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and explore the caves and recesses of the mountain, or to seek the wild flowers in the chesnut woods, and wind garlands for her father's favourite steed. Sometimes she would escape from her attendants and hide herself behind the piles of rock around the castle, and when they called on her name, and implored her to show herself, suddenly she would appear, and

, laugh, and dance with glee at their perplexity.

One day she had escaped alone, as was her wont, and was gliding about near the castle. On the side that looks towards the ocean, and where the rocks are steepest, she thought she perceived a small door in a kind of recess, and wondering where it might lead, and that she had never observed it before, she climbed up to examine it. She laid her hand on the latch and found that it was open. Fear and curiosity now took possession of her; she longed to explore where it led, and yet she trembled at the thought of entering alone any strange place; she knew that she ought not to go; she thought of her mother, and almost felt her kind arms around her, drawing her ray; but an incomprehensible power impelled her forward—a feeling stronger than herself, which was irresistible. A spell was on her as she gazed on that small door, and, laying her hand on the latch, she raised it, and, though trembling in every limb, she entered. A flight of stairs lay before her; terrified, pale, and cold, she longed to return; she hesitated; she had not courage to proceed, and, holding the door in her hand, she was just stepping back, when a gust of wind

suddenly slammed-to the door, and she found herself precipitated by force half down the steps.

She was now in total darkness; but a dim light appeared below, and trembling, though still as it were impelled forwards by some strange impulse, she continued to descend. Flight after flight led down deeper and deeper; but the dim light still shone, and she followed. At last the steps ended, and she found herself in a vast vaulted passage, that seemed interminable; other passages branched off right and left in various directions into the gloom-all cut out of the rock. She grew confused, and knew not which path to take—all looked alike, and yet each led in a different direction; she leant against a pillar, and trembled and listened, Low groans came faintly sounding from the hollow passages—groans like those of a dying man, fainter and fainter; then there was a clash of arms, and a rushing as of armed knights who fought, which echoed through the caverns; and then came wild shrieks, and screams,

such as mortals could scarce conceive, so shrill and terrible were they. The maiden rushed forward, knowing not where she fled; she ran along the long caves, until

, exhausted and dead with terror, she fell to the ground. Suddenly a crash like thunder shook the vaults, and she beheld a skeleton rise before her: a ghastly leer lingered round his mouth, and an open wound appeared in his side, from whence flowed blood. The figure stretched out what once were arms to clasp her. Impelled by mortal fear, she fled; terror lent swiftness to her feet; but, fly as she might, the ghastly apparition still followed in her rear, his arms outstretched to clasp her; up and down among the vaulted passages she ran, ever pursued, ever flying. At length, overcome by fatigue, horror, and despair,

she swooned away.

Meanwhile the absence of the maiden from the castle had caused absolute despair ; no one could divine whither she had gone, and search was




made for hours and hours in vain. Strange rumblings like thunder were heard under the castle, and the crash as of an earthquake rending the rock had terrified the entire household, for the sky was clear, and none could understand whence the thunder came.

At last, as evening came on, one of the attendants perceived something white on the rocks towards that si which overlooked th

H climbed


and found the maiden in a crevice under an overhanging ledge ; she was lying, gathered up in a heap as it were, her hands over her eyes, her fair hair damp and cold, and her clothes so torn that she was almost naked. He took her in his arms and carried ber into the castle. She was laid down in the old chair in the great hall; no word was said; her mother was summoned; she approached, but the maiden stared at her with senseless eyes—she was an idiot.

From that day all happiness fled from the castle ; neither the lord nor his consort ever smiled. The poor maiden lingered a while, always trembling, and with her hands before her eyes, but in a few short weeks she died. Before, however, she gave up the ghost, for a moment her senses returned, and, seizing her mother's hand, she muttered some strange words about " the curse, the murdered skeleton, and the vaults," but so incoherent and indistinct, that no one could comprehend what she meant. However, the words of those we love, when dead, still speak to the mind of the living, and her mourning parents brooded over these things.

