Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

trary to the wishes of their general strange infatuation, the more repreas well as their own.

hensible as no one ever entertained The obstinacy of Colonel Valdes a doubt of the intrepidity and miliwas productive of the inost fatal ef- tary honor of Valdes. In a short fects. This chief must have been time a brisk fire commenced be strangely deceived by the treache- tween his two hundred men and the rous informations of scouts in the foremost detachment of the enemy. interests of the enemy. Mina had Valdes himself behaved with the received intelligence of the real utmost gallantry, and being most state of the case—he knew that a efficiently seconded by his followformidable body was on the point of ers, he succeeded in maintaining falling upon the little army of the his station at the bridge of Vera for patriots, and he hastened to com a long time. But new forces were municate the news to Valdes. In continually coming in sight, and no the meantime he had sent a great human exertions could avail in so proportion of his troops to cover the unequal a contest. The heights of retreat which he foresaw his com- Vera presented a fearful array; fopanion in arms would be compelled rests of bayonets and other weapons to make. General Butron, who glancing in the sun, threatened the commanded Mina's followers, had devoted band with certain and iman interview with Colonel Valdes, mediate destruction. Valdes, after and informed him that they would an obstinate resistance, was obliged be surprised by the enemy unless to abandon his place and retreat, they made good their retreat in still keeping up the fire. At this time. Valdes would not believe moment a body of above a thousand the truth of this intelligence, alleg- men was seen advancing to the ing that he had received far more right with the intention of cutting correct information from his confi- off the sole direction by which the dential scouts. This fatal blindness retreat could be effected. The in Valdes was not long in producing danger of the constitutionalists was its natural results. Early in the now appalling-wherever they turnmorning of the 27th the enemy came ed their eyes they met nothing but in sight, and in a short time they fearful numbers of the enemy—it presented a very formidable array. seemed as if the crisis of their fate Instead of detached guerrillas or was arrived, and that nothing could small flying columns, it was soon avert their ruin. perceived that a series of battalions In this awful moment, Mina's caof regular troops were making their valry, that is to say thirty horsemen, appearance. The troops of Gene- made a desperate rush against the ral Llauder, Viceroy of Navarre, division of the enemy that was intogether with those of Fournay, tercepting the retreat. The attack Santos, Ladron and Juanito, were of this gallant band was so resolute, acting with one accord, in order to that despite of the immense inequasurround and completely annihilatelity of numbers, they succeeded in the small band of the constitution- killing many of the enemy, taking a alists.

chief and some men prisoners, and To his first error Colonel Valdes throwing the whole body into conadded a second. When he saw that fusion. This partial success inhe had been mistaken in his sur- fused new ardor into the hearts of mises

either froin a punctilio of the patriots, their drooping hopes honor - from some extravagant were revived, and a fresh stimulus stretch of hope, or from some other was added to their exertions. The unknown cause, he resolved to en- struggle was continued with obvious gage in conflict with the enemy, in- advantage on their side, when anastead of retreating before such su- ther division was observed rapidly perior force. This certainly was á advancing to support the first.

Το

prolong now the contest under such posed of a regiment of the royal disadvantages would have argued guards and troops of the line. How insanity and folly, and the order came it then to pass that soldiers was given for a retreat into France. who could have not the slightest This movement was performed with grounds of complaint, were seen to less disorder and confusion than perform their task so tamely? How could have been anticipated from is this to be explained unless we the circumstances of the action. admit that they were not ardent in The great majority of the patriots the cause they were sent to supeffected their entrance into France, port? We do not mean that in not as flying fugitives, but as sol- some particular instances they did diers in possession of their arms. not show a degree not only of zeal The loss which the troops of Valdes but of ferocity ; for example, many and Mina sustained on this occa- of the officers (new men) were vosion amounted to about a hundred ciferous in their cries of Viva il Re men in all, counting the slain, wound- absoluto! and the royalists violated ed, prisoners, and those who were the French territory by killing and missing ; but it was afterwards found wounding several constitutionalists that the loss was not quite so see in the pursuit : but certain partial vere, as several men belonging to cases cannot affect our opinion, and the party made successively their we may fairly believe that the spirit appearance in the French territory. of the army in general was, to say

