of
mustaches, and the most gallantly embroidered mantle in any hussar
corps in existence, rode past, with no more than a bow. All was
confusion, consternation, and the clank of sabre-sheaths, trumpets, and
kettle-drums. The Countess gave up the day and the diadem, returned to
her palace, and began the study of La Vallière again.

The story at length transpired. The Emperor's life had been attempted.
His own detail to his Privy Council was--That before daylight he had
found himself suddenly attacked in his bed by ruffians. His arms had
been pinioned during his sleep. He called out for the Pandour officers
who had been placed in his antechamber; but to his astonishment, the
flash of a lamp, borne by one of the assailants, showed him those
Pandours the most active in his seizure. Whether their purpose was to
carry him off, or to kill him on the spot; to convey him to some cavern
or forest, where they might force him to any conditions they pleased, or
to extinguish the imperial authority in his person at once, was beyond
his knowledge; but the vigour of his resistance had made them furious,
and the dagger of one of the conspirators was already at his throat,
when he saw the hand that held it lopped off by the sudden blow of a
sabre from behind. Another hand now grasped his hair, and he felt the
edge of a sabre, which slightly wounded him in the neck, but before the
blow could be repeated, the assailant fell forward, with a curse and a
groan, and died at his feet, exclaiming that they were betrayed. This
produced palpable consternation among them; and on hearing a sound
outside, like the trampling of the guards on their rounds, they had
silently vanished, leaving him bleeding and bound. He had now made some
effort to reach the casement and cry out for help, but a handkerchief
had been tied across his face, his arms and feet were fastened by a
scarf, and he lay utterly helpless. In a few moments after, he heard
steps stealing along the chamber. It was perfectly dark; he could see no
one; but he gave himself up for lost. The voice, however, told him that
there was no enemy now in the chamber, and offered to loose the bandage
from his face, on condition that he would answer certain questions. The
voice was that of an old man, said he, but there was a tone of honesty
about it that made me promise at once.

"I have saved your life," said the stranger; "what will you give me for
this service?"

"If this be true, ask what you will."

"I demand a free pardon for the robbery of the Turkish courier, for
shooting the Turkish envoy, and for stabbing the Grand Chamberlain in
your presence."

"Are you a fool or a madman who ask this?"

"To you neither. I demand, further, your pardon for stripping Prince
Charles of Buntzlau of his wife and his whiskers together--for marrying
the Princess of Marosin--and for turning your Majesty into an
acknowledged lover of the Countess Joblonsky."

"Who and what are you? Villain, untie my hands."

The cord was snapped asunder.

"Tell me your name, or I shall call the guards, and have you hanged on
the spot."

"My name!" the fellow exclaimed, with a laugh,--"Oh, it is well enough
known everywhere,--at court, in the cottages, in the city, and on the
high-road--by your Majesty's guards, and by your Majesty's subjects. I
am the Pandour of Pandours--your correspondent, and now your cabinet
counsellor. Farewell, Emperor, and remember--Speranski!"

"The cords were at the instant cut from my feet. I sprang after him;
but I might as well have sprung after my own shadow. He was gone--but
whether into the air or the earth, or whether the whole dialogue was
not actually the work of my own imagination, favoured by the struggle
with the conspirators, I cannot tell to this moment. One thing, however,
was unquestionable, that I had been in the hands of murderers, for I
stumbled over the two bodies of the assassins who were cut down in the
mêlée. The first lamp that was brought in showed me also, that the two
Pandour captains had been turned into the two Palatines of Sidlitz and
Frankerin, but by what magic I cannot yet conjecture."

       *       *       *       *       *

A more puzzling affair never had bewildered the high and mighty
functionaries of the imperial court. They pondered upon it for the
day, and they might have added the year to their deliberations without
being nearer the truth. The roll of the Pandours had been called over.
None were missing except the two captains; and certainly the two
conspirators, though in the Pandour uniform, were not of the number.

More perplexity still. The imperial horse-guards returned in the evening
terribly offended by a day's gallop through the vulgarity of the
Hungarian thickets, but suffering no other loss than of a few plumes
and tassels, if we except one, of pretty nearly the same kind, Prince
Charles of Buntzlau. The Prince had been tempted to spur his charger
through a thicket. He led the way in pursuit of the invisible enemy;
he never came back. His whole regiment galloped after him in all
directions. They might as well have hunted a mole; he must have gone
under ground--but where, was beyond the brains of his brilliantly
dressed troopers. He was _un prince perdu_.

Leopold was indignant at this frolic, for as such he must conceive it;
and ordered one of his aides-de-camp to wait at the quarters of the
corps, until the future bridegroom grew weary of his wild-goose chase,
and acquaint him that the next morning was appointed for his marriage.
But he returned not.

Next morning there was another fund of indignation prepared for the
astonished Emperor. The bride was as undiscoverable as the bridegroom.
The palace of the Princess de Marosin had been entered in the night; but
her attendants could tell no more than that they found her chamber doors
open, and their incomparable tenant flown, like a bird from its gilded
cage. All search was made, and made in vain. The Prince returned after
a week's detention by robbers in a cave. He was ill received. Leopold,
astonished and embarrassed, conscious that he was treading on a soil
of rebellion, and vexed by his personal disappointments, broke up his
court, and rapidly set out for the hereditary dominions.

He had subsequently serious affairs to think of. The French interest
in Turkey roused the Ottoman to a war. Orders were given for a general
levy through the provinces, and the Emperor himself commenced a tour of
inspection of the frontier lying towards Roumelia. In the Croatian levy,
he was struck peculiarly with the Count Corneglio Bancaleone, Colonel of
a corps of Pandours, eminent for beauty of countenance and dignity of
form; for activity in the manoeuvres of his active regiment, and one
of the most popular of the nobles of Croatia. The Emperor expressed
himself so highly gratified with the Count's conduct, that, as a mark
of honour, he proposed to take up his quarters in the palace. The Count
bowed; reluctance was out of the question. The Emperor came, and was
received with becoming hospitality; but where was the lady of the
mansion? She was unfortunately indisposed. The Emperor expressed his
regret, and the apology was accepted; but in the evening, while, after
a day of reviews and riding through the Croatian hills, he was enjoying
the lovely view of the sun going down over the Adriatic, and sat at a
window covered with fruits and flowers, impearled with the dew of a
southern twilight, a Hungarian song struck his ear, that had been a
peculiar favourite of his two years before, during his stay in Presburg.
He inquired of the Count who was the singer. Bancaleone's confusion was
visible. In a few moments the door suddenly opened, and two beautiful
infants, who had strayed away from their attendants, rambled into the
room. The Count in vain attempted to lead them out. His imperial guest
was delighted with them, and begged that they might be allowed to stay.

The eldest child, to pay his tribute to the successful advocate on
the occasion, repeated the Hungarian song. "Who had taught him?" "His
mother, who was a Hungarian." Bancaleone rose in evident embarrassment,
left the room, and shortly returned leading that mother. She fell at the
Emperor's feet. She was the Princess of Marosin, lovelier than ever;
with the glow of the mountain air on her cheek, and her countenance
lighted up with health, animation, and expressive beauty. Leopold threw
his arms round his lovely relative, and exhibited the highest
gratification in finding her again, and finding her so happy.

