Mr. Marie Oswald. I hastened out, and discovered that the
lay-brother, whom I left in the chaise, having caught a glimpse
of the valet gliding among the ruins, had recognized, seized,
and by the help of the postilions, dragged him to the door of
the tower. The moment Desmarais saw me he ceased to
struggle : he met my eye with a steady but not disrespectful
firmness ; he changed not even the habitual hue of his counte-
nance, — he remained perfectly still in the hands of his ar-
resters ; and if there was any vestige of his mind discoverable
in his sallow features and glittering eye, it was not the sign
of fear, or confusion, or even surjDrise; but a ready prompt-
ness to meet danger, coupled, perhaps, with a little doubt
whether to defy or to seek first to diminish it.
Long did I gaze upon him, — struggling with internal rage
and loathing, the mingled contempt and desire of destruction
with which we gaze upon the erect aspect of some small but
venomous and courageous reptile, — long did I gaze upon him
before I calmed and collected my voice to speak : —
"So I have thee at last! First comes the base tool, and
that will I first break, before I lop off the guiding hand."
"So please Monsieur my Lord the Count," answered Des-
marais, bowing to the ground, " the tool is a file, and it would
be useless to bite against it."
"We will see that," said I, drawing my sword; "prepare
to die ! " and I pointed the blade to his throat with so sudden
and menacing a gesture that his eyes closed involuntarily,
and the blood left his thin cheek as white as ashes : but he
"If Monsieur," said he, with a sort of smile, "will kill his
poor, old, faithful servant, let him strike. Fate is not to be
resisted; and prayers are useless! "
"OsAvald," said I, "release your prisoner; wait here, and
keep strict watch. Jean Desmarais, follow me ! "
I ascended the stairs, and Desmarais followed. "Now," I
said, when he was alone with Gerald and myself, "your days
are numbered : you will fall ; not by my hand, but by that of
the executioner. Not only your forgery, but your robbery,
your abetment of murder, are known to me; your present
lord, with an indignation equal to my own, surrenders you to
justice. Have you aught to urge, not in defence — for to that
I will not listen — but in atonement? Can you now commit
any act which will cause me to forego justice on those which
you Aflve committed?" Desmarais hesitated. "Speak," said
I. He raised his eyes to mine with an inquisitive and wist-
"Monsieur," said the wretch, with his obsequious smile,
"Monsieur has travelled, has shone, has succeeded; Monsieur
must have made enemies ; let him name them, and his poor,
old, faithful servant will do his best to become the humble
instrument of their /«^e / "
Gerald drew himself aside, and shuddered. Perhaps till
then he had not been fully aware how slyly murder, as well
as fraud, can lurk beneath urbane tones and laced ruffles.
"I have no enemy," said I, "but one; and the hangman will
do my office upon him; but point out to me the exact spot
where at this moment he is concealed, and you shall have full
leave to quit this country forever. That enemy is Julian
Montreuil ! "
"Ah, ah!" said Desmarais, musingly, and in a tone very
different from that in which he usually spoke ; " must it be
so, indeed? For twenty years of youth and manhood I have
clung to that man, and woven my destiny with his, because I
believed him born under the star which shines on statesmen
and pontiffs. Does dread Necessity now impel me to betray
him? — him, the only man I ever loved. So — so — so ! Count
Devereux, strike me to the core : I will not betray Bertrand
"Mysterious heart of man!" I exclaimed inly, as I gazed
upon the low brow, the malignant eye, the crafty lip of this
wretch, who still retained one generous and noble sentiment
at the bottom of so base a breast. But if it sprang there, it
only sprang to wither!
"As thou wilt," said I; "remember, death is the alterna-
tive. By thy birth-star, Jean Desmarais, I should question
whether perfidy be not better luck than hanging: but time
speeds; farewell; I shall meet thee on thy day of trial."
I turned to the door to summon Oswald to his prisoner.
Desmarais roused himself from the revery in which he ap-
peared to have sunk.
"Why do I doubt?" said he, slowly. "Were the alterna-
tive his, would he not hang me as he would hang his dog if it
went mad and menaced danger? My very noble and merciful
master," continued the Fatalist, turning to me, and relapsing
into his customary mannei, "it is enough! I can refuse
nothing to a gentleman who has such insinuating manners.
