« PreviousContinue »
mans, who slaughter all the men, wo. be on ordinary occasions, a sense of commen, and children, in the place, with mon interest restrains the most turbulent the exception of our hero, who excites on enterprises like the present. Nothing the compassion of a chief, and is care
was now to be heard but the tread of the ried off into captivity. The Toorko
horses, and now and then a faint clash of mans are, to a certain degree, Noma- breath, and grasped his quiver and his
arms. Every man seemed now to hold his dic, yet do not appear to change their
bow, that their rattle might not betray residence so frequently as the Arabs.
them. At length the faint bark of a dog The Aoul, or encampment to which was heard by the horsemen in advance, Ismael is carried, is situated in a beau- and the whole party was once more halted. tiful and verdant spot on the banks of The night was more than half spent, but a river; and the description given of the plan of our leaders was not to attack its appearance, and of the mode of life the camp till the earliest dawn, that our of the inhabitants, is full of barbaric people might have the full advantage of freshness and interest. The Toorko
their enemies' surprise, without any risk of mans are marked by all the vices and those mistakes which night attacks so often virtues of savage lite ; and he is treate produce. The principal camps were cal.
culated to be still four miles distant; so ed with kindness, and brought up as
we continued full two hours in this anxious the companion of Selim, the son of situation, without daring to advance near. the chief by whom his life had been
er, for fear of giving the alarm. preserved.
“ About three in the morning, we once - Many years pass over him in this more got into motion : the moon was set. situation, and he grows from youth ting, and a deep gloom fell around; but to manhood, without encountering any
the quick eyes of our leaders could detect further vicissitudes. During this pe- the first flush of the false dawn in the riod, he falls in love with the beauti. east.. As we rode along, this appearance ful Shireen, daughter of his master,
vanished ; but soon a broader light exby whom his passion is returned in the zenith, and objects at a little distance
tended itself gradually from the horizon to all its ardour. A chappow, or preda- became visible. Our band was now sepa, tory excursion against a neighbouring rated into two divisions ; one of which filed tribe, serves at length to diversify the off to the left, while that with which I remonotony of his life at this period. mained kept straight onward. Presently We give the description of the attack, dark lines of low objects could be discern. which appears to us very finely told. ed, still at a considerable distance ; and
we moved on in a direction that led us be“ The sun had set, and the moon, fast tween two of these lines. It soon appeared completing her second quarter, shone full that they were tents, and beyond them in. upon us before the word was given to closures, containing the cattle spread over mount and set forward. During the day. a large space of ground. light, every one had examined his arms; “ A deep bay, or a long howl, had oc. repaired the damages incident to a long casionally given us intimation that the march ; and fitting his harness and accoue huge dogs which guard every tent as well trements for immediate use, had prepared as the cattle inclosures, were on the alert, himself, as well as circumstanees would though not yet alarmed; but now one or allow, for the chances of a desperate strug- two loud, sharp barks, followed by an uni. gle: and when we once more resumed our versal yell from all quarters, told us that march, every one knew that before we we were discovered by these trusty guards. could again seek repose, or dismount from This was the well-known preconcerted our steeds, the event of that struggle must signal: “ Forward ! forward ! shouted be decided. Except to myself, however, Omer Khan, who was now at our head ; and perhaps to one or two more raw hands, “ Bismillah ! Bismillah!' I do not believe that a reflection of the " " Allah! Allah! Tekeh! Tekeh!' kind occurred; the rest were all too well answered every man, and dashed forward idured to blood and danger, and too confi- at full speed towards the tenis. Hardly dent of success from the excellent arrange- was there time for the alarm given by the ment of their measures, to think of any. dogs to be taken by the still sleeping inhathing but victory and revenge ; but we, bitants, when our horsemen thundered in who for the first time in our lives were to among them. The first of the men, as Measure our strength in earnest against a they rushed from their tents to see wbat powerful enemy, could not entirely restrain was the matter, ran upon our lances or the yearnings which Nature in such cir. swords; and even those who came from a cumstances experiences.
greater distance, unarmed and confounded, “We marched in perfect silence. How. fell unresisting before their ruthless mur. ever disorderly a body of Toorkomans may derers ! VOL. XXIV.