It seems really strange that a the least, very doubtful. single man should have been suf Mina beheld the conflict from the fered to escape. According to the heights of St. Marcial; and as he assertion of the prisoners made by had justly anticipated, should Mina's cavalry, the forces of the Valdes refuse to retreat, 'he perroyalists amounted to 5,000, and ceived the defeat of the constituthis without counting other troops tionalists and their return into which were kept behind and took France. He was at the moment no part in the engagement. The attended by few followers, as we constitutionalists were nearly sur- have seen that the bulk of his little rounded-pressed on all sides, and army operated under El Pastor and retreating through places which Butron. To effect an escape into certainly were not very friendly the French territory was now the disposed towards them. From this only object towards which his attena natural conclusion must be drawn tion ought to be directed ; but there wbich will prove favorable to the were great difficulties in the accomliberals. The event serves to esta- plishment of this plan : the country blish the fact that there was an swarmed with royalists, who after extraordinary exertion of courage the repulse of the enemy, naturally and activity on one side, and an enough directed their whole care to equal degree of indifference on the ferret out and capture those whose other. The royalist troops merely escape had been intercepted. The performed their duty, they did not royalist chiefs were indefatigable fight as men who were ardent in in their pursuit ; they suspected or the cause they defended, and there rather knew that Mina was suris every reason to suppose that had rounded and in their power, and anything resembling an army been they spared no exertion to secure opposed to them, the desertion to so rich a prize. The few attendants the enemy's ranks would have been of that general had dispersed in orvery great. Another circumstance der to effect their escape indivito strengthen this opinion is, that the dually, as in this manner they were royalist forces were not made up of more likely to succeed than by militia, guerrillas, or disorderly keeping in a body, which would of bands of volunteers, but were com- course offer greater facility to a

Mina per

discovery. Mina at last remained with an oath—the captain's conalone with his aid-de-camp Meca, fusion increased, his surprise was a priest and an old servant. He converted into a kind of dread, and wandered about the mountains in fancying that he was addressed by the most destitute and wretched some superior chief of the royalist condition, expecting every hour to army, he submissively answeredfall into the hands of the enemy.

« This detachment belongs to the He knew the importance that at- division of Juanito." tached to his capture-his situation “Well, then," returned Mina, was deplorable, but his mind re- forthwith, “what brings you himained unbroken by misfortune. ther? hasten to join your division." The fatal moment at length arrived. The officer stared and demurred His aid-de-camp perceived a strong to obey this order. detachment of royalists advancing Mina cast a glance of indignain their direction—they had been tion, and in a fierce voice exseen-to avoid a meeting was to- claimed tally impracticable.

“ Damnation, Sir! what do you ceived the horror of his situation, mean by not obeying immediately? from which he felt sensible nothing Go, Sir, or depend upon it I shall could extricate him. He finally report your conduct !" resolved to exert every effort, howe The royalist officer made no fur ver desperate and wild, rather than ther show of opposition, but in a submit tamely to his melancholy deferential manner bowed to Mina, fate. Collecting all his energies and followed the command so sharpand summoning to his assistance ly given : in a few minutes the dehis extraordinary presence of mind, luded party were out of sight, and he turned to his companions, whó Mina joined his companions. The had lost every hope, and in a calm success of this extraordinary ruse tone of voice said

gave the four unfortunate wander“Gentlemen, be composed-re- ers courage to support the main here and let me advance." trials and hardships which they

Saying this he resolutely went to were aware they would have to meet the approaching party. In a encounter before they could gain short time he was close to the roy- the French line. Though they had alists, when in a steady tone and escaped one imminent danger, a collected manner he cried out thousand equally appalling obstruct

“ To what division does this de- ed their path. They were not detachment belong ?”

ceived in their melancholy surThe captain stared in astonish- mises-as the royalists, who by this ment, at a question so arrogantly time had received correct informaand confidently put. He did not tion relating to Mina's fugitive recognise Mina, and he remained course and destitute condition, for a few seconds in suspense ; he were exerting all their endeavors was as it were taken by surprise, to discover his lurking-place. The and knew not what to make of the constitutional general and his attendman who addressed him in so com- ants, knowing that those places manding a tone. Mina, observing were filled with their pursuers, had the confusion into which he had taken refuge in an obscure cavern, thrown the royalist chief, lost no situated in a retired and dismal ra. time in improving his first advan- vine. There they remained in contage ; feigning to fall into a rage, cealment until an opportunity should he exclaimed in a more haughty and offer for their escape. Meantime impatient manner

the royalists were very actively enSir, I ask again to whom does gaged in scouring the forest and this troop belong p»

every spot around, but to no purThe question was accompanied pose. Their ingenuity was next

new

put to the stretch, in order to devise tion in the inmates of one of the means for arriving at the attainment wretched houses, and he endeavored of their object. They caused some to tranquillize their fears. A lad shepherds to ramble about, sounding eighteen

