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   Chapter 5 No.5

The Pacha of Many Tales By Frederick Marryat Characters: 50436

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


The pacha had repeated his perambulations for many nights, without success; and Mustapha, who observed that he was becoming very impatient, thought it advisable to cater for his amusement.

Among those who used to repair to Mustapha when he exercised his former profession, was a French renegade, a man of considerable talent and ready invention, but a most unprincipled scoundrel, who, previous to the elevation of Mustapha, had gained his livelihood by daring piratical attempts in an open boat. He was now in the employ of the vizier, commanding an armed xebeque which the latter had purchased. She passed off as a government cruiser, but was in reality a pirate. Selim, for that was the name which the renegade had adopted when he abjured his faith, condemned every vessel that had the misfortune to meet with him, taking out the cargoes, burning the hull, and throwing the crews overboard, with the privilege of swimming on shore if they could. By this plan he avoided the inconveniences attending any appeals from the jurisdiction of the High Court of Admiralty, which he had established upon the seas.

The consequence was, that his cruises were more successful than ever, and Mustapha, who was not content with pillaging the pacha's subjects on dry land, was amassing a large fortune at their expense by his maritime speculations.

Occasionally, bales or packages would be recognised when landed as having the identical marks and numbers of those which had been shipped from the quay but a fortnight before; but the renegade could always give a satisfactory explanation to the vizier; and after a Jew, who could not bear the idea of parting with his property without remonstrance, had been impaled, people shrugged up their shoulders and said nothing.

Now it occurred to Mustapha, that Selim might be able to assist his views. He talked fast and loud, vaunted his own exploits, curled his whiskers as he swore to the most improbable assertions, and had become a general nuisance and terror since he had obtained the vizier's protection.

Mustapha sent for him, and, as a preliminary question, inquired if ever he had read the Arabian Nights.

"Yes, vizier," replied the renegade; "many years before I turned Turk."

"Do you recollect the voyages of Sindbad the Sailor?"

"To be sure I do; he is the only man that could ever hold a candle to me in lying."

"Well, then, his highness the pacha delights in such stories; and it is my wish that you prepare to recount your own voyages, as Sindbad has done before you."

"But what am I to get for it?"

"My good-will and protection; besides which, his highness, if pleased, will not fail to order you a handsome present."

"Well," replied Selim, "any man who can produce gold in this world will always be able to change it for base metal. I can coin lies in my mint faster than he can coin sequins in his; and since you wish it, and say that it will be profitable, why-I am very much at his service."

"Then, Selim, observe my directions, for every thing must appear accidental."

In pursuance to the orders received from Mustapha, the renegade remained that evening at the corner of a certain street, through which Mustapha took care that the pacha should pass in his disguise. When he perceived their approach, the renegade exclaimed. "Allah, Allah! when is the happy time to come, promised in my seventh and last voyage?"

"Who are you, and why do you call upon Heaven for happy times?" inquired the pacha.

"I am Huckaback the Sailor," replied the renegade, "who, after a life of danger and disaster, am anxiously awaiting the fulfilment of a promise from the Most High."

"I must see this man to-morrow," observed the pacha:-"Mustapha, as you value your life, see that he attends."

The vizier bowed, and the pacha returned to the palace without further adventure.

The next day, as soon as the business of the divan had closed, the renegade was ordered in. Prostrating himself before the pacha, he then rose, and, folding his arms over his breast, awaited his commands in silence.

"I have sent for you, Huckaback, to inquire the meaning of the words you made use of last night: and to know what was the promise made to you in your seventh and last voyage; but I will thank you to begin at the first, as I wish to hear the history of all your voyages."

"May it please you highness, as I live but to obey you, all that has occurred in my eventful life shall, if you command it, be submitted to your ear. It will, however, be necessary that I should revert to my early days to enable your highness more fully to comprehend the whole."

"Aferin! well said," replied the pacha; "I don't care how long a story it is, provided that it is a good one:" and Selim, having obeyed a sign from his highness, intimating that he might sit down, commenced as follows.

HUCKABACK.

I am a native of Marseilles, your highness, where I was brought up to the profession of my father; a profession (continued the wily renegade), which, I have no hesitation to assert, has produced more men of general information, and more men of talent, than any other-I mean that of a barber.

* * * * *

"Wallah Thaib; well said, by Allah!" observed Mustapha.

The pacha nodded his approbation, and the renegade proceeded with his story.

* * * * *

I was gifted by nature with a ready invention, and some trouble and expense were bestowed upon my education. To the profession of a barber, my father added that of bleeding and tooth-drawing. At ten years old I could cut hair pretty well. People did say, that those upon whom I had operated, looked as if their heads had been gnawed by the rats; but it was the remark of envy, and as my father observed, "there must be a beginning to every thing."

