Page images

than the idea of having left the poor kicked, and spurred, and backed like doctor in peril flashed on him. a restive horse. At one and the

“I must return-I must return! same moment, N- made fast a guy If the river rises, the body will be round his waist, and we hoisted away, drowned out and out.”

while he hauled on the other line, And notwithstanding our entreat. so that we landed the Lilliputian ies, be did return as he came, and Esculapius safe on the top of the descending the tree, began apparent- bank, with the wind nearly out of his ly to argue with the little Medico, body from his violent exertions, and and to endeavour to persuade him to the running of the noose. ascend, and make his escape as the It was now the work of a moment Captain himself had done; but it for the Captain to ascend the tree would not do. Pavo Real-as brave and again warp himself ashore, when a little man as ever was seen-made he set himself to apologize with all many salams and obeisances, but his might and main, pleading strong move he would not. He shook his necessity; and having succeeded in head repeatedly, in a very solemn pacifying the offended dignity of the way, as if he had said, “ My very ex Doctor, we turned towards the cellent friends, I am much obliged to house. you, but it is impossible; my dignity “ Look out there," sung out Camwould be compromised by such a pana sharply. Time indeed, thought proceeding."

İ, for right a-head of us, as if an inviPresently N- appeared to wax sible gigantic ploughshare had passed very emphatic, and pointed to a pin- over the woods, a valley or chasm nacle of limestone rock, which had wað suddenly opened down the hillstood out like a small steeple above side with a noise like thunder, and the surface of the flashing, dark red branches and whole limbs of trees eddies, when we first arrived on the were instantly torn away, and tossed spot, but now only stopped the water into the air like straws. “Down on with a loud gurgle, the top rising and your noses, my fine fellows,” cried disappearing as the stream surged the skipper. We were all flat in an inpast, like a buoy jaugling in a tide- stant except the Medico, the stubborn way. The small man shook his head, little brute, who stood until the torbut the water now rose so rapidly, nado reached him, when in a twinkthat there was scarcely dry standing ling he was cast on his back, with room for the two poor devils of a violence, as I thought, to have drimules, while the Doctor and the skip ven his breath for ever and aye out per had the greatest difficulty in find- of his body. While we lay we heard ing a footing for themselves.

all kinds of things hurtle past us Time and circumstances began to through the air, pieces of timber, press, and N- , after another un branches of trees, coffee bushes, and arailing attempt to persuade the even stones. Presently it lulled Doctor, began apparently to rouse again, and we got upright to look himself, and muster his energies. round us. He first drove the mules forcibly “ How will the old house stand all into the stream at the side opposite this, Don Ricardo?” said the drenchwhere we stood, which was the deep. ed skipper. He had to shout to be est water, and least broken by rocks heard.* The Don was too busy to anand stones, and we had the pleasure swer, but once more strode on toto see them scramble out safe and wards the dwelling, as if he expectsound; he then put his hand to his ed something even worse than we mouth, and hailed us to throw him a had experienced to be still awaiting rope-it was done-he caught it, and us. By the time we reached it, it then by a significant gesture to Cam. was full of negroes, men, women, pana, gave him to understand that and children, whose huts had alnow was the time. The Don, com- ready been destroyed, poor, drenchprehending him, hove his noose with ed, miserable devils, with scarcely great precision, right over the little any clothing; and to crown our comdoctor's head, and before he reco- fort, we found the roof leaking in vered from his surprise, the Captain many places. By this time the night slipped it under his arms, and signed began to fall, and our prospects were to haul taught, while the Medico far from flattering. The rain had


entirely ceased, nor was there any sough amongst the tree-tops, but as
lightning, but the storm was most before, where we sat, there was not a
tremendous, blowing in gusts, and breath stirring. So complete was the
veering round from east to north calm now, that after a light had been
with the speed of thought. The force struck, and placed on the floor in the
of the gale, however, gradually de- middle of the room, shewing the sur-
clined, until the wind subsided alto- rounding group of shivering half-
gether, and every thing was still. naked savages, with fearful distinct-
The low murmured conversation of ness, the fame shot up straight as
the poor negroes who environed an arrow, clear and bright, although
us, was heard distinctly; the hard we heard the distant roar of the
breathing of the sleeping children storm as it rushed over the moun-
could even be distinguished. But I tain above us.
was by no means sure that the hur This unexpected stillness frighten-
ricane was over, and Don Ricardo ed the women more than the fierce-
and the rest seemed to think as I did, ness of the gale at the loudest had
for there was not a word interchan. done.
ged between us for some time. “ We must go forth,” said Señora

