The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Queen's cadet, and other tales

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Queen's cadet, and other tales

Author: James Grant

Release date: December 8, 2022 [eBook #69500]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: George Routledge and Sons, 1874

Credits: Al Haines



And other Tales






















"I have been forced to believe in the existence and influence of an unseen world, of something which is described in that line of Dryden's,

"'With silent steps I follow you all day.'

"I have felt the influence of the spiritual and invisible on the senses, though I know nothing of the complications, the deceptions and alleged perils, forming a portion of that which is now termed spiritualism; and which affirms that the unseen world cannot become manifest, save in obedience to certain occult laws which regulate the phenomena of nature."

What rigmarole was this?

Could the speaker—this man with the melancholy tone and saddened eye—actually be the same handsome Jack Arkley, my old college chum at Sandhurst, who was always rather sceptical even in religious matters, who was one of the merriest fellows there, who had been once nearly rusticated for breaking the lamps and dismounting the guns to spite the adjutant, but who, as a Queen's cadet, had more marks of excellence than any of us; who was afterwards the beau-ideal of a fine young English officer—a prime bat and bowler, who pulled a good stroke oar, had such a firm seat in his saddle, and who was the best hand for organizing a picnic, a ball, or a scratch company, for amateur theatricals; and who in the late expedition against the Looshais, had won the reputation of being a regular fire-eater—a fellow who would face the devil in his shirt sleeves!

Could the champagne of "the Rag" have affected him, thought I, as he continued earnestly and sadly, and while manipulating a cigar selected from the silver stand on the table:

"I have somewhere read that very few persons in this world have been unfortunate enough to have seen those things that are invisible to others."

"By Jove! Do you mean a—ghost?"

"Not exactly the vulgar ghost of the nursery," said he, his pale face colouring slightly.

"But we have all met with those who knew some one else who had seen something weird, unearthly, unexplainable."

"Precisely; but I shall speak from personal experience—so now for a little narrative of my own."

We had dined that evening at the club, where D—— of the Greys had given a few fellows a dinner, in honour of being gazetted to his troop, and to "wet" the new commission; and though it seemed to me that, like the rest of us, Jack Arkley had done justice to all the good things set before him, from the soup to the coffee and curaçao, he had been, during dinner, remarkably triste or abstracted, and took but little interest in the subjects discussed by the guests, who were mostly all upon short leave from Aldershot, and, the Spring drills being over, were thankful to exchange the white dust of the Long Valley, for the Row or Regent Street.

We were alone now, and lingering over some iced brandy-pawnee (as we called it in India) in the cool bay-window of his room in Piccadilly, where it overlooked the pleasant Green Park and where the clock of Westminster was shining above the trees, like a red harvest moon. So I prepared to listen to him with more curiosity than belief, while he related the following singular story, which he would never have ventured to relate to the circle of heedless fellows whom we had just left.

"My parents died when I was little more than an infant, leaving me to the care of two uncles, a maternal one, named Beverley, a man of considerable wealth, who in consequence of a quarrel with my father, whose marriage with his sister he resented, totally ignored my existence, and was ever a kind of myth to me; the other a paternal one, a bachelor curate in North Wales, poor old Morgan Apreece Arkley, than whom there was no better or more kind-hearted man in all the principality.

"His means were most limited; but to share the little he possessed he made me freely and tenderly welcome, all the more so that to two appeals he had made to the generosity of my Uncle Beverley, no response was ever returned—a cutting coldness and rudeness, bitterly resented by my hot-tempered but warm-hearted old Welsh kinsman.

"A career was necessarily chosen for me.

"The death of my father on duty at Benares, enabled me to be borne on the strength of the Military College at Sandhurst as one of the twenty Queen's cadets; and to that seminary I repaired, a few months after you did, when in my sixteenth year, leaving with sincere sorrow the lonely white-haired man who had been as a parent to me, and whose secluded parsonage by the margin of Llyn Ogwen, and under the shadow of Carneydd Davydd, had been the only home I could remember. There for years he had been my earnest and anxious tutor, mingling with the classics a store of quaint old Welsh legends and ancient songs, for he was an excellent and enthusiastic harper, and had come of a long line of harpers.

"Prior to this change in my life, I encountered an adventure which has had considerable influence in my after career.

"From childhood I had been familiar with the mountains that overhang Llyn Ogwen. I knew every track and rock and fissure of Carneydd Davydd, of 'the Black Ladders' of Carneydd Llewellyn, and the brows of the greater giant of the three, cloud-capped Snowdon. For miles upon miles among them I had been wont to wander with my gun, and at times to aid the shepherds in tracking out lost sheep or goats, by places where we looked down upon the gray mist and vapour that floated below us, and where the mountain peaks seemed to start out of it like isles amid a sea. In the heart of such solitudes as these I found food for much reflective thought, and was wont to give full swing to my boyish fancies.

"Under every variety of season and weather I was wont to wander among these mountains; sometimes when their sides seemed to vibrate under the hot rays of a cloudless summer sun; at others when the glistening snow lay deep in the passes and valleys, or when height and hollow were alike shrouded in thick and impenetrable mist; but my favourite spot was ever Llyn Idwal, the wildest and most savage of all our Welsh lakes. It fills the crater of an ancient volcano, and is the traditional scene of the murder of Idwal, a prince of Wales, who was flung over its precipice—a place which for gloomy grandeur has no equal, as the bare rocks that start out of it, sheer as a wall, darken by their shadows its depth to the most intense blackness; and the peasants aver that no fish can swim in it, and no bird fly over it and live.

"Lying upon the mountain tops, amid the purple heather or the scented thyme-grass, I was wont to watch the distant waters of the Channel, stretching far away beyond the Puffin Isle and Great Orme's Head, ever changing in hue as the masses of cloud skimmed over them; and from thence I followed, with eager eyes, the white sails of the ships, or the long smoky pennants of the steamers that were bound for—ah! where were they bound for?—and so, far from the solitary parsonage of the good old man who loved me so well, I was ungrateful enough to follow to distant isles and shores these vanishing specks, in the spirit.

"I see that you are impatient to know what all this preamble has to do with Sandhurst and the melancholy which now oppresses me; but nevertheless, I am fast coming to the matter—to 'that keystone of the soul which must exist in every nature.'

"One day I was up a wild part of the mountains, far above Llyn Ogwen, a long and narrow sheet of water which occupies the whole pass between Braich-ddu and the shoulder of Carneydd Davydd. My sole companion was my dog Cidwm—in English, 'Wolf'—which lay beside me on the sunny grass, when from one of my day-dreams I was suddenly roused by voices, and found three persons close beside me.

"Mounted on sturdy Welsh ponies, two of these were a gentleman in the prime of life, and a very young lady, apparently his daughter, attended by David Lloyd, one of the guides for the district, who knew me well. He led the bridle of the girl's pony with one hand, and grasped his alpenstock with the other. This group paused near me, and some conversation ensued. Lloyd had evidently mistaken the path, and was loath to admit the fact, or to suggest that they should retrace their steps, and yet he knew enough of the mountains to be well aware that to advance would be to court danger. During the colloquy that ensued between him and his employer, a haughty and imperious-looking man, I was earnestly gazing in the half-averted face of the girl, who was watching an eagle in full flight.

"She was marvellously beautiful. Her features—save in profile—were perhaps far from correct, yet there was a divine delicacy, a charming purity of complexion, and brightness of expression over them all; and her minute face seemed to nestle amid the masses of her fair rippling hair. She turned towards me, and her eyes met mine. They were dark violet blue, and shaded by brown lashes, so long that they imparted much of softness to their dove-like expression, and she smiled, for no doubt the little maid saw that there was something of unequivocal admiration to be read in my ardent gaze; and so absorbed was I, that, for a few seconds, I was not aware that the guide was addressing me, and inquiring how far the path was traversable in this particular direction. Ere I could reply,

"'How should this mere lad know, if you don't?' asked the male tourist, haughtily and sharply.

"'Few here can know better, sir,' replied Lloyd. 'I have seen him climb where the eagles alone can go.'

"'Shall we proceed, then?' he asked me, sharply.

"'I think not, sir,' said I; 'Moel Hebog was covered with mist this morning, and——'

"'But Moel Hebog is clear enough now,' said David Lloyd, with irritation—the mountain so named being deemed an unerring barometer, as regards the chances of mist upon its greater brethren—'so I think we may proceed,' he added, touching his hat to his employer. 'I don't require, sir, to be taught my trade by a mere lad, a gentleman tho you be, Master Arkley.'

"'Arkley!' repeated the stranger, starting and eyeing me keenly, and yet with a lowering expression of face.

"I warned them of the danger of farther progression, but the avaricious guide derided me; and I heard his employer, as they passed on, asking him some questions, amid which—but it might be fancy—I thought my own name occurred. I gazed after them with interest, and with much of anxiety, for their path was perilous, and the sweet soft beauty of the girl had impressed me deeply; and, as she disappeared, with all her wealth of golden hair, the brightness seemed to have departed from the mountain side.

"What was the magic this creature, whom I had only seen for a few minutes, possessed for me? She was scarcely a woman, yet past childhood; and her features remained as distinctly impressed upon my memory as if they were before me still. Do not infer from this strange interest that 'love at first sight,' as the novels used to have it, was an ingredient of this emotion. No; it was something deeper—a subtle magnetism—something that I know not how to define or to express; and with a repining sigh, I thought of my lonely life, and longed to go forth on the career that awaited me beyond those green mountains that were bounded by the sea.

"Had I ever seen that fair little face before, or dreamed of it by night or by day, that already it seemed to haunt me so?

"The little group had not disappeared above five minutes, when a sound like a cry was borne past me on the mountain breeze. I started up, my heart beating wildly; and with undefined apprehension, hastened in the direction of the sound, while Wolf careered in front of me. There now came the sound of hoofs, and with bridle trailing, saddle reversed, and nostrils distended, the pony on which I had so recently seen the young girl, came tearing over the crest of the hill, and galloped madly past me towards Llyn Idwal.

"Quicker beat my heart, and my breath came thick and fast. Something dreadful had taken place! True to his instincts as ever was the faithful Gelert of the Welsh tradition, Wolf sped in haste to the edge of what I knew to be a frightful ravine. There the hoof marks were fresh in the turf, the edge of which was broken; the grass too, was crushed and torn, as if something had fallen over it. The dog now paused, lifted up his nose, and howled ominously. I peered over; and far down below, on a ledge of green turf, but perilously overhanging a chasm in the mountain side, lay that which appeared at first to be a mere bundle of clothes, but which I knew to be the little maiden dead— doubtlessly dead—and a wail of sorrow escaped me.

"Her father and the guide had disappeared.

"Partly sliding, partly descending as if by a natural ladder, finding footing and grasp where many might have found neither, mechanically, and as one in a dream, I reached her in about ten minutes; and, as I had a naturally boyish dread of facing death, with joy I saw her move, and then took her in my arms tenderly and caressingly; while she opened her eyes and sighed deeply, for the fall had stunned and shaken her severely. Otherwise she was, happily, uninjured; but I had reached her just in time, for, if left to herself, she must have tottered and fallen into the terrible profundity below.

"'Papa! oh, where is my papa? I was thrown suddenly from my pony—a bird scared it—and remember no more;' then a passion of tears and terror came over her, with the consciousness of the peril she had escaped and that which still menaced her, for to ascend was quite impracticable, and to descend seemed nearly equally so. Above us the mountain side seemed to rise like a wall of rock; on the other hand, at the bottom of the ravine, where the shadows of evening were dark and blue, though sunset still tipped Snowdon's peaks with fire, and clouds of crimson and gold were floating above us, I could see a rivulet, a tributary of the Ogwen, glittering like a silver thread far down, perhaps a thousand feet below.

"'Courage,' said I, while for a time my heart died within me; 'I shall soon conduct you to a place of safety.'

"'But papa, he will die of fright. Where is my papa?' she exclaimed, piteously.

"'Gone round some other way,' I suggested. And subsequently this proved to be the case. Placing an arm round her for aid, we now began to descend, but slowly, the face of the hill, which was there so steep and shelved so abruptly, that to lose one step might have precipitated us to the bottom with a speed that would have insured destruction. From rock to rock, from bush to bush, and from cleft to cleft, I guided and often lifted her, sometimes with her eyes closed; and gazed the while with boyish rapture on the beautiful girl, as her head drooped upon my shoulder. She had lost her hat, and the unbound masses of her golden hair, blown by the wind, came in silken ripples across my face; and delight, mingled with alarm, bewildered me.

"Till that hour no sorrow could have affected a spirit so pure as hers; and certainly love could not have agitated it—she was so young. But when we drew nearer the base of the hill, and reached a place of perfect safety, the soft colour came back to her face, and the enchantment of her smile was as indescribable as the clear violet blue of her eye, which filled with wonder and terror as she gazed upward to the giddy verge from which she had partly fallen; and then a little shudder came over her.

"With a boy's ready ardour, I was already beginning to dream of being beloved by her, when excited voices came on the wind; and round an angle of the ravine into which we had descended came Lloyd, the guide, several peasants, and her father, who had partially witnessed our progress, and whose joy in finding her alive and well, when he might have found her dashed perhaps out of the very semblance of humanity, was too great for words. The poor man wept like a very woman, as he embraced her again and again, and muttered in broken accents his gratitude to me, and praise of my courage. Suddenly he exclaimed to the guide,

"'You said his name was—Arkley, I think?'

"'Yes, sir,' replied Lloyd.

"'John Beverley Arkley, nephew of the curate at the foot of the mountain yonder?' he added, turning to me.

"'The same, sir.'

"'Good heavens! I am your Uncle Beverley!' said he, colouring deeply, and taking my hand again in his. 'The girl you have saved is your own cousin—my darling Eve. I owe you some reparation for past neglect, so come with me to the parsonage at once.'

"Here was a discovery that quite took away my breath. So this dazzling little Hebe was my cousin! How fondly I cherished and thought over this mysterious tie of blood—near almost as a sister, and yet no sister. It was very sweet to ponder over and to nurse the thoughts of affection, and all that yet might be.

"What a happy, happy night was that in the ancient parsonage! The good old curate forgave Uncle Beverley all the short-comings in the years that were past, and seemed never to weary of caressing the wonderful hair and the tiny hands of Evelyn Beverley, for such was her name, though familiarly known as Eve.

"'It is quite a romance, this,' said kind Uncle Arkley to his brother-in-law; 'the young folks will be falling in love!'

"Eve grew quite pale, and cast down her eyes; while I blushed furiously.

"'Stuff!' said Uncle Beverley, somewhat sharply. 'She has barely cut her primers and pinafores, and Jack has Sandhurst before him yet.'

"He presented me with his gold repeater, and departed by the first convenient train, taking my newly-discovered relation with him. I had a warm invitation to visit them for a few weeks before entering at Sandhurst; and, to add to my joy and impatience, I found that Beverley Lodge was in Berkshire, and within a mile of the College: and so, but for the presence of the golden gift, and the memory of a kind and grateful kiss from a beautiful lip—a kiss that made every nerve thrill—I might have imagined that the whole adventure on the slopes of Carneydd Davydd was but a dream.

"Naturally avaricious, cold, and hard in heart, Mr. Beverley had warmed to me for a time, but a time only; yet I revered and almost loved him. He was the only brother of my dead mother, whom I had never known. She—this golden-haired girl—was of her blood, and had her name; so my whole soul clung to her with an amount of youthful ardour, such as I cannot portray to you—for I was always much of an enthusiast—and I was again alone, to indulge in the old tenor of my ways amid the voiceless mountain solitudes.

"Again and again in my lonely wanderings had my mind been full of vague longings and boyish aspirations after glory, pleasure, and love: and now the memory of Eve's minute and perfect face—so pure and English in its beauty—by its reality filled up all that had been a blank before; and I was ever in fancied communion with her, while lying on the hill-slopes and looking to the sea that sparkled at the far horizon, into the black ravines through which the mountain brooks went foaming to the rocky shore, or where our deep Welsh llyns were gleaming in the sunshine like gold and turquoise blue—amid the monotony of the silent woods; and so the time passed on, and the day came when I was to start for Beverley Lodge, and thence to Sandhurst; while love and ambition rendered me selfishly oblivious of poor old Uncle Morgan, and the fervent wishes and blessings with which he followed my departing steps.

"A month's visit to Beverley Lodge, amid the fertility of Berkshire, many a ride and ramble in the Vale of the White Horse, many an hour spent by us together in the shady woods, the luxurious garden, in the beautiful conservatory, and in the deep leafy lanes where we wandered at will, confirmed the love my cousin and I bore each other. A boy and a girl, it came easily about; while many were our regrets and much was our marvelling that we had not known each other earlier.

"No two men make a declaration of love, perhaps, in precisely the same way, though it all comes to the same thing in the end; but it might be interesting to know in what precise terms, and having so little choice, Father Adam declared his passion for Mother Eve, and in what fashion she responded.

"I know not now how my love for my little Eve was expressed; but told it was, and I departed for college the happiest student there, every hour I could spare from study and drill being spent in or about Beverley Lodge.

"With an income of forty pounds per annum till gazetted, I almost thought myself rich; and I had three years before me—it seemed an eternity of joy—to look forward to. At Sandhurst I was, as you know, entered as a Queen's cadet free, and a candidate for the infantry. I had thus to master algebra, the three first books of Euclid, French, German, and 'Higher Fortification;' but in the pages of Straith, amid the ravelins of Vauban and the casemates of Coehorn, I seemed to see only the name and the tender eyes of Eve. The daily drills, in which I was at first an enthusiast, became dull and prosaic, and hourly I made terrible mistakes, for Eve's voice was ever in my ear, and her delicate beauty haunted me; for wondrously delicate it became, as consumption—which she fatally inherited from her mother—shed over it a medium that was alike soft and alluring.

"Since then I have met girls of all kinds everywhere. Though only a sub, I have been dressed for, played for, sung for; but never have I had the delight of those remembered days that were passed with Eve Beverley in our dream of cousinly love; however, a rude waking was at hand!

"When she was eighteen, and I a year older, she told me one day that her father had been insisting upon her marrying an old friend of his, a retired Sudder judge, who had proposed in form; but she had laughed at the idea.

"'Absurd! It is so funny of papa to have a husband ready cut and dry for me; is it not, Jack?' said she.

"I did not think so; but my heart beat painfully as I leaned caressingly over her, and played with her beautiful hair.

"'I don't thank him for selecting a husband for me, Jack, dear,' she continued, pouting; 'do you?'"

"'Certainly not, Eve.'

"'But I must prepare my mind for the awful event,' said she, looking up at me with a bright, waggish smile.

"The time was fast approaching, however, when neither of us could see anything 'funny' in the prospect; for 'the awful event' became alarmingly palpable, when one day she met me with tears, and threw herself on my breast, saying:

"'Save me, dearest Jack—save me!'

"'From whom?"

"'Papa and his odious old Sudder judge, Jack, love. You know that I must marry you, and you only!'

"'The devil he does!' said a voice, sharply; and there, grim as Ajax, stood Uncle Beverley, with hands clenched and brows knit. 'My sister married his father, a beggar, with only his pay; and now, minx, you dare to love their son, by heavens, with no pay at all! Leave this house, sir—begone instantly!' he added, furiously, to me. 'I would rather that she had broken her neck on the mountains than treated me to a scene like this.'

"The gates of Beverley Lodge closed behind me, and our dream was over.

"Half my life seemed to have left me. After three years of such delightful intercourse I could not adopt the conviction that I should never see her again; and in a very unenviable state of mind I entered the college, where you may remember meeting me under the Doric portico, and saying:

"'What's up, Jack? But let me congratulate you.'

"'On what?' I asked sulkily.

"'Your appointment to the Buffs. The Gazette has just come from town. They are stationed at Jubbulpore.'

"And so it proved that the very day I lost her saw me in the service, with India, and a far and final separation before us. Necessity compelled us to prepare for an almost instant departure; short leave was given me by the adjutant-general; and I had to join the Candahar transport going with drafts from Chatham for the East, on a certain day.

"Rumours reached me of Eve being seriously ill. She was secluded from me, and there was every chance that I should see her no more. A letter came from her imploring me to meet her for the last time at a spot known to us both—a green lane that led to a churchyard stile—the scene of many a tender tryst and blissful hour, as it was a place where overhanging trees, with the golden apple, the purple damson, and the plum, formed a very bower, and where few or none ever came, save on Sunday; and there we met for the last time!

"There once again her head lay on my shoulder, my circling arm was round her, and her hot, tremulous hand was clasped in mine. I was shocked by the change I perceived in her. Painful was her pallor to look upon; there were circles dark as her lashes under her sad, melancholy eyes; her nostrils and lips were unnaturally pink; she had a short, dry cough; and blood appeared more than once upon her handkerchief.

"Consumption on one hand, and parental tyranny on the other, were fast doing their fatal work.

"Her father was pitiless and inexorable—wonderfully, infamously so, as he was so rich that mere money was no object, and as she was his only child, and one so tender, and so fragile. His studied system of deliberate 'worry' had wrung a consent from her; she was to marry the old judge; and in more ways than one I felt that too surely I was losing her for ever. She could not go out with me. I felt desperate, and in silence folded her again and again to my breast. At last the ting-tong of the old church clock announced the hour when we must part, never to meet again, and the fatal sound struck us like a shock of electricity.

"'Jack, my dearest—my dearest,' she whispered wildly; 'I don't think I shall live very long now. I may—nay, I must, die very soon; but the spirit is imperishable, and I shall always be with you, wherever you may be, wherever you may go, hovering near you, I hope, like a guardian angel!'

"Her words struck me as strange and wild; I did not attach much importance to them then, but they have had a strange and terrible significance since.

"'Would you welcome me?' she asked, with a mournful smile.

"'Dead or living shall I welcome you!' I replied, with mournful ardour.

"'Then kiss me once again, dear Jack; and now we part—in this world, at least!'

"Another wild, passionate embrace, and all was over. In a minute later I was galloping far from the villa to reach the railway. I saw her beloved face no more; but voice and face, eye and kiss, were all with me still. Would a time ever come when I might forgot them?

"Adverse winds detained us long in the Channel, but we cleared it at last; and the last Times that came on board announced the marriage of this unhappy girl.

"Six months subsequent found me in cantonments at Neemuch, with a small detachment of ours, and in hourly expectation of the mutiny which had broken out at Meerut and Delhi, with such horrors, being imitated there, though we had sworn the sepoys to be 'true to their salt,' the Mahometans on the Koran, the Hindoos on the waters of the Ganges, and the other darkies on whatever was most sacred to them; and if they revolted, all Europeans were to seek instant shelter in the fort.

"It was the night of the 3rd June—one of the loveliest I ever saw in India—the moonlight was radiant as midday, and not a cloud was visible throughout the blue expanse of heaven. I was lying in my bungalow, with sword and revolver beside me, as we could not count upon the events of an hour, for all Hindostan seemed to be going to chaos in blood and outrage.

"The cantonment ghurries had clanged midnight; my eyes were closing heavily; and when just about to sleep I thought that my name was uttered by some one near me, very softly, very tenderly, and with an accent that thrilled my heart's core. Starting, I looked up, and there—oh, my God!—there, in the slanting light of the moon, like a glorified spirit, with a brightness all about her, was the figure of Eve Beverley bending over me, with all her golden hair unbound, and a garment like a shroud or robe about her.

"Entranced, enchained by love as much as by mortal terror, I could not move or speak, while nearer she bent to kiss my brow; but I felt not the pressure of her lips, though reading in her starry, violet eyes a divine intensity of expression—a mournful, unspeakable tenderness, when, pointing in the direction of the fort, she disappeared.

"'It is a dread—a dreadful dream!' said I, starting to my feet preternaturally awake, to hear the sound of artillery, the rattle of musketry, the yells of 'Deen! deen!' and the shrieks of those who were perishing; for the mutineers had risen, and the 1st Cavalry, the 72nd N. I., and Walker's artillery, had commenced the work of massacre. I rushed forth, and at the moment I left my bungalow on one side it was set in flames and fired through from the other. I fled to the fort, which, thanks to my dream—for such I supposed it to be—I reached in safety, while many perished, for all the station was sheeted now with flame.

"Once again I had that dream, so wild and strange, when a deadly peril threatened me. I was hiding in the jungle, alone and in great misery, near Jehaz-ghur, a fugitive. The time was noon, and I had dropped asleep under the deep, cool shadow of a thicket, when that weird vision of Eve came before me, soft and sad, tender and intense, with her loving eyes and flowing hair, as, with hands outstretched, she beckoned me to follow her. A cry escaped me, and I awoke.

"'Was my Eve indeed dead?' I asked of myself; 'and was it her intellectual spirit, her pure essence, that imperishable something engendered in us all from a higher source, that followed me as a guardian angel?' I remembered her parting words. The idea suggested was sadly sweet and terrible; and so, as a sense of her perpetual presence as a spirit-wife hovered at all times about me, controlling all my actions, rendered me unfit for society, till at Calcutta, a crisis was put to all this.

"With some of the 72nd, and other Europeans who had escaped from Neemuch, or had 'distinguished themselves,' as the 'Hurkaru' had it, I once went to be photographed at the famous studio near the corner of the Strand. I sat, in succession, alone and in a group, after being posed in the usual fashion, with an iron hoop at the nape of my neck. On examining the first negative, an expression of perplexity and astonishment came over the face of the artist.

"'Strange, sir,' said he; 'most unaccountable!'

"'What is strange; what is unaccountable?' asked several.

"'Another figure that is not in the room appears at Captain Arkley's back—a woman, by Jove!' he replied, placing the glass over a piece of black velvet; and there—there—oh, there could be no doubt of it—was faintly indicated the outline of one whose face and form had been but too vividly impressed on my heart and brain, bending sorrowfully over me, with her soft, bright eyes and wealth of long bright hair.

"From my hand the glass fell on the floor, and was shivered to atoms. A similar figure hovering near me, was visible among the pictured group of officers, but faded out. I refused to sit again, and quitted the studio in utter confusion, and with nerves dreadfully shaken, though my comrades averred that a trick had been played upon me. If so, how was the figure that of my dream—that of my lost love—who, a letter soon after informed me, had burst a blood-vessel, and expired on the night of the 3rd June, with my name on her lips?"

Such was the story of Jack Arkley. Whether it was false or true, in this age of spiritualism and many other isms of mediums with the world unseen, and in which Enemoser has ventilated his theory of polarity, I pretend not to say, and leave others to determine. He became a moody monomaniac. I rejoined my regiment, and from that time never saw my old chum again. The last that I heard of him was, that he had quitted the service, and died a Passionist Father, in one of the many new monastic institutions that exist in the great metropolis.


Do the dead ever revisit this earth?

On this subject even the ponderous and unsentimental Dr. Johnson was of opinion that to maintain they did not was to oppose the concurrent and unvarying testimony of all ages and nations, as there was no people so barbarous, and none so civilized, but among whom apparitions of the dead were related and believed in. "That which is doubted by single cavillers," he adds, "can very little weaken the general evidence, and some who deny it with their tongues confess it by their fears."

In the August of last year I found myself with three friends, when on a northern tour, at the Hôtel de Scandinavie, in the long and handsome Carl Johan Gade of Christiania. A single day, or little more, had sufficed us to "do" all the lions of the little Norwegian capital—the royal palace, a stately white building, guarded by slouching Norski riflemen in long coats, with wide-awakes and green plumes; the great brick edifice wherein the Storthing is held, and where the red lion appears on everything, from the king's throne to the hall-porter's coal-scuttle; the castle of Aggerhuis and its petty armoury, with a single suit of mail, and the long muskets of the Scots who fell at Rhomsdhal; after which there is nothing more to be seen; and when the little Tivoli gardens close at ten, all Christiania goes to sleep till dawn next morning.

English carriages being perfectly useless in Norway, we had ordered four of the native carrioles for our departure, as we were resolved to start for the wild mountainous district named the Dovrefeld, when a delay in the arrival of certain letters compelled me to remain two days behind my companions, who promised to await me at Rodnaes, near the head of the magnificent Ransfiord; and this partial separation, with the subsequent circumstance of having to travel alone through districts that were totally strange to me, with but a very slight knowledge of the language, were the means of bringing to my knowledge the story I am about to relate.

The table d'hôte is over by two o'clock in the fashionable hotels of Christiania, so about four in the afternoon I quitted the city, the streets and architecture of which resemble portions of Tottenham Court Road, with stray bits of old Chester. In my carriole, a comfortable kind of gig, were my portmanteau and gun-case; these, with my whole person, and indeed the body of the vehicle itself, being covered by one of those huge tarpaulin cloaks furnished by the carriole company in the Store Standgade.

Though the rain was beginning to fall with a force and density peculiarly Norse when I left behind me the red-tiled city with all its green coppered spires, I could not but be struck by the bold beauty of the scenery, as the strong little horse at a rasping pace tore the light carriole along the rough mountain road, which was bordered by natural forests of dark and solemn-looking pines, interspersed with graceful silver birches, the greenness of the foliage contrasting powerfully with the blue of the narrow fiords that opened on every hand, and with the colours in which the toy-like country houses were painted, their timber walls being always snowy white, and their shingle roofs a flaming red. Even some of the village spires wore the same sanguinary hue, presenting thus a singular feature in the landscape.

The rain increased to an unpleasant degree; the afternoon seemed to darken into evening, and the evening into night sooner than usual, while dense masses of vapour came rolling down the steep sides of the wooded hills, over which the sombre firs spread everywhere and up every vista that opened, like a sea of cones; and as the houses became fewer and farther apart, and not a single wanderer was abroad, and I had but the pocket-map of my "John Murray" to guide me, I soon became convinced that instead of pursuing the route to Rodnaes I was somewhere on the banks of the Tyri-fiord, at least three Norwegian miles (i.e. twenty-one English) in the opposite direction, my little horse worn out, the rain still falling in a continual torrent, night already at hand, and mountain scenery of the most tremendous character everywhere around me. I was in an almost circular valley (encompassed by a chain of hills), which opened before me, after leaving a deep chasm that the road enters, near a place which I afterwards learned bears the name of Krogkleven.

Owing to the steepness of the road, and some decay in the harness of my hired carriole, the traces parted, and then I found myself, with the now useless horse and vehicle, far from any house, homestead, or village where I could have the damage repaired or procure shelter, the rain still pouring like a sheet of water, the thick, shaggy, and impenetrable woods of Norwegian pine towering all about me, their shadows rendered all the darker by the unusual gloom of the night.

To remain quietly in the carriole was unsuitable to a temperament so impatient as mine; I drew it aside from the road, spread the tarpaulin over my small stock of baggage and the gun-case, haltered the pony to it, and set forth on foot, stiff, sore, and weary, in search of succour; and, though armed only with a Norwegian tolknife, having no fear of thieves or of molestation.

Following the road on foot in the face of the blinding rain, a Scotch plaid and oilskin my sole protection now, I perceived ere long a side gate and little avenue, which indicated my vicinity to some place of abode. After proceeding about three hundred yards or so, the wood became more open, a light appeared before me, and I found it to proceed from a window on the ground floor of a little two-storeyed mansion, built entirely of wood. The sash, which was divided in the middle, was unbolted, and stood partially and most invitingly open; and knowing how hospitable the Norwegians are, without troubling myself to look for the entrance door, I stepped over the low sill into the room (which was tenantless), and looked about for a bell-pull, forgetting that in that country, where there are no mantelpieces, it is generally to be found behind the door.

The floor was, of course, bare, and painted brown; a high German stove, like a black iron pillar, stood in one corner on a stone block; the door, which evidently communicated with some other apartment, was constructed to open in the middle, with one of the quaint lever handles peculiar to the country. The furniture was all of plain Norwegian pine, highly varnished; a reindeer skin spread on the floor, and another over an easy-chair, were the only luxuries; and on the table lay the Illustret Tidende, the Aftonblat, and other papers of that morning, with a meerschaum and pouch of tobacco, all serving to show that some one had recently quitted the room.

I had just taken in all these details by a glance, when there entered a tall thin man of gentlemanly appearance, clad in a rough tweed suit, with a scarlet shirt, open at the throat, a simple but dégagé style of costume, which he seemed to wear with a natural grace, for it is not every man who can dress thus and still retain an air of distinction. Pausing, he looked at me with some surprise and inquiringly, as I began my apologies and explanation in German.

"Taler de Dansk-Norsk," said he, curtly.

"I cannot speak either with fluency, but——"

"You are welcome, however, and I shall assist you in the prosecution of your journey. Meantime, here is cognac. I am an old soldier, and know the comforts of a full canteen, and of the Indian weed too, in a wet bivouac. There is a pipe at your service."

I thanked him, and (while he gave directions to his servants to go after the carriole and horse) proceeded to observe him more closely, for something in his voice and eye interested me deeply.

There was much of broken-hearted melancholy—something that indicated a hidden sorrow—in his features, which were handsome, and very slightly aquiline. His face was pale and care-worn; his hair and moustache, though plentiful, were perfectly white-blanched, yet he did not seem over forty years of age. His eyes were blue, but without softness, being strangely keen and sad in expression, and times there were when a startled look, that savoured of fright, or pain, or insanity, or of all mingled, came suddenly into them. This unpleasant expression tended greatly to neutralize the symmetry of a face that otherwise was evidently a fine one. Suddenly a light seemed to spread over it, as I threw off some of my sodden mufflings, and he exclaimed—

"You speak Danskija, and English too, I know! Have you quite forgotten me, Herr Kaptain?" he added, grasping my hand with kindly energy. "Don't you remember Carl Holberg of the Danish Guards?"

The voice was the same as that of the once happy, lively, and jolly young Danish officer, whose gaiety of temper and exuberance of spirit made him seem a species of madcap, who was wont to give champagne suppers at the Klampenborg Gardens to great ladies of the court and to ballet girls of the Hof Theatre with equal liberality; to whom many a fair Danish girl had lost her heart, and who, it was said, had once the effrontery to commence a flirtation with one of the royal princesses when he was on guard at the Amalienborg Palace. But how was I to reconcile this change, the appearance of many years of premature age, that had come upon him?

"I remember you perfectly, Carl," said I, while we shook hands; "yet it is so long since we met; moreover—excuse me—but I knew not whether you were in the land of the living."

The strange expression, which I cannot define, came over his face as he said, with a low, sad tone—

"Times there are when I know not whether I am of the living or the dead. It is twenty years since our happy days—twenty years since I was wounded at the battle of Idstedt—and it seems as if 'twere twenty ages."

"Old friend, I am indeed glad to meet you again."

"Yes, old you may call me with truth," said he, with a sad weary smile as he passed his hand tremulously over his whitened locks, which I could remember being a rich auburn.

All reserve was at an end now, and we speedily recalled a score and more of past scenes of merriment and pleasure, enjoyed together—prior to the campaign of Holstein—in Copenhagen, that most delightful and gay of all the northern cities; and, under the influence of memory, his now withered face seemed to brighten, and some of its former expression stole back again.

"Is this your fishing or shooting quarters, Carl?" I asked.

"Neither. It is my permanent abode."

"In this place, so rural—so solitary? Ah! you have become a Benedick—taken to love in a cottage, and so forth—yet I don't see any signs of——"

"Hush! for God's sake! You know not who hears us," he exclaimed, as terror came over his face; and he withdrew his hand from the table on which it was resting, with a nervous suddenness of action that was unaccountable, or as if hot iron had touched it.

"Why?—Can we not talk of such things?" asked I.

"Scarcely here—or anywhere to me," he said, incoherently. Then, fortifying himself with a stiff glass of cognac and foaming seltzer, he added: "You know that my engagement with my cousin Marie Louise Viborg was broken off—beautiful though she was, perhaps is still, for even twenty years could not destroy her loveliness of feature and brilliance of expression—but you never knew why?"

"I thought you behaved ill to her,—were mad, in fact."

A spasm came over his face. Again he twitched his hand away as if a wasp had stung, or something unseen had touched it, as he said—

"She was very proud, imperious, and jealous."

"She resented, of course, your openly wearing the opal ring which was thrown to you from the palace window by the princess——"

"The ring—the ring! Oh, do not speak of that!" said he, in a hollow tone. "Mad?—Yes, I was mad—and yet I am not, though I have undergone, and even now am undergoing, that which would break the heart of a Holger Danske! But you shall hear, if I can tell it with coherence and without interruption, the reason why I fled from society and the world—and for all these twenty miserable years have buried myself in this mountain solitude, where the forest overhangs the fiord, and where no woman's face shall ever smile on mine!"

