ページの画像
PDF
ePub

productions which, under one strange name or another, gleam forth every now and then in brilliant contrast, with the lack lustre and miserable paste by which they are surrounded.

In the annexed Plate, he is depicted as he appears in his countryman Macdonald's admirable statue. Perhaps other positions less severe and stony might be more characteristic, but we had no objection that the picture of the poet should call attention to the works of the statuary. In the back ground are seen the University, of which Wilson is the most distinguished ornament—a fistic contest, such as his Boxiana sketches have embalmed--and the rudiments of a cock-fight which, coming under the general head of. Varment, falls within the province of his frolic pen. The Professor's wig, and the crutch of the rheumatic Mr. North, have their appropriate place in the picture; and if our readers regret that we have found no room for a symbol, emblematic of his tragedy, in our plate, they will, in all probability, have found plague enough in getting through our illustrative letter-press. Farewell!-

• Hæc dictans raptim mediis in Auctibus urbis,

Propino poculum, Wilsone care, tibi !'

EXPLOITS OF BANDITTI AND ROBBERS. *

Mr. Mac Farlane most truly observes, that there are few subjects that interest us more generally than the adventures of robbers and banditti. In our infancy they awaken and rivet our attention as much as the best fairy tales; and when our happy credulity in all things is wofully abated, and our faith in the supernatural fled, we still retain our taste for the adventurous deeds and wild lives of brigands. Neither the fulness of years nor the maturity of experience and worldly wisdom can render us insensible to tales of terror such as fascinated our childhood, nor preserve us from a creeping of the flesh' as we read or listen to the narrative containing the daring exploits of some robber-chief, his wonderful address, bis narrow escapes, and his prolonged crimes, seated by our own peaceful hearth.'

This taste will be amply gratified by a perusal of these volumes, which are full of perilous adventure, hair-breadth escapes, and shocking murders; and we have only to entreat that our readers will not peruse the following extracts till after dark, that

* The Lives and Exploits of Banditti and Robbers in all parts of the World. By C. Mac Farlane, Esq. Author of Constantinople in 1829,' and the Romance of Italian History.' 2 vols. London, 1833. Bull; Andrews:

they may have the full benefit of the horrors we are about to Jay before them.