“Do you hear that?” at length said Campana ; " the elements are only
Aaron Bang, as a low moaning sound gathering themselves for a
rose wailing into the night air. It dreadful hurricane than what we
approached and grew louder. have already experienced. We must

* The voice of the approaching go forth to the little chapel in the
tempest amongst the higher branches wood, or the next burst may, and will,
of the trees," said the Captain. The bury us under the walls ;" and she
rushing noise overhead increased, moved towards Maria's room, where,
but still all was so calm where we by this time, lights bad again been
sat, that you could have heard a pin placed. “We must move the body,"
drop. Poo, thought I, it has passed we could hear her say; " we must
over us after all-no fear now, when all proceed to the chapel ; in a few
one reflects how completely shelter- minutes the storm will be raging
ed we are. Suddenly, however, the again as loud as ever.”
lights in the room where the body '" And my wife is very right,” said
lay were blown out, and the roof Don Ricardo; “ so, Gaspar, call the
groaned and creaked as it had been other people; have some mats, and
the bulkheads of a ship in a tem- quatres, and mattresses carried down
pestuous sea.

to the chapel, and we shall all re-
“ We shall have to cut and run move, for, with half of the roof gone,
from this anchorage presently, after it is but tempting the Almighty to re-
all,” said I; “ the house will never main here longer.”
hold on till morning."

The word was passed, and we The words were scarcely out of were soon under weigh, four my mouth, when, as if a thunderbolt leading the van, carrying the une had struck it, one of the windows in coffined body of the poor girl on a the hall was driven in with a roar, sofa; while two servants, with large as if the Falls of Niagara had been splinters of a sort of resinous wood pouring overhead, and the tempest for Hambeaux, walked by the side of having thus forced an entrance, the it. Next followed the women of the roof of that part of the house where family, covered up with all the cloaks we sat was blown up, as if by gun- and spare garments that could be powder-ay, in the twinkling of an collecied; then Don Picador Caneye; and there we were with the bare grejo, with Ricardo Campana, the walls, and the angry heaven over- skipper, Aaron Bang, and myself; head, and the rain descending in the procession being closed by the bucketsful. Fortunately, two large household negroes, with more lights, joists or couples, being deeply em- which all burned steadily and clear bedded in the substance of the walls, We descended through a magnifiremained, when the rafters and ridge- cent natural avenue of lofty trees pole were torn away, or we must (whose brown moss-grown trunks have been crushed in the ruins. and fantastic boughs were strongly

There was again a deathlike lull, lit up by the blaze of the resinous the wind fell to a small melancholy torches; and the fresh white splinter



marks where the branches had been as pickpockets, had brought a goblet torn off by the storm, glanced bright of water, and a small silver drinking and clear, and the rain-drops on the cup, with him, so we passed the crea. dark leaves sparkled like diamonds) ture round, and tried all we could to towards the river, along whose brink while away the tedious night. There the brimful red-foaming waters rush- had been a calm for a full hour at ed past us, close by the edge of the this time, and the Captain had steppath. After walking about four hun- ped out to reconnoitre, and on his dred yards, we came to a small but return he had reported that the massive chapel, fronting the river, swollen stream had very much subthe back part resting against a rocky sided. bank, with two superb cypress-trees “ Well, we shall get away, I hope, growing, one on each side of the to-morrow morning, after all," whisdoor ; we entered, Padre Carera pered Bang. leading the way. The whole area of He had scarcely spoken when it the interior of the building did not began to pelt and rain again, as if a exceed a parallelogram of twenty feet waterspout had burst overhead, but by twelve. At the eastern end, front- there was no wind. ing the door, there was a small altar- “ Come, that is the clearing up of piece of hard wood, richly ornament it,” said Cloche. ed with silver, and there was one or At this precise moment the priest two bare wooden benches standing was sitting with folded arms, beyond on the tiled floor; but the chief se- the body, on a stool or tressle, in the curity we had that the building little alcove or recess where it lay. would withstand the storm, consist. Right overhead was one of the small ed in its having no window or aper- round apertures in the gable of the ture whatsoever, excepting two small chapel, which, opening on the bank, ports, one on each side of the altar- appeared to the eye a round black piece, and the door, which was a spot in the white-washed wall. The massive frame of hardwood planking, bright wax-lights shed a strong lustre The body was deposited at the foot of on the worthy Clerico's figure, face, the altar, and the ladies, having been and fine bald head which shone like wrapped up in cloaks and blankets, silver, while the deeper tint of the were safely lodged in quatres, while embers on the floor was reflected in we, the gentlemen of the comfortless ruby tints from the large silver cruciparty, seated ourselves, disconsolate- fix that hung at his waist. The rushly enough, on the wooden benches. ing of the swollen river prevented

