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saved the Captain's life, by an act of extra-
ordinary daring; and although Donovan has,

since that time, twice forced Captain L to

fight a duel with him under the most sus-
picious circumstances, and, as every one be-
lieved, with the express intent of shooting him,

Captain L still remembers the benefit

conferred upon him, and persists in believing
in the nice honour of Donovan, and in his

Donovan now approached the spot where we
stood, and our conversation was interrupted;
but when it was afterwards renewed, my friend
informed me that Donovan had formerly been
married ; and that some years ago he was put
upon his trial on suspicion of having poisoned
his wife ; and that, although he was acquitted,
strong doubt yet rests upon the minds of many.
"He has high interest," added my friend,
" and holds an important government employ-
ment ; and etiquette obliges the governor to
invite him."

This ball took place on Thursday; and on
Monday morning Emily Waring and Captain



L were to have been united. On Friday

and on Saturday I dined with Colonel Waring,

his daughter, and Captain L , who on

Saturday evening said, in taking leave, that
he had promised to dine the next day with
Donovan. I noticed a cloud a shade not of
displeasure, but uneasiness pass over Emily's
countenance; and the Colonel said, "Emily
looks as if she thought you ought not to run
away from us to-morrow ; and besides, I cannot
bring myself to like Donovan."

" He is misunderstood," said Captain L ;
" I can never forget," continued he, turning
to Emily, and taking her hand, "that but for
Donovan, this could never have been mine; I
could not refuse him."

"Well, well," said the Colonel, "we'll see
you at all events in the morning ;" and we took

Next morning AVC went to parade, which, in
Gibraltar, is the morning lounge. When it
was over the Colonel complained of. fatigue,
and returned home; I seated myself beside the
statue of General Elliot ; and the two betrothed
strolled into the Alameda, that most charming
labyrinth of geranium, and acacia, and orange
trees ; and they staid in it so long that I left
my seat and returned to the Colonel's house,
where I afterwards dined. We expected that

Captain L would have passed the evening

with us after leaving Donovan ; but he did not
appear. The Colonel was evidently piqued ;
and Emily betrayed some uneasiness, and per-
haps a little disappointment. I took my
leave about eleven; and promised to accom-
pany the wedding party at nine o'clock next
morning to the Government House, where the
ceremony was to take place. I was punctual
to my time ; Emily looked, as a lovely bride
ought to look modest and enchanting; the

Colonel was impatient ; for Captain L had

not arrived. It was now nine o'clock; half-
past nine ten o'clock came; but the bride-
groom was still absent. The Colonel's pique
began to yield to uneasiness; Emily's uneasi-
ness was changed for agitation. I offered to go

to Captain L ; and I learned at his hotel

tl a 1 , he had not been seen since five o'clock the
'ay before. A message was then sent to Mr.
Donovan, who returned for answer that after

dinner he and Captain L walked up the

rock ; but that having taken different paths,
they had missed each other ; and he had not
seen Captain L since.

I need not describe the change which a few
hours had wrought upon Emily. I saw her
sitting in her bridal dress, pale and tearless;
and the old Colonel stood beside her : one hand

inclosed his daughter's, and with the other he
brushed away the tear that now and then
started to his own eye. At this moment the

Governor Sir G D was announced;

and the Colonel and myself received him.

"Theunaccountabledisappearanceof Captain

L ," said he, " has been made known to me

some hours ago ; I have used every means to
penetrate the mystery, but without success;
the sentinels on the eastern piquet saw him
pass up in company with Mr. Donovan ; and
under all the circumstances I have thought it
my duty to order Mr. Donovan's arrest."

By a singular, and for Mr. Donovan unfor-
tunate fatality, the court, for the judgment of
civil and criminal causes, commenced its sit-
tings at Gibraltar on the day following; and
from some farther evidence which had been
tendered, it was thought necessary to send Mr.
Donovan to trial. There was no direct evidence;
but there were strong presumptions against

him. His hatred of Captain L was proved

by many witnesses ; the cause of it, the prefer-
ence of Miss Waring, was proved by her father;
the circumstances attending the two duels were
inquired into; and the result of the inquiry
militated more strongly against the character
of Mr. Donovan than had even been expected.
It was proved, moreover, that when Mr. Dono-
van left his house in company with Captain