“Shrieks now rose on all sides :--men, tioned, to some of the stoutest champions women, and children, finding no safety in of the enemy, rendered resolute by despair. their tents, were seen rushing from them At the first charge, Selim's spear entered half naked, and attempting to fly;the deeply into the breast of his opponent's dogs, frightened at the uproar, barked and horse, which, rearing upright, caught the bit at everything ;-the cattle, partaking blow intended for its rider ; unable to reof their terror, broke down their slender cover itself, it fell backwards upon him ; inclosures, and scoured over the plain ; and but the spear was broken, and while thus the tents, the slight fastenings of which disarmed, the lance of another, at full were cut by the horsemen, or burst by the speed, had reached within a yard of Selim's Aying cattle, were overturned, and their body. I saw the coming danger, and be. contents scattered abroad. Fires now burst lieved him lost, but rushed with my drawn forth in some, which, blazing abroad, sword upon the fellow, while, almost mad threw a wild red gleam over the scene of with alarm, I uttered a loud shout; he tumult and carnage.
started at the noise, and swerved from his “ No opposition could be offered to us, course—the spear but grazed the shoulder for none of our enemies could find arms or of Selim, though the shock almost over. horses, nor had they any rallying point to threw his horse ;_but my sword descende form upon. We had but to slaughter, and ed on the neck of the foe as he passed, mercilessly did we that morning avenge and he rolled from his horse upon the our murdered friends :-men, women, and ground. I gazed at his huge body for an children, fell indiscriminately in the grey instant, as he lay, and drew my long-held dawn ; for all passed so rapidly, that be breath; but this ill-timed pause was nearfore the light was clear, the whole was ly fatal. I was recalled to elf by a nearly over.
blow, which, parried by Selim's sword, “ But our task was not at an end. We whistled harmlessly past my head, and we had, it is true, destroyed the principal di- were instantly and closely engaged with vision of the camp, while our friends had two others of the enemy, who came spurbeen as successful with another of nearly ring to support their fellow comrades. equal size ; but there were several smaller Others of our people now joined us, just as Aouls in the neighbourhood, and it was soon Selim had succeeded in cleaving his oppo. discovered that the fugitives had gone to join nent's head ; while I, less fortunate, reone of these, the inhabitants of which, ha ceived a blow on the neck, which, though ving taken the alarm, had armed them. the wound it inflicted was slight, almost selves, and were now advancing to ascer- tumbled me from my horse ; and I might tain and oppose the force of their enemy. have fared ill enough, had not my old
« Poor wretches ! the effort was worse friend Hamet, who, from the first rencounthan useless. Not a man of our party had ter had kept me in view, spurred up at the fallen ; not a scratch was received by us moment, and thrust his lance through the in the first encounter ; so that, intoxicated man who dealt it. with carnage, and undiminished in num. " I saw nothing more for some time: bers, we swept on like a whirlwind to meet but, indeed, the whole was over-the flower them. But not a moment did they with of the enemy's force had been destroyed, stand the shock : their numbers were and the rest in flight fell an easy prey, or sinall; they had not two hundred men, escaped by the fleetness of their horses and indifferently armed and mounted ; and superior knowledge of the gtpund. Our when they saw us, reeking with the slaugh. men now halted, and stragglers from the ter of their friends, come thundering down pursuit came in to the loud shouting of upon them, they broke and fled : it was their comrades. We returned to the scene then too late ; we overtook them in a mo. of our first attack, while a small force was ment, and many were at once borne down sent to the inferior camps to seize the wo. and trodden under foot. The remainder, men and children, and bring the most vahowever, seeing that nothing was to be luable of the movables to the place of gained' by flight, took courage from de- rendezvous. spair, and boldly faced us. This was the To one, like me, unaccustomed to carfirst resistance we had met with, and I nage, it was an appalling scene. In the soon found all my skill called into action. intoxication of youthful spirits, maddened
“My friend and master, Selim Beg, was by the shouting and the din of arms, the among the foremost of his party in pure atrocities that were committed by the un. suit: he had charged through the enemies? certain light of early morning, had, in a troop, and when they rallied he found great measure, escaped my notice :-in the himself in advance of his own men, and eagerness of doing, I hardly looked at what alinost surrounded by five or six of the was done : but now, as we returned to the enemy. In the whole affair I had kept scene of horror, with spirits satiated with my eye upon him, pressing forward as carnage, and saw the victims of our fury, close as possible to his side ; and now we cold, silent, stiffening in their blood, with were together, opposed, as I have men. whai different feelings.did I view it! Lifea less mothers were there, with their pale an attachment follow. Shireen is and mangled children, who, in their vain at- about to become a mother, and the tempt at flight, had fallen under our un
discovery of her situation by the ena sparing swords. Miserable old women, raged Khan must insure the death with their grey hair clotted with blood, and
of both. The lovers meet in tears, young girls, lovely as the Houries of Pa. radise, their bosoms gashed with wounds,
and part in agony. No light seems to lay trampled on by the cattle, among burnt glimmer in their horizon, -all is darkand overthrown tents, and all the melan- ness and despair. Under these circholy wreck into which the demoniacal cumstances, the mysterious Dervish work of a few minutes had transformed a again appears to Ismael, as he rumi. populous and well-ordered camp. When nates on the consequences of his guilt these terrible effects of our prowess flashed in a dark and solitary glen. He takes upon my inexperienced eyes, I became him severely to task for his past contooted to the spot: however unmoved the
duct, but promises to provide for his hardy and valiant heroes of our land might
safety and that of Shireen. This probe, I was overwhelmed with sadness and horror. It recalled to my memory most
mise he keeps. Selim, the brother of vividly and painfully a scene of my child.
