« НазадПродовжити »
circumference, and which, being streaked with recent blood, presented to the eye an object truly terrific. At the back part of the cave, and fixed to a brazen ring, stood a female figure, and, as far as the obscurity of the light gave opportunity to judge, of a beautiful and elegant form. From her the shrieks proceeded; she was dressed in white, and, struggling violently and in a convulsive manner, appeared to have been driven almost to madness from the conscious horror of her situation. Two of the banditti were high in dispute, fire flashed from their eyes, and their scimitars were half unsheathed ; and Montmorency, expecting that, in the fury of their passion, they would cut each other to pieces, waited the event; but as the authority of their captain soon checked the tumult, he rushed in with his followers, and, hurling his lance, “ Villains,” he exclaimed, “receive the reward of cruelty.” The lance bounded innocuous from the shield of the leader, who turning quickly upon Montmorency, a severe engagement ensued; they smote with prodigious strength, and the valley resounded to the clangor of their steel. Their falchions, unable to sustain the shock, shivered into a thousand pieces, when Montmorency, instantly elevating with both hands his shield, dashed it with resistless force against the head of his antagonist; lifeless he dropped prone upon the ground, and the crash of his armour bellowed through the hollow rock.
In the mean time, his attendants, although they had exerted themselves with great bravery, and had already dispatched one of the villains, were by force of numbers overpowered, and being bound together, the remainder of the banditti rushed in upon Montmorency just as he had stretched their commander upon the earth, and obliged him also, notwithstanding the most vigorous efforts of valour, to surrender. The lady who, during the recounter, had fainted away, waked again to fresh scenes of misery at the moment when these monsters of barbarity were conducting the unfortunate Montmorency and his companions to a dreadful grave. They were led, by a long and intricate passage, amidst an immense assemblage of rocks, which, rising between seventy and eighty feet perpendicular, bounded on all sides a circular plain, into which no opening was apparent but that through which they came.
The moon shone bright, and they beheld, in the middle of this plain, a hideous chasm; it seemed near a hundred feet in diameter, and on its brink grew several trees, whose branches, almost meeting in the centre, dropped on its infernal mouth a gloom of settled horror.
Prepare to die,” said one of the banditti, “ for into that chasm shall ye be thrown; it is of unfathomable depth; and that ye may not be ignorant of the place ye are soon to visit, we shall gratify your curiosity with a view of it.” So saying, two of them seized the wretched Montmorency, and dragging him to the margin of the abyss, tied him to the trunk of a tree, and having treated his associates in the same manner “ Look, cried a banditto with a fiend-like smile, “ look and anticipate the pleasures of your journey." Dismay and pale affright shook the cold limbs of Montmorency, and as he leant over the illimitable void, the dew sat in big drops upon his forehead. The moon's rays streaming in between the branches, shed a dim light, sufficient to disclose a considerable part of the vast profundity, whose depth lay hid, for a subterranean river, bursting with tremendous noise into its womb, occasioned such a mist from the rising spray, as entirely to conceal the dreary gulf beneath. Shuddering on the edge of this accursed pit stood the miserable warrior; his eyes were starting from their sockets, and, as he looked into the dark abyss, his senses, blasted by the view, seemed ready to forsake him. Meantime the banditti, having unbound one of the attendants, prepared to throw him in; he resisted with astonishing strength, shrieked aloud for help, and, just as he had reached the slippery margin, every fibre of
kis body racked with agonizing terror, he flung himself with fury backwards on the ground; fierce and wild convulsions seized his frame, which being soon followed by a state of exhaustion, he was in this condition, unable any longer to resist, hurled into the dreadful chasm; his armour striking upon the rock, there burst a sudden effulgence, and the repetition of the stroke was heard for many minutes as he descended down its rugged side.
