Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

while to tell them where her husband's money was concealed; and also calling on the prosecutor by name, to come and witness the state of his father and mother; these cruelties, together with the plunder of the house of Loharam, and other ones adjacent, continued until between three or four o'clock in the morning, at which time the robbers departed, and the prosecutor, on going up to his father and mother, found them most dreadfully mangled, but still alive; his father expired about noon, and his mother not till the following morning."

and the sym

TRAGICAL DEATH OF THE MARQUIS DE SOLANO. The following account of the death of the Marquis de Solano, Governor of Cadiz, is extracted from Jacob's Travels in Spain :

“ As soon as it was known at Seville that Solano had fled to Cadiz, the revolution immediately broke forth, the inhabitants flew to arms, pathetic feeling which pervaded all Spain was displayed in that city with irresistible force. A committee, called in Spain a junta, composed of the most zealous, intelligent, and virtuous of the citizens, assumed the government, directed the spirit of the inhabitants, and produced, what Spain had not witnessed for many ages, a combination of order and energy. The feelings of Seville were communicated to Xeres, to Santa Maria, and even to Cadiz, though in the latter their effects were stified by the efforts of Solano. Numbers of people, however, arrived from Seville, inspired with feelings of patriotism and vengeance ; many entered the city disguised like peasants; and a sufficient number soon arrived to kindle the suppressed patriotism of the Gaditanos. Solano received intimations from his private friends that the plan of an insurrection was formed, and that he was to be its first victim; he was apprised of the intention to assassinate him, on his return from the theatre, and was entreated by his friends not to attend ; but he had too much courage to be awed by the intimation; and either the firmness of his demeanour, or some alteration in the plans of his enemies, preserved him for that night from the threatened attack. A party of his friends, who adjourned from the theatre to his house, aware of the danger that impended, urged him to seek his safety by flight; he rejected their counsel, affected to treat their fears with contempt, and avowed his resolution not to part with his authority, but in obedience to the commands of the power from which he had received it. The supplications of his wife, the endearments of his children, and the anxiety of his friends, were all exerted in vain ; and be resolutely determined to maintain his authority, or to perish in the attempt.

“ Early on the ensuing morning, the whole city was in a state of tumult; the populace, irritated by the patriots from Seville, indignant at the treachery of France, and clamorous for the death of the governor, surrounded his habitation. Some parties attacked it with musquetry, while others dragged cannon from the ramparts and assailed his residence. In the midst of the firing he escaped by the roof of his house, and took refuge in an adjoining one, the lady of which, an intimate friend of the family, bid him in a small closet, which had been secretly built some years before.

“ When the insurgents gained possession of Solano's house, and discovered his flight, they pursued him to the house where he was concealed, which was searched with diligence, but without success. After committing some atrocities, and even wounding the lady of the house with a musket ball, they were

departing, discontented with having missed the object of their vengeance; when the party was joined by an artificer, who had constructed the secret closet, and who conducted them to the hiding place, where Solano was discovered, and delivered to the fury of the mob. The general cry of the populace was, “To the gallows ! to the gallows !' whither this veteran was conducted : but, such was the indignation of the people, that before he had quitted the house where he was discovered, he was lacerated with knives, and his clothes literally torn from his body. Naked, and streaming with blood from numberless wounds, he preserved the firm step and manly dignity of an officer. To the taunts of the multitude he appeared superior, but not insensible, and at every fresh stab that was inflicted, he fixed his eyes on the perpetrator with an expression of contempt; till a soldier, who had been long under his command, dreading the impending degradation of his old officer, plunged his sword into his heart, and terminated his sufferings."

RUSSIAN ALLEGIANCE. When the Russian general, Beningzen, was retiring upon Eylau, considerable numbers of stragglers formed what they denominated corps of marauders, who, placing themselves under the orders of chiefs, chosen by themselves, lived by violence until opportunity offered for a return to Russia.

A party of Russian officers, who had been taken at Lansberg, were marching to Prague on parole, but under the charge of some French officers; a corps of marauders surprised them; and, after some violence, the Russian soldiers were indiscriminately proceeding to despatch the French, when the Russian officers interfered, and endeavoured to explain, that as these French were but an amicable escort to them, who had given their parole, their lives must not only be preserved, but that honour obliged the Russian officers to refuse the opportunity of release, and bound them to proceed as prisoners of war, until regularly exchanged. The marauder captain stepped forward — Will you," addressing himself to the Russian officers, “ join and command us, and conduct us to our country? If so, we are bound to obey you, but with this an. nexed condition, that you do not interfere with our intention of putting to death the French who are in your company.” “ No, we cannot," was the answer; and arguments were urged 10 justify the propriety of their decision. The marauders then assembled as a court-martial ; and, after some delibera. tion, the captain re-advanced, and delivered its sanguinary decree.“ The French, for their atrocious conduct to Russian prisoners on every occasion, have merited death-execute the sentence.” Obedience was immediate; and the victims were successively shot. This lawless assassination completed, silence was again ordered, and the leader resumed his harangue : « Now, degenerate Russians, receive your reward; you, forgetting that you were born So, that your country has a prescriptive right to your allegiance, and that you have voluntarily renewed it to your sovereign, have entered into new engagements with their most hated enemies; and you have dared to advance, in your defence, that your word must be binding in their service, when you violate the oath you have sworn against them. You are therefore our worst enemies ; more unnatural, more wicked, than those we have slain, and you have less claim upon our mercy. We have unanimously doomed you to die, and instant death awaits you." The signal was immediate, and fourteen officers were thus massacred for a persevering virtue, of which history does not record a

