Page images


for me. The signor speaks truly, all this has, dwelling, and was about to obey, when the lasted too long. Do now with me as you please. Roman said : I have no more to say."

“ Have a care, the spy may lurk in waiting As he ceased speaking, as if driven in by a for us within ; did anyone hear if he had sudden gust of wind, which came with an ab- pistols?” solute roar to the entrance of the cavern, old “No, no; the hound carried none," replied Ninny the ostler of the inn, walking much more the Neapolitan; "the more fool he.” briskly than was usual in the presence of his “Come, come, Carl, he may escape us ; I am mistress or her guests, made his appearance, impatient to get in." and, approaching the tawney-haired chief, all "I should like to hear that confirmed by weather-beaten and rain-drenched as he was, Ninny,” said the German, stolidly, " I have no without noticing Guiseppe in the shadow in particular fancy for getting myself shot in which he stood, exclaimed, breathlessly, wretched affair like this.” “Signor! Comrades! There is danger abroad! “I tell you he has no pistols," repeated the A soldier has just arrived at our inn, sent for- Neapolitan, “and even if he has, I will hold the ward, of course, to reconnoitre; I have stolen prisoner under cover of mine: if you fall, down his sword,” and he flung the soldier's missing he goes too." weapon with a ringing sound upon the table. “I “ Small comfort that to me," laughed Carl, have also disabled his horse-jaded as he is al- grimly. “Suppose I hold him under cover of ready, he will not find travelling the easier for my pistol and let you try your luck inside, or having a good inch of rusty nail in his hoof; perhaps Andrea there,” he continued, turning to but you must hasten down; something may the Roman, who had first given voice to the arouse his suspicions at any moment. If he is suspicion of an ambush, “would like to try his not secured you are all lost i”

luck in the business," but Andrea only gave “Scoundrel !" burst from the indignant lips one of his fierce scowls at his gigantic comrade, of the amazed Guiseppe, who had always be- and drew back a step or two more towards the lieved undoubtingly in the simplicity and road. honesty of the ostler. "Scoundrell it was you “Stand aside, dogs," shouted the chief, with then, who, in unsuspected league with bandits, a fierce oath, his anger roused and his spirit always gave them the information about the chafed at their delay. “ The girl herself could travellers at the inn, which led to their being make you all fly before the bodkin that holds her robbed and often murdered ; if I could but use hair if she had the wit to threaten you with it. my hands for one moment, wretch, I would Stand aside, I say, and give me room,” and strangle you where you stand !”

tossing his tawney mane back upon his “Yourself first," cried; the old fellow, as he shoulders, he set the whole force and weight of sprang swiftly towards him, an unsheathed his powerful frame against the frail entrance, and dagger in his hand; but he was held back by the in a moment more the door was forced from its Neapolitan, who, ever anxious to shift the scene, hinges and the whole party swarming through exclaimed: "No, no, not until we show him the kitchen, stable, and up-stairs into the salone, alive first to his betrothed, and wring all we can tossing everything about in their rude haste to from her, then, of course, he must die, as he has find the trembling Juanita, or better still, the discovered this secret. Gag him, he must not soldier, whom they had already doomed to a speak again to tell it; and, as we must also hasty and disgraceful death. provide for this accursed spying soldier fellow, I Almost immediately an exclamation from one propose that we go i

o in a body to the inn and hang of the bandits announced that the horse had the two dogs to-day!"

been removed ; and as the closest search failed “Be it so," replied the chief, and, with to discover either the young hostess or her a savage shout, all rose simultaneously to their military guest within the walls of the hostelry, a feet, saw to their arms carefully, and set out, messenger was despatched to where Ninny had carrying their prisoner with them on their staid behind, as he did not wish to be seen cowardly expedition.

approaching the house where he had for so many years preserved his undeserved character for honesty in the compromising company of the robbers.

On his arrival, they questioned him eagerly as CHAP. III.

to the possibility of there being any place of

concealment about the building difficult to be “Force the door of the miserable kennel !" discovered by strangers ; but he assured them exclaimed the chief, impatiently; " if the girl there was none, reiterating, at the same time, is inside she evidently has no intention of his statement, that he had so disabled the admitting us; we can't lose more time in this soldier's horse, that if he could move at all, he way. Carl, you are foremost there, make your could only do so so slowly as to render an great shoulder useful and get us in."