The door was made fast, after the me hearing distinctly, but it occurred servants had kindled a blazing wood- to me, once or twice, that a strange fire on the floor; and although the gurgling sound proceeded from the flickering light cast by the wax ta. aforesaid round aperture. The Papers in the six large silver candle- dre seemed to hear it also, for now sticks which were planted beside the and then he looked up, and once he bier, as it blended with the red glare rose, but apparently unable to distinof the fire, and fell strong on the pale guish any thing, he sat down again. uncovered features of the corpse, However, my attention had been exand on the anxious faces of the wo- cited, and half asleep as I was, I kept men, was often startling enough, yet glimmering in the direction of the being conscious of a certain degree Clerico. of security, from the thickness of The Captain's deep snore bad gra. the walls, we made up our minds, as dually lengthened out, so as to vouch well as we could, to spend the night for his forgetfulness, and Bang and where we were.

Don Ricardo, and the Dr Pavo Real, “ I say, Tom Cringle,” said Aaron and the ladies, had all subsided into Bang, “all the females are snug there, the most perfect quietude, when I you see; we have a blazing fire on noticed, and I quaked and trembled the hearth, and here is some comfort like an aspen leaf as I did so, a long for we men slaves ;" whereupon he black paw, thrust through, and down produced two bottles of brandy. from the dark aperture immediateDon Ricardo Campana, with whom ly over Padre Carera's head, until Bang seemed now to be absolutely it reached it, when, whatever it was, in league, or, in vulgar phrase, as thick it appeared to scratch him sharply,

very devil.


and then giving him a smart cuff, making them hiss again with the wa-
vanished. The Priest started, put ter he shook from his shaggy coat,
up his band, rubbed his head, and and frightening all hands like the
seeing nothing, again leant back, and
was about departing to the land of Sneezer, you villain, how came
nod, like the others, once more. But you here !” I exclaimed, in great
in a few minutes the same black paw amazement—" How came you here,
was again protruded, and this time sir?” The dog knew me, I was per-
a peering black snout was thrust suaded, for when benches were rear-
through the hole after it, with two ed against him, after the women had
glancing eyes, and the paw, after huddledinto a corner, and every thing
swinging about like a pendulum for was in sad confusion, he ran to me,
a few seconds, was suddenly thrust and leaped on my neck, gasping and
into the Padre's open mouth as he yelping, but finding that I was angry,
lay back asleep; and then giving and in no mood for toying, he plant-
him another smart crack, vanished ed himself on end so suddenly, in
as before.

the middle of the floor close by the
Hobble, gobble," gurgled the fire, that all our hands were stayed,
Priest, nearly choked.

and no one could find in his heart to
Ave Maria purissima,” ejacula- strike the poor dumb brute, he sat
ted Carera, que Bocado--what a so quiet and motionless. Sneezer,
mouthful!-What can that be ?” my boy, what have you to say-

This was more than I knew, I must where have you come from ?" He
confess, and altogether I was con looked towards the door, and then
sumedly puzzled, but, from a disin- walked deliberately towards it, and
clination to alarm the women, I held tried to open it with his paws.
my tongue. The Priest this time “Now," said the Captain, that
moved away to the other side from little scamp, who would insist on
beneath the hole, but still within two riding with me to St Jago, to see, as
feet of it-in fact, he could not get he said, if he might not be of use, in
in this direction farther for the altar. fetching the surgeon from the ship
piece-and being half asleep, he lay in case I could not find Dr Ber-
back once more against the wall to gara, has returned, although I desi-
take his seat, taking the precaution, red him to stay on board. The pup-
however, to clap on his long shovel py has returned in his cursed trou-
hat, shaped like a small canoe, cross blesome zeal, for no otherwise could
wise, with the peaks standing out your dog be here. Certainly, how,
from each side of his head, in place ever, he did not know that I had
of being worn fore and aft, as usual. fallen in with Dr Pavo Real;” and
Well, thought I, a strange party cer the kind-hearted fellow's heart melt-
tainly; but drowsiness was fast set- ed, as he continued" Returned
tling down on me also, when the why, he may be drowned-Cringle,
same black paw was again thrust take care little Reefpoint be not
through the hole, and I distinctly drowned.”
heard a nuzzling, whining, short Sneezer lowered his black snout,
bark. I rubbed my eyes and sat up, and for a moment poked it into the
but before I was quite awake, the white ashes of the fire, and then
head and neck of a large Newfound, raising it and stretching his neck
land dog was shoved into the chapel upwards to its full length, he gave a
through the round aperture, and ma short bark, and then a long loud
king a long stretch, the black paws, howl.
thrust down and resting on the wall, “ My life upon it, the poor boy is
supporting the creature, the animal gone,” said I.
snatched the Padre's hat off his head, “ But what can we do?" said Don
and giving it an angry worry, as much Ricardo ; “ it is as dark as pitch.”
as to say, Confound it, I had hoped And we again set ourselves to have
to have had the head in it-it drop- a small rally at the brandy and wa-
ped it on the floor, and with a loud ter, as a resolver of our doubts, whe-
yell, Sneezer, my own old dear Snee. ther we should sit still till daybreak,
zer, leaped into the midst of us, floun or sally forth now and run the chance
dering amongst the sleeping women, of being drowned, with but small
and kicking the firebrands about, hope of doing any good; and the old

