« НазадПродовжити »
it; but, come what may, I will not again lose sight of this instance the adage was verified. No one had Mary. She has no father; her brother is torn from yet descended the side, and as the count cast his her. I am her sole protector. I will die before I scrutinizing glance in every direction, his quick ear desert her for an instant."
detected the light splash of an oar. Wiihdrawing “I have told you of my sister, Talbot,” said Gon instantly, he extinguished the lamp and excluded zalez, “and you must know I have a motive that as well as he could, the light of the illumination impels me, which is as powerful as your own. which streamed through the opposite ports. ReLove is your incentive, and revenge is mine. turning then to his first position, in a few moments, Yours is the most impetuous, but mine, as the more as his eye became accustomed to the obscurity, he cautious, is more certain to effect its object. I pray saw indistinctly the small boat which contained you be moderate."
Talbot and Gonzalez. The outlines of the boat were “I will, Gonzalez, with the condition I have alone visible, and he could not make out how many named."
persons it contained. It was, he thought, most proWhile they were speaking, they had not ceased to bably, the boat of some poor fisherman, compelled to watch the movements of the larger boat, which forego present enjoyment in order to procure topulled about half a mile farther up, and landed on the morrow's subsistence for himself and family. Guilt, same side. The smaller boat following their mo- however, is always suspicious, and without being tions with the utmost caution, was run ashore a short able to assign to himself a reason for his misgivings, distance below, and the two friends crept along under he summoned his steward and gave him a few hurcover of the thick brush that lined the bank, to within ried instructions. The latter, immediately leaving a few paces of the ruffians. A carriage was in the apariment, slipped through one of the gun-deck waiting, the driver standing beside it. As soon as ports as Talbot and Gonzalez had done before him, the latter saw them, he opened the door, let down and, unseen from the upper-deck, descended into the the steps, and then ascended his box. Two of the boat just before it shoved off. The fears awakened gang forced ihe lady into the carriage, and followed (wherefore he could not tell) by the sight of the tiny after; the third closed the door and mounted beside boat, had induced the count to change his entire plan. the driver. While this was taking place, Talbot was It was therefore that Talbot, when be found that the endeavoring to free himself from the grasp of Gon- preconcerted plot they had beard discussed was not zalez, who tried to detain him. With a violent adhered to, determined not to lose sight of his mistress. effort he succeeded, and springing forward, leaped When the large boat stopped at the posada, the upon the foot-board of the carriage just as the driver orphans were conducted to a private room, the had applied the lash, and the horses started off at half steward and two of the gang remaining without, soon speed. The remaining ruffian, seeing Talbot rush after a servant-majd entered, and said that the conby, turned to pursue him and give the alarm, when sul's lady was indisposed, and had sent her to beg Gonzalez sprung upon him, and violently struggling, that Miss Gillespie would come to her chamber. they fell to the ground.
With unsuspecting alacrity the poor girl rose up and The patriot, on the eve of a battle which is to de- followed the maid. At a turn in the passage, she cide the fate of his country; the secreted lover, im- was seized, a gag instantly applied to her mouth, and patient for the footfall of the mistress of his affections; then hurried to the boat. the young mother, beside the sick couch of an only Frank, who, unsuspecting as his sister, sat in child, are all less vigilant in their watchfulness, than patient expectation, started up as he heard a stifled the specious villain who seeks to hold a fair character scream. At the same moment he was felled to the with the world, while he covertly gives full indul- floor by a blow of the ruffian, who, with a heavy gence to his depraved and licentious appetites. cudgel, had crept behind him. The miscreant then
The count had every reason to believe his plot dragging the body into a closet opening from the well matured, and in a fair train for execution, and room, hastened after his companions. yet he felt restless and uneasy. The critical period The steward, as soon as the party landed at the between the conception and consummation of any posada, had dispatched a sure messenger to direct conspiracy, even when the judgment sanctions and the carriage to proceed from the place where he the true heart approves it, is the most trying of all the knew it was in waiting, to the spot designated by situations in which human nature can be placed; but the count in his last instructions. It was not distani, when the object is detestable, the means base and and, as we have seen, was at the appointed place betreacherous, and the agents employed unprincipled, fore the boat arrived. then, the suspense is torturing-for the slightest acci- The steward and his party, warned by the count, dent, the most trivial carelessness may frustrate, and had kept a vigilant look out, to ascertain if ihey were the faithlessness of the least trusted agents betray the followed by another boat; but, themselves in the best concerted plot that was ever laid.