At fifteen, I entered upon the rudiments of shaving; and after having nearly ruined my father's credit, from the pounds of flesh which I removed with the hair of my customers (who were again consoled by his observing that "there must be a beginning to every thing"), I became quite expert. I was subsequently initiated into the higher branches of tooth-drawing and bleeding. In the former, at first I gave great dissatisfaction, either from breaking the decayed tooth short off, and leaving the stump in the socket, or from mistaking the one pointed out, and drawing a sound engine of mastication in its stead. In the latter, I made more serious mistakes, having more than once cut so deep as to open the artery, while I missed the vein; in consequence of which I was never afterwards employed, except by a husband to relieve a scolding wife, or by nephews who were anxious about the health of an everlasting uncle. But, as my father wisely observed, "there must be a beginning to everything;" and, as I could only practise upon living subjects, "individuals must suffer for the good of the community at large." At the age of twenty I was an accomplished barber.

But rapid as was my career, I was not fated to continue in it long. Like the shot propelled from the mouth of the cannon, which, in its extreme velocity, is turned from the direction which has been given it by glancing along the weakest substance, so was my course of life changed from its direction by meeting with a woman.

My father had a good customer; he had shaved him every morning for years, had extracted every tooth in his head, and was now winding up his long account by bleeding him daily, under the direction of an ignorant apothecary. I was often at the house-not to bleed him, for my father either thought him too valuable, or was too grateful for past favours to trust him in my hands;-but I held the basin, procured water, and arranged the bandages. He had a daughter, a lovely girl, whom I adored in secret; but her rank in life was too far above mine to allow me to express my feelings. I was then a handsome young man, although Time has since exerted his utmost, through jealousy, to make me appear almost as old and ill-favoured as himself. The young lady took a fancy to me, complained of the toothache, and asked for remedies. I offered to extract the tooth; but either having heard of my reputation, or not wishing to remove the excuse for our interviews, or, what is still more probable, having no toothache whatever, she would not consent.

The death of her mother, which had taken place when she was a child, had left her without guidance,-and the helpless situation of her father, without protection. Naturally of a warm temperament, and yielding to the impulse of her feelings, she carried on an intimacy which could only end in her disgrace; and, at the expiration of a year, her situation could no longer be concealed. I was now in a dilemma. She had two brothers in the army, who were returning home, and I dreaded their vengeance. I loved her very much, but I loved myself more; so, one evening, I packed up all that I could call my own, and all that I could lay my hands on belonging to my honoured parent, and shipped on board a Genoese vessel, which was then standing out of the harbour. She was a large ship, mounting twelve long guns, with a complement of sixty men; being what is termed in European countries a "letter of marque." This implies that she fights her way without convoy, capturing any of the enemy's vessels she may happen to fall in with, who are not strong enough to resist her. We had cleared out for Genoa with a cargo of lead, which lay at the bottom of the hold, and which merely served for ballast.

I soon found out, by the conversation of the crew, that we were not to proceed to Genoa direct; in fact, your highness, she was a pirate, manned by a most desperate set of men. As soon as my qualifications were made known, I had the honour to remove the beards of sixty of the greatest villains that ever were permitted to exist, receiving nothing but blows and curses for my trouble. I certainly improved very much in my profession; for it was as much as my life was worth to draw blood, although they made no scruple of carrying on a conversation during the whole time of the operation. We had taken the cargoes out of several vessels, all of which were added to the "manifest" by our correct captain; when one day, we were chased by an English frigate. I never met the English on shore, but I must say that, afloat, they are the most impertinent people that swim on the seas. They cannot be content with minding their own business, although they have plenty on their hands, but they must interfere in that of others. They board you, and insist upon knowing where you come from, whither you are bound, and what you have on board; examining you with as much scrutiny as if they had been the delegated custom-house officers of the whole world.

Now it did not exactly suit our captain to submit to such a rigorous search; he therefore made all sail for an island about seven miles distant, and anchored under the protection of a battery. Austria-the nation to whom the island belonged-was not at war with England; she was preserving what is called an "armed neutrality."

* * * * *

"Pray what is the meaning of an armed neutrality?" demanded the pacha.

"It varies according to circumstances, your highness; but, generally speaking, it means a charge of bayonets."

* * * * *

The frigate followed; and being prevented by the shallowness of the water from approaching sufficiently near to us herself, sent her boats to examine us: but as there were six of them full of men, and each mounting a gun at her bow, our captain thought it advisable to refuse them permission to come on board. As a hint that he disapproved of their measures, he poured his whole broadside of round and grape into them, when they were about a quarter of a mile distant: upon which they gave three cheers, and were obstinate enough to pull faster towards us than ever.

We received them with all the honours of war, in the shape of cutlasses, pistols and boarding pikes; but they were very determined. As soon as one was knocked down, another jumped up in his place; and somehow or another they had possession of the ship in less time than I have been telling the story. I was on the poop, when an English sailor, with a pigtail as thick as a cable made a cut at me: I ran back to avoid the blow, and, in so doing, came with such force against another of their men, that we both tumbled overboard together. I lost my cutlass, but he had not parted with his; and as soon as we rose to the surface, he seized me by the collar, and presented the point to my breast. It seemed to be all the same to him whether he fought on the deck or in the water. Fortunately I shifted a little on one side, and he only drove it through my jacket. I recollected that I had my razor in my pocket, which I took out under the water unperceived, and, closing with him before he could repeat his thrust, I cut his throat from ear to ear, and then made for the shore as fast as I could. As I swam remarkably well, I had no great difficulty in reaching it. As soon as I landed, I looked back, and observing that the English boats were towing our vessel out I made all the haste I could to the fort, which was close at hand. There I was hospitably received, and we sat up till past midnight, drinking, smoking, and abusing the English.

