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and, by his gestures, seemed both imploring and threatening, to induce them not to molest us.
While we paused to observe what impression his arguments made, Cudgel rose up, and coming a few steps toward us, again spoke:
'Mr. Meadows,' said he, in a voice of deep excitement, whose hoarse tones seemed to come from the very bottom of his huge chest, 'Mr. Meadows, I respect you more than any officer of that bloody slave-ship, and there 's not a man on board who would not go through h-ll for you. But you see this'-taking from his breast a large Spanish clasp-knife, and springing open its long pointed blade — 'I'd sooner put it into my own heart, than go on board that ship again. Not the whole ship's company, marines and all, should take me. I am a desperate man; you had better not meddle with me, for I give you warning, that if you come toward me, I'll give you this to the hilt, as good an officer as you are. Ha ha!' he frantically yelled, as he brandished his murderous weapon, midshipmen, you shall get more than you came for!'
I'll see that, you d-d Maltese rascal!' said the undaunted Meadows, whose indignation at being thus braved, made him forget for a moment the others who were still loud in fierce dispute; and advancing toward him, with an air of fearless resolution, he put his hand on his collar, and in a brief, stern voice, said, 'Come with me, Sir!'
The moral superiority and commanding bearing of the young officer awed the desperate deserter. He was what might be called 'taken aback.' Habits of obedience seemed yet to retain their influence, even over his fierce nature. He cowered beneath the stern glance of Meadows, and stood irresolute, muttering sullenly to himself.
'Give me your handkerchief to tie this fellow,' said Meadows, turning to me.
'Never!' shouted Cudgel, dashing his huge fist in his face, and springing toward one of the apertures in the roof. Meadows staggered with the heavy blow, and appeared a moment blinded. I ran toward him, thinking he had been struck with the knife. Are you hurt?' I asked. 'No, no never mind me-stop him! stop him!' answered the resolute officer. I turned immediately to grapple with Cudgel, who was endeavoring to force his Herculean body through the window.
'Don't come here, youngster!' cried he, desperately; 'I won't be so tender of you.'
My blood was fully up, and, fired with his threat, I rushed upon him. He made a frantic blow at me with his knife, which was well aimed at my face; but throwing up my left arm, almost involuntarily, I received the point just below the elbow, deep to the bone-I planting my dirk at ths same time nearly to the hilt in his side. The impetus of my blow, or the convulsive twinge that followed my blade, sent him out of the window, and he fell heavily to the earth. All right!' said Meadows, who was now by my side; now, boy, for a retreat. Hillo!' said he, as we turned to depart; here's more ado! We are in a scrape. Keep cool, youngster, and follow my mo
Our Greek friends seemed resolved not to part with us so easily, and now surrounded us, with scowling brows, flashing eyes, and brandished weapons. Their numbers had been increased by fresh arrivals from below, and about a dozen as picturesque-looking bandits as Salvator Rosa could have desired for the fore-ground of one of his wild mountain passes, were now hemming us in, from the hatch by which we entered, as if to cut off all retreat. The faithless Jack Straw, too, had disappeared, and apparently left us to our fate.
Perfectly self-possessed, Meadows fixed his stern, unquailing eye upon them, and I kept close to him, and regarded him anxiously. The villains seemed yet to have some respect for the lion in their toils, and no small fear of his fangs; but it was evident they waited only for some bolder one to give the signal, to commence the onslaught.
It was a serious business. Here we were, at midnight, in one of the vilest dens of Frank-town, where murders are by no means uncommon; but slightly armed, fatigued by our hard day's duty, and exhausted by want of food; out of reach of assistance, surrounded by a ferocious gang of ruffians, who were every moment getting more excited and furious; I confess for myself, I felt that I should have been much more comfortable, snugly nestling in my hammock. 'Watch your chance to dash through, and spring down the hatch,' said Meadows, in a low whisper.
'I am ready to follow your motions,' I replied, in the same tone. At that moment, one of the Greeks immediately in front of us slunk behind his next companion, leaving a small break in the circle. Quick as thought, Meadows sprang through, overturning another in his impetuosity, and I followed close upon him. But what was our dismay, at finding the trap-door closed down!
We instantly gained the upright wall of the building, and placing our backs firmly against it, awaited the issue. A ferocious howl of mingled surprise and rage succeeded.