But sudden reflections covered the imperial brow with gloom. The
mysterious deaths, the conspiracies, the sanguinary violences of
Presburg, rose in his mind, and he felt the painful necessity of

Bancaleone had left the room; but an attendant opened the door, saying
that a Pandour had brought a despatch for his Majesty. The Pandour
entered, carrying a portefeuille in his hand. The Emperor immediately
recognised him, as having often attracted his notice on parade, by his
activity on horseback and his handsome figure. After a few _tours
d'addresse_, which showed his skill in disguise, the Count threw off
the Pandour, and explained the mystifications of Presburg.

"I had been long attached," said he, "to the Princess of Marosin, before
your Majesty had expressed your wishes in favour of the alliance of
Prince Charles of Buntzlau. I immediately formed the presumptuous
determination of thwarting the Prince's objects. I entered, by the
favour of my old friend, Colonel von Herbert, as a private in his
Pandours, and was thus on the spot to attend to my rival's movements.
The Pandours are, as your Majesty knows, great wanderers through the
woods, and one of them, by some means or other, had found, or perhaps
robbed, a part of the Turkish courier's despatches. These despatches he
showed to a comrade, who showed them to me; they were of importance,
for they developed a plot which the Turks were concerting with some
profligate nobles of Presburg, to carry off your Majesty into the
Turkish dominions, a plot which waited only for the arrival of the
Turkish envoy. I got leave of absence, joined some of the rabble of
gipsies who tell fortunes, and rob when they have no fortunes to tell.
We met the Turk, a mêlée ensued, he was unfortunately killed; but I
secured the despatches. The Turk deserved his fate as a conspirator. His
papers contained the names of twenty Magnates, all purchased by Turkish
gold. The Magnates were perplexed by his death. They now waited for the
arrival of a Romish priest, who was to manage the ecclesiastical part of
your Majesty's murder. I went into the woods again, caught the Cardinal
alive on his march, put him into the hands of the gypsies, who, feeling
no homage for his vocation, put him on a sanative and antipolitical
regimen of bread and water for a fortnight, and then dismissed him over
the frontier. On the day of the coronation, your Majesty was to have
died by the hands of Colvellino. I volunteered the office. Colvellino
followed me, to keep me to my duty. I plucked your robe to put you on
your guard; saw the Grand Chamberlain's dagger drawn to repay me for my
officiousness, and in self-defence was forced to use my own. He was a
traitor, and he died only too honourable a death."

"But the magic that changed the Pandour captains into Palatines? That
Speranski too, who had the impudence to lecture me in my bonds?" asked
the Emperor, with a smile.

"All was perfectly simple," said the Count; "the two captains were
invited to a supper in the palace, which soon disqualified them for
taking your Majesty's guard. Their uniforms were then given to two of
the Palatines, who undertook to carry off your Majesty, or kill you in
case of resistance. But no man can work without instruments. One of the
gypsies, who was to have acted as postilion on the occasion, sold his
employment for that night to another, who sold his secret to me. I
remained in the next chamber to your Majesty's during the night. I had
posted a dozen of the Pandours within call, in case of your being in
actual danger. But my first purpose was to baffle the conspiracy without
noise; however, the ruffians were more savage than I had thought them,
and I was nearly too late. But two strokes of the sabre were enough, and
the two Palatines finished their career as expeditiously at least as if
they had died upon the scaffold. In this portefeuille are the Turk's
despatches, the Cardinal's prayers, Colvellino's plot, and the Magnate's

Leopold rose and took him by the hand. "Count, you shall be my
aide-de-camp, and a general. You deserve every praise that can be given
to skill and courage. But the watch, the pendule, the trap for that
prince of parroquets, Buntzlau?" said Leopold, bursting out into a laugh
fatal to all etiquette.

"Your Majesty will excuse me," said the Count; "these are a lady's
secrets, or the next to a lady's, a man of fashion's. Mystification all.
Magic everywhere; and it is not over yet. The Vienna paper this morning
met my astonished eye with a full account of the marriage of his Serene
Highness of Buntzlau with the illustrious widow of the Count Lublin née
Joblonsky. Capitally matched. He brings her his ringlets, she brings him
her rouge. He enraptures her with the history of his loves; she can give
him love for love at least. He will portion her with his debts, and she
is as equal as any Countess in Christendom to return the politeness in
kind. _Vive le beau marriage!_ A coxcomb is the true _cupidon_ for a
coquette all over the world."


[_MAGA._ DECEMBER 1840.]


Jaqueline Triquet was the daughter of a _propriétaire_, or owner, of a
very small farm, near a village in the Bourbonnois, the real name of
which it might be dangerous to state, for reasons that will be apparent
to such of our fair readers as may condescend patiently to toil through
what is to follow. Let it therefore be called, after the patron saint of
France, St Denis.

Jaqueline, our heroine, was about the middle height of her sex, but had
the appearance of being somewhat shorter, in consequence of the rather
masculine breadth of her frame and vigorous "development" of muscle.
These were, however, great advantages to one compelled to live a life of
labour, and to associate with persons of a class not particularly
celebrated for delicacy of manners or feeling; and of these advantages
Jaqueline evinced that she was perfectly aware, by frequently asserting
that she was "not afraid of any man."

Her other personal qualifications were a compact, round,
good-humoured-looking countenance, with two very bright black useful
eyes, which had an odd way of trying to look at each other--a propensity
that, if not over-violent, has been pronounced exceedingly attractive
by many connoisseurs of beauty. But, alas! Jaqueline was no beauty,
whatever she might have been in early youth; for that dreadful enemy of
fair faces, the small-pox, had attacked her in his angry mood, and sadly
disfigured every charm save that over which even he hath no power, the
all-pleasing expression of good-humour. So that remained for Jaqueline;
and not that alone. Not merely was the cheerful outward sign upon her
homely sunburnt countenance, but the blessed reality was within; and
there was not a merrier, more industrious, nor lighter-hearted lass in
the whole _commune_. Artless, simple, and kind to all, she was a general
favourite; and with general favour she remained apparently quite
content, till certain of her younger companions got married, and then
she felt occasionally dull--she knew not why.

"It is not that I envy them, I am sure," said she to herself in one of
her musing fits; "no--I rejoice in their happiness. If Franchette had
not married Jean Clement, I am sure I never should, even if he had asked
me, which he never did. And then Jaques Roget, and Pierre Dupin, and
Philippe Chamel--bless them all, and their wives too, I say! I wish
them happy; I'm sure I do. I don't envy them; I'm sure I don't. And
yet--yet--I can't think what's the matter with me!"

Poor Jaqueline's was no very uncommon case. She was not in love with
any particular person. Her heart was her own, and a good warm heart it
was, and she felt conscious that it was well worth somebody's winning;
therefore it is no marvel that at last she breathed a secret wish that
somebody would set about the task in earnest.

Such was the state of her feelings when her father, who was a widower,
resolved to intrust her with the management of certain affairs in the
way of business at Moulins, which he had hitherto always attended to

"The change will do you good, my child," said he; "and Madame Margot
will be delighted to see you, if it were only for your poor dear
mother's sake, rest her soul! She always asks after you, and has invited
me to bring you with me a thousand times. So you may be sure of a
welcome from her. And Nicolas is a good lad too, and has managed the
business admirably since his father's death, though he is such a lively
fellow that one could hardly expect it. He'll _chaperon_ you, and do the
_aimable_, no doubt. So, _vale_! never fear. And if you find yourself
happy with them, and Madame presses you to stay--why, it's only August
now, and I sha'n't want you home till the vintage--so do as you like,
my good child; I can trust you."