L , he carried a concealed stiletto; and it

was proved that they were last seen together
walking towards the eastern extremity of the
rock, more than half a mile beyond the farthest
piquet. The reader perhaps requires to be in-
formed that the highest summit of the rock of
Gibraltar is its eastern extremity, which ter-
minates in a precipice of fifteen hundred feet;
and that about half a mile beyond the farthest
sentinel the road to the summit branches into
two one branch gaining the height by an easy
zig-zag path ; the other skirting the angle of
the rock, and passing near the mouth of the

It was of course irregular, upon the trial of
Mr. Donovan, to refer to his former trial, but
this had no doubt its weight ; and he was ad-
judged guilty of murder, and sentenced to die.
The sentence was pronounced on Friday, and
on Monday it was to be carried into execution.

When the morning of the day arrived Mr.
Donovan desired to make a confession ; and his
confession was to this effect: that although in-
nocent of the crime on suspicion of which he
was about to forfeit his life, punishment was
nevertheless justly due, both on account of the
former murder of which he had been acquitted,
but of which he had in reality been guilty, and



on account of the crime he had meditated,

though not perpetrated, against Captain L .

He admitted that he had resolved upon his de-
struction; that in order to accomplish his pur-
pose, he had proposed a walk to the eastern
summit of the rock; and that his design had

been frustrated only by Captain L having

taken a different path, and having never arrived
at the summit.

The same night, while lying in bed, and re-
volving in my mind the extraordinary events
of the last few days, I could not resist the con-
clusion that Donovan was guiltless of the

blood of Captain L . Why should he have

confessed only to the intention, if he had been
guilty of the act? why confess one murder and
not another? and a vague suspicion floated

upon my fancy, that Captain L might yet

be living. In this mood I fell asleep, and
dreamed that Donovan stood by my bed-side.
I thought he said three several times, and in
a tone of great solemnity, such as might be the
tone of one who had passed from the state of
the living, " I suffered justly: but I did not
murder him he yet lives." I am far from
meaning to infer that the dream is to be looked
upon as any supernatural visitation ; it was the
result, and a very natural result, of my wak-
ing thoughts: nevertheless, it impressed the
conviction more strongly upon my mind; and
when I awoke, and saw the gray dawn, I started
from my bed with the resolution of acting upon
its intimation.

I crossed the draw-bridge, which was then
just lowered, traversed the Alameda, and fol-
lowed the path that leads to Europa Point.
Some houses skirt the southern side of the rock
near to the sea ; and several boats were moored
close to the shore. No one was stirring ; it
was not then five o'clock, for the morning gun
had not fired; but I stepped into a boat, un-
fastened its moorings, and rowed under the
great rock towards the eastern extremity. I
soon doubled the south eastern point, and found
myself in front of the great precipice ; and now
I backed from the rock, keeping my eyes stead-
fastly fixed upon the fissures and projections ;
and the reader will scarcely be inclined to
credit me, if I assert, that when I first des-
cried, upon a distant projection, something
that bore the resemblance of a human figure,
I felt more joy than surprise, so strongly was
I impressed with the belief that Captain L
might yet be living. A nearer and closer in-
spection almost convinced me that I was not
deceived ; and I need scarcely say, that my
boat shot swiftly through the water as I re-
turned towards Europa Point.

It is unnecessary that I should detail the
farther steps that were taken in order to dis-
cover whether the information I had given was
correct, or the means resorted to to rescue

Captain L from his perilous situation, or

the measures which were adopted to restore
him to consciousness and strength. I can
never forget the visit I made to the house of
Colonel Waring, the evening upon which it had
been slowly broken to Emily that Captain

L yet lived. Never did smiles and tears

meet under happier auspices; for joy had un-
locked the fountain that sorrow had choked up,
and every tear was gilded by a smile. As for
the old Colonel, his delight knew no bounds
he alternately shook me by the hand, and
i kissed the wet, though smiling cheek of his
I daughter. " I am not a man of many words,"
j said he, " but by heaven, all I can say is this,

that if Captain L- had perished, you should

have been the man."