broad glare of light, they could not catch the slightest For some days the count had feigned to be weaker glimpse of the one, which, much smaller and screened than he really was, and no sooner had Frank and his by the obscurity, hovered sufficiently near to observe sister left than he jumped up and leaned out of one them: of the ports to see them embark, and to satisfy him- The carriage, with the russians, the victim of their self that no one from the ship accompanied them. toils, and that victim's determined champion, was It is said that the Evil One favors his own, and in driven at a rapid rate along the road which ran parallel with the stream for a mile or more, when it efforts they made to extricate themselves, showed turned into one of the bye-roads on the right, which, that they were severely bruised. Miss Gillespie la id as it was less frequented, they pursued at increased on the battered side of the carriage, partially revived speed for nearly two hours. Overcome by terror from her swoon by the shock she had sustained and and exhaustion, Miss G. had swooned away some the excruciating pain she felt. time, and lay unnoticed on the back seat of ihe car. Talbot, un harmed by the discharge of the pistol, riage. At length they stopped at a gate on the left, sprung to the ground, and hurried at his ulmost and the driver's companion got down to open it. speed after the carriage, as soon as he saw that the Heretofore Talbot had remained at little risk, for the horses had run away. He passed the bodies of the carriage was closed behind, but, as the man who dis- ruffians on the road without heeding them, although mounted would certainly wait until the carriage had one, rising up, called out and limped after him, and passed through, in order to close the gate, he was reached the spot a few minutes after the accident exposed to certain peril of detection if he remained. occurred. In his excited state, it was but the work The road was clear where it passed, and there was a of a moment to extricate his mistress, to press her slight ascent from it on the left, at the summit of to his bosom, to examine her hurts, and to hurry which stood the gate. There was no bush or cover with her yet scarce animate body into the neighborto conceal him, and to descend was out of the ques. ing wood. His first anxiety was for water, and pur. tion. Beside the gale, on the right, was a large tree, suing the declivity of the ground in a direction leadthat stood just within the inclosure. While Talbot ing from the road, he soon heard the trickling of a hesitated what to do, the carriage ascended the slope, rivulet. He laid his load gently beside it, and on and as it passed through the gateway, one of the examination discovered that Mary had received a branches of the tree swept its roof. On the instant, severe cut in her head, which bled profusely, and quick as thought, Talbot caught hold of the limb, and that her left arm was broken. The loss of blood, the swung himself into the tree. The rustling noise he cooling effects of the water, which he freely applied, made startled the man who stood beside the gale, and the pain she endured, all accelerated her return and who had certainly been drinking freely.
to consciousness, and in a litle while, was enabled “Hallo! what 's that?" he cried, and springing up to thank her lover in expressions, brief, indeed, but to the box, called out, “Drive on! drive on! It's a touching, and which, like the stamp of the mint on wild beast! But I'll have a shot at it,” he added, as standard coin, are treasured by the heart that receives the carriage rolled on, and turning parily round, he them in iinperishable remembrance. They had no discharged his pistol into the tree.
time, however, for interchange of feeling. They The driver, with an imprecation, had called out to were strangers, and upon the grounds of a powerful his companion not to fire; but he was 100 late, and and persevering enemy. It was necessary, thereat the report the horses affrighted, ran off at fullspeed. fore, that they should leave the place as soon as posThe ruffians within the carriage, as well as the one sible, in order that if overtaken, it might be on land without, were instantly awakened to a full sense of not peopled with the myrmidons or subject to the juristheir danger. They were all acquainted with the diction of the count. With the simple means at his place, and knew that a short distance ahead, certainly di-posal, the water which babbled at their feet, a few not more than a third of a mile, the road inclined splints, made of the iwigs which grew around them, short to the left, to avoid an old quarry, which had a and the bandages torn from his own garments, Talbot precipitous fall of 15 or 16 feet. As cowardly as svon dressed the wounds, and temporarily assuaged base, each one thought only of his own safety. The the anguish which his mistress endured. She laid rutlian in front clambered over the roof and leaped for some time without a movement or a murmur. off from behind; the oibers forced open a door and The heavy air was laden with fragrance, and now precipitated themselves, one after the other, and all and then the pattering on a leaf would tell how abunfell with violence and more or less injured to the dantly the dew had fallen. He watched her closely, ground.
