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within. We sat with our carbines dences, that if my marksmen had not loaded, waiting to find something to won the dollar, the secret lay in my fire at. But the force of the attack having fired first. They were no seemed to have been suddenly chan. losers, however, by the mischance, ged; and a quick succession of shots and we loaded again. But the battle in the rear of the building, half de seemed over on our side of the fortermined me to quit my inactive tress—not a soul appeared. We sal. post, and join the Conde, as more lied out, dragged in the battering, stirring service. I was actually de- ram as a trophy, and, finding one of scending from my height, and lea. the fellows still able to speak, dragving the massive bars and bolts be- ged him in too. He was a stranger low me to do their duty by them- in that part of the country, and was, selves, when Napoleon, my guardian as he informed us, no less than a angel, pricked up his ears, whined, Captain in the Grand Army of Inpawed, and, putting his long nose surrection, formed out of the clowns into the night, gave palpable signs of the province. A juota for the purthat his eye saw something invisible pose of unseating the Spanish moto mine. I countermarched at the narch, hanging the Spanish grandees, instant, and nothing could be in bet- banishing the priests, and robbing ter time. I had not cocked my car- every body who had any thing to be bine half a second, before I heard a robbed of, bad been holding its privy low trampling through the groves in council in Carthagena for the last front. Soon after came a long dark three months, as undisturbed as if line of men, scarcely distinguishable they had been a convocation of nuns. from the ground they trode. A group To my enquiry why the mansion of came out in front, bearing the trunk the Conde had been the object of of a tree in their arms. This they such especial hostility, the wounded had been employed in cutting down, changer of dynasties professed himwhich was the cause of our respite. self unable to give the slightest clue. A twinkle of a torch shewed me the I insisted on a somewhat more exwhole proceeding, and I made ready plicit answer. My gallegos put their accordingly. The batteriog-ram ad- muskets to his head to clear bis revanced, with a tall ruffian carrying a collection, or save him from all fulantern at its head, who was,
pre- ture trouble connected with bis sumed, chief engineer. My galle- brains. He was wonderfully engos humbly implored leave to try lightened at the instant, and had bethe range of their artillery. I was gun a narrative, in which the Conde inflexible. The battering-ram ad- and his family bore a prominent vanced, and gave half-a-dozen fierce part, and to which I was listening blows on the gate. My gallegos now with strong interest, and the galleswore that fire they must. I was gos with gestures of alternate sur. still inflexible. The ram still struck prise, doubt, and rage, when a dishard; and the assailants, conceiving tant crash of musketry, followed by that all was safe, began to deploy in something between a shout and a crowds from the shelter of the grove. yell, stopped the narrator, and startThe gallegos now began to murmur, led the hearers. I rushed to my and I heard the word traitor passing post on the arch, and reconnoitred from lip to lip. My garrison was, in the grove with the eyes of a lynx. fact, fast approaching to mutiny, All was dim and dumb. But on castwhen I gave the signal of battle- ing a glance round, I saw the woundnot by word or gesture, but by sendo ed man suddenly spring up from the ing a bullet directly through the head ground, overturn one of the galleof the chief engineer. I had earned gos,catch his musket from the ground my own dollar. The gallant galle- as he fell, and, with the coolest air gos were now free to exhibit their imaginable, level it at me, and fire. gallantry. The whole three fired at Never was the fate of a traveller once; and though this was contrary nearer its finale. The bullet struck to orders, the effect was good. The the marble within an inch of my surprise was complete. The storm. temple, covered me with dust, and ing party were routed with infinite fell 'fattened into sheetlead at my confusion; and four ruffians, laid side feet. Partly astonished at the fel. by side in front of the gate, were evi- low's audacity, and partly stunned by the shock, I grasped the sculp- ever seen. Even if my sense of lovetured San Pedro, that made at once Jiness had not been exposed to so the ornament and the sanctity of the powerful an appeal, there might have grand entrance, and fixed my eyes been some right to my services in a on the marksman. He had retired a sense of gratitude; for it was her few paces, at once keeping the gal- hand that had caught the arm of the legos in check, and reloading the assassin, and startled him into flight. musket. He was again bringing it I followed her guidance without det to his shoulder, while I clung to the lay. We hurried on ough a succes statue, something like the bird in