years of age, then genetheir horns, that Mina, deceived by rously offered to conduct the genethe welcome note, might be tempted ral to the French frontier, which he to quit his concealment in order to did with perfect success, and in request succor. This stratagem was reward for his humanity and resoluvery adroitly put in practice, but tion received a considerable sum of without success ; Mina, like an old money from the general. fox, would not quit his hole. The Having crossed into the French failure, however, only served to territory, one would suppose that stimulate the contrivers of this plan the dangers and trials of Mina to form another more pregnant with were at an end, but this was far from danger for the fugitives. Blood- being the ease. He arrived at a hounds were then procured and let house near Sara, and there, exhaustloose, that they might scent the in- ed with fatigue, and suffering from tended victims out; this expedient the combined effects of hunger and was sagacious, and it was near want of sleep, he threw himself proving fatal to Mina. The hounds down to enjoy some repose. Not went on in their pursuit with fear- long after, Santos Ladron, one of ful precision ; and the unfortunate the royalist generals, passed by the men were on the point of being dis- house where he lay. The chief comcovered, when two stags suddenly manded a division of four hundred started from their repose, crossing men, no doubt a part of those who in the direction of the hounds. had pursued the party of Valdes This singular incident saved the into France. Santos Ladron passed lives of Mina and his companions ; by the house where Mina reposed, the dogs, naturally enough, following and never once dreaming that the in the track of the stags, and this rich prize was in his power, he new scheme of the royalists com- returned to Spain without further pletely failed. Had this extraor- delay. dinary circumstance happened when Mina his arrival in France the life of a royalist general was appeared in a most wretched condiconcerned, the monks and friars tion. It is asserted that a quartern would, no doubt, have cried out- loaf was the only food which he and “A miracle ! a miracle !” The his companions tasted for the space two stags would have been con- of two days. The effects of his verted into angels, expressly sent sufferings were clearly perceptible from heaven, in that moment of upon his constitution ; his wounds peril. In the present case, howe- bled anew, and to recover his ver, the said stags must be content strength he was afterwards obliged to bear a very different character, to take the baths of Cambo. and if the circumstances of Mina's The attempts made by other conescape should be narrated by his stitutional chiefs have been of less enemies, we shall not be surprised importance ; the one conducted by to see the poor stags transformed the brave Colonel de Pablo, called into a couple of devils.

Chapalangaras, is the most worthy When General Mina felt assured of notice, from its terminating in the that the coast was clear, he ventured death of that officer. It must, howto quit his retreat, and endeavored ever, be confessed that De Pablo to effect his escape by the most was guilty of an excess of rashness, solitary places. After a fatiguing not to say folly : he boldly marched and anxious march, he succeeded in before a strong body of the enemy, Teaching a hamlet ; his sudden and without further ado attempted appearance produced a strong emo- haranguing them. A few moments

37 ATHENEUM, VOL. 5, 3d series.

upon

afterwards he was pierced with a principal men have escaped, and shower of bullets, and his small band will yet reappear in the field, when totally dispersed. Colonel Baiges it is least expected. The long time, also made an invasion, but was which forlorn as they are, has passobliged to retreat : such has also ed without their being taken, is a been the case with Gurrea. Of the strong evidence that they have prooperations of Milans and Grases, tection in the territory. Much is nothing positive is known ; but we expected from Catalonia. The spimay venture to assert that from the rit of that province is liberal, and spirit which reigns in Catalonia and the atrocities of Count d'Espagna Arragon, invasions are much more will add the stimulus of revenge to likely to be attended with success in the desire of freedom. The entrance those places than in the province of of winter will probably retard the Navarre. The disaster which hap- operations of the constitutionalists. pened to Mina and Valdes will be The Junta has been dissolved, but a subject of no wonder to those who another with a more authoritative have been at the pains of perusing character will be named in its place. this sketch of the event ; the won- Meantime, as if the poor refugees der would indeed have been, if things had not trials and difficulties enough had turned out otherwise. A close to encounter, the liberal French goinvestigation of facts will convince vernment has given peremptory orany one that if the constitutionalists, ders for their dispersion, and they instead of frittering away their slen- are ordered into Bourges and other der powers in petty attempts and places in the interior. It is somefoolish quarrels, had mustered up what singular, forsooth, that France all their forces, and under the should now show such conscientious command of Mina marched into scruples~France! that blushed not Spain two thousand strong, the in 1823 not merely to aid and abet strength supposed to be scatter- the serviles, but even carry on a ed along the frontiers, they would most atrocious and unjustifiable inhave determined the undecided to vasion against all the laws of justice join them, and opened the way to and the rights of nations.

By what success.

strange fatality is it, that unfortuWith regard to different other nate Spain is ever doomed to suffer points in the Peninsula, no event of from the government of her neighimportance has hitherto taken place. bor France, whether this governThe progress of General Torrijos ment be imperial or republican, ulis involved in mystery ; sometimes tra-royalist or liberal ? he is represented as a solitary and But the radical impediment to the helpless fugitive, and at others as political regeneration of Spain is, having made a successful descent we trust, forever removed. France on the southern coast of Spain. As is no longer under the dominion of he is totally bereaved of resources, a family reared in secret hatred of the probability is that he has met freedom, and ready to support the yet with nothing but disappointment. views of despotism in the Peninsula. În Galicia the fire of the revolution The fatal counsellors of Ferdinand has emitted some sparks. The are thrown entirely on their sole curate of Valdeorras and Rodriguez, resources and strength. Those recalled Bordas, have organized guer- sources and that strength must at rillas, which for some time excited last be exhausted. Å shufiling, deep anxiety among the constituted discreditable, and pernicious system authorities. But the forces of those of finance, cannot be continued chiefs were not sufficiently strong to forever ; even 'the most blind, the cope against the enemy opposed to most inveterate of dupes, must ultithem. Many of the party have mately open his eyes to the picture been killed, others executed, and of his own ruin. the rest dispersed. The leaders and The Spaniards have now no cause

« НазадПродовжити »