Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[ocr errors]

" that you are

Seeing a man leave the château quarters of General G*****r, who was at privily, with a lantern, I resolved to breakfast with his staff: and he was infollow him ; for a lantern, and at this stantly admitted into the commander's hour, looked suspicious, so I stuck close presence. to him, as he crept thitherwards : and on “ I come to resign myself to death,” a platform of the rock, there, where my exclaimed the Colonel, as he stood befinger points, sir, I saw him approach fore the General, pale and haggard. an enormous pile of faggots; when

“ Sit down, sir, and when you are A tremendous shout rose from the more composed I will listen to you ;' town beneath. A wide and sudden and the stern severity of his countenance, blaze of light broke forth near him, pro- which truly indicated his well-known duced by the firing of straw and dry harsh, unyielding character, somewhat wood : and, at the same instant, the abated as he witnessed the emotion of grenadier he had been talking with, re- his visitor. As soon as he was able ceived a ball in his skull, and fell dead Victor told his horrible tale : and the upon the spot.

downcast looks and deep silence of his The cheerful sounds within the auditors were the only but expressive château walls were hushed at once. A comment on his history. death-like silence reigned around for a “ It appears to me, sir," at length moment; and then were heard, but for said the General, calmly, an instant, distant and heart-piercing more unfortunate than criminal ; you groans, as of a short conflicting agony: can hardly be deemed responsible for the report of a cannon boomed along the the guilt of the Spaniards ; and if the surface of the ocean. Cold drops burst Marshal decide not otherwise, I shall not from the forehead of the officer. He hesitate to acquit you.” These words was there alone, unarmed, unfriended. afforded but feeble consolation to Victor, His soldiers had all—all perished. He who falteringly demanded, “ But when felt himself a degraded and dishonoured the Emperor learns the report, sir?" being ; he would be dragged before a “It is not impossible he may order you council of war, a prisoner, and in chains ; to be shot,” observed the General, in a all who could vindicate his zeal and tone of indifference: “ but of that here. prudence were of another world. With after,” he added, rising and assuming a keen rapid glance he scanned the his more bitter expression of tone and depth below; and leaping on the terrace fea " Let us now only think of walk, was on the point of casting himself vengeance--vengeance, deep, deep and into the abyss, when the slight shriek terrible on these Spaniards. and convulsive grasp of some one by his In a short hour, an entire regiment, side restrained him.

with detachments of cavalry and artillery, “ Fly! Oh fly!" whispered Clara, were on their march ; at the head of almost breathless from agitation ; “my which rode the General and Victor. The brothers follow me-descend the rock, troops, informed of the massacre of quickly—without delay-there-- that their comrades, pressed onwards with way-below you will find Juanito's unrelenting activity, actuated by feelings horse-begone-haste-haste

of hate and fury. The villages through She urged him onward with all her which their road lay were already up in strength. Lost and confused, the young arms : but they were soon reduced to man gazed on her for a moment; but obedience, and in all of them, each tenth quickly yielding to the instinct of self- man was told off and shot. preservation, which rarely deserts us, he By some unaccountable fatality, the leaped into the park, and rushed onwards English fleet remained lying-to and inin the direction pointed out to him. The active, without even communicating with steps of

persons in pursuit were the shore: so that the town of Menda beard, danger animated him to speed : was surrounded by the French troops he hastily scrambled down the rocks, by without the slightest show of resistance paths never before trodden but by goats. on the part of its inhabitants : who, disA shower of musket-balls whistled by appointed in the succour on which they him: but, with almost inconceivable had relied, offered to surrender at disrapidity, he gained the valley. The cretion. Such as were more immediately horse was there. He bounded on its implicated in the massacre of the garrison, back, and disappeared.

justly presuming that, for their act, the A few hours brought him to the head town would be delivered up to flames,

[ocr errors]

accusers.

-so that

and the entire population put to death, rowful indulgence they solicit. The by an effort of courage and self devotion, Marquis, in observing the preparations not unfrequent in the war of the Penin- for the approaching execution, trusts sula, offered to become their proper that you will deign to change the mode

This unexpected and extra- of punishment: and that such as are of ordinary proposition was acceded to by noble blood may suffer by decapitation." the General ; and he engaged to accord “Granted," was the laconic reply. “He a pardon to the rest of the inhabitants, also hopes you will allow him to have and prevent the town being fired or the aid of religion ; and in tendering his pillaged by the incensed soldiery. But, solemn engagement not to indulge in the at the same time he levied an enormous thought of escape, he prays that he and contribution on the people ; for the pay- his may be freed from their bonds." ment of which, within twenty-four hours, “ Be it so," said the General: “ you he commanded that the principal and being responsible for the consequences. wealthiest residences should be given as What further would you ?" he added, hostages into his hands; and inflexibly sternly and impatiently, seeing the Codecreed that all the persons appertaining lonel yet linger and hesitate to speak. to the château, from the Marquis to his “He presumes, sir, to tender you all lowest valet, should be placed, uncon- his wealth—his entire fortune, ditionally, in his power.