In short, after some reflection and many involuntary sighs—and being urged, when the determination to unbosom himself wavered—Carl Holberg related to me a little narrative so singular and wild, that but for the sad gravity—or intense solemnity of his manner—and the air of perfect conviction that his manner bore with it, I should have deemed him utterly—mad!

"Marie Louise and I were to be married, as you remember, to cure me of all my frolics and expensive habits—the very day was fixed; you were to be the groomsman, and had selected a suite of jewels for the bride in the Kongens Nytorre; but the war that broke out in Schleswig-Holstein drew my battalion of the guards to the field, whither I went without much regret so far as my fiancée was concerned; for, sooth to say, both of us were somewhat weary of our engagement, and were unsuited to each other: so we had not been without piques, coldnesses, and even quarrels, till keeping up appearances partook of boredom.

"I was with General Krogh when that decisive battle was fought at Idstedt between our troops and the Germanizing Holsteiners under General Willisen. My battalion of the guards was detached from the right wing with orders to advance from Salbro on the Holstein rear, while the centre was to be attacked, pierced, and the batteries beyond it carried at the point of the bayonet, all of which was brilliantly done. But prior to that I was sent, with directions to extend my company in skirmishing order, among some thickets that covered a knoll which is crowned by a ruined edifice, part of an old monastery with a secluded burial-ground.

"Just prior to our opening fire the funeral of a lady of rank, apparently, passed us, and I drew my men aside, to make way for the open catafalque, on which lay the coffin covered with white flowers and silver coronets, while behind it were her female attendants, clad in black cloaks in the usual fashion, and carrying wreaths of white flowers and immortelles to lay upon the grave. Desiring these mourners to make all speed lest they might find themselves under a fire of cannon and musketry, my company opened, at six hundred yards, on the Holsteiners, who were coming on with great spirit. We skirmished with them for more than an hour, in the long clear twilight of the July evening, and gradually, but with considerable loss, were driving them through the thicket and over the knoll on which the ruins stand, when a half-spent bullet whistled through an opening in the mouldering wall and struck me on the back part of the head, just below my bearskin cap. A thousand stars seemed to flash around me, then darkness succeeded. I staggered and fell, believing myself mortally wounded; a pious invocation trembled on my lips, the roar of the red and distant battle passed away, and I became completely insensible.

"How long I lay thus I know not, but when I imagined myself coming back to life and to the world I was in a handsome, but rather old-fashioned apartment, hung, one portion of it with tapestry and the other with rich drapery. A subdued light that came, I could not discover from where, filled it. On a buffet lay my sword and my brown bearskin cap of the Danish Guards. I had been borne from the field evidently, but when and to where? I was extended on a soft fauteuil or couch, and my uniform coat was open. Some one was kindly supporting my head—a woman dressed in white, like a bride; young and so lovely, that to attempt any description of her seems futile!

"She was like the fancy portraits one occasionally sees of beautiful girls, for she was divine, perfectly so, as some enthusiast's dream, or painter's happiest conception. A long respiration, induced by admiration, delight, and the pain of my wound escaped me. She was so exquisitely fair, delicate and pale, middle-sized and slight, yet charmingly round, with hands that were perfect, and marvellous golden hair that curled in rippling masses about her forehead and shoulders, and from amid which her piquante little face peeped forth as from a silken nest. Never have I forgotten that face, nor shall I be permitted to do so, while life lasts at least," he added, with a strange contortion of feature, expressive of terror rather than ardour; "it is ever before my eyes, sleeping or waking, photographed in my heart and on my brain! I strove to rise, but she stilled, or stayed me, by a caressing gesture, as a mother would her child, while softly her bright beaming eyes smiled into mine, with more of tenderness, perhaps, than love; while in her whole air there was much of dignity and self-reliance.

"'Where am I?' was my first question.

"'With me,' she answered naïvely; 'is it not enough?'

"I kissed her hand, and said—

"'The bullet, I remember, struck me down in a place of burial on the Salbro Road—strange!'

"'Why strange?'

"'As I am fond of rambling among graves when in my thoughtful moods.'

"'Among graves—why?' she asked.

"'They look so peaceful and quiet.'

"Was she laughing at my unwonted gravity, that so strange a light seemed to glitter in her eyes, on her teeth, and over all her lovely face? I kissed her hands again, and she left them in mine. Adoration began to fill my heart and eyes, and be faintly murmured on my lips; for the great beauty of the girl bewildered and intoxicated me; and, perhaps, I was emboldened by past success in more than one love affair. She sought to withdraw her hand, saying—

"'Look not thus; I know how lightly you hold the love of one elsewhere.'

"'Of my cousin Marie Louise? Oh! what of that! I never, never loved till now!' and, drawing a ring from her finger, I slipped my beautiful opal in its place.

"'And you love me?' she whispered.

"'Yes; a thousand times, yes!'

"'But you are a soldier—wounded, too. Ah! if you should die before we meet again!'

"'Or, if you should die ere then?' said I, laughingly.

"'Die—I am already dead to the world—in loving you; but, living or dead, our souls are as one, and——'

"'Neither heaven nor the powers beneath shall separate us now!' I exclaimed, as something of melodrama began to mingle with the genuineness of the sudden passion with which she had inspired me. She was so impulsive, so full of brightness and ardour, as compared to the cold, proud, and calm Marie Louise. I boldly encircled her with my arms; then her glorious eyes seemed to fill with the subtle light of love, while there was a strange magnetic thrill in her touch, and, more than all, in her kiss.

"'Carl, Carl!' she sighed.

"'What! You know my name?— And yours?'

"'Thyra. But ask no more."

"There are but three words to express the emotion that possessed me—bewilderment, intoxication, madness. I showered kisses on her beautiful eyes, on her soft tresses, on her lips that met mine half way; but this excess of joy, together with the pain of my wound, began to overpower me; a sleep, a growing and drowsy torpor, against which I struggled in vain, stole over me. I remember clasping her firm little hand in mine, as if to save myself from sinking into oblivion, and then—no more—no more!

"On again coming back to consciousness, I was alone. The sun was rising, but had not yet risen. The scenery, the thickets through which we had skirmished, rose dark as the deepest indigo against the amber-tinted eastern sky; and the last light of the waning moon yet silvered the pools and marshes around the borders of the Langsö Lake, where now eight thousand men, the slain of yesterday's battle, were lying stark and stiff. Moist with dew and blood, I propped myself on one elbow and looked around me, with such wonder that a sickness came over my heart. I was again in the cemetery where the bullet had struck me down; a little gray owl was whooping and blinking in a recess of the crumbling wall. Was the drapery of the chamber but the ivy that rustled thereon?—for where the lighted buffet stood there was an old square tomb, whereon lay my sword and bearskin cap!

"The last rays of the waning moonlight stole through the ruins on a new-made grave—the fancied fauteuil on which I lay—strewn with the flowers of yesterday, and at its head stood a temporary cross, hung with white garlands and wreaths of immortelles. Another ring was on my finger how; but where was she, the donor? Oh, what opium-dream, or what insanity was this?

"For a time I remained utterly bewildered by the vividness of my recent dream, for such I believed it to be. But if a dream, how came this strange ring, with a square emerald stone, upon my finger? And where was mine? Perplexed by these thoughts, and filled with wonder and regret that the beauty I had seen had no reality, I picked my way over the ghostly débris of the battle-field, faint, feverish, and thirsty, till at the end of a long avenue of lindens I found shelter in a stately brick mansion, which I learned belonged to the Count of Idstedt, a noble, on whose hospitality—as he favoured the Holsteiners—I meant to intrude as little as possible.

"He received me, however, courteously and kindly. I found him in deep mourning: and on discovering, by chance, that I was the officer who had halted the line of skirmishers when the funeral cortège passed on the previous day, he thanked me with earnestness, adding, with a deep sigh, that it was the burial of his only daughter.

"'Half my life seems to have gone with her—my lost darling! She was so sweet, Herr Kaptain—so gentle, and so surpassingly beautiful—my poor Thyra!'

"'Who did you say?' I exclaimed, in a voice that sounded strange and unnatural, while half-starting from the sofa on which I had cast myself, sick at heart and faint from loss of blood.

"'Thyra, my daughter, Herr Kaptain,' replied the Count, too full of sorrow to remark my excitement, for this had been the quaint old Danish name uttered in my dream. 'See, what a child I have lost!' he added, as he drew back a curtain which covered a full-length portrait, and, to my growing horror and astonishment, I beheld, arrayed in white even as I had seen her in my vision, the fair girl with the masses of golden hair, the beautiful eyes, and the piquante smile lighting up her features even on the canvas, and I was rooted to the spot.

"'This ring, Herr Count?' I gasped.

"He let the curtain fall from his hand, and now a terrible emotion seized him, as he almost tore the jewel from my finger.

"'My daughter's ring!' he exclaimed. 'It was buried with her yesterday—her grave has been violated—violated by your infamous troops.'

"As he spoke, a mist seemed to come over my sight; a giddiness made my senses reel, then a hand—the soft little hand of last night, with my opal ring on its third finger—came stealing into mine, unseen! More than that, a kiss from tremulous lips I could not see, was pressed on mine, as I sank backward and fainted! The remainder of my story must be briefly told.

"My soldiering was over; my nervous system was too much shattered for further military service. On my homeward way to join and be wedded to Marie Louise—a union with whom was intensely repugnant to me now—I pondered deeply over the strange subversion of the laws of nature presented by my adventure; or the madness, it might be, that had come upon me.

"On the day I presented myself to my intended bride, and approached to salute her, I felt a hand—the same hand—laid softly on mine. Starting and trembling I looked around me; but saw nothing. The grasp was firm. I passed my other hand over it, and felt the slender fingers and the shapely wrist; yet still I saw nothing, and Marie Louise gazed at my motions, my pallor, doubt, and terror, with calm but cool indignation.

"I was about to speak—to explain—to say I know not what, when a kiss from lips I could not see sealed mine, and with a cry like a scream I broke away from my friends and fled.

"All deemed me mad, and spoke with commiseration of my wounded head; and when I went abroad in the streets men eyed me with curiosity, as one over whom some evil destiny hung—as one to whom something terrible had happened, and gloomy thoughts were wasting me to a shadow. My narrative may seem incredible; but this attendant, unseen yet palpable, is ever by my side, and if under any impulse, such even as sudden pleasure in meeting you, I for a moment forget it, the soft and gentle touch of a female hand reminds me of the past, and haunts me, for a guardian demon—if I may use such a term—rules my destiny: one lovely, perhaps, as an angel.

"Life has no pleasures, but only terrors for me now. Sorrow, doubt, horror, and perpetual dread have sapped the roots of existence; for a wild and clamorous fear of what the next moment may bring forth is ever in my heart, and when the touch comes my soul seems to die within me.

"You know what haunts me now—God help me! God help me! You do not understand all this, you would say. Still less do I; but in all the idle or extravagant stories I have read of ghosts—stories once my sport and ridicule, as the result of vulgar superstition or ignorance—the so-called supernatural visitor was visible to the eye, or heard by the ear; but the ghost, the fiend, the invisible Thing that is ever by the side of Carl Holberg, is only sensible to the touch—it is the unseen but tangible substance of an apparition!"

He had got thus far when he gasped, grew livid, and, passing his right hand over the left, about an inch above it, with trembling fingers, he said—

"It is here—here now—even with you present, I feel her hand on mine; the clasp is tight and tender, and she will never leave me, but with life!"

And then this once gay, strong, and gallant fellow, now the wreck of himself in body and in spirit, sank forward with his head between his knees, sobbing and faint.

Four months afterwards, when with my friends, I was shooting bears at Hammerfest, I read in tell Norwegian Aftenposten, that Carl Holberg had shot himself in bed, on Christmas Eve.


"Some feel by instinct swift as light
    The presence of the foe,
Whom God ordains in future time
    To strike the fatal blow." AYTOUN.

Very few persons in this world are unlucky enough to see, or to have seen, a ghost; but we nearly have all met with some one else who had seen something weird or unearthly. And now for a little story of my own, by which you will find that, in my time, I have more than once encountered a ghost, or that which, perhaps, was worse than any ghost could be.

In the Christmas before the battle of the Alma, I, Bob Twyford, was a young bombardier of the Royal Artillery, a "G.C.R." (good conduct ring) man, mighty proud of that, and of my uniform, with its yellow lace and rows of brass buttons, with the motto "Ubique quo fas et gloria ducunt," and so forth, when I went home on a month's furlough, to see old mother and all my friends at our little village in the Weald of Kent.

I was proud too, to show them that, by the single chevron of bombardier, my foot was firmly planted on the first step of the long ladder of promotion; happy, too, that there was one in particular to show it to—my cousin, little Bessie Leybourne—though she was a big Bessie now—my sweetheart, and my wife that was to be, if good promotion came, or if I bought my discharge, and took to business with some money we expected—money that was long, long in coming.

More than once, in the beautiful season of autumn, had Bessie Leybourne been the queen of the hop-pickers, and then I thought that she looked bright and beautiful as a fairy, when the crown of flowers was placed on her sunny brown hair, and her deep blue eyes were beaming with pleasure and gratified vanity.

I had a dream about Bessie on the night before—a dream that made me uncomfortable and gave me much cause for thought; and so a vague presentiment of coming evil clouded the joy of my returning home.

I had seen Bessy in her beauty and her bravery as the hop queen; but she was calling on me to protect her—for she was struggling to free herself from the embraces and the blandishments of a handsome and blasé-looking man, whose costume and bearing were alike fashionable and distinguished. Close by them, looking on evidently with amusement, was his friend, a hook-nosed, grim, and sombre-looking fellow, with a black moustache, and malevolent eyes, who held me back as with a grasp of iron, while uttering a strange, chuckling laugh, the sound of which awoke me. But the faces of those men made a vivid and painful impression upon me; for the whole vision seemed so distinct and real, that I believed I should recognize them anywhere.

I spoke to Tom Inches, our Scotch pay-sergeant, about it, and he, being a great believer in dreams, assured me that it was ominous of some evil that would certainly happen to Bessie or to me, or to us both.

"For you must know, Bob," he continued, "that in sleep the soul seems to issue from the body, and to attain the power of looking into the future; for time or place, distance or space, form no obstruction then; so the untrammelled spirit of the dreamer may see the future as well as the past, and know that which is to happen as well as that which has happened."

The Scotchman's words had a solemnity about them that rendered me still more uneasy; but I strove to shake off care, and already saw in anticipation my mother's cottage among the woodlands of the Weald.

Every pace drew me nearer home, and I trod gaily on, with my knapsack on my back, and only a crown piece in my pocket. My purse was light; but, save for that ugly dream, my heart was lighter still, as I thought of Bessie Leybourne.

I had left the railway station some miles behind. It was Christmas Eve. The Weald of Kent spread before me; not as I had seen it last in its summer greenness, but covered deep with snow, over which the sun, as he set, shed a purple flush, that deepened in the shade to blue, and made the icicles on every hedge and tree glitter with a thousand prismatic colours.

Red lights were beginning to twinkle through the leafless copses from cottage windows, and heavily the dun winter smoke was curling in the clear mid air, from many a house and homestead, and from the clustered chimney stalks of the quaint and stately old rectory.

An emotion of bitterness came over me, on passing this edifice, with all its gables and lighted oriel windows.

I had no great love for the rector. When a boy I had found in our garden a pheasant, which he, the Rev. Dr. Raikes, had wounded by a shot. Pleased with the beauty of the bird, I made a household pet of it, till his keeper, hearing of the circumstance, had me arrested and stigmatized as a little poacher, the rector, as a magistrate, being the exponent of the law in the matter. So I quitted the parish and its petty tyrant, to become a gunner and driver in the artillery, where my good education soon proved of service to me.

For the sake of a miserable bird, the sporting rector had driven into the world a widow's only son. But how fared he in his own household?

Valentine Raikes, his only son, was breaking his proud and pampered heart by mad dissipation, by gambling, and every species of debauchery; by horse-racing, and by debts of honour, which had been paid thrice over, to save his commission in the hussars.

At last I stood by mother's cottage door.

The little dwelling was smothered among hops and ivy, and with these were blended roses and honeysuckle in summer. Now the icicles hung in rows under the thatched eaves, but a red and cheerful glow came through the lozenged panes of the deep-set little windows on the waste of snow without.

A moment I lingered by the gate, and in the garden plot, for my heart was very full, and it well-nigh failed me; but there was a listener within who heard my step and knew it. And the next moment saw me in my mother's arms, and I felt like a boy again, as my happy tears mingled with hers, and it seemed as if this Christmas Eve was to be the Christmas Eve of past and jollier times.

"A merry Christmas, Bob, and a happy new year!"

The dear old woman's face was bright with joy; yet I could detect many a wrinkle now where dimples once had been, and see that her hair was thinner and whiter, perhaps, as she passed her tremulous hand caressingly over my bronzed face as if to assure herself of my identity, and that I was really her "own boy Bob." Then she helped me off with my knapsack, and sat me in father's old leathern chair, by the side of the glowing hearth, and pottered about, getting me a hot cake, and a mug of spiced ale, muttering and laughing, and hovering about me the while.

"But, mother, dear," said I, looking round, "where is Bessie all this time? She got my letter, of course?"

"Bessie is across the meadows at the church, Bob?"

"On this cold night, mother!"

"Yes; helping Miss Raikes to decorate it for the service to-morrow."

"Miss Raikes!" said I, and a cloud came over me.

I had left head-quarters with only four crowns in my pocket. We soldiers are seldom over-burdened with cash—for though England expects every man to do his duty, England likes it done cheap—and I had well-nigh starved myself on the road home that I might bring something with me for those I loved—some gay ribbons for Bessie, and a lace cap for my mother, who was so proud of her "Bombardier Bob," for so she always called me, heaven bless her!

"I hope she won't be long away, mother, for I've had such a dream——"

"Lor' bless me, Bob," said she, pausing as she bustled about preparing supper, "a dream, have you—about what, or whom?"

"Bessie," said I, with a sigh, as I took the ribbons from my knapsack.

"Was it good or evil, Bob?"

"I can't say, mother," said I, with a sickly smile, as the solemn words of the Scotch pay-sergeant came back to my memory; "for an evil dream, say we, portends good, and a pleasant dream portends evil; they seem to go by contraries. Yet somehow, by the impression this dream made upon me, it seems almost prophetic."

"Don't 'ee say so, Bob, for though in the Old Testament we find many instances of prophetic dreaming, I don't believe in such things nowadays."

The darkness had set completely in now, and I saw that, although mother affected to make light of Bessie's protracted absence, she glanced uneasily, from time to time, through the window, and at the old Dutch clock that ticked in its corner, just as it used to tick when I was a boy, and rode on father's knee; for nothing here seemed changed, save that mother was older, and stooped a trifle more.

"Mother, dear," said I, starting up at last, "I can't stand this delay, and Bessie must not come through the lanes alone; so I shall just step down to the church and escort her home."

In another moment I was out in the snow. A few thick flakes were falling athwart the gloom. The decoration of the rectory church for the solemn services of the morrow was, I knew of old, always considered an important matter in our village, yet I could not help thinking that, as I had written to announce the very time of my return, Bessie might have been at home to welcome me. Instead of that, I had now to go in search of her; and this was the Christmas meeting—the home-coming of which I had drawn so many happy and joyous pictures when alone, and in the silence of the night when far away, a sentinel on a lonely post, or when tossing sleeplessly on the hard wooden guard-bed.

Mother was kind, loving, affectionate as ever, but Bessie, my betrothed, why was she absent at such a time?

The sad presentiment of coming evil grew strong within me, and I thought, with bitterness, of how far I had marched afoot for days, and starved myself to buy her gewgaws, for I knew that pretty Bessie was not without vanity.

"Pshaw!" said I. "Be a man, Bob Twyford—be a man!" and, leaping the churchyard stile, I slowly crossed the burial ground.

There were lights in the church; and I heard the sound of merry voices, and even of laughter, ringing in its hollow, stony space.

Snow covered all the graves, and the headstones, which stood in close rows; a heavy mantle of snow loaded the roof of the church, and, tipping the carvings of its buttresses, brought them out from the mass of the building in strong white relief. Great icicles depended from the gurgoyles of its tower and battlements, and the wind whistled drearily past, rustling the masses of ivy that grew over the old Saxon apse. The tracery of the windows, the sturdy old mullions and some heraldic blazons, with quaint and ghastly spiritual subjects in stained glass, could be discerned by the lights that were within.

I lifted my forage-cap in mute reverence as I passed one grave, for I knew my father lay there under a winding-sheet of snow, and a pace or two more brought me to the quaint little porch of the church, where I remained for a time looking in, and irresolute whether to advance or retire.

When my eyes became accustomed to the partial gloom within, I could see that the zigzag Saxon mouldings and ornaments of the little chancel arch, the capitals of the shafts, the stairs of the pulpit, and the oaken canopy thereof, were all decorated with ivy sprigs and holly leaves, combined with artificial flowers, all with some meaning and taste, so as to bring out the architectural features of the quaint old edifice.

A portable flight of steps stood in the centre of the aisle, just under the chancel arch, which was low, broad, massive, of no great height, and formed a species of frame for a picture that sorely disconcerted me.

On the summit of that flight stood a lovely, laughing young lady, whose delicate white hands, a little reddened by the winter's frost, were wreathing scarlet holy-berries among the green leaves.

A little lower down was seated Bessie—my own Bessie—her blue eyes radiant with pleasure, her thick hair—half flaxen, half auburn—shining like golden threads in the light of the altar lamps, that fell on her beaming English face, so fresh, so fair, so charming. Her lap was full of ivy and holly twigs, which a gentleman who hovered near, cigar in mouth, was cutting and tossing into that receptacle, amid much banter and badinage, that savoured strongly of familiarity, if not of flirtation.

Near them in the background loitered another, who was simply leaning against the pillar of the chancel arch, looking on with a strange smile, and sucking the ivory handle of his cane.

He laughed as he regarded them.

That laugh—where had I heard it before?

In my dream. And now the antitypes—the men of my dream—stood before me!

As yet unnoticed, I remained apart, and observed them; but not unseen, for the eyes of the dark man were instantly upon me, and the peculiarity of their expression rendered me uneasy.

He who hovered about Bessie was a fair-faced, blasé-looking young man, with sleepy blue eyes, a large jaw, a receding chin, and thick, red, sensual lips. He had long, thin, flyaway whiskers, and a slight moustache, with an unmistakably good air about him.

His companion had that peculiar cast of features which we sometimes see in the Polish Jew—keen and hawk-like, with sharp, glittering black eyes, hair of a raven hue, and a general pallor of complexion that seemed bilious, sickly, and unhealthy.

I felt instinctively that I hated one and solemnly feared the other. Why was this?

Was it the result of my dream?—of that "instinct which, like imagination, is a word everybody uses, and nobody understands?"

Perhaps we shall see.

Suddenly the eye of the fair-haired stranger fell on me. He adjusted his glass, surveyed me leisurely, and, pausing in the act of playfully holding a sprig of mistletoe over Bessie's head, said, in the lisping drawl peculiar to men of his style—

"A soldier, by Jove! Now, my good man—ah, ah!—what do you want here at this time of night?"

"I came to escort my cousin home, sir."

"Your cousin, eh—haw?"

"Bessie Leybourne, sir; but," I added, reddening with vexation and annoyance, "I see she is still busy."

"Cousin, eh? What do you say to this, Bessie?"

Bessie, who started from the steps on which she had been seated, came towards me, also blushing, confused, and letting fall all the contents of her lap as she held out her hands to me, and said—

"Welcome home, dear Bob. A merry Christmas and a happy new year! Captain Raikes, this is my Cousin Bob, who is a soldier like yourself—an artilleryman," she added, with increasing confusion, as if she felt ashamed of my blue jacket among those fine folks; while the captain, after glancing at me coolly again, merely said, "Oh—ah—haw—indeed!" and proceeded to assist his sister in descending the steps, as their labours were done, and the decorations of the church complete; but a heavier cloud came over me now.

Captain Raikes was the son of the rector, and squire of the parish, in right of his mother, who was an heiress; and he, perhaps the wildest and most systematic profligate in all England, had made the acquaintance of Bessie Leybourne!

A little time they lingered ere Bessie curtseyed, and bade the young lady good-night. Captain Raikes whispered something which made Bessie blush, and glance nervously at me, while his friend with the hook nose gave a mocking cough, and then we separated. They took the path to the gaily-lighted rectory, while Bessie and I trod silently back through the snow to my mother's little cottage.

I pressed Bessie's hand and arm from time to time, and though the pressure was returned, I never ventured to touch her cheek, or even to speak to her, for I felt somehow, intuitively, that all was over between us; and we walked in silence through the lanes where we had been wont to ramble when children.

It seemed to be always summer in the green lanes then; but it was biting winter now. I asked for no explanation, and none was offered me; but I felt that Bessie, once so loving and playful, was now cold, reserved, and shy.

Next day was Christmas. Our fireplace was decked with green boughs, and holly-leaves, and huge sprigs of mistletoe. I heard the chimes ringing merrily in the old tower of the rectory church.

It was a clear, cold, snowy, and frosty, but hearty old English Christmas; and faces shone bright, hands were shaken, and warm wishes expressed among friends and neighbours, as we trod through the holly lanes, and over the crisp, frosty grass, to church—mother, Bessie, and I; and again, as in boyhood, I heard our rubicund rector preach against worldly pride and luxury, both of which, throughout a long life, he had enjoyed to the full.

The dark stranger—the squire's constant companion, chum, and Mentor, whose strange bearing and wicked ways gained him the sobriquets of Pluto and Hooknose in the village—was not with the rector's family on this day; and I learned that he resided at the village inn. It was evident, though we read off the same book, that Bessie's thoughts were neither with heaven nor me, for I caught many a glance that was exchanged between Captain Raikes and her, and these showed a secret intelligence.

I sat out the rector's sermon in silent misery, and in misery returned home—a moody and discontented fellow, wishing myself back at head-quarters, or anywhere but in the Weald of Kent.

Bessie didn't seem to care much about my ribbons. Why should she? I was only a poor devil of a bombardier, and couldn't give her such rich presents as those pearl drops which I now discovered in her ears.

"A present from Captain Raikes, Bob," said mother, good, simple soul; "but I don't think she should ha' shown 'em till her wedding-day."

I had a mouthful of mother's Christmas dumpling in my throat at that moment, and it well-nigh choked me.

The mistletoe hung over our heads; but I never claimed the playful privilege it accorded. Was there not some terrible change, when I dared not—or scorned—to kiss Bessie, even in jest? Others' kisses had been upon her lips, and so they had no longer a charm for me!

Day and night dread and doubt haunted me, while hope, with her hundred shapes and many hues, returned no more. Brooding, silent, and melancholy thoughts seemed to consume me; yet the time passed slowly and heavily, for Bessie's falsehood and fickleness formed the first recollection in the morning, the last at night, and the source of many a tantalizing dream between. All the ebbs and flows of feeling or emotion which torment the lover I endured. My sufferings were very great; and from being as jolly, hardy, and expert a gunner as ever levelled a Lancaster or an Armstrong, I was becoming a very noodle—a moonstruck creature—"a thoroughbred donkey," as Tom Inches would have called me—and all for the love of Bessie Leybourne.

Short though my time at home would be, Bessie could give me but little of her society. My jealousy would no longer be concealed, and that she had secret meetings with our squire I could no more doubt. Then came tears, upbraidings, and bitterness, with promises that she would meet him no more; and in the strongest language I could command, I told her of the perils she ran, of the desperate character of Valentine Raikes, of his mad orgies and debaucheries, of the gambling, drinking, singing, swearing, and whooping that accompanied the suppers he and Hooknose had almost every night in a lonely lodge of the rectory grounds.

"Oh, Bob, don't bother," she would say, imploringly, through her smiles and tears. "It is terrible to be told constantly that one must marry one particular young man."

"Meaning, Bessie, that mother reminds you of being engaged to me?"

"Well, yes."

"You are fickle, Bessie."

"My poor Bob, you are not rich, neither am I."

"Hence your fickleness; but, oh, Bessie, don't think I want to make a soldier's wife of you. I hope for better days, and to settle down at home. Oh, Bessie, my own Bessie, listen to me, and hear me."

And so she would listen to me, and hear me, and then slip away to keep a tryst with my rival.

Once or twice Bessie became angry with me, and ventured to defend the squire, laying the blame of all his evil actions on his friend, or Mentor—the dark Mephistopheles, who was always by his side. Her defence of him maddened me. From tears she took to taunts, and I replied by scorn.

We separated in hot anger, and with my mind a perfect chaos—a whirl—and already repenting my violence, or precipitation, I strode moodily through the holly lanes, till a sudden turn brought me face to face with Captain Raikes and his dark friend, in close and earnest conversation.

The idea of honest and manly remonstrance seized me; and touching my cap respectfully, as became me to an officer, I said—

"Captain Raikes, may I crave a word with you?"

"Certainly—haw!" he drawled, while his friend drew back, surveying me with his strange, malevolent, but terrible smile. "In what can I—haw—serve you?"

"In a matter, sir, that lies very near my heart."

He surveyed me with a quiet but puzzled air, through his glass, and replied—

"Haw—have seen you before. How is your pretty cousin, Bessie Leybourne, this morning—well, I hope?"

"It is about Bessie I wish to speak, sir," said I, with a gravity that made him start and colour a little—but only a little, as he was one of those solemn, self-conceited, unimpressionable "snobs," who disdain to exhibit the slightest emotion. He did, however, become uneasy ultimately, and pulled his long whiskers when I said—

"Captain Raikes, my cousin Bessie is my betrothed wife; and, though I am but a poor private soldier (or little more), I must urge, sir—ay, request—that you cease to follow, molest, or meet her, as I have good reason to know you do; for though Bessie is a true-hearted girl, no good can come of it. So I put it to you, sir, as a gentleman—as my comrade, though our ranks are far apart—whether your intentions can be honourable in the matter?"

"By Jove! the idea! I'll tell you what it is, my good fellah," said he, twirling his riding whip; "I have listened to your impertinent advice—your demmed interference with my movements—so far without laying this across your shoulders; but beware—haw—how you address me on this subject again."

Passion and jealousy blinded me, and shaking my hand in his face, I said—

"Captain Raikes, on your life I charge you not to trifle with her or with me!"

He never lost his self-possession, but said, with a smile—

"Very good; but rather daring in a private soldier—a poacher—a vagabond!"

I heard the strange laugh of Hooknose at these words, and, while it was ringing in my ears, I struck the squire to the earth, and he lay as still as if a twelve-pound shot had finished him. Then I walked deliberately away.

I had vague alarms now. He might have me arrested on a charge of assault or might report me to head-quarters for the blow, although he was not in uniform; but he did neither, as he left the Weald that night for London; and mother and I sat gazing at each other in alarm and grief—our Bessie had disappeared!

By some of our neighbours she had been seen near the branch station of the South-Eastern line, with Valentine Raikes and his mysterious friend, the Hooknose: and from that hour all trace of her was—lost!

* * * * *

She had left me coldly and heartlessly, and old mother, too, who had always been more than a mother to her.

So passed the last Christmas I was to spend in old England.

I got over it in time. I was not without hope that I might discover Bessie, and befriend her yet—ay, even yet. But I couldn't do much, being only a poor fellow with two shillings per diem, and an extra penny for beer and pipeclay. But even that hope was crushed when, in the following August, I was ordered with the siege train to Sebastopol, and sailed from Southampton aboard the "Balmoral," of Hull, a transport ship, which had on board a whole battery of artillery, with one hundred and ten fine horses.

Captain Raikes was, I knew, with the Light Cavalry Brigade, under Lord Cardigan; and I only prayed that heaven and the chances of war would keep us apart, and not put the terrible temptation before me of seeing him under fire.

Our voyage was prosperous till we entered the Black Sea, when we experienced heavy gales of wind, and lost our topmasts; and as the gales increased in fury and steadiness, they were blowing a perfect hurricane on the night when, in this crippled condition, we hauled up for the harbour of Balaclava.

Were I to live a thousand years, I should never forget the horrors and certain events of that night; and though the perils that our transport encountered were ably described by more than one newspaper correspondent, I shall venture to recall them here.

Wearied with hard stable duty, I had fallen asleep in my birth, when I was suddenly roused by a voice—the voice of Bessie,

"Bob, Bob, dearest Bob—save me! save me! I am drowning!"

It rang distinctly in my ears, and then I seemed to hear the gurgling of water, as I sprang from bed in terror and bewilderment, and from no dream that I was at all conscious of; but I had little time to think of the matter, for now the bugle sounded down the hatchway to change the watch on deck.

The night was pitchy dark; all our compasses had suddenly become useless—no two needles pointed the same way—and the rudder bands were rent by the force of the sea, which tore in vast volume over the deck, sweeping everything that was loose away. The watch were all lashed to belaying pins, or the lower rattlins; but three of ours and two seamen were swept overboard and drowned.

To add to our dangers, as we lifted towards the harbour mouth, the "Balmoral" heeled over so much that the ballast broke loose in the hold, and uprooted the stable deck. The centre of gravity was thus lost, and the transport lay almost over on her beam-ends, with the wild sea breaking over her, as she went, like a helpless log, on some rocks within the harbour entrance.

The captain commanding the artillery ordered Tom Inches and a party, of whom I was one, into the hold or stables, to see how the horses fared; and I shall never forget that terrific scene, for it nearly rendered me oblivious of the cry that yet lingered in my ears.

The time was exactly midnight, and I almost fear to be considered a visionary by relating all that followed. The vessel lay nearly on her beam-ends to starboard; the whole of the stalls on the port side had given way, and the horses were lying over each other in piles, many of them half or wholly strangled in their halters; and there, in the dark, they were biting and tearing each other with their teeth, neighing, snorting, and even screaming (a dreadful sound is a horse's scream), and kicking each other to death.

The atmosphere was stifling. The wounds they gave each other were bloody and frightful. Many had their legs and ribs broken, and others their eyes dashed out by ironed hoofs. Above were the bellowing of the wind, and the roaring of the Black Sea on the rocks of Balaclava. There were even thunder-peals at times, to add to the terrors of the occasion, and the rain was falling on the deck like a vast sheet of water.

Many of our men were severely wounded by kicks; for the horses that survived were wild with fear—maddened, in fact—and, in their present condition, proved quite unmanageable.

Carrying a lantern, I was making my way into the hold, and through this frightful scene, when suddenly, amid it all, and through the gloom, I saw a face that terrified—that fascinated—me, but which none of my comrades could see.

Was I mad, or about to become so?

Within six inches of my own face was the keen, dark, and swarthy—the almost black—visage of Hooknose glaring at me, mocking and jibbering; his eyes shining like two carbuncles, his sharp teeth glistening with his old malevolent smile; and, as I shrank back, I heard his mocking laugh—the same laugh that had tingled in my ears on that fatal Christmas time at home.

I fell over a horse, the hoof of another struck me on the chest. I became insensible, and, on recovering, found myself on deck, in the hands of Tom Inches and the surgeon.

I was soon fit for duty, luckily, as that ship was no place for a sick man. With sunrise the storm abated; with slings the horses were hoisted out as fast as we could bring them; and of the hundred and ten we had on board, we found that ninety-five had been kicked to death, smothered, or so bruised that we were compelled to shoot them with our carbines.

Their carcasses lay long in Balaclava harbour, where they were used as stepping stones by the sailors and boatmen, till their corruption filled the air, adding to the cholera and fever in the town and camp.

All that haunted me must have been fancy, thought I, for my thoughts were always running on Bessie—lost to me and to the world—fevered fancy, especially the cry, and the horrid gurgling as of a drowning person that followed it. The sound of the sea must have produced or suggested the cry in my sleeping ear, and the subsequent vision in the hold—those gleaming eyes and that fierce hooked nose; and yet, as an author has remarked, the whole world of nature is but one vast book of symbols, which we cannot decipher because we have lost the key.

It was ungrateful of me to be always thinking of Bessie, who had scorned, flouted, and deserted me—thinking more of her than of poor old mother in the Weald of Kent, who loved me with all her soul, as only a mother could love a son who was amid the trenches of Sebastopol; but I couldn't help it, for the terrible mystery that involved the fate of Bessie made me brood over it at all times.