Montreuil may be in your power this night; but that rests
solely with me. If I speak not, a few hours will place him
irrevocably beyond your reach. If I betray him to you,
will Monsieur swear that I shall have my pardon for past
errors ? "
"On condition of leaving England," I answered, for slight
was my comparative desire of justice against Desmarais; and
since I had agreed with Gerald not to bring our domestic rec-
ords to the glare of day, justice against Desmarais was not
easy of attainment; while, on the other hand, so precarious
seemed the chance of discovering Montreuil before he left
England, without certain intelligence of his movements, that
I was willing to forego any less ardent feeling, for the speedy
gratification of that which made the sole surviving passion
of my existence.
"Be it so," rejoined Desmarais; "there is better wine in
France! And Monsieur my present master, IMonsieur Ger-
ald, will you too pardon your poor Desmarais for his proof of
the great attachment he always bore to you?"
"Away, wretch!" cried Gerald, shrinking back; "your
villany taints the very air!"
Desmarais lifted his eyes to heaven, with a look of appeal-
ing innocence ; but I was wearied with this odious farce.
"The condition is made," said I: "remember, it only holds
good if Montreuil's person is placed in our power. Now
"This night, then," answered Dasmarais, "Montreuil pro-
poses to leave England by means of a French privateer, or
pirate, if that word please you better. Exactly at the hour
of twelve, he will meet some of the sailors upon the seashore,
by the Castle Cave ; thence they proceed in boats to the islet,
off which the pirate's vessel awaits them. If you would seize
Montreuil, you must provide a force adequate to conquer the
companions he will meet. The rest is with you; my part is
"Kemember! I repeat if this be one of thy inventions,
thou wilt hang."
"I have said what is true," said Desmarais, bitterly; "and
were not life so very pleasant to me, I would sooner have met
I made no reply; but, summoning Oswald, surrendered
Desmarais to his charge. I then held a hasty consultation
with Gerald, whose mind, however, obscured by feelings of
gloomy humiliation, and stunned perhaps by the sudden and
close following order of events, gave me but little assistance
in my projects. I observed his feelings wdth great pain; but
that was no moment for wrestling with them. I saw that I
could not depend upon his vigorous co-operation; and that
even if Montreuil sought him, he might want the presence of
mind and the energy to detain my enemy. I changed there-
fore the arrangement we had first proposed.
"I will remain here," said I, "and I will instruct the old
portress to admit to me any one who seeks audience with you.
Meanwhile, Oswald and yourself, if you will forgive, and
grant my request to that purport, wdll repair to , and
informing the magistrate of our intelligence, procure such
armed assistance as may give battle to the pirates, should
that be necessary, and succeed in securing ]Montreuil ; the as-
sistance maybe indispensable; at all events, it will be pru-
dent to secure it: perhaps for Oswald alone, the magistrates
would not use that zeal and expedition which a word of yours
"Of mine?" said Gerald, "say rather of yours; you are
the lord of these broad lands ! "
"jS"ever, my dearest brother, shall they pass to me from
their present owner : but let us hasten now to execute justice ;
we will talk afterwards of friendship."
I then sought Oswald, who, if a physical coward, was mor-
ally a ready, bustling, and prompt man; and I felt that I
could rely more upon him than I could at that moment upon
Gerald. I released him therefore of his charge, and made
Desmarais a close prisoner in the inner apartment of the
tower. I then gave Oswald the most earnest injunctions to
procure the assistance we might require, and to return with it
as expeditiously as possible ; and cheered by the warmth and
decision of his answer, I saw him depart with Gerald, and
felt my heart beat high with the anticipation of midnight
It happened unfortunately that the mission to was in-
dispensable. The slender accommodation of the tower for-
bade Gerald the use of his customary attendants, and the
neighbouring villagers were too few in number, and too ill
provided with weapons, to encounter men cradled in the very
lap of danger; moreover, it was requisite, above all things,
that no rumour or suspicion of our intended project should
obtain Avind, and, by reaching Montreuil's ears, give him
some safer opportunity of escape. I had no doiibt of the
sincerity of the Fatalist's communications, and if I had, the
subsequent conversation I held with him, when Gerald and
Oswald were gone, would have been sufficient to remove it.
