תמונות בעמוד
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]


talk of the

grandeur and magnificence of the empires of a remote past with wonderment and rapture, but how poor and paltry are our monu. ments of their exist. ence! A handful of books of doubtful authenticity, a column of dates of questionable accuracy, a list of names of mythical heroes, and a sprinkling of ruins half-trodden underground. To go back one thousand rears is to rench the evening of the day of history; another thousand years further back one has to grope for monuments; and a third thousand pears puts us not only into the dark, but leaves us withoat all points d'appui before and behind us.

This is true es. pecially in regard to the history of Europe, but by leaping from the Peloponnesus across the Mediterranean, into the land of the Nile, one may enjoy the twilight of by gone ages for three and perhaps five thousand years longer. But, should se set over the Æge. an, and land on the coasts of Asia Minor, all around us would be night. Schlie. mann's recent excarations on the site of Homeric Troy were but an attempt, more of less successful, to kindle a flame on a. spot which was of

historical interest in every age of Aryan civilization. If we proceed to Armenia, all that strikes our ear of the story of its ancient days is but an assonance to a Babylonian' myth.

But farther to the south and east, from the banks of the Indus to the Syrian shore, bright pencils of light illumine in parts the burial-grounds of the early masters of the world. There are As. syria, Babylonia, and Elam, with their tab. lets of clay and cu. neiform inscriptions ; there is Phænicia, of whose maritime relations the pages of antiquity are filled; and between them is Pal. estine, with records of its own, and corroborated by the history of all the sur. rounding nations.

Palestine is the great centre of research in Oriental amtiquities, partly and principally because it is the land of the Bible, but greatly also for purely scientific

Long before the tribes of Israel and Judah seized) the region from the Sea of Tiberias to the Sea of Sodom, mighty agricultural and commercial races possessed the land and defended it against the conquering armies of Egypt and Chaldæa. Thousands of years before the period of Hebrew kings, powerful princes,





masters of towns and fortified cities, residents Between two deep wadys, flanking it to night of his marriage. In order to prevent of gorgeous palaces, leaders of vast armies, the north and south, and on a platform thir- the fulfillment of the prophecy, the father built and worshipers in magnificent temples, dis- ty-seven hundred and twenty feet above this tower, and when the time came for the puted here each other's sway. The tributes the level of the sea, stands the ancient for- betrothal of the son, be caused him and his paid by then in wine, honey, figs, spices, tress Kerak, or Kir-Moab. Its position is so bride to spend in it their wedding-night. iron, silver, and gold, were large enough to strong by nature that its great advantages But that was a sad mistake; for the bride cripple any modern empire of Europe. But as a place of defense must have been appar. was a ghoul herself-ove of those demons of how scanty is the material with which to re- ent to the most primitive people. A con- Eastern superstition that feed on human construct the history of these Syrian nations! siderable portion of the wall which once en. flesh. In the morning the son had been deThe monuments of the valleys of the Nile and circled the almost level summit is still stand. voured, and the maiden, who had assumed the Euphrates, and the records of the ancient ing. From the appearance of the work one form of a wild beast, flew away from the top Hebrews, speak only of their numbers and should judge it to be older than the Crusad. of the tower. their wealth, and the evidences of their art ing or Saracenic times, and in several in. Um Rasas has many other objects of inand industry still lie hidden in the earth, and scriptions in the upper part of the fortress terest, for it is a vast and uninterrupted mass the history of their deeds is carved in rocks the Mobammedans lay claim to its erection. of ruins. Three churches, one near the northor told in books not yet discovered.

The perfection of the great castle of Kerak, eastern angle, another at the southeastern Without any further testimony, one may however, is a magnificent monument of the corner, and the third near the centre of the reasonably suppose that the territory of Edom enterprise and energy of the Crusaders. east part of the two, are its principal featand Moab, the one point at which all the lines Dr. Tristram came across several inter

The two churches in the southwest of Egyptian, Phænician, Assyrian, Indian, and esting evidences of the Roman occupation quarter are completely ruined, while of the Arabian traffic were intersecting each other, of the town. The floor of a hovel was a other three the apse remains, though not the was a populous commercial district; and it was beautiful, tesselated pavement of marble, roof. Close to the central church was found but natural that, in this period of Oriental and surrounded with the bases of some old col- a large slab with a Greek cross engraved on antiquarian researches, great pains were taken

It was probably a part of a Roman its face, and also on several of the lintels to explore it. The portion that once be- bath, for in the next house were the remains were carved crosses and other sculptures. In longed to Moab has been more favored than of the marble bath-room, with the water-pipes another are still lying the old pillars of the Edom's. The geographical features of Moab still protruding from the walls.