The next morning, a felucca anchored to procure some water, and, as she was proceeding to Toulon, I requested a passage. We sailed with a fine breeze; but a heavy gale came on, which tossed us about for many days, and the master of the vessel had no idea to where she had been driven. He consoled us, however, by asserting that we could never go to the bottom, as there was a lady of great sanctity passenger in the cabin, who had been sent for to assume the office of lady abbess of a convent near Marseilles, and whom the saints would indubitably preserve.

This was some comfort, although fine weather would have been greater. The gale continued; and the next morning we thought that we descried land on the lee beam. The following night we were certain of our conjectures having been correct, for the vessel was thrown on shore, and in a few minutes went to pieces. I had the good fortune to save myself upon a part of the wreck, and lay half-dead upon the beach until the morning. When the day broke, I looked around me: there were the fragments of the vessel strewed upon the beach, or tossed in mockery by the surge; and close to me lay the dead body of the lady, whose sanctity the captain had assured us would be a safeguard to us all. I then turned from the beach to look at the inland country, and perceived, to my astonishment, that I was not three miles from my native city, Marseilles. This was a horrid discovery; for I knew that I should receive no mercy, and could not proceed a mile without being recognised. What to do was now the subject of my thoughts; and at last, as I viewed the body of the dead lady, it occurred to me that I might pass myself off for her.

I stripped it of its outer garment, and having then hauled my own clothes upon the corpse, and covered it over with sea-weed, I dressed myself in the religious habit which she had worn, and sat down awaiting the arrival of the people, which I knew must soon take place. I was then without a symptom of beard; and, from the hardship and ill-treatment which I had received on board of the Genoese, was thin and sallow in the face. It was easy in a nun's dress to mistake me for a woman of thirty-five years of age, who had been secluded in a cloister. In the pockets of her clothes I found letters, which gave me the necessary clue to my story, and I resolved to pass myself off as La Soeur Eustasie, rather than be put in prison, or run through the body.

I had scarcely time to finish reading these documents, when a party, attracted by the fragments on the beach, came up to me. I narrated the loss of the vessel, the death of the whole crew, my name and condition, my having come over at the request of the bishop to assume the guidance of the convent of St Therese; and added, that I had called upon the Virgin in my distress, who had come to my aid, and floated me on shore with as much care and comfort as if I had been reposing on cushions of down. The report was spread and credited; for the circumstance of a helpless woman being the sole survivor of a whole crew was miracle enough in itself.

The bishop's carriage was sent for me, and I was conducted into the town, followed by a concourse of priests, monks, and common people, who were anxious to kiss even the ground that had been trod upon by a personage so especially under the protection of Heaven. I was conducted to the bishop's palace, where I held a sort of court, being visited by deputations from the official bodies, the governor, and all the people of consequence. After a sojourn of three days, I removed to the convent of which I was the supposed abbess, and was enthusiastically received by the nuns, who flocked round me with mingled veneration and delight.

On the second day of my establishment as abbess, the two elder sisters, who could with difficulty be got rid of even when I retired to bed the night before, introduced the whole of the nuns in rotation, beginning with the elder, and ending with those who last took the vow of chastity. I felt little interest, I must confess, at the commencement of my levee; but as it came near to a close, many beautiful countenances attracted my attention and I gave the kiss of peace with more zest than prudence would have justified. The last of the sisterhood came forward, and was introduced as Soeur Marie. Gracious Heaven! it was the poor girl whom I had deserted. I started when I saw her advance: her eyes were bent upon the ground, as if in reverence to my acknowledged sanctity. As she knelt before me to receive the kiss, she raised them up. Love can pierce through all disguises.-At the moment, she thought that she beheld her fugitive lover, and caught her breath in amazement-but recollection pointed out to her the utter impossibility of the fact, and she sighed at the uncommon likeness, as she received the kiss from those lips which had indeed been so often pressed to hers before.

When the ceremony had been gone through I complained of fatigue, and requested to be left alone.

I wished to reflect upon what had passed, and determine how I was to act: to escape the danger which threatened me, I had placed myself in a situation of still greater difficulty. Where could it end? After a long reverie, I decided that I would make Marie my confidante, and trust to circumstances to guide my future conduct. I rang the bell, and, requesting the presence of the elder sister of the convent, commenced an inquiry into the different characters of the nuns who had been presented.