The journey to Moulins was little more than ten leagues; but travelling
in the cross-roads of the Bourbonnois is a very rough and tedious
affair. To Jaqueline it appeared the most important event in her life;
and as she rode, in the cool of a Monday morning, upon her father's nag,
to a neighbouring farmer's, about two leagues on her way, she felt half
inclined to turn back, and request to be left at home in quiet, rather
than go on to be mingled in scenes of gaiety, wherein something
whispered to her that she was not likely to be very happy. But the
congratulations of the said farmer's daughters, who all declared how
much they envied her, and how delighted they should be to be in her
place, to which, perhaps, may be added the invigorating effects of a
most unromantic, substantial breakfast, caused a marvellous change in
her feelings, insomuch that she appeared the merriest of the party, as
they walked afterward to the summit of a rising ground, from which her
further progress on foot into the high-road might be clearly indicated.
There, after receiving minute instructions, by attending to which she
was assured that it was impossible she could mistake her way, she took
leave of her friends, with the feeling that she was about to be launched
into a new sort of world.

The sun shone brightly, the birds sang merrily, and ever and anon a
passing breeze rustled cheerfully the foliage above and all around, as
Jaqueline stepped lightly on, scarcely encumbered by her not very
elegant nor ponderous bundle, containing much less than the fair sex
usually require when going on a visit. But this lightness of wardrobe
caused the not least agreeable of her anticipations, as her father had
given her a _carte blanche_ to supply its defects from the _magasins_
of Moulins, stipulating only that in her headgear there should be no
deviation from the established costume of their ancestresses, who, from
generation to generation, had worn, or rather carried, perched forward
upon their caps, the small, boat-like, diminutive-crowned hat called _La

Now, whether she had been thinking too much about how her new _fougère_
should be trimmed, or that the plain directions of her friends were
too perplexingly minute to be borne clearly in memory, cannot be
ascertained; but at a spot where a single footpath became double, she
hesitated and looked round, and endeavoured to recollect. There was no
one near to bias her choice; so she decided for herself, and took the
left path, uttering the self-comforting ejaculation--"I am sure that
this is the right." Therefore she walked briskly on, till visited by
unpleasant misgivings that her steps had deviated too far to the left;
and then followed doubt upon doubt, fast walking, stopping, hesitation,
and looking about, as usual in such cases, till it became too evident
that she had contrived to do that which her kind friends pronounced to
be impossible. She had lost her way.

Now, losing one's way is far from agreeable, even to common, everyday
people; but when such a misfortune occurs to heroines, it is a much more
serious piece of business, inasmuch as their blundering always exercises
an evil influence over the weather. No matter how fine and cloudless the
day may have previously been, no sooner is a heroine bewildered, and,
amid unknown tracks, compelled to "give it up" as a too-puzzling riddle,
than all the elements combine to increase her perplexity. The thunders
incontinently commence growling over her head, the vivid lightning
flashes all around, the winds blow a hurricane, and down comes the rain
like a cataract. The moral intended to be drawn from such often-repeated
disasters probably is, that young ladies should be careful of their
footsteps; for certainly the elements of society are not less pitiless
to an erring female than are those of nature toward a lost heroine.

Jaqueline's predicament was no exception to the general rule, which
is not surprising, as the sudden and violent summer storms of the
Bourbonnois are proverbial. However, before she was quite "wet through,"
she had the heroine's usual good-luck of finding shelter in the ruins of
an old castle, to which she was guided by the welcome sight of a small
wreath of smoke, ascending from a corner of the dilapidated building.
After peeping cautiously from behind the open folding-shutter of an
unglazed window, and ascertaining the sex of the lonely tenant, she
ventured to enter, and was most kindly welcomed by an aged woman, whose
bodily infirmities had in no degree affected the organs of speech. So
Jaqueline soon had the consolation of learning how and where she had
missed her way, and also of hearing many particulars of her hostess's
life, which need not be repeated here. The best of the affair, however,
was, that the old body had both the means and the inclination to make
her guest comfortable. There was plenty of dry wood piled up in the
corner of the room, and it was not spared. The fire crackled and blazed
cheerfully; and then she placed certain culinary earthen vessels upon
and around it, and at the end of a string in the front suspended a fowl,
over the roasting of which she sate down to watch and talk.

The rain still continued, and Jaqueline felt grateful; therefore, after
some little necessary attention to her dress, she thought she could not
do better than, as the phrase is, "make herself generally useful." So
she bustled about, and evinced a knowledge of the _menage_ and the
_cuisine_ that raised her greatly in the estimation of her entertainer.

The wing of a fowl, and _une petite goutte_ of wine, in a tumbler of
water, is the usual allowance for French heroines. How far Jaqueline
surpassed them need not be told; but, by the time their dinner was
ended, she and the ancient dame seemed quite upon the footing of old

"Ah!" continued the old woman (for she had talked continuously)--"Ah!
I like you, my good girl. I've taken a fancy to you; and when I take
a fancy to anybody, I can do something--hem!"

"You have been very kind to me," said Jaqueline--"very kind; and you may
depend upon it I shall not be ungrateful. You must come and pay me a
visit in October, at the vintage, and then----"

"You'll be very glad to see me," continued the old woman. "That's what
you mean to say, I know. Well, well, there's time enough for that;
but--now, now--tell me! Isn't there anything that I can do for you now?
Haven't you some wish?"

"Only that you would be so good as to show me the way to the Cock and
Bottle, in the high-road," replied Jaqueline, to the apparent great
amusement of the old crone, who cackled immoderately till a fit of
coughing compelled her to take a few more sips of wine, of which
Jaqueline began to suspect she had already taken quite enough.

"Excuse my laughing, my child," said she at length--"but really your
mistake was so diverting. I meant to talk of more serious things--of
your prospects in life--of your wishes particularly. Young people
always have wishes. Ay! I see by that smile that you have. There--that's
understood--and now tell me what it is."

Here followed a long confabulation, in which Jaqueline revealed all the
particulars of her birth, parentage, and education; and eventually the
old body wormed out of her the secret that she did really wish the other
sex would pay her somewhat more marked attention.

"But can't you name any particular one whom you should prefer?" was the
next question; "if you can, don't be afraid to tell me. No one else
shall know it, and I'm sure I could manage it. What's his name?"

Jaqueline replied that she felt no decided preference for any one, and
added merrily, "Let them come and offer themselves--that's all I wish.
No matter how many of them. It will be time enough then for me to make
_my_ choice."