the sion of superb rooms, covered with fascination of the snake, perfectly tapestry and pictures, but we had now conscious that the next touch of the no time for their contemplation. The trigger might be my last, yet unable shots echoed thick in front, and my to prevent the catastrophe, when I fairest of guides flew along with saw the weapon suddenly fall on the breathless impatience. At length we floor, and the marksman turn round, arrived at a massive door, covered plunge into the darkness, and disap- with gilding and magnificent ornapear. All this was but ihe work of ments. She tried the lock-it resisted a moment. I sprung down, deter- her slight hand. Shouts rose on the mined to pursue, and disqualify bim other side. I tried itin turn. The shouts from making man a mark for ball- redoubled, followed by a heavy fire practice in future; but I too was ar of musketry, and the fire by screams rested. Before me stood, pale, trem- and groans. The huge lock would bling, almost speechless, Catalina. not give way. My guide's anxiety What had occurred? Where was grew at every moment. “ It is all the Conde ? A few sighs—a few sobs my folly!” she bitterly exclaimed. a few struggles with her over- “I brought you by the shortest way, whelming emotion, at length enabled without remembering that this door her to relieve my real anxiety. Her is never opened but when the King tidings were brief, but sufficiently visits the grandee. Long before this, expressive. The mansion had been we might have been by the side of attacked by the garden entrauce, the Conde. What on earth will bewhere the statues and terraces al. come of him--of us all !” I attempt. lowed the assailants to approach un. ed vain consolation, and at length perceived. They had already forced enquired for that longer route which iheir way into the principal apart would have escaped this intolerable ments, and were plundering every and very magnificent obstacle. She thing. The Conde had been wound. was on the point of flying in the new ed while fighting gallantly; some of direction, when, by a last effort, I the domestics had been stabbed; and succeeded in forcing back a whole Catalina, in despair and agony at the legion of bolts. The valves flew back, impending ruin, had followed her and the entire strange scene was beown counsel, and flown to bring up fore me. It was the grand bauquetthe Englishman, who was of course ing room which had formed the printo turn the tide of battle at a glance. cipal point of this extraordinary My own campaign had not been storm.' Vast volumes of flame were prosperous enough to excite san. shooting up from the outside, turnguine hopes. But if I had been Sting the ten or twelve tall casements Anthonyor St Simon Stylites, I should to crimson, and filling the vast hall have felt a heart within my bosom, with a glare that scorched the eyes. or jumped down from my pillar, tó Every picture, statue, heraldic ornabe the preux chevalier of the creature ment, and cherub nestled in the rich before me. I had seen her only in Italian cornice, or goddess looking her gaiety. She was then beautiful; down from her clouds on the finelybut now, in her trepidation-in her painted ceiling, quivered and gleamstrong feeling-the imploring loveli- ed as if it bad been just cast in molness of her dark eyes--the quivering ten gold and steel. The blaze was attempts at speech of her exquisite so powerful, that I shrunk back at lips—iheliving expression that beam- the first step, as if I were stepping ed in the quick inovements of her into an enormous furnace. My first fine features, rendered her to my impression undoubtedly was, that the eyes the most resistless being I had whole immense palace was a body of
flame. As to the inmates, I scarcely by the sufferer bimself, for he had dared to look round for them, in fear of lost sight, voice, every thing. It was finding nothing but blackened wretch- equally in vain to hope for intelli. es crumbling into ashes. It is due to gence from the fainting women and my own heroism-such as it was—to screaming domestics who formed a say, that I felt no terror for myself circle, any thing but a cordon saniat the moment. The truth is, I had taire, round the sofa, as if to stifle not time to think of the danger, or the last breath of the gasping Conde. of any thing else. All was roar, fierce My English habits revolted against effulgence-dazzling glare. The op- this absurdity at once, and thinking, portunity would have been inva- that if the unlucky grandee must die, luable for a painter of Pandemonium. it would not be necessary to ensure Salvator or Spagnoletto would have his fate by suffocation, I attempted immortalized their bandits and mar- to clear the circle; and, if I could tyrs, by circumfusing them with half give him nothing else, give him at the flashing bursts of flame, and con- least air to die in. But I had forgotsuming lustres, that were now rolling, ten that I was in the country of comwheeling, and sweeping against the mon sense no longer, and that I was walls of this saloon, worthy of princes in the heart of the land of romance.