As for the trifle of money I had expected, it never came, and now I didn't want it.

It was Christmas Eve before Sebastopol, as it was all over God's Christian world; but I hope never again to see such a ghastly festival. I was not at the breaching batteries that night, having been sent with two horses and four men to bring in a twelve pound gun, which had been left by the Russians in the valley of Inkermann, after the battle of the 5th of November. Tom Inches and many a brave fellow of ours had gone to their long home in that valley of death, and I was a battery-sergeant now.

The cold was awful, and we were rendered very feeble by hunger, toil, and half-healed wounds; so, like men in a dream, we traced the horses to the gun, and limbered up the tumbril, both of which lay among some ruins in rear of the British right attack, and not far from the frozen Tchernay.

Three miles distant rose Sebastopol, and the sky seemed all on fire in and around it, for they were keeping Christmas night, amid shot from our Lancaster guns, and whistling Dicks of all sorts and sizes, from hand-grenades to eighteen-inch bombs, chokeful of nails, broken bottles, and grapeshot.

Yet I couldn't help thinking of home, and how merrily the village chimes would be ringing in the old tower of the rectory church, amid the hop-gardens and the cherry-groves of Kent. And then I saw in fancy the old fireside, where father's leathern chair was empty now, and where one at least would say her prayers that night for me—that happy night at home, when every church and hearth would be gay with ivy leaves and holly-berries, and the lads and the lasses would be dancing under the mistletoe; and with all these came thoughts of Christmas geese and plum-puddings, and I drew my sword-belt in a hole or two, for I was starving—light-headed and giddy with want; and as we rode silently on, the swinging chains of the gun seemed to me like the jangle of our village chimes! but they rung over the snowy waste that lay between Khutor Mackenzie and the Highland camp—a white waste, dotted by many a dead man and horse.

As we rode silently on, man after man of our little party of four gave in, dropped from the gun, to which I had no means of securing them, overcome by cold, fatigue, and death. At last I was riding alone in the saddle, with the gun rattling behind me.

Ghastly sights were around me on that Christmas night, and the glinting of the moon at times made them more ghastly still.

On French mule litters, and on horses, many wounded and dying men were being borne from the redoubts down to Balaclava; and as my progress was very slow, with two worn-out, half-starved nags, a terrible procession passed before me. Many of the poor fellows were nearly over their troubles and sorrows. With closed eyes, relaxed jaws, and hollow visages, they were carried down the snowy path by the Ambulance Corps, and the pale steam that curled in the frosty air from the lips of each alone indicated that they breathed.

Two dismounted hussars—for amid their rags, I discovered them to be such—were carrying one who seemed like a veritable corpse, strapped upright on a seat; the legs dangled, the eyes were staring open and glassy, and the head nodded to and fro.

"Comrades," said I, "that poor fellow is surely out of pain now?"

"Not yet," said one. "He is an officer of ours, badly wounded and frost-bitten."

"An officer!"

"Captain Raikes. He won't last till morning, I fear."

"Raikes," said I through my clenched teeth; "Valentine Raikes—and here!"

"Ay, here, sure enough," said the hussar.

My heart bounded, and then stood still for a moment. At last I said—

"Place him on the gun, comrades, and I will take him on to Balaclava; but first, here I've some raki in my canteen. Give him a mouthful, if he can swallow."

Raikes was placed on the seat of the gun-carriage, buckled thereto with straps, and muffled up as well as we could devise, to protect him from the cold. The two hussars left me, and then we were alone, he and I—Valentine Raikes and Bob Twyford—in the solitary valley, through which the road wound that led to Balaclava.

Though coarse and fiery, the raki partially revived the sinking man, and, leaving my saddle, I asked him, in a voice husky with cold and emotion, if he knew me.

But he shook his head sadly and listlessly. And bearded as I was then, it was no wonder that his dimmed vision failed to recognize me.

"I am Robert Twyford, the bombardier, whose plighted wife you stole, Valentine Raikes! God judge between you and me; but I feel that I must forgive you now."

"My winding sheet is woven in the loom of hell!" he moaned, in a low and almost inarticulate voice. "Oh! Twyford, I have wronged you—and her—and—many, many more."

"But Bessie!" said I, drawing near, and propping him in my arms; "what came of Bessie Leybourne? Speak—tell me for mercy's sake, while you have the power!"

"Ask the waters—the waters——"


"Under Blackfriars-bridge. She perished there on the 27th of last September."

The 27th was the night of the storm—the night of the mysterious drowning cry, which startled me from sleep!

"I am sinking fast, Twyford!" he resumed, in a hollow and broken voice. "Pray for me—pray for me. There is but one way to heaven——"

"But many to perdition!" added a strange, deep voice.

And a dark, indistinct, and muffled figure, having two gleaming eyes, stood by the wheel of the gun-carriage, just as a cloud overspread the moon.

"Here—he here! Do not let him touch me—do not let him—touch me!" cried Raikes, in a voice that rose into a scream of despair, as he threw up his arms and fell back.

There was a gurgle in his throat, and all was over!

A fiendish, chuckling laugh seemed to pass me on the skirt of the frosty wind; but I saw no one; nor had I time to observe, or to remember, much more, for now a madness seemed to seize the horses.

They dashed away with frightful speed, the field-piece swinging like a toy at their hoofs. It swept over me breaking one of my legs, and inflicting also a terrible wound on the head, I sank among the snow, and remember no more of that night, for, after weeks of delirium and fever, I found myself a poor, weak, and emaciated inmate of the hospital at Scutari, and so far on my way home to dear old England.

But such was the Christmas night I spent before Sebastopol, and such were those mysteries in the "Book of Nature," to which I can find as yet no key.



It was on a soft and warm night in April that we were encamped not far from the margin of Lake Erie, in expectation of the Fenian raiders, who were having armed picnics, and threatening a plundering invasion of Upper Canada. We were simply an advanced post, consisting of my company of the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment, and some two hundred volunteers, farmers and their sons. For some time past there had been considerable alarm along the Canadian frontier. General Mead, of the United States army, was at Eastport with his staff, and the Federal gun-boat Winooske was cruising off that place, on the look-out for an alleged Fenian vessel.

Numerous armed meetings had taken place in the State of Maine, and a great embarkation of the brotherhood in green was expected to take place at Ogdensburg, the capital of St. Lawrence, which has a safe and commodious harbour; but luckily the whole affair ended in bluster and rumour. The only fire we saw was that of our bivouac, and the only smoke that of the soothing weed, while we sat by "the wolf-scaring faggot," and drank from our canteens of rum-and-water, singing songs, and telling stories to wile the night away.

The picturesque was not wanting in the group around that blazing fire of pine wood. The Royal Canadians, in their dark green tunics, faced with scarlet; the volunteers, in orthodox red coats or fringed hunting-shirts, with white belts worn over them, were all bronzed, rough, and bearded fellows, hardy by nature and resolute in bearing, led, in most instances, by old Queen's officers, who had commuted their commissions, and turned their swords into ploughshares on farms by the banks of the New Niagara, or the shores of the vast Erie, whose waters stretched in darkness far away towards the hills of Pennsylvania.

"Come, captain, tell us a story of other lands and sharper work than this," said one of the Canadian volunteers, as he proffered me his tobacco-pouch, which was prettily embroidered with wampum; "tell us something about the mutiny in India. You served there, as we all know."

"Yes," said I, as the memory of other times and other faces—faces I should never look upon in this world again—came over me, "I served there in the —th Dragoons, and can relate a strange story indeed—of discipline overdone—of that which we hear little about in our service, thank heaven—tyranny; and of a young hero, who, without a crime, was sentenced to die the death of a felon!"

"We know," said one of my subs, "that the mutiny is always a bitter subject with you."

"I lost much by the destruction of Indian property, and so had to begin the sliding-scale."

"What kind of scale is that?"

"Sloping from the cavalry to the line."

"But the story, captain!" urged the volunteers.

"Well, here goes," said I; and after a pause and a sip at the canteen, began thus:—

"The narrative I am about to tell you was not one in which I figured much personally, save as member of a court-martial; but it details suffering with which I was familiar—the miserable fate of Sergeant Anthony Ernslie, a fine old soldier, and his son Philip, a brave young fellow—a mere lad—both of whom were in my troop during the Crimean war, and afterwards in the memorable mutiny, the horrors of which are so fresh in the minds of all.

"I had not been long with the regiment before I discovered that a deeply-rooted enmity existed between our sergeant-major, Matthew Pivett, and my troop-sergeant, Ernslie, and that it had been one of long standing, having originated in jealousy when both were privates quartered at Canterbury, and both were rivals for the affection of a pretty milliner girl. She, however, preferred Ernslie, then a horse artilleryman; but when our corps was under orders to join the army of the East, Ernslie volunteered for general service in the cavalry, and, by the chance of fate, was placed in my troop of the —th Dragoons, where his steady conduct, fine appearance, and strict attention to duty, soon caused me to recommend him for promotion, and he gained his third stripe with a rapidity that did not fail to excite the remark of the envious.

"Yet his life was rendered miserable by the sergeant-major—a stern, wiry, sharp-eyed, loud-voiced, and vindictive man; and more than once, when I interposed my authority to keep peace between them, has Ernslie told me, with tears in his eyes, that 'he cursed the day on which he left the ranks of the Horse Artillery to become a dragoon!'

"A senior, when perpetually on the watch to worry a junior, may easily find opportunities enough for doing so. Thus Ernslie's belts were never pipe-clayed quite to the taste of Pivett, and at the staff inspection before parade, faults were ever found with his horse, harness, and everything. He was put on duty at times out of his turn, and not in accordance with the roster. A complaint to the adjutant or myself always altered these errors; but the sting of annoyance remained. At drill a hundred petty faults were found with him, and he was perpetually accused of taking up wrong dressings, distances, and alignments, till, in his anger and bewilderment, the poor man sometimes really did so, and then great was the delight of Pivett!

"'For what,' said he one day, bitterly, 'for what did I ever leave my old regiment?'

"'No good, most likely,' sneered Pivett.

"'Sir, I won my three good-conduct rings there.'

"'By a fluke, of course,' replied Pivett; adding, in a loud voice, 'Silence!' to check the rising retort of the other.

"As Shakespeare has it—

"'That in the captain's but a choleric word
Which in the soldier is rank blasphemy.'

And so it came to pass that whenever Ernslie ventured to remonstrate, his oppressor invariably sent him to his room under arrest, and twice—a great insult to a sergeant—to the guard-house; but though the charges of mutiny and insubordination were always 'quashed' by the colonel, poor Ernslie felt, as he told me, 'that he was a doomed man, and safe to come to grief some day, for the sergeant-major had sworn an oath to smash him!'

"His son Philip, a private in the troop, saw and felt all this. The lad's smothered hatred and fear of the sergeant-major were great; but he did his duty well and steadily, and contrived to elude notice. Ernslie was proud of his handsome boy, and thanked heaven in the inmost recesses of his heart when the war was over in the Crimea, for there father and son had ridden side by side in the famous charge of the Heavy Brigade, and both had escaped almost scatheless; but when we were ordered to India, to stem with our swords the great tide of the terrible mutiny, the father's anxieties were revived again.

"When our transport was off the Cape de Verd Islands, Ernslie came to my cabin in great distress, to announce that his wife had just died. I knew that the poor woman had been ailing for some time past, and the sickness incident to the rough weather we encountered put an end to her sufferings, and she died in the arms of her son, for her husband was with his watch on deck, and the sergeant-major would not permit him to go below.

"She had died at daybreak, and by noon that day the body, swathed in her bedding, and lashed round with spun-yarn, lay on a grating to leeward, with a twenty-pound shot at the feet, and a Union Jack spread over it. By sound of trumpet, our men fell into their ranks, and, like the sailors, all stood bare-headed, silent, and grave, for a funeral at sea is the most sad and solemn of all. There was a heavy breeze at the time, and the ship was flying before it with her courses and head-sails only, and the bitter spray swept over us in drenching showers.

"The adjutant read the burial service. At a given signal the grating was lifted, and the body vanished with a splash under the ship's counter. Close by me stood Sergeant Ernslie and his son. Clutching the mizen shrouds with one hand, and Philip by the other, he bent his pale face over the quarter, as if to give a farewell glance at the corpse; but it was gone—gone for ever!

"Ernslie was barely forty; but now he looked quite old and haggard, and his hair was streaked with gray. He saw Pivett standing near him, as the men were dismissed, and passing forward or below; and as if he felt and knew that the original cause of enmity had passed away, he held forth his hand, and said, in a choking voice, for grief had softened his heart—

"'You'll shake hands with me now, sergeant-major, won't you?'

"But Matthew Pivett answered only by a scowl, and crossed to the windward side of the deck. So even by the side of that vast and uncouth grave their hatred was not quenched; and I had twice to interfere for Ernslie's protection before our transport ran up the Hooghly, and landed us at Calcutta, from whence the river steamers took us up country to Allahabad, where our remount awaited us, and we took the field at once, under Brigadier-General R——.

"If Ernslie's tormentor spared his son, it must have been through some lingering regard for the dead mother, or some soft memory of the love he once bore her, and Ernslie was thankful that Philip escaped, for the lad was passionate and resentful, and had vowed to his father in secret that he would 'yet serve out the sergeant-major.'

"One morning, long before daybreak, we were on the march towards the province of Ajmir, where a noted rebel, Hossein Ali, was at the head of a great force. We had endured the most unparalleled heat; for days the sky had been as a sheet of heated brass above our heads, and the cracked and baked earth as molten iron under foot. Cases of sunstroke had been incessant, and many of our horses perished on the march.

"On this morning our thirst was excessive, for the tanks of a temple on which we had relied for water had become dry in the night, and the bheesties, or water-carriers, attached to the regiment, had deserted to Hossein Ali, and most of us were without liquid of any kind in our canteens.

"Among others situated thus was Sergeant Ernslie, who had been on patrol duty until the last moment. His son Philip was the orderly of the colonel, and while that officer's horse was getting a drink, he had contrived to fill his canteen from the bucket, and held it invitingly to Ernslie, just as the corps filed past, for the colonel had not yet mounted. Agonized as he was with thirst, to resist the temptation was impossible; so Ernslie galloped to where his son stood, a hundred yards distant or so, near the hut of palm-leaves which had formed the colonel's quarters.

"'To your troop, Sergeant Ernslie! back to your troop, sir!' cried the sergeant-major, in a voice of thunder.

"Ernslie heard the voice of his enemy, but still rode towards his son, and took a long draught from his canteen before turning his horse and galloping back to his troop.

"'How dare you leave the ranks when on the line of march?' resumed Pivett, heedless in his fury that this was interfering with me. 'Fall in with the quarter guard!' he added, in his most bullying tone; 'and consider yourself under arrest!'

"'I shall do neither one nor the other,' replied Ernslie, trembling with passion. 'I am under the orders of the captain of the troop—not yours. Keep your own place, or, by heaven, I shall make you!'

"And in his just anger, Ernslie was rash enough to shake his sword with the point towards Pivett—an unmistakable threat. So the colonel was compelled to place him under arrest, in the face of the whole regiment.

"'At last you have fixed me, sergeant-major!' said he, calmly, but bitterly, as he sheathed his sword, and turned to the rear; 'but if you look for your true character, you will find it in the "Military Dictionary."'

"'Likely enough; but under what head? Discipline?'

"'No. Tyrant! See how that is defined!'

"The sergeant-major did look, and saw that Colonel James therein defines, 'Petty tyrants—a low, grovelling set of beings, who, without one spark of real courage within themselves, execute the orders of usurped or strained authority with brutal rigour;' and as he read on Pivett grew pale with rage.

"At the first halt of the brigade, a general court-martial, of which I was the junior member, sat, by order of General R——. An example was wanted; so Ernslie was reduced to the ranks.

"Our parade next morning was a gloomy one, as we formed a hollow square of close columns of regiments, near the ruins of a great Hindoo temple. The sun was yet below the horizon, and in the dim, cold light, the face of Ernslie looked pale and ghastly as he was marched into the square, a prisoner, between two armed troopers, one of whom, with execrable taste, the sergeant-major had contrived should be his own son, Philip.

"The sergeant was nervous in bearing and restless in eye; but his mind seemed to be turned inward. He was thinking, perhaps, of the terrors of the day at Balaclava, of the dead wife he had committed to the deep, or of the boy who stood scheming revenge by his side; but it was not until he felt the penknife of the trumpet-major ripping the worthily-won chevrons from his sleeve that a groan escaped his lips, a flush crossed his haggard face, and his soul seemed to die within him.

"Then he slunk to the rear of his troop, a broken and degraded man. Philip's dark eyes were full of fire, and, if a glance could have slain, the career of Matthew Pivett had ended there.

"We all felt for the sergeant, and knew that in the vindication of discipline he had been made a victim; but that night the Queen lost a good soldier, for Ernslie was absent from roll-call—he had disappeared without a trace, and the sergeant-major openly declared his belief that he had deserted to the rebel Sepoys, under Hossein Ali.

"The truth was, though we knew it not at the time, that Ernslie, when wandering alone and unarmed near our camp, communing with himself in a storm of grief and misery, had actually been waylaid and carried off by some of Hossein's scouting Sepoys, who by that time were tired of slaughtering and torturing the white Feringhees. They spared him, and discovering somehow that he had once been a golandazee, or gunner, they chained him naked to a field-piece, and kept him to assist in working their cannon against us in Kotah, the place which we were on the march to besiege and storm.

"So poor Anthony Ernslie's name was further disgraced by being scored down as a deserter in the regimental books.

"The forces which we accompanied, under General R——, consisted of the 8th Royal Irish Hussars, H.M. 72nd Highlanders, 83rd and 95th Regiments, together with the 13th Bengal Native Infantry, a corps which had not yet revolted, but was sorely mistrusted.

"The enemy in Kotah consisted entirely of mutineers, but chiefly those of the 72nd Bengal Infantry, whose scarlet coats were faced with yellow, exactly like those of the 72nd Highlanders, now advancing against them; and we considered it a curious coincidence that two regiments bearing the same number should meet in mortal conflict.

"Our march was a severe one; each of our horses had not less than twenty stone weight to carry, irrespective of forage, and yet there was not a sore back or a broken girth either in our ranks or in those of the 8th Hussars, when, after traversing a mountainous but fertile and well-watered district, we came in sight of Kotah (which had been the seat of a Rajpoot-rajah), on the east bank of the Chumbul. It is a large town, girt by massive walls, defended by bastions and deep ditches cut out of the solid rock. Its entrances were all protected by double gateways.

"Both strong and stately looked the fortified town, when, under the scorching blaze of an Indian sun, and a hot, red sky, amid which the hungry vultures floated, we saw it and the palace of the rajah, with all its lofty white turrets, the roofs of bazaars and temples, crowning a steep slope that was covered by teak, tamarind, and date palm trees, all of lovely green. In the foreground lay a vast lake, with the superb temple of Jugmandul, a mass of snow-white marble, rising in its centre, its peristyles and domes reflected downward in the deep and dark-blue water.

"The rajah had fled. In his palace Hossein Ali, an ex-kote-havildar, or pay-sergeant of the revolted 72nd B.N.I., reigned supreme; and its marble courts and chambers were yet stained by the blood of our women, children, and other defenceless people, who had been slain therein, after enduring indignities and torments that maddened those who came, like us, to avenge them; and, full of the memories of those deeds, with the other horrors of Cawnpore and Delhi to inflame us, we pushed the siege with relentless vigour, though Hossein's men, with seventy pieces of cannon, gave us quite enough to do, and our sappers worked in vain to undermine the enormous walls.

"Night and day, amid slaughter, wounds, sunstroke, and cholera, we pounded away at each other with the big guns. Officers and men worked side by side at them and in the trenches, aiding or covering the sappers in their scheme of a mine, till we were all as black as the Pandies with gunpowder, dust, and grime, and till the once gay uniform of ours had given place to flannel jerseys and rags; our helmets to linen puggerees, or solar-hats; our pantaloons to cotton knickerbockers and Cawnpore boots; and even those who had been the greatest dandies among us were seldom seen without a scrubby beard, a shovel, a revolver, and Chinshura cheroot. In short, we were more like diggers or desperadoes than her Britannic Majesty's dragoons.

"With a working party composed of men of various corps, one morning, before daybreak, I was assisting the sappers at the mine, while the enemy, with shot, shell, and rockets, did all they could to retard or dislodge us. It was a horrid place, I remember, encumbered by dead camels and horses—yea, and men, too, in every stage of decomposition, where the gorged vultures hovered lazily among fallen ruins and whitening bones.

"'Jack Sepoy thinks it no sin now to bite the greased cartridge—the scoundrel!' said one of my men, as a bullet broke the shovel in his hand.

"'Sin—as little as to cut the throats of our wives and children in cold blood!' added another, with a fierce oath.

"'Fighting for glory is a fine thing,' said young Philip Ernslie, resting on his pickaxe; 'but fighting for a shilling per day, with a penny extra for beer, is a different affair.'

"'But we are fighting for revenge, Phil,' said a soldier, whose wife and children had perished at Meerut.

"'True,' replied Ernslie, through his clenched teeth; 'and times there are, by Jove! when even revenge may be just and holy!'

"'Silence!' growled Sergeant-Major Pivett, still in pursuance of his feud.

"'Down, men—down!' cried I, 'for here comes a shell.'

"Humming through the air, but, oddly enough, not whistling, a ten-inch shell fell near me, and, with a thud, half sunk into the soil. Strange to say, it was without a fuze; the touch-hole was simply plugged by a common cork, in which a half-scorched quill-pen was stuck. After lying flat on our faces, and watching it uneasily for some time, and all fearing a snare, or the explosion of some poisonous stuff, I ventured to roll it over with a shovel, and found that it was empty, or quite unloaded. Pivett, who certainly did not lack courage, sprang forward, and, extracting the cork from the fuze-hole, found a scrap of paper attached to it, and on the scrap was written, with ink that seemed to have been composed of gunpowder and water, these words:—

"'I am a prisoner in Kotah. The work of the sappers is useless, for where they are mining the rock is solid. There are seventy guns in this place, and I am chained to one of the seventeen in the right bastion. If the front gate is blown up, the place may be carried at the point of the bayonet, as the way beyond is quite open.

"'A. ERNSLIE, private, H.M. —th Dragoons.'

"'I knew that fellow had deserted to the enemy!' growled the sergeant-major.

"'Silence,' said I, 'and do not be unjust in your hatred.'

"'It's a message-shell, sir, a message-shell, and fired by my father, poor man. Heaven help him!—he is in the hands of the Sepoys!' exclaimed young Ernslie, whom, with the shell and note, I took at once to the general, whose tent was by the margin of the lake.

"This information caused the staff at once to abandon the idea of a mine, and all our energies were now bent against the great gate.

"Though the junior regiment of the division, the 72nd, or Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders, were ordered to furnish three hundred men for a storming party, and at two o'clock on the morning of the 30th of March the grand assault was to be made, while we—the cavalry—were in our saddles, to cover, and if possible assist in the attack, when the great gate was forced.

"'My brave lads, rouse!' I heard the adjutant of the Highlanders cry in the dark; 'quit your dog's sleep—half-dozing and half-waking—and fall in. Fall in, stormers!'

"And while the warning pipes blew loud and shrill, cheerfully they formed by companies, those brave Albany Highlanders; and stately, indeed, looked their grenadiers, with their tall plumed bonnets and royal Stuart tartan; for the highland regiments during the mutiny had not time to adopt Indian clothing, and went at the Pandies in their kilts and ostrich feathers, just as their forefathers did at Madras and Assaye.

"Silently they crossed the river in the dark, where the graceful date palms and the luxuriant mango topes cast a deeper shadow than the starry night upon the water. Then, quitting their boats, they crept close to the great outer wall of Kotah; but so great was the delay in blowing up the gate, that day broke, the Highlanders were seen, and for hours we sat in our saddles helplessly, and saw the enemy pouring shot and shell upon them from the same bastion where we knew poor Tony Ernslie was chained to a gun.

"Suddenly there was a dreadful shock; the wall of the city seemed to open, as it rent and gaped, a blinding cloud of dust and stones ascended into the air, and a shower of wooden splinters, the fragments of the great gate, flew far and wide, as our mine blew the barrier up.

"A mingled shout of 'Scotland for ever!' the old Waterloo war-cry of the Black Watch and the Greys, broke from the Highlanders* again and again, as they rushed in with fixed bayonets, driving back the terrified Sepoys, storming bastion after bastion, and capturing two standards. The other regiments broke in at different points, and after much hard fighting Kotah was ours, and then we rode through the streets cutting down the fugitive rebels on right and left.

* See Scotsman of 28th of May, 1858.

"Philip Ernslie and a few of his comrades made straight for the bastion indicated in his father's note. It was deserted by all save a few dead or dying Sepoys; but a more terrible spectacle awaited the searchers.

"Stripped nude, and nailed to the wall of the bastion by the hands and feet, hung the body of Anthony Ernslie, minus nose and ears, and otherwise horribly mutilated!

"Even this appalling spectacle failed to excite the pity or soothe the hate of the malevolent Matthew Pivett (but we were well used to scenes of horror and barbarity during the mutiny), for he audibly expressed a conviction 'that Ernslie had met his just reward for deserting to the enemy.'

"'I shall make you eat your words before the going down of the sun, by the God who made us, I shall!' said Philip Ernslie, in a low, husky voice, heard only by the sergeant-major, who shrunk back, so impressed was he by the fierce and resolute aspect of the lad, by the deep concentrated loathing that glared in his eyes, making his lips ashy pale, and causing every muscle to quiver; but this emotion was unseen by others, and his threat was unheard, luckily, for if Pivett could have found a witness, he would at once have made young Ernslie prisoner on a charge of insubordination, as he really dreaded his vengeance.

"About dark that evening the sergeant-major was returning from the bungalow of the colonel, where, with the adjutant, he had been preparing lists of casualties and for our march on the morrow, when we and the 8th Hussars were to surround a village that was full of fugitive mutineers. The day had been one of toil, of strife, and heat; now the atmosphere was steamy and moist, and Pivett was enjoying by anticipation the comforts of a hearty supper and a cool sleep in his tent, the sides of which his tatty-wetter had, no doubt, soused well with cold water.

"To reach the cavalry camp he had to pass through a ravine, not far from the town wall—a narrow place, full of prickly and thorny shrubs, where the beautiful silky jungle grass grew in such wild luxuriance that, in some instances, it was almost breast-high, and where the perfume of the many aromatic plants came floating on the puffs of warm air.

"Traversing the narrow path on foot, with his sword under his arm, he was suddenly confronted in the dusk by Philip Ernslie, who resolutely barred the way. He, too, had his sword by his side, but in each hand he had a holster pistol. His features were pale as those of a corpse, and might have passed for such, but for the nervous twitching of his lips as he spoke.

"'You know, Matthew Pivett, for what purpose I am here?'

"'Mutiny and murder, likely enough,' replied Pivett, who was a stern and resolute man. 'Give up those pistols—fall back, and return to your quarters, or I shall cut you down.'

"'Draw your sword but one inch from its sheath, and I shall send a bullet through your brain!' replied Philip, cocking one of the pistols. 'You maddened my poor father by your systematic tyranny for years; you had him reduced and degraded, and driven desperate from among us. You wronged his memory this morning, and taunted even his mutilated remains——'

"'Scoundrel! what then? Would you dare to murder me?' exclaimed the undaunted sergeant-major.

"'No, you shall have a chance for your life. Oh, Matthew Pivett, I have long looked for an opportunity like this, when I might meet you face to face; so take your choice of these pistols, for, by the heaven that hears us, you or I must lie dead here to-night!'

"As Philip spoke solemnly and sternly, with clenched teeth and flashing eyes, he thrust a pistol into Pivett's hand.

"'Quarter guard!' shouted Pivett, as he made a resolute attempt to grasp the throat of Ernslie, who thrust him back with the barrel of the other pistol, crying—

"'Stand back, sergeant-major, and keep your distance, or I shall shoot you down like the dog you are!'

"Pivett, who now saw there was no resource but to fight, withdrew a pace or two, and fired straight at Ernslie's head. The ball whistled through the white puggeree, or cap, and slightly grazed his left ear. He gave a ghastly smile, and said—

"'You were rather quick, sergeant-major, but now it is my turn!'

"He levelled his pistol, with a deadly, triumphant, and vindictive aim, straight at the glaring eyes of the agitated Pivett; but the percussion cap must have been defective—it snapped and hung fire.

"'Seize this mutinous rascal!' cried the sergeant-major to a patrol who, on hearing the explosion of the first pistol, came galloping up; and Philip was instantly made prisoner by a party of the 8th Hussars, who had seen the whole situation.

"Another court-martial sat by break of day, in the palace of the Rajah of Kotah, and, wan and haggard, after a sleepless night, fettered by handcuffs, and looking the picture of misery, Philip Ernslie stood before it, charged with violating the forty-first clause of the second section of the Articles of War, which ordain that 'any officer or soldier who shall strike a superior, or use any violence against him, shall, if an officer, suffer death, and if a soldier, death, transportation, or such other punishment as by a general court-martial shall be awarded.'

"The majority of the members of the court were strangers to the lad and his story, and the father's alleged spirit of insubordination, manifested when on the march to Kotah, was now brought forward in the prosecution of the son. The court was but an epitome of the greater world, where accusation is condemnation. Nothing is so fallible as human judgment, but nothing so pitiless.

"As captain of Philip's troop, I gave evidence of all I knew, and of the good characters borne by father and son; but, after the brief proceedings terminated, and the court was cleared for the consideration of the verdict and sentence, I knew too well what they would of necessity be.

"That evening the chaplain visited the prisoner, who was confined in one of the vaults of the palace, to announce that on the following morning he was to—DIE!

"He spent nearly the whole night with the poor lad, who was quite resigned, and so calm and prepared for his fate that he begged to be left alone for a little sleep before the appointed time; and when the provost-marshal came at gun-fire, he found Philip Ernslie in a profound slumber, with a horse-cloak spread over him, and his head resting on a bundle of straw.

"Never did we parade with more reluctance than on that 31st of March at dawn, and all the corps in and about Kotah, with some others that had marched in during the night, got under arms to witness the execution. It was a lovely Indian morning. The beams of the sun shone redly on the white marble domes and carved minarets of Kotah, and on the turrets of the rajah's stately palace.

"The place where we paraded was a hollow between two hills that were covered with beautiful groves of the peepul-palm and teakwood, and flocks of wild peacocks and green paroquets flew hither and thither as we were massed in columns round the spot, where an open grave was yawning, and where the guard of the provost-marshal—twelve men and a sergeant—stood with their rifles loaded.

"Every face was expressive of intense anxiety to have the whole affair over, and many were very pale.

"Accompanied by the chaplain of the cavalry brigade, who wore a surplice over his black uniform surtout, and praying very devoutly with his fettered hands clasped before him, Philip Ernslie, guarded by an escort, came slowly into the square of regiments, and stopped midway between the firing party and that premature grave that was so soon to receive him. His face was frightfully pale; he looked at that black hole, which yawned so horribly amid the green turf, calmly and steadily, and something of a smile—but not of bravado or derision—stole over his features.

"My heart bled for the poor lad; but I was immensely relieved when our colonel said, in a whisper, as he passed me—

"'The adjutant-general has a reprieve from General R—— in his pocket, so there will be no execution.'

"'Thank heaven!' I exclaimed, fervently.

"'We are but acting out a solemn farce.'

"'For the sake of effect and discipline?'


"'And the sentence, colonel——'

"'Will be commuted to transportation for life.'

"It was a human existence blighted for ever, any way; but now I could look on with more composure.

"The fetters were removed from Philip's hands. He was ordered to take off his cap and listen respectfully to the sentence of the court; and he seemed to do so mechanically, as one in a dream.

"The proceedings of the tribunal were briefly noted, the enormity of the crime forcibly adverted to, and then came the doom—that he was to be shot to death!

"The young man's usually haughty and handsome face was wistful and sad in expression now. He merely bowed his head in meek assent, and in a weak voice asked leave to shake hands with me and some of his comrades. They came forth from the ranks as he named them, and wrung his cold and clammy fingers in silence, and I could see that the eyes of these men were moist with tears; yet they were brave fellows all, and had charged by my side at Inkermann and Balaclava.

"Philip next asked for the sergeant-major, that he might shake hands even with him, and so die at peace with all mankind. But Pivett was absent from parade that morning, and lay seriously ill in his tent, for Asiatic cholera had fastened upon him.

"Philip then turned to the chaplain to signify that he was ready, and, kneeling near his grave, had his eyes covered by a handkerchief.

"The whole scene was now worked up to its utmost intensity, and many officers, who knew not of the reprieve, had taken off their caps to utter a silent prayer for the spirit that was so soon to appear before its Maker.

"The silence was profound, and we heard only the Chumbal rushing on its course to meet the Jumna, till the voice of the provost-marshal rang in the air—

"'Firing-party—ready!' and softly the rifles were cocked.

"'As you were!' cried the adjutant-general, with a bright expression of face; 'half-cock, and order arms! Prisoner, stand up! you are, I rejoice to say, mercifully reprieved.'

"Philip Ernslie did not hear the words apparently, for his head sank forward on his breast.

"The provost-marshal took his hand to assist him to rise; but the poor lad fell forward on his face, dead—stone dead—without a wound. The sudden revulsion of feeling had killed him.

"So he was actually buried in that unconsecrated ground, beneath the shadow of the walls of Kotah; but, ere we marched next day, another grave was formed beside him.

"It contained the remains of Sergeant-Major Pivett; and, during a long career of service, I have met with few events which created so profound a sensation among the troops as this little tragedy."


On an evening in the September of 1860, some excitement was caused among the inhabitants of the secluded town of Oppido in Calabria Ultra, when the gleam of arms announced the approach of regular troops. The dealers in pottery and silk, in wine and oil, and the manufacturers of gloves and stockings from the delicate filaments of the shell-fish named the pinna marina, and the water-carrier by the well, conferred together on this unusual circumstance; the wandering pifferari paused in their strains before the shrine of the Madonna; and the rustics of a more doubtful character—to wit, the armed and lawless carbonari and mountaineers, the brigands, with their sugar-loaf hats, velveteen jackets, and sandalled feet—looked forth from the dense forests and coverts wherein they lurked, defying alike the anathemas of the Archbishop of Reggio and the powers of the High Court there, and thought the time was near to inspect their guns and stilettoes, and set their wives to abandon the distaff for the bullet-mould, as none knew on what errand those troops had come, or what might ensue ere long, and strange things were expected, for Mazzini and "The Liberator" had been busy with their manifestoes; even the Fata Morgana had been showing strange optical delusions of late in the Bay of Reggio and the Straits of Messina.

The battle of Aspromonte had been fought in their vicinity during the preceding month.

Garibaldi, as all the world knows, intent on raising an insurrection in Hungary, had placed himself at the head of a body of Sicilian volunteers, in the forest district of Ficuzza, twenty miles from Palermo, and, by a hasty and ill-advised movement, he landed these men from two steamers on the Calabrian shore, where, on the mountain plateau of Aspromonte—one of the highest of the Calabrian hills, rising immediately behind the town of Oppido—he was attacked by the Royal Italian troops, under Colonel Pallavacino. He fell, wounded by a musket-shot in the ankle, while all his people were surrounded and made prisoners.

Military executions followed on many, though "The Liberator," for his great services in the cause of Italian independence, was never brought to trial; and now the young grass was sprouting above the earthy mounds, and round the rude little crosses that marked where the dead lay in their lonely graves on the slope of the Apennines.

For two noted brigands who had accompanied him, named Agostino Velda and Giuseppe Rivarola, rewards were offered at that time in vain.

The excitement in Oppido was in no way lessened when the sound of bugles came on the evening wind, and ere long the 3rd regiment of Bersaglieri, or Italian Rifles, in the service of Victor Emanuel, with their plumed hats and quaint uniforms, marched into the town, and halted before the Albergo del Leon d'Oro, where the colours were lodged, and the lieutenant-colonel commanding took up his quarters.

The soldiers were placed in an empty monastery; a guard was mounted there, and also at the albergo; and then it began to be whispered about in the market-place and cafés that the Bersaglieri were to remain there until a captain arrived from Reggio with some special instructions for the colonel, Vincenzo il Conte Manfredi, of whom we shall hear more anon.