Hungarian Horse-denler. On the third night after his departure from Vienna, he stopped at a quiet inn, situated in the suburbs of a small town. He had never been there before, but the house was comfortable, and the appearance of the people about it respectable. Having first attended to his tired horse, he sat down io supper with his host and family. During the meal he was asked whence he came; and when he had said from Vienna, all present were anxious to know the news. The dealer told them all he knew. The host then inquired what business had carried him to Vienna. He told them he had been there to sell some of the best horses that were ever taken to that market. Wlien he heard this, the host cast a glance at one of the men of the family who seemed to be his son, which the dealer scarcely observed then, but which he had reason to recall afterwards. When supper' was finished, the fatigued traveller requested to be shewn to his bed. The host himself took up a light, and conducted him across a little yard at the back of the house to a detached building, which contained two rooms, tolerably decent for an Hungarian hostel. In the inner of these rooms was a bed, and here the host left him to himself. As the dealer threw off his jacket and loosened the girdle round his waist where his money was deposited, he thought he might as well see whether it was all safe. Accordingly, he drew out an old leathern purse that contained his gold, and then a tattered parchment pocket-book that enveloped the Austrian bank notes, and finding that both were quite right, he laid them under the bolster, extinguished the light, and threw himself on the bed, thanking God and the saints that had carried him thus far homeward in safety. He had nomisgiving as to the character of the people he had fallen amongst to hinder his repose, and the poor dealer was very soon enjoying a profound and happy sleep. He might have been in this state of beatitude an hour or two, when he was disturbed by a noise like that of an opening window, and by a sudden rush of cool night air; on raising himself on the bed, he saw peering through an open window which was almost immediately above the bed, the head and shoulders of a man, who was evidently attempting to make his ingress into the room that way. As the terrified dealer looked, the intruding figure was withdrawn, and he heard a rumbling noise, and then the voices of several men, as he thought close under the window. The most dreadful apprehensions, the more horrible as they were so sudden, npw agitated the traveller, who, scarcely knowing what he did, but utterly despairing of preserving his life, threw himself under the bed. He had scarcely done so, when the hard breathing of a man was heard at the open window, and the next moment a robust fellow dropped into the room, and after staggering across it, groped his way by the walls to the bed. Fear had almost deprived the horse-dealer of his senses, but yet he perceivel that the intruder, whoever he might be, was drunk. There was, however, slight comfort in this, for he might only have swallowed wine to make him the more desperate, and the traveller was convinced he had heard the voices of other men without, who might climb into the room to assist their brother villain in case any resistance should be made. His astonishment, however, was great and reviving when he heard the fellow throw off his jacket on the floor, and then toss himself upon the bed under which he lay. Terror, however, had taken too firm a hold of the traveller to be shaken off at once,-his ideas were too confused to permit his imagining any other motive for such a midnight intrusion on an unarmed man with property about him, save that of robbery and assassination, and he lay quiet where he was until he heard the fellow above him snoring with all the sonorousness of a drunkard. Then, indeed, he would have left bis hiding-place, and gone to rouse the people in the inn to get another resting-place instead of the bed of which he had been dispossessed in so singular a manner; but, just as he came to this resolution, he heard the door of the outer room open-then stealthy steps cross it-then the door of the very room he was in was softly opened, and two men, one of whom was the host and the other his son, appeared on its threshold. “ Leave the light where it is," whispered the host, “ or it may disturb him and give us trouble “ There is no fear of that," said the younger inan, also in a whisper, “we are two to one; he has nothing but a little knife about him, he is dead asleep too! hear how he snores !” “Do my bidding,' said the old man sternly ; 'would you have him wake and rouse the neighborhood with his screams?' As it was the horror stricken dealer under the bed could scarcely suppress a shriek, but he saw that the son left the light in the outer room, and then, pulling the door partially after them to screen the rays of the lamp from the bed, he saw the two murderers glide to the bed-side, and then heard a rust. ling motion as of arms descending on the bed-clothes, and a hissing, and then a grating sound, that turned his soul sick, for he knew it came from knives or dag. gers penetrating to the heart or vitals of a human being like himself, and only a few inches above bis own body. This was followed by one sudden and violent start on the bed, accompanied by a moan. Then the bed, which was a low one, was bent by an increase of weight caused by one or both ibe inurderers throwing themselves upon it, until it pressed on the body of the traveller. There was an awful silence for a moment or two, and then the host said, “he is finished, I have cut him across the throat-take the money, I saw him put it under bis bolster." “I have it, liere it is," said the son: "a purse and a pocket-book.” The traveller was then relieved from the weight that had oppressed him almost to suffocation; and the assassins, who seemed to tremble as they went, ran out of the room, took up the light, and disappeared altogether from the apartment. No sooner were they fairly gone than the poor dealer crawled from under the bed, took