Their ideas might have been rein- My attempt to remove a single soul forced in point of fitting population of the circle that now hung round, by the wild grotesques on the
walls as if for the purpose of immediate and ceilings, mingled with the Parian strangulation, was fiercely, or fondly, Apollos and Venuses, that figured, or frowningly repelled on all sides. mild and magnificent, like fallen an- There was the majestic Condessa gels, among the demons lit into life clinging to the neck; the magnificent by this terrific illumination. But all daughter, with her alabaster arms those conceptions were, I must ac- writhed for life and death round the knowledge, the work of an after day. feet: a demoiselle de toilette knelt at The hour itself found me much in one side, holding one hand; an old the condition of a British general, valet knelt at the other side, kissing when he makes his debût at the head the other. At the head, the family of an army. I was determined to confessor took possession of the only behave gallantly, and come off with point left to him, and with the cross character. But I was prodigiously in his right hand, employed his left puzzled how to begin. In this dis to raise up the Conde's head to gaze lemma, my good angel Catalina again upon it, with his eyes shut. interposed. She had, like myself, But something must be done. been at first overwhelmed with the With fear and trembling I ventured astounding glare that burst upon us to unclasp the arm of the Condessa. at our sudden entrance from the long If a look could have slain me, I had avenues of darkness into this focus not been now alive to tell the result. of conflagration. But she now, with I recoiled at the flash of those vast one hand laid upon my arm, and eyes darting fire into mine. An effort with the other, pointing to a group of the same kind to untwine the clasp surrounding a figure stretched on a of the lovely daughter, was repelled sofa in the distant corner of the sa- in a not less irresistible manner. She loon, uttered a cry which recalled mutely struggled for a moment, then me to the full possession of such fa- tottered, gave a shriek, and fainted culties as I ever was master of. She on the body. This was high treason sprang away. I followed. In the complete, and half-a-dozen domesnext moment her arm was round the tics, poniard in hand, actually rushed neck of the Conde, who was the from the extreme of the ball, where fainting figure, and whose days of they were watching the progress of fame I thought were fairly number the fire, to finish the business by ed. He had received a wound in thrusting their weapons into the new the forehead, which covered his fea- traitor. Once more I felt the sertures with blood; and whether it vices of my guardian spirit. Catalina, had or had not left a brace of Spa- who had stood despairingly looking nish bullets in the brain of my gal. on the countenance of her expiring lant entertainer, was the question. kinsman till this moment, seemed At all eventy, it was not to be solved recalled to sudden animation by the glitter of those tremendous knives, sitting down, with native gravity, to as their masters came rushing down wait the progress of their allies in the hall, and swearing vengeance in front, the fagots; others asleep on the all the tongues of Murcia. She cried grass, with here and there a few half. out, sprang forward as if to defend dozen of sharpshooting piccaroons, me, busy as I was with those intract- exercising themselves in throwing in able lovers and mourners, and by her a shot from time to time at a favour. cry gave me time to spring up and ite pane, or knocking off the chin or keep those madmen at bay, till they ear of some of the grandees whose could see that I was nothing worse effigies adorned the façade. Why than a very puzzled English gentle. they should have begun by attemptman. But a new catastrophe now ing to burn what it was their purseemed at hand. The tall casements, pose to plunder, was beyond my already nearly red hot, began to fall knowledge ; but it afterwards turn. inwards; some had the process ex• ed out to be one of those curious pedited by volleys of shot; the smoke examples of combined subtlety and rolled in after them, and the saloon simplicity, which belongs to the Spawas rapidly filling. Another quarter niard beyond all other men alive. of an hour must have put an end to The object was to revolutionize the every care of ours, that had this mansion by robbing it, and to bring world for its object. The heat now the master over to the patriotic side began to affect myself. The atmo- of politics, by throwing him into a sphere was scorching; and between dungeon if he should suffer himself anxiety, watching, vexation, and va- to be caught; or, if he should be repour, I should have been rejoiced to fractory, to shoot him, this being the find an ocean at my feet to jump most regular contrivance for coninto, and get rid of my humanity and vincing the refractory of the advan. its troubles together. But the dan- tages of the new régime. The attack ger proved an auxiliary. The arms had commenced accordingly, and the which scarcely any human force rabble, regenerated by the rights of could relax, gave way to the effect man, had marched as to an easy triof exhaustion and terror in a new umph. But the sharp reply of the shape. The