It was some days before Captain L

sufficiently recovered to see his bride. I was

! present at the meeting. It was one of those

scenes that can never pass from the memory

I of him who has witnessed such. Never was

i happiness so prodigal of tears; never were

j tears less bitter. It was now evening; we had

i left the house, and were seated in the Colonel's

' garden, which overlooks the Alameda, and the

Bay of Algesiras, which lay in perfect calm,

coloured with the gorgeous hues reflected from

Andalusian skies. Captain L had not yet

been requested to relate those particulars which
he alone knew, but he guessed our wish ; and
when Emily had seated herself in an obscure
corner of the summer-house, he gave us the
following relation.

" I left Griffith's hotel about five o'clock to
dine with poor Donovan, as I had promised: he
i received me, as usual, with apparent kindness;
, but during dinner he was often abstracted
there was evident agitation in his tone and
manner and for the first time in my life
I felt uncomfortable in his company. After
dinner he proposed a walk; I left the house
first; and chancing to glance in at the window
as I passed round the angle, I saw him place a
short dagger in his bosom. Suspicion then,
for the first time, entered into my mind; and
the manner of Donovan as we ascended was
calculated to increase it. You recollect, that
about half a mile beyond the highest piquet
station, the road to the eastern point branches
into two. I proposed that we should go
different ways. Donovan took the zig-zag
path: I followed the narrow steep path, intend-
ing to shun another meeting, and to scramble



down the southern side. In passing the en- I
trance to the excavations, I noticed that the j
iron gate was open left open probably acci-
dentally and the coolness of these subter-
ranean galleries invited me to enter. While
walking through them, I stopped to look out at
one of the port holes ; l and seeing, upon a little
platform of the rock, about nine feet below,
some stalks of white narcissus, 2 I felt a strong
desire to possess myself of them in fact, I
thought Emily would like them, for we had
often, when walking on the rock, or rowing
under it, noticed these pretty flowers in inac-
cessible spots, and regretted the impossibility
of reaching them. Betwixt the port hole and
the platform there was a small square projec-
tion, and a geranium root twining round it, by
which I saw that I could easily and safely ac-
complish my purpose. I accordingly stepped,
or rather dropped upon the projection, and,
only lightly touching it, descended to the plat-
form. Having possessed myself of the flowers,
I seized the projection, to raise myself up; but,
to my inexpressible horror, the mass gave way,
and, with the geranium-root, bounded from
point to point, into the sea. The separation
of this fragment left the face of the rock en-
tirely bare without point, fissure, or root; it j
was at least nine feet from the spot where I
stood to the lower part of the port hole. It
was impossible, by any exertion, to reach this:
and the face of the rock was so smooth, that
even a bird could not have found a footing
upon it. I saw that I was lost, I saw that no
effort of mine could save me, and that no
human eye could see me ; and the roaring of
the waves below drowned all cries for succour.
I was placed about the middle of the precipice,
with seven or eight hundred feet both above
and below. Above, the rock projected, so that
no one could see me from the summit ; and the
bulging of the rock on both sides, I saw must
prevent any one discovering me from the sea,
unless a boat should chance to come directly
under the spot.

Evening passed away, it grew dark; and
when night came I sat down upon the plat-
form, leaning my back against the rock. Night
passed too, and morning dawned this was the

1 It may be necessary to inform the reader, that the
excavations of Gibraltar are immense passages, or, as
they are there called, galleries, hewn in the centre of i
the rock. These are carried within the face of the great j
precipice, and at short intervals there are openings, or
jiort-holes, for cannon.

y Every projection and eTery nook in the face of the
precipice is adorned with these beautiful and sweet-
Bmelling flowers.

morning when Emily would have given herself
to me ; the morning from which I had in im-
agination dated the commencement of happi-
ness. I renewed my vain efforts ; I sprang up
to the port-hole, but fell back upon the plat-
form, and was nearly precipitated into the
ocean; I cried aloud for help; but my cry was
answered only by some monkeys that jabbered
from an opposite cliff. I thought of leaping
into the sea, which would have been certain
death ; I prayed to God ; I fear I blasphemed ;
I called wildly and insanely, called upon
Emily; I cursed, and bewailed my fate, and
even wept like a child ; and then I sunk down
exhausted. Oh! how I envied the great birds
that sailed by, and that sank down in safety
upon the bosom of the deep. The history of
one day is the history of all, until weakness
bereaved me of my powers. Hunger assailed
me; I ate the scanty grasses that covered the
platform, and gradually became weaker; and
as the sufferings of the body increased, that of
the mind diminished. Reason often wandered ;
I fancied that strange music, and sometimes
the voice of Emily, mingled with the roar of
the waves. I saw the face of Donovan looking
at me through the port-hole; and I fancied
that I was married ; and that the flowers in
my bosom were my bride, and I spoke to her,
and told her not to fear the depth, or the roar
of the sea. I have kept the flowers, Emily; I
found them in my bosom when I was rescued ;

