« AnteriorContinua »
stone in the wall was, as we already “You can- if you have the heart to know, a terrible meinorial of the event. do it." Nor had old Hesther Bonnetty exagge “I have the heart," answered Morrated when she vowed that the middle ris, his impetuosity returning ; " and of the road, opposite to the wall, was what's not sinful' i'll do, if living yet uncleansed of blood. The doll red- Christian has the power." stains were even now distinctly visible Listen, then ?" and Morris conin the line of brilliant moonshine, ceived that the figure rose to more than which, as we have said, ran along the nortal height: « Listen-to-morrow centre of the bosheen.
night, as the clock sounds twelve, meet As Morris Brady approached the me in John's Abbey Church-yard, at well-known place, he did not fail to re- the head of my own grave; on that cognise the fatal tokens; and, notwith- spot meet me, or Morris Brady, rue your standing the continued boldness of his challenge!" advance, and all his previous audacity, As the last strangely-cadenced words he felt dread and awe stealing over his died away, the figure, which had preheart at the sight. Scarcely slackening viously began to move, was no longer his pace, however, he stood on the very visible. spot-on the marks themselves. He For a moinent Morris stirred not. A did not, at once, turn his regards to- great confusion of mind, though not unwards the wall. Yet a kind of stir, mixed with fear, chained him to the without the accompaniment of noise, spot. Suddenly he recovered himself, caught his side vision. He jumped fully and bounded after the apparition, round, and confronted the appearance; which had disappeared round a turning and there, bending over the remarkable of the bosheen, a few paces from the stone, and too visible to leave a doubt wall. Clear of the turning, Morris's of its presence-although, owing to the eye could follow a considerable portion deep shade of the hedge above, some- of the length of the lane ; but he saw no what indistinctly shaped forth-stood object in motion. a human figure.
He became faint, and leaned against Morris's skin crept, in spite of him, the fence of the bosheen for support, as if in horror at the cold current now and it was some time before he could running beneath it. He took off his assume sufficient bodily strength to rehat, crossed his forehead, and repeated turn home. He succeeded at length, aloud the names of the Trinity. The however, in gaining his bed without figure slowly raised its drooping head, discovery ; but sleep was further than and Morris saw the features of Joe ever from his eyes. ir To-morrow night, Wilson--pallid, indeed, and strangely in John's Abbey church-yard,” rang in changed-yet still the man's well-known his ears. He seemed to hear the words features; and again did the ghost-seer repeated in the silence of his hushed wince under the cold, unwinking, pas- soul. sionless, mindless, lifeless stare that Although, during the day, his conwas fixed upon him.
science did not fail to upbraid him Suddenly his courage returned, or with his disobedience to his father; alrather a daring determination re-nerved though he feared to encounter his fahim, and, in a wild and startling ther's look, and fancied that the old tone, he exclaimed
man's mild eye was glancing severe re“ In the most Holy Name, this night, proach at him ; still Morris would not 1, Morris Brady, command you to tell recede from the self-sought adventure. me who and what you are ?",
A gloomy-spell, a fate, seemed to his . There was a moment's dead pause, mind to bind him to go on. Nor did he in which Morris heard the hollow beat- forget the last words—“On that spot ing of his own heart. deep, but low meet me, or Morris Brady, rue your voice replied to him, “The spirit of the challenge!" man murthered on the spot where you stand."
The weather had changed during the “ In the same name, once more, tell day. It was a glooiny November night : me what it is that puts throuble on the rain fell over the blackened sky; you ?" and now Morris's own voice the wind came in gusts, heralding its sunk low.
approach hy hollow moanings, which “None dared to ask before ; and the grew louder and louder as it advanced, dead must be silent till they are ques. until at last it swept, hissing, and tioned."
whistling, and roaring through the “I know it-can I give rest to you ?” mouldering, but beautiful arches of the
ruin, beside which our adventurer was his fashion when much excited. paused.
In those parts of the ruinous space The seared leaves of the alders, and around, which were not sunk in utter the other chance-sown trees that in- blackness,' he could perceive nothing creased the gloom of the unroofed space of the apparition of Joe Wilson. within, rustled against each other as “Your bidding is done,” resumed the gusts swept by; then their branches Morris, after a pause ; “I am standing waved and rattled, casting the leaves in the middle of the place.” in crispy showers to the ground; and “Stand at the head of the prior's then those which remained trembled as tomb,” still commanded his invisible the blustering visitation passed away. companion. The rushing river was not far off, and Morris endeavoured to ascertain the the noise of its waters filled up the spot whence the voice came, but the pauses of the blast.