These rumours were unpleasantly connected with a Bersagliere named Agostino Velda—the same Velda who had followed General Garibaldi, and who had been brought in with the quarter-guard as a prisoner, and was now in a cell of the monastery, heavily ironed, and under the strictest surveillance.

Among the Bersaglieri of Colonel Manfredi were two soldiers of the name of Velda—the prisoner Agostino, and his son Raphael, a youth of little more than twenty years, who bore a character as high and unblemished as that of his father was degraded and low, dissipated and vile. Yet the father and son were both eminently handsome men, and both had fought bravely—the former on the fields of Goïto and Novara, and the latter at Montebello and Solferino; but latterly to many crimes and breaches of military law, Agostino had added that of desertion and consorting with brigands, among whom he narrowly escaped an assassination in which he became involved; and a notice of this event found its way even into the Times.

He had thrown aside his uniform, adopted the well-known costume of the brigands—a gaily-embroidered jacket, a high hat, with broad, flaunting ribbon, and long leathern gaiters—and, armed with a rifle and six-barrelled revolver, made his lurking-place among the mountains near Naples.

Not far from Acerra—an episcopal city in the province of Lavoro—for a year prior to the affair of Aspromonte, he had taken up his residence with a formidable bandit and his wife, with whom he lived, concealed in a vault, the fragment of some ruined castle or villa of the old days of Roman Naples.

There they might have resided long enough together, and made perilous the road to Rome, but for the sum of two thousand ducats which had been put upon the head of Agostino Velda after Garibaldi's defeat, and which proved too much for a friendship such as theirs.

One day, after a close pursuit, his padrona assured him that he might safely issue forth, as the police had disappeared; but immediately on Velda raising the trap-door, which was covered with turf and branches to conceal their den, he was struck to the earth by a blow from an axe, dealt full on his head by a most unsparing hand.

Assisted by his wife, the padrona dragged the body to a ditch close by, and then, stabbing her to death, he departed at once to Naples, where he claimed the reward offered for Agostino Velda, whom he accused of killing the woman. But Velda was not dead—such men are hard to kill; he was simply stunned, grievously wounded, and made hideous by the blood that covered him.

He managed to crawl to the nearest house of the National Guard, to whom he told his story, denouncing, as his accomplice, the padrona, who was seized and shot, as the reward of his crimes; while he (Velda) was sent back under escort to the 3rd Bersaglieri, then on their march to Calabria, to overawe the brigands in that mountain region, and he was now under sentence and waiting the result of his trial, the papers connected with which had been forwarded for approval to General Enrico Cialdini, who, in the subsequent year, was appointed leader of the entire Italian army, and "Viceroy of Naples, with full power to repress brigandage."

The proceedings of the court-martial by which the father had been tried were actually engrossed by the hand of his son, who was the clerk to the regiment, and he knew all the papers contained, save the sentence, which was known to the sworn members of the court alone; but he could not doubt the tenor of it.

Shame and gloom clouded the dark and handsome face of the young man, and this dejection was held sacred by his comrades, though it has been said that Colonel Manfredi—a man of weak and vicious character, one, moreover, who was fierce, reckless, and dissipated—was cruel enough, on more than one occasion, to taunt the innocent son with the errors of the guilty father.

The sun was verging towards the watery horizon of the gulf of Gioja, and the shadows of the Apennines were falling far athwart the deep and wooded valleys that lie eastward of Oppido, when, full of sad, terrible, and bitter thoughts, the younger Velda left the little city, and, after pausing once or twice to cross himself before the little lamp-lighted Madonnas at the street corners, hurried towards a spot which was familiar to him, for he was by birth a Calabrian, and like his father before him had first seen light among those very mountains where Aspromonte had been fought.

Under the circumstances in which he was placed, the young soldier gazed sadly on the scenes of his infancy—on the forest paths and secluded places where he had been led by the hand of his mother, who had perished of fever and fright after the battle of Novara.

Raphael Velda walked rapidly onward for a few miles through a district that was rich in fruit trees, where the lemon and citron, the fig, the vine, and the orange were growing, till he reached a region that was rocky and wild, and where the majestic oaks and pines of that extensive tract known as the Forest of La Sila, celebrated even by Virgil in the twelfth book of the "Æneid," cast a deepening shadow over the way he pursued, and where the goat, the buffalo, and the wild black swine appeared at times amid the solitude.

Brightly streamed the evening sun through the openings in the forest while Raphael, with unerring steps, trod a path that had been familiar to him in boyhood, and at last reached the place he sought.

It was a cavern in the gray basaltic rocks; but the entrance, known only to the initiated, was carefully concealed by the hand of nature, for the wild fig-trees, the vines, and other luxuriant creepers completely screened it from the casual eye.

"Oh, Francesca, my love! my love! what an abode for you!" muttered the soldier as he saw it. But the place was silent as the grave; the hum of insect life, and the gurgle of a mountain rivulet, whose course was hidden by the verdure, alone met his ear. "Francesca, my betrothed! the wife of my heart!"

Passing through the screen of leaves, Raphael Velda came to a barrier of wood, wedged between the walls of rock, and on this he knocked with a resolute hand, though his heart was throbbing with anxiety.

After a pause, a sound most unpleasantly like the click of a gunlock met his quickened ear, and he hastily knocked again.

"Chi è la? (Who is there?)" demanded a stern voice.

"'Tis I, good Giuseppe—a friend."

The wooden barrier sharply revolved on its centre, and within the cavern, half seen in ruddy sunlight, and half sunk in dark brown shadow, appeared the picturesque figure of a man whose attire and bearing proclaimed him to be a Calabrian brigand. Strong and athletic in form, erect and dignified in carriage, the lines of his dark face and his keen, wild eyes declared him to possess an ardent and fiery spirit; but his garments were tattered and miserable, his beard was long, and its natural raven blackness was becoming silvered by time.

His sash contained a brace of pistols and a horn-hafted knife, and in his hands was a long double-barrelled rifle, which was cocked and held menacingly, for the naturally ferocious expression of his face deepened when he saw the hostile attire of his visitor.

"A friend!" he exclaimed scornfully. "Do the friends of Giuseppe Rivarola wear the uniform of the king's Bersaglieri?"

"True, I am a soldier, Giuseppe—a soldier of the king; yet am I not the less your friend," replied Velda gently.

"Back, I say! I seek not your friendship, boy, and I want not your blood! Yet," continued the robber, wrathfully, "how am I to save my own if I permit you to return alive after having dared to track me to my hiding-place?"

As Rivarola spoke he involuntarily raised the musket to his right shoulder.

"Hold, Giuseppe Rivarola!" cried his visitor. "Have you quite forgotten me? I am Raphael, the son of Agostino Velda."

The brigand uttered a cry, threw down his musket, and springing forward, with all that volubility of gesture and violent declamation which proclaims the Calabrian a genuine child of nature—a rough and impetuous mountaineer—he embraced the young man, took him in his arms and led him into his hiding-place.

It was indeed a squalid den, and lighted only by a few dim rays of the fading sunshine which stole in through fissures in the basalt. In a recess a little Madonna of coarse clay was fixed to the wall of rock, and the flame of a brass oil-lamp was flickering before it. Beneath lay a bed or rather a pallet, the neat arrangements of which indicated the presence of a female hand.

Outside this lay a couch of leaves and deer-skins whereon doubtless old Rivarola snatched his few hours of repose. Some vessels of coarse pottery, an iron pot, a bullet-mould, a powder-flask, and other similar et cetera, made up the furniture; and Raphael looked round him with a saddened and anxious eye.

"Francesca?" said he, inquiringly.

"She has gone to vespers, and to market at Oppido. The poor child requires other comforts than my gun can procure her on these bleak mountain sides, or even on the highway, for few men travel now without an escort of the Carabinieri. I am in hopes that she may be employed as a zitella—(a girl who will make herself useful)—by the good sisters of the Benedictine convent—God and His Mother bless them!" continued the brigand, lifting off his old battered hat with reverence. "The sisters pity her for her own sake, though they execrate me as one of the godless Garibaldini. Once that our Francesca is safe within their walls, I shall go farther west, among the mountains, where some of the men of Aspromonte are still lurking, though heaven knows that to leave this place for that may be only noi cadiamo da Scilli in Cariddi," he added, using the old classic proverb. "But while talking of my own affairs I forget yours. What of your father, my boy?"

"He has been taken by the National Guard, and is now with us in Oppido; but under sentence of death, as I too justly fear it must be," replied Raphael, in a broken voice.

"Rebellion, desertion, treason, and robbery! What else could be the penalty of these but death! He will be shot, of course, by the Bersaglieri."


"Yet you will continue to wear their uniform?" said the old brigand, his moustaches quivering with anger.

"I follow the dictates of my conscience."

"Conscience!" replied the other, grimly. "I had such a thing about me once; but now—— Well! well!"

"Are they safe for Francesca, or safe for you, these evening errands into Oppido?"

"She goes in as the twilight falls, and always returns after dark, when none can see the way she takes. But our perils will be increased now that your precious Bersaglieri are so close at hand."

"They are increased, Giuseppe. A list of persons to be captured, and shot if found with arms in their hands, or who prove unable to give a satisfactory account of themselves, has been given by Cialdini to the Conte Manfredi, and your name is the first on that fatal roll, of which I made a copy no later than yesterday, by the Conte's order."

The outlaw only laughed at this, and his white teeth glistened under his dark moustache.

"They will never discover my retreat," said he.

"Oh, be not too sure of that."

"It has served me ever since that fatal day at Aspromonte."

"You are wrong. Either Francesca has been watched or some one has betrayed you."

"None could betray me. My secret is known to Francesca and myself alone," replied the outlaw, confidently.

"A clue to your hiding-place is in the hands of the Conte Manfredi, and ere to-morrow—yea, to-night, perhaps—a cordon of riflemen will be around it. Povero amico! I swear to you that this is the truth!"

"And my Francesca!" exclaimed Rivarola, mournfully, as he clasped his brown hands.

"She is here—here at last!" cried the young man, as a girl sprang into the cavern; but on beholding his uniform she uttered a low cry of terror, and shrank behind her father.

Her figure was slender and petite, yet she was full-bosomed and beautifully rounded. Her eyes were dark, but bright and sparkling, and softened in expression by their wonderfully long lashes, which, like her hair, were black as jet. Her attire was poor, but plain and neat, even to being piquante and pretty. Her scarlet bodice was handsomely embroidered, and her habit-shirt, like the square fold of linen that shaded her face, was white as snow, and contrasted well with the almost olive hue of her complexion.

"O padre mio! I have been pursued!" she exclaimed.

"By whom?" asked Rivarola, starting to his musket.

"An officer of the Bersaglieri; but I escaped him in the forest. Oh, my father! my father! and a Bersagliere is here before me!"

"Raphael Velda, your betrothed!" said the young man, taking off his plumed hat, and coming forward from the shade which had partly concealed him.

Uttering a soft exclamation of joy, mingled with astonishment, the girl rushed into his arms, and he covered her face with kisses, showering them on her brow, her lips and eyes, even on her neck, where hung her only ornament, a little crucifix of brass.

"Ne sono estatico! (I am in ecstasies!)" the young soldier continued to murmur, as he gazed upon the upturned face that lay upon his fringe epaulette, and so near his own flushed cheek.

"Oh, what happiness!" responded the girl. "I am beside myself with joy! Raphael, Raphael, speak to me!"

"Thou art loved by every one, my child," said the old brigand, who made no attempt to check the free emotions of the lovers, but turned away sadly, and leaned upon his long musket.

"Oh, Francesca, many may—nay, must have loved you; but none as poor Raphael Velda does," said the lover.

"If ever we are parted, judging by what I have suffered already, the wrench will be terrible! Francesca will die!" murmured the girl.

"No female society ever afforded me the delight that yours does, and were we to be together for days and days, instead of a few short stolen hours, I would never weary of looking into your sweet eyes. How often in camp and on the march, when weary and listless, I have longed for your beloved shoulder to lay my head upon and go to sleep, though I fear your presence would put all sleep to flight."

"Oh, Raphael, when absent from you I seem only to endure existence. All time seems lost that is not spent with you."

"And one of our officers pursued you, Francesca?" asked Raphael, after a pause.

"Yes, my beloved—from the gate of Oppido, along the highway, and close up to the forest, where I eluded him by lurking behind an ilex tree, while he passed on."

"Is he old or young?"

"A man of some fifty years, with long gray moustaches curled up to his ears."

"Dio! 'tis the colonel—the Conte Manfredi! the greatest roué, in all Naples!"

"Never mind—soldiers are used to run after pretty girls. You have escaped him, and if he comes hither my gun will do the rest—there will be promotion for the major," said Rivarola, calmly.

But the handsome face of Velda became troubled and clouded.

His love for Francesca was deep and passionate; yet as a soldier could he marry and make her a camp-follower—the jest, perhaps, of his comrades, the prey, perchance, of such a man as the conte?—she, with all her purity and beauty. A soldier, could he with safety wed the daughter of a brigand—an outlaw—one of the Garibaldini? She had been seen and pursued by his roué colonel also, to complicate and make matters more dubious, perilous, and difficult.

"Be one of us—throw your allegiance to the winds, and take to the mountains," the brigand would have suggested; but Raphael was loyal and good, and mourned the lost lives of Rivarola and his doomed father.

But now the sun was set, and he knew that he must soon return to quarters, as he had only leave till midnight, and, taking his gun, Rivarola prepared to accompany him a little distance on the way.

The lovers separated, with an arrangement for their meeting on the morrow, and from the screen of leaves that hid her wretched home the poor girl, with eyes half-blinded by tears, watched their figures retiring through the forest; but scarcely had they been gone ten minutes when both came rushing back to her. The face of Raphael was deadly pale; that of Rivarola inflamed by passion, and in his eyes there sparkled a dangerous light.

"Conceal yourself, my child. A party of the Bersaglieri are in the forest, searching, doubtless, for me, so I must fly; but I shall leave your betrothed with you. Surely," continued Rivarola, "he will be able to protect you from his own comrades, at least. I will fire a shot to lure these men after me, and away from this vicinity; so, if you hear it, my children, be not alarmed. To heaven and your love I trust her, Raphael. Adieu!"

He pressed the terrified girl almost convulsively to his breast, sprang up the rocks with his musket slung behind him, and disappeared, while Raphael led Francesca into the cavern and closed the door.

The task of soothing her was a delightful one; but then came the reflection—what was he to do? To remain there with her was impossible, as, ere midnight, he would have to report himself to the quarter-guard, and could he leave her alone—alone in the wild forest?

No! She should return with him to Oppido, and seek at the Benedictine convent that shelter which would not be denied her. This was soon resolved on, and, though about to leave the cavern, perhaps for ever, she reverentially trimmed anew the votive lamp before the little Madonna, while Raphael stole for half a mile or so into the forest, to assure himself that his comrades were gone. This proved to be the case, as they had heard the distant random shot of Rivarola, and, following it, had disappeared.

"Heaven be praised!" said Raphael, aloud; "the road is clear for her and me."

He was returning to the hiding-place, when a shrill cry—almost a shriek—from Francesca made him spring forward with all the speed he could exert; and he saw with dismay that the barrier of wood and screen of leaves were alike thrown down, and that an armed man stood within them.

All that his heart had foreboded of evil—the climax of every vague apprehension to which the soul of Raphael Velda had been a prey—was reached when he beheld his beautiful little Francesca struggling to free herself from the grasp of her visitor—his colonel, the Conte Manfredi!

Of all men in Italy, the man from whom he had most cause to fear—the man who held in his hands, perhaps, the life of his father, Agostino Velda, and his own life as a consorter with outlaws—had now tracked out Francesca as a new prey! This was but an example probably, of "how oft the power to do ill deeds makes ill deeds done."

Raphael knew that the conte was a man without scruple or conscience, possessed of vast wealth, of high rank, and a position which enabled him always to crush with success all who opposed his wishes, however vile or cruel those wishes might be; and Raphael was but a poor Bersagliere, whose father was a convicted brigand.

All this foreknowledge rushed upon the mind of Raphael, and for a moment he was paralyzed with dismay; but a moment only.

The next saw him tear Francesca from the grasp of the conte, whom he thrust without much ceremony aside.

In an instant the blade of the colonel's sword glittered in his hand.

"In guardia, signore! in guardia!" cried he, in a voice that was tremulous with rage; while Raphael, who had no other weapon than the short sword-bayonet of the Bersagliere, promptly drew it to defend himself, and therewith he parried one or two thrusts that were aimed at his breast. As yet the colonel had not recognized him, for the cavern was dark, or only lit by the tiny votive lamp that flickered above the humble couch of Francesca. "Ha, Signore Spadaccino!" said Manfredi, mockingly, "I'll be through your body this time."

But, by a rapid circular parry and great strength of wrist, Raphael twisted the sword from the hand of the conte, who then drew a pistol. All this passed in a few seconds; while Francesca, crouching behind Raphael, looked upward with her face blanched by terror. And now, as he levelled the pistol, the conte for the first time discovered that his antagonist was a soldier.

"Como vi chiamente (what is your name)?" he asked, in a voice of thunder.

"Raphael Velda, signore."

"Ehi! one of my own men, too!"

"Illustrissimo—si—I have the honour," replied Raphael, with a profound salute, but keeping his sword drawn, nevertheless.

"Oh, Raphael! my love! my love! you are lost! Spare him, Signore Colonello! spare him!" cried Francesca. "He is too young to die!"

"Leave this place, Raphael Velda," said the conte, in a low, hoarse voice.


"Indeed! When are you due at Oppido?"

"I have my captain's leave till midnight, signore."

"Mezzanotte? Good. It wants but two hours of that time now," said the mocking conte, looking at his watch. "You know, I presume, the penalty of drawing upon a superior officer?"

"No—not when in defence of my own life, and of one who is dearer to me than life."

"Veramente—indeed!" drawled the other, curling up his enormous moustache, which he wore in imitation of King Victor Emanuel. "This girl—the daughter of a brigand—of a Garibaldino—is beyond the pale of all protection."

"She is my betrothed wife, signore," said Raphael, with a deep burst of emotion.

"Your life is in my hands, Velda, as a consorter with outlaws."

"Not more a consorter than yourself, signore, if the mere fact of being here makes me one."

"Insolent! Yet I will spare your life on one condition."

"Name it, signore."

"That you will never mention what has transpired here to-night—our combat, and my disarmament. Swear it by the God that hears you, and the soul of the girl you love!"

Raphael felt astonished at a punishment so unlike Manfredi, but swore as he was requested.

"Good," said the colonel, picking up and sheathing his sword. "I give you life for silence, but my vengeance will come on the morrow!"

And with these ominous words, which the unfortunate Raphael connected in some way with his imprisoned father, the colonel quitted the dreary abode of the Rivarolas, and disappeared in the forest.

The moment he was gone, Raphael raised Francesca, and strove by his caresses to reassure her. He affected to make light of the threats of Manfredi, expatiated on the promises he had given as a reward for silence, expressed joy that her father had escaped; and, as soon as she had regained her composure, he led her from the cavern, and together, hand in hand, with their minds mutually oppressed by fear for the future, they pursued the highway almost in silence till they reached the little city of Oppido.

"Adieu, Raphael," said the girl, weeping on his breast.

"Oh, Francesca! my dearest Francesca! I cannot tell you how I love you! And this love continues, if possible, to grow every day. My whole soul is yours, Francesca!"

"And I shall yearn long and wearily for you till we meet again. Separate from you, the most sunny days are gloomy to me, and I seem to shiver as if chilled by the tramontana!"

And now, after a long and passionate kiss—a last one, as it proved—they separated at the gate of the Convent of Santo Benedetto; and, fortunately for Raphael, he was in quarters before the time necessary, and amid their dull monotony the voice of Francesca ever lingered in his ear.

Some valets or emissaries of the conte were at the cavern betimes before daybreak. The cage was empty, and its pretty bird flown, they knew not whither; and this only served to inflame him the more against the elder Velda.

Next morning the shrill brass bugles of the Bersaglieri were blown at an unusually early hour, while the mountain summits were yet red with the first rays of the morning sun, and the whole battalion paraded under the orders of the conte; for the expected captain had arrived overnight from Reggio with his final instructions, and, rumour said, with the death-warrant of Agostino Velda. The latter seemed to be fully verified by the fact that the regimental chaplain—a Franciscan friar—had spent the greater portion of the night in his cell.

It was a lovely Italian morning, and never did the towering Apennines look more beautiful in their verdure and fertility, while the red rising sun cast their purple shadows, and those of the great pines and oaks which clothed their sides far to the westward. To the east, dotted by many a white sail, the blue Mediterranean spread away towards the Lipari Isles; and the smoke of many a steamer towered high into the deep azure of the dome above the Straits of Messina and the Bay of Gioja.

The plain where the Bersaglieri (who derive their name from bersaglio, a mark, or shooting-butt) were paraded was a solitary spot about a mile distant from Oppido, in a rugged ravine, overhung on all side by masses of rock, which had been rent into fantastic shapes seventy-seven years before by the dreadful earthquake of 1783.

The troops were unpopular among the Calabrese; so none of the inhabitants were present to witness the morning parade, which, on the part of the Conte Manfredi, embraced a scheme for vengeance such as an Italian heart of a certain calibre alone could conceive.

The well-trained Bersaglieri stood silent and firm in their ranks; the only motion there being the fluttering of their dark-green plumes, which were caught by the passing breeze. Their sword-bayonets were fixed on their rifles, as the regiment formed three sides of a hollow square, and the broad blades of these reflected gayly the sheen of the morning sun.

On the vacant side of the square stood an upright post, firmly placed in the earth, with a stout rope dangling from it. At this object the eyes of the soldiers looked grimly but sternly from time to time. The officers leaned on their swords, and yawned wearily in the early morning air. Since the field of Aspromonte they had grown tired of the perilous work of brigand-hunting, and looked forward with something of dismay to the rustication of dull quarters in the mountain city of Oppido, while knowing that at Reggio there were the great cathedral, with its aisles of paintings, where people may flirt if they do not pray, the theatre, the opera, and the promenade of the Porto Nuovo, where girls handle their fans as girls only do in Spain and Italy. Even the yearly fair would be lost to the Bersaglieri. It was all a profound bore!

While such empty regrets occupied the minds of many, the heart of Raphael Velda was a prey to a grief and horror all its own. He and all the regiment thought that he should have been spared a scene so horrible as the execution of his own father! He had proffered this request personally, and through the captain of his company, but in vain. The conte was inexorable. He only gave one of his sinister smiles, and shrugged his shoulders in token of refusal. So, pale as a spectre, and trembling in every fibre, Raphael stood under arms in his usual place.

Agostino Velda, though an old soldier of the corps, who had, as we have said, fought loyally on the field of Goïto, in Lombardy, and that of Novara, in Piedmont, was viewed now only as a disgrace, a brigand and Garibaldino; so, although all sympathized with his son, and deprecated his presence on an occasion so awful, they cared little otherwise about the impending execution. But how little could they foresee the terrible triple tragedy which was to ensue on that bright and sunny morning parade!

From the lower end of the ravine was seen the gleam of approaching bayonets, and the prisoner appeared with fetters on his hands, walking slowly between a file of Bersaglieri, and by the side of the chaplain—a very reverend-looking old man, who wore the garb of a Franciscan—and who had been praying with him all night in the vault of the old castle, which served as a dungeon. And now poor Raphael felt an icy shudder pass over his whole frame as his father drew near.

He had already that day at dawn taken a passionate and affectionate farewell of him, and they were to meet no more on earth; but yet the dark and haggard eyes of Agostino Velda wandered restlessly and yearningly along the ranks, as if in search of a beloved face.

He was a splendid-looking man, in the prime of life. His stature was great, and his bearing lofty and commanding. The pallor of his face contrasted strangely with the raven blackness of his voluminous beard and hair; the latter seemed to start up in sprouts from his forehead and temples, and fell backward like the mane of a lion. His eyes were dark—dark as the doom that awaited him; and their usual expression was fierce, defiant, and lowering.

He was bareheaded, and muffled in an old regimental great-coat, which was intended to be his shroud.

"I have repented of all my faults and crimes," said he, in a firm voice, and with a collected manner. "I see now, old comrades, the folly, the wickedness, of my past life, and am ready to die for it!"

The proceedings of the court-martial were then read over by the adjutant, and they closed with the sentence—

"That he—the said Agostino Velda, lately a Bersagliere of the 3rd Regiment, and now a brigand—was to be tied to a post and shot to death by any three soldiers whose doubtful character might lead the colonel to select them for that duty as a species of punishment!"

The hand of Manfredi seemed to tighten on his bridle-rein as he heard this, and there passed a grim smile over his face as he handed a pencilled memorandum to the sergeant-major, who changed colour as he read it, and in his utter confusion actually forgot to salute his officer, under whose glance most of the Bersaglieri cowered, for he was supposed to possess that terror of the Italians, an evil-eye. He paused for a moment irresolutely, and then turned to obey, for discipline and obedience become a second nature to a soldier.

While the pioneers bound the passive prisoner to the stake, the perplexed sergeant-major summoned from the ranks two soldiers who had been punished repeatedly for breaches of discipline, and twice for robbery, as their names had been given to him by the colonel. Then, pausing slowly before the company in the ranks of which Raphael Velda stood, pale as a sheet, and supporting himself on his rifle, he summoned him to step forth, as the third fire, to complete the firing-party.

A thrill of horror and dismay seemed to pervade the whole regiment on witnessing this, and now Raphael rushed to the front.

"Signore Illustrissimo—oh, colonello mio!" he exclaimed, in a piercing voice, while gesticulating with all the fervour of a true Calabrian; "Dio buono! you cannot mean this! It is too cruel—too terrible. The king will resent it—General Cialdini will never permit it," he added, wildly and incoherently, while his tongue seemed to cleave to the roof of his mouth.

In a paroxysm of grief he knelt before the conte, entreating him to alter the terrible selection—to forego this subtle scheme for vengeance, while the pale prisoner, who saw and understood the whole situation, uttered a cry of grief, and, dropping the crucifix which the chaplain had placed in his hands, covered his face with them.

"What can be the meaning of this?" was whispered round the ranks.

Raphael alone could have told; but he was sworn to secrecy—secrecy by God's name and the soul of Francesca.

In vain did the major—a gallant old soldier, who possessed great influence in the corps—urge the conte to change his plan; in vain did the venerable chaplain supplicate on one hand and threaten on the other; and in vain also did Raphael Velda, whose voice had now left him, stretch his hands towards the conte in mute entreaty.

Vincenzo Manfredi was inexorable!

"I do not command the son to shoot the father, but the loyal Bersagliere to slay the convicted felon," said he; and then, with a voice and bearing that forbade all hope of his revoking an order which filled the regiment with indignation and bewilderment—for the character of Raphael was unimpeachable, and even were it not so, the selection was alike cruel and unnatural—he ordered the firing-party to fall in at fifty yards' distance from the criminal, and to load and cap their rifles. Then the remainder of the obnoxious task was to be performed by the sergeant-major.

"Sono allo desperazione!—I am in despair—oh, Francesca!—oh, my father!" moaned Raphael, as he loaded mechanically, and knew that even if he fired in the air he would throughout all his future life be branded as a parricide—as the executioner of his own father!

A blindness—a horror, like a great darkness—seemed to come over him, and for a few moments he was beside himself with excess of emotion. For a second or so the idea of shooting Manfredi at the head of the regiment occurred to him, but only to be dismissed, for that officer was so placed that he could not have been hit without the risk of killing another; and now, like an automaton, he found himself kneeling—one of three executioners—before his father, at fifty yards' distance.

Though horror blanched his face, Agostino looked proudly and steadily at the three dark tubes from whence his doom was to come; for at the word "three" the executioners were to fire.

"Uno!" cried the sergeant-major, in a voice that was quite unlike his own; "due! TRE!"

Reverberating with a hundred echoes among the rocks as the sounds were tossed from peak to peak, four rifles rang sharply in the clear morning air, and three men fell dead.

They were Agostino Velda, pierced by two bullets in his head, which sank heavily forward on his breast; Raphael, who, by an expert use of his bayonet as a lever, after uttering a prayer to heaven and for Francesca, had shot himself through the heart; and, lastly, the Conte Manfredi, who, pierced by a bullet fired from the rocks above, threw up his hands with a wild scream, and fell lifeless from his horse!

His fall and the suicide of Raphael Velda were so totally unexpected, that the Bersaglieri were utterly bewildered and confounded. The double catastrophe was almost terrifying even to old soldiers; but the major was the first to recover his presence of mind, and at the head of a company proceeded to surround and scale those rocks from whence the mysterious bullet had come.

No trace of the assassin could be found, save a long and double-barrelled rifle, which had been recently discharged, and on the stock of which was carved the name of the noted brigand, "Giuseppe Rivarola;" so not a doubt remained that by his hand the conte had perished.

In vain were the mountains searched, and princely rewards for his apprehension offered by General Cialdini and the king; for Giuseppe was never seen afterwards, though he is supposed to be still lurking among the wilds of the Abruzzi—the Promised Land of the Italian brigands.

As a suicide, the hapless Raphael Velda was buried in a solitary place, and in unconsecrated ground; but yearly, on the anniversary of his death—the festival of St. Michael and All Angels—there comes a Benedictine nun, who kneels by the green sod that covers him, and with beads in hand and head bent low and reverently, says a prayer for the repose of his soul.

She then hangs a wreath of fresh flowers on the little cross that marks his grave, and glides slowly and sadly away.



Of all the wandering claimants to royalty, scions of kings "retired from business," soi-disant regal pretenders, false or real—whether like Perkin Warbeck, or the six Demetriuses of Russia, some more recent pseudo-heirs of the house of Stuart who figured in Austria after the "Quarterly" drove them out of Scotland, "the Duke of Normandy" in London, and so forth, who have appeared from time to time, none have had so marvellous a story to tell as the Princess Cécile, "La Belle Turque," as she was named, who, announcing herself, in two volumes octavo, to be a daughter of the deposed sultan Achmet III., took the heedless world of Paris by surprise, about a hundred years ago, and whose narrative has frequently been classed with romances, though it came forth as a veritable history, and with a title more clearly avowed than that of "Ascanius, or the Adventurer in Scotland."

The editor, who guaranteed its truth, was a man of veracity and credit in his day; and he urged upon the public, that however extraordinary and romantic her adventures might appear, they were, nevertheless, strictly fact; and in a letter addressed to the editor of the "Journal de Paris," in 1787, he added, that in that year the lady was still alive in the French capital, "and, notwithstanding her advanced age, in the enjoyment of good health."

It is singular that her narrative, whether false or true, as given by herself and "M. Buisson, Littéraire, Hôtel de Mesgrigny, Rue des Poitevins,"—as it would furnish ample materials for the largest three-volume novel—escaped the eyes of Alexandre Dumas, or Viscount d'Arlincourt, as it is full of adventures of the most stirring kind, and, told briefly, runs thus:—

The introductory part of her story, in which the names of persons of rank are concealed, contains, necessarily the adventures of her governess, or nurse, by whom she was first abducted from her home, and brought to France. It would appear that about the year 1700, a Mademoiselle Emilia (sic), daughter of a surgeon in the French seaport town of Génes, was, with her lover, a young Genoese, named Salmoni, in a pleasure-boat upon the Mediterranean, a little way from the coast, when, notwithstanding "la terreur du nom de Louis XIV.," they were pounced upon by some Turkish corsairs—a common enough event in those days, and one not unfrequent, even after Lord Exmouth demolished Algiers.

This occurred in the dusk; and the voice of Salmoni, who had been singing, is supposed to have first attracted them. Being armed, the Italian defended his love and his life with courage, but fell severely wounded, and was left for dead in the bottom of his boat, which floated away, the sport of the waves, while Emilia was carried off, and, in consequence of her great beauty, was ultimately sold, at Constantinople, under the name of Fatima, for the service and amusement of Achmet III., who, in consequence of her accomplishments, made her a species of governess to his children, instead of retaining her among the odalisques in the seraglio. This must have been subsequent to 1703, when Achmet began his troublesome reign.

She was in this situation of trust, when Salmoni, who had never forgotten her, after a long and unsuccessful search through many seaport towns in the Levant—a veritable pilgrim of love—accidentally discovered, by a casual conversation with a Turkish seaman, where she was, and how occupied; for this man had been one of the corsair's crew.

Disguised as a Turk, and giving out that "he was the father of Fatima, the trusted slave," Salmoni found means to communicate with her through an itchcoglan, one of the slaves or pages attached to the seraglio, and they were thus enabled to see each other and converse, their hasty meetings being but stolen moments of tenderness and joy.

Emilia was now in attendance upon a little daughter of Achmet III., born in 1710, and then six months old. Her mother was the Sultana Aski, formerly a Georgian slave, and then one of the kadines or wives of the Sultan, ladies whose number rarely exceeds seven. Emilia was high in favour with both Achmet and this sultana, as she had been particularly serviceable to the latter at the birth of the child, through some little skill she had acquired from her father, the surgeon; thus the confidence they reposed in her, and the authority she possessed over all the people in and about the seraglio, facilitated the execution of those plans for an escape, suggested and urged by Salmoni.

With a view to this end, she desired the bastonghi, or head-gardener, to make a see-saw, which was in the gardens, so high that she—and her pupils, probably—might see the whole city from the lofty wall that girds this place, where still the trees planted are always green, that the inhabitants of Galata and other places may not see the ladies at their lonely promenades. Aided by this see-saw, she dropped over the wall a billet to Salmoni, desiring him to procure a ladder, "a steel-yard" to fix it to the masonry, to make arrangements with a ship captain, and, when all was prepared, to wait her beneath the wall of that terrible Serai Bournous, which no slave-woman had ever yet left alive.

Salmoni promptly obeyed her instructions; he discovered a ship for the Levant, and, by a note tossed over the wall, informed her of the night, and the very hour of their departure.

She was in the act of reading this note—probably not for the first time—when the Sultan Achmet suddenly entered her apartment; and she had barely time to toss it, unseen, into a porphyry vase; for this billet, if discovered, might have consigned her to the bowstring of the capidgi-bashi, or the sack of the black channatoraga, and its concealment forms an important feature in the story of the fugitives.

The hour—almost the moment—for flight had arrived, and Salmoni, she knew, awaited her below the garden wall; yet, amid all the terror and anxiety of the time, so strong was Emilia's love for the little baby-girl of whom she had the chief care, that she resolved to convey the child away with her, and hoped eventually to rear it as a Christian. Collecting all her jewels, and those which Achmet had already lavished on the infant, she took with them the silken fetfa, or record of its birth; and, to be brief, escaped unseen by means of the steel-yard and ladder.

As she descended, the latter was held for her by a person in a gray cloak, whom she believed to be Salmoni, and into whose arms she was, consequently, about to throw herself, when another man started forward, and plunged a sword into his breast. He fled, and a cry escaped Emilia, who fell to the ground; but at that moment the captain of the vessel, by which Salmoni had arranged they should escape, rushed up, and, tearing off the mufflings of the fallen man, merely exclaimed, "It is not he!" and bore her off to the seashore.

An alarm had been given. There was no time to wait for the absent Salmoni; she was placed at once on board the vessel, which immediately sailed and made all speed to leave the Golden Horn behind. She proved to be a small craft belonging to Bayonne, commanded by a young captain from Dieppe; who ultimately landed Emilia and her charge at Génes, where her first care was to have the little Turque baptized according to the rites of the Catholic church.

This, it is recorded, was done by the curé of St. Eulalie de Génes, who named her Marie Cécile; and in honour of an event so remarkable, a salute was fired by the cannon of the château and those of the ramparts of the fort; and three religeuses, named respectively, La Mère St. Agnes, La Mère St. Modeste, and La Mère de l'Humilité, are mentioned as having taken a deep interest in the escaped fugitive and her charge, who was kept in ignorance of her origin till her fifteenth year.

We know not how many daughters Achmet III. is said to have had; but in a letter of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, dated from Adrianople, she writes of his eldest being betrothed in marriage to Behram Bassa, then the reigning court favourite, and translates a copy of verses he had addressed to her.

Cécile was now taken to several European courts, "at which"—according to the narrative—"she was received with all the honours due to her illustrious rank." In Russia, she was presented to the Czar, Peter I., (who died in that year); but in England, she would seem to have contented herself with a short residence at a coffee-house (café), in Covent Garden! Among other sovereigns, she was presented to Pope Clement XI., at Rome, where her beauty, which she inherited from her Georgian mother, especially the profusion of her exquisite hair, began to surround her with snares and perils.