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

priest having left the other end of the thrown in the stream, lashed togechapel, where the ladies were once ther as you are, you would have been more reposing, now came in for his drowned to a certainty," said the share.

Captain. The noise of the rain increased, “Oh,” said little Reefy, “the Docand there was still a little puff of tor was not on the mule in crossing wind now and then, so that the Pa- - no, no, Captain, I knew better I dre, taking an alformbra, or small had him in tow, sir; but after we mat, used to kneel on, and placing crossed he was so faint and chill, that it on the step where the folding-doors I had to lash myself to him to keep opened inwards, took a cloak on his him from sliding over the animal's shoulders, and sat himself down with counter, and walk he could not.” his back against the leaves, to keep “But, Master Reefpoint, why came them closed, as the lock or bolt was you back ? did I not desire you to rebroken, and was in the act of swig- main in the Firebrand, sir 3” ging off his cupful of comfort, when The midshipman looked nonplusa strong gust drove the door open, sed. “Why, Captain, I forgot to take as if the devil himself had kicked it, my clothes with me, and-and-in capsized the Padre, blew out the truth, sir, I thought our surgeon lights once more, and scattered the would be of more use than any outbrands of the fire all about us. N- landish Gallipot that you could carry and I started up, the women shrieks back.” ed, but before we could get the The good intentions of the lad door to again, in rode little Reef- saved him farther reproof, although point on a mule, with Doctor Plaget I could not help smiling at his coming of the Firebrand behind him, bound, back for his clothes, when his whole or lashed, as we call it, to him by a wardrobe on starting was confined strong thong. The black servants to the two false collars and a toothand the females took them for incar- brush. nate fiends, I fancy, for the yells and « But where is the young lady ?" shrieks that were set up were tre- said the Doctor. mendous.

“ Beyond your help, my dear Doc“ Yo ho !" sung out little Reefy; tor," said the skipper; “ she is dead “ don't be frightened, ladies-Lord all that remains of her you see love ye, I am half drowned, and the within that small railing there.” Doctor here is altogether so-quite " Ah, indeed !” quoth the Medico, entirely drowned, I assure you.-! « poor girl-poor girl-deep decline say, Medico, an't it true?” And the wasted, terribly wasted," said he, little Irish rogue slewed his head as he returned from the railing of round and gave the exhausted Doc. the altar-piece, where he had been tor a most comical look.

to look down upon the body; and “Not quite,"quoth the Doctor,“but then, as if there never had been such deuced near it. I say, Captain, would a being as poor Maria Olivera in you have known us? why, we are existence, he continued, “ Pray, Mr dyed chocolate colour, you see, in Bang, what may you have in that that river, flowing pot with milk and bottle ?”. honey, but with something miracu- “ Brandy, to be sure, Doctor," said lously like peasesoup-water I can- Bang. not call it.”

“Å thimbleful then, if you please.” " But Heaven help us, why did “By all means"--and the planting you try the ford, man?” said Bang. attorney handed the black bottle to

“ You may say that, sir," respond the surgeon, who applied it to his ed wee Reefy ; “but our mule was lips, without more circumlocution. knocked up, and it was so dark and “ Lord love us !-poisoned-Oh, tempestuous, that we should have gemini !" perished by the road if we had tried “Why, Doctor," said "what back for St Jago; $o seeing a light has come over you?" here, the only indication of a living “ Poisoned, Captain-only taste.” thing, and the stream looking nar- The bottle contained soy. It was row and comparatively quiet-con- some time before we could get the found it, it was all the deeper though poor man quieted; and when at —we shoved across.”

length he was stretched along a “ But, bless me, if you had been bench, and the fire was stirred up, VOL. XXXIII. NO. CCIII.

« PreviousContinue »