Shireen, and the bosom-friend of Ishood, which had begun to fade like a dream
mael, has discovered her situation, and of the night; the slaughter of my clan,
comes not to reproach him for his per« and the death of my mother, were again
fidy, but to save him from its consebefore my eyes, and the visions of glory quences. He gives him a horse of true and promotion, after which I had panted Arab blood, ycleped Boorrauk, directs 80 ardently, became for the time worthless him on the path to the desert, and and disgusting."
bids him instantly to fly. His sister's. In this affair Ismael serves with dise life he promises likewise to preserve. tinction, and the Toorkomans return The parting of the friends is affec. to the Aoul loaded with spoil, and car. tionate, and Ismael mounts Boorauk, rying with them about two hundred and sets forward on his journey. There female prisoners. The women of the is great talent and imagination in the tribe come forth to meet them, anxious description of his sufferings in the deat once to receive intelligence of the sert, but we have no room for a swatch. safety of their relatives, and of the He encounters the deadly Sirocco, and value of the plunder. The female is in imminent peril of his life. Hope captives constitute the only portion again seems gone, when the Dervish of the spolia opima, which they consi- re-appears, and conducts him to a der de trop, since, without this rein- cave, where he remains in safety for, forcement, they already felt them. two days, when, the storm having selves quite equal to discharge the passed, he continues his route under. functions of wives and mothers to the happier auspices. At the extremity tribe, even had its male population of the desert he encounters a stranger, been greater. Ismael is received by who turns out to be Ibrahim, brother Shireen, to whom he brings a little of Nader Khouler Beg, the Wellinggirl as a present, with every demon- ton of Persia, whose power rivals, stration of strong affection. The pas- even that of the Shah. With this persion of these lovers, however, necessa- sonage, who declares himself to have rily remains secret, for the Khan has been an intimate friend of his father, promised his daughter's hand to an- Ismael unites himself, and they jourother, and the discovery of their at- ney onward together. Ibrahim is a tachment would be followed by the fine character, well and powerfully deruin of their hopes. All this part of lineated; brave, wild, and fearless, the narrative is admirably executed. courting danger for its own sake ; The beautiful, the loving Shireen, generous and kind-hearted. Their trusting with woman's confidence in route lies past the village in which the man she loves, and giving up all Ismael was born. He beholds his pafor his sake, is drawn with a pencil ternal house in ruins, and the spot at once delicate and bappy. The desolate. We now come to one of the heart of Ismael, too, is agitated by best specimens of powerful description passion, deep and tempestuous. They which these volumes afford. We conmeet, as they love, in secret. In all sider it in all respects admirable. They countries human nature is the same, are beset by a powerful band of Tbork. and the natural consequences of such oman robbers,
6 • We are beset,' said he; I saw the came thundering on abreast, their spears in point of a spear and a fur cap rising over rest, protending far over their saddle-bows. å bush in yon ravine, and we shall be im. Already were they within thirty yards, mediately pursued, for there cannot be a standing on their stirrups, and ready to doubt that they are enemies; but if we can bear us down, when Ibrahim, turning cross this plain, and gain the defile beyond, round on his saddle, without checking his where only two can ride abreast, we may horse, gave his fire ; and I at the same mo. do well enough yet :-string thy bow-get ment discharged an arrow at the group. thy arrows ready, and prepare to fight for Whether the ball took place on man or life and death :-now is an opportunity to horse we never knew, but there was a sud. try thy mettle.' I was ready in a moment, den cloud of dust, and we saw the middle and again received the praises of Ibrahim horseman rolling with his steed several for my expertness. • Thou art a choice times over on the ground, from whence he hand indeed, youth,' said he, I have never rose again,