He was evidently deeply stung by the reflection of his own
treachery, and, singularly enough, with Montreuil seemed to
perish all his worldly hopes and aspirations. Desmarais, I
found, was a man of much higher ambition than I had im-
agined; and he had linked himself closely to INIontreuil, be-
cause, from the genius and the resolution of the priest, he
had drawn the most sanguine auguries of his future power.
A.S the night advanced, he grew visibly anxious; and, having
fully satisfied myself that I might count indisputably upon
his intelligence, I once more left him to his meditations, and,
alone in the outer chamber, I collected myself for the coming
event. I had fully hoped that Montreuil would have repaired
to the tower in search of Gerald, and this was the strongest
reason which had induced me to remain behind: but time
waned; he came not, and at length it grew so late that I
began to tremble lest the assistance from should not
arrive in time.
It struck the first quarter after eleven : in less than an hour
my enemy would be either in my power or beyond its reach ;
still Gerald and our allies came not; my suspense grew intol-
erable, my pulse raged with fever ; I could not stay for two
seconds in the same spot ; a hundred times had I drawn my
sword, and looked eagerly along its bright blade. "Once,"
thought I, as I looked, ''thou didst cross the blade of my
mortal foe, and to my danger rather than victory ; years have
brought skill to the hand which then guided thee, and in the
red path of battle thou hast never waved in vain. Be stained
but once more with human blood, and I will prize every drop
of that blood beyond all the triumphs thou hast brought
me ! " Yes, it had been with a fiery and intense delight that
I had learned tliat Montreuil would have companions to his
flight in lawless and hardened men, who would never yield
him a prisoner without striking for his rescue ; and I knew
enough of the courageous and proud temper of my purposed
victim to feel assured that, priest as he was, he would not
hesitate to avail himself of the weapons of his confederates or
to aid them with his own. Then would it be lawful to oppose
violence to his resistance, and with my own hand to deal the
death-blow of retribution. Still as these thoughts flashed
over me my heart grew harder, and my blood rolled more
burningly through my veins. "They come not; Gerald re-
turns not," I said, as my eye dwelt on the clock, and saw the
minutes creep one after the other: "it matters not; he at
least shall not escape ! — were he girt by a million, I would
single him from tlie herd; one stroke of this right hand is all
that I ask of life, then let them avenge him if they will."
Thus resolved, and despairing at last of the return of Gerald,
I left the tower, locked the outer door, as a still further se-
curity against my prisoner's escape, and repaired with silent
but swift strides to the beach by the Castle Cave. It wanted
about half an hour to midnight; the night was still and
breathless; a dim mist spread from sea to sky, through
which the stars gleamed forth heavily, and at distant inter-
vals. The moon was abroad, but the vapours that surrounded
her gave a watery and sicklied dulness to her light, and where-
ever in the niches and hollows of the cliff the shadows fell,
all was utterly dark and unbroken by the smallest ray; only
along the near waves of the sea and the whiter parts of the
level sand were objects easily discernible. I strode to and
fro for a few minutes before the Castle Cave ; I saw no one,
and I seated myself in stern vigilance upon a stone, in a worn
recess of the rock, and close by the mouth of the Castle Cave.
The spot where I sat was wrapped in total darkness, and I felt
assured that I might wait my own time for disclosing myself.
I had not been many minutes at my place of watch before I
saw the figure of a man approach from the left; he moved
with rapid steps, and once when he passed along a place
where the wan light of the skies was less obscured I saw
enough of his form and air to recognize Montreuil. He
neared the cave; he paused; he was within a few paces of
me ; I was about to rise, when another figure suddenly glided
from the mouth of the cave itself.
"Ha!" cried the latter, "it is Bertram! CoUinot: Fate be
Had a voice from the grave struck my ear, it would have
scarcely amazed me more than that which I now heard.
Could I believe my senses? the voice was that of Desmarais,
whom I had left locked within the inner chamber of the
tower! "Fly," he resumed, "fly instantly; you have not a
moment to lose : already the stern Morton waits thee ; already
the hounds of justice are on thy track; tarry not for the pi-
rates, but begone at once."
"You rave, man! What mean you? the boats will be here
immediately. While you yet speak methinks I can descry
them on the sea. Something of this I dreaded when, some
hours ago, I caught a glimpse of Gerald on the road to .