In Rome, her guardian, Emilia, had the joy of once more meeting Salmoni! The man who had been stabbed beneath the seraglio wall had not been he, but the Turkish corsair, through whom he had first traced her there, and who had hoped to make profit out of the intended escape by treacherously revealing it to the sultan; and for this purpose he had plotted with a female slave attached to the palace. This woman, through whose hands the important billet passed, had artfully erased the hour of twelve, fixed by Salmoni, and substituted eleven. Hence, though the sailor had full time to make the attempt, he failed in the execution of his purpose; so now, after all their perils, Salmoni and Emilia were married in the Eternal City, where the love affairs of "La Belle Turque" speedily began to attract notice.

First, we are told, that a duke fell in love with her; but she made him her friend, assuring him that he could never be more to her, as she had already become inspired by a passion for a handsome young Knight of Malta, who hoped soon to be absolved from his vow of celibacy. While waiting for this, the knight's father, old Prince ——, as mischance would have it, became enamoured of her, reckless that he was a rival of his son; and, to avoid his importunities, she and the Salmonis set out suddenly for Paris, where, by the knavery of a banker, she lost much of the proceeds of the jewels brought from Constantinople; so that her fortune was reduced from sixty thousand livres yearly, to about ten thousand.

In a coffee-house at Paris, Cécile chanced to see in the "Gazette de France," an account of the misfortunes that had overtaken her father, Achmet III. This was in 1730, when that weak and imbecile voluptuary, who had viewed with indifference the Hungarian troubles and the wars of the north, after being involved in a contest with Russia, by which he lost in succession the cities of Asoph and Belgrade, and the provinces of Temesvar, Servia and Wallachia, on the discomfiture of his arms by Persia, had an insurrection among his own subjects, and was compelled by the Janissaries to abdicate in favour of his nephew, Mustapha III., who threw him into a prison, where he passed a life of mortification and shame, "after he had," as Voltaire has it, "sacrificed his vizier and his principal officers, in vain, to the resentment of the nation."

On reading of all these things, Cécile registered a vow that she would visit Turkey, seek out her father, and endeavour to console him in his misfortunes; and the death of her guardian, Emilia, about this time, together with the annoyance she experienced from the old Prince, who, presuming on her friendless, dubious, and false position, daily "became more urgent and less respectful," hastened her departure.

Alone she set out for Fontainebleau to solicit a passport as a French subject, and to return thanks for the protection afforded her by the court of Louis XIV; but in returning to Paris, her carriage was stopped at night in the forest, which then covered thirty thousand acres of hill and valley, and there ensued an episode, which, by its coincidences, seems too evidently romance, though truth at times is stranger than fiction.

A handsomely-attired chevalier—who proved to be the Prince—requested her to alight and enter a voiture, which stood there with six horses, pleading that she would do so, "without compelling him to use violence."

On this, she uttered a cry for help; and ere long another voiture dashed up, and there leaped out a gentleman sword in hand. He proved to be the young Duke de ——, her Roman admirer, and he had barely time to recognize Cécile, when her betrothed, the Knight of Malta, also appeared on the scene, which thus becomes so melo-dramatic as to throw ridicule on the story.

"The Duke is about to deprive you of your mistress," said the cunning old Prince to his son; "let us jointly use our swords against him in defence of your dearest interests."

So thereupon the cavalier of Malta ran the poor Duke through the body in the most approved fashion; bore off the fainting Cécile to Paris, and placed her in the hotel of his father. There the renewed, but secret, addresses of the latter so greatly alarmed her, that on one occasion she had to protect herself by an exhibition of pistols, after which she escaped with Salmoni and the Knight, who urged that she should, in fulfilment of her vow, visit her captive father, while he once more strove, at the feet of Pope Clement's successor, to get the oath of celibacy absolved.

In Turkey, some unruly Janissaries slew Salmoni, and were about to offer some violence to Cécile, despite her French passport, when she displayed before them the fetfa! This, we are told, was a piece of yellow silk on which was embroidered, in golden letters, the names of the Sultan, of her mother Aski, and herself, with the day and hour of her birth, together with certain passages from the Koran: "The children of the Sultans are bound with the fetfa immediately after birth; and this document is deemed a sacred proof of their royal descent; and at the sight of it every Mohammedan must bow himself to the ground, and defend with his life the wearer of it."

By this time her cousin Mustapha III. was dead, and his successor, her kinsman, Mohammed V., on hearing of her story, and, more than all, of her beauty, conceived a passion for her, and sent his chief friend and confident, the Beglerbeg of Natolia, to inform her of the honour that awaited her. Being informed that it was the fame of her wonderful hair that had first excited the curiosity and admiration of the Sultan, she cut it entirely off, and, tossing it to the messenger—

"Go," said she, "and give your master this—the object of his love—and tell him, that a woman capable of such a sacrifice, knows no master but Heaven and her own heart!"

Had chignons been then in fashion, much trouble might have been saved the fair Cécile; who, finding that a hasty departure from Turkey alone could save her, demanded, but in vain, a passport from the Bashaw of Smyrna or Izmir. Urged by her father Achmet, she quitted secretly by sea, and was landed by a French frigate at Toulon, where she learned from the lieutenant of a Maltese galley that her lover had perished in a duel.

Her journey to Turkey had greatly impoverished her, and now she found herself in France almost without a friend, with only five hundred ducats and a diamond, the gift of her father Achmet III. Choosing to conceal her fallen fortune from every eye, she selected an humble dwelling in an obscure part of the city, where, long years after, her editor first discovered her, and where, at a distance from royal thrones, from human wealth and grandeur, she had sought to pass the evening of her days in peace and obscurity. "God has blessed my fortitude," she concludes. "Born in 1710, I have lived to see the 1st of January, 1786, and must now serenely and tranquilly await that peace by which death must make amends for all the surprising and afflicting changes of fortune which I experienced in my passage through life."

Cécile—if ever she existed at all—must have been then in her 76th year. Her narrative is certainly mentioned in the "Journal de Paris;" but in the tide of events that so rapidly followed the year in which the financial troubles of France began, the meeting of the States-General, and the crash of the first Revolution following, we hear no more of "La belle Turque," the soi-disant daughter of the dethroned Achmet III.



Few events made a greater sensation in England generally, and more particularly in London, in March, 1752, than the mysterious disappearance or abduction—it was called for a time the murder—of the unfortunate Marquis de Fratteaux, who was actually dragged by force from the heart of the English metropolis, and immured in the Bastile, to gratify the strange and unnatural hatred of his own father.

This noble, whose name was Louis Mathieu Bertin, Marquis de Fratteaux, Chevalier of the Order of St. Louis, and a distinguished young captain of French cavalry, was the eldest son of M. Jean Bertin de St. Geyran (Honorary Master of Requests and Counsellor to the Parliament of Bordeaux) and of his wife Lucretia de St. Chamant, both of whose families were deemed, by character and descent, most honourable among the Bordelais. In the Blazon ou Art Héraldique,* Bertin is represented as bearing an escutcheon argent, charged with a saltire (simple) dentelé.

* French Encyclopaedie, 1789.

From his birth, the Marquis Louis Mathieu was an object of aversion to his father, who, on the other hand, doted even to absurdity on his youngest son, on whom he lavished all his love and his livres, and on whom he bestowed the estate of Bourdeille. M. Bertin would seem, almost, from the birth of his second boy, to have determined, by every scheme he could devise, to deprive the eldest of his birthright; and this object he followed with singular rancour nearly to the end of his life.

It has never been hinted that M. Bertin suspected the paternity of his heir. Through life the conduct of Madame Bertin was irreproachable and above all suspicion.

In the infancy and boyhood of Louis, his father strove by systematic oppression, and by cutting neglect, to degrade, mortify, and break the spirit of the poor little fellow: on all occasions giving the place of honour, and the whole of his affection, to his second son. As his manhood approached, his father proposed to him the profession of the law, but as he, weary of his unhappy home, displayed an inclination for the army, open war was at once declared by his father against him. To more than one abbé did the young man in his misery appeal for intercession with his tyrannical parent; but such appeals only made matters worse, and the Counsellor became so furious in his wrath, that he made preparations to seclude Louis in some strong vault or cellar of his mansion.

The Marquis having discovered the residence of a young woman who was the mistress of his father, paid her a secret visit, told her the story of his unhappy life and domestic persecution; and, as his own mother seemed powerless in the matter, on his knees sought her interest in his behalf. She would seem to have been touched by the appeal; and rated the Counsellor soundly for his unnatural conduct, threatening him with the loss of her affection "if M. Louis were not left to his own inclination in the choice of a profession."

In the hope, perhaps, that some English or Prussian bullet might rid him of a son whom he hated so cordially, Bertin permitted the Marquis to join the Regiment de Noailles (or 54th Cavalry of the Line, commanded by the Comte d'Ayen, nephew of Marshal Noailles) as a cadet or volunteer; but, according to the system then pursued in the French service, he could receive no pay or emolument, even while campaigning in Flanders and Germany. After fourteen months of this probation, however, he was gazetted to a cornetcy in the Regiment de Maine, and at sixteen years of age became captain of a troop in the 40th Cavalry, or Dragoons of St. Jal, commanded by Brigadier the Comte de St. Jal;* his boyish spirit and bravery (not to mention his rank) having even then attracted the attention of Comte d'Argenson, who was prime minister of France from 1743 to 1757. The Count prevailed upon Louis the Fifteenth to make the Marquis a Chevalier of the Royal Order, and bestow upon him a special pension, in lieu of the wretched pittance allowed him by his father.

* Liste Historique de toutes les troupe au Service de France.

This early success in camp and at court seemed to inflame the resentment of the Counsellor, who now began to affirm that the Marquis was not his son, but a changeling, or impostor, substituted by the nurse for his first child, who, he declared, had died while under her charge; but, as this story could be in no way sustained, M. Bertin changed his tactics, and resolved to get rid of his eldest son by—poison!

A fever with which Fratteaux was seized about this time, favoured the infamous idea; and his father, who visited him with an air of concern, contrived to give him, in his medicine, a dose of some deadly drug which he called an infusion of bark. It nearly proved fatal, and would inevitably have done so, but for the prompt arrival of the apothecary who had furnished it, and who, suspecting foul play when summoned by the Marquis, brought with him a powerful antidote.

The Counsellor, who was immensely rich, now suborned some worthless fellows, among whom was an Italian (name unknown), to swear that Fratteaux meditated a parricidal design against his life; "that the Marquis, having a quarrel with his father, drew his sword, and would have killed him but for the interposition of the father of the Italian, who received the thrust, and died of it."

This deposition enabled Bertin to purchase a lettre de cachet, by virtue of which he had his son arrested, and thrust into a monastery near Bordeaux, where he was treated as a prisoner. Though for the crime of attempted parricide he might have been broken alive on the wheel by the then existing laws of France.

Through the great influence of Bertin as a Counsellor of Parliament, all his son's entreaties for release, or for a public trial, were rendered vain, and he lost his commission in the Regiment of St. Jal. Some of his friends, however, having discovered where he was confined, and fearing that he might be secretly put to death, broke into the monastery one night, and assisted him to escape. Through Gascony and Bearn he fled to Spain, where, without so much as a change of clothes, without money or letters of introduction, he arrived, in a famished and destitute condition, at the house of the Comte de Marcillac (a relation of his mother), who derived his title from the little town of that name, nine miles north of Bordeaux.

The Counsellor soon discovered the place of his son's retreat, and, assisted by a liberal donation of gold, soon procured from the French ambassador at Madrid a warrant for the arrest of the fugitive, based upon the powers afforded by that infamous instrument of tyranny, the lettre de cachet. Once more the unhappy son had to fly; the Comte de Marcillac supplied him with money; and, embarking at the nearest port, he sailed for London, where he arrived in 1749. There, under the name of Monsieur de St. Etienne, he took a humble lodging in Paddington, then a country village with green fields all round it, from Marybone Farm to Kensington. His landlord was a market gardener.

His friends in France and Spain sent him remittances and letters of introduction to several persons of rank in London. To these, the pleasant manners, gentle bearing, and handsome person of the young Marquis speedily recommended him, and ere long he was enabled to remove nearer town, where he boarded with a Mrs. Giles, in Marybone—or, as another account has it, "with one Mrs. Bacon, a widow gentlewoman of much good nature and understanding." But even in this "land of liberty" he was not safe from the rancour of the indefatigable Counsellor, with his lettre de cachet.

The English friends of the Marquis having urged that he should lay the story of his wrongs before Louis the Fifteenth in the form of a memorial, the preparation of it was confided to an amanuensis, a Frenchman named Dages de Souchard. This fellow (though only the son of an obscure lawyer at Libourne, then a very small town of Provence) assumed, in London, the title of Baron. A deep-witted, crafty, and insinuating rascal, he contrived to propitiate many unsuspecting persons, and claimed to be a strict French Protestant, though he had, in early life, been a Franciscan monk, or friar minor, in a monastery at Nerac, in the west of France, and came of a family of rigid Catholics. Nay, while in the monastery, he seduced a young girl named Du Taux, whose mother was the lavandière of the establishment, and they had come together to London, where they gave themselves out as persecuted French Protestants. Having been born within twenty miles of Bordeaux, this Souchard knew the story of the Marquis de Fratteaux, and conceived the idea of turning it to his own profit before it should reach the ears of Louis the Fifteenth. For this purpose, delaying the preparation of the memorial, he wrote secretly to the Counsellor, stating that he knew where his son was, and offering to make terms to secure and deliver him up! The Counsellor entered cordially into the scheme, and, after remitting him some money on account, agreed to settle upon him for life a pension of six hundred livres, and to pay him two thousand English guineas down, with two hundred more, for the reward of any assistants or accomplices he might deem necessary.

Dages de Souchard immediately set about his treachery, and employed a man of most unscrupulous character, one Alexander Blasdale, a Marshal's Court officer who resided in St. Martin's Lane, and whose follower or colleague, by a strange coincidence, was the very Italian who had been accessory to the incarceration of the Marquis in the monastery near Bordeaux.

On the night of the 25th of March, 1752, they repaired to the lodgings of the Marquis: who immediately became deadly pale on seeing the Italian, and exclaimed, in alarm and distress:

"I am a dead man!"

Blasdale summoned him to surrender in the king's name. Knowing that he owed no man anything, Fratteaux was disposed to resist. His landlady sent for M. Robart, French clergyman, to whom Blasdale, with cool effrontery, showed a writ to arrest the Marquis for a pretended debt. The latter was persuaded to yield and to accompany the officer to his house in St. Martin's Lane, whither he was immediately driven in a hackney-coach, and there placed in a secure chamber.

Five gentlemen, "one of them a person of the first fashion," on hearing of the arrest, repaired to the bailiff, and in strong language warned him to beware of using the least violence towards his prisoner, lest he should be called to a severe account; and they added, that sufficient bail would be found for him in the morning. One gentleman, named M. Dubois, remained with the Marquis as his friend, resolved to see the end of the affair, and to protect him; but about midnight the Italian came in, saying that some one wished to speak with this gentleman below. On descending to the street, Dubois found only the bailiff Blasdale, who roughly told him "to be gone," and thrusting him out of the house, shut him out, and secured the door. On this gentleman returning with the French clergyman and others next morning, they were told by a servant-girl "that the Marquis was gone, in company with several gentlemen." They then demanded to see her master, but were curtly told that "he was out of town." In short, neither he nor his victim was ever beheld in England again!

Fears of foul play being immediately excited, the whole party repaired to Justice Fielding, by whom a warrant to apprehend Blasdale was issued, on suspicion of murder. Application was made to the Lord Chief Justice, and also to the secretary of state, Robert Earl of Holderness, for a habeas corpus to prevent the Marquis from being taken out of the kingdom dead or alive; but all was of no avail, and the fate of Fratteaux remained for some time a dark mystery.

It would appear that on finding himself alone, after the rough expulsion of his friend Dubois, the Marquis became furious with rage; on which Blasdale swore that as he made so much noise in the house he would convey him at once to jail. Fratteaux, who feared he might be assassinated where he was, readily consented to go to jail, and a hackney-coach was called. In it, he, the bailiff, and the nameless Italian, drove through various obscure streets and by-lanes. It was now about five in the morning.

The marquis again and again implored aid from the coach window in broken English, but received none; to the watch his keepers said that he was "only a French fellow they had arrested for debt;" to others they said he had been made furious by the bite of a mad dog, and they were going to dip him in salt water at Gravesend. Thus his entreaties were abortive, and at about sunrise he found himself at a lonely place by the side of the river Thames. A cocked pistol was put to his ear, and resistance was vain; he was thrust on board a small vessel, which had been waiting for him in the river, and which, after he was secured below, dropped down with the ebb tide. So well did Souchard, Blasdale, and the Italian take all their measures, that on the night of the 29th the two last-named worthies landed the Marquis at Calais, the gates of which town were opened to admit them long after the usual hour of closing. He was then delivered over as a prisoner of state to the town authorities, who had all been duly communicated with, and probably well fee'd, and by whom he was sent, chained by the neck, in a post-chaise, to his father's house in Paris. The Counsellor, in virtue of his lettre de cachet, now sent his son the Marquis to be immured in the Bastile for life.

"This is the first narrative of the kind which has stained the annals of England," says a print of the time; "and if it be not the last, highly as we boast of giving laws to all Europe, we shall be little better, in fact, than a pitiful colony exposed to the mercy of every insolent neighbour." Great indignation was excited in London, where a subscription was raised for the purpose of punishing all concerned in this flagrant violation of British law; but nothing was achieved in the end,* though in January, 1754—one year and eight months after the outrage at St. Martin's Lane—our ambassador at the court of Versailles, General the Earl of Albemarle, demanded that both the Marquis and his infamous trepanner, Alexander Blasdale, at that time in Paris, should be delivered up and sent back to London. His request was never complied with, and for fourteen years the luckless Marquis was allowed to languish in the Bastile.

* "We are told that a foreign nobleman is already in custody of a messenger for this offence, and no person is permitted to have access to him, neither is he allowed the use of pen, ink, or paper."—Gentleman's Magazine, 1752. Very probably this "foreign nobleman" was the Baron Dages de Souchard.

He and his story were soon forgotten, and nothing more was heard of him, until some of the London papers of July 14, 1764, contained the following paragraph: "The Marquis de Fratteaux, that French gentleman who was some years ago forcibly carried off from England to France and confined in the Bastile, is now at liberty on his estate at Fratteaux; for when his brother, M. Bertin de Bourdeille, was made Intendant of Lyons, he obtained his liberty, on giving his word of honour to remain on his estate at Fratteaux, and never to go above six miles from it without leave from his father, with whom he had been at great variance, which was the occasion of his leaving France. Two months after his arrival at Fratteaux his father went to see him, and he had permission to return the visit at Bourdeille. He has kept his word of honour strictly, and lives at present in cordiality with the whole family."

Broken in health and spirit by all he had undergone, this unfortunate victim of a family feud and an unnatural hatred, died soon afterwards, and thus the wishes of his father were accomplished.



In the year 1688, that district of Western Turkey named Montenegro—the ancient Illyria—placed itself under the protection of the Venetian republic, which was then governed by the doge Francisco Morosini, a famous soldier, who took the castle of the Dardanelles from the Turks, together with Lepanto and several other places.

For a time after this, its inhabitants, those half-Greek and half-Slavonian mountaineers, with the people of Bosnia, enjoyed comparative peace; but by the treaty concluded at Passarowitz in July, 1718, between Charles VI. (last Count of Hapsburg) and the Porte, they were surrendered to the tender mercies of the Turks, and became subject to all the exactions of those grasping, ignorant, and impracticable conquerors.

However, the hardy warriors of the mountains were scarcely content, like their countrymen in the eastern portions of Greece, to live on despised and unmolested for the payment of tribute; the worst and most humiliating feature of which was the number of children they were compelled to present yearly to the sultan for service in the seraglio, or in the ranks of the janissaries, where their identity soon became lost; and where in the end they realized what Voltaire termed "a great proof of the force of education and of the strange constitution of human affairs, that the most of those proud oppressors of Christianity should thus be born of Christian parents."

Socivisca, the subject of the following sketch, was born at Simiova in 1725, of Grecian parents, who reared and educated him in the profession and faith of the Greek church. He was strong, hardy, and athletic in form, and of a haughty and resentful spirit, that would ill brook the circumstances in which he found himself as he grew to manhood.

His father occupied a small sheep farm on the slope of those mountains whose forests of dark pine give a name to the people and the province. But the proprietors were Turks, who treated the family, which consisted of the old man and his four sons, with great severity, subjecting them to constant exactions, insults, and oppressions.

They were thus reduced to such extreme poverty that Socivisca, with all his industry, aided by that of his three brothers, Nicholas, Giurgius, and Adrian, found himself quite unable to marry a beautiful Greek girl, of whom he became enamoured in youth. His father, being of a peaceful and gentle nature, and being perhaps aware of the hopelessness of resistance, on perceiving that his sons writhed under their afflictions, besought them to submit with patience to the will of God; but the four young men, being alike of a fiery and haughty spirit, and, moreover, being trained to the use of those arms which the Montenegrin shepherds constantly wear (like the Scots Highlanders in the last century), they received his advice in reluctant silence, and not the less resolved to have a trial of strength some day with their Mahommedan oppressors.

Native hardihood and warlike spirit were in this instance added to national animosity and religious rancour; thus Socivisca, like Rob Roy, vowed that ere long those should tremble "on hearing of his vengeance, that would not listen to the story of his wrongs."

The Montenegrins, like most other mountaineers, are eminently patriotic, and the solemn and melancholy aspect of those dark hills of Illyria that look down on the Adriatic, to their eyes must seem well to harmonize with the fallen state of Greece:—

"And yet how lovely in thine age of woe,
    Land of lost gods and god-like men, art thou!
Thy vales of evergreen, thy hills of snow,
    Proclaim thee nature's varied favourite now."

Though not pure Greeks, but Zernagorzii, of half-Slavonian blood, the Montenegrins have the most extravagant ideas of independence and the past glories of their country. Inspired by its scenery, by the real and imaginary stories of its departed greatness and present degradation, Socivisca and his brothers registered at the altar a vow of vengeance on their oppressive Overlords! and as if fatality had a hand in the matter, it chanced soon after that the haughty Turk, the proprietor of their sheep farm, accompanied by two of his brothers, came, either by choice or necessity, to lodge at the farm. This was in 1744, when Socivisca was in his nineteenth year.

"We are four to three," said he, "so look to your pistols and yataghans, after these dogs have had their food and coffee."

Notwithstanding their vow, it is said that he wavered for a time before performing the terrible deed; but when he saw his father's face, sharpened more by want and privation than by age—when he looked on the rags and sheepskins that clad them all—they the true lords of the soil—and saw in contrast the rich flowing garments of fine silk and velvet, laced with gold, and the jewelled weapons of the three Mahommedans, in whose presence every wooden crucifix or gaudy little picture of a Greek saint had to be hidden—and perhaps when the youth thought of his bride, and all that might be if the land they trod on was indeed their own, every scruple gave way, and, inciting his brothers to the deadly work, they fell on the three Turks, as they lounged over their long pipes, and slew them by their pistols and yataghans, after a very brief resistance.

In their mails were found eighteen thousand sequins—an unexpected but most seasonable accession of fortune. The brothers quickly buried the bodies and all their habiliments. Save the gold, which was carefully concealed, there remained no trace of the terrible deed, and as it occurred unknown to all save themselves, in that solitary little farm amid the savage mountain solitude, no suspicion of the circumstance fell on them.

Thus, instead of taking to flight, the Greeks remained quietly where they were. The Pacha of Bosnia made every inquiry after the three missing Turks, who were his friends. Suspicions somehow fell on other parties, who were dragged to Traunick, and executed with great barbarity, while Socivisca wedded the girl he loved, and lived with his father and brothers in comparative ease and comfort.

About a year after the triple assassination, some imprudence of Socivisca, in displaying the latent pride and ferocity of his character, together with the unusual amount of money the family were enabled to spend, excited the surprise and then the ready suspicions of the pastoral people around them.

Some whisper of these suspicions reached Socivisca; so by his advice the whole family abandoned the farm in the night, and, taking with them only their gold and their arms, departed from the mountains towards the Venetian territory.

The weather was severe, the roads were rough, and the elder Socivisca, unable to sustain privations so unwonted at his time of life, expired of toil by the wayside, and was hastily buried by his four sons in a wild and solitary place.

Entering the territories of the republic, where they were in safety, in the year 1745, they took up their habitation in the town of Imoski, which is now in what is termed Austrian Dalmatia, and on the borders of Bosnia; but in those days the old fortress on the hill—the site of the ancient Novanium—bore the flag of Venice.

Here they gave themselves out to be traders, and opened a bazaar, which they stored with rich merchandise; they built a large house, and soon became almost wealthy; but the easy life of a merchant by no means suited the temperament of Socivisca and his brethren,—for the warrior shepherds pined for their mountain home and the forests of the Illyrian shore.

They sold their house, the bazaar, and its goods, and attended by stout fellows, whose spirit was something like their own, they returned again to Montenegro, and commenced a series of those forays and surprises (against the pacha) in which the Black Mountaineers delight, and in the conduct of which they peculiarly excel; and during the ensuing summer they contrived to massacre, in various ways, about forty Turks, as it was against them, and them only, that all the hatred of Socivisca was directed.

The habits to which he had been accustomed from infancy pre-eminently fitted him for the life of a wandering guerrilla. "A Montenegrin," says Broniewski, a Russian traveller, "is always armed, and carries about, during his most peaceful occupation, a rifle, pistols, a yataghan, and cartouch-box. They spend their leisure from boyhood in firing at a target. Inured to hardships and privations, they perform, without fatigue, long and forced marches, climb the steepest rocks with facility, and bear with patience hunger, thirst, and every kind of privation. They cut off the heads of those enemies whom they take with arms in their hands, and spare only those who surrender before battle."

Seeking no mercy, they yielded none; and if one of their number was wounded severely, his comrades cut off his head; and when not tending their flocks, like the Circassians, they spent their whole time in forays against the invaders of the Black Mountains. But after a time Socivisca grew weary of slaughtering and beheading the Turks, and returned once more to his wife and children at Imoski, where he remained till 1754, engaged in trade, though now and then he slung his long rifle on his shoulder, stuck his dagger and pistols in his girdle, and crossed the Bosnian frontier to indulge in his favourite pastime of slaying the Turks.

In all his dealings and adventures, whether as a merchant or guerrilla robber, it could never be discovered that he wronged in the least degree any subjects either of the Austrian empire or of the Venetian republic.

Meantime, two of his brothers married, and Adrian, the youngest, joined the Aiducos, a band of Morlachians, who had leagued themselves together for the express but hazardous purpose of preventing the Turks from crossing what they considered the frontier of their own country; in short to defend the wooded passes of the Black Mountains. Brave, rash, cunning, treacherous, and cruel, these Morlachians are a mixture of Hungarian, Greek, and Venetian blood, and their religion is a mere mass of superstition, partly Christian and partly Oriental.

The youth became the comrade of a Morlachian of the Greek church, and chose him for his probatim. This choice of friendship was always consecrated by a solemn ceremony at the altar of the nearest church, before which they knelt, each holding a lighted taper, whilst the priest sprinkled them with holy water and blessed the compact.

United thus, the probatims are bound for life to assist each other in war or peace, in danger or adversity, against all men whatsoever. The young mountaineer, however, made an unfortunate choice of a friend, for the probatim lured him to his own house, gave him drugged wine, and for a sum of money delivered him over, bound hand and foot, to the Pacha of Traunick, which is one of the six military pachalics into which Bosnia is divided.

After exposing the poor youth, who was a model of manly beauty, stripped and nude before the people, the pacha put him to death, amid the most exquisite tortures that the Oriental mind can suggest.

On hearing of this atrocity Socivisca was filled with rage and grief; but dissembling, he armed himself fully, and travelled without stopping until he reached the residence of the false probatim, whose father, a subtle old Morlachian, received him with an air of such grief and commiseration that he succeeded completely in making our mountaineer believe that the son was innocent of the crime laid to his charge by common rumour. The probatim next appeared, and acted his part so well, and shed so many tears, that Socivisca, confounded and convinced, gave him his hand, and consented to dine with the family. Then the young Morlachian said that, "in honour of such a guest, he would kill the best lamb in his flock;" and he went forth, but instead of going to his pastures, he rode on the spur twelve miles to have a conference with the mir-alai who commanded a body of Turkish horse on the bank of the Danube, and to inform him of where Socivisca was to be found, receiving from the officer a handsome sum for his second act of treachery.

The day wore on, and evening came without either the lamb or the probatim appearing. The wily host, who knew what was on the tapis, left nothing unsaid to satisfy the doubts of Socivisca, who, after night-fall, retired to his bedchamber, but not to repose; for strange and unbidden forebodings of coming evil tormented him. He dared not sleep, and he seemed to hear the voices of his wife and children mingling with the wind that shook the woods, and with the tread of coming enemies. His dogs, also—two of that Molossian breed which is unsurpassed for strength and ferocity—warned him by their snorts and restlessness of approaching danger,—for dogs at times are said to have strange instincts. At last, unable to endure the suspicions of peril and treachery, he sprang from bed, dressed himself in the dark, and sought for his arms, but they had been removed!

Musket, pistols, yataghan, and all were gone. He called on his host repeatedly, but without receiving an answer. Then, inspired by rage and the conviction that, like his brother, he had been snared to his doom, with a flint and tinder-box, he lighted a lamp, went forth to search the house, and soon appeared by the bedside of his host.

"Wretch!" he exclaimed as he seized him by the beard, "my arms—where are they? Speak ere it be too late for us both!"

Every moment expecting to hear his son return with a party of Turks, the Morlachian attempted to expostulate and to temporize; but Socivisca's eye fell on a small hatchet that lay near, and snatching it up, with a terrible malediction, he cleft the old traitor's skull to the chin.

On this a female servant, dreading her master's fate, gave Socivisca his arms, and he fled into the woods close by, where he lurked long enough to see the probatim arrive with a party of Timariots, who surrounded the house. On this the fugitive withdrew and retired towards the mountains, swearing by every saint in his church to have a terrible revenge!

Assembling his followers, he descended in the night, and guarding all the avenues to prevent escape, he set fire to the house of the probatim, who perished miserably with sixteen of his family, all of whom were burned alive, save a woman, who was killed by a rifle-shot when in the act of leaping from a window with an infant in her arms.

After these affairs the Pacha of Bosnia, a three-tailed dignitary who resided at Traunick, scoured the country with his Timariots, and made such incredible efforts to capture Socivisca, that though the latter multiplied his slaughters, raids, and robberies, he was ultimately driven, with his brothers, his wife, and two children (a son and daughter), over the Montenegrin frontier to Karlovitz, a small place in the Austrian territory, famous only as the scene of Prince Eugene's victory over the Ottoman troops in the early part of the last century. The Hungarians being, like the Illyrians, of Slavonian blood, there he found a comfortable shelter for three years under the protection of the Emperor Francis I. and the Empress-Queen, and during that time his conduct and life were alike blameless and without reproach. One of his brothers, however, having strayed across the frontier, fell into the hands of the Turks, and would have died a miserable death, had his escape not been favoured by one who proved friendly to him, a Timariot named Nouri Othman.

In October, 1757, Osman III. died, and was succeeded by Mustapha, son of the deposed Sultan Achmet. Karlovitz is only forty miles from the Bosnian frontier; so the pacha, who never lost sight of Socivisca, anxious to please the new sovereign and display his activity, by a lavish disposal of gold, and by the aid of some person or persons unknown, had the exile betrayed and made prisoner. He ordered him to be conveyed at once to Traunick, and to be placed in the same prison where his younger brother perished so miserably.

Though elaborately tied and bound, by some of that skill which the rope-tricksters display in the present day, he contrived, en route, to get free, and, escaping, reached Karlovitz, where he had the unhappiness to find that, by a singular stroke of misfortune, his wife and two children had in the interim fallen into the hands of the pacha, that in his flight he had actually passed them on the road, and that they were now in the strong prison of Traunick, from which escape or release seemed alike hopeless.

By messengers from Karlovitz he strove to negotiate for their release, but the pacha was inexorable. He then wrote the following letter, which appeared in a newspaper for March, 1800, where it was given "as a curious specimen of social feeling operating on a rugged and ardent disposition;" moreover, it is no bad specimen of the outlaw's literary power:—

"I am informed, O Pacha of Bosnia, that you complain of my escape; but I put it to yourself, what would you have done in my place? Would you have suffered yourself to be bound with cords like a miserable beast, and led away without resistance by men who, as soon as they arrived at a certain place, would put you to death?

"Nature impels us to avoid destruction, and I have acted only in obedience to her laws.

"Tell me, Pacha, what crime have my wife and little children committed that, in spite of law and justice, you should retain them like slaves? Perhaps you hope to render me more submissive; but you cannot surely expect that I shall return to you and hold forth my arms to be loaded with fresh bonds.

"Hear me then, Pacha! You may exhaust on them all your fury without producing the least advantage. On my part, I declare I shall wreak my vengeance on all Turks who may fall into my hands, and I will omit no means of injuring you!

"For the love of God restore to me, I beseech you, my blood! obtain my pardon from my sovereign, and no longer retain in your memory my past offences; and I promise that I will then leave your subjects in tranquillity, and even serve them as a friend when necessary.

"If you refuse this favour, expect from me all that despair can prompt! I shall assemble my friends, carry destruction wherever you reside, pillage your property, plunder your merchants; and from this moment, if you pay no attention to my entreaties, I swear that I will massacre every Turk that falls into my hands."

As Socivisca had been doing this for so many years past, perhaps the pacha thought compliance would not make much difference; so this letter, like its preceding messages, he received with contempt, swearing by the "beard of the sultan to listen neither to the threats nor entreaties of a common robber." So Socivisca performed to the full all that he had named and threatened. At the head of a body of Greeks and Montenegrins he ravaged all the Bosnian frontier, slaying and decapitating every Mussulman who fell into his hands. Seeking no quarter and giving none, as before, flames and rapine marked his path wherever he went.

Many of his forays were made near the Lake of Scutari, in concert with the Montenegrins, whom the Russians supplied with arms and artillery to add to the troubles of the Pacha of Bosnia, whose people ere long on their knees besought him to yield up the wife and children of Socivisca, and save them from a scourge so terrible.

Still the pacha refused; but suddenly the indomitable Socivisca appeared with his hardy Aiducos before the walls of Traunick, and, by a wonderful combination of force and stratagem, the gates were stormed, the guards dispersed, and he carried off his wife, his son, and daughter to a place of safety beyond the frontier.

In retiring from Traunick, at a wild place near Razula, his people captured one of the Turkish Timariots, in the service of the pacha, and would instantly have put him to death had not the brother of Socivisca recognized in him the man who had favoured his escape a short time before,—Nouri Othman. These Timariots were soldiers, who clothed, armed, and accoutred themselves out of their pay, and were under the immediate command of the sanjiac or bey, and each maintained under him a certain number of militiamen, as they were, in fact, high-class Turkish cavaliers. Those on the Hungarian frontier had each an income of 6000 aspres, a coin then worth one shilling and threepence British money.

In gratitude the mountain warrior permitted Othman to escape; and while Socivisca was at prayers—a duty which he never omitted before a meal—the prisoner was set at liberty, a fleet horse was given him, and from the camp of the outlaws he spurred towards Traunick. Against this act of generosity the Aiducos of the band exclaimed loudly; and a nephew of Socivisca went so far as to draw from his girdle a long brass-butted pistol, with which he struck his uncle on the face; the latter, infuriated by such an insult from a junior, shot him through the heart, and was compelled to fly from the troop.

The nephew was buried as his grandfather had been, in a grave by the wayside; but this family quarrel and double misfortune affected Socivisca so much that he returned to Karlovitz, relinquishing alike his life of war and outrage for a time, but for a time only; for, fired with enthusiasm on hearing that Stephano Piciola (known as Di Montenero), so often victorious over the Turks, had made himself master of all Albania, in 1770, he issued forth again at the head of his Aiducos, and scoured the Bosnian frontier, shooting down every Turk whom he met.