ordinary day's journey at least one of three days The Austrian, who was the one addressed, to him. As to Juanita, he declared he had not now stepped forward from amid the other the least fear about her, that she had merely bandits, who had, after a short quarter of an gone down, he knew, as she had told him she hour's' march, surrounded poor Juanita's I should, to the Padre, to consult him as to the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

best mode of raising the money necessary to in store for us, better weighted with coin to release Guiseppe on her vineyards. On the stiffen our limp purses.” whole, he assured them they had, as the chief “Yes,” remarked the chief, gloomily, “but had already heard from other sources, full three he is one of a species that hunt in packs like days before the soldiers could be upon them, so ourselves. I should not wonder for one, if he his advice to them was not to hang Guiseppe outwitted us after all, and should return much until after the return of Juanita ; but to keep sooner than we expect, with a posse of his him still, of course, gagged and bound, so that comrades. she could see him alive when they had got the “ Orinè !” exclaimed the ostler, contemptumoney from her for his release, which would be quite ously, “ Podesta growing cowardly! He has time enough to finish him off, as they, of course, caught the contagion from Andrea, who is should do eventually. Meanwhile he knew the always fearful of something. He sits too near best bin in the cellar : let them all ascend to the him.” salone then, and make as merry as they could In a moment the Roman's ready dagger while waiting.

flashed out and was glittering at the throat of His arguments sounded reasonable, and his the old man; but it was instantly struck down advice seemed so good, that it was acted by the as-ready blade of the chief, who cried on without delay; and the bandits, already a out, authoritatively : good deal heated by their carousal in the cavern, "Be silent, hound; and back, Andrea, to sat themselves down to a second one at the your place. Hark, there is a step. Look to expense of their absent hostess.

your arms, men!” It would be impossible to describe with what But before they could obey him, the door bitter impatience of his own helplessness opened - not to admit anyone against whom poor Guiseppe heard and saw all that passed there would be need to use them; but poor around him, or with what readiness he would frightened Juanita, who rushed in, crying, "O, sacrifice fifty lives if he possessed them to shield good signors, have pity! when I saw the door his pretty, loving, modest betrothed from the burst in I guessed it must be you. Do not insult of being looked upon even by the injure my betrothed; I have done all I can to wretches who held him captive. Yet fret and get the money. I shall have it, certainly, in two fume as he would, he could do nothing but days—all you demand. O, may all the saints keep his eyes fixed constantly on the door of bless the good signors. They will have patience, the salone, where they were all by this time the Madonna will reward them.” assembled, be being placed in one of the corners “Come hither, girl," said the chief, roughly; at its further end, while they had piled their come hither, and cease your silly babbling. arms in the opposite one, every moment his Look yonder. There stands your betrothed, horrible dread increasing that he should see utterly unable to assist either you or himself in her enter on her bootless errand of trying to any way. First, then, tell us all you know of ransom him. Ob, if the Madonna would only the movements of the soldier who arrived here have pity and save her from coming !

this morning, and next pay us down whatever Meanwhile, the hours passed on and all had money you possess at present, and we will withdrunk deeply; even the chief, who sat at the out more delay set him free-and this can be head of the great table, having indulged far even still if you please your wedding-day. Remore than was usual with him in the wine cup; fuse, or try to deceive us, and his blood be on and yet some thought seemed from time to your head; for in either case we shall shoot time to sting him into uneasiness, and amidst him where he stands, and in your presence, like the boisterous, and (by this hour, approaching a dog. Come, speak quickly; we have no time evening) almost frantic revellers, he alone to lose.” lapsed into total silence, sticking the point of Paralyzed for the moment by the sudden and his dagger, which he held unsheathed in his unexpected joy of seeing her lover bound even hand, abstractedly into the board before him, as he was, Juanita had stood immoveable, while or glancing round him with a sudden uneasy the bandit spoke; but as he ceased, as if a spell stare. But the villainous ostler was, beyond all had been broken, with one bound she was bethe rest, the oracle and hero of the entire party. side her lover, hanging on his neck and heedless His little slanting reptile eyes absolutely danced of the rough witnesses of her endearments, in his head from the mingled effects of wine and putting back the hair that fell over his brow, excitement as he again detailed the incidents and covering his face with her kisses. With of the morning to his fellow-conviviants. eager trembling hands she strove even to tear

“Mel Maledetto Soldato," he said, “bas off the gag from his mouth, while the poor escaped us. After all, had he but waited one fellow himself was suffering the most exquisite little hour longer we should have trapped him torture of loving pity for her at the sight of her like a wolf in a snare. He must have caught innocent delight, knowing well how bitter a disat some suspicion; it was not from the little appointment was to follow that delirium of joy. one, though, she knew nothing, and beside, she “Come, come, bella mia, I object to that," is as innocent as a child; but never mind, said the Neapolitan, as her fingers busied thembrave comrades, old Ninny will give you many selves with the thongs at the back of his head: a good bint yet. There's better prey than him "you shall hear his sweet voice all in good