"Perhaps you might find that difficult if they were very numerous,"
observed her hostess. "I remember, when I was about your age, there
was--heigho! never mind! That's all gone by, and so it's of no use
talking about it. Come, let us go out and look at the weather. Something
tells me that you will not be able to go farther to-night. There's
another storm brewing, or I am much mistaken." Jaqueline's arm on the
left, and a crutch-headed stick on the right, supported the old lady as
they walked round and about the ruins of the castle, every part of which
she explained the former uses of, with an accuracy that might have
satisfied the most curious inquirer, but which quite bewildered our
heroine. What people could have wanted with so many different _salons_,
galleries, and apartments, was to her quite a mystery, and she gazed
upon the massive thickness of the walls with feelings approaching to
reverence. Consequently, when they were driven in by the promised storm,
she was precisely in the right state of mind to be strongly impressed by
the awful long stories that her hostess had to relate of and concerning
the former owners of the place. She told how the castle had been
ransacked and set on fire at the Revolution, and how Monsieur le Comte
de Montjeu and his family made their escape into foreign parts, and were
not heard of till after the Restoration, when the young Comte Henri,
whom she had nursed when an infant, suddenly made his appearance. Of him
she spake in raptures. He had purchased the site of the ruins, and some
land adjacent, and would doubtless some day restore all to its former
splendour, as he held some very lucrative appointment at Paris.
Moreover, she described him as a very handsome young man, though she
feared that he was somewhat too much addicted to gallantry and gaiety.
But then, she added, that was a family failing, and put her in mind of
some passage in the life of his grandfather, which she immediately
proceeded to relate; and so on, and on, and on continuously, as though
reading from a book, went the old lady with her long tales; and
Jaqueline listened, first with curiosity, then from complaisance (as it
was evident that the narrator took pleasure in her own performance), and
at length with a rather dim apprehension of what she heard. This may be
accounted for, either by her not being able to sleep on the previous
night, for thinking of her intended journey, or from the fatigue and
exposure to sunshine and storm during the day, or by her hostess's
hospitable entertainment at dinner and supper (the latter meal forming
an interlude between two of the long stories), or by the whole combined.
But be the cause what it may, she nodded, as most folks would under
similar circumstances, and then was suddenly aroused by missing the
monotonous tones of her entertainer, to whom she apologised, and shook
herself into an attentive attitude. The apology was graciously received,
and Jaqueline's drowsiness dispelled for a while by a legend about a
spring, just at the bottom of the hill, the water of which was reported
to have the power of causing young maidens, who drank thereof, to become
wonderfully fascinating, and to attract lovers of every degree.

"You shall take a draught of it in the morning, _ma bonne_," she said.
"Don't be afraid; you will have your wish before you come back from
Moulins, I'm pretty sure. If not, however, call upon me on your way
back. However, take the water in the morning. Perhaps it mayn't operate
immediately, but perhaps it may; for I remember hearing of two young
ladies who"--and off went the old lady into another long story about
romantic lovers of high degree; and the result of all was, that
Jaqueline went late to bed, with her head full of strange and
multitudinous fancies.


"What a lovely morning it is!" thought Jaqueline. "How pure and
delicious the water of this spring looks! As to what the old lady says
about its wonderful qualities, I can't believe that; but, however, I
will taste it. There! oh, how cool and refreshing!"

Suddenly there was heard the sound of a horn at a short distance, and a
moment after a hunting party came galloping toward the fountain.
Jaqueline would have hid herself, but it was too late; and ere she had
decided in what direction to make her escape, a young, handsome,
elegantly dressed cavalier, who led the party, threw himself from his
horse, and, respectfully approaching her, begged that she would not be

"Thank ye!" said Jaqueline; "no, I an't frightened; only I stopped just
to see which way you was a-galloping, because I don't want to be run

"Charming creature!" exclaimed the cavalier, "do you suppose it possible
that any human being would hurt a hair of your head?"

"I don't know about that," replied Jaqueline. "All as I can say is, that
I don't know any reason why they should; for I never did no harm to
nobody as I know of."

"Never, I am sure," said the young man. "No; innocence and benevolence
are too plainly expressed in every feature of that lovely countenance.
May I crave to know by what happy chance you have been led to this
sequestered spot?"

"I can't see exactly as that's any business of yours," replied
Jaqueline; "howsomever, if you must know, I'm going to the Cock and
Bottle in the high-road, where I hope to find a _patache_ to take me to
Moulins; so, as the good old dame is asleep, and I don't like to wake
her, if you or some of your people will direct me, I shall feel obliged
to you: but I'll thank you not to give me no more of your fine speeches,
that's all."

"A miracle! She despises flattery!" exclaimed the enraptured youth,
clasping his hands together; and then, without farther ceremony, he
threw himself upon his knees, made a regular fervent offer of himself
and fortune, declared himself to be the Comte Henri de Montjeu, and,
seizing the hard hand of his inamorata, pressed it to his lips.

"Drat the man! He's mad!" cried Jaqueline, attempting to extricate her
hand; but, the moment after, finding that he did not bite it, she
allowed it to remain where it was, and, heaving a sigh of compassion,
said to herself, "What a pity! He is so very handsome!"

"Ha!" exclaimed the Comte, "you sigh! You pity me, and pity is--Well,
well. What more can I expect at present? I have been rash. I have
alarmed you, I fear; but henceforth I will be calm," and he got up and
gave himself a violent slap on the forehead to prove his intention.

"Ah!" thought Jaqueline, "you may knock, but there's nobody at home, I
guess. Bless my heart! what a pity, so handsome as you are!"

"I will believe that by time and opportunity, and the most devoted
attentions, I may at length hope to excite an interest in your heart?"
said the Comte inquiringly, and again taking her hand.

"The best way is to humour him, I suppose," thought Jaqueline, as she
replied, "Very likely you may, for I can't say but I'm sorry for you.
Howsomever, you must mind and behave yourself."

This encouragement exhilarated the Comte so powerfully, that, after
uttering sundry brief rhapsodies, his lips approached so near her
sunburnt cheeks, that he seemed on the point of forgetting her
injunctions concerning his behaviour, when she called him to order by
the ejaculation of "Paws off!" on hearing which he bowed low, and
retired to give certain instructions to his followers. These were
executed with wonderful rapidity; for Jaqueline had barely time to tuck
up and adjust her clothes for running, or, as she called it, "make a
bolt," when she found herself surrounded by the horsemen, one of whom,
the ugliest of the lot, was mounted before a pillion, upon which the
Comte begged he might have the honour of placing her. To this, after
some demur, she submitted, because escape on foot now seemed impossible;
but no sooner had she taken her seat, than she whispered in the ear of
the man before her, "Your master's mad, that's clear. So contrive, if
you can, to let us get away from him; and if you take me safe to the
Cock and Bottle, I'll not stand upon trifles, but make it worth your
while. What d'ye say?"

"What do I say?" replied the man, in the same low tone, and looking
round with a most hideous leer. "I say that I wouldn't mind going all
over the world for you, without fee or reward, except, perhaps"--(and he
smacked his thick wide lips too significantly)--"for I'm blessed if you
ain't just about the nicest girl I ever clapped my eyes on." And again
he leered so frightfully, that Jaqueline would have jumped down had she
not been strapped to the pillion.

"The holy Virgin protect me," she murmured; "what sort of folks have I
got among?" and she looked round timidly, but could discern no cause for
alarm, unless it were that the eyes of all the party seemed fixed upon
her, and every countenance was expressive of deep admiration. This was
certainly a sort of homage to which she had been unused, and probably,
on that account, acted more strongly on her feelings; for she
immediately decided that such handsome, agreeable faces could belong
only to men utterly devoid of evil intentions. Having thus made up her
mind, she rather enjoyed the first part of her ride, as they bounded
along merrily across the country, and the Comte rode by her side, ever
and anon making observations and complimentary speeches, to which she
usually replied by hoping that they were in the right road to the Cock
and Bottle.

"_Soyez tranquille!_" was his invariable answer to that question; and so
they held on their way, till they arrived at a large house, into the
courtyard of which he led the cavalcade, and then, dismounting from his
horse, he informed her that she was at her journey's end, and assisted
her to alight at the principal entrance, which seemed to her more fit
for a palace than an inn.

"You will please to take every care of this young lady, for my sake, my
good Madame Rigaud," said the Comte to an elderly female, who stood,
with several livery servants, in the hall.