Flattered by the confidence demanded, there was no end to the loquacity and the ill-natured remarks of the old beldame: she held her list in her hand, and ran over the families and private history of each. It was two hours before she had finished, which she did with Marie, of whose history she gave me a most minute detail; and if she was as correct in her reports of all the others, I certainly had no reason to compliment myself upon being abbess, as far as the previous characters of the nuns under my surveillance were concerned. "Good sister," replied I, "I thank you for your information, which I shall not fail to profit by in my plans for the improvement of the morality of those under my charge. I have always made it a rule, that one of the sisterhood should remain in my room every night, to watch and do penance. I have found that when coupled with my seasonable exhortations, it has produced an excellent effect. Of course I allude not to sage and devout women like you; I refer to those who in their folly and their flow of youthful passions, have not yet humbled themselves sufficiently by abstinence and mortification. Who would you propose to watch here this night?"

The old beldame, who I had perceived by the violence of her manner, had a dislike to Marie, immediately mentioned her as one to whom severe penance would be of especial benefit. I conversed with her for another half-hour; then, wishing her good-night, prepared for bed, and requested that Marie might be summoned to attend.

Marie entered with her book of Prières in her hand, and, bowing humbly to me as she passed, sat down near to the lamp which was lighted before an image of the Virgin, at the farther end of the room, and commenced her task of watching and of prayer.

"Marie," said I, as I stood by the bed: she uttered a faint scream as she heard my voice for the first time, and throwing herself down upon her knees before the image of the Virgin, covered her face with her hands, and appeared to be in silent but earnest supplication.

"Marie," again said I, "come here." She rose, and came trembling to the foot of the bed. "To you, and to you alone, do I intrust a secret which, if discovered, would subject me to a painful and ignominious death. You were not deceived, when you started at the face beneath the nun's attire; and you must now be certain, from the voice which you have heard, that I am indeed Fran?ois. How I became the lady abbess of this convent you have yet to learn." I then narrated what I have already done to your highness. "By what means," continued I, "I am to deliver myself from this dangerous situation, I know not; I have, however, one consolation, in finding myself once more in company with the object of my love.

"Come hither, Marie; it is indeed your own Fran?ois." Marie remained at the foot of the bed, but advanced not; and I perceived that the tears fell fast, as she cast her eyes to heaven.

"Speak to me, Marie, if ever you loved me."

"That I loved you, Fran?ois, you know full well: not even your unkind desertion could affect that love, which was unchangeable. I dared all for your sake; my brothers, my father, could not extort the secret from me, and their suspicions, although directed towards you, could never be confirmed. I bore the offspring of my guilt in solitary anguish, afterwards loaded with reproaches when I needed comfort and consolation, and stunned with imprecations when I required soothing and repose. I buried it with shame and sorrow and contumely. You had abandoned me, and I felt that all ties to this world were over. I took the veil, and never was the world quitted by so willing a votary as myself. I have since been peaceful, if not happy."

"And now, Marie, you shall be happy," cried I, stretching out my arms to her. "Come to me, I will explain my motives for leaving Marseilles, and what my future intentions were, if they had not been frustrated by unforeseen events. All shall yet be well."

"Fran?ois, all is well. I have taken a solemn vow-it is registered in heaven. You have by fraud and imposition entered into a holy place, and assumed a holy character. Add not to your crime by even harbouring the idea of impropriety, and add not to my humiliation by supposing for a moment that I am capable of being a participator. Holy Virgin," cried she, falling on her knees, "I demand thy powerful aid in this conflict of worldly passions and holy wishes. Oh! make me dead to all but thee, and to the spouse whom I have accepted at thy hands."

She then rose and continued-"How you will be able to leave this convent, Fran?ois, I know not; but your secret is safe with me, provided that you do not again request my presence, as you have this night. My prayers shall ever be for you, but we must meet no more;" and Marie waved her hand mournfully, and quitted the apartment.

Although I had always a great contempt for the Catholic religion, of which I at that period was a member, I was awed by the beauty of virtue as it appeared in Marie, and I passed the night in melancholy reflections. I felt more love for her than ever, and determined upon persuading her to quit the convent and become my wife. The next morning I sent for her.

"Marie, you gave yourself to heaven, when you imagined that you had no tie upon earth. You were deceived; there was one whom you still loved, and who still adored you. Vows made in delusion are not registered. Leave this convent with me, become my wife, and you will do your duty better towards heaven than by pining between these walls, which contain nothing but envy, hatred, and remorse."

"Fran?ois, you have had my answer. What has been done, cannot be undone. Save yourself, and leave me to my unhappy fate," answered Marie; then bursting into tears, "O Fran?ois, why, why did you leave me without one word? Had you but pointed out your danger to me, I should have been the first to have insisted upon your absence, and all, all would have been borne with patience, if not with pleasure, for your sake. If what you now say is truth, all would have been well; but now I have naught to cheer me in my lonely pilgrimage, and naught to wish but that it soon may come unto its close. I forgive you, Fran?ois, but pity me, for I deserve your pity."

"Once more, Marie, I entreat you to consent to my proposal."

"Never, Fran?ois; I will not be

less faithful to my God than I was to you. He will not desert me; and if I suffer now, will reward me for it hereafter." And Marie again quitted my apartment.