Demoiselle dropped on Conde's firelocks bad made caution the floor. The Condessa followed necessary, and after losing half-aher example. The Padre transfer- dozen of their number, who had atred his cares to the lady, and I had tempted rather hastily to pluck the now none to deal with but the Donna republican laurel, they withdrew Juliana and the valet. I took the their main body to ponder on the latter in charge without delay, caught matter. Still the plunder of the pahim up from his position, and with. Jace was tempting, though it was out regarding a hundred thousand obvious enough that they were not diablos and demonios, which he la- likely to succeed in converting its vished on me during his transit, nor lord; and a reinforcement of patriseveral much more formidable kicks, ots from the suburbs of Carthagena, fairly flung him outside the window, probably the most profligate nest of with permission to make his escape mankind, bad supplied those calcuin the best manner he could. lating warriors with an expedient,
I now, too, saw for the first time matchless for all its purposes. This the true nature of our situation. was the attack, by scorching away Along the whole vast terraces bun- the defenders from window, wali, dles of fagots had been laid, and and door. Another advantage was, those, set on fire, aided by large that from the time when the smoke quantities of brushwood, thrown into began to rise, it would be almost the dry moat under the windows, had impossible for the defenders of the produced the conflagration, which mansion to hit any of its assailants, threatened to melt the mansion into the volumes of smoke operating as its original clay, and to roast its in a complete screen, and it being obmates into the other world. Beyond viously hopeless for any one to think this formidable line of attack, I saw, of taking aim, where none could see. through the intervals of the smoke The fagots certainly were doing and flame, groups of people ; some their work incomparably. All was now a scene of sheets of rolling va. ments, I dropped down my eyes on pour, hot, stifling, and black. Half the floor, and was blockhead enough in rage, half in despair, I tottered to keep them there. Yet one glance rather than walked back to the spot that I ventured shewed me her cheek where the wounded noble lay. Ca- flushed with the sudden crimson of talina was still by bis side alone, but a new-born rose, and her eye spark. she was a host. She was holding a Jing like a midnight star. She was goblet of wine to his lips; and let gazing upwards at the moment, the world say what it will hence- otherwise I should have lost my forth of courtly grace and fête cham- view; for the next moment, as her pêtre captivation, give me the air, the glance fell upon me, I felt mine gesture, and the countenance of that instinctively seek the ground, and girl, in the midst of terror, fire, and lost sight of all above her foot duimminent ruin, with one slight arm ring the rest of the crisis. At length raising up that sinking frame, and she said, • Is this a time to talk of with the other advancing the cup to such things ?” The words were his lips; and let who will have the neither many nor memorable, and rifling of Canova's gallery for me, yet they shot a new feeling into and the Venus Anadyomene, alive every nerve of my frame. It was or dead. All seemed now at an end. well that they were uttered; for, if
The domestics had fled. The Conde they were not, I and all round me • evidently could do nothing. And must have soon been a hecatomb.
the look with which the lovely Ca- But the spell was broken, or rather talina welcomed me, as I stood by a new spell was thrown over me. I her side, was like the look with which grasped the Conde’s carbine, and the last survivor on a sinking deck sprang forward into the pitchy sees another returning on board to clouds, determined “to do or die." make a last effort for the safety of One slight sound, and to this hour I both, or go down together.
cannot tell whether it was sigh or Human nature is a strange thing. word, stopped me in my first plunge. It was the most singular spot and Catalina's hand was waved in faremoment on earth to tell a love-tale. well to me. I caught it; it was chill, Yet there was so little time to lose. trembling, and feeble. I pressed it If I had not told it then, it might to my lips. I would not have given never have been told. There were up that single pressure to have been banditti without, and bullets flying Sultan of both the Turkeys. I still within, and yells enough to have an. held the slender hand. The face nounced an army of Indians. But was now deadly pale. Large tears then there were no spectacled duen- were silently chasing one another nas, no feline visaged aunts, no sul down ber marble cheek, like pearls len brothers with their swords half sliding down a Grecian bust. She out of their scabbards; there was, in made no resistance to my retaining short, no family rampart to scale, no her hand. She probably thought that, solemn circumvallation of Spanish as the general catastrophe of the fa. vigilance, French pride, or Euglish mily was come, she might as well frost, to break through; and so, as leave the world'in peace, even with fate would have it, I told my tale. the heretic Englishman. I thought Simple enough it was, and short. It so too, and ventured nearer still. Not •was merely that I found my voca. an envious glance was there to distion was to die at her feet, if she cover, if we had flown to the moon. would not let me live there;—but The Coude's eyes were closed; he that I preferred living; and that she of course went for nothing. A rolhad only to say, sigh, or look, the ley that poured in at the instant shat. word, to make me abjure liberty tered a magnificent girandole exactfor the term of my existence, and ly over the spot where we were be the humblest of her slaves. There standing, and brought down its drops never probably was such a speech in a diamond shower upon our heads, made in a house on fire before. How awoke me, perhaps both, to the unshe received it, I could scarcely tell, fitness of the time for a declaration for my valour had failed me at the of matrimony. Catalina let fall the first word. And having delivered golden goblet at her feet, and threw myself of the weight of my senti- herself on her unfortunate kinsman's