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left his country. But I was soon upon his track. I too had
gathered some hard earnings, and my brother more ; and
with these united, I commenced a desperate pursuit. I will
not weary you by recounting the many difficulties of my task ;
how many thousand miles I have journeyed barefoot, with
little clothing, with less food (for I was forced to economize
my poor means) ; how for three years I have been generally
a beggar for my bread, a companion with the unsheltered
dog ; how I have been wounded, robbed, and even once im-
prisoned. That fortunately was but for a day, or it might
have overthrown my plans of vengeance. Thanks to the
furies, it did not ; I followed him, over all countries, from
Moscow to Madrid, from the Baltic to the Carpathians, He


fled with a sense, with a knowledge, that I was forever on his
track. He slept trebly armed, locked in and barred from all
access. He has been known to rise at night, and take flight
for a distant land. But, with the unerring sense of a blood-
hound, I was always after him. I was sure of him. He
never escaped me. No disguise, no swiftness of journeying,
no digressions from the ordinary path, no doubles, nor turn-
ings, nor common feints, such as the hunted beast resorts to
in his despair, availed him. Wherever he was there was
I! not so soon perhaps, but quite as surely.

" Twenty times I have been near meeting him alone, and
consummating my purpose. But one thing or other perpet-
ually intervened. A casual blow, without the certainty of
its being fatal, would have been nothing. He might have
recovered, he might have lived to see me proclaimed a
malefactor, and have borne evidence against me ; and then
he would have triumphed, and not I. I resolved to make
surer work ; to see that he should die ; and for myself, I
determined to live, for some time at least, in order to en-
joy the remembrance of having accomplished one deed of

" I said that I would not weary you with a narrative of
my travels and a repetition of my failures. But one adven-
ture amongst many occurs to me, somewhat differing from
the rest, and you shall hear it. One of my transits was across
the whole face of Europe ; from an obscure town in Flan-
ders to the Porte. I had scarcely reached the Fanar
(where I was housed by a Greek, whom I had served in an
accidental affray), when I fell sick of a fiery distemper,
some plague or fever begot in those burning regions, which
sometimes destroys the native and almost always the luckless
stranger. In my extremity, my kind hosts sent for a physi-
cian, a, converted Jew. He came and heard my ravings,
and let tne sickness deal with me as it chose. Some words,
however, which I threw out in my delirium (at his second


visit) excited his curiosity ; and coming, as they d.d, from a
Frank, he was induced to communicate them to an English-
man who lodged in his house. This Englishman was the
fiend, the fugitive, whom I had chased so long in vain. A
few words and a lump of gold concluded a bargain ; and
the next time the scowling Issachar came to my bedside, he
ordered a cup of coffee for his patient. I had at that time
recovered my senses, and became suddenly and sensitively
awake to everything about me. I saw the renegade take a
powder from his vest, and, after looking round to see that
all was clear, put it, with a peculiar look, into the cup. '/
is poison,' I said to myself; and by a sudden effort (while
the Israelite's back was turned), I forced myself upwards,
and sat, like a corpse revived, awaiting his attention. After
he had drugged the draught, he turned round suddenly and
beheld me. There I was, unable to speak indeed, but
ghastly and as white as stone, threatening and grinning, and
chattering unintelligible sounds. He was staggered; but
recovering himself with a smile, he tendered the detestable
potion. I had just strength enough to dash it out of his
hand, and sank on the bed exhausted. When I recovered I
found myself alone ; nor did I ever again see my physician.
" I do not complain of this. Life for life is an equal
stake. I knew the game which I was playing. Death for
one or both of us, that was certain. Quiet for him, at all
events (upon the earth or within it) ; perhaps revenge for
me. I was not angry at this attempt on my life. I liked it
better, in truth, than hunting day after day, week after week,
a flying, timorous, unresisting wretch. The opposition, the
determination he evinced to strike again, spurred me on.
It afforded a relief to my perpetual disappointment ; it
checkered the miserable monotony of my life. Sometimes I
had almost felt compassion for my harassed and terrified
enemy, and generally contempt. But now an adder was
before me. It rose up, and strove to use its fangs, and was


no longer to be trod on without peril. The?e thoughts,
strange as it may seem, contributed to my recovery. I grew
tranquil and well apace; 'and when I was fit to travel, I
found that my foe had quitted precipitately the banks of the