his youngest son might be spared.” Having seen his soldiers encamped, “ Indeed,'said the General ; “it is no and taken all due precautions for their extraordinary exertion of generosity, as safety against a sudden attack, the his property is already at the disposal of General proceeded to the château, of King Joseph. But,'' he continued, after which he immediately assumed military some moments of reflection, while an possession. The respective members, indescribable expression of savage triwith the domestics of the family of umph lightened up his features — “I Léganès, were bound with cords, and the perceive all the importance attached to ball-room was assigned them as a prison, his last request, and shall even go beyond the casements whereof opened upon the it. Let him then purchase the contiterrace : while the general and his staff nuance of his name and family, that it occupied an adjoining suite of rooms, may exist a memorial of his treason and where a council was holden, to adopt all its penalty. But it shall be on my terms; necessary measures in the event of an mark me,- I leave his fortune free, and attempted disembarkation by the British. grant like pardon to such one of his sons Orders were given for the erection of as shall assume the office of executioner. batteries on the coasts, and despatches I have said it,-begone! and let me hear sent off to the Marshal,

no more of him or his." The General The two hundred Spaniards who had turned from Victor towards the château, acknowledged themselves as the authors where dinner for himself and staff had of the massacre, and resigned themselves been just served ; leaving the Colonel into the General's power, were drawn up thunderstruck. on the terrace of the château, and shot! His brother officers eagerly hastened without a single exception. As soon as to satisfy an appetite provoked

by fatigue, their execution had terminated, General but he had no thought but for the G****r ordered the erection of as many wretched prisoners ; and summoning regallows as there were prisoners in the solution again to meet them, he slowly ball-room, on the same spot; directing, entered the ball-room, where the father moreover, that the hangman of the town and mother, their three sons and two should be summoned.

daughters, sat bound to their rich and Victor Marchand profited by the inter- gilded chairs ; while the eight servants of val in the work of death, which the ex- the house stood with their arms tied ecution of the General's orders required, behind their backs, mute and motionless, to visit the unhappy prisoners; and a their looks turned on their superiors, as few minutes only elapsed before he again if to derive a lesson of courage or resigpresented himself to his commanding nation from their bearing. At times a officer. “ I presume, sir,” he said, with hasty exclamation disturbed the silence, much emotion, "to implore your con- attesting the regret of some bolder sideration in behalf of the condemned spirits, at having failed in their enterfamily.You!observed the General, prise. The soldiers who guarded them with a sneer.-" Alas, sir ; it is a sor- were stern and silent, as if respecting the

" Come,

misfortunes of their enemies; and Victor hopes of mercy hereafter, that he will shuddered as he looked upon the mourn- now obey your orders, whatever they ful spectacle of their distress, where but may be, to their fullest extent, and we shall so lately joy and gaiety presided; and yet be happy.” The mother trembled compared their afflicted state with the from joy and hope, eagerly, as unob. gaudy trappings which yet adorned the served she bent forward to participate in walls, as in mockery of the dreadful the communication her daughter whisdoom which they were sentenced in a pered in her father's ears. She heard, few minutes to undergo.

and fell fainting to the earth. Juanito Ordering the soldiers to loose the himself seemed evidently aware of its bonds of the others, he hastened to the intent; for he writhed from rage and release of Clara ; and while every eye horror. was turned towards him with intense Victor now commanded the guards to interest, he freed her beautifully moulded quit the room, the Marquis renewing his arms from the cords. Even in that promise of unconditional submission. moment of sorrow, he could not but They accordingly retired, leading away admire the loveliness of the Spanish girl, the domestics, who, as they issued forth, her perfect form-her raven hair-her were delivered over, one by one, to the long, dark eyelashes-and an eye too public executioner, and successively put brilliant to be gazed on, suffused as it to death. was with tears of anguish or indignation. Thus relieved from painful intrusion, " Have you succeeded ?" she whispered, the old man arose-" Juanito !" said as he bent over her; and her look strove he, sternly. The son, aware of his to penetrate his inmost thoughts. An father's intention, only replied by an involuntary groan was Victor's sole re- inclination of the head, indicative of a ply; and to avoid her ardent gaze, he decided refusal. He then sank into a threw a wild and piteous look upon chair, while his wild, fixed, and haggard her brothers and her parents, and again look rested upon his parent. on her. The eldest son, Juanito, was come, Juanito, dearest brother !” said about thirty years of age, short of stature, Clara, in an encouraging and cheerful and scarcely well formed; but these tone, as she playfully placed herself defects were redeemed by a countenance upon his knee, one arm encircling his eminently Spanish, proud, fierce, and neck, the other hand fondly removing disdainful, teeming with all his country's the hair from his burning forehead, gallantry. Filippo, the second, was about which she affectionately kissed. “ If twenty years of age, and bore an extra- you knew, my Juanito, my own kind ordinary resemblance to Clara. Raffaele, brother, how welcome death would be, the youngest, was eight years old; a if given at your hand. Think, Juanito i mild and passive creature, with much of my loved, loved Juanito! that I shall patience or endurance in his gentle thus escape the odious touch of the pubfeatures. The venerable countenance lic executioner. You, you will end my of the aged Marquis, and his silver hair, sufferings : and so shall we thwart the offered a study worthy of Murillo. As triumph of

