Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

missing me, and feeling ready to screened off so as to make an cry with vexation at being without office for Sir Rutherford Alcock, my revolver, and being aware that with whose bedroom it communiit was a life and death struggle, cated. The screen reached about which would only end one way, three-fourths across the diningwhen suddenly I was blinded by room. In this office was found Sir the flash of a shot, and my left Rutherford, who had just been arm, which I was instinctively roused, and here joined in the holding up to shield my head, next minute or two by three other dropped disabled.

I naturally members of the Legation, Mr thought I had been shot, but it Russell, and my servant B., all turned out that this shot saved hurriedly escaping from a noise my life. Among those who had and confusion which increased accompanied Sir Rutherford Al- in intensity every moment. B., cock from Nagasaki was Mr Mor- on the first alarm, had begun to rison, then consul at that port. load his double-barrelled gun, and His servant seems to have encoun- had finished with the exception of tered one of our assailants, masked putting on the caps—this was beand in chain-armour, in his first fore the days of breech-loadersrush into the building, about which when two Japanese jumped in at he fortunately did not know his his window. Fortunately, spread way, and the servant, escaping from out before it on a table were two him, succeeded in safely reaching his open insect-cases, with the spoils master's room, and in arousing him. of the week impaled on pins. On Seizing his revolver, Morrison sal- these the assailants jumped with lied forth, and, attracted by the their bare feet, and upsetting the noise of my struggle, approached table, came sprawling into the from behind me, and placing his room, thus giving B., who had revolver over my shoulder, shot lost the caps in the start he remy antagonist at the very moment ceived, time to spring through the that he had inflicted a severe cut paper wall of his room, like a harlewith his long two-handed sword quin, and reach us in safety. At on my left arm, a little above the this juncture the position of affairs wrist. A moment after, Morrison was not reassuring. We numbered received a cut over the forehead eight behind the screen, of whom and across the eyebrow from an- two were hors de combat. Our other Japanese, at whom he available means of defence conemptied the second barrel of his sisted of three revolvers and a pistol. An instant lull succeeded double - barrelled gun. Of the these shots. It was too dark to European inmates of the Legation see what their effect had been, but three were missing; one of these the narrow passage was no longer was Mr Wirgman, the artist of the blocked by the forms of our assail- • Illustrated London News,' who

My impression is that one had accompanied Sir Rutherford in was on the ground. We were his journey from Nagasaki; and both bleeding so profusely, and of the two others, one lived in a felt so disabled, that there was cottage somewhat detached from nothing left for us but to retreat, the temple. Meantime Sir Ruthand this we instinctively did to erford, who fortunately possessed the room which contained the some surgical skill, was engaged light. This was placed in a part in binding up my arm.

The gash of the dining-room which had been was to the bone, cutting through three of the extensor tendons, so easily have done; but the answer that to this day I am unable to was that they could not take me hold erect three fingers of my left with them, and they had deterhand. I should undoubtedly have mined not to desert me, but to bled to death had it not been stand or fall together—for which for the efficient measures thus I felt at the time intensely gratekindly and promptly adopted to ful, and do still, though I had at stop the hemorrhage. As it was, that moment given up all hope I was becoming very faint from of escape. I was overcome by a loss of blood, as I now discovered feeling of faintness which made that I had also received another me regard the prospect of immeand very serious wound over the diate death with complete indifright collar-bone, and unpleasantly ference, until B., while he was near the jugular vein, of which, in giving me some water to drink, the excitement of the struggle, I murmured in my ear, “Do you had been totally unconscious. Also think they will torture us, sir, a very slight tip from the sword before they kill us?” This horhigh up on the right arm, the mark rible suggestion brought out a of which, however, is still visible; cold perspiration; and I trust I and a blow which I did not dis- may never again experience the cover till next day, which broke sensation of dread with which it several of the metacarpal bones of inspired me, and which I was the left hand. I never could ima- too weak to fight against. It gine how or when I received this did not last long, however, for blow; but it was an evidence that almost at the