I had little difficulty in learning his route ; for my
Greek had his national subtilty, and did not spare money to
set rne on the track. The Jew doctor (he had a second
bribe) said that he had overheard my victim bargaining
with a Tartar courier to conduct him to Vienna. Upon this
hint, I set off on my dreary journey through the Ottoman
Empire and its huge provinces, Roumelia, Wallachia,
Transylvanifu I traversed the great uncultivated plains of
Turkey ; I crossed the Balkan and the muddy Danube ;
escaped the quarantine of the Crapaks ; and finally dis-
mounted at Vienna, just as a carriage was heard thundering
along the Presburg road containing a traveller to whom
haste was evidently of the last importance. 'T WAS HE !
I saw him ; and he saw me. He saw me, and knew in
a moment that all his toilsome journey was once more in
vain. I saw him grow pale before me, and I triumphed.
Ha ! ha ! that night I was joyful. I ate, and drank, and
dreamt, as though I had no care or injury upon me. The
next morning I looked to see that my dagger was sharp,
and my pistols primed, and set out on foot to decoy my foe
into a quiet place, fit for the completion of my purpose.
But I failed, as I had failed often before. I beset him, I
tried to surprise him ; I kept him in incessant alarm ; but
the end was still the same. He was still destined to escape
me, and I to remain his pursuer.

" How it was that he retained his senses, that he had still
spring of mind to fly and hope to escape pursuit, is a
mystery to me. I have often wondered that he did not
bare his throat before me, and end his misery ; as those who
grow dizzy on a precipice, cast themselves from it, and find


refuge from their intolerable fears in death. But no ; his
love of life, his fear (caused by that love of life), were so
great, so insuperable, that they never seemed capable, as in
ordinary cases, of sinking into indifference or despair. He
had no moral, no intellectual qualities, no courage of any
sort. Yet by his fear alone, he became at times absolutely
terrific. His struggles, his holding on to life, (when nothing
was left worth living for,) his sleepless, ceaseless activity
in flight, assumed a serious and even awful character. He
pursued his purpose as steadily and as unflinchingly a* I
pursued mine. Terror never stopped him ; hope never for-
sook him. From one end of the world to the other lie fled

backwards and forwards, this way, and that he fled,
and fled ; not dropping from apprehension, like the dove or
the wren ; but still keeping on his way, like some fierce bird
of prey, who, driven from one region, will still seek another,
and another, and fight it out to the last extremity. So
frightful have been his struggles, so wild and fantastic the
character of his fears, that once or twice, I (his destroyer)

I, who was watching him with an ever-deadly purpose,
became absolutely daunted and oppressed. I resumed my
strength, however, speedily, as you will suppose ; for what
his fear was to him, hate or revenge was to me, the sole
stirring principle of life. Oh ! this accursed wretch ! does
he ever dream that I relax ? that toil, and destitution, and
danger have any effect upon me ? He shall live to find him-
self in error. I am the fate, the bloodhound that will fol-
low, and must find him at last. Let me give up the contest
at once, and all will be quiet ; no more fear for him, no
more sad labors for me ! Of what value is life to either :f
us ? But yes, to me, it is of value ; for I have a deed to
do, an act of justice to perform on the most reckless and
heartless villain that ever disgraced the human name."

" And his name, what is that ? " asked Denbigh.

" Warne, Warne, the brand of hell be on him ! "


* Hush ! do not speak so loud ! Look ! there is some
one in yonder box who has heard you," said Denbigh again,
in a suppressed tone.

" I care not," replied the other. " This devil who walks
in human shape, and under the name of Warne, is now in
this city. He has eluded me for a short a very short
time by shifting his course and changing his disguises.
But I am here, and shall find him, wherever he lurks. Be
sure of it."

At this moment a stranger was seen stealing from a box,
where he had been taking refreshment. He appeared by
his walk (for the two speakers saw only his back) to be
an old man. ""He said nothing ; but, walking up towards the
end of the room, where a person attached to the inn was
standing, put a piece of money in his hand, (evidently more
than sufficient to discharge his bill.) and left the house.