more affecting and honourable trait. The fifteenth (Colonel Arsinoeff, of the imperial guards) was supposed dead, the ball of the musket having entered just above the throat. He was stripped, and the body abandoned on the frozen and freezing snow. Towards night, after several hour's torpor, sense returned ; and whilst he was contemplating the horror of the past and present scenes, identified, not only by his own condition, but still more painfully by the surrounded corpses of his mangled friends, and momentarily becoming more terrific, from the apprehension of a horrible and unmitigable death; he perceived a light, towards which he staggered with joyous expectation; but, when he approached the hut, a clamour of voices alarmed his attention. He listened, and recognized his carousing murderers ! He withdrew from imminent destruction, to a fate, as he then supposed, not less certain, but less rude and revolting. He had still sufficient strength to gain the borders of no very distant wood, where he passed the night without any covering on his body, or any application to his open wounds. The glow of a latent hope, perhaps, preserved animation ; his fortune did not abandon him, his extraordinary protection was continued ; and as the day broke, he perceiving a passing peasant girl, who gave him some milk, finally sheltered him, and obtained surgical relief. He recovered, and went to Petersburgh. The emperor ordered him to pass the regiments in review, that he might designate the offenders. He declined to do so, observing, that " he thought it unadvisable to seek an occasion for correcting such a notion of indefeasible allegiance."

A YOUTH MURDERED BY THE MOORS. “ About two o'clock,” says Mr. Park, in the Account of his Travels in Africa, “ as I was laying asleep upon a bullock's hide behind the door of the hut, I was awakened by the screams of women, and a general clamour and confusion among the inhabitants. At first I suspected that the Bambarrans had actually entered the town: but observing my boy upon the top of one of the huts, I called to him to know what was the matter. He informed me that the Moors were come a second time to steal the cattle, and that they were now close to the town. I mounted the roof of the hut, and observed a large herd of bullocks coming towards the town, followed by five Moors on horseback, who drove the cattle forward with their muskets. When they had reached the wells, which are close to the town, the Moors selected from the herd sixteen of the finest beasts, and drove them off at full gallop. During this transaction, the towns-people, to the number of five hundred, stood collected close to the walls of the town; and when the Moors drove the cattle away, though they passed within pistol shot of them, the inhabitants scarcely made a show of resistance. I only saw four muskets fired, which, being loaded with gunpowder of the Negroes' own manufacture, did no execution. Shortly after this, I observed a number of people supporting a young man upon horseback, and conducting him slowly towards the town. This was one of the herdsmen, who attempting to throw his spear, had been wounded by a shot from one of the Moors. His mother walked on before, quite frantic with grief, clapping her hands, and enumerating the good qualities of her son. • He never told a lie,' said the disconsolate mother, as her wounded son was carried in at the gate he never told a lie; no never. When they had conveyed him to his hut, and laid him upon a mat, all the spectators joined in lamenting his fate, by screaming and howling in the most piteous manner.

Aher their grief had subsided a little, I was desired to examine the wound. I found that the ball had passed through his leg, having fractured both bones a little below the knee: the poor boy was faint from the loss of blood, and his situation withal so very precarious, that I could not console his relations with any great hopes of his recovery. However, to give him a possible chance, I observed to them that it was necessary to cut off his leg above the knee; this proposal made every one start with horror: they had never heard of such a method of cure, and would by no means give their consent to it; indeed they evidently considered me a sort of cannibal for proposing so cruel and unheard of an operation, which in their opinion would be attended with more pain and danger than the wound itself. The patient was therefore committed to the care of some old Bushreens, who endeavoured to secure him a passage into Paradise, by whispering in his ear some Arabic sentences, and desiring him to repeat them. After many unsuccessful attempts, the poor heathen at last pronouneed, • There is but one God, and Mahomet is his Prophet,' and the disciples of the prophet assured his mother that her son had given sufficient evidence of his faith, and would be happy in a future state. He died the same evening.”

