Obrazy na stronie

torches of my trusty followers, who encompassed us, threw a fitful glare over the scene:

[ocr errors]

Don Gaspar de Aguilar, Marquis of Cadiz,' said I, 'you are now standing beside the grave of her whom you so deeply wronged. Prepare to meet thy God!'

[ocr errors]

I wronged her, it is true,' faltered the wretch; but, believe me, I had respect unto her honor.'

"Are you speaking the truth?' ''I am.'

"Then swear it by that cross.'

And as the trembling coward knelt and kissed the sacred emblem, I buried my stiletto in his bosom; thus sending him, with a lie upon his lips, back to the hell from whence he sprung.

'And now, caballeros, I am here, a captive condemned to the garrote. But think not I mourn my lot. No: life has no charms for me now. And although I am doomed to an ignominious death, I have the sweet consolation of knowing that my grave will be watered by the tears of my companions, and my memory live in the hearts of thousands of the poor, whose necessities I relieved from the overflowing coffers of the Marquis of Cadiz.'

As the bandolero ceased speaking, my mess-mates and I sadly and silently withdrew from his presence; and when, a week later, news reached us, as we were going out of the harbor of Cadiz, that his sentence had been carried into execution, one of our number at least wept over his untimely fate.


THE shadows which at sun-set flit
Across my room with noiseless wings,

I know not why, but yet to me
They seem like living things:

I feel that they are living forms,
From earthly grossness free:
The kindred of my soul they seem,
Come back to visit me:

The sun sinks down, they flee away
Through the unopened door;

They leave behind no change of form,
No foot-prints on the floor.

Oh! ever since my friend has lain

In her dark, silent tomb,

I've wished that I might steal from life,
As shadows from my room.

Yellow Springs, (O.,) Dec. 4th, 1857.

[blocks in formation]

L'amour me reville' is still sung by the French boatmen on the North-west lakes.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



In the winter of 18-, while ascending the Nile with a Frenchman named Gardet, in pursuit of adventure, we had occasion to stop at the town of Ossiūt. Gardet was a Frenchman by birth, and had been my companion for three years, through all my Asiatic wanderings; and a mutual attachment having arisen, he now considered himself as an inseparable constituent of mine. He was a man shrewd by nature, of undaunted courage, but so garrulous that I never breathed to him my plans until they were ready for fulfillment. Of myself, all the reader need know is, that I had been travelling in Egypt and Asia; that I spoke the language fluently, and flattered myself that I understood Oriental manners and character pretty thoroughly. By birth I am an American. As we always made it a point to pay our respects at headquarters, we at once went to see the Governor, Achmet Bey, a finelooking Oriental, a Turk by nation, although, as he told us, a resident for twenty, years of Egypt. We found him at his palace, about half a mile from the river, seated on a divan of beautiful needle-work, before which was one of the finest and most gorgeous of Persian mats. On his right was a long nargileh. He rose as we entered, received us with cordiality, and bestowed on us every attention that inherent politeness could devise.

After smoking with him for some time, and conversing on Egyptian topics, he showed us many curiosities, and all his accoutrements: among them was a saddle, richly mounted with silver, which was presented to him by the Pasha of Egypt. While examining its workmanship attentively, I noticed a small pocket on one side, which seemed to be filled with coin. Observing that it had attracted my attention, the Governor, who had worn an anxious countenance throughout our visit, nothwithstanding his cordiality, remarked that he had lost the key to it, or he would be pleased to show me the contents, which he also valued as being the Pasha's gift. He then handed the saddle to an attendant, and, making a sign for my companion to follow with our dragoman, he linked my arm in his, and after glancing at my face, as though to read in it the probability of my being trustworthy, and apparently concluding that I was, confided to me that he had been robbed. After pausing to note the effect produced by this announcement, he continued:

'About a week ago my brother, who resides at Stamboul, sent to me a small iron safe, curiously bound with Damascene steel, and studded with brass. It was a gift long promised me, and I prized it as my very beard. I showed it to many persons, but opened it before few, lest they should so envy the contents as to steal it from me.'

And what did the box contain so precious, that you so carefully guarded it?' I asked.

That which I most valued, was a signet-ring, set with the most beautiful opal eye ever beheld: there were also jewels of countless value; some of them I presented to my Harem, but far more than I gave, remained. There was also the key to the saddle-pocket, at which you were just now looking, What was my consternation to find this morning, that it was gone ! stolen from beneath my head, while I slept! And now,' he continued, dropping his voice still lower, 'I want you, who are famed for your shrewdness,' (alluding to an occurrence in Cairo,) to discover the thief; if you try, and fail

[ocr errors]

But I know you will succeed ; if you do succeed, one-third of the jewels you are the means of restoring to me, shall be your own.'

He paused as we reached his palace, and entered. I determined to undertake the recovery for him the reward would enable us to continue our wanderings, for at least another year, in my dearly-loved


'I consent,' said I, when we were again seated, 'to try my powers, to have returned to you the treasure you have lost.'

Achmet rubbed his hands with delight, and already congratulating himself on his success, bade me ask any thing of him I needed. 'I want,' I replied, ' a permit to go anywhere through your town I please, and to enter any house through your domain; and finally, that you say not a word to any one concerning your loss.'


He readily promised secresy: he had been too much chagrined to mention it before, and gave me the paper I wanted. I told Gardet that I should remain at Ossiūt for a few days, and requested him to leave with the boat at night for Upper Egypt, and remarked that I would overtake him by horse-back in four or five days at the most. farther requested him to give out that I was on board, and to make any excuse he pleased for my non-appearance. This done, I rejoined Achmet Bey, and desired him to show me the room from which the safe was stolen. It was in the second story, and could be reached only by passing through two smaller chambers. Having reached it, I desired. to be left alone: and now began a survey.

The room was sixteen feet square on the east and west sides there were no openings. The walls were wattled and hung with red tapestry; but for economy, this was stretched tightly along the wall. The ceiling was composed of beams, on the upper side of which planks were fastened. There was apparently no opening communicating with the loft above. A lounge, covered with damask, occupied one portion of the room, while ottomans of various patterns were disposed in the corners. On the north side was the door of entrance. This I examined carefully, and found upon the wooden bolt, which could be drawn only from within, no mark of violence, nor even a fresh scratch, On the south side of the apartment were two windows, small, it is true, but still of size sufficient to admit the ingress of an ordinary-sized man. One was latticed, the other had the lattice removed. I examined both the sills there was no rubbing of the paint, and no sand remaining which could have been brought by the foot of an intruder.

I was puzzled. The floor yet remained to be examined. It was of red-and-blue tile, and appeared solid throughout; there were no marks

« PoprzedniaDalej »