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VOL. III. NEW SERIES.
I. Vignette Title
V. Lilias ................
... IX. A Scene in Shakeshere, Henry IV.
X. Mary Hepburn ..............................
FASHION, MUSIC, AND ROMANCE..
OR, THE MIDNIGHT VISIT. I BELIEVE I might pride myself with some show of reason, upon har. ing as many lives as a cat. Certain it is, I often reflect with a feeling approaching to wonder at the numerous “ accidents by flood and field" I have outlived, until, like Macbeth, I almost believe I bear a “charmed life.” There is a peculiar pleasure that men experience in recounting the "squeaks” they have had for dear life. That which I am about to relate to you was of a kind, perhaps, one of the closest and most trying to one's nerves.
The circumstance occurred during the late revolutionary war in Spain. Having been on the half-pay list for some years, I thought the fact of a British Legion being sent to that country, together with the offers held out by the Government, a most eligible opportunity of becoming a “General," or, in case of the worst, being decently buried among some of my old friends whose bones had been enriching the soil since the old War of Independence. If the latter had been a serious wish, the Carlists very kindly shewed every disposition to further my views, and a crack which I got on my right leg in the action of the 5th of May, eftectually dispensed with my services in the cause of legitimacy and freedom for many months. I had some reason; indeed, to become alarmed for the safety of "half my understanding,” but, thank heaven! my limb was preserved to me and I was spared the pain of assisting to encumber her most faithful Catholic Majesty's Government with my pension. After having paid a visit to England for the recovery of my health, and daily visited my circle of friends on crutches, which, with Spanish pay, might be said to afford anything but a pleasing support, and, as usual, in like cases, relating the most terrific and astounding accounts of the war, I returned to head quarters at San Sebastian. The inhabitants, since our action, had obtained a little breathing space; since the Legion had not only driven the Carlists from the town gates where they had been cla-
mouring for entrance, but had thrown up with infinite labour, under our Legionary Engineers, two lines of defence, the innermost one of which extended to the interesting little port of Passages, with its rows of white houses standing in pleasing relief of the dark hills that tower d above them.
I was advised by the regimental surgeon to take up my abode in some quiet and secluded spot, where I should be less subjected to disturbance than in the bustling little town. I accordingly proceeded to select a very rural residence within three quarters of a mile of Passages. It was a farm house in the occupation of a Spanish family, and situated on a high ridge of ground skirting the road to San Sabastian. The front windows of the casa looked out upon a salt-water lake which extended to Passages, but which, at low water, was fordable in one or two places. As the San Sabastian road skirted part of the water, it was common, when the tide served in summer weather, to complete the distance to Passages by water, and so avoid the high and rocky road which passed by my residence.
To give facility to the water excursion, several women were employed in going to and fro, and who, in the management of their respective boats, displayed a skill not unworthy of our Thames watermen; although their method was rendered somewhat singular by their rowing in a standing position, while they accompanied the regular movement of the oar with some of the national songs, which'they sung with great sweetness. One of these women, to whom I shall have occasion to refer, in particular was noted for her clear, and her sweetly thrilling voice. Her countenance, if not actually beautiful, displayed in its high, broad forehead, piercing dark eyes, and sun-burnt features, a look of animation and intelligence that seemed to mark her as superior to her avocation, while her tall and rounded figure was set off to advantage by a short spencer or gellick and short petticoats, which latter sufficed to show a foot and ancle untrammelled by either stocking or shoe, which a statuary might have taken for a model. It is scarcely necessary to say that Lucella was beseiged with lovers both Spanish and English, but it is only doing her justice to say that although there were not wanting many reports touching the character of the fair boat-woman, yet I believe they arose more from chagrin or gasconade among the disappointed candidates for her favours, than founded in truth. There was, indeed, a proud, supercilious carriage in the Spanish damsel, that neither sought nor repelled admiration. So long as it was testified by mere words on the part of her frequent passengers, she little heeded it; but the least personal indignity shewn towards her by either Spaniard or Englishman, and Lucella's dark eyes flashed in resentment that fully kept pace with her haughty and disdainful language. It was in vain that the offender, at the termination of the short voyage, would endeavour to soothe her irritated feelings by a liberal tender of silver in place of the usual copper coin ; Lucella would refuse it with an air as dignified as a countess.