Imágenes de páginas

from the Belici Sinistro; the former is the Crimisus, the latter the Hypsa of the ancients : we crossed it by a romantic bridge ; its lofty banks are crowned with tall trees and beautiful shrubs, which pay a tribute of their leaves and flowers to this delightful stream as it glides onward to the deep. The charms of the scenery often induced us to stop or loiter, and it was rare, short as were the day's journeys we had fixed, that we did not arrive late at our resting-place for the night. It happened so now; it was nearly dark when we reached Campobello, twenty-four miles from Sciacca, although we had previously determined to sleep at Castelveterano. It was debated whether we should halt or proceed. On one side, the ladies were rather fatigued, and it had begun to rain, on the other, Campobello, though well deserving the name from the beauty and fertility of the plain in which it is situated, is a wretched and miserable place, where we were likely to fare as badly as at Alexandria, added to which, the air in its environs is pestilential. On these grounds, it was decided nem. con. to brave the dark night, the drizzling rain, and the rugged road, rather than the malaria. We continued our route without inconvenience or obstacle until we reached the small river Arena or Delia, when our lettighieri, who were also our guides, declared they could not find the ford, and that the stream was deeper than they expected to have found it. Although it is probable that we might have crossed it with perfect safety, and that the water would not have been higher than the knees of our horses, yet as there might have been hollows in the bed of the current, and as the women began to manifest signs of alarm at the idea of passing over in the dark, it was determined, rather than return, to ask lodgings for the night at an ancient castle which crowned a neighbouring eminence. This resolution was vehemently combated by the muleteers and also by the servants, who were told by the former that the place was haunted, and that we should repent our temerity if we entered its dangerous precincts; they became, in fact, so clamorous that we should retrace our steps to Campobello that we were obliged to give up the point to as many of the party as might please to return, but as we hinted that they need not take the trouble of rejoining us in the morning, there were none who chose, on mature consideration, to avail themselves of the permission accorded.

Having toiled up an ascent of three quarters of a mile, we at length arrived at the door of this formidable mansion. After knocking repeatedly, each time with increased length and force, we were about to retire in despair, when a man armed with a long gun appeared at a window and demanded our business. On our requesting an asylum, he at first declared it was impossible; that his master had given him positive orders not to admit strangers into the castle. On our renewing our instances, he strove hard to induce us to attempt the ford, for which, now we had the prospect of a roof before us, we were less inclined than ever. Hearing who we were, he at length unwillingly consented to receive us, and in a few minutes unbarred the massive iron-cased portals; as we entered he told us we should fare but ill, as he had nothing to offer us but the coarse food which served himself and family. This was no great disappointment, as we found his fare comprehended fowls and a kid, and since our adventure at Alexandria we always took care to lay in a stock of cold provisions where they were to be found. Signore Giacinto, for such was the name of our host, told us, that he was castellano or keeper of the castle, which he had inhabited in that capacity for nearly thirty years ; its owner was the well-known Duke of U- - A large fire having been lighted in the vast antique hall, we sat round it drying ourselves and conversing with Signore Giacinto, whom we could not prevail on to show us the apartments, pretending not to have the keys in his possession, when we were suddenly disturbed by discordant and doleful yells, which seemed to proceed from beneath. Being on the ground floor, this not a little surprised us, as we heard several voices at the same time, crying, "Misericordia, misericordia !" in a hollow, sepulchral tone. On our turning to Signore Giacinto, he appeared much confused, and telling us the noises proceeded from some “forzate," galley-slaves, under his custody, who were confined in the vaults below, hurried out of the room.

His account appeared to satisfy no one but the Count, L-and myself; the ladies turned pale, and the camereira was near fainting: as for the servants, I thought I should have been stunned by the roar of the Paternosters and Ave Marias that were ejaculated on all sides. It was unanimously agreed among them that they were the ghosts, who already began to make themselves heard, and that Don Giacinto was either the devil in propria persona, or one of his best friends. On his return, he informed us that the disturbance had been occasioned by a burning faggot which had fallen from above among the prisoners, and caused them to believe that the edifice was in flames, and that they must inevitably perish in the conflagration. It happened, in fact, that these unfortunates were confined directly underneath the hall which we occupied, and that one of the vents which admitted a small portion of air from above was in a corner of the room. Don L-, the young count, had mistaken it for a well, and thrown in a piece of wood from the fire to ascertain the depth and hear the splash. The fate of these poor people excited my commiseration, but I found the castellano so little inclined to answer questions regarding them, that I was obliged to drop the subject. From what I learnt afterwards, I have reason to believe that they were not convicts, as Signore Giacinto would fain have persuaded us, but individuals partly victims of the private resentment of the Duke of U- partly persons suspected of being concerned in the revolution of 1820, whom the government did not think it advisable to bring to trial, but for security or punishment detained in these unwholesome dungeons. Our cook soon put an excellent repast on the table, which we should have enjoyed more but for the recollection of the sufferers below, to whom we would willingly have lowered a part of our meal, but we found Don Giacinto, who never left us, inexorable on this head; he assured us that, barring only light and air, they wanted for nothing !

Don Giacinto had our animals ready before daylight in the morning, to our surprise and rather to our mortification : he positively refused to accept the slightest remuneration for either the accommodation or provisions he had afforded, assuring us that his master, though he might probably forgive him for receiving strangers in our circumstances, he would certainly never pardon him should it come to his ears that he had dishonoured him by turning his castle into a house of entertainment by the receipt of money.