My situation in the nunnery now became insupportable, and I determined to escape. I pleaded ill health and kept my bed. The physician of a neighbouring convent, who had a great reputation, was sent for against my wishes. When I heard of his arrival, I dressed to receive him, for I was fearful of some scrutiny. He inquired what ailed me: I answered that I had no pain, but that I was convinced I should soon depart. He felt my pulse, and not being able to discover symptoms of disease took his leave.

To the elder sisters who visited me, I spoke in enigmas, and told them that I had a summons, that they must expect soon to find me gone: and the sanctity of my reputation make them receive my innuendoes as inspired remarks. One night, I complained of being much worse, and requested their early retiring: they would have sent for the physician, but I forbade it, telling them I was beyond a physician's cure: kissing them all, and pronouncing over them a solemn blessing, I dismissed them. As soon as it was dark, I threw off my nun's attire, leaving it in my bed, as if I had slipped out of it; and as the windows of my apartment, which looked into the convent garden, were not barred, unclothed as I was I dropped down, and reached the ground in safety. I took the precaution, when I was outside, to shut the window, that my having escaped should not enter their ideas, and climbing a tree which overhung the wall of the garden, dropped from a bough on the other side, and found myself at liberty. As I knew that the farther I was from the nunnery, the less chance I had of being supposed an impostor, I gained the high road, and ran as fast as I could in the direction from Marseilles to Toulouse.

I had proceeded several miles without encountering any body at that still hour of the night, occasionally alarmed at the barking of some snarling cur, as I passed through the small villages in my route,-when, worn out with fatigue and cold, I sat down under a hedge to screen myself from the cold "mistral" which blew. As the wind lulled, I heard sounds of voices in lamentation, which appeared to proceed from the road at a short distance. I rose, and continued my route, when I stumbled over the body of a man. I examined him by the faint light that was emitted from the stars. He was quite dead; and it immediately occurred to me that a robbery had been committed, and the lamentations which I had heard proceeded from those who had escaped with their lives. The cloak of the dead man was lying underneath him; it was a capote, such as are worn by officers. I unclasped it from his neck, round which it was fastened with two bear's-paws chased in silver, and, wrapping it round my benumbed limbs, proceeded further on to where I now occasionally heard voices much plainer than before. I again fell in with two more prostrate bodies, and, as the day had now begun to break, perceived that they were clothed like people of low condition. Passing my hand over their faces, I felt that they were quite dead and stiff. Afraid that if found close to the spot, and unable to give any account of myself, I should be accused of murder, I thought of immediate flight; but the plaintive voice of a woman met my ears, and it was an appeal that I could not resist. I proceeded a few yards further, and perceived a carriage, the horses of which lay dead in their traces, with the driver beside them. To the hind wheels were secured with ropes an elderly man and a young woman.

"God be praised, my dear father, help is at hand!" said the young woman, as I approached; and as I came close to them, she cried out, "Oh, I know him by his cloak; it's the gentleman who defended us so gallantly, and whom we supposed to have been killed. Are you much hurt, sir?"

Aware that I had better be any body than myself, with my usual invention and presence of mind I replied, "Not much, madam, thanks be to heaven! I was stunned, and they left me for dead: I am happy that I am still alive, to be of service to you:" and I immediately proceeded to cast loose the ropes by which the father and daughter (as by their conversation they appeared to be) had been confined to the wheels. The robbers had stripped them both nearly to the skin, and they were so numbed with the cold that they could scarcely stand when they were unbound,-the poor girl especially, who shivered as if suffering under a tertian ague. I proposed that they should enter the carriage as the best shelter they could receive from the bitter keen wind which blew, and they agreed to the prudence of my suggestion.

"If I am not requesting too great a favour, sir," said the old gentleman, "I wish you would lend my poor daughter that cloak, for she is perishing with the cold."

"I will with pleasure, sir, as soon as you are both in the carriage," replied I; for I had made up my mind how to proceed. I assisted them in, and, shutting the door, slipped off the cloak and put it in at the window, saying, "Believe me, madam, I should have offered it to you before, but the fact is, the rascals served me, as I lay stunned, in the same manner as they have you, and I must now go in search of something to cover myself." I then went off at a quick pace, hearing the young woman exclaim, "Oh, my father, he has stripped himself to cover me!"

I immediately returned to the body of the gentleman whose cloak I had borrowed, and for whom I had no doubt that I had been mistaken. I stripped off all the clothes from his rigid limbs, and put them on: they fitted me exactly, and, what was more fortunate, were not stained with blood, as he had received his death-wound from a bullet in the brain. I then dragged the body to the other side of the hedge, where I threw it into a ditch, and covered it with long grass, that it might not be discovered. Daylight had made its appearance before I had completed my toilet; and when I came back to the carriage, the old gentleman was loud in his thanks. I told him that in returning to strip one of the other bodies I had found my own clothes in a bundle, which the robbers had left in their haste to escape from pursuit.

The young lady said nothing, but sat shrouded up in the cloak, in one corner of the carriage. I now entered into conversation with the old gentleman, who explained to me how the attack began, before I had come to their assistance: and from the information I received from him, I was enabled to form a very good idea of the story that I was to tell. I found that I had been on horseback with my servant, when I rode to their assistance; that we had been both supposed to be killed, and that we were about five miles from any post town.