same

moment we must have been at one moment there was an immense increase of of the struggle at very close noise, and clashing of swords, quarters. Meantime the noise intermingled with sharp cries and of cutting and slashing resounded ejaculations, resounded from the through the house; and while it other side of the screen, and our drew nearer every moment, we curiosity and hope were excited in were at a loss to conceive who our the highest degree, for we thought assailants could be, and why the it indicated a possible rescue. In guard had not come to our rescue a few moments it subsided, and -unless, indeed, they were in the all was still; and Sir Rutherford, plot to murder us. At last we followed by Mr Lowder, went heard all the glass crash on the cautiously out on a reconnoitring sideboard in the dining-room, and expedition, to find the dining room we knew that our moment had looking like a shambles, and to come. My companions had made discover some Japanese retreating up their minds to sell their lives down the passage, at whom Mr dearly; and every man who was Lowder fired a shot from his refortunate enough to possess one, volver. Shortly after they rewas standing with his finger on turned, Mr Macdonald, one of the the trigger of his revolver, while gentlemen whose room was situated this time the caps were safely out of the line of attack, appeared on B.'s double-barrelled gun. Í disguised in a Japanese dress, acsuggested to one of the party–I companied by some of the guard, forget which now—that they would excited and blood-bespattered, and have a chance for their lives by we knew that we were saved by escaping into the garden and hiding them, though not a second too soon. among the bushes, which they could Had our assailants not been at

a

tacked in rear by the guard at about the garden for concealed the moment they were in the members of the gang that had dining-room, they must inevitably attacked us, prodding the bushes in a few seconds more have dis- with their swords, and searching covered us behind the screen, and into hidden recesses.

As, supthis account of that eventful ported by frienilly arms, I tottered night's proceedings would never round the screen into the dininghave been written. We were room, a ghastly sight my gaze. now informed that some of our Under the sideboard, completely assailants had been killed, that severed from the body, was the guard were searching for man's head. The body was lying others in the grounds, and that in the middle of the room. I had reinforcements had been sent for. in the first instance rushed out These appeared soon after ; and I of my bedroom barefooted, and in have never seen a more dramatic my night-dress. I now found myand picturesque sight than these self stepping about in blood—for men, all clad in chain-armour, with butcher's work had been done here. their steel headpieces, long two- -and feeling something like an handed swords, and Japanese lan- oyster under my bare foot, I perterns, filing through the house, ceived it was a human eye. One and out into the starlight. It of the bodies was terribly disfigwas like a scene froin the “ Hugue- ured; the whole of the front part nots,” and as I watched them from of the head had been sliced off the arm-chair in which I was still as though with an adze, leaving lying, swathed and bandaged, was only the back of the brain visone of the most vivid impressions ible. Early in the morning I produced upon my mind on that was roused from a troubled doze night of lively sensations.

by six or eight solemn-looking elAbout this time Mr Wirgman, derly Japanese, who announced the artist of the Illustrated Lon- that they were the Imperial phydon News,' turned up, coated with sicians come to inquire after my a thick breastplate of mud. He health. I positively refused to had taken refuge under the house, allow them to remove the bandwhich was raised about eighteen ages and examine the wounds ; so inches from the ground, and crawl- they contented themselves with ing in on his stomach, had re- looking very wise, examining my mained in profound but somewhat tongue, and placing their ears over dirty security under the flooring. my heart. As the day advanced, With the true spirit of his calling, and I recovered somewhat from he immediately set about portray- the excitement and the exhaustion, ing the most striking features of I was surprised at finding that I his episode, for the benefit of the suffered so little pain, and felt so British public. Mr Gower, an- well, considering the amount of other gentleman who lived in a blood that I had lost. So I scramlittle cottage apart, also appeared bled out to look at the scene of the safe and sound, having been conflict-for it was difficult under throughout removed from the the circumstances to remain quietscene of the strife.

ly in bed. I naturally first visited It was about three o'clock in the spot where I had met my Japthe morning that I determined to anese opponent, and discovered struggle back to bed ; and even that the reason we had so much then the soldiers were hunting difficulty in getting at each other was owing to a small beam, or no doubt. Lonins are an outlaw rather rafter, which spanned the class, the retainers or clansmen narrow passage, about seven feet of Daimios who, having committed from the ground. Its edge was some offence, have left the service

full of deep sword-cuts as of their prince, and, banding thema crimped herring, any one of selves together, form a society of which would have been sufficient desperadoes, who are employed to split open my skull, which often by their old chiefs, to whom he must have thought unusually they continue to owe a certain hard. I evidently owed my life to allegiance, for any daring enterthe fact that I had remained sta- prise, by which, if it fails, he is tionary under this beam, which not compromised, while if they had acted as a permanent and succeed in it, they have a chance most effective guard—the cuts I of regaining their position. The received being merely the tips from question was, to which particular the sword as it glanced off. There Daimio these Lonins belonged ;

a plentiful bespattering of and upon this point our guard blood on the wall at the side, was singularly reticent.