From the first movement of the stranger, the attention of
Gordon was upon him: his neck was stretched out, his
eyes strained and wide open ; he even seemed to listen to
his tread.

" What is the matter ? " said Denbigh. " There is noth-
ing but an old man there, who is tottering home to bed."

Gordoi. made no reply, but followed the person alluded
to stealthily from the house. After a minute's space, Den-
bigh saw liim again hiding behind the buttress of a building
on the opposite side of the street. He was evidently watch-
ing the stranger He did not continue long, however, in
this situation, but stole forwards cautiously. After pro-
ceeding a short distance, he turned, and followed the wind-
ings of a street or road that intersected the principal street
of the town, and finally disappeared.

Denbigh never saw him again. Three or four days
afterwards, the body of an unknown man was found in a
copse near the city of Dessau. It was pierced with wounds,
and disfigured, and the clothes were much torn, as in a


Struggle. From one hand (which remained clasped) some
fragments of dress, coarser than what belonged to the body,
were forced with dilliculty ; but they did not lead to drier-
tioii. The stranger w:is buried, and as much inquiry mad* 1 ,
respecting him as is usual i'or persons for whom no one feel*
an interest. His murderer never was discovered. Denbigh
left the place immediately that the inquisition was over.
Ik 1 did not volunteer his evidence upon the occasion. His
natural love of justice, and perceptions of right, were pel
haps obscured by his affection for his friend ; besides which,
nothing that he could have said upon the occasion would
have exceeded a vague suspicion of the fact. At all events,
he kept (.onion's secret, until he deemed that it was not
dangerous to disclose it

In regard to Gordon himself he was never more heard
of. A man, indeed, bearing somewhat of his appearance,
was afterwards seen in the newly-cleared country near the
Ohio; but, excepting the resemblance that he bore to Den-
bigh's friend, and a certain intelligence beyond his situation
(which was that of a common laborer), there was nothing
to induce a belief that it was the same person. Whoever
he might be, however, even he too now has disappeared.
He was killed accidentally, while felling one of those enor-
mous hemlock-trees, with which some parts of the great
continent abound. A shallow grave was scooped for him ;
a fellow-laborer's prayer was his only requiem ; and, what-
ever may have been his intellect, whatever his passions 01
strength of purpose, the frail body which once contained
them now merely fertilizes the glade of an American forest,
or else has become food for the' bear or the jackal.

[The story of Aguirra, referred to in the foregoing nar-
rative, occurs in one of our early periodical works, and is to
the following effect : Aguirra was a Spanish soldier, under
the vommand of Esquivel, governor of Lima or Potosi.


For some small cause, or for no cause, (to make an ex-
ample, or to wro;ik his spite,) this governor caused Aguirra
to be stripped and flogged. He received some hundred
stripes ; his remonstrances (that he was a gentleman, and as
such exempt by law from such disgrace, and that what he
had done was unimportant, and justified by common usage)
being treated with contempt. lie endured the punishment
in the presence of a crowd of comrades and strangers, and
swore (with a Spaniard's spirit) never to be satisfied but
with his tyrant's blood. lie waited patiently, until Esquhel
was no longer governor ; refusing consolation, and declin-
ing, from fancied unworthiness, all honorable employment.
But, when thje governor put off his authority, then Aguirra
commenced his revenge. He followed his victim from
place to place, haunted him like a ghost, and filled
him (though surrounded by friends and servants) with per-
petual dread. No place, no distance, could stop him. He
has been known to track his enemy for three, four, five
hundred leagues at a time ! He continued pursuing him for
three years and four months ; and at last, after a journey
of five hundred leagues, came upon him suddenly at Cuzco ;
found him, for the first time, without his guards, and in-
stantly stabbed him to the heart !

Such is the story of Aguirra. It is believed to be a fact ;
and so is the story which I have recounted above. The
circumstances are not only curious as showing a strange
coincidence, but they show also what a powerful effect a
narrative of this kind may produce. For there is little
doubt but that the South American tale, although it may
not absolutely have generated the spirit of vengeance in
Gordon's mind, so shaped and modified it as to stimulate
his flagging animosity ; carried him through all impedi-
ments and reverses to the catastrophe ; and enabled him
to exhibit a perseverance that is to be paralleled nowhere,
except perhaps in the history of fanatics or martyrs.]