here they are," said Captain L , rising,

and laying them upon Emily's lap. But the
recital had been too much for her feelings: she
had striven to repress them, but they could
bear no more control; "Hated flowers," said
she, as throwing herself upon the neck of her
betrothed, she found relief in a flood of tears.
" My sweet girl, my dear Emily," said the
Colonel, as he gently raised her from her rest-
ing place, and pressed her to a father's bosom,
" it is past now ; and I propose that next
Monday we'll" but Emily had left the sum-
mer house "next Monday," resumed the

Colonel, addressing Captain L , " we'll

have the wedding."

And so it was. How soon are sorrows for-
gotten. I saw Emiiy led to the altar ; 1
saw her afterwards a happy and beloved
wife. Between my first and second visit to
Gibraltar, the Colonel had paid the debt of
nature; but Emily's house is always my
home. I found her as beautiful as ever; as
gentle and good: as much loved. Emily
Waring, I shall never see thee more ; then
Heaven bless thee, thy husband, and thy




[Henry Kirke White, born in Nottingham, 21st
March, 1785; died at Cambridge, 19th October, 1806.
He was the son of a butcher, ami assisted his father in
that trade for a short time. He was then sent to learn
stocking-loom weaving, and from lhat he was removed
to an attorney's office. His devotion to study having
attracted the attention of several gentlemen, he obtained
a sizarship in St. John's College, Cambridge. He in-
tended to enter the ministry, but excessive study injured
his health, and he died in his twenty second year. His
circumstances and early death won extensive favour
for his poems Clifton Gr-'ve, a sketch in verse, is his
longest production ; the shorter pieces are characterized
by much devotional spirit and an almost morbid anti-
cipation of death.]

Down the sultry arc of day

The burning wheels have urged their way;

And Eve along the western skies

Spreads her intermingling dyes.

Down the deep, the miry lane,

Creaking comes the empty wain,

And driver on the shaft-horse sits,

Whistling now and then by fits :

And oft, with his accustomed call,

Urging on the sluggish Ball.

The barn is still, the master's gone,

And thresher puts his jacket on,

While Dick, upon the ladder tall,

Nails the dead kite to the wall.

Here comes shepherd Jack at last;

He has penned the sheepcote fast,

For 'twas but two nights before,

A lamb was eaten on tie moor :

His empty wallet Rover carries,

Nor for Jack, when near home, tarries.

With lolling tongue he runs to try

If the horse-trough be not dry.

The milk is settled in the pans,

And supper messes in the cans;

In the hovel carts are wheeled,

And both the colts are drove a-field;

The horses are all bedded up,

And the ewe is with the tup.

The snare for Mister Fox is set,

The leaven laid, the thatching wet,

And Bess has slinked away to talk

With Roger in the holly walk.

Now, on the settle all, but Bess,
Are set to eat their supper mess;
And little Tom and roguish Kate
Are swinging on the meadow gate.
Now they chat of various things,
Of taxes, ministers, and kings,
Or else tell all the village news,
How madam did the squire refuse;
How parson on his tithes was bent,
And landlord oft distrained for rent.
Thus do they talk, till in the sky
The pale-eyed moon is mounted high,

And from the ale-house drunken Ned
Had reeled then hastened all to bed.
The mistress sees that lazy Kate
The happing coal on kitchen grate
Has laid while master goes throughout,
ees shutters fast, the mastiff out,
The candles safe, the hearths all clear,
And nought from thieves or fire to fear;
Then both to bed together creep,
And join the general troop of sleep.


" There are but two classes of persons in the world
those who are hanged, and thooe who are not hanged;
and it has been my lot to belong to the former."