"This way, Mademoiselle," said the said housekeeper, with a curtsy, and
she led Jaqueline through divers passages and elegant apartments, at
which she marvelled exceedingly, although she had heard strange stories
of the magnificence of certain large hotels in Paris and elsewhere. But
the splendour of the chamber into which she was at last ushered was
quite overpowering, and she stood gazing at the profusion of rich velvet
and silk surrounding her, till roused by Madame Rigaud's request to be
favoured with her commands.

"Bless your heart, my good madame!" exclaimed Jaqueline, "this is no
place for me! I'm only a small farmer's daughter. So just have the
goodness to show me the way into the kitchen, and let me have a basin of
soup and boulli, if there happens to be any, till the next _patache_
comes by for me to make a bargain to go to Moulins."

Madame Rigaud replied, that no vehicles of that description ever passed
the place; and an explanation followed, from which it appeared that
Jaqueline was in the new chateau of the Comte, and some leagues farther
from the Cock and Bottle than when she commenced her ride.

"How could he think of serving me such a trick?" she gasped, sinking
into one of the velvet chairs, and all but sobbing. "He's mad, isn't

"I should almost think he is," said Madame Rigaud. "To be sure, there is
no accounting for the tricks of young men, I know that pretty well; nor
their fancies neither; but _this_ is so _very_ extraordinary!" and,
looking down upon her charge, she elevated her hands and then her eyes,
and shrugged her shoulders expressively.

"I'll not stay here; I'm determined upon that!" exclaimed Jaqueline.

"That's right, my dear," said Madame Rigaud; and forthwith they
concocted a plan of escape, which was to be carried into effect by the
aid of Madame Rigaud's son Philippe, who was in the Comte's service; and
in the meanwhile they retired to her private room to avoid observation;
and there the said Philippe, a smart, active young man, presently made
his appearance.

"It's a burning shame," he cried, when he had heard the story; "but I'll
see Ma'mselle safe to the Cock and Bottle, and to Moulins too, if she
will allow me. So, mother, you must go directly to the stables, and tell
Pierre to put the side-saddle on the strawberry mare, and let me have
Volante. Nobody will suspect you; and, by the time you come back, the
Comte's breakfast will be served, and the footman will be engaged in
waiting, and then Ma'mselle and I can slip off unnoticed. Courage!" and
he laughed, and slapped his thigh right jovially. But the moment his
mother had disappeared and closed the door, his demeanour was totally
changed, and making a serious face, and putting his hand on his heart,
he bent his body forward most obsequiously, and then went upon his knees
before Jaqueline, and vowed after a very solemn fashion, that not only
would he conduct her to Moulins, but that it would give him the greatest
of all possible satisfaction to accompany her throughout the whole
journey of life.

"Do you suppose I'm going to ride on horseback all my days?" inquired
the bewildered maid; "no, no. All I want is to get safe to the Cock and
Bottle. But you'd better get up, and not make such a fool of yourself;
for don't you see that the floor has been fresh ruddled, and you'll
stain your best----"

Here her speech was cut short, and the scene abruptly changed, by the
sudden opening of the door, and the appearance of a remarkably fat,
red-faced, profusely powdered, well-dressed man of "a certain age," who,
the moment he caught sight of Jaqueline, seemed fixed to the spot where
he stood, with his eyes riveted upon her countenance. Whether he had
observed Philippe's position was doubtful, as that sprightly youth had
jumped upon his feet at the first movement of the door, and stood
sheepishly against the wall, twirling his thumbs; a task from which he
was speedily relieved by the advance of the new-comer, who dismissed him
from the room by a silent, authoritative wave of the hand.

"This must be the old Comte," thought Jaqueline, rising and bobbing her
best curtsy. "No wonder he is surprised to see the like of me here; but
I'll tell him all about it, and I daresay he'll be glad enough to send
me off to the Cock and Bottle, if it's only to get rid of me."

"Oh! I beg, I entreat, Mademoiselle," gasped the unwieldy stranger; and
as he spake he continued a series of short bows, ducking his red face as
forward as he dare, without danger of destroying the equilibrium of his
body. "Oh, Mademoiselle! Pray do not disturb yourself. It is a mistake,
quite. Ah! Monsieur le Comte requests--oh, oh! Pray, be seated! Ugh!
ugh! What can I say? What shall I do? I never was so perplexed in my
life before. Oh! You will never forgive!"

"Yes, but I will, though," said Jaqueline; "I'll forgive all that's
past, if you will but get me out of the way of your son."

"My son!" exclaimed the fat man; "Eh? How came Mademoiselle to know that
I had a son? And he, the young rascal! has he dared to aspire so high? I
could not have supposed him capable of such audacity!"

"Couldn't you?" observed Jaqueline; "well, then, you ought to look
after him better, and not let him go playing such precious tricks as he
has with me this morning, deceiving me first by talking all sorts of
nonsense, and then bumping me about the country on horseback, till I
declare I'm quite uncomfortable."

The eyes of the huge red face before her here became dilated to an
extraordinary degree; but the mental perception of their owner appeared
to be eclipsed, as he stood with puffed-out cheek discharging his breath
violently through his pursed-up mouth, as though playing upon a trumpet.

"It's no use being in a passion about it now," continued Jaqueline;
"what's done can't be helped; and if you'll only see me safe to the Cock
and Bottle----"

"What, I!" exclaimed the stout gentleman; "may I venture to hope that
you will condescend to accept of my humble services?"

"To be sure I will," replied Jaqueline, "and thank you too. Why not?"

"Oh! this is too much happiness!" sighed the panting elderly beau, and
forthwith, by the help of a chair, he lowered himself down upon his
knees, and then attempted to seize the maiden's hand; but she somewhat
too nimbly moved her chair and self backward, and thereby caused him to
fall forward on all-fours, in which position he was when Madame Rigaud
suddenly re-entered, and exclaimed--"Ah! Monsieur Robert! what can be
the matter?"

"I'm afraid the poor gentleman is taken suddenly ill," replied

"What presence of mind! what angelic--humph!" muttered the patient,
looking up, and winking in a very odd way at the maiden.

Madame Rigaud declared that it was of no kind of use for them to try to
lift him up, so she lifted up her voice, and presently the room was
crowded; for Monsieur Robert was no less a personage than the
house-steward, or maître-d'hotel, who had been sent by the Comte to
desire Madame Rigaud to inform the young lady that breakfast was served,
and her presence to grace that meal was most respectfully requested, and
anxiously desired.

Of this invitation Jaqueline was not made aware until the apoplectic
invalid had been placed upon a sofa, and contrived to catch hold of one
of her hands, and pinch it sadly. "Ah! I'm quite well now!" he
exclaimed, "it was only a momentary--ah! I don't know what;" and, rising
briskly, he ordered all present to leave the room, as he had something
particular to say to the young lady. The domestics instantly withdrew;
but Madame Rigaud remained, and whispered to Jaqueline that the horses
would be ready in ten minutes, and then, in a louder tone, proposed that
they should take breakfast together immediately.

At this proposition Monsieur Robert appeared much shocked, and spake
incoherently about proper respect, and the Comte's particular desire,
and his own most perfect devotion to the service of Mademoiselle; to
which she replied--"You may as well save your breath to cool your broth,
old gentleman. I've had quite enough of the Comte's tricks already this
morning; and as for your services, they're of no use to me."

"Oh, cruel!" groaned Monsieur Robert. "Did you not just now accept them,
and even condescend to request me to see you safe to some place?"