careering gust seemed to bear it round The moon, which had shone out so and round the building. He knew the vividly the preceding night, as if to prior's tomb well. In his early boyhood assist in turning Morris to his doom, it had been one of the rallying points now refused him a beam to cheer the of his sports. Often had he and his darkness around him, and, morally companions contended for its possesspeaking, within him ; for it was not sion, carrying on a small warfare as if surprising that a night like this, apo for a fortress; and often did their youthproaching its dead noon, should in ful shout ring above the ashes of the such a place, have a sympathetic effect forgotten dignitary. Nay, often had on his distempered imagination. He the identical Joe Wilson, whose ghost stood awaiting the striking of the hour now summoned Morris to a conference of midnight, his head drawn back, his at the prior's tomb, been one of the dark brows knitted together, his eyes thoughtless rioters; and he was always flashing through the gloom in the in- the last who remained with Morris, terior of the old building, and his ear when the evening row was over, seated catching every sound, in anticipation on the crumbling and weed-hampered of the appearance of the being he had old monument, until the shades of night come to meet.
began to creep over the ruin; and here Al length the sonorous town-clock they would perseveringly excite each slowly began to toll twelve. Each vi- others supernatural predilections -not bration met an answering throb in fears-by the recital of the most apMorris's bosom. He counted the last proved and authentic tales of horror. stroke as it swung along the returning Notwithstanding the profound darkgust, and, in an instant after, started ness of the corner in which the monuback, raising his hands before him in ment stood, Morris found no difficulty an attitude of intense and solemn won- in occupying at its head the position der. It could not be the echoes of the named to him. ruin which returned that last clang so “ Are you here with me to hold to distinctly. No: it was a bell fixed in your pledge ?" resumed the voice. a mouldering steeple of the Abbey, “I am here to give you rest and which never tolled, save to welcome quiet if I can. the dead to their homes within its pre The mortal man who questions the cincts. Morris felt that the sound was dead ought to hold a fearful heart; or produced by no mortal band.
woe be to him." It had scarce died away, half suffoca My heart is sthrong," said the ted by the wind, when he heard his courageous though eccentric lad ; yet name uttered within, in the same deep he uttered the words with some effort, toneswhich had replied to his questions for the voice which spoke now seemed in the bosheen, on the previous night. fearfully menacing.
" I am here,” he answered, in a voice • The secrets of the dead must be scarcely less thrilling than that to kept as close as the grave keeps their which he responded.
rolling bones ; or treble woe on the “ Enter the abbey,” continued the betrayer's head.” unseen one. Morris, collecting his firm " I'll guard the silent tongue." ness, bent his body to pass through a “He who meets the dead, and chale low, arched door-way, half choked up lenges the dead, must obey the dead, or with rubbish and weeds. Standing to tenfold woe be to him ” his full height in the interior of the “Morris Brady will obey the dead!" building, he scowled around him, and "Swear an oath! swear it to the jerked his head from side to side, as dead!"
took it according to his wish, and put “ Swear! or rue this night! Swear!" it into my pocket, and, after a little It seemed to the young man as if, more conversation, and another glass, mingling with the gust, the tones were for the poor little fellow liked his wine, re-echoed, in shrieks, through every we parted, and they moved off. Alcorner of the ruin.
though I had thus, as it were, settled in “ I will swear to you!" he, in his my mind that I would not go with them turn, screamed forth, as he stamped his on this occasion, for my services could foot on the rubbish on which he stood. have been of but very little utility, yet,
" Lay your hand upon the prior's when they went away, I felt as if I was head."
left desolate, as it were, and was quite Morris grasped the figure ; but instead uneasy at parting from my beloved comof touching, at the point where he ex- rade, whom I liad always accompanied pected to find it, the marble head of the hitherto. I therefore slung over my effigy, his fingers passed over the front back my haversack, containing my pisof a skull; he felt the eye-holes, and tol and a few other things, and moved the nasal orifice, and that for the niouth. forward, to try if I could find them; but He recoiled an instant, but sufficiently falling in with some of my friends, recovered himself to replace his hand staff-officers of the 43d, who were in on the disagreeable object.
the same brigade, they strongly dis“Swear by the soul of him who has suaded me from it, representing the been murthered! swear by your own folly of uselessly exposing myself, and soul! swear by the darkness of the the little service I could render there; night! and swear by every spirit that and one of them requested me to achearkens to the oath to be silent, and company him to a hill immediately in to obey the dead!"