I saw not the face of his companion; but I would not trust
myself in the tower: yet I must await the boats; flight is in-
deed requisite, but thoy make the only means by which flight
is safe ' "
" Pray, then, thou who believest, pray that they may come
soon, or thou diest and I with thee! Morton is returned, — is
reconciled to his weak brother. Gerald and Oswald are away
to for men to seize and drag thee to a public death. I
was arrested, — threatened; but one way to avoid prison and
cord was shown me. Curse me, Bertrand, for I embraced it.
I told them thou wouldst fly to-night, and with whom. They
locked me in the inner chamber of the tower; Morton kept
guard without. At length I heard him leave the room; I
heard him descend the stairs, and lock the gate of the tower.
Ha! ha! little dreamed he of the wit of Jean Desmarais!
Thy friend must scorn bolt and bar, Bertrand Collinot. They
had not searched me : I used my instruments ; thou knowest
that with those instruments I could glide through stone walls !
— I opened the door ; I was in the outer room ; I lifted the
trap door which old Sir William had had boarded over, and
Avhich thou hadst so artfully and imperceptibly replaced,
when thou wantedst secret intercourse with thy pupils; 1
sped along the passage, came to the iron door, touched the
spring thou hadst inserted in the plate which the old knight
had placed over the key-hole, and have come to repair my
coward treachery, to save and to fly with thee. But while I
speak we tread on a precipice. Morton has left the house,
and is even now perhaps in search of thee."
"Ha! I care not if he be," said Montreuil, in a low but
haughty tone. " Priest though I am, I have not assumed the
garb, without assuming also the weapon, of the layman.
Even now I have my hand upon the same sword which shone
under the banners of Mar; and which once, but for my fool-
ish mercy, would have rid me forever of this private foe."
" Unslieatli it now, Julian Montreuil ! " said I, coining
from my retreat, and confronting the pair.
Montreuil recoiled several paces. At that instant a shot
boomed along the waters.
" Haste, haste ! " cried Desmarais, hurrying to the waves,
as a boat, now winding the cliff, became darkly visible:
"haste, Bertrand, here are Bonjean and his men; but they
are pursued ! "
Once did Montreuil turn, as if to fly ; but my sword was at
his breast, and, stamping fiercely on the ground, he drew his
rapier and parried and returned my assault; but he retreated
rapidly towards the water while he struck; and wild and
loud came the voices from the boat, which now touched the
"Come — come — come — the officers are upon us; we can
wait not a moment ! " and Montreuil, as he heard the cries,
mingled with oaths and curses, yet quickened his pace to-
wards the quarter whence they came. His staps were tracked
by his blood: twice had my sword passed through his flesh;
but twice had it failed my vengeance, and avoided a mortal
part. A second boat, filled also with the pirates, followed
the first ; but then another and a larger vessel bore black and
fast over the water ; the rush and cry of men were heard on
land; again and nearer a shot broke over the heavy air, — an-
other and another, — a continued fire. The strand was now
crowded with the officers of justice. The vessel beyond for-
bade escape to the opposite islet. There was no hope for the
pirates but in contest, or in dispersion among the cliffs or
woods on the shore. They formed their resolution at once,
and stood prepared and firm, partly on their boats, partly on
the beach around them. Though the officers were far more
numerous, the strife — fierce, desperate, and hand to hand —
seemed equally sustained. Montreuil, as he retreated before
me, bore back into the general meUe, and, as the press thick-
ened, we were for some moments separated. It was at this
time that I caught a glimpse of Gerald; he seemed also then
to espy me, and made eagerly towards me. Suddenly he was
snatched from my view. The fray relaxed; the officers, evi-
dently worsted, retreated towards the land, and the pirates
appeared once more to entertain the hope of making their
escape by water. Probably they thought that the darkness
of the night might enable them to baffle the pursuit of the
adverse vessel, which now lay expectant and passive on the
wave. However this be, they made simultaneously to their
boats, and among their numbers I descried Montreuil. I set
my teeth with a calm and prophetic wrath. But three strokes
did my good blade make through that throng before I was by
his side; he had at that instant his hold ujion the boat's edge,
and he stood knee-deep in the dashing waters. I laid my
grasp upon his shoulder, and my cheek touched his own as I
hissed in his ear, " I am with thee yet! " He turned fiercely;
he strove in vain to shake off my grasp. The boat pushed
away, and his last hope of escape was over. At this moment
the moon broke away from the mist, and we saw each other
plainly, and face to face. There was a ghastly but set de-
spair in Montreuil's lofty and proud countenance, which
changed gradually to a fiercer aspect, as he met my gaze.