By this time it was broad daylight, and I made another discovery, which was, that I was wearing an officer's undress. Anxious to gratify my curiosity by a sight of the young lady, I turned to her, as she lay muffled up in the cloak, and expressed a hope that she did not feel cold. She put her head out, and answered in the negative with such a sweet smile, upon such a sweet face as I never had before witnessed. I looked at her as if transfixed, and did not take my eyes off until she blushed, and again sank back as before.

This brought me to my recollection; I offered to go for assistance, and my services were thankfully accepted. I passed by the men who had been killed, as I went on my mission; one was habited in a livery similar to the coach-man who lay dead by his horses; the other was in that of a groom, and I took it for granted that he had been my servant. I searched in his pockets for information, and, collecting the contents, commenced reading them as I walked along.

By his memoranda I found out that I had come from Aix. By letters and papers in my own pockets I ascertained who I was, who my father was, to what regiment I belonged, that I was on leave of absence, and that I had a brother, whose affectionate letter I read carefully for further information. I had not time to count a considerable sum of money, which was in my purse, before I fell in with a countryman, who was leading his horses to the plough. Briefly narrating the circumstances, I offered him a handsome remuneration, if he would mount one of his horses, and procure immediate assistance. Having seen him off in a hand-gallop, I returned to the carriage to try if it were possible to have one more view of that face which had so enchanted me. I stated the good fortune I had met with, and my hopes of a speedy deliverance from their trouble. I answered the old gentleman's inquiry of the name and condition of the person to whom he and his daughter had been so much indebted, talked of my father the Compte de Rouillé, of my regiment, and then requested a similar confidence.

He was le Marquis de Tonseca, and the young lady was his daughter; they were proceeding to their chateau about seven miles distant, where he hoped I would accompany them, and allow him an opportunity of showing his gratitude.

I hesitated, talked of engagements-not that I intended to refuse the invitation, but because the young lady had not joined in the request. My plan had the desired effect; again the lovely face appeared from under the cloak, and the sweetest voice in the world expressed a wish that I would not refuse her father's invitation. I blushed, and stammered consent. Pleased at her victory, she smiled, and again was folded up in the cloak, which I could have torn to pieces for its envious concealment.

Assistance had now arrived; a crowd of people, headed by an officer to take the procés verbal, and two pair of post-horses came up; the depositions of the Marquis and myself were briefly taken; his as to what he had seen, and mine "to the best of my knowledge and belief." The papers were signed, the dead bodies were carried off, the horses put to, and, at the request of the Marquis, I took my seat in the carriage between him and his daughter, and we proceeded to the chateau.

In two hours we arrived at a magnificent pile, which bespoke the wealth and ancestry of the owner, and I had the pleasure of carrying in my arms, up the long flight of steps by which we ascended to the entrance, the beautiful girl, muffled up as she was in the cloak. As soon as I had laid her down upon a sofa, I left her to the care of the females who were in attendance and quitted the room. The Marquis had retired to his own apartment, to supply the deficiencies in his attire, and for a short time I was left alone to my own reflections. What is to be the result of all this? thought I. Is there to be no end of my assumption of the clothes and titles of other people,-this continual transmigration before death? Yet how much more has it depended upon circumstances than upon myself!

After much reflection, I determined upon letting things take their own course, trusting to my own ready invention and good fortune for the issue. I felt it to be impossible to tear myself from the sweet creature whose personal charms had already fascinated me, and I vowed that there was no risk, no danger, that I would not brave to obtain her love.

In an hour we met at the breakfast-table, and I was more than ever enchanted;-but I will not detain your highness by dwelling too long upon the subject.

* * * * *

"No, don't, yaha bibi, my friend," said the pacha, yawning, "your story gets very dry already. We'll suppose the cypress waist, the stag's eyes, and full moon of her face. We Mussulmans don't talk so much about women; but I suppose as you were a Frenchman, and very young then, you knew no better. Why you talk of women as if they had souls!" The renegade did not think it advisable to express his opinion in contradiction to that of his highness, and the assertions of the prophet. "It cannot be said that I behaved to them as if they had," replied he; "and before I changed my religion, I was often smitten with remorse for my selfish and unfeeling conduct towards Marie; but all that is past, I am now a Turk;" and the renegade passed his hand over his brow; for some long-smothered feelings of virtue had been conjured up by remorse, as he was reminded of the career of guilt which he had run through, and which he had climaxed by the denial of his Redeemer. After a short pause he continued-

* * * * *

For a week I remained in the society of the Marquis and his daughter, daily ingratiating myself more and more with both. I had not declared my passion to his daughter, for there was something that irresistibly prevented me; yet I knew that I was not viewed with indifference. Our party was then increased by the appearance of the Bishop of Toulouse, the brother of the Marquis, who came to congratulate him and his niece upon their fortunate escape. I was presented as the gentleman who had so materially assisted. The bishop stared at me with surprise.