AFFECTING NÅRRATIVE. “ I took a circuitous route to avoid being seen,” says the Author abovementioned, “ and continued travelling through the Wilderness, directing my course, by compass, nearly east-south-east, in order to reach, as soon as possible, some town or village in the kingdom of Bambarra.

“ A little after noon, when the burning heat of the sun was reflected with double violence from the hot sand, and the distant ridges of the hills, seen through the ascending.vapour, seemed to wave and Auctuate like the unsettled sea, I became faint with thirst, and climbed a tree in hopes of seeing distant smoke, or some other appearance of a human habitation; but in vain : nothing appeared all round but thick underwood and hillocks of white sand.

“ About four o'clock I came suddenly upon a large herd of goats, and pulling my horse into a bush, I watched to observe if the keepers were Moors or Negroes. In a little time I perceived two Moorish boys, and with some difficulty persuaded them to approach me. They informed me that the herd belonged to Ali, and that they were going to Deena, where the water was more plentiful, and where they intended to stay until the rain had filled the pools in the Desert. They showed me their empty water skins, and told me that they had seen no water in the woods. This account afforded me but little consolation ; however, it was in vain to repine, and I pushed on as fast as possible, in hopes of reaching some watering place in the course of the night. My thirst was by this time become insufferable; my mouth was parched and inflamed; a sudden dimness would frequently come over my eyes, with other symptoms of fainting; and my horse being very much fatigued, I began seriously to apprehend that I should perish of thirst. To relieve the burning pain in my mouth or throat, I chewed the leaves of different shrubs, but found them all bitter, and of no service to me.

A little before sunset, having reached the top of a gentle rising, I climbed a high tree, from the topmost branches of which I cast a melancholy look over the barren Wilderness, but without discovering the most distant trace of a buman dwelling. The same dismal uniformity of shrubs and sand every where

presented itself, and the horizon was as level and uninterrupted as that of the sea.

“ Descending from the tree, I found my horse devouring the stubble and brushwood with great avidity; and I was now too faint to attempt walking, and my horse too much fatigued to carry me, I thought it but an act of humanity, and perhaps the last I should ever have it in my power to perform, to take off his bridle and let him shift for himself ; in doing which I was suddenly affected with sickness and giddiness ; and falling upon the sand, I felt as if the hour of death was fast approaching: • Here then, thought I, after a short but ineffectual struggle, terminate all my hopes of being useful in my day and generation : here must the short span of my life come to an end. I cast (as I believed) a last look on the surrounding scene, and whilst I reflected on the awful change that was about to take place, this world with its enjoyments seemed to vanish from my recollection. Nature, however, at length resumed its functions; and on recovering my senses, I found myself stretched upon the sand, with the bridle still in my hand, and the sun just sinking behind the trees. I now summoned all my resolution, and determined to make another effort to prolong my existence. And as the evening was somewhat cool, I resolved to travel as far as my limbs would carry me, in hopes of reaching (my only resource) a watering place. With this view, I put the bridle on my horse, and driving him before me, went slowly along for about an hour, when I perceived some lightning from the north-east; a most delightful sight; for it promised rain. The darkness and lightning increased very rapidly.; and in less than an hour I heard the wind roaring among the bushes. I had already opened my mouth to receive the refreshing drops which I expected; but I was instantly covered with a cloud of sand, driven with such force by the wind as to give a very disagreeable sensation to my face and arms; and I was obliged to mount my horse and stop under a bush, to prevent being sufocated. The sand continued to fly in amazing quantities for near an hour, after which I again set forward, and travelled with difficulty until ten o'clock. About this time I was agreeably surprised by some very vivid flashes of lightning, followed by a few heavy drops of rain. In a little time the sand ceased to fly, and I alighted, and spread out all my clean clothes to collect the rain, which at length I saw would certainly fall. For more than an hour it rained plentifully, and I quenched my thirst by wringing and sucking my clothes.

There being no moon, it was remarkably dark, so that I was obliged to lead my horse, and direct my way by the compass, which the lightning enabled me to observe. In this manner I travelled, with tolerable expedition, until past midnight; when, the lightning becoming more distant, I was under the necessity of groping along, to the no small danger of my hands and eyes. About two o'clock my horse started at something, and looking round, I was not a little surprised to see a light among the trees, and supposing it to be a town, I groped along the sand, in hopes of finding corn-stalks, cotton, or other appearances of cultivation, but found none. As I approached, I perceived a number of other lights in different places, and began to suspect that I had fallen upon a party of Moors. However, in my present situation, I was resolved to see who they were, if I could do it with safety. I accordingly led my horse cautiously towards the light, and heard by the lowing of the cattle, and the clamorous tongues of the herdsmen, that it was a watering place, and most likely belonged to the Moors. Delightful as the sound of the human voice was to me, I resolved once more to strike into the woods, and rather run the risk of perishing of hunger, than trust myself again in their hands; but

« ПредишнаНапред »