« FöregåendeFortsätt »
de-Bäuf with blow on blow. The giant stoops and totters like an oak under the steel of the woodman-he falls—he falls !" " Front-de-Bæuf?” exclaimed Ivanhoe. “ Front-de-Beuf," answered the Jewess; "his men rush to the rescue, headed by the haughty Templartheir united force compels the champion to pausethey drag Front-de-Beuf within the walls.”
- The assailants have won the barriers, have they not?” said Ivanhoe.-" They have--they have and they press the besieged hard upon the outer wall; some plant ladders, some swarm like bees, and endeavor to ascend upon the shoulders of each other-down go stones, beams, and trunks of trees upon their heads, and as fast as they bear the wounded to the rear, fresh men supply their places in the assault.-Great God ! hast thou given men thine own image, that it should be thus cruelly defaced by the hands of their brethren !"_" Think not of that,” replied Ivanhoe ; " this is no time for such thoughts. Who yield ?—who push their way ?"_" The ladders are thrown down,” replied Rebecca, shuddering; "the soldiers lie groveling under them like crushed reptiles—the besieged have the better.” “ Saint George strike for us," said the Knight, “ do the false yeomen give way?”— “No !” exclaimed Rebecca, “ they bear themselves right yeomanly—the black knight approaches the postern with his huge ax—the thundering blows which he deals, you may hear them above all the din and shouts of the battle-stones and beams are hailed down on the bold champion—he regards them no more than if they were thistledown or feathers.”
"By St. John of Acre,” said Ivanhoe, raising himself joyfully on his couch, "methought there was but one man in England that might do such a deed.”_". The postern gate shakes,” continued Rebecca ; "it crashesit is splintered by his blows--they rush in the outwork is won-Oh God! they hurry the defenders from the battlements—they throw them into the moat-0 men, if ye be indeed men, spare them that can resist no longer !"
“ The bridge—the bridge which communicates with the castle--have they won that pass ?” exclaimed Ivanhoe. “No," replied Rebecca, “the Templar has destroyed the plank on which they crossed-few of the defenders escaped with him into the castle-the shrieks and cries which you hear tell the fate of the others.-- Alas! I see that it is still inore difficult to look upon victory than upon battle.”
“ Seest thou nothing else, Rebecca, by which the Black Knight may be distinguished ?”—Nothing," said the Jewess; “all about him is black as the wing of the night raven. Nothing can I spy that can mark him further--but having once seen him put forth his strength in battle, methinks I could know him again among a thousand warriors. He rushes to the fray as if he were summoned to a banquet. There is more than mere strengththere seems as if the whole soul and spirit of the champion were given to every blow which he deals upon his enemies. God assoilzie him of the sin of bloodshed! it is fearful, yet magnificent, to behold how the arm and heart of one man can triumph over hundreds."
INTERVIEW BETWEEN WAVERLY AND FERGUS MAC-IVOR,
AT CARLISLE, PREVIOUS TO THE EXECUTION OF THE LATTER.—Walter Scott.
After a sleepless night, the first dawn of morning found Waverly on the esplanade in front of the old Gothic gate of Carlisle castle. But he paced it long in every direction, before the hour when, according to the rules of the garrison, the gates were opened, and the drawbridge lowered. He produced his order to the sergeant of the guard, and was admitted. The place of Fergus' confinernent was a gloomy and vaulted apartment in the central part of the castle! a huge old tower, supposed to be of great antiquity, and surrounded by outworks, seemingly of Henry VIII's time, or somewhat later. The grating of the huge old-fashioned bars and bolts, withdrawn for the purpose of admitting Edward, was answered by the clash of chains, as the unfortunate chieftain, strongly and heavily fettered, shuffled along the stone floor of his prison, to fling himself into his friend's arms.
“My dear Edward,” he said, in a firm and even cheerful voice, “ this is truly kind. I heard of your approaching happiness with the highest pleasure; and how does Rose ? and how is our old whimsical friend the Baron? Well, I am sure, from your looks—and how will you settle precedence between the three ermines passant, and the bear and boot-jack ?” “How, O how, my dear Fergus, can you talk of such things at such a moment?” 6 Why, we have entered Carlisle with happier auspices, to be sure-on the 16th of November last, for example, when we marched in, side by side, and hoisted the white flag on these ancient towers. But I am no boy, to sit down and weep because the luck has gone against me. I knew the stake which I risked; we played the game boldly, and the forfeit shall be paid manfully.