"Well, well, I don't want you now," said Jaqueline; "I've got an active
young man, who will do a great deal better."

"Oh! how cruelly capricious!" he sighed, and the great red face was
turned upward as he clasped his hands imploringly, and he was striving,
no doubt, to concoct something very pathetic, when the young Comte burst
in upon them, and began, in no measured terms, to upbraid Madame Rigaud
for her misconduct in allowing his distinguished visitor to occupy any
other than the best apartments. He then apologised to Jaqueline, and
taking her hand, and bowing respectfully, led her out of the room toward
the _salle à manger_, from whence issued certain savoury odours, which
operated more powerfully upon the hungry maiden than could all the fine
speeches he continued to utter. So, determined to make a good
breakfast, to strengthen her for her flight with Philippe, she allowed
herself to be conducted into the elegant apartment, where she was
received by the company with as much deference as though she had been a
princess. The party consisted of half-a-dozen persons; and as there were
no other ladies present, she was the great object of attention. The
Comte gallantly pressed her to partake of certain delicacies at table;
and, when she laconically expressed her approbation thereof, seemed
quite in ecstasy. One gentleman complimented her upon patronising the
dress of the country, and thereby evincing a purity of taste far
superior to that of ladies who fancy nothing becoming unless brought
from Paris. "Ah!" sighed another, "with such personal attractions,
Mademoiselle has little need to trouble herself about fashions."--"No,"
said Jaqueline; "that's the mantua-makers' and milliners' business, not
mine; I never trouble my head about such things, not I."--"What
elevation of mind!" exclaimed the Comte.--"How infinitely above vulgar
prejudices!" ejaculated one of his companions; and the rest expressed
their admiration by the epithets "charming," "admirable," &c. &c. In
short, everything she uttered was declared to be replete with wit or
sentiment; and the result was, that by the time she had finished a very
hearty _déjeuné à la fourchette_, she began to question whether she
really might not possess certain endowments for which she had never
previously given herself credit, and had not quite decided, when the
Comte contrived to draw her attention toward a window, and so have her
to himself. He then, without loss of time, made her a regular offer of
himself, his chateau, and his fortune; and Jaqueline replied with a
sigh, "I don't think I shall do for you, nor you for me; but,
howsomever, I can't say nothing more about it without asking my father."

"I'll ask him!" exclaimed the enraptured Comte; "I'll ride over to him
directly. I'll bring him back to dinner. We have a priest in the
chateau," and he knelt and pressed her hand to his lips.

"Well, upon my word!" said Jaqueline, "some people fancy they've only to
ask and have. Just as if my father would give me away like a bunch of

"What an admirable simile!" exclaimed the Comte. "Yes, a bunch of
grapes, sound, ripe, beautiful to the eye, exquisite in flavour,
blooming, delicate to the touch----"

"Better not try," muttered Jaqueline, for, as he spake, he rose up and
approached rather too near. "Paws off! as I told you before, or you'll
catch it presently," and she pushed him away with a vigour seldom
displayed by ladies of his own rank.

"This is too much!" exclaimed one of the party, rushing forward.
"Monsieur le Comte, you forget yourself strangely. No man can stand
tamely by, and see such innocence and beauty annoyed. You must perceive
that your attentions are unwelcome, and I insist upon it that you
proceed no farther. Don't be alarmed, Mademoiselle, I will protect you."

"You insist!" cried the Comte, scowling fiercely. "It is you who forget
yourself, Monsieur le Capitaine, when you dare to address such language
to me."

"Dare!" shouted the captain; "for this lady's sake I would dare a
thousand such miserables."

"I think a walk into the open air may be of service to you," observed
the Comte, pointing significantly to the door.

"Good!" replied the captain, and after bowing respectfully to Jaqueline,
he withdrew, and was almost immediately followed by the Comte and two
more of the party, leaving only a dapper thin little gentleman dressed
in black, who immediately strutted up to our heroine, and, laying his
hand upon his left breast, began to hem and cough, and looked
exceedingly perplexed and miserable. "What's the matter with _you_?"
thought Jaqueline; "you look as if you had eaten something that had
disagreed with you."

"That benevolent glance has revived me!" exclaimed the small gentleman.
"Ah, mademoiselle! I have struggled hard. The Comte is my patron. I
would not be ungrateful; but--but--I am convinced that a lady of your
delicate perceptions, of your incomparable--Oh! what shall I say? I am a
notary, and seldom want words--but on this occasion they seem to fail
me. I mean to say that I am firmly convinced that neither my friend the
Comte nor his boisterous comrades are fit or capable of--ahem! In short,
a quiet life, with one who would do his utmost to secure your
affections, to merit your esteem, and to promote your happiness, is----"

"Just the very thing I should like," said Jaqueline; "but the question
is, where to find him."

"Behold him here!" exclaimed the notary, dropping on his knees. "Never
before did this heart surrender to beauty. Hitherto my whole soul has
been given to making money, without being very particular how, I must
own; but now, all is changed! There is about you an irresistible

"Ah!" shrieked Jaqueline, "so there is! I see it all now! It's all along
of that water I drank this morning. Get out of the way, do!" and,
rushing past him, she ran off to the room of Madame Rigaud, whom she
earnestly entreated to introduce her to the priest of the family without
loss of time. "I shall place myself under his protection," said she.

"The resolution does you great credit," observed Madame Rigaud. "He will
attend you here immediately, I am sure; for he is an excellent man, and
always delighted to do good."

About five minutes after, as Jaqueline was standing alone before a
mirror, endeavouring vainly to discover what change in her appearance
had caused such a marvellous change in the manners of the men toward
her, the door slowly opened, and a venerable grey-haired ecclesiastic
stood gazing upon her in respectful silence.

"Ah! Father Dunstan!" she exclaimed joyously, "is that you? Oh! I am so
rejoiced to see you! Don't you know me?"

"Really, Mademoiselle," said the holy man, nervously, "there must be
some mistake. If I had ever had the honour of being introduced to you, I
am sure I could not have forgotten----"

"No, I can't be mistaken," observed Jaqueline, "only I'm grown a good
deal since you left St Denis. Many a time you've dandled me on your
knee; but I suppose I'm too heavy for that now; so come, sit down, and
I'll take a chair beside you, or perhaps I ought to go upon my knees,
for it is a sort of confession that I've got to make, though really I
didn't think there could be any great harm in just drinking a little
water. However, you'll tell me what to do, I know; for you were always
very kind and indulgent, though you used to thump me on the back, and
laugh at me for romping, and say that I was too strong for a girl, and
ought to have been a boy."

"Is it possible?" exclaimed the bewildered priest.

"Perfectly true, _mon bon père_," said our heroine. "Look at me again.
There, I am your old play-fellow, Jaqueline Triquet."

"Is it possible!" repeated the good man, elevating his hands and eyes in
especial wonder.

Jaqueline then told her tale, and in conclusion, said, "And now, my good
father, I place myself under your protection, and hope you will take me
away from this place, and all the strange people about it. I'll go
anywhere with you; but had rather go to the Cock and Bottle, because
there I shall be sure to find a _patache_ to take me to Moulins."

"My dear child," said the priest fervently, "I will go with thee; I will
protect thee; but while I am preparing for our departure, thou must
leave this room, where thou art liable to intrusions, and I will place
thee in the charge of good Madame Rigaud."