one des perate leap, and escaped through the little window by which he had seen enter the unfortunate wretch, who had evidently been murdered in his stead. He ran with all his speed into the town, where he told his horrid story and miraculous escape to the night-watch. The night-watch conducted him to the burgomaster, who was soon aroused from his sleep, and acquainted him with all that had happened. In less than half an hour from the time of his escape from it, the horsedealer was again at the murderous inn with the magistrate, and a strong force of the horror-stricken inhabitants and the night-watch, who had all run thither in the greatest silence. In the house all seemed as still as death; but as the party went round to the stables they heard a noise : cautioning the rest to surround the inn and the out-houses, the magistrate, with the traveller and some half-dozen armed men, ran to the stable-door: this they opened, and found within the host and his son diging a grave. The first figure that met the eyes of the murderers was that of the traveller. The effect of this on their guilty souls was too much to be borne ; they shrieked, and threw themselves on the ground; and though they were immediately seized by hard griping hands of real flesh and blood, and heard the voices of the magistrate and their friends and neighbors, denouncing them as murderers, it was some minutes ere they could believe that the figure of the traveller that stood among them was other than a spirit. It was the hardier villain, the father, who, on hearing the stranger's voice continuing in conversation with the magistrate, first gained sufficient command over himself to raise his face from the earth; he saw the stranger still pale and haggard, but evidently unhurt. The murderer's head spun round confusedly; but, at length rising, he said to those who held him, “Let me see that stranger nearer; let me touch him-only let me touch him!" The poor horse-dealer drew back in horror and disgust." You may satisfy him in this," said the magistrate ; he is unarmed and unnerved, and we are here to prevent his doing you harm.” On this the traveller let the host approach him, and pass his hand over his person, which, when he had done, the villain exclaimed, “I am no murderer! Who says I am a murderer ?" “That shall we see anon," said the traveller, who led the way to the detached apartment, followed by the magistrate, by the two prisoners, and all the party which had collected in the stable on hearing what passed there. Both father and son walked with considerable confidence into the room; but when they saw by the lamps the night-watch and others held over it, that there was a body covered with blood, lying upon the bed, they cried out, How is this! who is this! and rushed together to the bed-side. The lights were lowered ; their rays fell full upon the ghastly face and bleeding throat of a young man. At the sight, the younger of the murderers turned his head, and swooned in silence; but the father, uttering a shriek so loud, so awful, that one of the eternally damned alone might equal its effect, threw himself on the bed, and on the gash and blo body, and murmuring in his throat, “ My son! I have killed mine own son !" also found a temporary relief from the horrors of his situation in insensibility. The next minute the wretched hostess, who was innocent of all that had passed, and who was, without knowing it, the wife of a murderer, the mother of a murderer, and the mother of a murdered son—of a son killed by a brother and a father, ran to the apartment, and would have increased tenfold its already insupportable horrors by entering there, had she not been prevented by the honest towns-people. She had been roused from sleep by the noise made in the stable, and then by her husband's shriek, and was now herself shrieking and frantic carried back into the inn by main force. The two murderers were forthwith bound and carried to the town gaol, where, on the examination, which was made the next morning, it appeared from evidence that the person murdered was the youngest son of the landlord of the inn, and a person never suspected of any crime more serious than habitual drunkenness; that instead of being in bed, as his father and brother had believed him, he had stolen out of the house, and joined a party of carousers in the town : of these boon companions, all appeared in evidence; and two of them deposed that the deceased, being exceedingly intoxicated, and dreading his father's wrath, should he rouse the house in such a state, and at that late hour, had said to them that he would get through the window into the little detached apartment, and sleep there, as he had often done before, and that they two had accompanied him, and assisted him to climb to the window. The deceased had Teached the window once, and as they thought would have got safe through it, but drunk and unsteady as he was, he slipped back; they had then some difficulty in inducing him to climb again, for, in the caprice of intoxication, he said he would rather go sleep with one of his comrades. However, he had at last effected his entrance; and they, his two comrades, had gone to their respective homes. The wretched criminals were executed a few weeks after the commission of the crime. They had confessed every thing, and restored to the horse-dealer the gold and the paper-money they had concealed, and which had led them to do a deed so much more atrocious than even they had contemplated.'

The Spanish Brigand is a story communicated by Mr. Brockedon, and will be a relief to the last.

· A short time after the French war, and the restoration of Ferdinand VII., whose conduct made many of the loose guerilla parties continue out in the country as brigands, an English merchant arrived one evening at a small mean town, at the foot of the Sierra Morena In the posada of the place where he took up his lodgings for the night, he met a Spaniard of a commanding figure, and of a sharp, intelligent, but amiable countenance. Much struck with his appearance, the Englishman entered into conversation with him, and was still more delighted by his frank, spirited style of address and talking. Before supper was ready, the two had established that sort of traveller-intimacy which is not perhaps the less delightful because it must finish in a few hours, and the parties, in all probability never meet again; and when the meal was served, they sat down to it together, each, apparently, anxious to know more of the other. They conversed together during the progress of the supper, and long after it was over, until the sinking and flickering lamps on the table warned the Englishman it must be time to retire to rest. As he rose to do so, the Spaniard, with all his former frankness and gentlemanly manner, asked him which way his road lay on the morrow. The English merchant replied across the Sierra Morena, and indicated the road he meant to take. The Spaniard, shaking his head, said he was sorry for this, as he had reasons to suspect that that very road at that very moment was beset by robbers, from whose numbers and activity there was no escape. The Englishman confessed that this was unpleasant news, particularly as the affairs that called him towards Madıid were urgent. “But cannot you stay where you are a day or two?" replied the Spaniard; "by that time they may have shifted their ground, and you may pass the mountains without meeting them." The Englishman repeated that his business was urgent, said he was no coward, that he had hitherto travelled in Spain without any misadventure, and hoped still to do so. “But, my good Senor," replied the Spaniard,“ you will not cross the

mountains tomorrow without being robbed, take my word for that!” “Well if it must be so, let them rob me,” said the English merchant; “ I have little money to lose, and they will hardly take the life of an unarmed and unresisting man!