There is no help for it,' said Meadows, still perfectly cool; 'let us sell ourselves dearly.' A sudden and simultaneous rush interrupted him, and at the same moment we were both down, and unarmed, my dirk being knocked out of my hand, to the middle of the apartment. A powerful Greek held me down; his knee was upon my breast, his eyes gleamed into mine with insane fury; a knife glistened in one hand, while with the other he violently tore the stock from my neck. Closing my eyes with a shudder, and an involuntary prayer, I expected the next moment to feel its keen edge across my wind-pipe, and the moment after to wake in another world.
A tumult and rattling of arms below, made the murderer pause. The trap-door was suddenly forced off, a yelling shout arose, followed by a host of armed men, and cries of fright and astonishment among the ruffians above, and in an instant swords were clashing, blood was flowing, and the Greeks wildly flying in all directions for escape. Had I not been too bewildered with the scene, and overcome with my unlooked-for reprieve from death, I should have admired its melo-dramatic effect.
THE TURKISH GUARD.
THE redoubted guard of Hadji Bey, the military officer of police, (no sinecure, by the way, in Smyrna,) had rescued us from almost certain death.
Those Apollo-formed Albanians, in their pcituresque costume, their glancing eyes, and bright weapons, are as ruthless and determined as their brave old leader, the renowned and (by the Smyrna canaille) greatly feared Hadji! Thorough work did they make of it, that guard! With their curved cimeters and short-butted carabines, they laid about them with a vigor that left the wretches no hope from resistance, and an undistinguishing execution, that left them small plea of partiality. In a few moments, the whole gang, with the exception of a few that escaped from the narrow windows of the roof, strewed the floor, that was flowing with their blood. Then, after a short pause, while the satisfied Albanians were coolly wiping their cimeters, and returning them to their sheaths, the senseless and wounded prisoners were lifted down the hatch, and we were ordered to follow. Our deserter was found lying in the alley, weltering in his blood. He was raised upon the shoulders of the guard, and with the others, carried forward.
The Turks paid but little attention to our attempts at explanation. The stern old bey grimly smiled, when we showed him that we were wounded, and beckoned us to be silent. I pointed to the button of my uniform, to make him understand we were American officers; but he only impatiently nodded, and said Pacha, Pacha!' 'Don't tease the old fellow,' said Meadows; we must go before the Pacha. I am devilish weak, though; that cursed Greek put his knife into me. Ah, come here!' he cried, with a deep sigh; but before I could support him, the poor fellow sank to the ground. The old bey coolly beckoned two of his guard to lift him up, and then rode on, as silent as before. Meadows was quite insensible, and as he was carried forward in the arms of the strong-limbed Albanian, I with difficulty, from my own weakness, kept by his side, while we thridded the dark winding streets to the Pacha's residence. At last we entered the high arched gateway into the vaulted court of the palace. Meadows was taken to the guard-room and placed upon a low platform, whereon several Turkish soldiers lay rolled up in their rough griegos. They merely raised their heads as we entered, and then quietly settled to slumber again.
I seated myself by my unfortunate companion, and endeavored to restore him to consciousness. He had been wounded in the head and neck, and his hand was also deeply gashed, showing that he had struggled with the ruffians to the last. With some difficulty, I procured a little water, and after washing the coagulated blood from his face, and chafing his wrists and temples, I had the satisfaction to see him revive. He faintly opened his eyes, and attempted to speak.
Here, old boy, do n't give up,' said I, putting the earthen dish, that still contained a little water, to his lips; drink some of this, and you will feel better. I only wish I had a little old Columbia to
qualify it; but among these unbelievers, such a thing is not to be had, you know.'
He swallowed a mouthful, and then asked where we were. I told him, and that I feared we should have to remain where we were until morning, as doubtless his highness was too comfortable in his harem, to attend to Christian dogs at that hour. He complained of much pain, and requested me to look at his neck. I removed his stock, and gently washed the blood from his wound. It was a small, deep orifice, but fortunately in the muscular part, clear of the large vein and artery. For want of something better, I tore a bandage from my shirt, and carefully bound it up; and putting my jacket under his head for a pillow, I persuaded him to compose himself to sleep. The wound in his head was slight; his hand I bandaged with my handkerchief, and then attended to my own wounded arm, which was now much benumbed and swollen.