Jaqueline was accordingly removed to a more private apartment, where she
awaited the priest's summons in great uneasiness, as Madame Rigaud, who
was not particularly taciturn, visited her from time to time with
strange accounts of what had passed, and was then going on among the
household, all in consequence of her untoward presence therein.

It seemed that the Comte had wounded his friend the Captain, and that,
while he was so laudably engaged, a footman, anxious to gaze upon the
charms of the bewitching fair one, had peeped through the opening of the
half-closed door of the _salon_, and witnessed the scene between her and
the amorous notary, the particulars of which he whispered to his master
on his triumphant return. The Comte thereupon rushed furiously forward,
and, discovering the luckless limb of the law still upon his knees, and
apparently paralysed by Jaqueline's abrupt retreat, without any ceremony
bestowed upon him sundry hard names and one particularly ugly kick, by
the latter of which the little gentleman was so thrown off his guard as
to abandon the chance of a lucrative legal process, and to demand
satisfaction instanter. It was given, and the Comte was wounded; and
then the notary, feeling that his suit was in no degree advanced by this
display of his prowess, and yet smarting under the mortification
consequent upon our heroine's style of receiving his addresses, most
unadvisedly spake of her after the fashion of the fox in the fable, when
he found that the grapes were above his reach. This produced certain
sarcastic observations from another of the party, which led to a fresh
encounter, that terminated by the legal functionary's being disarmed
with a violent sprain in his right wrist.

Then, in the lower department, much altercation had taken place.
Monsieur Robert thought proper to call Philippe Rigaud a young puppy;
and Philippe, instead of acknowledging his puppyism, as in duty bound,
to his superior, vehemently apostrophised him as an old fool. The female
domestics were all scandalised beyond measure at the blindness and
stupidity of their sweethearts in particular, and the men-servants
generally, in admiring an awkward country-girl, as some called our
heroine; but all agreed in pronouncing her to be "no great things."

At length Jaqueline and Father Dunstan took their departure through a
private road from the back of the chateau, and rode in silence, side by
side, for nearly a league, when Jaqueline expressed her sorrow for the
disasters and quarrels that have just been related.

"It was no fault of thine, my child," observed the priest; "it is ever
thus when women are so exceedingly beautiful. Men don't know what to do
with themselves. Heigho!"

"La, Father Dunstan!" exclaimed Jaqueline, "what can that have to do
with the present case? I'm no beauty, that's certain, or some of our
young fellows would have found it out long ago. You used to say yourself
that I was more fit for a boy; and latterly I've been thinking the same,
and had a great mind, since nobody would come a-courting to me, to dress
myself up like a man, and try my luck that way."

"Most exceedingly dull and stupid must the young men about St Denis be
in the present generation!" said Father Dunstan. "But you'll find it
very different at Moulins. Heigho!" and they rode on in silence for a
considerable distance, and then Jaqueline exclaimed, "Why, this is the
same way that I was brought this morning! Yes. And there I declare is
part of the old castle, peeping above the trees. We shan't get to the
Cock and Bottle to-night at this rate! But, bless us, _mon bon père_,
what's the matter with you? Aren't you well?"

"Not exactly, my dear," replied the priest; "I feel a very peculiar
sensation in my pericardium, and a dizziness about the head."

"Can I do anything for you?" inquired Jaqueline.

"I think," said Father Dunstan, "nay, I am sure that it would do me good
to hear you talk a little, my dear Mademoiselle."

"Very well," replied Jaqueline, "I don't mind talking a great deal, if
that will be of any service: but what must it be about?"

"Anything. Only speak kindly."

"Speak kindly! why, how can I speak in any other way to such a nice good
old man as you are?"

"No, no, not very old. Don't talk so," said the priest, reproachfully.

"Well then, I won't," continued Jaqueline--"for I'll please you, if I
can; and, now I look at you again, really I shouldn't have thought
you'd been so old as you are, if I didn't remember that, when I was a
child, you looked much the same as you do now; and I've heard my father

"Never mind what, my dear. Don't mention it."

"Very well, father, then I've done, though I can't see how it signifies
about your age, when you are so hearty and strong as you are."

"Do you really think so?" inquired the delighted priest.

"Why, of course. One has only to look at you, and see that plain
enough," said Jaqueline; and then, perceiving the sort of talk that
was most likely to be agreeable to her companion, she continued to
compliment him upon his good looks till they arrived at the ruins.

The old lady was absent; but Father Dunstan said he knew her well, and
that she would be very angry if he did not make himself quite at home.
So he prevailed upon Jaqueline to consider herself as his guest till
their hostess's return; and bestirring himself with the alacrity of a
youth, he had put up the horses, spread the table-cloth, lighted the
fire, and was beating up an omelet, before Jaqueline had finished
her simple toilet. When she expressed her wish to take the culinary
department, he gently, but firmly and respectfully, requested her to
take a seat, and let him have his own way, which she accordingly did,
marvelling exceedingly at his dexterity and accurate knowledge of the
contents of the old lady's larder, and the spot in which everything
was kept.

In due time they sate down to dine, and his attention to her during the
meal was excessive, and therefore tiresome to one unused to form and
ceremony. So, when it was finished, she reminded him of his old habit
of taking a nap in the afternoon, and recommended him to do so on the
present occasion, hinting, at the same time, her hope that, when he
had so refreshed himself, he would be ready to escort her to the Cock
and Bottle. But at this last suggestion he shook his head, and said
something about the horses being tired, and then yawned and took a glass
of wine, and then yawned again, and so on till he fell asleep.

"I think I'll go and lie down, and do the same," thought Jaqueline, "for
I'm dreadfully fatigued with all this riding"--and she betook herself to
the little dormitory in which she had been installed by the old lady on
the preceding night; and after gaping once or twice, and wondering when
she should get to the Cock and Bottle, she lost sight of her cares--and
the next question she had occasion to ask herself was, "How long have I
been asleep?"

It is a question which, after fatigue, we have all occasionally found
it very difficult to answer. Jaqueline rubbed her eyes, and repeated
it aloud, and greatly was she astonished to receive a reply in the
well-known tones of Father Dunstan, who was seated by her bedside. "You
have slept soundly, my dear. It is now morning. I have kept watch over
you, as I hope always to be permitted to do hereafter. Heigho!"

"La! Father Dunstan!" exclaimed Jaqueline, shrinking under the
coverlet--"surely this is very improper conduct, although you are such
a very old man."

"No, no," cried the priest, "I am not an old man. I feel that I am not.
You will be very happy with me, and without you I cannot live. I have
not slept a wink all night for thinking of you, and have made up my
mind. It is of no use for you to refuse, as I've got you here in the
middle of the forest. So agree at once to go with me to England, where
priests are allowed to marry, and you will never repent it. Beautiful,
beautiful creature as you are, I shall never cease to adore you!"

"You horrid, wicked old wretch!" shrieked Jaqueline, "get along out of
the room immediately, or, if you don't, mind I have not taken off my
clothes: I'll get up and give your old bones such a shaking--I will. Eh!
What! You'd hold me down would you? Let go the clothes, will you! If I
do but get my hands loose, I'll scratch your eyes out, I will, you ugly
old--old--old monster! What! You'd smother me, would you? Help, help,
murder!" and making a violent effort as she shrieked, she felt herself
suddenly released from the incumbent pressure.

