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“A bright idea. I'll warrant Sir Hugh won't come back to look for his brother,” said Neal. “Lend a hand, old chap, and we'll carry him in at once.”
“I don't like handlin' of a corpse," objected Jos. “But I mun do it, I reckon."
Só between them they dragged the body into the interior of the cromlech. They were occupied for a few minutes in rearing the dismal object in an angle of the stony pile, so as to screen it from observation, and had just completed their task, when they were alarmed by the sound of voices.
“Lord help us !” ejaculated Jos, his knees knocking together from fright. "There's people a-comin' to take us up.”.
“Be quick, fool!” cried Neal; adding, with a bitter imprecation, “I can't conceive what brings those folks here; but they can't be looking for us. How can they tell what has happened?”
“They are a-comin' here, curse 'em!” cried Jos, as the footsteps drew nearer.
İt now became evident, from the sounds, that the party consisted of several persons; and it was also clear they had got a lantern with them, as the light could be seen through the outlet of the cromlech.
Neal now began to share his companion's alarm, and each of them crept into a corner of the sepulchre. By this time the party had come up, and a voice, which both of the terrified rogues recognised as that of Plessets, said,
“You're quite certain you heard a pistol fired hereabouts, Tom Rollings?”
“Sartin, Mr. Plessets,” replied another voice. « The sound cum'd from Kit's Coity House, as I towd you. Why, bless us! here's a hat, sir—a gemman's hat!”
“Let me look at it!” cried Plessets, snatching it from him. “I know it," he added, with a loud exclamation. " It's Captain Chetwynd’s hat!”
“ And see !” exclaimed another person, holding down the lantern. “ There's marks of a struggle here! There's blood upon the ground. Blood, Mr. Plessets !- look at it!” “ Blood, undoubtedly!” ejaculated the landlord.
6 Captain Chetwynd has been murdered."
A thrill of horror pervaded the assemblage on this discovery. All concurred in opinion that some dark deed had been done, though they couldn't declare so positively as the landlord did that Captain Chetwynd was the victim.
The rogues inside Kit's Coity House heard these remarks with increased alarm, and Jos muttered to himself, "We shall be hanged. I knows we shall."
“ Look here, sir !” cried Tom Rollings, again holding down
the lantern close to the ground. “Look at these marks, sir. The body has been dragged into Kit's Coity House."
“Evidently so, Tom. We shall find it there, no doubt,” rejoined the landlord.
On this, there was a simultaneous rush to the entrance of the cromlech. The first to go in was Tom Rollings. Close behind him came Plessets. The mouth of the sepulchre was blocked up by the rest of the party, all of whom were rustics.
As Tom Rollings, who was a great raw-boned young farmer, held up the lantern, a ghastly spectacle was presented to their view. Big Tom himself absolutely ręcoiled.
Reared up in one corner, with the head against the stones, was the body of the slaughtered man, the wound in the breast being discernible through the open shirt, which was drenched with blood. It was a fearful sight.
There also, crouched in opposite corners, and each devoutly wishing that the earth would open and swallow him up, were the two rogues. No one amid the throng who beheld the miserable wretches at that moment, looking the very pictures of ruthless murderers, entertained the slightest doubt of their criminalitynot the slightest.
But when they were seized and searched, and damnatory proofs of their guilt, as it seemed, found upon their persons, of what avail could be denial? All attempts at explanation were scouted, of course, and only served to increase the rage of the captors, who overwhelmed them with execrations.
“Why, here's the werry weepon as did the bloody deed!” cried Big Tom, pulling the pistol out of the ostler's pocket, and exhibiting it to the bystanders. “ Look at it, mesters, it has just been let off
“It's not the first time I've seen that pistol to-night,” said Plessets. “I caught the two villains with it in my harness-room, but I little thought what they were contriving."
The pocket-book and the notes were next brought to light, and increased the excitement of the lookers-on.
“Here's what they've sold themselves for to Owd Nick!” cried Big Tom.
Ay, they've got the devil's bargain sure enough, and bartered their precious souls for nothing," said Plessets, examining the notes. “These very bank notes I myself gave to the poor gentleman they've so foully murdered. I can swear to the numbers. The rogues, you see, have shared their booty between 'em—but it's done 'em no good.”
"Hangin's too good for such villains," cried Big Tom. “They ought to be hung in chains afore Kit's Coity House." * And so they will be," cried a voice from behind.
Ay, I knew we should be hanged,” groaned Jos. “Soh! villain, you confess your guilt at last?” cried Plessets.
No, sir. I'm as innocent of the poor gen'l'man's blood as the babe unborn. If I'm hanged, an innocent man will suffer, Mr. Plessets. Hear what I've got to say, sir, afore you condemns me. Captain Chetwynd met his death by accident. There's one as can explain all-can't he, Neal?”
“Ay, to be sure he can," said the other. “I can explain all now, if they'll only let me."
But being fiercely interrupted by the throng, he concluded by protesting his innocence.
Why, you unblushing villain !” cried Plessets, regarding him with abhorrence. “Dare you protest your innocence, with your
hands red with the blood of your victim? Ah! you may well hide them! But water won't cleanse them from the stain, That blood will cry out for Vengeance against you, and Vengeance won't be long delayed. You and your wretched associate will swing on the same gallows, and a precious pair will be disposed of. I shall never forgive myself for harbouring two such abominable miscreants."
“ We shall be able to establish our innocence at the proper time, Mr. Plessets,” said Neal, who had in some degree recovered his confidence.