in the hope that she was in a slumber, but he soon Beside Miss Gillespie within the carriage, the perceived that her features were occasionally flushed driver alone remained, and he, with his feet pressed by intensity of pain. In truth, her arm had now hard upon the foot-board, and with his body bent begun to swell, and was exceedingly stiff and sore. forward, bore his whole weight upon the reins. He saw that it was necessary to procure shelter and Although they passed with breathless velocity, he medical attendance without delay. But whither accurately noted every object along the road, and should be proceed? The night was now far advanced. was prepared, at the critical moment, to turn the The pall of darkness was just lifting in the east; horses from the direction of the perilous chası. faint, tremulous lines of light began to stream along With a quick eye and ready hand the instant that he the sky, revealing a succession of ridges of vapor, saw the turn, with all his might he pulled upon the through which, with lessening ray, the morning star left hand rein. This over exertion ensured defeat, occasionally glimmered. The laborers would soon the rein snapped as under with the strain, and the be abroad, and it was indispensably necessary to prohorses rushing headlong, were with the carriage pre- ceed. Prevailing upon Mary to make an effort, he cipitated over the bank. The driver fell upon some was with the greatest difficulty enabled to support fragments of rock, and laid senseless and immove. her, while they slowly threaded their way through able. The horses, by their moans, and the faint the thick undergrowth of the woodland. After wan
dering a short time, they came 'o a hedge of cactus, was well acquainted with the owner of the plantasome of the plants in full bloom, the brilliant iints of tion, without hesitation he took the road through it. their gorgeous t'owers heightened and suffused by the Once or twice he thought that he heard the sound of golden rays of the now rising sun. They turned into horses hoofs at a rapid pace ahead of him, but the a path which led along the hedge toward the high-road. railing of the vehicle he was in rendered the sound On their right, lowering above the tangled brushwood, uncertain, and he took it for granted that he was were many trees, mostly large, and some of them mistaken. When he reached the rear of the building magnificent. The most conspicuous were the assumah, he alighied, and liberally recom pensing the driver, the ya yati, and the robla, * but the grandest and most opened the postern gate with a key he carried, and beautiful, all of the lordlyfrangipan, with its deep-green proceeded directly to the house. To the attendant leaves and thickly studded scarlet blossoms. On the who obeyed his summons, he said impatiently, other side of the hedge was an extensive field of sugar- “ The young lady, where is she ?" cane, in all the rich luxuriance of a matured and “In her chamber," was the reply, and in obeabundant crop. An immense mass of foliage, of the dience to a gesture of the count, the servant proliveliest green, ihick and impenetrable in its growth, ceeded along the corridor and approached an apartits tops waved gracefully in i he wind with a rustling ment at its extremity. sound ihat was borne onward until il died away in “Fools! Why have they put her there ?” mutthe distance. On the opposite side, visible through tered the count. the hedge, the field was skirted by a forest, which,
"Señor?" ascending a slope behind it, and becoming thinner as “ Stand aside, sir !” and pushing by, he threw it ascended, left only a few trees scaliered here and open the door and entered the aparıment As he did there along the ridge which bounded the western so, he started back appalled and terrified. Propped horizon. But Mary, striving to conceal her weak on a bed, catching her breath with difficulty, was a ness and suppress the moans that were every instant dying woman. The blood was streaming from her rising to her lips, and Talbot, who was wholly en mouth, and at each respiration gurgled in her throat. grossed by anxiety for her, could neither of them It was the young, the once pure and lovely Espe. enjoy the natural beauties of the scene.
ranza, the sister of Gonzalez. By the bedside stood When they had proceeded a few hundred yards, the brother, regarding him with a look of fixed and They came to a small gate set in an opening in the deadly batred. But he moved not his arm from the hedge. Talbot soon forced it open, and they emerged sinking form it supported. The unhappy girl with upon a wagon-road which ran between the hedge and staring eyes and outstretched hands, uttering inarthe cane. But Mary could proceed no farther, and ticulate and guttural sounds, strove in vain to speak seating her on the road-side, Talbot, himself in a to them. In the effort the attenuated chords of life state of indescribable anxiety, endeavored to cheer were snapped as under, and she fell back a corpse. her with hopes of speedy relief.