Notwithstanding my fatigue, and the usual reaction of great excitement, I did not feel inclined to sleep. I seated myself by the side of Meadows, and silently revolved over the incidents of the night, and speculated upon what the morrow might bring forth. The only person beside myself, not asleep, in the desolate-looking guard-room, was the sentry at the door. He was a dark-skinned Arab, with black, sunken eyes, and a thin, attenuated moustache. His tall, gaunt form was habited in the anomalous uniform of the modern Turkish soldier. A coarse blue jacket, faced with red; loose knee-breeches and spatterdashes; red slippers and scull-cap; a yatagan stuck in his girdle, and a clumsy carabine, or musket, on his arm. He looked on with imperturbable composure, while I bound up the wounds, without showing in his dark features the slightest interest or sympathy. After a while, I tried to establish a correspondence with him, by means of diverse signs, and the few words of Turkish and lingua franca I had picked up. But he seemed averse to conversation, and bending his head upon his hand, motioned me to go to sleep.
I tried to follow his advice; but nearly famished from hunger, cold from having parted with my jacket, anxious and restless, and suffering much pain with my wound, the night wore heavily away. The only relief to its cheerless monotony was when, at long intervals, the shrill cry of the sergeant would raise up my quiet fellow lodgers to their turn of guard duty, and after a slight bustle of the others arriving to occupy their places on the platform, all would again be silent.
The gray dawn of morning, to my inexpressible relief, at last stole into the room. Meadows had a feverish and uneasy slumber; often muttering of the scenes we had passed through, and groaning with pain. When he awoke, he complained of thirst, but strove in vain to swallow a mouthful of water. I bathed his head and neck, which had become greatly swollen, and besought him to patience. We both had sufficient need of this virtue, for several tedious hours passed on leaden wings,' before we were escorted out of the guardroom, and conducted up a broad flight of steps into the hall of the palace.
THE hall into which we were ushered was spacious and lofty, paved with marble, with a circular fish-pond and its tinkling fountain in the centre. The beams and rafters above were carved and gilded in the Moorish fashion, and the sides were hung with loose crimson drapery. The Pacha was seated upon a raised divan, cushioned and covered with red damask, at the end of the hall. He was surrounded by several gay-looking Turkish officers, and a small guard of soldiers. An old Armenian sat upon a mat near the divan, with some white paper on his knees, and a brass ink-stand thrust in his girdle, ready, as I supposed, to take notes of our examination; and behind him stood an humble-looking Jew, who performed the office of interpreter. The next person I cast my eyes upon, with no little surprise, was our quondam friend, Jack Straw, whom we thought had so treacherously left us to our fate the night before.
The Pacha looked at us keenly, but good humoredly, for a few moments, and the rest of the group followed his example. He then turned and said something to a young officer near him, who replied with a very unoriental burst of laughter;' whereat a smile, grim, sneering, or waggish, according to the modifications of visnomy it passed over, spread around the circle.
As we saw no indications that our trial was about to commence, we began to think we had been brought before his Turkish highness, like Sampson before the Philistines, to make sport, and we felt proportionally indignant.
Had we been of the softer sex, however, we might have forgiven the Pacha's stare, in consideration of his beauty. Scarce thirty in appearance, with glorious dark eyes, and pencilled brows, finelychiselled mouth and chin, brilliantly white teeth, set off by a black silky moustache, and fair, florid complexion, I thought him decidedly one of the handsomest men I had ever seen. With not a particle of the national gravity, he seemed, on the contrary, full of mirth and waggishness; and, to judge by the effect produced, even upon the grim-looking guard, who would now and then relax their stern muscles into a smile, in spite of the terrors of discipline, the jests of his handsome highness were not altogether without point. His conversation, however, was addressed exclusively to a very youthful officer, who seemed to be a favorite, and applauded the Pacha's jokes with his ready and musical laugh. Nothing could be more at variance with my preconceived notions of a Turkish Pacha and his court, than the singular group before me.
By the time our patience was well nigh exhausted, and our amour propre not a little hurt, a heavy, deliberate step was heard slowly ascending the stairs, and in a moment in came Hadji Bey,
This Turkish dignitary was a very different man from his master. Hadji never joked, save in quite a practical way, and which, indeed, often proved a very sorry jest' to the subject. His jokes were generally cracked upon the crowns of the turbulent wretches of Franktown, where he often left conclusive evidence of the striking force of his wit. No one ever heard Hadji laugh, for he was much too grave a Musselman to do so unoriental a thing; and if he ever