Once more, foot to foot and hand to hand, we engaged; the
increased light of the skies rendered the contest more that of
skill than it had hitherto been, and Montreuil seemed to col-
lect all his energies, and to fight with a steadier and a cooler
determination. Nevertheless the combat was short. Once
my antagonist had the imprudence to raise his arm and ex-
pose his body to my thrust: his sword grazed my cheek, — I
shall bear the scar to my grave, — mine passed twice through
his breast, and he fell, bathed in his blood, at my feet.
"Lift him!" I said, to the men who now crowded round.
They did so, and he unclosed his eyes, and glared upon me as
the death-pang convulsed his features, and gathered in foam
to his lips. But his thoughts were not upon his destroyer,
nor upon the wrongs he had committed, nor upon any solitary
being in the linked society which he had injured.
"Order of Jesus," he muttered, "had I but lived three
months longer, I — "
So died Julian Montreuil.
MoNTREuiL was not the only victim in the brief combat of
that night; several of the pirates and their pursuers perished,
and among the bodies we found Gerald. He had been pierced,
by a shot, through the brain, and was perfectly lifeless when
his body was discovered. By a- sort of retribution, it seems
that my unhappy brother received his death-wound from a
shot, fired (probably at random) by Desmarais ; and thus the
instrument of the fraud he had tacitly subscribed to became
the minister of his death. Nay, the retribution seemed even
to extend to the very method by which Desmarais had escaped ;
and, as the reader has perceived, the subterranean communi-
cation which had been secretly reopened to deceive my uncle
made the path which had guided Gerald's murderer to the
scene which afterwards ensued. The delay of the officers had
been owing to private intelligence, previously received by the
magistrate to whom Gerald had applied, of the number and
force of the pirates, and his waiting in consequence for a mil-
itary reinforcement to the party to be despatched against
them. Those of the pirates who escaped the conflict escaped
also the pursuit of the hostile vessel ; they reached the islet,
and gained their captain's ship. A few shots between the
two vessels were idly exchanged, and the illicit adventurers
reached the French shore in safety. With them escaped
Desmarais, and of him, from that hour to this, I have heard
nothing: so capriciously plays Time with villains!
Marie Oswald has lately taken unto himself a noted inn on
the North Road, a place eminently calculated for the display
of his various talents ; he has also taken unto himself a wife,
of whose tongue and temper he has been known already to
complain with no Socratic meekness ; and we may therefore
opine that his misdeeds have not altogether escaped their
fitting share of condemnation.
Succeeding at once, by the death of my poor brother, to the
Devereux estates, I am still employed in rebuilding, on a yet
more costly scale, my ancestral mansion. So eager and im-
patient is my desire for the completion of my undertaking
that I allow rest neither by night nor day, and half of the
work will be done by torchlight. With the success of this
project terminates my last scheme of Ambition.
Here, then, at the age of thirty -four, I conclude the history
of my life. Whether in the star which, as I now write,
shines in upon me, and which a romance, still unsubdued,
has often dreamed to be the bright prophet of my fate, some-
thing of future adventure, suffering, or excitement is yet
predestined to me ; or whether life will muse itself away in
the solitudes which surround the home of my past childhood
and the scene of my present retreat, — creates within me but
slight food for anticipation or conjecture. I have exhausted
the sources of those feelings which flow, whether through the
channels of anxiety or of hope, towards the future ; and the
restlessness of my manhood, having attained its last object,
has done the labour of time, and bequeathed to me the in-
difference of age.
If love exists for me no longer, I know well that the mem-
ory of that which has been is to me far more than a living
love is to others ; and perhaps there is no passion so full of
tender, of soft, and of hallowing associations as the love
which is stamped by death. If I have borne much, and my
spirit has worked out its earthly end in travail and in tears,
yet I would not forego the lessons which my life has be-
queathed me, even though they be deeply blended with sad-
ness and regret. No! were I asked what best dignifies the
present and consecrates the past; what enables us alone to