“They have never been accustomed so to act-let it be said to the honor of the band, they are not such cowardly assassins," replied the Spaniard, who was then silent, and seemed to be musing to himself. The Englishman was beginning to call up one of the servants of the posada, to shew him to his resting-place, when his companion, raising his hand said, “ Not yet, Senor, not yet! listen!" and he continued in an under-tone, " It was my fortune, some time since to hare to cross the Sierra Morena alone like you; it was occupied then as now by the Salteadores ; but I met a man, also alone, as you have met me, who said he had rendered the captain of the band some service, and that he could give me a pass which should cause my person and my property to be respected by the robbers, and enable 'me to cross the mountains with perlect safety." "Á much better thing this than a king's passport," said the astonished Englishman. “Pray what was it? and did it succeed?” “ It was only a button,” replied the Spaniard; -- it did all that had been promised, and perhaps it has not yet lost ils charmI will give it you, here it is !" After searching in his pocket, the Spaniard produced a curiously filagreed silver button, and placed it in the hands of the Englishınan, begging him to be careful of it, and to present it to any robbers that might attack him in the Sierra. “ But where you really attacked on your jour. ney?" inquired the merclrant. “The button was respected by all the robbers I met, and I believe I saw them all," said the Spaniard ; “ but ask no more ques. tions, and take care of the button! tomorrow you will see whether it has lost its charm." With many thanks, the Englishman took his leave, and went to bed. On the following morning, when he continued his journey, the silver button ran in his head for some time. But it was not until noon, as he was toiling up one of the most rugged of the mountain paths, that he had the opportunity of trying its virtue. There his guide, who rode before him, was suddenly knocked off his mule by a blow from the butt-end of a musket, and the next instant three other gung were levelled at the Englishman's breast, by men who stepped from behind å rock. The attack was so sudden, that his ideas and recollection were disturbed, and he put his hand in his pocket, brought out his purse, and delivered it to the robbers, who were calling him all sorts of opprobrious names, before he thought of his silver button. But when the recollection came to his mind, and he produced it, much doubting of its efficacy, the oaths of the Salteadores were stopped at once, as though a sacred relic had been held before their eyes; they returned him his purse, earnestly entreated his pardon for all that had happened, and informed him that it was their bounden duty to see the bearer of that button safe across the mountains. Accordingly, on went the merchant with the brigands for his guard, he blessing the silver button, and they shewing him every possible at: tention and respect. On their way they met with other robbers, which prored how formidable was the band, and how impossible it would have been to escape them without the charmed button. At length they came to a low, solitary house in a wild dell, far away from the beaten path across the Sierra, which they bad abandoned for rocks that seemed never to have been trodden. Here the merchant was told he might stop and refresh himself. Nothing loath, he dismounted, and turned to the door, when his companion at the posada of the preceding eveningthe donor of the magical button, met him on the threshold, with the words and gestures of an hospitable welcome. His dress was changed-he now wore a splendid kind of uniform, the jacket of which was of velvet embroidered with gold; but the Englishman recognised his commanding figure and impressive countenance in an instant, and gave him his hand as a friend. “I got here before you," said the captain of the banditti, for such in fact was the donor of the bulton," and have prepared a good dinner for you, being very certain, that what I gare you last night would bring yoa in safety under my roof.” The Englishman expressed his gratitude, and they sat down to dine. The bandit's dishes were savoury and good, and his wine was better. As the wine warmed the English. man, he again expressed his gratitude, and then ventured to say how astonished he was that a person of his host's manners, and one capable of such kind and generous feelings and actions, could lead such a kind of life. The robber drew

« 前へ次へ »