網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

tone of re

the ima

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

_“ The

Give me that Empecinado, after all! God forgive me! I didnt value him at the time, as I should have done. What, though he had an offhand

way of shooting Frenchmen and hanging justices of the peace, the moment the job was over he was as pleasant a gentleman as ever stretched a boot under mahogany. But as to this dark-looking divilwhy, we're here well on to a month, and he was never the person

to say, 'Mister O'Toole, have ye a mouth upon ye?'”

An hour passed-we finished a second flask of the surly Spaniard's montilano—and the fosterer proposed, that while we apparently retired for the night we should extinguish the lamps, and then commence our vigil.

It was accordingly done—and, gliding into Mark Antony's dormitory, we began our “watch and ward.”

An unbroken stillness permitted the slightest sound to be heard distinctly ; and we therefore conversed in whispers. The contrast that night in San Sebastian presented to the day, was singularly imposing. The deafening roar of the allied batteries had ceased, and the city was wrapt in a calm but ominous tranquillity. Too distant from the breaches, we did not hear the working-parties, who sedulously employed the hours of darkness in erecting new defences, and restoring others which the daily fire of the besiegers had destroyed. Another hour passed-no guitar was heard-no sprite “ wicked or charitable,” flitted past the casement. We heard the reliefs

go

round—the sentries changed-and all again was silent.

Ah-Mark !-Mark !" I whispered in the fosterer's earsenhor's montilano has been uppermost in your brain, I fancy, on these same nights when this musical apparition was afoot. Are you sure that your imaginary guitar was anything but wind whistling through the window ?”

“By all the crosses in a highlandman's kilt, the music I heard,” returned the fosterer ; “but whether it was a guitar or a fiddle I'll not take on me to swear. Stop—hush !--Holy Mary! If that's not music, the divil an ear has Mark Antony !”

The fosterer was right. It was the distant tinkle of a stringed instrument—and at times I fancied that I heard voices talking in suppressed tones, and in the direction of that part of the building which Senhor La Pablos had reserved so exclusively to himself.

“Now, Hector," said the fosterer, “maybe you'll call me drunk after this? What's to be done ? 'Pon my conscience, I think Mister Pablos is anything but neighbourly, with his tea-party every evening, and not say to people who have done him the honour to take

up

their quarters in his house, 'Mr. O'Halloran, will you, and that young gentleman along with you, meaning myself, step over, in the family way, and take share of what we have ?"

“Why, then, upon my soul, I think it is, Mark !” was my reply.

" Then I may as well take the loose bars out ?” said the fosterer, suiting the action to the word —and before I could put in a feeble remonstrance, he established an aperture in the casement, through which anyone of slighter dimensions than a common-councilman could easily slip out.

“ Hush —the guitar again!”

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

a fortnig an partis be thouse

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

а

“ Ay-and by Saint Patrick ! some company to listen to it !-Oh! the divil a one of me will remain longer without having a pecp at the party, if I can.”—And as he spoke, the fosterer popped through the casement, andI lament to make the confession-next moment I was after him.

We found ourselves in a small garden thickly planted with shrubs and fruit-trees, and encompassed by a lofty wall; several narrow walks intersected it, and the termination of one was bounded by & wing of the Spaniard's domicile. Through a chink in the shutters, a stream of light escaped ; and thither the fosterer moved silently, I bringing up the rear.

There was no doubt that from this apartment the voices and the music had proceeded which we heard in the fosterer's dormitory. I peeped in. A party was grouped about a table covered with game, fruit, and wine and a lamp, suspended from the centre of the ceiling, enabled us to examine the company.