It was known that there were extensive vaults under the castle, but they had been walled up for many, many years ; in fact, since the body of the younger brother had been flung down unshriven and unsung. But Lord Lorenzo declared that he, out of love for his lost child, and in memory of her dying words, would search those vaults, and forth with excavations were made under the platform on which the castle stands, and they came on the long passages that ran below. Lord Lorenzo descended -not without fear-and his attendants followed him trembling, for since the


maiden's death all the old stories of the horrors that once occurred at the castle, and the

dreadful sights which had been seen, were revived and now believed. The curse was spoken of by the old men, who shook their heads, and said they had always feared evil would befal.

After they had descended into the vaults, they groped their way through long winding passages, and would, like the maiden, have lost all clue, unless men had been stationed at the various turnings. As Lorenzo walked along, his footsteps sounding with a hollow sound, a pale blue light appeared at the extremity of the vault. As they advanced, it receded, and with terror they followed; but the mind of the Lord of Bargilio was so wrought up by despair, that he strode on, reckless if it were a sign from heaven or a device from hell. The blue flame, after leading them on a while, rested on the walỊ of the cavern: then became stationary a moment, and finally disappeared. They examined the wall, which emitted a hollow sound. Lorenzo commanded that the picks and hammers they had brought should be used, and an opening made. The wall yielded to their blows. It was not like the rest, all rock, but had evidently been built up. As the fragments fell, a niche appeared, containing a skeleton ; beside it were tufts of yellow hair, clotted



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with blood, and on one side the bones were separated, as if cut with a knife. As they lowered the wall, and exposed the entire skeleton to view, wild laughter and sounds of frantic mirth, like the shrieks of demons, echoed through the caverns. The skeleton fell to the ground, and nothing remained but a small heap of dust and hair.

Horror was on all present. Lord Lorenzo now understood the curse, and the call of blood for blood, and turned away in agony at the thought that his innocent child had been the victim chosen for

revenge. ascended to the platform, and the dust was placed in the burial-place of the Panciatichi, in the chapel on the rocks. Sorrow, suffering, and woe laid their heavy hands on the Lord of Bargilio and his once happy wife. She, unable to live without her golden-haired maiden, soon followed her to the grave. Lord Lorenzo became a premature old man, and entered a monastery, which he before endowed with all his wealth.

The castle of Bargilio, never in good repute among the peasants, was now contemplated with still greater dread, and was utterly forsaken; none remained in the valley below, and the walls frowned down in lonely sternness. The storms seemed to select the lofty tower as their


and the thunder rattled around it, and the lightning never failed to strike it. After one tremendous storns, the summit fell in, and the whole castle gradually sank to its present state of ruin.

Such is the legend of Bargilio, as I had read it in a curious work, purporting to give the history of various great Lucchese families, now in the library of the University at Pisa. As I sat alone on the ledge of rocks before the castle, each circumstance of wild improbability rose to my mind, but there, with those strange old walls before me, I felt I could believe anything, and that I did not wish even for truth to disturb the suggestive fancies that floated around.

A fair and lovely scene lay below, sparkling in the bright sunshine. There was the ocean, and the mountains piled in lofty ranges-those everlasting hills that had guarded these verdant valleys since the creation. But I looked not on them. My fancy and my thoughts were fascinated by the old castle, and I sat, spell-bound, gazing at it until it was time to descend.

Arrived at the Ponte, I was thoroughly aroused to the passing scene, being hailed by various acquaintances-M‘Dermott, who ridiculed my day with the hobgoblins, Dr. C., who regretted he had not accompanied me, and many others, alí assembled in the piazza, listening to the band. But I soon turned homewards, and could not feel entirely myself until I had transmitted to paper this account of the old Castle of Bargilio.






most of


readers have met with one of those men who are popularly respected as the makers of their own fortune. I do not know what their opinion of such gentlemen may be, but I have an utter repugnance for them. If they would only keep their proper side of Temple-bar, they might be endured, because we should then rarely come in contact with them; but, unfortunately, in this levelling age, they will

ape their betters, and force their way into society with a golden wedge. Society eats their dinners, and politely sneers at the givers, and at last they merge into insignificance by entering the House, where they sleep very comfortably, I have no doubt, and are not a particular nuisance to anybody, except, perhaps, the reporters. On the other hand, if they have just sufficient sense to recognise their short-comings, and remain in the congenial atmosphere of the City, they become lord mayors, and ask noblemen to dinner, flattering themselves with the notion, that if they are not the actual rose, they have at any rate swallowed green fat in its immediate vicinity. But, as a general rule, whether cis or trans Templebarriers, they are not the sort of men from whom I would, as matter of choice, select my companions. Men whose souls exist in their trouserspockets are not exactly the pleasantest company, and a conversation turning exclusively on money-spinning is far from grateful to the ears of those who find it only much too easy to spend rather more than they Such a man, then, was Sir Norton Folgate, the hero of