Our mode of travelling was as follows:-our cavalcade was generally in motion by five o'clock, having taken a cup of coffee or breakfasted before we started, according to the distance of the first resting place. We pursued our journey at the rate of about three miles and a half an hour. L- -, the count, and myself, occasionally leaving the party to ascend an eminence, or visit spots in the neighbourhood worthy of attention. Our morning's task was usually finished between ten and eleven o'clock, before the heat became oppressive. When we next stopped, we threw ourselves on our mattresses for an hour or two, and we invariably slept on them at night, except when received in private houses. We also took a light meal prepared by the cook overnight. At four P. M. we again set forward, and travelled till about eight, when we put up for the night, took supper, which was our principal meal, and retired to rest.

(To be continued.)



Once on a time there lived a sprite,

Her name I must suppress,
And though but half a foot in height,

Her worth was not the less.
This fairy had a wand or switch,
A gentle tap or two with which

Gave perfect happiness.
Then tell us, fairy, bright and bland,
Do tell us where you hide your wand.
She also had a sapphire car,

'Twas drawn by butterflies,
And brighter than the fairest star,

That sparkles in the skies ;
In this she roamed the country round,
And bid luxuriant crops abound,

And happiest prospects rise.
Then tell us, fairy, bright and bland,
Do tell us where you hide your wand.
Our fairy had a favourite king,

And on her pet confers
All that a fairy hand could bring ;

This sovereign's ministers,
All honest men, who lived in peace,
Who watched the flock-not stole the fleece-

Were also gifts of her’s.
Then tell us, fairy, bright and bland,

Do tell us where you hide your wand.
Dec. 1835.-VOL. XIV.—NO. LVI.


This sovereign had his judges too,

All tutored by the sprite,
Who taught their lordships what to do,

They pardoned with delight.
And all those turnings in the laws
That prop a poor, but honest cause,

These judges kept in sight.
Then tell us, fairy, bright and bland,
Do tell us where you hide your wand.
She touched the sovereign's crown, that he

Might see his subjects blessed,
And universal harmony

The fairy's power confessed.
And whilst the king was thus endeared,
No enemy from without appeared,

No foe within oppressed.
Then tell us, fairy, bright and bland,
Do tell us where you hide your wand.
Alas! to some delicious bower

This fairy now repairs,
For things are changed, not right but power,

The sovereign sceptre bears.
The nations all around us groan,
And if our lot, and ours alone,

Be happier than theirs,
Still tell us, fairy, bright and bland,
Do tell us where
you hide your wand.



Part with thee?-never !—what my lot may be,

He (in whose hands is fate) alone can tell ;
But if 'tis clouded by dark misery,

Or if joy round me throws its brightest spell,
In ev'ry change thou wilt be near me still,
Sharing in storm and sunshine good and ill,
Part with thee?-never !—for no charm of face,

The friendly smile, nor for the polish'a brow,
I value thee-(though both may lend a grace,

Even where ruthless Time has shed its snow ;)
But for thy soul of truth and lib'ral mind,
By no dark, narrow prejudice confin'd.
Part with thee ?-never !- let the cold ones sneer,

I shall not heed them—while I gaze on thee,
And know thy bliss is still the sad to cheer,

And doing good thy greatest luxury;
Thy direst foes in vain thy actions scan,

God's noblest work thou art an honest man.
We insert this for the fervid honesty of its feeling.



Shortly after the illegal suspension of the Habeas Corpus, that I recorded in the last number, the portion of the navy stationed in the West Indies became actively employed in the conquest of those islands still in the possession of the French. Some fell almost without a struggle, others at much expense of life both of the military and naval forces. As every one who could find a publisher, has written a book on all these events, from the capture of the little spot Deseada to the subduing the magnificent Island of Gaudaloupe, and the glorious old stone-built city of Domingo, I may well be excused detailing the operations. Among other bellicose incidents that varied the dull monotony of my life, was the beating off a frigate equal in force to our own; though I believe that we were a little obliged to her for taking leave of us in a manner so abrupt, though we could not certainly complain of the want on her part of any attention for the short and busy hour that she stayed with us, for she assisted us to shift all our topmasts, and, as before she met us, we had nothing but old sails to display, she considerately decorated us with a profusion of ribands gaily fluttering about our lower masts, and the topmasts that were gracefully hanging over our sides.

We were too polite and well bred not to make some return for all these petits soins. As, between the tropics, the weather is generally very warm, we evinced a most laudable anxiety that she should be properly ventilated, so we assiduously began drilling holes through and through her hull; and I assure the reader, that we did it in a surpassingly workman-like manner. But, in the midst of this spirited exchange of courtesies, our Gallic friend remembered that he had, or might have, another engagement, so he took his leave; and, as he had given so many reasons to prevent our insisting to attend upon him, we parted, en pleine mer, leaving us excessively annoyed that we were prevented from accompanying him any

farther. In Captain Reud's despatches he stated, and stated truly, that we beat him off. Why he went, I could not understand; for, excepting in the shattered state of his hull, and more particularly in a sad confusion of his quarter gallery, with his two aftermost main-deck ports, he sailed off with his colours flying, and every sail drawing, even to · his royals. But the French used to have their own method of managing these little matters.

But let us rapidly pass over these follies, and hasten to something more exquisitely foolish. And yet I cannot. I have to clear away many dull weeds, and tread down many noxious nettles, before I can reach the one fresh and thornless rose, that bloomed for a short space upon my heart, and the fragrance of which so intoxicated my senses, Continued from p. 305.

« AnteriorContinuar »