front of the breaches, where we could “Swear!” and Morris again spoke see the business as it proceeded. We in a shout, and as if some will other waited till about ten o'clock, when the than his own had moved his tongue. first fire commenced from the castle up
“ Follow me, now,” continued the on the 3d division, as they approached voice ; and, as it ceased, the figure of it ; but the fire from thence did not apthe bosheen glided through the low pear very heavy. Not long after, it archway into the burial ground without. opened out at the breaches, and was Morris sprang after it. The apparition most awfully severe ; indeed it was so glided into an adjacent street of the heavy and so incessant, that it appeartown, by a turnstile at the boundary of ed like one continued sheet of fire the church-yard, and, with noiseless along the ramparts near the breaches, steps, hurried on.
and we could distinctly see the faces of
the French troops, although the disDESCRIPTION OF THE FALL OF tance was near a mile. All sorts of
BADAJOS AND THE HORRORS arms, &c., were playing at once, guns, OF WAR.
mortars, musketry, grenades and shells
thrown from the walls, while every The following, extracted from “Sur• few minutes explosions from' mines tees's Twenty-five Years in the Rifle were taking place. The firing too apBrigade," will interest many of our peared to have such a strange deathreaders.
like sound, quite different from all I “I was then in the mess of the senior had ever heard before. This was occaptain of my battalion, who command- casioned by the muzzles being pointed ed it on this occasion; and my other downwards into the ditch, which gave messmates were poor little Croudace the report an unusual and appalling and Cary, both lieutenants, the latter effect. This continued without a moacting adjutant, and another. We had ment's cessation, or without any appataken a farewell glass before we got rent advantage being gained by our up from dinner, not knowing which of struggling but awfully circumstanced them would survive the bloody fray comrades. Lord Wellington had also that was likely soon to commence. Poor taken his stand upon this hill, and apCroudace, a native of the county of peared quite uneasy at the troops seemDurham, and consequently a near ing to make no progress, and often askcountryman, put into my hand a smalled, or rather repeated to himself, leather purse, containing half a dou- “ What can be the matter ?" The enebloon, and requested me to take care my had adopted an excellent plan to of it for him, as he did not know whose ascertain where our columns were fate it might be to fall or to survive. I posted; they threw an immense num
ber of light balls on all sides of the found that several men of both the 4th town, and when they found out where and light divisions had remained ; and there was a large body, a rocket was when General Picton moved from the fired in the direction of where it stood, castle towards that point, which I beand instantly every gun, mortar, and lieve he stated in his despatch to be his howitzer, not previously engaged, was intention, the enemy, finding themturned in that direction, and grievous selves attacked in rear, began to abanwas the destruction their shots made don the defence of the breaches, and in the ranks of these columns. Still, our people were then enabled to enter. our people at the breaches did not get Never did I witness any thing like the forward, although we distinctly heard, artificial impediments which the enemy with emotion, the bugles of our divi- had here thrown up, which, added to sion sounding the advance. His lord- the natural ones, that is to the breaches ship seemed now to lose all patience, not having been so perfectly practiand aides-de-camp were sent to ascer- cable as was desirable, rendered it next tain the cause of the delay. They flew to impossible to enter, even after all like lightning, while the whole ram- opposition on their part had ceased. part round the town seemed enveloped In one breach (the large one) this was in one flame of fre. Our brave but literally the case ; for at the top of it unsuccessful' comrades were heard was fixed a chevaux-de-frise, extend cheering every now and then; but stilling the whole width of the breach, and the fire at the breaches did not slacken. composed of a strong beam of wood, At length, a despatch arrived from Ge- with sharp-pointed sword-blades fixed neral Picton, stating that he had esta- in every direction, they being generally blished himself in the castle. This about three quarters of a yard long, was cheering news to his lordship, and so closely set together, that it was who expressed very strongly the grati- impossible either to leap over them or tude he felt for that gallant general. penetrate between them; and the whole During the reading of the despatch, so firmly fixed to the works at the top, which was done by torchlight, the that it could not be moved. In addienemy, perceiving the light, and that tion, they had fitted a number of long a number of people had assembled on and thick planks with spikes about an the hill, directed a shell in that direc- inch or more in length, and laid them tion ; but it fell short, and did us no all down the breach, but fixed at the injury. His lordship now rode off, top, so that it was impossible for any and ordered our people at the breaches one to get up without falling on these. to retire, as the town was now perfectly Beyond the chevaux-de-frise several secure. I also set off to inform my ditches had been cut, into which those people of the happy circumstance. I must have fallen who surmounted the found them drawn off from the glacis obstacles on the breach; but I believe a few hundred yards ; but, oh! what none did, although I saw one Portua difference in their appearance now guese lying dead upon the ramparts; from what they were previous to the but I imagine he must either have attack! The whole division scarcely been thrown up there by some explo-mustered at this time 2000 men; so sion, or been one of those of the 3d dimany had been killed and wounded, vision who came from the castle. În