"Oh, he's gone, is he!" she exclaimed, breathing hard after the
struggle, and looking round the room, "better for him, or else I'd
have--but bless me! I am undressed, after all! How very strange that
I don't recollect----"

Here she was agreeably surprised by the appearance of her kind hostess,
who came running into the room in great apparent alarm, to inquire
what was the matter. The explanation that followed, consisted of the
adventures which have been related; and when the old lady had heard them
to the end, she remarked, with an odd sort of smile--"Well, never mind,
my dear, you are safe out of their clutches now; so dress yourself, and
come down to breakfast, for it is very near eight o'clock; but I did not
call you before, as you seemed so sound asleep; and now I know what's
happened, I don't wonder."


"No, no, you may depend upon it I shall not tell anybody about it, for
my own sake; for if it got talked of, it might come to the ears of the
Comte and the rest of them, and they'd be after me again; but I've had
quite enough of your gentry, and lots of lovers; and if ever I should
get another, I hope he'll be a plain sort of body like myself."

Thus said Jaqueline to her kind hostess of the castle, on their way to
the Cock and Bottle, where they arrived after a pleasant walk, and
parted without further adventures.

On the evening of that day our heroine was safely conveyed in the
_patache_ to the door of Madame Margot, who was a restauratrice in the
Cours Public, a pleasant open space planted with trees in the town of
Moulins. Her reception was most cordial; but Nicolas Margot, who
officiated as _premier garçon_ in the establishment, evinced no symptoms
of that intense admiration which she had so recently excited. In a few
days, however, they became excellent friends, as she cheerfully assisted
him in his vocation during the morning, and he was consequently earlier
at liberty to chaperon her about the town and environs, and all went on
smoothly till the last day of the first week, which Jaqueline declared
was Sunday.

How any Christian could so err, appeared wonderful--but she was
positive, and would not be convinced, until the day had passed by, and
the next came and was kept as Sabbaths are wont to be observed in
France, by unusual gaiety all day, something more showy than common at
the theatre in the evening, and fireworks "superbe et magnifique" at
night. Then she was puzzled, and came to the conclusion that townsfolk
and country people kept the calendar in two ways.

"They will never persuade me to the contrary," she repeated to herself;
"for I never can forget how I spent last Tuesday. But the old lady was
right. It won't do to tell Madame Margot or Nicolas about that, or I
don't know what they might not fancy, although I am sure it was no fault
of mine that I got among such a pack of fools."

So she kept that secret; and as time passed merrily along, it somehow
happened that she and Nicolas glided unawares into such a degree of
confidence, that it was the only secret she withheld from him.

The influence of the moon upon disordered brains may probably account
for much of the nonsensical talk that passes between young persons of
different sexes, when walking in pairs on "a shiny night;" and that or
something else, ere a month had elapsed, caused a great alteration in
the tone and subjects of familiar chat between Jaqueline and Nicolas.

This was observed by Madame Margot, who thereupon also changed her
manner, by kissing her guest more fervently at night ere she retired to
rest, while Nicolas looked very much as though he should like to do the

"She is a charming, good girl," said the mother to her son, when they
were left together on one of these occasions, after Jaqueline's

"That she is!" exclaimed Nicolas, stretching out his legs, twirling his
thumbs, and looking down into the fire.

"And _so_ good-tempered!" added Madame Margot, "and so willing and
clever about a house! Why, since she has been here, she has been as good
as a waiter to us."

"Worth more than all we ever had put together in a lump," said Nicolas.

"She would make an excellent wife," observed the mother, looking archly
at her son; but he would not look at her, being apparently watching some
change going on among the ashes. "And she will bring her husband some
money too," she added, after a pause.

"The devil take the money!" exclaimed Nicolas, jumping up and striding
hastily across the room.

"Oho! Is it so?" thought the restauratrice; "then the omelet's ready for
the pan;" and, in the spirit of that conviction, she led her son into a
conversation, the result of which was, that in the course of a few days
she contrived to make an arrangement with a neighbouring _traiteur_,
whereby he engaged to take charge of her establishment for the space of
one month, leaving her and her son at liberty to take a journey into the
country on business.

What passed during those few days between Jaqueline and Nicolas need not
be told, except that he now and then said things which reminded her of
certain of the speeches of the "pack of fools," whom she had encountered
on the memorable missing Tuesday.

It was a fine day in September, when Madame Margot, Jaqueline, and
Nicolas, took their seats in a _patache_; and were safely conveyed to
the Cock and Bottle, where, to our heroine's great surprise, they were
welcomed by her father and the little old lady of the ruins.

The cause of this surprise may as well be told here. The said old lady
was an eccentric good body, and, having taken a fancy to Jaqueline,
resolved to be her friend. So, after her departure from the castle, she
went over to St Denis to make inquiries, as (like all benevolent
persons) she had often been deceived. All that she heard of her young
_protégé_ was to her heart's content, and, by means of the _curé_, with
whom she was acquainted, she found no difficulty in gaining the
friendship of papa Triquet, to whom she related the particulars of her
interview with, and intentions toward his daughter. She then, with his
consent, wrote a letter to Madame Margot, authorising her, in case of
inquiry touching such matters at Moulins, to state that Jaqueline
Triquet would, on her wedding-day, receive from her a given quantity of
that dross which Nicolas thought fit afterwards to proffer to his
infernal majesty. This circumstance was not made known to the lovers
till after the marriage, when the promise was strictly fulfilled.

And now, to the reader's imagination may be left all the particulars of
the journey homeward--how papa Triquet flirted with the fat widow and
the little laughing old lady--how Jaqueline was more envied by her
friends, on her return from than on her departure for Moulins--how
Nicolas and she, having once began each to fancy that there was
something very capital in the other, proceeded onward in the delusion
till each seemed perfect in the other's eyes, though to the world in
general there really appeared nothing very particular in either of them.

The wedding-day passed, with accustomed gaiety, at St Denis; and towards
the close thereof, when the bride was allowed a short respite from
dancing, the good little old lady took her aside, and gave her certain
reasons whereby to account for the missing Tuesday, concluding by
observing--"I would not tell you before, because I thought it might be a
lesson to you not to wish for beauty, or think of acquiring attractions
by the use of charms and such nonsense. The most powerful charm and
attraction is a good temper and kind conduct. Ha, ha! Why, you don't
look above half convinced yet: but, remember, you were very much
fatigued that night, and it was very sultry after the storm, and you
were very thirsty, I daresay, and so it is no great wonder that water
was running in your head." But, probably, she forgot the long tales
which she herself told that night, about the olden times of splendour
and gaiety, with elaborate descriptions of furniture, liveries, &c. &c.,
which were not a little likely to have some influence in the affair.

As Jaqueline resolved to have no secrets unknown to her husband, she
related the whole matter to him on the following day, and then said, "It
seemed to me as if I saw all those people as plain as I see you now; and
if all that then happened was a dream, how do I know but I am in a dream

"It really seems to me as if I was, my dear Jaqueline," said her spouse.
"But it is a very happy one, and I am in no hurry to wake."

Our intended limits are already exceeded. We shall, therefore, only put
on record, for the benefit of future tourists, that in the Cours Public
at Moulins they may still find excellent accommodation for large and
small parties at the house of a restaurateur, whose buxom, bustling
wife, Madame Jaqueline, manages matters after a fashion that induced
a gourmand to observe latterly--"With such cooking a monkey might eat
his own father." Her attentions are unremitting--and the only piece of
unasked advice that she is in the habit of offering to her guests is,
never to drink cold water, particularly in hot weather, without
tempering it properly with good wine or _Eau de Vie_.



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

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