In his fiftieth year, after having led a life of such danger and strife—after shedding so much blood, and during a period of thirty years since the slaughter of the three Turkish brothers at his father's farm, having plundered so much, so freely had he spent his cash among his friends and followers, that he found his exchequer reduced to only six hundred sequins.

To secure these, he entrusted three hundred to the care of a kinsman and the rest to a friend, both of whom absconded with their trust to the shelter of the pacha, and left him in abject poverty in the small town of Grachaez, in the province of Carlstadt, on the military frontier of Croatia.

In the year 1775 the Emperor Francis I., when passing through the province, wished to see the famous predatory warrior of whom he had heard so much, and visited his humble abode at Grachaez. There he was so greatly struck with the simple dignity, the resolute but respectful demeanour of the white-bearded partisan, that he presented him with a handsome sum of money, and asked him to show his numerous wounds, and to detail the chief events of his life.

Socivisca did so, with so much simplicity and modesty that the Emperor, whom he pleased and amused, and who was looking forward to the capture of the Bukovine and other districts from the Turks, made him an offer of service, and assigned him an important military command upon the Hungarian frontier, opposed to the great pachalics of Bosnia and Servia.

In the exercise of this office* he was alive at Grachaez in 1777, after which year his name can no more be traced in the histories, papers, or periodicals of the time, so that we are unable to say when he died.

* "Arambassa of Pandonas" it is styled in the English newspapers—a title we frankly confess ourselves unable to understand.

Such was the wild, romantic, and singular story of a mountain robber, whose life ultimately became productive of public utility; who enjoyed the favour and protection of Francis I. and Maria Theresa; and whose career, in his unrelenting animosity to the Turks, presents a curious mixture of patriotism and ferocity, religious enthusiasm and the long-engendered rancour of rival and antagonistic races.




In the spring of the year 1870, when my merry Paquette and I used to laugh at the cartoons of the Kladderadatch, representing King William lowering a mannikin in regimentals gently, by the spike of his helmet, into a huge chair, inscribed "Spanien," we little foresaw the horrors that were to come, or the days when we might tremble at the warlike news of the official Staatsanzieger.

We had been married a year, and were so happy in our pretty little house at Blankenese (a short distance from Hamburg), where all the sloping bank above the Elbe is covered with rich green copsewood, from amid which peep out the tiny red-tiled cottages of the fishermen; while over all tower the white-walled villas of those opulent merchants whose names stood so high in the Neuerwall or the Admiralitatstrasse, and higher still in the Bourse of the Free City—free now only in name, as it has become, since the Holstein war, an integral portion of the Prussian Empire.

Paquette Champfleurie was my first real love; yet, though still little more than a girl, she was a widow when we married, and it all came to pass in this fashion, for we had indeed much sorrow before our days of joy arrived. When I, Carl Steinmetz—for such is my name, though no relation to the great Prussian general—was but a lad in a merchant's office, in the quaint old gable-ended and timber-built street called the Stubbenhuk, I had learned to love Paquette, then a boarder in a fashionable school on the beautiful Alsterdam. Our interviews were stolen; our intercourse most difficult; for her kinswoman, the Gräfine von Spitzberger—a reduced lady of rank, with whom she was placed for educational purposes—watched her with the eyes of a lynx. But what will not love achieve?

Paquette, a lively, dark-eyed, and chestnut-haired girl from Lorraine, with a piquant little face that was not by any means French in contour or expression, and I, a sharp-witted burschen fresh from Berlin, soon found means for prosecuting our affair of the heart, from the time when our eyes first met on a Sunday evening in St. Michael's Kirche, to that eventful hour when, after many a note exchanged or concealed in a certain hollow tree near the Lombardsbrücke, we plighted our troth in the little grove near Schiller's bronze statue, with no witnesses but the quiet stars overhead, and the snow-white swans that floated on the blue current of the Alster.

But sorrow soon came to rouse us from our dreams; for three weeks after that happy evening her father took her home, without permitting us to say farewell, and ere long I learned that she had become the wife of Baptiste Graindorge, a wealthy merchant of Lorraine! With these tidings the half of my life seemed to leave me. They cost me many a secret tear, and much jealous bitterness, though I knew that French girls have no freedom of choice in matrimony; and I loathed the odious Graindorge in my heart, while bending resolutely over my desk, in the dingy and gloomy little office in the noisy Stubbenhuk—bending also every energy to amass money, though for what purpose now I scarcely know. But fortune favoured me.

I became ere long a junior partner in the firm under whom I had worked as a clerk, and the same year saw Paquette free; for our horrible Graindorge had died abroad of fever, at the French colony of Senegal, and she became mine—mine after all! A widow, no scheming father could interfere with her then.

In the whole of busy Hamburg there could be no happier couple than we were—and this was but a year ago. Wedded, we visited every place where we had been wont to meet by stealth, in terror of the old Gräfine—the leafy arcades of the Young Maiden's Walk, the Botanical Gardens, the groves that cover all the old mounds about the Holstein Wall, and the banks of the Alster, while Michael's Kirche was indeed a holy place to us, for there we had first met.

One morning in July of last year—ah, I shall never forget it—we were at breakfast together in the dining-room of our cottage at Blankenese, and prior to taking the Sporvei 'bus for the city, I was skimming over the Staatsanzieger, which was then beginning to be full of threatening news concerning the Spanish succession, and calling on Prussia to rouse herself, as all France, or Paris, at least, was shouting "A Berlin!" and "To the Rhine!" The atmosphere was deliciously warm; the slender iron casements were wide open; the fragrant roses and jessamine clambered thickly round them, and the drowsy hum of the bees mingled with the sounds that came, softened by distance, from the vast shining bosom of the Elbe, where ships, with the flags of all the world, were gliding, some towards Jonashafen and the city, others downward to the North Sea; and opposite lay the flat but green and lovely coast of Hanover, studded with pretty red villages, church-spires, and windmills whirling in the sunny air.

My heart felt happy and joyous, and Paquette was looking her loveliest in a light muslin morning dress; her bright brown hair, her pure complexion, and her dark, laughing eyes, making her seem a very Hebe, as she poured out my coffee, buttered the little brown German rolls, and chirruped about how we should spend the evening, after she had joined me in the city, and we had dined, as we frequently did, under the shady verandah of the pleasant Alster Pavilion, surrounded by swans and pleasure boats.

"Where shall we go, Carl, darling?" she continued—"to the Circus Renz?"

"No, Paquette; I am sick of the horsemanship and the sawdust, and the same everlasting girl, who, when she is not flying through a hoop, prances about in the dress of a Uhlan."

"The Botanical Gardens, then; the band of the 76th Hanoverians play there to-night, and some ten thousand gay people will be present."

"Well, darling, it shall be as you wish; and after looking in at the Stadt Theatre, to see Kathie Lanner's Swedish ballet, a droski will soon whirl us home from the Damthor-wall."

"But it was in that theatre, Carl, love, we saw each other last, and at a distance, on the night——"

"Before—before——" I began.

"I was torn from you to become the wife of another, Carl," she exclaimed, in a low voice, as she took my face between her pretty hands, and kissed me playfully.

"Ah, Graindorge!" thought I, with a little bitterness, as I kissed her in return, and rose to fill my meerschaum prior to setting forth for the city; but a strange cry from Paquette made me wheel sharply round on the varnished floor, and to my bewilderment and terror, I saw her sinking back in her chair, pallid as death, like one transfixed—her jaw relaxed, her poor little hands clasped, her eyes expressive only of horror and woe, and bent on something outside the window. My gaze involuntarily followed hers, as I sprung to her side.

At the railing before our little flower-garden stood a shabby-looking man, whose face will ever haunt me. His hat, well worn, tall and shiny, was pressed knowingly over the right eye. He was looking steadily at us, and appeared as if he had been doing so for some time. A diabolical grin, like that of Mephistopheles, was over all his features—in his carbuncle-like eyes, and in his wide mouth, where all his teeth seemed to glisten. He had a sallow and dissipated face, a hooked, sardonic nose, and on his left cheek a large black mole. A faded green dress-coat, with brass buttons, a yellow vest, and short inexpressibles of checked stuff, formed his attire.

My wife was almost fainting, and seemed on the verge of distraction.

"Paquette, my love," I began; but she held up her trembling hands as if deprecatingly between us, and said in a low, broken, and wailing voice—

"Do not speak to me—do not touch me. I am not your wife! Oh, my poor deluded Carl!—oh, my poor heart! Oh, death, come and end this horror—this mystery!"

Her words, her voice, her whole air and expression, made my blood run cold with a sudden terror, that her reason had become affected.

"Paquette—dearest Paquette," I said, in a soothing and an imploring manner, "what do these terrible words mean? That man——"

"Is Monsieur Baptiste Graindorge, my first husband, come back from the grave to torment me!"

"Impossible—girl, you rave!" said I, in deep distress, as I vaulted over the window and rushed out upon the road; but the scurvy eavesdropper was gone, and no trace of him remained. In great grief, and feeling sorely disturbed by the whole affair, I returned to Paquette, whom I found crouching on the sofa, crushed by agitation and despair. She gazed at me lovingly, sorrowfully, and yet as if fearful that I might approach and touch her.

"Is there not some terrible mistake or misconception in this?" said I, seeking to gather courage from my own words.

"None—none," she replied. "I recognized too surely his face—the mole—the odious smile."

"But the man died in Africa—it is impossible; and you are my wife, Paquette, whom none can take from me," I continued, with excited utterance, as she permitted me to kiss her: but the poor little pet was cold as marble, and her tremulous hands played almost fatuously, yet caressingly, with my hair, while she murmured—

"Oh, Carl—my poor Carl—what will become of us now?"

The whole affair seemed too improbable for realization. I besought her to take courage—to consider the likeness which had startled her as a mere fancy—an optical delusion; and, aware that my presence was imperatively necessary at business in the city, I was compelled to leave her, and did so not without a sorrowful foreboding.

So strong was the latter emotion, that the closing of the house-door rang like a knell in my heart. I paused irresolute at the garden gate, and again on the road; but the jingling bells of the approaching Sporvei 'bus ended my doubts. I sprang in, and in due time found myself at my office in the busy Admiralitatstrasse, opposite the Rath Haus.

Haunted by the strange episode of the morning, I strove vainly to become absorbed in bills of lading, and so forth, till one o'clock should toll from the spires—the time for plunging into the crowd of noisy speculators at the Bourse—and I was just about to set forth, when a stranger was announced; I looked up, and was face to face with the horrible Graindorge! He stood before me just as I had seen him at the garden-rail, with his tall shiny hat, his shabby coat, his bloated visage with its black mole and malignant smile.

"Your business?" I asked curtly.

"Will be briefly stated, Herr Steinmetz," said he. "So madame fully recognized me this morning?"

"Or thought she did," said I, after a short interval of silence.

"There was no doubt in the matter, but firm conviction. I did not die in Senegal, the report was false; and so, Herr Steinmetz, I am here to claim my wife and take her back with me to Lorraine."

"You are a foul impostor!" cried I furiously, yet with a sinking heart; "and I shall hand you over to the watch."

"Pardon me, but you will do nothing of the kind," replied the other, with the most exasperating composure; "it will not be pleasant to have your wife—your supposed wife, I mean—made a source of speculation to all Hamburg, by any public exposé."

"Oh, my God! my poor Paquette!" I exclaimed involuntarily; "and I love her so!"

"Milles diables!" grinned the Frenchman; "it is more than I do."

"Wretch! what proof have we that you are Baptiste Graindorge, and not a cheat—a trickster?"

"The effect produced by my presence—my appearance—on madame, who dare not deny my identity, which the Gräfine Spitzberger has already admitted—with great reluctance, I grant you. Well, I am supposed to be dead. I shall be content to let this supposition remain, and to quit Hamburg for a consideration."

"Name it," I asked, thankful for the prospect of being rid of his horrid presence even for a time, that I might consult some legal friend; and yet, even while I spoke and thought of purchasing his silence, I knew that Paquette, my adored wife, would be no wife of mine! It was a horrible dilemma. Graindorge the Lorrainer was rich; now he seemed to be poor and needy. I knew not what to think; grief was uppermost in my soul. After a pause he said slowly—

"For six thousand Prussian dollars I shall quit Hamburg."

With a trembling hand, yet without hesitation, I wrote him a cheque on my banker, Herr Berger in the Gras-keller, for the sum named, and the snaky eyes of the Frenchman flashed as he clutched the document. He inserted it in his tattered pocket-book, and carefully buttoned his shabby green coat over it; then he placed his hat jauntily on one side of his head, and tapping the crown with his hand, made me a low ironical bow, and with a pirouette and a malicious smile quitted the room, saying—

"Adieu, Monsieur Steinmetz—I go; but for a time only."


I saw the whole scheme now. The bankrupt—for such I had no doubt he was—meant to make his power over Paquette and me a source of future revenue to himself; and I felt sure that when his last dollar was spent—by to-morrow, perhaps—he would present himself again with a fresh demand. Like one in a dream I went to the Bourse; but little or no business was done there that day, for war rumours were hourly growing more rife. There were riots in its neighbourhood, too. The tradesmen were "on strike," and the swords of the watch had been busy, for no less than seven unarmed men were cut down in the Adolphsplatz. Then, that evening I heard that a spy, supposed to be a Frenchman, had been hovering about the northern ramparts, near the Damthor, and had been seen to count the cannon on the Holstein-wall—a spy who had escaped alike the watch and the guard of the Seventy-sixth Regiment, and whom I heard described as a shabby man in a green coat, with a mole on his cheek!

My heart leaped within me; could this personage and M. Baptiste Graindorge be one and the same? If so, neither Hamburg nor I was likely to be troubled by his presence again.

Before my usual hour, I hastened home—home to my pretty little villa among the rose-trees at Blankenese; but, alas! to find it desolate, and our servant, Trüey, a faithful young Vierlander, in tears, and filled with wonder; for her mistress had packed up some clothes, and leaving all her jewels, even to her wedding-ring, had departed, after writing a letter for me.

I tore it open, and found it to contain but a few words, to confirm my terror and fill up the cup of my misery.

"The Gräfine von Spitzberger has been with me. The man we saw is indeed my husband, M. Graindorge, the story of whose death has been all a mistake; and he proved to her his identity, by his knowledge of all our family affairs. Oh, Carl! oh, my poor darling! the real husband of my heart and my only love! I must leave you—yes—and by the time you read this, shall be far on the railroad for France. Graindorge shall never see me more; my father's house or a convent must be my shelter now. My last hope is, that you will not attempt to follow me; my last prayer, that God may bless and comfort you."

The lines were written tremulously. I kissed my darling's wedding-ring, placed it by a ribbon at my neck, and wept bitterly. Then the room seemed to swim around me; I became senseless, and was ill in bed for days. Our home was broken now. It was desolate—oh, so desolate, without my Paquette! She was gone. She had left me for ever! And every object around seemed to recall her more vividly to me—her piano, her music, the little ornaments we had bought together at the Alster Arcade, and the pillow her cheek had rested on. "She will write to me," thought I; but no letter came. And something of jealousy began to mingle with the bitterness of my soul. Was she with Graindorge?

I think I should have gone mad but for the events that occurred so quickly now, for one week sufficed to change the whole face of affairs in Hamburg. France had declared war against Prussia. Trade stood still; silence reigned in our splendid Bourse, usually the most noisy and busy scene in the world; the Elbe was empty of shipping, for its buoys and lights were all destroyed. The Prussians, horse, foot, and artillery, were pouring towards Travemünde, where a landing of the French was expected. In one day nearly every horse in Hamburg was seized for military purposes, and the city was ordered to furnish eighteen thousand infantry for the Landwehr.

Of this force I was one. A strip of paper was left at my office one day, and the next noon saw me in the barracks near the Damthor-wall, and before the colonel, an officer of Scottish descent, the Graf von Hamilton. Then, like thousands of others, my plain clothes were taken from me, and I received in lieu a spiked helmet of glazed leather, a blue tunic faced with white, a goat-skin knapsack, great-coat, and camp-kettle, a needle-gun, bayonet, and sword. We were all accoutred without delay, and within two hours were at drill, under a burning sun, in the Heilinghaist-feld, between Hamburg and Altona. My desk, my office, my home, knew me no more; yet I often mounted guard near the chambers of our firm in the Admiralitatstrasse. Paquette and my previous existence seemed all a dream—a dream that had passed away for ever. And though the gay streets, the tall spires, the sights and sounds in our pleasure-loving city were all unchanged, I seemed to have lost my identity. My former life was completely blotted out.

From the Landwehr, with many others, I was speedily drafted into the Seventy-sixth Hanoverians, and in three weeks we were ordered to join the Army of the Rhine. Though I had studied in Berlin, I was not a Prussian, but a native of the free city of Hamburg. Like many of my comrades, who were fathers of families, or only sons, torn from their homes and peaceful occupations, I had no interest in the cruel and wanton war on which we were about to enter; and more than all, I loved France, for it was the native land of Paquette Champfleurie.

In the then horror of my mind, the war was certainly somewhat of a change or relief, and the excitement around drew me from my own terrible thoughts. I was going towards Lorraine, where even while fighting against her poor countrymen, I might see my lost one, my wife—for such I still deemed her, despite the odious Baptiste Graindorge; and so I fondly and wildly speculated. The idea of being killed and buried where Paquette might perhaps pass near my grave, was even soothing to my now morbid soul, for I knew that she had loved me long before that man came between us with his wealth of gold napoleons; so she must love me still—Carl, whose heart had never wandered from her.

But there is something great and inspiring in war and its adjuncts, after all. I remember that on the day we left our beautiful Hamburg, when I heard the crash of the brass bands and saw the North German colours waving in the wind, above the long, long column of glazed helmets and bright bayonets, as our regiment, with the Forty-seventh Silesians, the Fifty-third Westphalians, and the Eighty-eighth Nassauers, defiled through the Damthor, and past the Esplanade towards the Bahnhof, I became infected by the enthusiasm around me, and found myself joining in the mad shouts of "Hurrah, Germania!" and in the old Teutonic song which the advanced guard of Uhlans struck up, brandishing their lances the while—

"O Tannebaum, O Tannebaum, wie grün sind deine Blatter!"

as we marched for the Rhine, towards which we were forwarded fast by road and rail.

We were soon face to face with the gallant French, and how fast those terrible battles followed each other at Weissenburg, Forbach, Spicheren, and elsewhere, the public prints have already most fully related. Though I did not seek death any more than others my comrades, I cared little for life, yet (until one night in October) I escaped in all three of those bloody conflicts, and many a daily skirmish, without a wound, though the chassepot balls whistled thickly round me, and more than once the fire of a mitrailleuse, a veritable stream of bullets, swept away whole sections by my side. I have had my uniform riddled with holes, my helmet grazed many times, and part of my knapsack shot away; yet somehow fate always spared poor Carl Steinmetz; for he had no enmity in his heart towards the poor fellows who fell before his needle-gun. At last we rapidly pushed on, and reduced many fortified places as we advanced to blockade Metz. Then Lorraine lay around us, and I gazed on the scenery with emotions peculiarly my own, for I thought of Paquette, of her animated face and all her pretty ways, and of all she had told me of her native province, its dense forests where wolves lurked, its wild mountains, its salt springs and lakes—Lorraine now, as in centuries long past, a subject for dispute between France and Germany.

The Seventy-sixth, under the Graf von Hamilton, formed part of the army which, under Prince Frederick Carl, blockaded Metz with such cruel success; and we had severe work in the wet nights of October, while forming the feld-wacht in the advanced rifle-pits. Often when lying there alone, in the damp hole behind a sand-bag or sap-roller, waiting for a chance shot in the early dawn at some unfortunate Frenchman, I thought bitterly and sadly of our once happy home, of Paquette, my lost wife, and wondered where she was now, or if, when she saw the Prussian columns, with all their bright-polished barrels and spiked helmets shining in the sun, she could dream that I, Carl Steinmetz, was a unit in that mighty host. Then I would marvel in my heart whether I, with the spiked helmet and needle-gun, loaded with accoutrements and spattered with mud, was the same Carl Steinmetz who, but a few months before, sat daily at his desk in the Admiralitatstrasse, and had the sweet smiles of Paquette to welcome him home and listen to his news from the Bourse. Was this military transformation madness or witchcraft? It was neither, but stern reality, as an unexpected shot from a hedge about four hundred yards distant, tore the brass eagle from my helmet and fully informed me.

This was just about daybreak on the morning of the 26th October last, and when I could see all the village quarters, from Mars-la-Tour to Mazières, lit up, and all the bivouac fires burning redly on our left and in the rear.

With a few others I started from the rifle-pits, and we made a dash at the hedge, which we believed to conceal some of those Francs-tireurs, whom we had orders to shoot without mercy, though they were only fighting for home and country. We were on the extreme flank of the blockading force, and the hedge in question surrounded a villa which stood somewhat apart from the road to Château Salins. Led by the Graf's son, a young captain, we rushed forward, and found it manned by some fifty men of the French line, who had crept out of Metz intending to desert, for Bazaine permitted them to do so when provisions began to fail. "A bas les Pru-essiens!" cried their leader—a tall sub-officer in very tattered uniform—thus accentuating the word in the excess of his hatred.

"Vorwarts—für Vaterland—hurrah, Germania!" shouted the young Von Hamilton. A volley that killed ten of our number tore among us, but we broke through and fell upon them with the bayonet. Clubbing his chassepot the French sous-officier, with a yell on his lips, beat down poor Hamilton; then he rushed upon me, and what was my emotion—what my astonishment, to find myself face to face with Graindorge—he who had robbed me of Paquette—the same beer-bloated and scurvy-looking fellow, with the huge black mole, whom I had last seen in Hamburg! I charged him with my bayonet breast high, but agitation so bewildered me that he easily eluded my point, and felled me to the earth with his clubbed rifle. Now came a sense of confusion, of light flashing from my eyes, the clash of steel, the ping of passing balls; then darkness seemed to envelop me, and death to enter my heart as I became senseless.

I remained long thus, for the sun was in the west when full consciousness returned. The thick leather helmet had saved my head from fracture, but dried blood plastered all my face, and I found my right arm broken by a bullet. All the French in the rear of the hedge had been shot down or bayoneted, and they presented a terrible spectacle. All were dead save one—the sous-officier, who lay near me, dying of many bayonet wounds. Our wounded had been removed, but ten of the Seventy-sixth lay near me stiff and cold. What a scene it was in that pretty garden, amid the rose-trees, the last flowers of autumn, and the twittering sparrows, to see all those poor fellows, made in God's fair image, butchered thus—and for WHAT? My wounds were sore, my heart was sad and heavy; oh, when was it otherwise now? Staggering up I turned to the Frenchman, whose half-glazing eyes regarded me with a fiercely defiant expression, for he doubted not that in this guerre à la mort his last moment had come. I took off my battered helmet, and then with a thrill of terror he seemed to recognize me.

"Carl Steinmetz of Hamburg!" said he, with difficulty.

"You know me then?" I asked grimly.

"Oh, yes—in God's name give me water—I am dying!"

My canteen was empty; but I found some wine in that of a corpse which lay near. I poured it down his throat and it partially revived him.

"Yes, fellow," said I, "in me you see that Steinmetz who was so happy till you came and my wife fled; so we know each other, Monsieur Baptiste Graindorge."

"I am not Baptiste—he is lying quiet in his grave on the shore of the Senegal river."

"Who, in the name of Heaven, are you?"

"Achille Graindorge—his cousin. I took advantage of our casual but strong resemblance to impose upon you—and—and get money—when in Hamburg—acting——"

"As a spy—eh?"


"Has she—has Paquette seen you since?"

"No—for she would at once have detected the cheat."

"And you know not where she is?"

"As I have Heaven soon to answer—no," he gasped out, and sinking back, shortly after expired, his last breath seeming to issue from the wounds in his chest. I had no pity for him, but felt a glow of joy in my heart, as I turned away, and crept—for I was unable to stand—towards the door of the villa in search of succour, the agony of my thirst and wounds being so great that I cared little whether the inmates aided or killed me.

However, the coincidences of this day were not yet over.

The door, on which I struck feebly with my short Prussian sword, was opened ultimately by an old gentleman, beyond whom I saw a female, shrinking back in evident terror. I recognized M. de Champfleurie, my father-in-law; but being now unable to speak, I could only point to my parched lips and powerless arm, as I sank at his feet and fainted.

When I recovered, my uniform was open, my accoutrements were off; I was lying upon a sofa with my aching head pillowed softly—on what?—The tender bosom of Paquette, my darling little wife; for she had recognized me, though disguised alike by dress and blood, and now her tears were falling on my weather-beaten face.

It chanced that, flying from place to place in Lorraine, before our advancing troops, and having failed to reach Metz, they had taken shelter in that abandoned villa; and thus happily I could reveal the secret of our separation before the burial party bore away the body of Achille Graindorge, who had actually been quartered at Senegal when his cousin Baptiste died there.

My story is told. On the following day Metz capitulated, and poor M. Champfleurie danced with rage on learning that Bazaine had surrendered with two other Marshals of the Empire, 173,000 prisoners and 20,000 sick, wounded, and starving men. My fighting days were over now; Paquette was restored to me, and happiness was again before us.

For their kindness in succouring me, the Graf von Hamilton gave M. de Champfleurie and his daughter a pass to the rear, and we speedily availed ourselves of it, for I was discharged with a shattered arm; and now I write these lines, again in pleasant Blankenese, our dear home, with the broad Elbe shining blue beneath our windows, and the autumn leaves falling fast from the thick woods that cover all its green and beautiful shore.




The Scottish newspaper recorded, not long ago, some instances of mirages in the Firth of Forth exactly like the freaks of the Fata Morgana in the Straits of Messina, and on three distinct occasions the Bass Rock has assumed, to the eyes of the crowds upon the sands of Dunbar, the form of a giant sugar-loaf crowned by battlements, while the island of May seemed broken into several portions, which appeared to be perforated by caverns where none in fact exist.

Such optical delusions have been common at all times in certain states of the atmosphere, and science finds a ready solution for them; but in the days of our forefathers, they were deemed the sure precursors of dire calamities, invasion, or pestilence.

The years shortly before and after the beginning of the last century seem to have been singularly fruitful in the marvellous; and the most superstitious Celtic peasant in the Scottish glens or the wilds of Connemara would not have believed in more startling events than those which are chronicled in the occasional broadsides, and were hawked about the streets of London by the flying stationers of those days.

To take a few of these at random: we find that all London was excited by strange news from Goeree, in Holland, where, on the evening of the 14th of August, 1664, there was seen by many spectators an apparition of two fleets upon the ocean; these, after seeming to engage in close battle for one hour and a half (the smoke of the noiseless cannon rolling from their sides), vanished, as if shown from a magic-lantern. Then appeared in the air two lions, or the figures thereof, which fought three times with great fury, till there came a third of greater size, which destroyed them both. Immediately after this, there came slowly athwart the sky, as represented in the woodcut which surmounted this veracious broadsheet, the giant figure of a crowned king. This form was seen so plainly, that the buttons on his dress could be distinguished by the awe-stricken crowd assembled on the sands. Next morning the same apparition was seen again; and all the ocean was as red as blood. "And this happening at this juncture of time," concludes the narrator, "begets some strange apprehensions; for that, about six months before Van Tromp was slain in war with England, there was seen near the same place an apparition of ships in the air fighting with each other."*

* London: printed by Thomas Leach, Shoe Lane, 1664.

Sixteen years later, another broadsheet announced to the metropolis, that the forms of ships and men also had been seen on the road near Abington, on the 26th of August, 1680, "of the truth whereof you may be fully satisfied at the Sarazen's Head Inn, Carter Lane." It would seem that John Nibb, "a very sober fellow," the carrier of Cirencester, with five passengers in his waggon, all proceeding to London about a quarter of an hour after sunrise, were horrified to perceive at the far horizon, the giant figure of a man in a black habit, and armed with a broadsword, towering into the sky. Like the spectre of the Brocken, this faded away; but to add to the bewilderment of Nibb and his companions, it was replaced by "about a hundred ships of several bigness and various shapes." Then rose a great hill covered with little villages, and before it spread a plain, on which rode thirty horsemen, armed with carbine and pistol.

The same document records that, on the 12th of the subsequent September, a naval engagement was seen in the air, near Porsnet, in Monmouthshire, between two fleets, one of which came from the northern quarter of the sky, the other from the south. A great ship fired first, "and after her, the rest discharged their vollies in order, so that great flashings of fire, and even smoak was visible, and noises in the ayr as of great guns." Then an army of phantoms engaged in "a square medow" near Porsnet, closing in with sword and pistol, and the cries of the wounded and dying were heard. On the 27th of December, Ottery, near Exeter, had a visitation of the same kind, when at five in the evening two armies fought in the air till six o'clock. "This was seen by a reverend minister and several others to their great amazement." On the 2nd of the same month, the people in Shropshire were, according to another sheet, sorely perplexed by the sudden appearance of two suns in the firmament, and it was duly remembered, that "such a sign was seen before the death of that tempestuous firebrand of Rome here in England, Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury, and when Queen Mary began her bloody reign."

Then follow the death of the three lions in the Tower, and a vast enumeration of fiery darts, bullets, storms of hail, and floods, making up that which the writer hopes will prove "a word in season to a sinking kingdom."*

* London: Printed for J. B., Anno Domini 1680; and P. Brooksly, Golden Ball, near the Hospital Gate, 1681.

Nor were ghosts wanting at this time, of a political nature, too; for, in the same year, there was hawked in London an account of an apparition which appeared three several times to Elizabeth Freeman, thirty-one years of age, on each occasion delivering a message to his sacred majesty King Charles the Second. As certified before Sir Joseph Jorden, knight, and Richard Lee, D.D., rector of Hatfield, her story was as follows, and was, no doubt, a political trick:

On the night of the 24th of January, 1680, she was sitting at her mother's fire-side, with a child on her knee, when a solemn voice behind her said, "Sweetheart!" and, on turning, she was startled to perceive a veiled woman all in white, whose face was concealed, and whose hand—a pale and ghastly one—rested on the back of her chair.

"The 15th day of May is appointed for the royal blood to be poisoned," said the figure. "Be not afraid, for I am only sent to tell thee," it added, and straightway vanished.

On Tuesday, the 25th of January, the same figure met her at the house door, and asked Elizabeth if she "remembered the message," but the woman, instead of replying, exclaimed: "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what art thou?" Upon this the figure assumed "a very glorious shape," and saying, "Tell King Charles, from me, not to remove his parliament, but stand to his council," vanished as before. Next evening the veiled figure appeared again, when Elizabeth was with her mother, who, on beholding her daughter's manifest terror, said: "Dost thou see anything?" She was then warned to retire, after which the spectre said, sternly: "Do your message." "I shall, if God enable me," replied Elizabeth. After this the spectre appeared but once again, and remained silent. "This was taken from the maid's own mouth by me, Richard Wilkinson, schoolmaster in the said town of Hatfield."*

* London: Printed for J. B., Anno Domini 1680; and P. Brooksly, Golden Ball, near the Hospital Gate, 1681.

In 1683, as a variety, London was treated to an account of a dreadful earthquake in Oxfordshire, where the houses were rocked like ships or cradles, while tables, stools, and chests "rowled to and fro with the violence of the Shog."*

* Printed for R. Baldwin, at the Old Bailey.

The year 1687 brought "strange and wonderful news from Cornwall, being an account of a miraculous accident which happened near the town of Bodmyn, at a place called Park. Printed by J. Wallis, White Fryars Gate—next Fleet St.—near the Joyners Shop."

From this it would appear that on Sunday, the 8th of May, Jacob Mutton, whose relations were of good repute, and who was servant to William Hicks, rector of Cordingham (at a house he had near the old parish church of Eglashayle, called Park), heard, on going into his chamber about eight o'clock in the evening, a hollow voice cry, "So hoe! so hoe! so hoe!" This drew him to the window of the next room, from whence, to the terror of a lad who shared his bed, he disappeared, and could nowhere be found.

According to his own narrative, he had no sooner laid a hand upon an iron bar of the window, which was seventeen feet from the ground, than the whole grating fell into the yard below, all save the bar which he had grasped. This bar was discovered in his hand next morning, as he lay asleep in a narrow lane beyond the little town of Stratton, among the hills, thirty miles distant from Park. There he was wakened by the earliest goers to Stratton fair, who sent him home, sorely bewildered, by the way of Camelford. "On Tuesday he returned to his master's estate, without any hurt, but very melancholy, saying 'that a tall man bore him company all the journey, over hedges and brakes, yet without weariness.'" What became of this mysterious man he knew not, neither had he any memory of how the iron bar came to be in his hand. "To conclude, the young man who is the occasion of this wonderful relation, was never before this accident accounted any ways inclinable to sadness, but, on the contrary, was esteemed an airy, brisk, and honest young fellow."

But Mutton's adventure was a joke when compared with that of Mr. Jacob Seeley, of Exeter, as he related it to the judges on the western circuit, when, on the 22nd of September, 1690, he was beset by a veritable crowd of dreadful spectres. He took horse for Taunton, in Somersetshire, by the Hinton Cliff road, on which he had to pass a solitary place, known as the Black Down. Prior to this, he halted at a town called Cleston, where the coach and waggons usually tarried, and there he had some roast beef, with a tankard of beer and a noggin of brandy, in company with a stranger, who looked like a farmer, and who rode by his side for three miles, till they reached the Black Down, when he suddenly vanished into the earth or air, to the great perplexity of Mr. Jacob Seeley. This emotion was rather increased when he found himself surrounded by from one to two hundred spectres, attired as judges, magistrates, and peasantry, the latter armed with pikes; but, gathering courage, he hewed at them with his sword, though they threw over his head something like a fishing-net, in which they retained him from nine at night till four next morning. He thrust at the shadows with his rapier, but he felt nothing, till he saw one "was cut and had four of his fingers hanging by the skin," and then he found blood upon his sword. After this, ten spectre funerals passed; then two dead bodies were dragged near him by the hair of the head; and other horrors succeeded, till the spell broke at cock-crow.

It was now remembered that the house wherein Mr. Seeley had his beef, beer, and brandy had been kept by one of Monmouth's men (the spectre farmer, probably), who had been hung on his own sign-post, and the piece of ground where the net confined the traveller, was a place where maay of the hapless duke's adherents had been executed and interred. Hence it was named the Black Down, according to the sheet before us, which was "Printed for T. M., London, 2nd Oct., 1690."

A sheet circulated at the close of the preceding year warns "all hypocrites and atheists to beware in time," as there had been a dreadful tempest of thunder and lightning in Hants, at Alton, where the atmosphere became so obscure that the electric flashes alone lighted the church during the service, in which two balls of fire passed through its eastern wall, another tore the steeple to pieces, broke the clock to shreds, and bore away the weathercock. The narrator adds, that all Friesland was under water, and that a flood in the Tiber had swept away a portion of the Castle of St. Angelo.

As another warning, London was visited, in 1689, by a tempest, which uprooted sixty-five trees in St. James's Park and Moorfields, blew down the vane of St. Michael's Church in Cornhill, and innumerable chimneys, and injured many well-built houses, and part of the Armourers' Hall in Coleman Street. Several persons were killed in Gravel Lane and Shoreditch; sixty empty boats were dashed to pieces against the bridge; three Gravesend barges full of people were cast away, and the Crown man-of-war was stranded at Woolwich.*

* Printed for W. F., Bishopgate Without.

But the warning seems to have been in vain, for London, in 1692, was treated to an earthquake, which—as another sheet records—spread terror and astonishment about the Royal Exchange, all along Cornhill, in Lothbury, and elsewhere, on the 8th of September. All things on shelves were cast down, and furniture was tossed from wall to wall; the Spitalfields weavers had to seek shelter in flight, and all their looms were destroyed; these and other calamities were, it was alleged, "occasioned by the sins of the nation," and to avert such prodigies, the prayers of all good men were invoked.*

* J. Gerard, Cornhill, 1692.

Two years later saw another marvel, when "the dumb maid of Wapping," Sarah Bowers, recovered her power of speech through the prayers of Messrs. Russell and Veil, "two pious divines," who exorcised and expelled the evil spirit which possessed her; and in 1696 the metropolis was treated to the "detection of a popish cheat" concerning two boys who conversed with the devil, though none seemed to doubt the Protestant miracle.