“Conde de Ureña,” said Gonzalez, “behold your
work! I came here to protect the victim of your CHAPTER V.
present plot-lille dreaming of the sight that awaited
That poor girl must be avenged! You or I, The first lieutenant returned to the frigate about
one or both, must bear Esperanza company.” As he half an hour after Frank and his sister bad left, and looked toward the bed his voice softened with emowas delighted to hear that the American consul had tion, but recovering himself instantly, he advanced sent for hem. Soon after he had made his report,
to the door and bolted it; then drawing a pair of pisthe count ordered his boat, and left the ship. Sup-lols from his bosom, he sternly added as he presented posing that he was summoned ashore by some of the
them, letters he had received, the old lieutenant lille
“Not now! not here! 10-morrow! any time! any dreamed that ihe de pariure of his commander, in any where else!” said the count, his cheek blanched and manner, had reference to the orphans. He believed his brow beaded with perspiration. them safe, and with many claim upon his attention, “Here! Upon this spot! This very instant!" dismissed them readily from his mind.
shouted Gonzalez. - Vile seducer and murderer," The count steered his boat 10 the usual landing he added, " you have killed your man! Where is place, and hiring a caleche, proceeded direcily to the your vaunted courage? Will that arouse you?” western gate. Here he was detained but a moment, and he struck him a fierce blow. The count's face for the officer immediately coming out, recognized Bushed, he clutched the weapon, and turning to Gonhis rank, and he was allowed to pass. Impatient of zalez with a look as vindictive as his own, sternly delay he took the reins himself, and drove with a
motioned him to take his position. How corroding speed proportioned to the ardor of his licentious is the effect of vice! Time was when the unhappy passion, and his vindictive yearning, by its grati- nobleman would have shrunk in horror from the fication, to wreak vengeance upon her lover-whose contaminating touch of one guilty of a crime, the hand he felt sure bad before frustrated him. There dreadful consequences of which, in all the appalling was a near cut through a neighboring plantation, majesty of death, were then before him. And yet, which struck a road leading to the rear of his hacienda, more fiend-like than such a wretch, he stood in all and saved upward of two miles in distance. As he the concentrated batred of a duelist, prepared to take * Spelt as they are pronounced.
the life of the brother of his victim. By a career of
vice, the once honorable man had been converted that he complained of ill treatment in his house, he into a demon.
swore that the stranger must be some robber, who The combatants confronted each other, leveled had concealed himself in the closel, and that some their weapons, and fired so simultaneously that the one in passing had locked the door. Improbable as reports sounded as one. The pistol of Gonzalez was was this supposition, in face of the mark of the blow struck from his hand and one of his fingers shattered. which Frank exhibited, all present concurred in proHeedless of the pain, as the reverberation ceased, he fessing that they believed it irue. A police officer bent forward to see if his adversary were unburt. was accordingly sent for, and the unhappy youth Partially concealed by a spiral wreath of smoke, ihe taken 10 the guard-house. The next morning he was count stood seemingly unscathed before him. But summoned before the alcalde, who, 100 indolent to the moment after his weapon dropped, he pressed his send to the frigale to iden:ify the prisoner, and, to do hand to his side, and casting a look of anguish and him justice, wholly discrediting the latter's statement despair upon the corpse of the woman he had ruined, of being thrust into the closet, condemned him to be tottered, reeled, and fell heavily upon the floor! Transported for six months to the Castle St. Juan de The threat of Gonzales was verified. Alinosi instan. Ulloa, off Vera Cruz, the last place held by Spain on taneously, iwo souls were summoned to their dread the eastern shore of North America, and next to the
last held by her on the continent. When Gonzalez sprung upon the boalman from Frank was taken immediately on board of a transbehind, he took him so much by surprise that he had pori filled with troops and convicts, the first to rehurled bim over and pointed a dagger to his throat cruit the garrison, the last to assist in repairs of the before he could muster presence of mind enough 10 old, and the construction of additional fortifications. defend himself.