"It is strange," observed he, "that a body has been found in a ditch, near to where the robbery occurred, and has been recognised to be that of the very young officer to whom you now introduce me. How can this be?"

The marquis and his daughter appeared astonished at the intelligence (and in truth so was I), but it was only for a second. "How say you, sir," exclaimed I, with trepidation, "a body recognised as the son of the Comte de Rouillé? My poor, poor brother! my dear Victor, have you then perished? what injustice have I done you!" Throwing myself on the fauteuil, I covered my face with my handkerchief, as if overpowered with grief; but, in reality, I was reflecting what I should say next.

"Your brother!" exclaimed the Marquis in surprise.

"Yes, Marquis, my brother. I will now state the circumstances which induced me to conceal from you that he was in my company at the time of the attack. When I galloped to your assistance, I was followed by my brother, who was riding with me to Marseilles, and of whom you recollect I have spoken; but after the first discharge of firearms I found that he was not at my side, and I imagined that he had deserted me from fear. I could not bear that such a disgrace upon the family should be known, and I therefore made no mention of him when I came back. Little did I think, that while I was accusing him in my heart of cowardice, he was dead, and his heart's blood had been poured out in my defence. Victor, my dear Victor!" continued I, "how great has been my injustice, and what can repay me for your loss?" and I threw myself down on the sofa, as if frantic with grief.

* * * * *

"Huckaback," observed the pacha, "it appears to me that in your younger days you were a great scoundrel."

"I acknowledge it," replied the renegade; "but, in extenuation, your highness must call to mind that at that time I was a Christian."

"By the beard of the prophet, that is well said, and very true!" replied the pacha.

* * * * *

The Marquis and his brother were shocked at having so unintentionally plunged me into affliction. They offered consolation, but finding their endeavours fruitless, quitted the room, thinking it advisable to leave me to myself. Cerise, for that was the name of the daughter, remained, and after a short pause came to me, and in her silvery voice, as she laid her hand upon my shoulder, addressed me:

"Console yourself, my dear Felix;" but I made no answer. "How unhappy I am!" said she: "it was in my defence that he lost his life: it was to your courage that I am indebted for my preservation:-he is dead, and you are miserable. Can nothing repay you for the loss of your brother?-Nothing, Felix?"

I raised my head; her eyes were swimming with tears, and beaming with love. As I resumed my seat upon the sofa, I drew her gently towards me. She offered no resistance, and in a moment she had sunk down by my side, as my arms entwined her beauteous form.

"Yes," murmured I, "Cerise, I am repaid." Smiling through her blushes, she disengaged herself, and rose to depart. Returning once more at my request, I imprinted a kiss upon her brow: she waved her hand, and hastened out of the room.

* * * * *

"That was a very nice girl, by your description," interrupted the pacha: "pray what might you pay for such a girl in your country?"

"She was beyond all price," replied the renegade, with an absent air, as if communing with times past. "Love is not to be bought. The Moslem purchases the slave and blind submission to his will, but he makes not love."

"No, he buys it ready made," replied the pacha; "and I must say I wish you had done the same: for, with all this love making, you get on but slowly with your story. Proceed."

* * * * *

I remained another week, when the bishop, who had not yet taken his departure, one morning drove over to Marseilles, and returned to dinner. "I was sent for," observed he, as we sat down to table, "to consult as to the propriety of requesting from the Pope the canonisation of the Soeur Eustasie, of whom you have heard so much, and whose disappearance has been attributed to miraculous agency: but during our consultation, a piece of information was sent in, which has very much changed the opinion of parties as to her reputed sanctity. It appears that near the spot where the vessel was wrecked they have discovered the body of a woman dressed in man's clothes; and it is now supposed that some miscreant has personified her at the Convent, and has subsequently escaped. The officers of justice are making the strictest search, and if the individual is found, he will be sent to Rome to be disposed of by the Inquisition."

As your highness may imagine, this was not very agreeable news; I almost started from my chair when I heard it; but I had sufficient mastery over myself to conceal my feelings, although every morsel that I put into my mouth nearly choked me.

But before dinner was over the plot thickened; a letter was brought to the Marquis from my adopted father the Comte de Rouillé stating that such contradictory reports had been received, that he could not ascertain the truth. From one he heard that his eldest son was alive, and at the chateau; from others that he had been murdered: others congratulated him in their letters upon the escape of one of his sons. He requested the Marquis to inform him of the real state of affairs, and to let him know by the bearer whether his eldest son was with him, or whether he had met with the unfortunate death that was reported; and as his youngest son was at home, and had been there for some months, he could not but imagine, as both of them were mentioned in the reports, that there might be some imposture in the business.