domestic drama. He was essentially the maker of his own fortune, and was apt to dilate, much after the Bounderby fashion, and in broad Yorkshire, about his coming up to town with a bundle and a crust of bread, or something equally unpleasant. Now, per se, there is no great harm in any man coming up to London to make his fortune, with a bundle or without; but when that fortune has been made, and we all of us know that Sir Norton has any quantity of money in the funds, it rather smacks of that pride which apes humility if he will continually spice his old claret, which we drink reverentially, with equally old anecdotes, which we have heard any given number of times, and which we are expected to admire, as the price of our dinner. On principle, then, Brown, editor of the Weekly Flyblow, and myself, who are frequent guests at our friend's table, walk home together and make very sarcastic remarks about him over the whisky-toddy and cigar or so which we indulge in somewhere near Maiden-lane. Sir Norton's career,


my country, was very much like that of most of our rich parvenus. His first wife, rumour said, had


I am sorry

to say


been a cook, or anything of that nature, whom he had married, prudent youth, because she had saved some money, and her earnings added to his enabled him to open some sort of shop somewhere down Wapping way. It was darkly hinted he had been a ship-chandler-whatever that valuable department of trade may beand had combined with it marine stores, not being particular as to a silver spoon or so when offered him cheap. My friend Brown positively declared he had looked back on the file, and found out that Mr. Folgate had been tried at the Old Bailey for receiving stolen property, but I think (the taste of the old claret being still in my mouth) this must be a libel. At any rate, the ship-chandler grew rich, and soon boasted ships of his own ; and his name turned up repeatedly in connexion with public companies

, which flourished tremendously for a while, and then went out with an odour as bad as one of Mr. Folgate's own candles. My hero was soon after heard of as a large broker, and his name became sufficiently notorious at the West-end in connexion with stamped paper. He went through the various grades of civic dignity; got knighted when the Emperor of Timbuktu visited this country during his mayoralty, and his luck was completed by the death of Mrs. Folgate the first

. With this event a new era opened in Sir Norton's life, and he determined to become great in the land, or else be allied to greatness.

During the great railway mania, which has been such a godsend for all novel-writers, and would be for myself were I not strictly adhering to facts, Sir Norton went to Ireland on some business connected with a new line from the Giant's Causeway to Skibbereen. (I believe the traffic was proved to be enormous, from the fact that the workhouse poor were all to be sent for change of air to that fashionable spot.) Sir Norton became acquainted with that “reprobate, gouty old peer" the Earl of Mastodon, who, we all know, boasts an antediluvian lineage. His lordship was rather a distinguished character, and was fond of uttering very strong language about those brutal Whigs," and he certainly had good

reasons. The earl had been for many years, and a long line of ancestors before him, deputy-wastepaper-basket to his Majesty, and the perquisites, the contents, namely, of the basket, had belonged to them from time immemorial. After the passing of the Reform Bill, when so many small orators tried to raise political capital by detecting abuses, Mr. Botherby, M.P. for Droneham, moved for a select committee to inquire into the perquisites attached to the office of wastepaper. The ministry yielded (like infernal cowards as they were, the earl would add), and the committee sat. To prove the wisdom of the last generation, I may add that, after a diligent inquiry, at which all the old and second-hand bookstallkeepers and wastepaper buyers had been examined, and it had been shown that the perquisites were worth just 19s. 6d. per annum, penses of the committee amounted to 22371. 19s. 4d. But, on the other hand, principle had been asserted, and Mr. Botherby proved himself an enlightened patriot. This was not all, however: Mr. Proser, M.P., hit on the luminous thought of inquiring what deputy-wastepaper had to do for his money. There was another committee, and the end of it all was, that the Earl of Mastodon was quietly recommended to resign, with a hint of some other berth in the good time coming. Unfortunately, that

the ex

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