A SWARTHY strength with face of light,
As dark sword-iron is beaten bright ;
A brave, frank look, with health aglow,
Bonny blue eyes and open brow ;
His friend he welcomes, heart-in-hand,
But foot to foot his foe must stand :
A Man who will face, to his last breath,
The sternest facts of life and death :

This is the brave old Norseman.

The wild wave-motion weird and strange
Rocks in him ! seaward he must range ;
His life is just a mighty lust
To wear away with use, not rust !
Though bitter wintry cold the storm,
The fire within him keeps him warm :
Kings quiver at his flag unfurled,
The Sea-King 's master of the world !

And conquering rides the Norseman.

He hides at heart of his rough life
A world of sweetness for the Wife :
From his rude breast a Babe may press
Soft milk of human tenderness,
Make his eyes water, his heart dance,
And sunrise in his countenance :


In merry mood his ale lie quaffs

By firelight, and his jolly heart laughs :

The blithe, great-hearted Norseman.

But when the Battle Trumpet rings,
His soul 's a war-horse clad with wings !
He drinks delight in with the breath
Of Battle and the dust of death :
The Axes redden ; spring the sparks
Blood-radiant grow the gray mail-sarks ;
Such blows might batter, as they fell,
Heaven's gates, or burst the booms of hell !
So fights the fearless Norseman.

The Norseman's king must stand up tall,
If he would be head over all ;
Mainmast of Battle ! when the plain
Is miry red with bloody rain !
And grip his weapon for the fight,
Until his knuckles all grow white ;
Their banner-staff he bears is best
If double handful for the rest :

When " Follow me ! " cries the Norseiii-n.

Valiant and true, as Sagas tell,
The Norseman hated lies like hell ;
Hardy from cradle to the grave,
'T was their religion to be brave :
Great, silent fighting-men, whose words
Were few, soon said, and out with Swords !
One saw his heart cut from his side
Living, and smiled ; and smiling, died :

The unconquerable Norseman.

They swam the flood ; they strode in flame ;
Nor quailed when the Valkyrie came


To kiss the chosen, for her charms,
"With " Rest my Hero, in mine arms."
Their spirits through a grim wide wound,
The Norse door-way to heaven found ;
And borne upon the battle blast,
Into the hall of Heroes passed :

And there was crowned the Norseman.

The Norseman wrestled with old Rome,
For Freedom in our Island home ;
He taught us how to ride the sea
With hempen bridle, horse of tree :
The Norseman stood with Robin Hood
By Freedom in the merry green wood,
When William ruled the English land
With cruel heart and bloody hand.

For Freedom fights the Norseman.

Still in our race the Norse king reigns ;
His best blood beats along our veins ;
With his old glory we can glow,
And surely sail where he could row :
Is danger stirring ? from its sleep
Our War-dog wakes his watch to keep,
Stands with our Banner over him,
True as of old, and stern and grim !

Come on, you '11 find the Norseman

When Swords are gleaming you shall see
The Norseman's face flash gloriously,
With look that makes the foeman reel ;
His mirror from of old was steel !
And still he wields, in Battle's hour,
The old Thor's hammer of Norse power,
Strikes with a desperate arm of might,
And at the last tug turns the fight :

For never yields the Norseman



BRITAIN was in the time of Julius Caesar what it is at
this daj in climate and natural advantages, temperate
and reasonably fertile. But, destitute of all those improve-
ments which in a succession of ages it has received from in-
genuity, from commerce, from riches and luxury, it then
wore a very rough and savage appearance. The country,
forest or marsh ; the habitations, cottages ; the cities, hiding-
places in woods ; the people naked, or only covered with
skins ; their sole employment, pasturage and hunting. They
painted their bodies for ornament or terror, by a custom
general amongst all savage nations, who, being passion-
ately fond of show and finery, and having no object but
their naked bodies on which to exercise this disposition,
have in all times painted or cut their skins, according to
their ideas of ornament. They shaved the beard on the
chin ; that on the upper lip was suffered to remain, and
grow to an extraordinary length, to favor the martial ap-
pearance, in which they placed their glory. They were in
their natural temper not unlike the Gauls ; impatient, fiery,
inconstant, ostentatious, boastful, fond of novelty, and, like
all barbarians, fierce, treacherous, and cruel. Their arms
were short javelins, small shields of a slight texture, and
great cutting swords with a blunt point, after the Gaulish