I perceived by the change of countenance in the Marquis that affairs were not going well, and was to a certain degree prepared, when he gravely handed the letter to the bishop, who, having read it, passed it over to me, saying, with a stern look, "This concerns you, sir." I read it with a composed countenance, and, returning it to the Marquis, I observed with a sigh, "There is no kindness in such deception, the blow will only fall heavier upon the old man when it does come. You are aware, sir, I mentioned it to you (or rather, I believe, it was to Mademoiselle Cerise), that my father is blind, and has been so for the last two years. They have been afraid to tell him the truth, and have made him believe that Victor is there. You must know, sir, that it was clandestinely that my dear brother quitted his father's house to accompany me. Unhappy hour when I yielded to his entreaties! But, Monsieur le Marquis, I perceive it is now imperative that I should go to my father; he will need the assurance of my existence to support him in his grief. I will therefore, with your permission, write a few lines by the bearer of this communication, and to-morrow morning at daylight must unwillingly tear myself away from your charming society."

The cool and confident air with which I answered, removed suspicion; and having written a few lines to the Comte, and requested from the Marquis the loan of his seal, I applied the wax, and desired the servant to deliver it as an answer to the messenger, whom I was not sorry to see galloping by the window. "Oh," cried I, "'tis Pierre: had I known that, I should have asked him some questions."

This well-timed exclamation of mine, I perceived, did not fail to have its weight. We again sat down to table, and I was treated with more than usual kindness by the Marquis and his brother, as if in compensation for their having, for a moment, harboured a suspicion of my honesty. But I was ill at ease, and I felt that I never had acted with more prudence than in proposing my early departure.

In the evening I was alone with Cerise. Since the news of my brother's death, and the scene that followed, we had sworn unalterable love; and in that instance only was I sincere. I loved her to desperation, and I doat on her memory now, though years have rolled away, and she has long been mingled with the dead. Yes, Cerise, if from the regions of bliss, where thy pure spirit dwells, thou canst look down upon a wretch so loaded with guilt as I am, oh, turn not away with horror, but view with pity one who loved as fondly as man could love, and hereafter will care little for all that Paradise can offer, if thy fair spirit must not bid him welcome!

* * * * *

"I wish, Huckaback," observed the pacha, angrily, "that you would go on with your story: you are talking to a dead woman, instead of a live pacha."

"I entreat your pardon," replied the renegade; "but to amuse your highness, I have entered into scenes which long have been dismissed from my memory; and the feelings attending them will rise up, and cannot well be checked. I will be more careful as I proceed."

* * * * *

Cerise was melancholy at the idea of my departure. I kissed the tears away, and the time flew rapidly. I persuaded her to allow me an interview after the family had retired, as I had much to say to her.

* * * * *

"Well, well, we'll suppose all that," observed the pacha, impatiently: "now go on; you remember you were to set off in the morning."

"Yes, yes, your highness," replied the renegade, somewhat displeased.

* * * * *

And I did set off in the morning upon one of the Marquis's horses, and rode as hard as I could to Toulon. I determined again to try my fortune at sea, as I was afraid that I should be discovered if I remained on shore. I purchased a small venture with the money in my purse, and having made my agreement with the captain of a vessel bound to St Domingo, exchanged my dress for a jacket and trousers, and was again at the mercy of the waves.

* * * * *

"Such, your highness, is the history of my First Voyage, and the incidents which resulted from it."

"Well," said the pacha, rising, "there was too much love and too little sea in it; but, I suppose, if you had left the first out it would not have been so long. Mustapha, give him five pieces of gold, and we will have his Second Voyage to-morrow."

As soon as the pacha had retired, the renegade growled out, "If I am to tell any more stories, I must not be checked and dictated to. I could have talked for an hour after I had met Cerise, if I had not been interrupted: as it was, I cut the matter short."

"But, Selim," replied Mustapha, "the pacha is not fond of these sort of adventures; he likes something much more marvellous. Could you not embellish a little?"

"How do you mean?"

"Holy prophet! what do I mean!-Why, tell a few lies,-not adhere quite so much to matter of fact."

"Adhere to matter of fact, vizier!-why, I have not stated a single fact yet!"

"What! is not all this true?"

"Not one word of it, as I hope to go to heaven!"

"Bismillah!-what, not about Marie and the Convent-and Cerise?"

"All lies from beginning to end."

"And were you never a barber?"

"Never in my life."

"Then why did you make such long apostrophes to the dead Cerise, when you observed that the pacha was impatient."

"Merely because I was at fault, vizier, and wished to gain time, to consider what I should say next."

"Selim," replied Mustapha, "you have great talent; but mind that your next voyage is more wonderful; I presume it will make no difference to you."

"None whatever; but the pacha is not a man of taste. Now give me my five pieces, and I'll be off: I'm choked with thirst, and shall not be comfortable till I have drunk at least a gallon of wine."

"Holy prophet! what a Turk!" exclaimed the vizier, lifting up his hands.

"Here is your money, Kafir;-don't forget to be here to-morrow."

"Never fear me, vizier; your slave lives but to obey you, as we Turks say."

"We Turks!" muttered the vizier, as he cast his eyes upon the retiring figure of the renegade. "Well of all the scoundrels-" "Well," muttered the renegade, who was now out of hearing, "of all the scoundrels-" Whom they were referring to in their separate soliloquies must be left to the reader's imagination; for caution prevented either of the parties from giving vent to the remainder of their thoughts.

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