The close of the century 1700 saw "the dark and hellish powers of witchcraft exercised upon the Reverend Mr. Wood, minister of Bodmyn," on whom a spell was cast by a mysterious paper, or written document, which was given to him by a man and woman on horseback (the latter probably seated on a pillion), after which he became strangely disordered, and wandered about in fields, meadows, woods, and lonely places, drenched the while with copious perspirations; however, "the spell was ultimately found in his doublet, and on the burning thereof, Mr. Wood was perfectly restored," and wrote to his uncle an account of the affair, which appeared in a broadsheet published at Exeter, by Darker and Farley, 1700.

Rosemary Lane was the scene of another wonder, when a notorious witch was found in a garret there, and carried before Justice Bateman, in Well Close, on the 23rd July, 1704, and committed to Clerkenwell Prison. Her neighbour's children, through her alleged diabolical power, vomited pins, and were terrified by apparitions of enormous cats; by uttering one word she turned the entire contents of a large shop topsy-turvy. She was judicially tossed into the river from a ducking-stool, "but, like a bladder when put under water, she popped up again, for this witch swam like a cork." This was an indisputable sign of guilt; and in her rage or terror she smote a young man on the arm, where the mark of her hand remained "as black as coal;" he died soon after in agony, and was buried in St. Sepulchre's churchyard.* Of the woman's ultimate fate we know nothing.

* H. Hills, in the Blackfriars, near the waterside.

In 1705, London was excited by a new affair: "The female ghost and wonderful discovery of an iron chest of money;" a rare example of the gullibility of people in the days of the good Queen Anne.

A certain Madam Maybel, who had several houses in Rosemary Lane, lost them by unlucky suits and unjust decrees of the law: for a time they were tenantless and fell to decay and ruin. For several weeks, nay months past (continues the broadsheet), a strange apparition appeared nightly to a Mrs. Harvey and her sister, near relations of the late Madam Maybel, announcing that an iron chest filled with treasure lay in a certain part of one of the old houses in the lane. On their neglecting to heed the vision, the ghost became more importunate, and proceeded to threaten Mrs. Harvey, "that if she did not cause it to be digged up in a certain time (naming it) she should be torn to pieces." On this the terrified gentlewoman sought the counsel of a minister, who advised her to "demand in the name of the Holy Trinity how the said treasure should be disposed of."

Next night she questioned the spectre, and it replied:

"Fear nothing; but take the whole four thousand pounds into your own possession, and when you have paid twenty pounds of it to one Sarah Goodwin, of Tower Hill, the rest is your own; and be sure you dig it up on the night of Thursday, the 7th December!"

Accordingly men were set to work, and certainly a great iron chest "was found under an old wall in the very place which the spirit had described."

One of the diggers, John Fishpool, a private of the Guards, "has been under examination about it, and 'tis thought that the gentleman who owns the ground will claim the treasure as his right, and 'tis thought there will be a suit of law commenced on it." Many persons crowded to see the hole from whence the chest had been exhumed in Rosemary Lane, and, by a date upon the lid, it would seem to have been made or concealed in the ninth year of the reign of Henry the Eighth.*

* London: printed for John Green, near the Exchange, 1705.

The dreadful effects of going to conjurers next occupied the mind of the public.

Mr. Rowland Rushway, a gentleman of good reputation, having lost money and plate to a considerable amount, Hester, his wife, took God to witness, "that if all the cunning men in London could tell, she should discover the thief, though it cost her ten pounds!"

With this view she repaired to the house of a judicial astrologer in Moorfields, about noon, when the day was one of great serenity and beauty. After some preliminary mummery or trickery, the wizard placed before her a large mirror, wherein she saw gradually appear certain indistinct things, which ultimately assumed "the full proportion of one man and two women."

"These are the persons who stole your property," said the astrologer; "do you know them?"

"No," she replied.

"Then," quoth he, "you will never have your goods again."

She paid him and retired, but had not gone three roods from the house when the air became darkened, the serene sky was suddenly overcast, and there swept through the streets a dreadful tempest of wind and rain, done, as she alleged, "by this cunning man, Satan's agent, with diabolical black art," forcing her to take shelter in an ale-house to escape its fury. Many chairmen and market folks were all cognizant of this storm, which was confined to the vicinity of the ale-house, and a portion of the adjacent river, where many boats were cast away; and the skirt of it would seem to have visited Gray's Inn Walk, where three stately trees were uprooted.



In the year 1765, the French, Dutch, and Brussels papers teemed with marvellous accounts of a monstrous creature, called "The Wild Beast of Gévaudan," whose ravages for a time spread terror and even despair among the peasantry of Provence and Languedoc, especially in those districts of the ancient Narbonne Gaul which were mountainous, woody, and cold, and where communication was rendered difficult by the want of good roads and navigable rivers.

In the April of that year a drawing of this animal was sent to the Intendant of Alençon, entitled "Figure de la beste (sic) feroce l'ou nomme l'hyene qui a devoré plus que 80 personnes dans le Gévaudan." An engraving of this is now before us, and certainly its circulation must have added to the confusion of the nature of the original. This print represents the beast with a huge head, large eyes, a long tongue, a double row of sharp fangs, small and erect ears like those of a cat, the paws and body of a lion, with the tail of a cow, which trails on the ground with a bushy tuft at the end.*

* The History of France records that there appeared a wild beast in the Forest of Fontainebleau in 1653, which devoured one hundred and forty persons, before it was killed by twelve mousquetaires of the Royal Guards!

In December, 1764, it first made its appearance at St. Flour, in Provence, and on the 20th it devoured a little girl who was herding cattle near Mende. A detachment of light dragoons, sent in search of it, hunted in vain for six weeks the wild and mountainous parts of Languedoc. Though a thousand crowns were offered by the province of Mende to any person who would slay it, and public prayers were put up in all the churches for deliverance from this singular scourge, which soon became so great a terror to those districts, as ever the dragon was of which we read in the "Seven Champions of Christendom."

No two accounts tallied as to the appearance of this animal, and some of these, doubtless the offspring of the terror and superstition of the peasantry, added greatly to the dread it inspired. French hyperbole was not wanting, and the gazettes were filled with the most singular exaggerations and gasconades.

The groves of olive and mulberry trees, and the vineyards, were neglected, the wood-cutters abandoned the forests, and hence fuel became provokingly dear, even in Paris.

In the month of January we are told that it devoured a great many persons, chiefly children and young girls. It was said by those who escaped to be larger than a wolf, but that previous to springing on its victim, by crouching on the ground, it seemed no longer than a fox. "At the distance of one or two fathoms it rises on its hind legs, and leaps upon its prey, which it seizes by the neck or throat, but is afraid of horned cattle, from which it runs away."

It was alleged by some to be the cub of a tiger and lioness; by others, of a panther and hyena, which had escaped from a private menagerie belonging to Victor Amadeus, duke of Savoy. A peasant of Marvejols, who wounded it by a musket shot, found a handful of its hair, "which stank very much;" he averred it to "be the bigness of a year-old calf, the head a foot in length, the chest large as that of a horse, his howling in the night resembled the braying of an ass." According to collated statements, the beast was seen within the same hour at different places, in one instance twenty-four miles apart; hence many persons naturally maintained that there were two.

On the 27th December, 1764, a young woman, in her nineteenth year, was torn to pieces by it at Bounesal, near Mende. Next day it appeared in the wood of St. Martin de Born, and was about to spring upon a girl of twelve years, when her father rushed to her protection. The woodman, a bold and hardy fellow, rendered desperate by the danger of his child, kept it at bay for a quarter of an hour, "the beast all the while endeavouring to fly at the girl, and they would both inevitably have become its prey if some horned cattle which the father kept in the wood had not fortunately come up, on which the beast was terrified and ran away."

This account was attested on oath by the woodman, before the mayor and other civil authorities of Mende, an episcopal city in Languedoc.

On the 9th of January an entire troop of the 10th Light Horse (the Volontaires Etrangers de Clermont-Prince), then stationed at St. Chely, was despatched under Captain Duhamel in quest of the animal, which had just torn and disembowelled a man midway between their quarters and La Garge. On this occasion the Bishop of Mende said a solemn mass, and the consecrated Host was elevated in the cathedral, which was thronged by the devout for the entire day; but the beast still defied all efforts for his capture or destruction, and soon after, "in the wood of St. Colme, four leagues from Rhodez, it devoured a shepherdess of eighteen years of age, celebrated for her beauty."

The English papers began to treat the affair of "the wild beast" as a jest or allegory invented by the Jesuits to render the Protestants odious and absurd, as it was said to have escaped from the Duke of Savoy's collection; and "this circumstance is designed," says one journal, "to point out the Protestants who are supposed to derive their principles from the ancient Waldensee, who inhabited the valleys of Piedmont, and were the earliest promoters of the Reformation."

A writer in a Scottish newspaper of the period goes still farther, and announces his firm belief that this tormentor of the Gévaudanois was nothing more or less than the wild beast prophesied in the Apocalypse of St. John, whereon the scarlet lady was mounted. Another asserts that it was typical of the whole Romish clergy, and that its voracious appetite answered to another part of Scripture, "conceived in the words eating up my people as they eat bread,"—his favourite food being generally little boys and girls of Protestant parentage.*

* Edinburgh Advertiser, 1764.

After a long and fruitless chase, Captain Duhamel, before returning to quarters at St. Chely, resolved to make a vigorous attempt to destroy this mysterious scourge of Languedoc; but his extreme ardour caused his plans to miscarry.

Posting his volontaires, some on horseback, and some on foot, at all the avenues of a wood to which it had been traced, it was soon roused from its lair by the explosion of pistols and sound of trumpets. There was a cry raised of "Voilà! Gardez la-Bête!" and Duhamel, an officer of great courage, who had dismounted, rushed forward to assail it sword in hand, but had the mortification to see it, with a terrible roar, spring past the very place he had just quitted.

Two of his dragoons fired their pistols, but both missed. They then pursued it on the spur for nearly a league, and though seldom more than four or five paces from it, they were unable to cut it down, and ultimately it escaped, by leaping a high stone wall which their horses were unable to surmount; and after crossing a marsh which lay on the other side, it leisurely retired to a wild forest beyond.

The baffled dragoons reported that it "was as big as the largest park dog, very shaggy, of a brown colour, a yellow belly, a very large head, and had two very long tusks, ears short and erect, and a branched tail, which it sets up very much when running." Fear had no share in this strange description, for the officers of Clermont's regiment asserted that the two dragoons were as brave men as any in the corps; but some declared that it was a bear, and others a wild boar!

On the 12th of January it attacked seven children (five boys and two girls) who were at play near the Mountain of Marguerite. It tore the entire cheek off one boy, and gobbled it up before him; but the other four, led by a boy named Portefaix, having stakes shod with iron, drove the beast into a marsh, where it sunk up to the belly, and then disappeared. That night a boy's body was found half devoured in the neighbourhood of St. Marcel; on the 21st it severely lacerated a girl, and (according to the Paris Gazette) "next day attacked a woman, and bit off her head!"

The four brave boys who put it to flight received a handsome gratuity from the Bishop of Mende, and by the king's order were educated for the army; the Gazette adds that the king gave the young Portefaix a gift of four hundred livres, and three hundred to each of his companions.

As females and little ones seemed the favourite food of the beast, Captain Duhamel now ordered several of his dragoons to dress themselves as women, and with their pistols and fusils concealed, to accompany the children who watched the cattle; and the King of France now offered from his privy purse two thousand crowns, in addition to the one thousand offered by the province of Mende, for the head of this terrible animal.

Inspired by a hope of winning the proffered reward, a stout and hardy peasant of Languedoc, armed with a good musket, set out in search of it; but on beholding the beast suddenly near him, surrounded by all the real and imaginary terrors it inspired, he forgot alike his musket and his resolution; he shrieked with terror and fled, and soon after "the creature devoured a woman of the village of Jullange, at the foot of the Mountain of Marguerite."

As the terror was increasing in Gévaudan and the Vivarez, the offered rewards were again increased to no less than ten thousand livres; by the diocese of Mende, two thousand; by the province of Languedoc, two thousand; by the king, six thousand; and the following placard was posted up in all the towns and cities of the adjacent provinces:—

"By order of the King, and the Intendant of the Province of Languedoc:

"Notice is given to all persons, that his Majesty, being deeply affected by the situation of his subjects, now exposed to the ravages of the wild beast which for four months past has infested Vivarez and Gévaudan, and being desirous to stop the progress of such a calamity, has determined to promise a reward of six thousand livres to any person or persons who shall kill the animal. Such as are willing to undertake the pursuit of him, may previously apply to the Sieur de la Font, sub-deputy to the Intendant of Mende, who will give them the necessary instructions, agreeable to what has been prescribed by the ministry on the part of his Majesty."

Still the ubiquitous beast remained untaken; and a letter from Paris of the 13th February relates the terror it occasioned to a party consisting of M. le Tivre, a councillor, and two young ladies, who were on their way to visit M. de Sante, the curé of Vaisour.

They were travelling in a berlingo, drawn by four post-horses, with two postilions, and accompanied by a footman, who rode a saddle-horse, and was armed with a sabre. The first night, on approaching the dreaded district, they halted at Guimpe, and next morning at nine o'clock set forth, intending to lunch at Roteaux, a village situated in a bleak and mountainous place. The bailiff of Guimpe deemed it his duty to warn them, as strangers, "that the wild beast had been often seen lurking about the Chaussée that week, and that it would be proper to take an escort of armed men for their protection."

M. le Tivre and the councillor, being foolhardy, declined, and took the young ladies under their own protection; but they had scarcely proceeded two leagues when they perceived a post-chaise, attended by an outrider, coming down the rugged road that traversed the hill of Credi, at a frightful pace, and pursued by the wild beast!

The leading horse fell, on which the terrible pursuer made a spring towards it; but M. le Tivre's footman interposed with his drawn sabre, on which the beast pricked up its ears, stood erect, and showed its fangs and mouth full of froth, whisked round, and gave the terrified valet a blow with its tail, covering all his face with blood. The rest of the narrative is ridiculously incredible, for it states, that, on perceiving a gentleman levelling a blunderbuss (which flashed in the pan), the beast darted right through the chaise of M. le Tivre, smashing the side glasses and escaped to the wood. "The stench left in the shattered chaise was past description, and no burning of frankincense, or other method, removed it, so that it was sold for two louis, and though burned to ashes, the cinders were obliged, by order of the commissary, to be buried without the town walls!" (Advertiser, 1765).

Eluding the many armed hunters who were now in pursuit of it, in the early part of February the wild beast was seen hovering in well-frequented places, on the skirts of the forests adjoining the fields and vineyards, in the hamlets, and on the highways. In Janols, the capital of Gévaudanois, it sprang upon a child, whose cries brought his father to his aid, but ere a rescue could be effected, the poor little creature was rent asunder.

Three days afterwards, on the Feast of the Purification, five peasants, going to mass at Reintort de Randon, suddenly perceived it on the highway before them. It was crouching, and about to spring, when their shouts, and the pointed staves with which they were armed, put it to flight. On Sunday, the 3rd February, it was heard howling in the little village of St. Aman's during the celebration of high mass. All the inhabitants were in church, "but as they had taken the precaution to shut up the children in their houses, it retired without doing any mischief." On the 8th it was perceived within a hundred yards of the town of Aumont. A general chase through the snow was made by the armed huntsmen; but night came on before they came within range of the dreaded fugitive.

In February and March we find it still continuing its ravages through all the pleasant valleys of the Aisne. At Soissons it worried a woman to death and partly devoured her. Two girls were brought to the Hospital of St. Flour in a dying state from wounds it had inflicted:

"Catherine Boyer, aged twenty years, who was attacked on the 15th of January at Bastide-de-Montfort; all that part of the head on which the hair grew is torn away, with a part of the os coronæ, and the whole pericranium with the upper part of the ear is lost. The occipital bone is likewise laid bare. The other girl belongs to St. Just; the left side of her head and neck is carried away, with part of her nose and upper lip."

On the 1st of March, a man boldly charged it on horseback, but was thrown, and leaving his nag to its mercy, scrambled away and found refuge in a mill, where it besieged him for some time, till a lad of seventeen appeared, whom it lacerated with teeth and claws and left expiring outside the door. On the road near Bazoches, it tore to pieces a woman who attempted to save a girl on which it was about to spring; and four men of that place, armed with loaded guns, watched all night, near the mangled body, in the hope that it might return; but the animal was several miles distant, and after biting several sheep and cows in a farm-yard, was at last severely wounded by Antoine Savanelle, an old soldier, who assailed it with a pitchfork, which he thrust into its throat, and he was vain enough to declare that the wound was mortal and that he must have killed it.

This boast, however, was premature, for it soon reappeared, biting, tearing, and devouring, and though a man of Malzieu wounded it by a musket shot, making it roll over with a hideous cry, it was able on the 9th to drag a child for two hundred yards from a cottage door. It dropped its prey unhurt; but on the same evening, we are told that it partly devoured a young woman near the village of Miolonettes, and committed other ravages, the mere enumeration of which would weary rather than astonish, though it was stated that not less "than twenty thousand men" (a sad exaggeration surely), noblesse, hunters, woodmen, and soldiers, were in pursuit of it, under the Count de Morangies, an old maréchal de camp, who passed a whole night near the body of the half-devoured girl, in the vain hope that the monster would return within range of his musket.

Great astonishment and ridicule were excited in England by these continued details, and under date of 13th March, a pretended letter from Paris, headed "Wonderful Intelligence!" went the round of the press.

"The wild beast that makes such a noise all over Europe, and after whom there are at least thirty thousand regular forces and seventy thousand militia and armed peasants, proves to be a descendant on the mother's side from the famous Dragon of Wantley, and on the father's side from a Scotch Highland Laird. He eats a house as an alderman eats a custard, and with the wag of his tail he throws down a church. He was attacked on the night of the 8th instant, in his den, by a detachment of fourteen thousand men, under the command of Duc de Valliant; but the platoon firing, and even the artillery, had only the effect of making him sneeze; at last he gave a slash with his tail by which we lost seven thousand men; then making a jump over the left wing, made his escape."

Elsewhere we find:—"Yesterday, about ten in the morning, a courier arrived (in London) from France, with the melancholy news that the wild beast had, on the 25th instant, been attacked by the whole French army, consisting of one hundred and twenty thousand men, whom he totally defeated in the twinkling of an eye, swallowing the whole train of artillery and devouring twenty-five thousand men."

But still in Languedoc, lovers who had lost their brides, brothers their sisters, and parents their children, armed with guns and spears, beat the mountain sides and wild thickets for this animal, the existence of which was considered nearly or quite fabulous in London.

It would seem to have been deemed so in Holland, too, for the Utrecht Gazette, after detailing how bravely a poor woman of La Bessiere, name Jane Chaston, defended her little children against the beast, which appeared in her garden and tore one with its teeth, states that whatever scoffers might say, its existence was no longer doubtful, adding, "that unless we believe in the accounts of it which come from France, we must reject the greatest part of the events to which we give credit, as being of much less authority."

Louis XV gave a handsome gratuity to Jane Chaston for her courage and tenderness in defending her children, but we are not informed how or with what she was armed.

The Duc de Praslin received a report from the Comte de Montargis, who commanded the troops in the neighbourhood of La Bessiere, to the effect that, three days after the adventure of Jane Chaston, a party of eighty dragoons, en route to join their regiment, fell in with the beast, and rode at full speed towards it. When first discovered it was one hundred and fifty yards distant, and fled into a hollow place, which was environed by marshes and water, and then they endeavoured to hunt it forth by dogs. They opened a fire upon it with their carbines; but as the rain was falling in torrents, all these flashed in the pan, save one, which went off without effect. "The rain," continues the report, which is not very flattering to M. le Comte's cavalry, "not only hindered aid from coming to the troopers (the explosion of the carbine and their incessant cries of 'the beast! the beast!' having alarmed the whole neighbourhood), but by filling up the hollows with water, made them unable any longer."

Three-quarters of an hour after this the beast appeared in a field where tiles were made, at the base of Mount Mimat, where there is a hermitage dedicated to St. Privat, partly hewn out of the rock. This was then inhabited by an aged recluse and an officer of artillery, a reformed roué, who had dwelt with him for eighteen months, by way of penance. From the window they could plainly see the beast gambolling playfully on the grass, and climbing up the trees like a squirrel; but being without arms, they shut and made fast the door of the grotto, near which it remained watching for half an hour. This time the officer employed in making a sketch of it, which next day he sent to the Bishop of Mende; and here, perhaps, we have the startling engraving which was produced by the Intendant of Alençon.

The Comte de Montargis forwarded this sketch to the Duc de Praslin, to whose office the people flocked in multitudes to behold it; but public opinion was divided as to whether the animal was a lynx or a bear; "but I am certain," adds the writer of the news, "that if it was brought to the fair of St. Germain, it would draw more spectators than the famous Indian bird."

This celebrated fair was then held in a large meadow contiguous to the ancient Abbey of St. Germain-des-Prés, and was the grand rendezvous of all the dissipated society of Paris, to whom its gaming-tables, booths, theatres, cafes, cabarets, formed a never-ending source of attraction.

In April the beast devoured a young woman of twenty, who was watching some cattle. After that event the country became quite deserted; though its preference for the fair sex seemed very decided, no men would work in the fields, herd the flocks, or go abroad, save in armed bands.

The Brussels Gazette of May records a new phase in the history of the beast. Of eighteen persons whom it had bitten, thirteen are stated to have died raving mad. One patient began to howl like a dog, on which he was bled copiously, and chained hand and foot. Endued with terrible strength, he burst his bonds, and raved about in wild frenzy, destroying everything that came in his way, until he was shot down by an officer with a double-barrelled gun, when attempting, with a crowbar, to break into a country-house near Broine, where thirty persons had taken refuge from him.

About six in the evening of the 1st of May, the Sieur Martel de la Chaumette, whose château was at St. Alban's, in the bishopric of Mende, perceived, from a window, an animal which he was certain could be no other than the wild beast of Gévaudan. It was in a grass meadow, seated on its hind legs, and was gazing steadfastly at a lad, about fifteen years of age, who was herding some horned cattle, and was all unaware of its vicinity and ulterior views. The Sieur de la Chaumette summoned his two brothers, and armed with guns they issued forth in pursuit of the animal, which fled at their approach.

The youngest overtook it in the forest, and put a ball into it at sixty-seven paces; it rolled over three times, which enabled the elder Chaumette to put in another ball at fifty-two paces, on which it fled, and escaped, losing blood in great quantities. Night came on, and the pursuit was abandoned; but next day the Chaumettes were joined by the Sieurs d'Ennival, father and son, and a band of hunters. Its trail and traces of blood were found, and followed for a great distance, but they tracked it in vain.

The Sieur de la Chaumette, who had slain a great many wolves, declared that the animal he had seen in the meadow was not one; but his description of its appearance coincided exactly with that given by the Sieur Duhamel of the 10th Light Horse, and with the sketch made by the military hermit of St. Privat. The Chaumettes were in great hopes that the two bullets had slain the monster; but on the day following, at five in the evening, at a spot five leagues distant from the château, it devoured a girl fourteen years of age, and the terror of the people increased, as the beast seemed to have a charmed life, and to be almost bullet-proof.

The picked marksmen of fifty parishes now joined in the chase. Two remarkably fine dogs of the Sieur d'Ennival were so eager in the pursuit, that they left the hunt far behind, and, as they were never seen again, were supposed to have been killed and eaten. The society of the knights of St. Hubert, in the city of Puy, composed of forty men, joined in the crusade against this denizen of the wilds of Languedoc; but it was not until the end of September, 1765, that it was ultimately vanquished and slain by a game-keeper and the Sieur Antoine de Bauterne, a gentleman of Paris, who set out for Gévaudan on purpose to encounter it.

After a long, arduous, and exciting chase, through forest and over fell, on bringing it to bay at fifty yards, he shot it in the eye. Mad with pain and fury, it was crouching prior to springing upon him, when his companion, M. Rheinchard, gamekeeper to Louis, Duke of Orleans (son of Philip, so long regent of France), by a single bullet, in a vital spot, shot it dead.

It was then measured, and found to be five feet seven inches long, thirty-two inches high, and only one hundred and thirty pounds in weight. On the 4th of October, the Sieur de Bauterne, who was extolled as if he had been the victor of another Steenkirk or Fontenoy, arrived triumphantly in Paris, and had the honour to present it to the king; and then great was the astonishment and the disappointment of all who saw this animal—the terrible wild beast of Gévaudan, whose sanguinary career had for so many months excited such dismay there and wonder elsewhere—and found that it was only a wolf after all, and not a very large one! Horace Walpole, fourth Earl of Orford—the brilliant and witty Walpole of Strawberry Hill—saw the carcass as it lay in the queen's antechamber at Versailles, and asserts that it was simply a common wolf. Its nature accounted for some of the peculiarities it exhibited during its ravages, as the wolf, according to Weissenborn, destroys every other creature it can master, and, on a moderate calculation, consumes during the year about thirty times its own weight of animal substance; and to increase the list of its crimes, it has, he adds, in many instances, communicated hydrophobia to man.



Among many other strange things, our unlettered ancestors believed in the past existence of those tall fellows, giants (individually, or even collectively as nations), quite as implicitly as they, worthy folks, did in the pranks and appearances of contemporary witches and ghosts; but even among the learned a more than tacit belief in a defunct class of beings, whose bulk and stature far exceeded those of common humanity, found full sway until the beginning of the present century.

A love of the marvellous is strong; and even Buffon, the eminent naturalist, fell into the old and vague delusion that "there were giants in those days," and he made the bones of an elephant to figure as the remains of a man of vast stature.

With Scripture for a basis to their assertions, it was difficult, no doubt, for the over-learned, and still more for the unlearned, of past times to subdue their belief in the existence of such foes as were encountered by our old friend Jack of gallant memory—veritable giants, tall as steeples, to whom such men as Big Sam of the Black Watch, O'Brien the Irish giant (whose skeleton is in the museum of the College of Surgeons), even the King of Prussia's famous grenadiers, and the girl fifteen years old and more than seven feet high, "who was presented to their majesties at Dresden,"* were all as pigmies and Liliputians by comparison.

* Gentleman's Magazine, 1753.

The Bible gives us four distinct races of giants, the chief of whom were the Anakims, or sons of Anak, the people of the chosen land, to which Moses was to lead the children of Israel, who were unto them but as grasshoppers in size. Og, the king of this tall race and of Bashan, however, if judged by the measurement of the present day, was not taller than eight feet six inches, as his brazen bedstead measured just nine Jewish cubits; but the Rabbis maintain that the bed described was only his cradle when an infant. The Anakims are referred to in the fifth chapter of the Koran, which speaks of Jericho as a city inhabited by giants. The father of Og is also asserted to have been of stature so great, that he escaped the Flood by—wading!

When told (as we are) in 1 Samuel that Goliath was in height six cubits and a span, that his coat of mail weighed five thousand shekels of brass, that the staff of his spear was as a weaver's beam, and that its head weighed six hundred shekels of iron, it was difficult for the simple people of past days, when, in some remote cavern or river's bed, or fallen chalk cliff, the monster bones of the elephant, the mastodon, or the rhinoceros came unexpectedly to light, not to believe that there might have been many Goliaths in the world once.

Josephus records that in his time there were to be seen in Gaza, Gath, and Azoth the tombs of those mighty men of old, the sons of Anak, who had been slain when Joshua marched into the land of Canaan, and slew the people of Hebron and Dabir.

According to the Moslems, even Joshua was a man of prodigious stature; and the highest mountain on the shores of the Bosphorus is at this hour called by the Turks the Grave of Joshua,—Juscha Taghi,—or the Giant's Mountain.*

* The grave is fifty feet long, and has been called the tomb of Amycus and of Hercules.

Tradition ascribes the origin of the name of Antwerp to a giant whose abode was in the woody swamps through which the Scheldt then wandered to the German Sea, and who used to cut off the hands and feet of those who displeased him; "and to prove this" (vide Atlas Geographus, 1711) "they show there a tooth, which they pretend to be his. It is a hand's-breadth long, and weighs six ounces. Moreover, the city has hands cut off as part of its arms."

Giants figure largely among the earlier fables of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, the two latter contending still for the nationality of the famous

                                          "Finn MacCoul,
Wha dung the deil, and gart him yowl,"

and who, by the famous causeway of his own construction, could cross the Irish Channel to Britain whenever he chose.

Fiannam is probably the same personage. He is said to have lived in the time of Ewen II. of Scotland, a potentate who, according to Buchanan, "reigned in the year before Christ 77, and was a good and civil king;" and local story connects with his name the Giant's Chair, a rock above the river Dullan, in the parish of Mortlach.

England, too, is not without traces of some interest in the sons of Anak. We have the Giant's Grave, a long and grassy ridge in the beautiful Fairy Glen at Hawkstone, in Salop; another place so named on the coast of Bristol, and a third at Penrith, where two stone pillars in the churchyard, standing fifteen feet asunder at the opposite ends of a grave, and covered with runes or unintelligible carving, mark the size and tomb of Owen Cæsarius. Near these pillars is a third stone, called the Giant's Thumb.

Two miles below Brougham Castle, on the steep banks of the Eamont, are two excavations in the rock, having traces of a door and window, and of a strong column indented with iron; and these caves are assigned by tradition to a giant, who bore the classic name of Isis.

The vast stature of the Patagonians was long the subject of implicit belief, until it passed into a proverb. Antonio Pagifeta, who accompanied the adventurous Ferdinand Magellan on his famous voyage in 1519, records that on the coast of Brazil they found wild and gigantic cannibals so nimble of foot, that no man could overtake them. Bearing on thence to south latitude 49°, the land seemed all desolate and uninhabited, for they could see no living creature. At last a giant came singing and dancing towards them, and threw dust on his head. He was so tall, that the head of a Spaniard reached only to his waist. His apparel was the skin of a monstrous beast. All the inhabitants were men of the same kind, wherefore "the admiral called them Patagons."

This absurd story was corroborated a hundred years later by Jacob le Maire, in a voyage to the same region, and by the Dutch navigator Schouten, when they relate that at Port Desire they found graves containing human skeletons from eleven to twelve feet long. However, the Spanish officers of Cordova's squadron, by accurate measurements, reduced the utmost stature of the real Patagonian to seven feet one and a half inches, and their common height to six feet.

Premising that, of course, the great bones about to be referred to were those of the mammoth, the mastodon and other antediluvian animals, perhaps the most amusing instance of the credulity and gullibility even of the learned in such matters was a mémoire, read seriously to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Rouen, in the middle of the last century, by a savan named M. le Cat.

Therein he asserted and affected to give proof that Ferragas, who was slain by Orlando, the nephew of Charlemagne, was eighteen feet in height; that Isoret, whose tomb lay near the chapel of St. Pierre, in the suburbs of Paris, had been twenty feet high; and that in the city of Rouen, when digging near the convent of the Jacobins in 1509, during the reign of Louis XII., there was found in a tomb of stone a skeleton, the skull of which would hold a bushel (thirty-eight pounds weight) of corn. The shin-bones were entire, and measured four feet long. On this astounding tomb was a plate of copper, bearing the epitaph, "In this grave lies the noble and puissant Lord Riccon de Valmont and his bones." He then proceeds to tell us that Valence in Dauphiné possesses the bones of the giant Buccart, tyrant of the Vivarais, whom his vassal, the Count de Cabillon, slew by a barbed arrow, the iron head of which was found in his tomb when it—with all his bones intact—was discovered in 1705, at the base of the mountain of Crussol, whereon the giant dwelt, and whence he used to come daily to drink of the river Merderet. The skeleton when measured was twenty-two feet six inches long.*

* "In the Dominican Church there's the picture of a giant called Buard, who they pretend, by his bones dug up in their monastery, was fifteen cubits high and seven broad."—Atlas Geographus, 1711, 4to.

"Father Crozart assured me," continued the veracious M. le Cat, "that the physicians who were in the train of the princes who passed through Valence all acknowledged the bones to be human, and offered twenty-two pistoles for them." He farther appends a copy of the epitaph of this personage, forwarded to him by the same Father Crozat in 1746, and beginning, "Hæc est effigiis gigantis Baardi Vivariensis tiranni in Montis Cressoli Stantis," &c.

This tall personage, a second whose bones were exposed by the waters of the Rhone in 1456, and a third whose skeleton, nineteen feet long, was found near Lucerne in 1577, were all jokes and swindle when compared with others that were found in later years, particularly the remains of Teutobochus, king of the Teutones, which were discovered near the ruined castle of Chaumont in Dauphine, in the year 1613, by some masons who were digging a well. At the depth of eighteen feet, in light sandy soil, they came upon a tomb built of brick; above it was a stone inscribed, "Teutobochus Rex." Five years afterwards Mazurier, a surgeon, published his Histoire Véritable du Géant Teutobochus, which excited keen controversy, and brought all Paris—the Paris of Louis the Just and of Richelieu—rushing in crowds to see the bones of the mastodon, or whatever it was, whose tomb bore a royal inscription.

This king of the Teutones, who is said to have been vanquished and slain in battle a few miles from Valence, and to have been buried with all honour by Marius, his conqueror, was carefully measured, and found to be twenty-five feet six inches long, ten feet across the shoulders, and five from breast to back-bone. His teeth were each the size of an ox's foot. All France heard of this with wonder, and a belief which the anatomist Riolan sought in vain to ridicule and expose.

Sicily was peculiarly the favourite abode of giants.

At Mazarino, a town near Girgenti, there were found in 1516 the bones of a giant whose skull was like a sugar-hogshead, with teeth each five ounces in weight; and in the Val di Mazzara, thirty years after, the alleged remains of another were found, whose stature was the same!

Patrick Brydone, in his Tour to Sicily and Malta, in 1773, mentions some of these marvellous discoveries.

"In the mountain above it (il Mar Dolce) they show you a cavern where a gigantic skeleton is said to have been found; however, it fell to dust when they attempted to remove it. Fazzello says its teeth were the only part that resisted the impression of the air; that he procured two of them, and that they weighed near two ounces. There are many such stories to be met with in the Sicilian legends, as it seems to be a universal belief that this island (Sicily) was once inhabited by giants; but, although we have made diligent inquiry, we have never yet been able to procure a sight of any of those gigantic bones which are said to be still preserved in many parts of the island. Had there been any foundation for this, I think it is probable they must have found their way into some of the museums. But this is not the case; nor indeed have we met with any person of sense and credibility that could say they have seen them. We had been assured at Naples that an entire skeleton, upwards of ten feet high, was preserved in the museum at Palermo; but there is no such thing there, nor I believe anywhere else in the island."

This Palermitan giant is gravely referred to in the mémoire of M. le Cat, as well as "another thirty-three feet high, found in 1550."

According to Plutarch, Serbonius had the grave of Antæus (the Libyan giant and antagonist of Hercules) opened in the city of Tungis, and, finding his body to be "sixty cubits long, was infinitely astonished," as well he might be, and gave orders for the tomb to be closed, but added new honours to his memory. The bones of a giant, forty-six cubits in length, were laid bare by an earthquake in Crete, as Pliny states with implicit faith; and it was disputed whether they were those of Otus, son of Neptune, who built a city in his ninth year, or of the equally fabulous Orion. But all that we have noted are overtopped by the giant found at Thessalonica in 1691, who was ninety-six feet high (as certified by M. Quoinet, consul for France), and by another found at Trepani, in Sicily—the ancient Drepanum. The latter, Boccaccio states the learned of his time to have taken for the skeleton of Polyphemus, the son of Neptune and Thoosa—the one-eyed Cyclop of the Odyssey.

"A form enormous! far unlike the race
Of human birth, in stature and in face;"

and on being measured, the bones proved to be exactly three hundred feet long!



It is natural enough that the human heart—deemed by poets and philosophers to be the seat of our affections and passions, of our understanding and will, courage and conscience, by some men looked upon as the root of life itself—should have been considered by many of the dying in past times as a votive gift peculiarly sacred. And this feeling has been the cause in many instances of the burial of the heart apart from the place where the ashes of the body might repose.

Among the earliest instances of the separate mode of heart-burial is that of Henry the Second of England. After this luckless monarch expired in a passion of grief, before the altar of the church of Chinon, in 1189, his heart was interred at Fontevrault, but his body, from the nostrils of which tradition alleges blood to have dropped on the approach of his rebellious son Richard, was laid in a separate vault. From Fontevrault his heart, according to a statement in a public print, was brought a few years ago to Edinburgh, by Bishop Gillis, of that city. If so, where is it now?

