Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

TRAVELS OF ABDALLAH.

SECOND MORNING.

«Wish'd morning's come ; and now upon the plains,
“ And distant mountains where they feed their flocks,
“ The happy shepherds leave their homely huts,
“ And with their pipes proclaim the new-born day :
“ The lusty swain comes with his well fill'd scrip
« Of healthful viands, which, when hunger calls,
* With much content and appetite he eats,
« To follow in the field his daily toil,
“ And dress the grateful glebe, that yields him fruits :
« The beasts, that under the warm hedges slept,
" And weather'd out the cold bleak night, are up;
* And, looking tow'rds the neighbouring pastures, raise
« Their voice, and bid their fellow brutes good-morrow :
« The cheerful birds, too, on the tops of trees
« Assemble all in choirs; and with their notes
6 Salute, and welcome up the rising sun.""

Soon as the soft blush of morn had tinged the castern canopy of heaven, and 'gan to smile on creation with renewed lustre, I awoke from sweet and refreshing slumbers, and, immediately propare him for the further prosecution of our jour. ney. He was already risen, when I entered his apartment and engaged in his morning devotions, which were no sooner performed, than he prepared for our departure.

We now travelled northwards towards the city of Dhuboy, a place of great importance in that part of India, and we proceeded, as fast as circumstances would allow, being in hopes that we should reach its walks some time before sun. set on that day.

We stopped on our way, for water, at a village called Nurrah, situated at a small distance from Dhuboy. This unfortunate village had lately been destroyed by the ravages of a cruel and in. veterate enemy, and many of the houses, that had been overthrown, were yet smoking from the fire that had consumed the greater part of the place.

As we proceeded through the desolated spot, we beheld a large concourse of people assembled together, amongst the ruins of a vast and magnificent mansion, which, apparently, had suffered from the fury of the enemy, equally with the more humble habitations of the peasantry. The eager expression of curiosity that was visible in every countenance of

1

the mob, induced us to quit our road, and enquire into the cause of such an extraordinary assemblage of people.

We were soon informed that the proprietor of the palace which lay in ruins before us, had buried many lacks of rupees, in a secret cell, underground, which was known only to himself, and the mason who had constructed the subter. raneous vault; and that the mason was then at the head of a party who were endeavouring to find the hidden treasure, the owner having died, in a distant province, soon after he had fled from his country.

Our curiosity being somewhat excited by this account, we desired our informer to conduct us to the party who were engaged in the search. He led the way through a number of spacious courts, that still bore some remains of extreme grandeur; and, at length, having passed through several noble apartments, that were lying in ruins, we arrived at a dark closet, where we found the searchers.

In a remote corner of this apartment, was a cavity, about six feet square, that was supposed to contain the valuable treasure. In the center small round hole which would, scarcely admit the body of a boy. - We found some workmen busily employed in the enlargement of this hole; and when it was made of a sufficient size to allow a man to pass through it, two of the boldest men present, were sent down.

After a descent of several feet, the adven. turers arrived at a second terras, or floor, in the center of which was a similar opening to that in the first. This being also enlarged, and torches procured, we could, from the top, perceive that the passage descended to a very great depth.

The dismal appearance of the gloomy abyss, that was now opened to our view, had such an effect upon the embassy, that, notwithstanding they were advanced a considerable distance on their way, they now absolutely refused to move one step more forwards, alledging, that throughout Hindostan, where treasure was concealed, there was certainly one of the most powerful Genii of the country placed there to guard it, in the form of a snake.

I could not possibly refrain from laughing at their distress, because I knew it proceeded from the most absurd and ridiculous superstition. Under this idea, I was one of the foremost to keep them down, and told them that they should not visit the face of the earth again, but be left to perish in that hole, unless they would proceed forwards in the search; to facilitate which, more lights, and longer ropes, were sent to assist their descent in the dismal cell; and I also promised them a reward, provided they continued their search, without giving way to their idle fears.

After a long succession of threats and promises, they reluctantly consented to prosecute the adventure; and by the aid of the torches they bore, which cast a small glimmering light through the profound gloom, we were just enabled to discern the bottom of the cell, which appeared (from the distance and troubled

troubled medium through which we beheld it), not to be more than five feet square, and very deep.

Here they found a third terras, covered with a thick layer of earth, but they had not remained many 'minutes in this spot, before they began to scream and yell in the most dreadful manner I ever heard. Nothing could exceed the hor. ror of their gestures, and terrific sounds they sent forth, and their eries 'ascending from such

« AnteriorContinua »