Their chiefs went to battle in chariots, not unartfully
contrived, nor unskilfully managed. I cannot help tliink-
ing it something extraordinary, and not easily to be ac-
counted for, that the Britons should have been so expert
in the fabric of those chariots, when they seem utterly
ignorant in all other mechanic arts ; but thus it is deliv-
ered to us. They had also horse, though of no great repu-
tation, in their armies. Their foot was without hea\y
armor ; it was no firm body ; nor instructed to preserve
their ranks, to make their evolutions, or to obey their com
manders ; but in tolerating hardships, in dexterity of form-
ing ambuscades (the art military of savages), they are said
to have excelled. A natural ferocity and an impetuous
onset stood them in the place of discipline.

It is very difficult, at this distance of time, and with so
little information, to discern clearly what sort of civil gov-
ernment prevailed among the ancient Britons. In all very
uncultivated countries, as society is not close or intricate,
nor property very valuable, liberty subsists with few re-
straints. The natural equality of mankind appears, and is
asserted ; and therefore there are but obscure lines of any
form of government. In every society of this sort the
natural connections are the same as in others, though the
political ties are weak. Among such barbarians, therefore,
though there is little authority in the magistrate, there is
often great power lodged, or rather left, in the father ; for,
as among the Gauls, so among the Britons, he had the
power of life and death in his own family, over his chil-
dren and Ins servants.

But among freemen and heads of families causes of all
sorts seem to have been decided by the Druids : they sum-
moned and dissolved all the public assemblies ; they alone
had the power of capital punishments, and indeed seem to
have had the sole execution and interpretation of whatever
laws subsisted among this people. In this respect the


Celtic nations did not greatly differ from others, except that
we view them in an earlier stage of society. Justice was
in all countries originally administered by the priesthood ;
nor indeed could laws in their first feeble state have either
authority or sanction, so as to compel men to relinquish
their natural independence, had they not appeared to come
down to them enforced by beings of more than human
power. The first openings of civility have been every-
where made by religion. Amongst the Romans, the cus-
tody and interpretation of the laws continued solely in the
college of the pontiffs for above a century.

The time in which the Druid priesthood was instituted
is unknown. It probably rose, like other institutions of
that kind, from low and obscure beginnings ; and acquired
from time, and the labors of able men, a form, by which
it extended itself so far, and attained at length so mighty
an influence over the minds of a fierce, and otherwise un-
governable, people. Of the place where it arose there is
somewhat less doubt. Caesar mentions it as the common
opinion that this institution began in Britain ; that there it
always remained in the highest perfection, and that from
thence it diffused itself into Gaul. I own I find it not easy
to assign any tolerable cause why an order of so much
authority, and a discipline so exact, should have passed
from the more barbarous people to the more civilized ;
from the younger to the older ; from the colony to the
mother country ; but it is not wonderful that the early
extinction of this order, and that general contempt in which
the Romans held all the barbarous nations, should have left
these matters obscure and full of difficulty.

The Druids were kept entirely distinct from the body of
the people ; and they were exempted from all the inferior
and burdensome offices of society, that they might be at
leisure to attend the important duties of their own charge.
They were chosen out of the best families, and from the


young men of the most promising talents ; a regulation
which placed and preserved them in a respectable light
with the world. None were admitted into this order but
after a long and laborious novitiate, which made the char-
acter venerable in their own eyes by the time and difficulty
of attaining it. They were much devoted to solitude, and
thereby acquired that abstracted and thoughtful air wliich
is so imposing upon the vulgar. And when they appeared
in public it was seldom, and only on some great occasion ;
in the sacrifices of the gods, or on the seat of judgment
They prescribed medicine ; they formed the youth ; they
paid the last honors to the dead ; they foretold events ; they
exercised themselves in magic. They were at once the
priests, lawgivers, and physicians of their nation, and con-
sequently concentred in themselves all that respect that
men have diffusively for those who heal their diseases, pro-
tect their property, or reconcile them to the Divinity.
What contributed not a little to the stability and power of
this order was the extent of its foundation, and the regu-

Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 8 of 66)