Nor was in which was also indented the any light thrown upon the matter shape of the handle of my hunting- by the following document, which whip. The blow must have been was found on the body of one of given with considerable force to the gang who was killed, and make it; but I feel convinced that which ran as follows:under such circumstances one is “I, though I am a person of for the moment endowed with an low standing, have not patience altogether exceptional strength. to stand by and and see the sacred I now pursued my investigations empire defiled by foreigners. This into some of the other rooms, time I have determined in my heart which all bore marks of the fero- to undertake to follow out my mascious nature of the attack. The ter's will. Though, being altoassailants appear to have slashed gether humble myself, I cannot about recklessly in the dark, in the make the might of the country to hope of striking a victim. Some shine on foreign nations, yet with of the mattresses were prodded a little faith and a little warrior's through and through; one bed- power, I wish in my heart separpost was completely severed by a ately, though I am a person of single sword-cut; and a Bible lying low degree, to bestow upon my on a table was cut three-quarters country one out of a great many through. We were now in a posi- benefits. If this thing from time tion to add up the list of killed to time may cause the foreigners and wounded, and estimate results to retire, and partly tranquillise the generally, while we also had to cal- minds of the Mikado and the Govculate how they might affect our ernment, I shall take to myself the own future position and policy. highest praise. Regardless of my

Although one of our assailants, own life, I am determined to set a stalwart young fellow with a out." Here follow fourteer sigsomewhat hang-dog countenance, natures. was taken prisoner and afterwards This document, while it showed executed, we had some difficulty that the motive which suggested in making out at the time of whom the attack was the hope that it the gang was actually composed. might frighten us out of the counThat they were Lorins there was try, also proved that the number

II

who had been engaged in it, on

ASSAILANTS. this occasion, was fourteen. Some

Killed. years afterwards I met several 2 on the spot. Japanese in London, and had some 3 tracked next day, committed suicide. opportunities of being of service 2 tracked later, committed suicide. to them. I happened one day to 1 captured, wounded and executed. mention to one of them that I had Killed, been in the British Legation on Wounded,

17 the night of the attack.

6. You don't say so," he replied.

- How

Total,

28 glad I am that you escaped safely ! We heard afterwards that the for I, to whom you have shown so six Lonins still unaccounted for much kindness, planned the whole were caught and executed at inaffair, and was in Sinagawa just tervals later, but had no means outside the gates, all that night, of verifying the statement; but though, not being a Lonin iayself, whether it was true or not, the I did not take an active part in whole forms a record of a tolerably it.” He then told me that the bloody night's work. We were Lonins belonged to Prince Mito, strongly recommended by the Govupon whom, from his known hos- ernment to place three of the heads tility to foreigners, our suspicion of the Lonins over our gateway as had rested from the first; and as a a terror to evil doers, but I cannot reminiscence of the event, in addi- remember whether this advice was tion to the one I already carried followed or not. We were now on my arm, he presented me with able to gather from our servants his photograph. We now heard many incidents of the attack. It that three of the Lonins, to avoid seems that our assailants first being captured alive, had com- knocked at the outside gate, but mitted suicide by ripping them- being refused admittance, scaled selves up, an example which was the fence and killed the porter. followed by two more a day or two In passing up the avenue in front afterwards, making the total list of the stables they came across of killed and wounded twenty- a groom, whom they also killed. eight, which was composed as fol- They then slew a dog, and severelow :

ly wounded the cook, who seems DEFENDERS.

to have heard a noise and gone

out to see the cause of it. In like Killed.

manner they captured a watchman, i Tycoon's guard.

whom they tried to persuade to I Porter.

show them the way; but he manI Groom.

aged to escape, receiving as he did Severely wounded.

so, two severe cuts on the back; i Secretary of Legation.

however, he ultimately succeeded i Tycoon's guard.

in concealing himself in a lotosi Daimio's guard.

pond. This man's back presented I Porter,

the most ghastly appearance, and 2 Servants of the Legation. I did not think he could have Slightly wounded.

lived. The Japanese have a treati Consul.

ment of their own for sword-cuts, 7 Tycoon's guard.

derived from much experience in 2 Diamo's guard.

them. Instead of bringing the i Priest of the temple.

edges of the skin as closely together

« ПредишнаНапред »