The youth, although well-grown, it was evident was “ Villain," said Gonzalez, “lie still, and answer not accustomed 10, and could not perform manual me truly, or I pin you to the earth. I already know labor. The alcalde had therefore sent a message to enough to tell if you deceive me. As you value the commander of the detachment, recommending your life, say where has that carriage gone ?” that he should be assigned to some light employment. “A la hacienda Frangipina, señor.”
The magistrale saw that the youth was a foreigner, “Why does n't it go to Mariel, as first intended ?" he believed him to be a vagrant if nothing else, and “Yo no say, señor.”
he knew that hands of all descriptions were needed “Will you swear that what you tell me is true ?”' at that fortress. He therefore made no inquiries. “Si, señor, por mi alma.”
That afternoon the transport sailed. “ Pshaw! Your soul is forfeit." “Por la Señora Nuestra."
CHAPTER VI. " Well, I 'll believe you, for my countrymen never Talbot and Mary were successful in reaching the deceive when they swear' by our Lady.'”
city unpursued, and had been four days in the AmeHe then permitted him to rise, and proceeded to rican Consul's house, before, through his exertions, question him further. He soon found that the ruffian they discovered the departure and destination of could be as readily employed to defeat as to forward Frank Gillespie. The sister was grievously dis. a nefarious plot. Gonzalez knew ibe hacienda well, tressed, and mourned her brother as dead, but Talbot and with the aid of the boalman procured a horse and pledged himself to follow and attempt his rescue, and was enabled to reach it some ten minutes before the although the fractured bone of her arm was not well count. Like the later, he too had asked for la seño- knit together, she determined to accompany her riia, (the young lady,) and by a similar mistake of the lover as far as she could. Talbot was provoked to servant, who knew nothing of the plot, he was shown the resolution, to say nothing of a more generous to his sister's chamber. He had heard of her ruin, impulse, by the refusal of the Spanish authorities to but knew not that she had been decoyed from their lake cognizance of the subject. And Mary felt that father's roof. He found her very ill, and her agita. without impropriety she could proceed to some one tion at seeing him brought on a profuse and fatal of the small ports on the route to Vera Cruz, if not to hemorrhage. All this, let it be borne in mind, occur. The latter place itself. She hired a servant to supply red before the carriage had entered the grounds. the place of the one drowned in the privater, and
When Frank recovered his consciousness in the felt more reconciled to the peril to which Talbot closet where he was confined, he could not conceive would be exposed, from the assurance of Gonzalez where he was, or what had befallen him. By slow that he would share the enterprise. The latter, dreaddegrees the events of the night were recalled to his ing more assassination by some of the connections of recollection, and in great alarm he began to grope the late count, than any legal investigation, kept about in the darkness. When he found the door, himself secreted in the city, but was frequently and vainly tried to open it, he knocked and shouted visited by Talbot. loud and vehemently. The landlord and several The only vessel in port bound in the direction of others, astonished at the uproar, burried to the parlor Vera Cruz was an American brig, advertised for and threw open the closet-door. To their rapid and Sisal. In her they engaged their passage, and after noisy questioning he could only reply in his own night-fall Gonzalez, in disguise, accompanied them tongue, which was 10 them unintelligible. When, on board. At break-of-day the next morning, they however, by his gestures, the landlord understood / sailed with a fair wind, and had gained some distance dy sunset, when it fell calm, and with the land upon she placed ihe letter in his hands, saying, “Don't be one side, and an expanse of water on the other, jealous- I will be true, although the offer is a temptthe vessel rode with graceful ease upon a prolonged ing one." Verbatim et literatim, it ran thus : but gentle undulation. The golden rays of the set
“ dear Mary is a name so sweet, ting sun mingled in the zenith with the soft and sil
i loves to spell it as i loves to eat. i kiles the very light of the moon in her meridian, and a long ropes to spell it, i scratches it with a marlingspike and lovely twilight followed. Seated on deck, apart
on the rale, charming Miss Mary i addores you when from their companions, (for Gonzalez was too con
you walkes the deck so gracefull as a swan a swimsiderate to intrude,) Mary and her lover mused long ming of a Rivver, i looks down upon you from the and deeply. The hour and the scene were calculated top as you moves backards and forrards so musically, to dispel their anxieties and to soothe their cares.