Her dark eye he contemplated the mournful group, turned from Juanito full on Victor, as if Victor knew not how to announce the to awaken in her brother's bosom all his General's determination. Compliance hatred of the French. with it was surely out of the question ; “Be a man, brother. Summon all and why should the cup of grief, already your courage !” said Filippo. “Let not full, be unnecessarily overcharged? The our name perish, and by your fault.” entreaties of Clara, however, overcame Clara arose, while all made way for him ; her face wore the hue of death as the Marquis, who addressed his son. she listened, but she struggled violently “ It is my will—I command you, Juanwith her feelings, and assuming a compa

The young Count moved not, ratively calm and tranquil air, she arose stirred not; and his father fell at his and placed herself solemnly on her knees feet. Raffaele, Filippo, and their sisters at her father's feet. Oh, sir! did the same, stretching forth their supfather !" she exclaimed ; and as all plicating hands towards him, who alone leaned forward in breathless attention, could save their name from forgetfulness her accents fell clear and distinct around, and extinction, while the Marquis, on as earth upon the coffin-lid. “Command his knees, continued, “ My son, my -command Juanito to swear by all his Juanito, prove yourself a Spaniard. Show the stern resolve, the noble feeling serene-save one. He, pale, wan, and of a Spaniard. Let not your father thus heartstricken, leaned upon the priest, who kneel in vain before you. What are unceasingly urged every argument of your sufferings compared with the religion to sustain and console the honour of those you love—those who so wretched being who was alone contruly love you? Let not your own sor- demned to live. The Marquis, his wife, rows prevail against your father's prayer. and their four children, took their places Would I not die for you, were it required at some paces distant from the block, of me? Live, then, for us. Let not the and knelt. Juanito was led forward by hand of infamy insult my hoary head. the priest, and having reached the fatal Is he our son, madam?” indignantly spot, the public executioner advanced exclaimed the Marquis, addressing his and whispered him, haply imparting wife as he arose, while Juanito, with a some necessary instructions in his dread. fixed and horrid stare, sat deadlike; the ful mystery. The confessor would have distended muscles of his livid front, arranged the victims so as to avoid, as seeming less the traits of mortal man far as possible, a view of the work of than those of chiselled marble. “He death; but they were Spaniards, and yields, he yields," shrieked forth the evinced no symptoms of fear. mother, in accents of triumph and Clara now darted forwards to her despair. " He consents," she cried, as brother. " Juanito !" she exclaimed, she marked a slight movement of his “ you must have pity on my weakness. brow, which she only could understand I am a sad, sad, coward.-Begin with as implying the hard and cruel obedience me." of her child.

ito."

A hasty step was heard approachingThe almoner of the château entering, it was Victor. Clara was kneeling by he was instantly surrounded by the the block, and her white neck already family, who led him towards Juanito, bared to the scimetar. The officer shudwhile" Victor, no longer able to endure dered, but rushed forward, "Your life the scene, made sign to Clara of his is spared, Clara. The General pardons intention, and rushed from the room to you, if you consent-to-to be mine." make one last effort with the General.

The Spanish lady looked on him for Him he found in one of his milder an instant; a proud, disdainful glance moods, cheerfully conversing with his of withering scorn, “Quick, quick, Juofficers, while he partook of the delicious anito,” she murmured in a hurried, hol. wines the cellars of the château afforded. low voice, as she turned, and her head

An hour afterwards, and one hundred rolled at Victor's feet. of the principal inhabitants of Menda As the first dull blow of the heavy were assembled, by the General's orders, scimetar was heard, for one moment the on the terrace, to witness the execution mother's whole frame moved convulof the family of Léganès. They were sively. It was the first and only sign of arranged beneath the line of gallows, on weakness exhibited. which hung the bodies of the Marquis's domestics; and a strong military guard Am I well so-my good-good Jupreserved order. At about thirty paces anito?" said the little Raffaele. distant, a block had been prepared, on You weep, my Marquirita, my siswhich a large and naked scimetar was ter.And, verily, the voice of Juanito laid; while the executioner stood near to seemed as a voice from the tomb, as again act, in the event of Juanito's refusal. he lifted the scimetar.