and many had been sent to the rear addition to all the above, from the cowith the latter. I informed them that vered way down into the ditch was, I General Picton had got possession of should imagine, at least thirty feet; our the castle, but my story appeared to people had descended by ladders, and them an incredible tale; for it was I doubt not, in the dark, and, in the actually impossible, they thought; and hurry and confusion of the moment, although they made me repeat it over many were thrown down and killed. and over again, they could scarcely In the middle of the large ditch a smaller bring their minds to credit such un one had been cut, which was filled expected news. It was now dawn of with water, and in which, added to the day, and the firing had ceased at every inundation close to the right of the point. Here I learnt the fate of my breaches, (which had been caused by iwo beloved friends and messmates: bringing the river partly into the ditch) Croudace had been shot through the numbers were drowned. Small mines body, and carried to the rear ; Cary had been constructed all along in the had fallen, but they could not tell what ditch, which were exploded when it had become of him. I now went for- was filled with people, and which proward towards the breaches, where I duced infinite mischief. On the top
of the ramparts the enemy had a con- obstacles which presented themselves, siderable number of shells of the but he had always been driven back, largest size, ready filled and fused; although he escaped unhurt where all and when our people had filled the was death around him; and now his ditch below, these were lighted, and life nearly fell a sacrifice, in endeathrown over on their heads, each shell vouring to restore that discipline in his being capable of destroying from division which this unfortunate and twelve to twenty men or more. They unsuccessful assault had considerably had beams of wood also laid on the impaired. He opposed his personal ramparts, with old carriage-wheels, and bodily strength to the entrance of and every sort of missile imaginable, the plunderers, but in vain. They which were poured upon the unfortu- rushed in, in spite of all opposition; nate people below. When these things and in wrenching a musket from one of are taken into consideration, added to the soldiers of the 52d, who was forcing the incessant and destructive fire of past him, he fell, and was nigh preci. from 3000 to 4000 men, all emulous to pitated into the ditch. He, however, do their duty, at the short distance of finding resistance here in vain, set off, perhaps twenty yards, with the ditch accompanied by several other officers, as full as it could possibly stow, the into the town, to endeavour 10 restrain, reader will be able to form some idea as much as lay in his power, the liof the destruction that must naturally centiousness of those inside, whose bad ensue; and awful indeed it was, for, passions, it was but too evident, would within the space of less than an acre of be let loose upon the defenceless inhaground, I should imagine not less than bitants. I had been in company with from 1200 to 1500 men were lying ; it Captain Percival, my commandingwas a heart-rending sight. I learnt officer before alluded to, from the time afterwards that many were the despe- of my first coming down to the division rate efforts that had been made to ascend before daylight; and now he and I, the breaches, but all in vain; that hearing the heart-piercing and afflictmany had nearly reached the top, but ing groans which arose from the numbeing shot or blown up, the others bers of wounded still lying in the were forced down again. Another and ditch, set to work to get as many of another trial still was made, but each these poor fellows removed as was in succeeding party shared the fate of their our power. This we found a most arpredecessors. At last the bottoms of duous and difficult undertaking, as we the breaches were nearly blocked up could not do it without the aid of a conwith the bodies of those who fell. By siderable number of men; and it was a this time, General Phillippon,- the work of danger to attempt to force the French governor, had surrendered. now lawless soldiers to obey, and stop When he found the 3d division had got with us till this work of necessity and possession of the castle, and were pre- humanity was accomplished. All paring to move down to second the at- thought of what they owed their woundtack of the breaches by taking the ene ed comrades, and of the probability my in rear, and that General Walker, that ere long a similar fate might be with a part of the 5th division, had es their own, was swallowed up in their caladed, and established themselves at abominable rage for drink and plunthe other end of the town, he deemed der; however, by perseverance, and further resistance useless, and retired, by occasionally using bis stick, my with the garrison, to St. Cristoval, on commandant at length compelled a few the opposite side of the river; and fellows to lend their assistance in reshortly after the whole surrendered pri- moving what we could into the town, soners of war. Soon after daylight, the where it was intended that hospitals remaining men of attacking divisions should be established. But this was a began to rush into the town, in hopes most heart-rending duty ; for, froin the of sharing, with those who had already innumerable cries of ,— Oh! for God's entered, the plunder they imagined it sake, come and remove me!” it was would afford; and though every thing difficult to select the most proper obwas done by Colonel Barnard, aided by jects for such care. Those who apthe other officers, to keep out those of peared likely to die, of course it would the light division, it was useless, al- have been but cruelty to put to the pain though he even risked his life to pre- of a removal; and many who, from the vent their entering. He had bravely, nature of their wounds, required great during the attack, repeatedly ascended care and attention in carrying them, the breach, in hopes of overcoming the the half-drunken brutes whom we were