the others, checking great confidence in thee: by the mercy of their horses in full career, wheeled off a few Allah, we shall baffle the rascals yet.' paces to either side, and halted. I saw my
“ By this time we had got clear of the arrow sticking in the shoulder of the right. ravines, and were bounding over the plain hand horse. Away we rode once more like more at our ease. It was some six or se- the wind ; Ibrahim charging his matchlock ven miles in breadth, and thinly sprinkled as he went, and I fitting another arrow to with wild pomegranates and thorns, but the string and we quickly regained our afforded free enough scope for our horses, vantage of distance. and tolerable footing. We had not, how- • The next two horsemen now came up aver, ridden half a mile when a low thun. with their companions, and the pursuit was dering noise in our rear told us that our renewed, while we strained every nerve to pursuers were on our traces; and they soon gain the jaws of the defile, which, now appeared emerging from the ravines we had hardly a mile in front, opened between two quitted, to the number of fifteen or twenty rocky hills, sprinkled with underwood. horsemen, whose great fur caps and long "We might gain the pass,' said Ibrahim spears proclairned at once what they were anxiously, but our horses can never keep Stakhferullah !' cried Ibrahim, there's up at this violent rate, and the pathway enough of them, to be sure! Oh for five or before us is terribly rough. See you yon six of my brave Kuzzilbashes, with their ruined watch-tower on the height ?-it is matchlocks and keen scymitars, and not our only chance. It may stand our friend one step farther would Ibrahim fly! But against these desperate odds-push on, and now fly we must, and that in earnest. Come, gain the tower, Ismael – up that rocky come, put your horse on his metile ; I path to the right. I will protect the rear know mine will serve me : let us see who until you are ready to command the enwins the race ; by the sword of Allee, the trance from its top ;- we shall at least sell stake is a sharp one !
our lives dearly.' “ On we swept with redoubled speed : “ There was no time for farther words : -our horses seemed to know how much on we swept like the whirlwind ; our horses need there was for their exertions, and de panting with their exertions, and two of the voured the ground. The distance between enemy now gaining upon us. I reached us and our foes visibly increased, and they and sprang up the path without accident, became scattered by the unequal speed of although the huge fragments of rock in my their own horses-the plain seemed to fly way might have baffled a fresher horse. I backward, and the opposite hills to ap, found that the tower stood within a small proach fast. • Barikillah!' cried Ibrahim walled inclosure, still in tolerable preserKhan, this is excellent, but it cannot last; vation ; but the gate having been long ago we must not kill our horses ! Let us try destroyed, the gateway was open to all, and what the leaders of these fellows are made admitted my horse without difficulty. The of_let us see what they will say to a tower, which stood in the wall overhanging matchlock ball!' Three of the party had the defile, had its entrance also by a gatekept pretty well up all along, and were not way; but this had been partly built up by much more than half-a-mile behind us; some banditti, who formerly frequented the two or three others were spurring on at va- place; and it was with difficulty that it rious distances, within a mile in their rear; admitted a horse without its rider. I sprang and last of all came on the main body, from mine, and dragging him inside, rushed keeping more together.