i wishes that I was a hauk to pounce down upon you When either was depressed—he, with the sad thought and carry you of like a Duv in my Arms 10 sum luvly that of all his race he stood alone-she, that she was ileand in the sea. Sweetest Miss Mary i isent a an orphan, and that her brother was perhaps lost to Lofer, for my Parrents is respectible and my father her forever, a glance around and above would give
ones a Large factory in New Jersy, whar he makes their thoughts a holier and more soothing direction;
a Grate quontity of paper, not your common Rapfor the works of the Great Architect, the teeming ping paper, but big sheets for the Nusepapers, and earth, the slumbering sea, the brilliant sky, all pro
sum a grate deal Finer for Riting upon than this, claimed in language unheard but felt that mercy is which is the best i can gett i is unfortunit Miss His great and most peculiar attribute. It was indeed Mary but i isent a imposter for my Father is ever so a lovely scene! Directly overhead, the moon shone Rich and will give plenty of munny if i will cum forth in serene and unclouded lustre; a little lower, home and help him in his bizziness. but i cant go the fiery mars peered forth; then the resplendent orb home nor no whars els onless you will smile upon of Jupiter, and in the same direct line, but just above
me i offers you all my prospicts. if you will eccept the horizon, the beautiful Venus sunk to rest, en
my sule if your charming buzzom feels any pitty for veloped in a mantle yet rich with the gorgeous rays
a poor Retch who loves you to dispare. and you will of the sun which had preceded her. They remained
cast them sweet killing ise on me, as you aires the on deck until a late hour of the night, for whenever deck, you will liten my hart of its hevvy lode and they went below they were annoyed with the hum make it swim in Blis. Yours furever until deth. and freiled with the sting of the mosquito. At last
Cirus LAMBERT.” they parted, Talbot throwing himself upon the deck,
Poor Lambert! and Mary retired to her berth and soon fell asleep.
" It were all one, If the waking hours of that pure-minded girl had
That he should love a bright particular star,
And think to wed it." been those of endurance, the visions of that night were ample compensation. Reclined upon her nar- But love, like faith, comes by inspiration, and row bed, with the folds of the mosquito.net tucked whether it be a milk-maid or a goddess, a man has a closely around her, while, like the Cossacks before right to worship the object of his affections. As we Ismael, the multitudinous insects strove to enter, she have seen, the maiden's first impulse was to merriwas either in fancy communing with the man she ment; but she soon perceived that the man was in loved, or with Frank and her father knelt beneath earnest, and from motives of delicacy and compasthe cotton-tree which shaded the grave of her mother, sion she remained below the remainder of the pasand listened to the gentle wave as it rippled upon sage. The confinement was a brief one. The next the beach, while from the jeweled sky, fit canopy, afternoon they reached Sisal, and were hospitably for such a scene, the Omniscient eye seemed to look welcomed by an American merchant, to whom Tal. down approving.
bot had letters from our consul in Havana. Mary Among the crew there was a dandy sailor who was immediately taken to the gentleman's house and took especial pride in his flowing locks, and evidently cordially greeted by his wife, who insisted upon her sought to attract the notice of the lady passenger. becoming an inmate of the family during her stay. The day before they reached Sisal, seizing an oppor. An offer most gratefully accepted. When the mertunity when Talbot and Gonzalez were below, he chant was told of their contemplated adventure he passed once or twice by the place where she sat on became a zealous coadjutor; chartered for them a deck, and at lengih catching her eye, with a mean-small, fast-sailing felucca, and purchased a cargo of ing look dropped a letter at her feet, and immediately salt, in order that it might be supposed she was on retired. Mary had been beset with so many dangers one of her usual trading voyages. He also procured of late; had been so often nearly ensnared by plots, for Talbot and Gonzalez, dresses such as are worn that she at once imagined the letter to contain a by the crews of these vessels. friendly warning. She therefore hastily picked it Determined not to lose a moment, as soon as the up and ran below. It proved to be a genuine love arrangements were completed our adventurers set letter, and despite her sadness and the anxiety of her sail. Talbot with difficulty tearing himself from his position, she laughed outright as she read it. Her mistress, who clung to him in all the reckless abanunusual merriment drew Talbot to her side, and after donment of grief. Coasting along the shore, they exacting a promise from him that he would in no passed Alvarado and anchored the second evening manner notice, or betray a knowledge of its contents, under Anton Lizardo, until the moon went down.