When Richard Cœur de Lion fell beneath Gourdon's arrow at the siege of Chaluz, the gallant heart, which, in its greatness and mercy, inspired him to forgive, and even to reward the luckless archer, was, after his death, preserved in a casket in the treasury of that splendid cathedral which William the Conqueror built at Rouen; for Richard, by a last will, directed that his body should be interred in Fontevrault, "at the feet of his father, to testify his sorrow for the many uneasinesses he had created him during his lifetime." His bowels he bequeathed to Poictou (Grafton has it Carlisle), and his heart to Normandy, out of his great love for the people thereof. Above the relic at Rouen there was erected an elaborate little shrine, which was demolished in 1738, but exactly a hundred years later the heart was found in its old place, and reinterred. It was again exhumed, however, cased in glass, and exhibited in the Musée des Antiquités of the city; but December, 1869, saw it once more replaced in the cathedral, with a leaden plate on the cover, bearing the inscription:

"Hie jacet cor Ricardi Regis Anglorum."

So there finally lies the heart of him who, in chivalry, was the rival of Saladin and Philip Augustus, the hero of the historian, and the novelist, and who was the idol of the English people for many a generation.

When this great crusader's nephew, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, and King of the Romans, died, after a stirring life—during which he formed a conspiracy against the king his father, then, like all the wild, pious, and bankrupt lords of those days, took a turn of service in the Holy Land, and next drew his sword in the battle fought at Lewes between Henry the Third and the confederate barons—his body was interred at Hayles, in Gloucestershire, but his heart was deposited at Rewley Abbey, near Oxford, while the heart of his son, who died before him, and for whose tragical fate he died of grief, was laid in Westminster Abbey in 1271.

Two successive holders of the see of Durham made votive offerings of their hearts to two different churches. The first of these was Richard Poore, previously Dean of Salisbury, Bishop of Chichester, and then of Durham, from 1228 to 1237. He was buried in the cathedral of his diocese, but his heart was sent to Tarrant, in Dorsetshire. A successor in the episcopate, Robert de Stitchell, who had formerly been Prior of Finchale, dying on his way home from the Council of Lyons, in 1274, was buried in Durham, but, at his own request, his heart was left behind, as a gift to the Benedictine convent near Arbepellis, in France. At Henley, in Yorkshire, in the old burial vault of the noble family of Bolton, there lies the leaden coffin of a female member of the house, who had died in France, and been brought from thence embalmed, and cased in lead. On the top of the coffin is deposited her heart in a kind of urn. The heart of Agnes Sorel was interred in the abbey of Jumieges.

In Scotland there have been several instances of the separate burial of the human heart. The earliest known is that connected with the founding and erection of Newabbey, or the abbey of Dulce Cor, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, by Derorgilla, daughter of Alan the Celtic Lord of Galloway, and wife of John Baliol, of Barnard Castle, father of the unpopular competitor for the Scottish crown. Baliol, to whom she was deeply attached, died an exile in France in 1269; but Derorgilla had his heart embalmed, and as the Scotichronicon records, "lokyt and bunden with sylver brycht;" and this relic so sad and grim she always carried about with her. In 1289, as death approached, when she was in her eightieth year, she directed that "this silent and daily companion in life for twenty years should be laid upon her bosom when she was buried in the abbey she had founded;" the beautiful old church, the secluded ruins of which now moulder by the bank of the Nith. For five centuries and more, in memory of her untiring affection, the place has been named locally the Abbey of Sweet-heart.

History and song have alike made us familiar with the last wish of Robert Bruce, the heroic King of Scotland, when, after two years of peace and contemplation, he died in the north, at Cardross. He desired that in part fulfilment of a vow he had made to march to Jerusalem, a purpose which the incessant war with England baffled, his heart should be laid in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, and on his death-bed he besought his old friend and faithful brother soldier, the good Sir James Douglas, to undertake that which was then a most arduous journey, and be the bearer of the relic. "And it is my command," he added, to quote Froissart, "that you do use that royal state and maintenance in your journey, both for yourself and your companions, that into whatever lands or cities you may come, all may know that ye have in charge, to bear beyond the seas, the heart of King Robert of Scotland."

Then all who stood around his bed began to weep, and Douglas replied:

"Assuredly, my liege, I do promise, by the faith which I owe to God and to the order of knighthood."

"Now praise be to God," said the king, "I shall die in peace."

It is a matter of history how Douglas departed on this errand with a train of knights, and, choosing to land on the Spanish coast, heard that Alphonso of Leon and Castile was at war with Osman, the Moorish king of Granada. In the true spirit of the age, he could not resist the temptation of striking a blow for the Christian faith, and so joined the Spaniards. He led their van upon the plain of Theba, near the Andalusian frontier. In a silver casket at his neck he bore the heart of Bruce, which rashly and repeatedly he cast before him amid the Moors, crying:

"Now pass on as ye were wont, and Douglas, as of old, will follow thee or die."

And there he fell, together with Sir William Sinclair, of Roslin, Sir Robert and Walter Logan, of Restalrig, and others. Bruce's heart, instead of being taken to Jerusalem, was brought home by Sir Simon of Lee, and deposited in Melrose Abbey. Douglas was laid among his kindred in Liddesdale, and from thenceforward "the bloody heart," surmounted by a crown, became the cognizance of all the Douglasses in Scotland. Bruce was interred at Dunfermline; and when his skeleton was discovered in 1818, the breast-bone was found to have been sawn across to permit the removal of the heart, in accordance with the terms of his last will.

But of all the treasured hearts of the heroic or illustrious dead, none perhaps ever underwent so many marvellous adventures as that of James, Marquis of Montrose, who was executed by the Scottish Puritans in 1650.

On his body being interred among those of common criminals, by the side of a road leading southward from Edinburgh, his niece, the Lady Napier, whose castle of Merchiston still stands near the place, had the deal box in which the trunk of the corpse lay (the head and limbs had been sent to different towns in Scotland) opened in the night, and his heart, "which he had always promised at his death to leave her, as a mark of the affection she had ever felt towards him," was taken forth. It was secretly embalmed and enclosed in a little case of steel, made from the blade of that sword which Montrose had drawn for King Charles at the battles of Auldearn, Tippermuir, and Kilsythe. This case she placed in a gold filigree box that had been presented by the Doge of Venice to John Napier, of Merchiston, and she enclosed the whole in a silver urn which had been given to her husband by the great cavalier marquis before the Civil War. She sent this carefully guarded relic to the second marquis, afterwards first Duke of Montrose, who was then in exile with her husband; but it never reached either of them, being unfortunately lost by the bearer on the journey.

Years after all these actors in the drama of life had passed away, a gentleman of Gueldres, a friend of Francis, fifth Lord Napier (who died in 1773), recognized, in the collection of a Flemish virtuoso, by the coat-armorial and other engravings upon it, the identical gold filigree box belonging to the Napiers of Merchiston. The steel case was within it; but the silver urn was gone. The former "was the size and shape of an egg. It was opened by pressing down a little knob, as is done in opening a watch-case. Inside was a little parcel containing all that remained of Montrose's heart, wrapped in a piece of coarse cloth, and done over with a substance like glue." Restored by this friend to the Napiers, it was presented to Miss Hester Napier, by her father, Lord Francis, when his speculations in the Caledonian Canal and elsewhere led him to fear the sale of his patrimonial castle of Merchiston, and that he would lose all, even to this relic, on which he set so much store. Miss Napier took it with her on her marriage with Johnstone of Carnsalloch, and it accompanied her when she sailed for India with her husband. Off the Cape de Verd Isles their ship was attacked by Admiral de Suffrien, who was also bound for the East with five French sail of the line. In the engagement which ensued, Mrs. Johnstone, who refused to quit her husband's side on the quarter-deck, was wounded by a splinter in the arm, while carrying in her hand a reticule in which she had placed all her most valuable trinkets, and, among these, the heart of Montrose, as it was feared that the Indiaman would be taken by boarding; Suffrien, however, was beaten off.

At Madura, in India, she had an urn made like the old one to contain the heart, and on it was engraved, in Tamil and Telegu, a legend telling what it held. Her constant anxiety concerning its safety naturally caused a story to be spread concerning it among the Madrassees, who deemed it a powerful talisman. Thus it was stolen, and became the property of a chief; so the loyal heart that had beat proudly in so many Scottish battles, hung as an amulet at the neck of a Hindoo warrior. The latter, however, on hearing what it really was, generously restored it to its owner, and it was brought to Europe by the Johnstones on their return in 1792. In that year they were in France, when an edict of the revolutionary government required all persons to surrender their plate and ornaments for the service of the sovereign people. Mrs. Johnstone intrusted the heart of Montrose to one of her English attendants named Knowles, that it might be secretly and safely conveyed to England; but the custodian died by the way; the relic was again lost, and heard of no more.

In the wall of an aisle of the old ruined church of Culross, there was found, not long ago, enclosed in a silver case of oval form, chased and engraved, the heart of Edward Bruce, second Lord Kinloss (ancestor of the Earls of Elgin), in his day a fiery and gallant young noble, who fought the famous duel with a kindred spirit, Sir Edward Sackville, afterwards Earl of Dorset, a conflict which is detailed at such length, and so quaintly, in No. 133 of the Guardian. Bruce was the challenger, and after a long and careful pre-arrangement, attended by their seconds and surgeons, they encountered each other, with the sword, minus their doublets, and in their shirtsleeves, under the walls of Antwerp, in August, 1613. Sackville had a finger hewn off, and received three thrusts in his body, yet he contrived to pass his rapier twice, mortally, through the breast of his Scottish antagonist, who fell on his back, dying and choking with blood.

"I re-demanded of him," wrote Sir Edward, "if he would request his life; but it seemed he prized it not at so dear a rate to be beholden for it, bravely replying that 'he scorned it,' which answer of his was so noble and worthy, as I protest I could not find in my heart to offer him any more violence."

As Sackville was borne away fainting, he escaped, as he relates, "a great danger. Lord Bruce's surgeon, when nobody dreamt of it, came full at me with his lordship's sword, and had not mine, with my sword, interposed, I had been slain, although my Lord Bruce, weltering in his blood, and past all expectation of life, conformable to all his former carriage, which was undoubtedly noble, cried out, 'Rascal, hold thy hand!'"

Sackville was borne to a neighbouring monastery to be cured, and died in 1652 of sorrow, it was alleged, for the death of Charles the First. Kinloss died on the ground where the duel was fought, and was buried in Antwerp; but his heart was sent home to the family vault, in the old abbey church, which lies so pleasantly half hidden among ancient trees, by the margin of the Forth; and a brass plate in the wall, with a detail of the catastrophe engraved upon it, still indicates its locality to the visitor.

Still more recently there was supposed to be found in the vault of the Maitlands, at St. Mary's Church, in Haddington, an urn containing the heart of the great but terrible duke, John of Lauderdale, the scourge of the Covenanters, a truculent peer, who, for his services to the powers that were, was created Baron Petersham and Earl of Guildford, and who died at Tunbridge Wells in 1682. He was buried in the family aisle, amid the execrations of the peasantry, to whom his character rendered him odious, and his coffin on tressels was long an object of grotesque terror to the truant urchin who peeped through the narrow slit that lighted the vault where the lords of Thirlstane lie. The heart of the unhappy king, James the Second of England, which was taken from his body, and interred separately in an urn, in the church of Sainte Marie de Chaillot, near Paris, was lost at the Revolution, in 1792, while the heart of his queen, Mary d'Este, of Modena, and that of their faithful friend and adherent, Mary Gordon, daughter of Lewis, Marquis of Huntley, and wife of James, Duke of Perth (whilom Lord Justice-General, and High Chancellor of Scotland), were long kept where the ashes of the latter still repose, in the pretty little chapel of the Scottish College, at Paris, in the Rue des Fosses St. Victoire, one of the oldest portions of the city.

When the body of the Emperor Napoleon was prepared for interment at St. Helena, in May, 1821, the heart was removed by a medical officer, to be soldered up in a separate case. Madame Bertrand, in her grief and enthusiasm, had made some vow, or expressed a vehement desire, to obtain possession of this as a precious relic, and the doctor, fearing that some trick might be played him, and his commission be thereby imperilled, kept it all night in his own room, and under his own eye, in a wine-glass. The noise of crystal breaking roused him, if not from sleep, at least from a waking doze, and he started forward, only in time to rescue the heart of the emperor from a huge brown rat, which was dragging it across the floor to its hole. It was rescued by the doctor, soldered up in a silver urn, filled with spirits, by Sergeant Abraham Millington, of the St. Helena Artillery, and placed in the coffin.

During the repair of Christ's Church, at Cork, in 1829, a human heart, in a leaden case, was found embedded among the masonry; but to whom it had belonged, what was its story, the piety or love its owner wished to commemorate, no legend or inscription remained to tell.

In 1774, Sir Francis Dashwood, Lord Le Despenser, seems to have received the singular bequest of a human heart, as the obituaries of that year record, that when "Paul Whitehead, Esq., a gentleman much admired by the literati for his publications, died at his apartments in Henrietta-street, Covent Garden, among other whimsical legacies was his heart, which, with fifty pounds, he bequeathed to his lordship." But of all the relics on record, perhaps the most singular, if the story be true, is that related in the second volume of the memoirs of the Empress Josephine, published in 1829, when the Duc de Lauragnois had not only the heart of his wife, to whom he was tenderly devoted, but her entire body, "by some chemical process reduced to a sort of small stone, which was set in a ring, that the duke always wore on his finger." After this, who will say that the eighteenth century was not a romantic age?



On the 29th of January, 1719, a Scottish gentleman, named Alexander Jaffray, Laird of Kingswells, was riding across a piece of wide and waste moorland to the westward of Aberdeen, when, about eight o'clock in the morning, he beheld—to his great alarm and bewilderment, as he states in a letter to his friend, Sir Archibald Grant of Monymusk (printed by the Spalding Club)—a body of about seven thousand soldiers drawn up in front of him, all under arms, with colours uncased and waving, and the drums slung on the drummers' backs. A clear morning sun was shining, so he saw them distinctly, and also a commander who rode along the line, mounted on a white charger.

Dubious whether to advance or retire, and sorely perplexed as to what mysterious army this was, the worthy Laird of Kingswells and a companion, an old Scottish soldier, who had served in Low Country wars, reined in their horses, and continued to gaze on this unexpected array for nearly two hours; till suddenly the troops broke into marching order, and departed towards Aberdeen, near which, he adds, "the hill called the Stockett tooke them out of sight."

Nothing more was heard or seen of this phantom force until the 21st of the ensuing October, when upon the same ground—the then open and desolate White-myres—on a fine clear afternoon, when some hundred persons were returning home from the yearly fair at Old Aberdeen, about two thousand infantry, clad in blue uniforms faced with white, and with all their arms shining in the evening sun, were distinctly visible; and after a space, the same commander on the same white charger rode slowly along the shadowy line. Then a long "wreath of smoak apiered, as if they had fired, but no noise" followed.

To add to the marvel of this scene, the spectators, who, we have said, were numerous, saw many of their friends, who were coming from the fair, pass through this line of impalpable shadows, of which they could see nothing until they came to a certain point upon the moor and looked back to the sloping ground. Then, precisely as before, those phantoms in foreign uniform broke into marching order, and moved towards the Bridge of the Dee. They remained visible, however, for three hours, and only seemed to fade out or melt gradually away as the sun set behind the mountains. "This will puzzle thy philosophy," adds the laird at the close of his letter to the baronet of Monymusk; "but thou needst not doubt of the certainty of either."

Scottish tradition, and even Scottish history, especially after the Reformation, record many such instances of optical phenomena, which were a source of great terror and amazement to the simple folks of those days; and England was not without her full share of them either; but science finds a ready solution for all such delusions now. They are chiefly peculiar to mountainous districts, and may appear in many shapes and in many numbers, or singly, like the giant of the Brocken, the spectator's own shadow cast on the opposite clouds, and girt with rings of concentric light—or like the wondrous fog-bow, so recently seen from the Matterhorn.

Almost on the same ground where the Laird of Kingswells saw the second army of phantoms, and doubtless resulting from the same natural and atmospheric causes, a similar appearance had been visible on the 12th of February, 1643, when a great body of horse and foot appeared as if under arms on the Brimman Hill. Accoutred with matchlock, pike, and morion, they looked ghost-like and misty as they skimmed through the gray vapour about eight o'clock in the morning; but on the sun breaking forth from a bank of cloud, they vanished, and the green hill-slopes were left bare, or occupied by sheep alone. Much about the same time, another army was seen to hover in the air over the Moor of Forfar. "Quhilkis visons," adds the Commissary Spalding, "the people thocht to be prodigious tokens, and it fell out owre trew, as may be seen hereafter."

Many such omens are gravely recorded as preceding and accompanying the long struggle of the Covenant, and the fatal war in which the three kingdoms were plunged by Charles I. and his evil advisers.

Indigestion, heavy dinners, and heavier drinking had doubtless much to do in creating some of the spectral delusions of those days; and inborn superstition, together with a heated fancy, were often not wanting as additional accessories. But in the gloomy and stormy autumn that preceded the march of the Scottish Covenanters into England, omens of all kinds teemed to a wonderful extent in the land. When Alaster Macdonnel, son of Coll the Devastator, as the Whigs named him, landed from Ireland, at the Rhu of Ardnamurchan, in Morven, to join the Scottish cavaliers under the Marquis of Montrose, then in arms for the king, it was alleged that the hum of cannon-shot was heard in the air, passing all over Scotland from the Atlantic to the German Sea; that many strange lights appeared in the firmament; and that, on a gloomy night in the winter of 1650, a spectre drummer, beating in succession the Scottish and English marches, summoned to a ghostly conference, at the castle-gate of Edinburgh, Colonel Dundas of that Ilk, a corrupt officer, who, on being bribed by gold, afterwards surrendered to Cromwell the fortress, together with some sixty pieces of cannon.

All the private diaries and quaint chronicles, of late years published by the various literary clubs in England and Scotland, teem with such marvels, but the latter country was more particularly afflicted by them; omens, warnings, and predictions of coming peril rendering it, by their number and character, extremely doubtful whether Heaven or the other place was most interested in Scottish affairs.

In 1638, fairy drums were heard beating on the hills of Dun Echt, in Aberdeenshire, according to the narrative of the parson of Rothiemay; in 1643, we hear of the noise of drums "and apparitions of armyes" at Bankafoir in the same county. "The wraith of General Leslie in his buff-coat and on horseback, carrying his own banner with its bend azure and three buckles or, appeared on the summit of a tower at St. Johnstown. Science now explains such visions as the aerial Morgana, produced by the reflection of real objects on a peculiar atmospheric arrangement; but then they were a source of unlimited terror." Law, in his Memorials, records that, in 1676, a wondrous star blazed at noon on the hill of Gargunnock, and a great army of spectres was seen to glide along the hills near Aberdeen.

A folio of Apparitions and Wonders, preserved in the British Museum, records that, at Durham, on the 27th September, 1703, when the evening sky was serene and full of stars, a strange and prodigious light spread over its north-western quarter, as if the sun itself was shining; then came streamers which turned to armed men ranked on horseback. J. Edmonson, the writer of the broadsheet, adds: "It was thought they would see the apparition better in Scotland, because it appeared a great way north; the same," he continues gravely, "was seen in the latter end of March, 1704," and the battle of Hochstadt followed it. This must refer to the second battle fought there, which we call Blenheim, when Marshal Tallard was defeated and taken prisoner by Marlborough. But this wonderful light which turned to armed men at Durham was outdone by a marvel at Churchill, Oxfordshire, where (in the same collection) we find that, on the 9th January, 1705, four suns were all visible in the air at once, "sent for signs unto mankind," adds the publisher, Mr. Tookey of St. Christopher's Court, "and having their significations of the Lord, like the hand-writing unto his servant Daniel."

In 1744, a man named D. Stricket, when servant to Mr. Lancaster of Blakehills, saw one evening, about seven o'clock, a troop of horse riding leisurely along Souter Fell in Cumberland. They were in close ranks, and ere long quickened their pace. As this man had been sharply ridiculed as the solitary beholder of a spectre horseman in the same place in the preceding year, he watched these strange troopers for some time ere he summoned his master from the house to look too. But ere Stricket spoke of what was to be seen, "Mr. Lancaster discovered the aerial troopers," whose appearance was as plainly visible to him as to his servant. "These visionary horsemen seemed to come from the lowest part of Souter Fell, and became visible at a place named Knott; they moved in successive troops (or squadrons) along the side of the Fell till they came opposite to Blakehills, where they went over the mountain. They thus described a kind of curvilinear path, their first and last appearances being bounded by the mountain." They were two hours in sight; and "this phenomenon was seen by every person (twenty-six in number) in every cottage within the distance of a mile," according to the statement attested before a magistrate by Lancaster and Stricket, on the 21st of July, 1745.

During the middle of the last century, a toll-keeper in Perthshire affirmed on oath, before certain justices of the peace, that an entire regiment passed through his toll-gate at midnight; but as no such force had left any town in the neighbourhood, or arrived at any other, or, in fact, were ever seen anywhere but at his particular turnpike, the whole story was naturally treated as a delusion; though the Highlanders sought in some way to connect the vision with the unquiet spirits of those who fought at Culloden, for there, the peasantry aver, that "in the soft twilight of the summer evening, solitary wayfarers, when passing near the burial mounds, have suddenly found themselves amid the smoke and hurly-burly of a battle, and could recognize the various clans engaged by their tartans and badges. On those occasions, a certain Laird of Culduthil was always seen amid the fray on a white horse, and the people believe that once again a great battle will be fought there by the clans; but with whom, or about what, no seer has ventured to predict."

Shadowy figures of armed men were seen in Stockton Forest, Yorkshire, prior to the war with France, as the Leeds Mercury and local prints record; and so lately as 1812, much curiosity and no small ridicule were excited by the alleged appearance of a phantom army in the vicinity of hard-working prosaic Leeds, and all the newspapers and magazines of the time show how much the story amused the sceptical, and occupied the attention of the scientific.

It would appear that between seven and eight o'clock on the evening of Sunday, the 28th October, Mr. Anthony Jackson, a farmer, in his forty-fifth year, and a lad of fifteen, named Turner, were overlooking their cattle, which were at grass in Havarah Park, near Ripley, the seat of Sir John Ingilby, when the lad suddenly exclaimed: "Look, Anthony; what a number of beasts!" "Beasts? Lord bless us!" replied the farmer with fear and wonder, "they are men!" And, as he spoke, there immediately became visible "an army of soldiers dressed in white uniforms, and in the centre a personage of commanding aspect clad in scarlet." These phantoms (according to the Leeds Mercury and Edinburgh Annual Register) were four deep, extended over thirty acres, and performed many evolutions. Other bodies in dark uniforms now appeared, and smoke, as if from artillery, rolled over the grass of the park. On this, Jackson and Turner, thinking they had seen quite enough, turned and fled.

Like the spells of the Fairy Morgana, which were alleged to create such beautiful effects in the Bay of Reggio, and which Fra Antonio Minasi saw thrice in 1773, and "deemed to exceed by far the most beautiful theatrical exhibition in the world," science has explained away, or fully discovered the true source of all such spectral phenomena. The northern aurora was deemed by the superstitious, from the days of Plutarch even to those of the sage Sir Richard Baker, as portentous of dire events; and the fancies of the timid saw only war and battle in the shining streamers; but those supposed spectral armies whose appearance we have noted, were something more, in most instances, than mere deceptio visus, being actually the shadows of realities—the airy reproductions of events, bodily passing in other parts of the country, reflected in the clouds, and imaged again on the mountain slopes or elsewhere, by a peculiar operation of the sun's rays.



A belief in the ghost of vulgar superstition is as much exploded in England now as are the opinions advanced by King James in his "Demonologie." Yet the learned Bacon admitted that such things might be. Luther, Pascal, Guy Patin, Milton, Dr. Johnson, and even Southey, believed in the existence of such mediums with the unseen world. "My serious belief amounts to this," wrote the latter: "that preternatural impressions are sometimes communicated to us for wise purposes; and that departed spirits are sometimes permitted to manifest themselves." And had Pope not entertained some similar idea, he had not written:

"'Tis true, 'tis certain, man, though dead, retains
Part of himself; the immortal mind remains:
The form subsists without the body's aid,
Aerial semblance and an empty shade."

Upon the truth or falsehood, the theories or rather hypotheses, of such alleged appearances, we mean not to dwell; but merely to relate a few little anecdotes connected with them, and drawn—save in Lord Brougham's instance—from sources remote and scarce.

In the memoirs of the celebrated Agrippa d'Aubigné, grandfather of Madame de Maintenon, the wife of Louis XIV., a man famous for his zeal in Calvinism and disbelief in the spiritual world, and one whose integrity was deemed alike rigid and inflexible, we read the following of a spectre like that of a nursery tale:

"I was," he wrote, "in my bed, and entirely awake, when I heard some one enter my apartment; and perceived at my bedside a woman, remarkably pale, whose clothes rustled against my curtains as she passed. Withdrawing the latter, she stooped towards me, and giving me a kiss that was cold as ice, vanished in a moment!"

D'Aubigné started from bed, and was almost immediately after informed of the sudden death, of his mother, to whom he was tenderly attached.

In a letter of Philip, second Earl of Chesterfield, we find a curious story of a double apparition occurring at the same moment, and which, though it somewhat illustrates Ennemoser's theory of polarity, is beyond the pale of modern philosophy.

In the gray daylight of an early morning in 1652, the earl saw a figure in white, "like a standing sheet," appear within a yard of his bedside. He attempted to grasp it; but, eluding him, the figure slid towards the foot of the bed, and melted away. He felt a strange anxiety; but his thoughts immediately turned to the Countess (Lady Anne Percy), who was then at Networth with her father, the Earl of Northumberland, and thither he immediately repaired. On his arrival a footman met him on the staircase, with a packet directed to him from his lady; whom he found with her sister, the Countess of Essex, and a Mrs. Ramsay. He was asked why he had come so suddenly. He told his motive, his alarm and anxiety; and, on perusing the letter in the sealed packet, he found that the countess had written to him, requesting his return; "as she had seen a thing in white, with a black face, by her bedside." These apparitions were identically the same in appearance, and were seen by the earl and countess at the same moment, though they were in two places forty miles apart. No catastrophe followed. The earl, however, survived his lady, and lived till the year 1713.

In the St. James's Chronicle for 1762 we find a strange story of an apparition being the means of revealing a murder, and bringing the guilty parties to the fatal tree at Tyburn. The narrative was said to have been found among the legal papers of a counsellor of the Middle Temple, then recently deceased.

"In the year 1668 a young gentleman of the West Country, named Stobbine, came to London, and soon after, as ill luck would have it, he wedded a wife of Wapping, the youngest daughter of a Mrs. Alceald; and in the space of fifteen months the providence of God sent them a daughter, which (sic) was left under the care of the grandmother, the husband and his wife retiring to their house in the country."

In 1676, when the daughter was six years old, Mrs. Alceald died, and the child was sent home, and remained there till 1679, when a Mrs. Myltstre, her maternal aunt, "having greatly increased her means, forsook the canaille and low habitations of Wapping, came into a polite part of the town, took a house among people of quality, and set up for a woman of fashion," and thither did she invite the Stobbines and their daughter to spend the winter with her. Among her visitors were her husband's brother, who had the title or rank of captain, and who seems to have been a bully and gamester—a "blood," in a flowing wig and laced coat—and there was another relation, who practised as an apothecary.

All these five persons dined together on the birthday of the little girl Stobbine, when a terrible catastrophe ensued. In a spirit of play, it was presumed, she took up a sword that was in the room, and pointing it at Mr. Stobbine, cried, "Stick him, stick him!"

"What!" said he, "would you stab your father?"

"You are not my father; but Captain Myltstre is."

Her father, upon this, boxed her ears, and was instantly run through the body by the captain. "Down he dropped," we are told, and then his wife, her sister, the captain, and the apothecary, all trampled upon him till he was quite dead, and interring him secretly, gave out that he had returned to the West Country. Time passed on, and though inquiries were made, and messengers sent after the missing Stobbine, he was heard of no more for a time. His daughter was sent to a distant school, and her mother, "who pretended to go distracted, was sent to a village a few miles out of town, where the captain had a pretty little box for his convenience."

A memory of the terrible scene she had witnessed haunted the daughter, she had nightly horrible dreams and frights, to the terror of a young lady who slept with her; and she always alleged that a spectre haunted her, a spectre visible to her only, and on these occasions she would exclaim, with every manifestation of horror,

"There is a spirit in the room! It is Mr. Stobbine's spirit. Oh, how terrible it looks!"

These appearances and her paroxysms led to an inquiry before a justice of the peace; and without any warning given, the whole of the guilty parties were apprehended and committed to the Gate-house, tried at the Old Bailey, "and condemned, to the entire satisfaction of the county, the court, and all present."

After this, Stobbine's troubled spirit appeared no more. Mrs. Myltstre was hanged, and her body was thrown into the gully-hole near her old house in Wapping; Mrs. Stobbine was strangled and burned. The captain and the apothecary were hanged at Tyburn, and the latter was anatomized; and so ended this tragedy.

Another remarkable detection of murder through the alleged appearance of a ghost, occurred in 1724.

A farmer, returning homeward from Southam market in Warwickshire, disappeared by the way. Next day a man presented himself at the farmhouse, and asked of the wife if her husband had come back.

"No," she replied; "and I am under the utmost anxiety and terror."

"Your terror," said he, "cannot surpass mine; for last night as I lay in bed, quite awake, the apparition of your poor husband appeared to me. He showed me several ghastly stabs in his body, which is now lying in a marl-pit."

The pit was searched, the corpse was found, and the stabs, in number and position, answered in every way to the description given by the ghost-seer, to whom the spectre had named a certain man as the culprit; and this person was committed to prison and brought to trial at Warwick for the crime, before a jury and the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Robert (afterwards Lord) Raymond, who was succeeded in 1733 by Sir Philip Yorke. The jury would speedily have brought in a verdict of guilty; but he checked them by saying,

"Gentlemen, you lay more stress on the allegations of this apparition than they will bear. I cannot give credit to these kind of stories. We are now in a court of law, and must determine according to it; and I know not of any law which will admit of the testimony of an apparition; nor yet if it did, doth the ghost appear to give evidence. Crier," he added, "call the ghost."

The farmer's spirit being thrice summoned in vain, Sir Robert again addressed the jury on the hitherto unblemished character of the man accused, and stoutly asserted a belief in his perfect innocence; adding, "I do strongly suspect that the gentleman who saw the apparition was himself the murderer, and knew all about the stabs and the marl-pit without any supernatural assistance; hence I deem myself justified in committing him to close custody till further inquiries are made."

The result of these was, that on searching his house sufficient proofs of his guilt were found; he confessed his crime, and was executed at the next assize.

In the list of the officers of the 33rd Regiment, when serving under Lord Cornwallis in America, and then called the 1st West York, will be found the names of Captain (afterwards Sir John Coape) Sherbrooke and Lieutenant George Wynward. The former had recently joined the 33rd from the 4th, or King's Own Regiment. These young men, being similar in tastes and very attached friends, spent much of their time in each other's society, and when off duty were seldom apart. One evening Sherbrooke was in Wynward's quarters. The room in which they were seated had two doors, one that led into the common passage of the officers' barrack, the other into Wynward's bedroom, from which there was no other mode of egress.

Both officers were engaged in study, till Sherbrooke, on raising his eyes from a book, suddenly saw a young man about twenty years of age open the entrance door and advance into the room. The lad looked pale, ghastly, and thin, as if in the last stage of a mortal malady. Startled and alarmed, Captain Sherbrooke called Wynward's attention to their noiseless visitor; and the moment the lieutenant saw him he became ashy white and incapable of speech, and, ere he could recover, the figure passed them both and entered the bedroom.

"Good God—my poor brother!" exclaimed Wynward.

"Your brother!" repeated Sherbrooke in great perplexity. "There must be some mistake in all this. Follow me."

They entered the little bedroom—it was tenantless; and Sherbrooke's agitation was certainly not soothed by Wynward expressing his conviction that from the first he believed they had seen a spectre; and they mutually took note of the day and hour at which this inexplicable affair occurred. Wynward at times tried to persuade himself that they might have been duped by the practical joke of some brother officer; yet his mind was evidently so harassed by it, that when he related what had occurred, all had the good taste to withhold comments, and to await with interest the then slow arrival of the English mails. When the latter came, there were missives for every officer in the regiment except Wynward, whose hopes began to rise; but there was one solitary letter for Sherbrooke, which he had no sooner read than he changed colour and left the mess table. Ere long he returned and said,

"Wynward's younger brother is actually no more!" The whole contents of his note were as follows: "Dear John, break to your friend Wynward the death of his favourite brother."

He had died at the very moment the apparition had appeared in that remote Canadian barrack. Strange though the story, the veracity of the witnesses was unimpeachable; and Arch-deacon Wrangham alludes to it in his edition of Plutarch, who, like Pliny the younger, believed in spectres. Of Wynward, we only know that he was out of the regiment soon after his brother's death; and of Sherbrooke, that he lived to see the three days of Waterloo, became Colonel of the 33rd, Commander of the Forces in North America, and died a General and G.C.B.

Prior to accompanying his regiment, the 92nd Highlanders, in the Waterloo campaign, the famous Colonel John Cameron, of Fassifern, a grandson of the Lochiel of the "Forty-five," dined with Lieutenant-colonel Simon Macdonell, of Morar, who had formerly been in the corps when it was embodied at Aberdeen as the old 100th, or Gordon Highlanders. On the occasion of this farewell dinner there were present other officers of the regiment, some of whom died very recently, and it occurred in the house of Morar, at Arasaig, a wild part of Ardnamurchan, on the western coast of Inverness-shire.

As the guests were passing from the drawing-room towards the dining-room, old Colonel Macdonell courteously paused to usher in Cameron before him, and in doing so he was observed to stagger and become pale, while placing his hands before his face, as if to hide something that terrified him. Cameron saw nothing of this, though others did; and all were aware that subsequently, during dinner, their host seemed disconcerted and "out of sorts."

Those unbidden visions known as the taisch, or second-sight, were alleged to be hereditary in the family of Morar; and hence when Cameron fell at Quatre Bras a few weeks afterwards, the old Colonel asserted solemnly, that at the moment when Cameron passed before him he saw his figure suddenly become enveloped in a dark shroud, which had blood-gouts upon it about the region of the heart; but no shroud enveloped the gallant Cameron when his foster-brother buried him in the allée verte of Brussels, where his body lay for six months, till it was brought home to Kilmalie, and buried under a monument on which is an inscription penned by Scott.

One of the latest testimonies of the existence of a spiritual world is that given in the Life and Times of Henry Lord Brougham, written by himself.

In volume first, he tells us that after he left the High School of Edinburgh to attend the University, one of his most intimate friends there was a Mr. G——, with whom, in their solitary walks in the neighbourhood of the city, he frequently discussed and speculated on the immortality of the soul, the possibility of ghosts walking abroad, and of the dead appearing to the living; and they actually committed the folly of drawing up an agreement, written mutually with their blood, to the effect, "that whichever died first should appear to the other, and thus solve any doubts entertained of the life after death."

G—— went to India, and after the lapse of a few years Brougham had almost forgotten his existence, when one day in winter—the 19th of December—as he was indulging in the half sleepy luxury of a warm bath, he turned to the chair on which he had deposited his clothes, and thereon sat his old college-chum G——, looking him coolly, quietly, and sadly in the face. Lord Brougham adds that he swooned, and found himself lying on the floor. He noted the circumstance, believing it to be all a dream, and yet, when remembering the compact, he could not discharge from his mind a dread that G—— must have died, and that his appearance even in a dream, was to be received as a proof of a future state. Sixty-three years afterwards the veteran statesman and lawyer appends the following note to this story of the apparition:

"Brougham, Oct. 16, 1862.—I have just been copying out from my journal the account of this strange dream, certissima mortis imago. Soon after my return there arrived a letter from India announcing G——'s death, and stating that he died on the 19th of December! Singular coincidence! Yet when one reflects on the vast number of dreams which night after night pass through our brains, the number of coincidences between the vision and the event are perhaps fewer and less remarkable than a fair calculation of chances would warrant us to expect."