up-stairs to the summit with my bow, ready " Pull up by degrees,' cried Ibrahim, to defend the entrance. Ibrahim Khau, ' until these three fellows approach ; it whose horse had stumbled from fatigue, will breathe our horses, at all events; and was but just entering the outer inclosure, if we are lucky in our aim, we may dispose while the exertions necessary to recover the of some of them, and check the rest for a animal's footing had deprived him for the while.' I did as he proposed :- the three time of the use of his matchlock ; at this first horsemen, supposing our beasts blown, moment the foremost Toorkoman was close behind with his spear. The moment I saw erted themselves successfully' to Inspire bow matters were situated, I took a delibe- them with confidence. On hearing the re. rate aim with my arrow; and just as the port of Ibrahim's matchlock, they concei. fellow was rising to make his thrust, he re- ved that he must now be unarmed, and ceived it up to the feather in his heart. Ut they resolved to make a desperate and si. tering a loud yell, he fell backwards, check, multaneous attack upon our barricadoes. ing his horse so rudely that it also reared At once the whole party rushed to the outer and fell_blocking up the path soeffectually, gateway, some on horseback, some on foot; that had his companions been close at his and regardless of my arrows, which flew heels, they could not have advanced a step, not without effect, the principal body press
“ Ibrahim, meantime, had entered and ed forward to the entrance of the lower, got his horse under cover; then, calling me while some returned my discharge of ar. to assist him, we hastily rolled some large rows from their own bows. • Below! bei stones to the entrance, so as to impede the low ! cried Ibrahim, we must defend the enemy's progress. This was soon done, entrance to the last ; we must not lose our for the stones formerly used still lay there. horses. Follow me quickly. And he We then hurried above, to defend our castle rushed down to the gateway of the tower,
" It was full time; for now the whole the barricadoes of which the Toorkomans party of horsemen, sixteen in number, had had already commenced pulling down. come up or were close at hand; and three “My spear now pierced one of the foreor four were entering the outer gateway to. most, while Ibrahim blew out the brains of gether. Scarcely had the first got beyond another on the spot with his pistol. • Althe threshold when the report of Ibrahim's lah il Allah !' cried they, as they gave matchlock was heard, and the Toorkoman, back for a moment at this unexpected as dropping the reins, rolled on the ground; sault ; they have more guns!' But their the ball had passed through his body. rage and determination was now at its Nor was I less fortunate in my aim : as the height; they returned to the charge, while horse of the second, terrified at the noise we, on our part, dealt them ghasily wounds and fire of the matchlock, reared and turned with our spears and swords. But stone round, my arrow struck the rider behind after stone was now falling, and the large the ear : he fell immediately; and sharp as breaches gave entrance to their spears, his foot still stuck in the stirrup, his ter which not only prevented our opposing rified horse dragged him at speed down the them so effectually, but slightly wounded steep, scattering in confusion the rest, who us both. We were about to abandon out were all busily ascending.
horses, and to retreat to the platform above, * The sudden fate of these men checked there to sell our lives as dearly as possible, the fury of their comrades' onset. Not when a confused noise without struck our possessed of any fire-arms themselves, they ears, and caused a momentáry pause in the dreaded the effect of these weapons so much, efforts of our antagonists. that no one cared to expose his person; while
“ The sound came nearer and nearer, Ibrahim, unwilling to expend his ammuni. and was like the tramp of horse. 6 We tion, would not fire again until certain of are gone,' cried Ibrahim ; it is a fresh doing execution : my arrows too were pre- party of Toorkomans_let us ascend and cious, for of them no supply was to be had. die hard there!' At this moment, we Thus there was a cessation of hostilities on heard a hurrah! mingled with "Kuzzil. either side, the enemy having collected un. bash! Kuzzilbash! and accompanied der shelter of the wall, and we remaining with several shots and loud cries. Allah on the watch to shoot the first who might hu Akber !' cried Ibrahim, they are my make his appearance.
Kuzzilbashes !-we are safe, praise be to " This pause was of no long duration; Allah and the Prophet !..Hà, my good we soon became sensible that the enemy steed!' as the horses neighed loud at the had dispatched one or two of their number noise of the tumult, we shall now face the round the walls to see if entry might be villains on equal terms, nor need to fly obtained by some other passage less expo- again.' Up he bounded to the platform on sed than the gateway. The first unfortu. thesummit, whither I quickly followed him; nate spy, however, had no sooner turned and from thence, indeed, we saw an animathe corner, than he became exposed to our ting scene. There were the few remaining shot, and Ibrahim's matchlock sent him Toorkomans Aying like chaff before the sorely wounded back to his companions. wind, before a party of 40 or 50 Kuzzilbash
“ The enemy had now lost four of their horsemen, fully equipped, whose matchparty, and the majority of the rest, in all locks every now and then rang upon the ear, probability, would willingly have given up and a horse of the fiers was seen to fall, or a contest against men só desperate, in a fur cap to roll along the ground. Nearer which, at best, so little was to be gained. at hand, fifteen or twenty more of our de. But there were among them some of a more liverers, having put most of the dismounted determined spirit, who urged on the rest to Toorkomans to death, strove who should revenge their fallen companions, and ex. enter first, and release those who had been