Five men were seated round the board, which was also graced by the presence of two personages of the softer sex. I never saw a party collected at a supper table whose appearances and pursuits were evidently so opposite. A burly monk sat directly in front of the treacherous fissure in the window-shutter. He was of no ascetic order ; but a Christian man, on whom good fare was not thrown away ; and, even if the lamp went out by accident, one on whose honour you could place reliance, and drink with in the dark. Two others of the party wore the costume, and had the general air, of Spanish traders. The fourth was a man of wild and formidable exterior ; his arms, his dress, his bearing, all betrayed that his was no peaceable profession—and Mark Antony hinted, in a whisper, “that if the Empecinado had a brother in the world the dark gentleman with the pistols was the person, and no mistake.” The fifth was an English seaman—at least his costume and carriage would infer it. He seemed a fine athletic man, and, though his back was turned to the casement, the fosterer observed in an under-tone, that the sailor would thrash the company collectively. In years

and appearance the females were still more dissimilar than the men. One well advanced in life was tall

, slight, deeply pock marked, and generally forbidding. The other-she sate beside the priest—had scarcely numbered 'twenty summers, and on a lovelier face, a finer form, the eyes of two interloping Irishmen never peeped through a split in a window-shutter. “Och! murder !” ejaculated Mark Antony, sotto voce—“That's the Ghostmand isn't she a darling ?”

One seat was unoccupied. To whom did it appertain ? Our host, no doubt, and wherefore was he absent ?

“What an ould troublesome thief he is !” whispered Mark Antony, pointing to the vacant chair. “Where the divil do ye think he's scouting to ? when every body's asleep or better employed, as they are within. I only wish that we were of the company-Isn't it a comfort to see his reverence set such an elegant example? How beautifully he raises his elbow—that's what I call honour bright! No sky-lights, and he fills to the top every time the bottle passes him.".

[ocr errors]

a

[graphic][subsumed]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

سر رستم

1.Orten

[ocr errors]

a

“ Hush! I thought I heard something move behind us.”

“Well, upon my soul, I fancied, myself, that I heard a rustle in the bushes,” returned the fosterer—“If old surly is on the ramble, and drop upon us unawares, what a pretty figure we should cut !"

“Come, Mark, let us return to our old quarters; we risk the unpleasant consequences attendant on discovery, without any object to be found—”

“ See—the sailor rises !-and the sooner we're off the better. May God bless that pretty face of her's if I could not stop here all night to look at it'; but, come along.”

We retired as quietly as we had advanced—the fosterer leading the retreat. No sound occasioned alarm-no ghost of Patagonian proportions crossed our path. We reached the lattice through which we had invaded Don Francisco's garden. Mark Antony popped his head and shoulders through the aperture; but never did a man withdraw both more rapidly. A dark-visaged Spaniard pointed a pistol from within, while, without, a person immediately at our elbow, in a low, but peremptory voice, ordered us “to stand.” The tones were perfectly familiar ; indeed, there was no doubt touching the identitv of the speaker, for Senhor La Pablos stepped from behind one of the thick shrubs.

So, gentlemen,” he commenced, while every word came hissing ironically from between his teeth—“Methought it was only Englishmen who were forced upon my unwilling hospitality. I was mistaken, it would seem, and appearances favoured the deception. I believed my house was occupied by men of honour; but I have harboured French spies, it would appear."

“Oh-stop-Mister Pablos, if you plase," exclaimed the fosterer, “divil a bigger mistake ye ever made in yer life. Arrah-what puts that into yer head ?”

“I judge men not by their assertions, but their acts," returned the Spaniard coldly

“ Senhor," I said, addressing the angry host, "you certainly have reason to question the motives of our midnight intrusion; but I declare, upon the honour of a British officer, it was entirely á silly trespass—one that I cannot justify, but one from which, towards you, no mischief was designed. Let it be overlooked, and I promise, that while we remain beneath your roof, we will confine ourselves to whatever portion of your premises it may be your pleasure to restrain

us.”

“Captain O'Halloran," returned the Spaniard, coldly, “whatever your intentions may have been, your conduct warrants me to draw very different conclusions than the motives you have been pleased to assign. The safety of myself—my family—those who are connected with me-all require me to guard against treachery. True, it has rarely come concealed beneath an English uniform—and, I am half persuaded, you harboured no evil against me and mine; but you came here under a suspicious introduction. I am a devoted man, and now completely in your power. You have seen too much—and yet too little. In one brief sentence I speak your doom-a stern necessity

« 上一頁繼續 »