“You put a bold face on the matter, Neal,” said the landlord; “ but you won't impose on me-nor on the judge and jury who will try you. You'll swing for the job, my lad. Pah! I'm half stifled in this place. It reeks of blood. Let us get out into the fresh air. Bring the villains along. And do you, Tom Rollings, and three other stout chaps, carry the poor captain among you to the Bell."
These injunctions were obeyed. Quitting the scene of the fearful catastrophe, the party marched down the hill-side, four of them carrying the body, and the rest guarding the prisoners.
It would scarcely be imagined that so ancient and yet so cruel a pastime as bull-fighting has been treated of with all the dignity of a science. Yet such is the case. Goya, the admirable author of the "Caprices,” has described, under the title of “Toromaquia,” with all the verve of a Spaniard thorougbly enamoured of his subject, and as deeply versed in it, the variations which the sport has undergone from the days of the Moors from Gazul, the Cid, and Charles the Fifth, up to the epoch of the student De Falces, Martincho, and the American. The work is, however, now exceedingly rare, and not a copy of it is to be found even in the Bibliothèque Impériale.
The great Montes, the worthy descendant of Romero, Martincho, and Pepe-Illo, has also penned a special treatise on the subject, in which he analyses in the most minute manner the qualities that are essential to constitute a successful torero, the different suertes or cogidas, the manner in which to agitate the cape or mantle, how to call the bull, how to use the muleta, and all the other resources of the profession. Several chapters are devoted to the knowledge and appreciation of different kinds of bulls, and they are not the least interesting in the book. The torero has, in fact, often to depend for his safety and his life on his appreciation of the characteristics of the animal that is opposed to him.
Lastly, the distinguished feuilletonist, Théophile Gautier, has profited by what his predecessors have said, and by his own experience, which he declares to be considerable, to pen a chapter upon “ Tauromachie.”
Almost all-descriptions of bull-fights, or, as they are more elegantly termed by the French, “courses de taureaux,” open with elegiac considerations upon the ferocity of such exhibitions. Théophile Gautier does not, however, side with these views of the matter, and he participates on that point in the ideas of the Spaniards. He holds that the spectacle is a noble one, is replete with heroism, and is in every respect worthy of a brave people; that, in fact, it illustrates in the highest degree the superiority of courage over brutal strength, and of mind over matter.
A struggle in which the weakest combatant is almost always conqueror, and that by bis coolness and by his just appreciation of danger, inspires, he asserts, the soul of the spectator with a feeling of pride very different from the trouble in which he is left by theatrical emotions. It is a male, energetic, robust impression, infinitely preferable to the romantic melancholy and the endless aspirations after innaccessible regions which are created among the people by scenic representations,
and in which a world is laid open to them that they can never enter.
When Montes has just struck down a bull with one of those sparkling estocados, or thrusts, which are as quick as thought and as rapid as lightning, and he receives the applause due to his skill from
thousands of brown and white hands, there is no one who would not like to be in his place.
He is a hero to all intents and purposes, and, whatever cowards may say, to risk one's life on the turn of the dice is a daring thing, whether it be to conquer a throne or to win applause.
The toreros, however, do not run so much risk as might be imagined ; they have long experience on their side, and accidents are rare enough; taking year by year, not more than one or two are killed throughout all Spain, and not more than a dozen are grievously hurt. This is no doubt more than there ought to be, but it must be remembered that all the fights take place during six months of the year, and almost every week in different localities. If one could ascertain how many equestrians, acrobats, rope-dancers, and other performers of gymnastics come to grief every year in France, it would be found that the number was much higher than this.
Ferdinand VII., el rey neto, a great amateur of bull-fights, founded at Seville a conservatory of toromaquia, in which select pupils were trained at Government expense to kill bulls “secundum artem,” and with the most exquisite skill. The pupils begin by practising upon a pasteboard bull, which they learn to thrust at in particular points. When they have acquired a sufficient degree of precision, and that they can touch the proper places (behind the horns, at the root of the neck, and between the shoulder-blades), they are brought face to face in the arena with young bulls, two or three years old, called novillos, the tips of whose horns are wrapt with bands of leather (embolados), so that they cannot do much harm, and the only danger that the young torero runs is to be tumbled over and trampled underfoot.
Many masters of the art have not, however, followed this course; they have been first banderilleros and then capeadores before becoming espadas.
It is, as we have observed, upon an intimate study and acquaintance with the habits of bulls that the safety and even the life of the torero often depend. Bulls vary much in disposition, and do not by any means conduct themselves in the same way in the arena. rienced torero detects with a glance, as soon as a bull enters upon the field, if it is slow (aplomada) or swift (de muechas piernas), frank or sulky, or if it is long or short sighted—a thing of the utmost importance.
Another important point is whether the bull has ever been in the arena. Those that have previously figured in a combat as novillos are much more dangerous than others; they are wanting in sencillez or frankness, are mistrustful, ever on the watch, and know how to profit by their experience. It was by a bull of this description that the famous Pepe-İllo was killed. A good bull should be from four to five years
and should have been brought up in pastures (ganaderia) removed from all human habitations, so as to preserve all its wildness. It ought to have neat limbs, wide shoulders, large dewlap, and long horns opening like a crescent. Those most in esteem come from Utrera and the mountains of Aragon. They are brought by means of a cow, wbich they follow, or by mingling them with a herd of oxen, some of which