- You are rich,” he continued, 6 Waverly, and you are generous. When you hear of these poor Mac-Ivors being distressed about their miserable possessions by some harsh overseer or agent of government, remember you have worn their tartan, and are an adopted son of their race. The Baron, who knows our manners, and lives near our country, will apprise you of the time and means to be their protector. Will you promise this to the last Vich Ian Vohr?”– Edward, as may well be believed, pledged his word; which afterwards he so amply redeemed, that his memory still lives in these glens by the name of the Friend of the Sons of Ivor.–6 Would to God,” continued the chieftain, “ I could bequeath to you my rights to the love and obedience of this primitive and brave race: or at least as I have striven to do, per
suade poor Evan to accept of his life upon their terms; and be to you what he has been to me, the kindest—the bravest—the most devoted ”
The tears which his own fate could not draw forth, fell fast from that of his foster-brother. “But,” said he, drying them, “that cannot be. You cannot be to them Vich Ian Vohr; and these three magic words,” said he half siniling, “ are the only Open Sesame to their feelings and sympathies; and poor Evan must attend his fosterbrother in death, as he has done through his whole life." 6 And I am sure," said Maccombich, raising himself from the foor, on which, for fear of interrupting their conversation, he had lain so still, that, in the obscurity of the apartment, Edward was not aware of his presence,“I am sure Evan never desired nor deserved a better end than just to die with bis chieftain.”
A tap at the door now announced the arrival of the priest; and Edward retired while he administered to both prisoners the last rites of religion, in the mode which the church of Rome prescribes. In about an hour be was re-admitted. Soon after, a file of soldiers entered with a blacksmith, who struck the fetters from the legs of the prisoners. “You see the compliment they pay to our Highland strength and courage; we have lain chained here like wild beasts, till our legs are cramped into palsy; and when they free us, they send six soldiers with loaded muskets to prevent our taking the castle by storm.
Shortly after, the drums of the garrison beat to arms. “This is the last turn out,” said Fergus, "that I shall hear and obey. And now, my dear, dear Edward, ere we part, let us speak of Flora, –a subject which awakes the tenderest feeling that yet thrills within me."--We part not here?” said Waverly. “O yes, we do, you must come no farther. Not that I fear what is to follow for myself,” he said proudly ; “nature has her tortures as well as art, and how happy should we think the man who escapes from the throes of a mortal and painful dis
order in the space of a short balf hour! And this matter, spin it out as they will, cannot last longer. But what a dying man can suffer firmly, may kill a living friend to look upon.
6 This same law of high treason," he continued, with astonishing firmness and composure, “is one of the blessings, Edward, with which your free country has accommodated poor old Scotland: her own jurisprudence, as I have heard, was much milder. But I suppose, one day or other, when there are no longer any wild Highlanders to benefit by its tender mercies, they will blot it from their records, as leveling them with a nation of cannibals. The mummery, too, of exposing the senseless head ! they have not the wit to grace mine with a paper coronet; there would be some satire in that, Edward. I hope they will set it on the Scotch gate though, that I may look, even after death, to the blue hills of my country, that I love so dearly!”
A bustle, and the sound of wheels and horses' feet, was now heard in the court-yard of the castle. An officer appeared, and intimated that the high sheriff and his attendants waited before the gate of the castle, to claim the bodies of Fergus Mac-Ivor and Evan Maccombich : “I come," said Fergus. Accordingly, supporting Edward by the arm, and followed by Evan Dhu and the priest, he moved down the stairs of the tower, the soldiers bringing up the rear. The court was occupied by a squadron of dragoons and a battalion of infantry, drawn up in a hollow square.
Within their ranks was the sledge or hurdle, on which the prisoners were to be drawn to the place of execution, about a mile distant from Carlisle. It was painted black, and drawn by a white horse. At one end of the vehicle sat the executioner, a horrid looking fellow, as beseemed his trade, with a broad axe in his hand; at the other end, next the horse, was an empty seat for two persons. Through the deep and dark Gothic archway that opened on the drawbridge, were seen on horseback the high