No words can describe the horrible emotions which, on the sight of this shocking spectacle, tortured the devoted wretches. The soul of Montmorency sank within him, and, as they unbound his last fellowsufferer, his eyes shot forth a gleam of vengeful light, and he ground his teeth in silent and unutterable anguish. The inhuman monsters now laid hold of the unhappy man; he gave no opposition, and, though despair sat upon his features, not a shriek, not a groan escaped him; but no sooner had he reached the brink, than, making a sudden effort, he liberated an arm, and grasping one of the villains round the waist, sprang headlong with him into the interminable gulf Al was silent-but at length a dreadful plunge was heard, and the sullen deep howled fearfully over its prey. The three remaining banditti stood aghast; they durst not unbind Montmorency, but resolved, as the tree to which he was tied grew near the mouth of the pit, to cut it down, and, by that mean, he would fall along with it into the chasm. Montmorency, who, after the example of his attendant, had conceived the hope of avenging himself, now saw all possibility of effecting that design taken away; and as the axe entered the trunk, his anguish became so excessive that he fainted. The villains, observing this, determined from a malicious prudence, to forbear, as at present he was incapable of feeling the terrors of his situation. They therefore withdrew, and left him to recover at his . leisure.
Not many minutes had passed away, when, life and sensation returning, the hapless Montmorency awoke to the remembrance of his fate. "Have mercy!" he exclaimed, the briny sweat trickling down his pallid features; “Oh Christ, have mercy!" then looking around him, he started at the abyss beneath, and, shrinking from its ghastly brink, pressed close against the tree.
In a little time, however, he recovered his perfect recollection, and, perceiving that the banditti had left him, became more composed. His hands, which were bound behind him, he endeavoured to disentangle, and, to his inexpressible joy, after many painful efforts, he succeeded so far as to loosen the cord, and, by a little more perseverance, effected his liberty. He then sought around for a place to escape through, but without success; at length, as he was passing on the other side of the chasm, he observed a part of its craggy side, as he thought, illuminated, and, advancing a little nearer, he found that it proceeded frem the moon's rays shining through a large cleft of the rock, and at a very inconsiderable depth below the surface. A gleam of hope now broke in upon his despair, and gathering up the ropes which had been used for himself and his associates, he tied them together, and fastening one end to the bole of a tree, and the other to his waist, he determined to descend as far as the illuminated spot. Horrible as was the experiment, he hesitated not a moment in putting it into execution ; for, when contrasted with his late fears, the mere hazard of an accident weighed as nothing; and the apprehension that the villaiņs might return before his purpose was secure, accelerated and gave vigour to his efforts. Soon was he suspended in the gloomy abyss, and neither the roaring of the river, nor the dashing of the spray, intimidated his daring spirit, but, having reached the cleft, he crawled within it, then, loosing the cord from off his body, he proceeded onwards, and, at last, with a rapture no de
scription can paint, discerned the appearance of the glen beneath him. He knelt down, and was returns ing thanks to heaven for his miraculous escape, when suddenly
THE NEWSPAPER EDITOR.
YOME, come, no palavering me over, with my
dear friend, and dear friend; I hate the word, there's so much hypocrisy in the world. Friendship is a silent Gentlewoman-makes no parade.--The true heart dances no hornpipes on the tongue-ap-x on palaver, say I--so give us something, Mister Modesty, if you please.
Squib. Really, Captain Noah, upon my honour, I can't sing.
Capt. Noah. One, two, three bumpers of salt water to Master Squib; and then hey for Cow ventry! Squib. Well, I'll sing! I'll sing!
Oh! I die! I faint! &c. Capt. Noah. Stop, for God's sake, Squib! I excuse the rest. No pig hung in a gate ever made a more dismal noisemno dog ever bayed the moon so frightfully : Why, zounds! my cur, Dumplin, would howl more musically; and then the words, they put me in mind of that most maukish of all maukish stuff, the Sorrows of the Heart, baptized a Novel. O the cursed trash! Poor Squib! Why, what a difference between thee ind a brother. Quidnunc that sailed with