[ocr errors]

time; but we wish to hear your soft accents the poor girl, with a white scared face; and first. What of this soldier ? Come, tell the once more drawing near Guiseppe, she clung to whole story-nothing concealed. Yes, pretty him as if no human power could ever again unone, tell it all; and you can tell it very com- wind those soft, round, twining arms, from fortably here," said the great German Car), as their embrace of him. he drew her down on his knee, wbile the dark “Once more I advise you to go quietly,” cheek of Guiseppe flushed deeply in his power- said the chief : "these signors intend, as I have less indignation; but the poor child, in her eager- just told you, to hang him; but if you go withness to set her lover free, had no time to take out giving more trouble, I shall ask them, as a offence at the bandit's freedom; but with her personal favour, to shoot him instead. It will great black eyes flashing through her tears, be a decenter ending.” commenced her story. She had seen the ostler

It was a fortunate circumstance that at this among her unwelcome guests, without, in her moment a succession of frantic screams burst excitement, feeling any surprise at it, as people from the lips of the horrified Juanita, as they see the most incongruous things in a dream, helped to dull the tramp of the measured steps and she now spoke of him as if he were absent, or that she did not know what had become of until the entrauce of a company of soldiers

now quickly ascending the staircase without, him. Yes, she said she would tell all she knew, (their rifles on full cock) told the bandits that of the soldier of course.

their hour of retribution had arrived. Re. " He sent me," she commenced, “to look for sistance was out of the question, as the robbers Ninny when I had told him of my trouble bad, unfortunately for themselves, left their about my Guiseppe, poor fellow! and I could not find him. Then he missed his sword, and where it was now impossible to reach them,

arms (as we have already said) piled in a corner was very angry and alarmed, and said he should surrounded as they were by their enemies ; so look to his horse—and he did, and found him they surrendered without a struggle, the only lame; but he drew, O such a piece of rusty iron one who made the slightest attempt to escape from his poor hoof, and then he poured something being the Podesta, who dashed to the ground two from a bottle he took from his pocket into it: I of the soldiers, and would have probably sucdo not know what; but the horse walked quite ceeded had not a bullet from a musket of a well after it. And then he said I should not third arrested his career, crashing through his stay here alone! that Ninny was a vecchio bir- brain, and laying him dead upon the floor. bone, and he made me go down before him to Meanwhile

, in the general confusion, Juanita the village, and told me to stay there until his had grasped a knife from the table, and cut the return; to leave all to him. But I had bonds of her lover; so that when terrified at not patience. I would return, and try to find the bandit's death, and exhausted by her preNinny, to take a message to the good signor's vious exertions, she fell fainting on his bosom, that I had seen the good Padre about the vine- his arms were at length free to support and to yards, and should have the money very soon: embrace her. So I came and found you all here-and, O Madonna ! good signor, I am but a poor lonely

Three weeks after, however, saw her recovered girl, and have no more than the vineyards. from all her trouble, the prettiest of village Take them all, and let Guiseppe go free.”

brides, given up for life to the love and care of “You hear, comrades. We have not a

Guiseppe, the gayest and happiest of bride. minute to lose. This fellow may return at any grooms, by her friend the venerable Padre; the moment,” cried the tawny-haired robber. "Give most honoured guest at their wedding being me whatever money you have, girl, at once, and Ricardo Alberti, the soldier who had been so go.”

providentially sent to their assistance in their Go," she repeated, wonderingly; but added hour of greatest need, for the rest, the entire quickly,“ Yes, yes," as she drew a purse from band of bandits

, among whom we of course inher bosom, containing her little all, “ here it is,” clude the treacherous ostler, were sent to the and, springing from the bandit's grasp, she galleys for life. forced it into the Podesta's hand. “Now," she

The old inn was soon after razed to the exclaimed, order him to be set free, now I ground, as its young owners could not persuade have told you. I have given you all.”

themselves to inhabit it again. They, however, But the ruffian only laughed hoarsely as he built a pretty cottage in their largest orchard, replied: "I believe the other signors have some where they live most happily, and where many thing to say to that. For my part I care little a sun-browned, black-eyed boy and girl come what they do with him; but I believe they prattling to their knees, and where they often mean to stretch his neck a bit before we leave.'' tell the story of their first sorrowful wedding

“ What does the signor mean?" questioned 'day.

[ocr errors]


[blocks in formation]

Some have their dead, where, sweet and soon,

The summers bloom and go :
The sea witholds my dead— I walk

The bar when tides are low,
And wonder the grave-grass

Can have the heart to grow !

And did ye hear the songs of the immortals,
The while their harps flashed back Heaven's glorye

And the strong warder's welcome, as the portals

Wide open flew ?

Do not soft eyes look down yon shining vistas ?

Do not sweet voices chide our long delay ? Are no white hands stretched earthward to assist us

Up the steep way?

Flow on, O unconsenting sea,

And keep my dead below; Though night- utter night ]—my soul,

Delude thee long, I know, Or Life comes or death comes,

God leads the eternal flow.

With restless feet we pace our narrow prison,

We beat the casement bars that shut us in. Eager to rise where they before have risen,

From Sense and Sin.