There are few men, perhaps, who have not
a hundred times in the course of life, felt a
curiosity to know what their sensations would
be if they were compelled to lay life down.
The very impossibility, in all ordinary cases,
of obtaining any approach to this knowledge,
is an incessant spur pressing on the fancy in
its endeavours to arrive at it. Thus poets and
painters have ever made the estate of a man
condemned to die one of their favourite themes
of comment or description. Footboys and
'prentices hang themselves almost every other
day, conclusively missing their arrangement
for slipping the knot half way out of a seem-
ing instinct to try the secrets of that fate,
which less in jest than earnest they feel an
inward monition may become their own. And
thousands of men, in early life, are uneasy
until they have mounted a breach, or fought a
duel, merely because they wish to know, ex-
perimentally, that their nerves are capable of
carrying them through that peculiar ordeal.
Now 7 am in a situation to speak from experi-
ence upon that very interesting question the
sensations attendant upon a passage from life
to death. . I have been HANGED, and am ALIVE
perhaps there are not three other men, at
this moment, in Europe, who can make the
same declaration. Before this statement meets
the public eye I shall have quitted England
forever; therefore I have no advantage to gain
from its publication. And, for the vanity of
knowing, when I shall be a sojourner in a far
country, that my name for good or ill is
talked about in this, such fame would scarcely
do even my pride much good, when I dare not
lay claim to its identity. But the cause which
excites me to write is this My greatest plea-
sure through life has been the perusal of any
extraordinary narratives of fact. An account



of a shipwreck in which hundreds have perished;
of a plague which has depopulated towns or
cities; anecdotes and inquiries connected with
the regulation of prisons, hospitals, or lunatic
receptacles ! nay, the very police reports of a
common newspaper as relative to matters of
reality have alwaysexcited a degree of interest
in my mind which cannot be produced by the
best invented tale of fiction. Because I believe,
therefore, that to persons of a temper like my
own, the rending that which I have to relate
will afford very high gratification; and because
I know also, that what I describe can do
mischief to no one, while it may prevent the
symptoms and details of a very rare consum-
mation from being lost; for these reasons I
am desirous, as far as a very limited education
will permit me, to write a plain history of
the strange fortunes and miseries to which,
during the last twelve months, I have been

1 have stated already that 1 have been hanged
and am alive. I can gain nothing now by
misrepresentation I was GUILTY of the act for
which I suffered. There are individuals of
respectability whom my conduct already has
disgraced, and I will not revive their shame
and grief by publishing my name. But it stands
in the list of capital convictions in the Old
Bailey calendar for the winter sessions 1826;
and this reference, coupled with a few of the
facts which follow, will be sufficient to guide
any persons who are doubtful to the proof that
my statement is a true one. In the year 1824
I was a clerk in a Russia broker's house, and
fagged between Broad Street Buildings and
Batson's Coffee-house and the London Docks,
from nine in the morning to six in the evening,
for a salary of fifty pounds a year. I did this
not contentedly but I endured it; living spar-
ingly in a little lodging at Islington for two
years, till I fell in love with a poor, but very
beautiful girl, who was honest where it was
very hard to be honest ; and worked twelve
hours a day at sewing and millinery, in a
mercer's shop in Cheapside, for half a guinea
a week. To make short of a long tale this
girl did not know how poor I was; and in about
six months I committed seven or eight for-
geries, to the amount of near two hundred
pounds. I was seized one morning I ex-
pected it for weeks as regularly as I awoke
every morning and carried after a few ques-
tions for examination before the lord-mayor.
At the Mansion House I had nothing to plead.
Fortunately my motions had not been watched;
and so no one but myself was implicated in the
charge, as no one else was really guilty. A

sort of instinct to try the last hope, made me
listen to the magistrate's caution, and remain
silent; or else, for any chance of escape I had,
I might as well have confessed the whole truth
at once. The examination lasted about half
an hour; when I ^vas fully committed for trial,
and sent away to Newgate.

The shock of my first arrest was very slight
indeed; indeed I almost question if it was not
a relief, rather than a shock to me. For
months I had known perfectly that my event-
ual discovery was certain. I tried to shake
the thought of this off; but it was of no use
I dreamed of it even in my sleep; and I never
entered our counting-house of a morning, or
saw my master take up the cash-book in the
course of the day, that my heart was not up in
my mouth, and my hand shook so that I could

Online LibraryUnknownThe library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) → online text (page 54 of 75)