The dead silence which prevailed was “It is for you, dear brother," she interrupted by the sound of many foot- answered. Poor, poor Juanito ! steps ; the slow and measured tread of you will be without us all, alone, and so soldiery, and the clattering of arms, unhappy.” drowned, at times, by the loud laugh of the officers over their wine. So had the The tall, commanding figure of the dance and music, but shortly since, been Marquis now approached. He looked mingled with the expiring groans of the on his children's blood, and then, French garrison. All eyes were now turning towards the assembled Spaniards, directed towards the château, and the and stretching forth his arms over Juseveral members of the Léganès family anito, exclaimed in a loud and resolute approached, with firm unshrinking step, tone of voice,--"Spaniards, hear me ! and countenances patient, calm, and A father's blessing I give unto my son ;

*

*

*

66

*

*

*

*

*

a

may it ever rest on and with him!-His THE CITY LION AND THE is the post of duty. Now, Marquis of

COUNTRY LAMB.
Léganès, strike firm and surely, for thou
art without reproach!”
But when Juanito saw his mother

“ Each ambushed Cupid I'll defy,

In cheek or chin or brow." approach, supported by the confessorthe scimetar struck heavily against the Thus sung Mr. Eugene Adolphus earth, as he shrieked in bitterest agony Adamant, as he brushed up his whiskers ; -"Mother !-God God !—It is too yet be not too vain-glorious, Mr. Eumuch-She bore-she nourished me.- gene, you know not what tricks that sly Blood I and my mother's blood I" A god Cupid will now and then play: aided cry of horror burst from all around. by a pair of black or blue sparklers, he The bacchanalian orgies within the castle will let fly such shafts as will penetrate, were at once ended.

even though you wear your heart encased The Marchioness, sensible that the in steel ; remember, “he jests at scars strength and courage of her son had fled, who never felt a wound 1” Now Eucast one glance, and one only, at the gene, the elegant Eugene Adolphus, was scene at her feet; and then, aged as she determined his heart should be invulnewas, leaped the terrace balustrade, and rable to any charms but the charms of disappeared. As she fell upon the rocks his own dear person : for him there was beneath, the reeking instrument of death no peril in a lady's eye,” so long as dropped from the hand of Juanito. His the glass reflected back the graceful eyes flashed an almost maniac fire. A image, the striking air of Mr. Eugene low gurgling sound, like a death-greeting, Adolphus Adamant. broke from his liyid lips,-life seemed " I wonder that I should have come to forsake his limbs—and he sunk sense- into the country at this early season of less upon the ground, beside the beloved the year, merely to please a foolish old beings who had fallen by his hand. aunt,” ejaculated our hero, “but I will

astonish the natives—yes, I will." Notwithstanding the unlimited respect It was the season of dandelions, and and high honours accorded by his sove- the elegant Eugene Adolphus was reign to the Marquis de Léganès-not- perfect lion. The name of dandy he withstanding the title of El Verdugo, by despised, for who with plenty of shirtwhich his ancient and noble name has collar could not be a dandy! no, pur been rendered yet more illustrious, the hero aimed at being something still more Marquis now lives an almost heart- exquisite, he aspired to be inimitable. broken and solitary man. The birth of Who but himself could give that graceful an heir to his name and fortune (an event wave to the hair parted in " Hyperion which, unhappily, deprived her who bore curls," and that négligé air of the neckhim of existence,) had been impatiently cloth so easy yet so elegant; then the awaited by him, and as his son saw the set of the coat, the put-on of those light, the father felt it was now his privi- white gloves, the flourish of that emlege, in Heaven's own time, to join that broidered handkerchief, the twirl of that troop of shadows, that are ever with him little rattan, and then the walk! the and around him. With these, in his attitude ! the je ne sais quoi air which long hours of solitude, he holds strange distinguished this elegant lion! Ah, no discourse: and if he ever smile, it is wonder that he should defy the darts of when he points out his sleeping boy to Cupid when his own dear person prethose unseen beings-unseen by all save sented such a phalanx of attraction; himself—and swears by its innocent well might the little god of love withdraw head, and by the generations yet unborn, his bow in despair ! But Eugene had an eternal enmity to France and to her not yet seen the bright, black eyes,

the children.

fairy form, the tiny foot of merry Rosa,

of Rosa the delight and the pet of our WEALTHY IGNORANCE.

village. He sauntered through the streets, he assumed the most fashionable air, he

gave his rattan the newest flourish, he Though nominally high in rank, thought of Broadway, he thought of the How practically low,

oft-admiring gaze of the Broadway dashIs he who only gold can thank

and of the envious looks of his For all the love men show.

dandy-lion cotemporaries, but he saw only the green grass he heard only the

[ocr errors]

ers,

« ПредишнаНапред »