Oh, Stars! ye shine but coldly on our sorrow,

Nor will ye heed Affectior's urgent quest; And we must wait till God's sure-coming morrow

Gives us, too, Rest,

Good ADVICE.—It is best to hope only for things possible and probable. He that hopes too much shall deceive himself at last, especially if his industry does not go along with his hopes ; for hope without action is a barren undoer. -FELTHAM


Eighteen years ago there occurred in one of gence, lived with her aunt, the widow Loisnard, the provinces of France a case of an abnormal | in a cottage with an earthen floor, close to the character, marked by extraordinary phenomena, Château of Monti-Mer, inhabited_by its interesting to the scientific, and especially to proprietor, already mentioned, M. de Farémont. the medical world. The authentic documents The weather, for 8 days previous to the 15th in this case are rare ; and though the case itself of January, 1846, had been heavy and is often alluded to, its details have never, so far tempestuous, with constantly recurring storms as I know, been reproduced from these docu- of thunder and lightning. The atmosphere was ments in an English dress, or presented in a charged with electricity. trustworthy form to the public. It occurred in On the evening of that 15th of January, the Commune of La Berrière, situated in the at eight o'clock, while Angélique, in company Departement of Orne, in January, 1846. with three other young girls, was at work, as

It was critically observed, at the time, by Dr. usual, in her aunt's cottage, weaving ladies' Verger, an intelligent physician of Bellesme, a silk-net gloves, the frame, made of rough oak neighbouring town. He details the result of and weighing about twenty-five pounds, to his observations in two letters addressed to the which was attached the end of the warp, was “Journal du Magnétisme,” one dated January upset, and the candlestick on it thrown to the 29, the other February 2, 1846. The editor of ground. The girls, blaming each other as that journal, M. Hébert (de Garny), himself having caused the accident, replaced the frame, repaired to the spot, made the most minute relighted the candle, and went to work again. researches into the matter. and gives us the A second time the frame was thrown down. result of his observations and inquiries in a Thereupon the children ran away, afraid of a report, also published in the “ Journal du thing so strange, and, with the superstition Magnétisme." ' A neighbouring proprietor, M. common to their class, dreaming of withcraft. Jules de Farémont, followed up the case with The neighbours, attracted by their cries, refused care, from its very commencement, and has left to credit their story. So, returning, but with on record a detailed report of his observations. fear and trembling, two of them at first, afterFinally, after the girl's arrival in Paris, Dr. wards a third, resumed their occupation, withTanchon carefully studied the phenomena, and out the recurrence of the alarming phenomenon. has given the results in a pamphlet published But as soon as the girl Cottin, imitating her at the same time. He it was, also, who companions, had touched her warp, the frame addressed to M.: Arago a note on the subject, was agitated again, moved about, was upset, which was laid before the Academy by that and then thrown violently back. The girl was distinguished man, at their session of February drawn irresistibly after it; but as soon as she 16, 1846. Arago himself had then seen the girl touched it, it moved still farther way. only a few minutes, but even in that brief time Upon this the aunt, thinking, like the had verified a portion of the phenomena. children, that there must be sorcery in the case,

Dr. Tanchon's pamphlet contains fourteen took her niece to the parsonage of La Perrière, letters, chiefly from medical men and persons demanding exorcism. The curate, an holding official positions in Bellesme, Mortagne, lightened man, at first laughed at her story; and other neighbouring towns, given at length but the girl had brought her glove with her, and and signed by the writers, all of whom examined fixing it to a kitchen-chair, the chair, like the the girl, while yet in the country. Their frame, was repulsed and upset, without being testimony is so circumstantial, so strictly con- touched by Angélique. The curate then sat current in regard to all the main phenomena, down on the chair; but both chair and he and so clearly indicative of the care and were thrown to the ground in like manner. discrimination with which the various observa- Thus practically convinced of the reality of a tions were made, that there seems no good phenomenon which he could not explain, the reason, unless we find such in the nature of good man reassured the terrified aunt by telling the phenomena themselves, for refusing to give her it was some bodily disease, and, very it credence. Several of the writers expressly sensibly, referred the matter to the physicians. affirm the accuracy of M. Hébert's narrative, The next day the aunt related the above and all of them, by the details they furnish, particulars to M. de Farémont ; but for the corroborate it. Mainly from that narrative, time the effects had ceased. Three days later, aided by some of the observations of M. de at nine o'clock, that gentleman was summoned Farémont, I compile the following brief state to the cottage, where he verified the fact that ment of the chief facts in this remarkable case. the frame was at intervals thrown back from

Angélique Cottin, a peasant-girl fourteen Angélique with such force, that, when exerting years of age, robust and in good health, but his utmost strength and holding it with both very imperfectly educated and of limited intelli- ) hands, he was unable to prevent its motion,



« PreviousContinue »