side - aisles, as well as the enceinte of the have been carefully investigated, the sites of The party proceeded by the way of the walls and of a porch. How strange it must the ruins of ancient cities have been visited old Roman road running due north and have been to Dr. Tristram's party thus to and described, stones and pottery with in. south. Though broken up, the pavement is stand before these silent witnesses of a great scriptions have been collected, and many of still there, with the two parallel lines of walls population, and that a Christian one, in a the traditions of the native population have flanking it. They reached very soon the lonely wilderness, and where, as far as kuown, been gathered. A mass of material has thus ancient Rabbath · Moab, the Areopolis of they were the second European visitors since been laid before the world that awaits only Greek and Roman writers. The ruins bear the Crusades! the appearance of some architect to be built all the marks of a city of the late Roman Also remains of a more ancient date were up again into historical order and symmetry. | period, and show abundant traces of an ear- before them. They could not identify any

The results of these explorations are of lier age. The whole of it is only a mass of temples, but it was evident that their camp special interest to the American public, as by walls, broken-down fragments of carved was under the lee of an old amphitheatre now arrangement with the English Palestine Ex- work and Corinthian capitals, with broken entirely covered with turf, and near the ploration Fund the future examination of the sarcophagi here and there, blocks of basalt, mounds of what must have been a circus. geographical features, ruins, inscriptions, and and vaults and arched cellars of all sizes. There were cisterns hewn in the rocks, also other historical remains, have been left en- At the eastern end of the city are the re- channels, dams, and sluices, though only tirely to the care of the American Palestine mains of a large square building, which faintly outlined. But the only inhabitants of Exploration Society.

judging from some of the bases still stand- the place are now the wild-cat, jackal, mole, To summarize, then, the knowledge so far ing—had once a colonnade around a central and the like, which can be more easily trapped gathered, the land of Moab, owing to an court, probably the prætorium.

than seen. abundant supply of water, is not only cor.

About fifteen miles north of Rabbath- The most curious discovery of the Trisered with plants and studded with decidu. Moab, and a short distance to the east from tram expedition was, however, the wonderful ous trees, but even palms grow luxuriantly the Roman road, were found the ruins of Palace of Mashita, a place unknown to hisamong the rocks overhanging the sea, and Dbibân, and they were quite as dreary and tory, and unnamed in the maps. There is no on the lower ranges of mountains.

featureless as any of the hundreds of deso. trace of any house or buildings around it; Everywhere are ruined walls, which once late heaps of Moab. The place is full of in its solitary grandeur it stands out on the served as inclosures for fields and gardens, caverns, cisterns, vaulted underground store. waste, a marvelous example of the sumptuousand every thing indicates that the coun. houses, and rude semicircular arches. The ness and selfishness of ancient princes. The try was once very wealthy and fertile. And party went to see the spot where the famous richness of the arabesque carvings, though in even at this day the fertility of the soil is Moabite stone, or monolith of King Mesha, the same style, are not equaled by those of very great. According to the season, there of which we shall speak further on, was the Alhambra. Built of finely-dressed hard are always patches of land laden with grain, found. It seems to have been near what is stone, it presents a large, square edifice, more or yokes of oxen tilling the ground.

presumed to have been the gate-way of the than two hundred feet each way, with round nure is needed to reap a rich harvest of wheat old city, close to where the road once crossed bastions at each angle, and five others, semiyear after year from the fine, red, and sandy it. Yet as basalt blocks must have been circular, between them. On the eastern side loam, and even the little care and the great brought here from some distance, and as bold, octagonal bastions, protruding from the unskillfulness of the inhabitants do not en- there are many others at Dhibân many times fretted front, form a magnificent gate-way, danger the crop.

the original size and weight of the Moabite of which both sides present the most splenBeginning with a shallow furrow, the stone, it is to be supposed that these stones did façades imaginable. A large pattern, wadys come from the east, and dig deeper were carried there by the Romans, or some like a continued W, with a large rose-boss und deeper into the ground, hollowing out of their predecessors, from a neighboring lo- between every two lines, runs along the walls. wide and deep channels, through which they cality, to be used as building-material. Upward of fifty different animals are sculptswiftly flow, leaping from cascade to cascade, An interesting ruin is the “Tower of the ured into the open spaces, and fretted work into the border lake. Every traveler com- Christian Lady ” of Um Rasas, about eight of fruit and foliage carved into the surface ing from the sterile cis-Jordan has looked miles east of Dhibân. A curious legend is and all the interstices. The inside of the with astonishment upon these rippling brook- connected with it. A Christian sheik of the edifice seems to have been divided into three lets and occasional woods of this trans-Jor. neighborhood had been warned that his son parallelograms, of which the centre one has danic land.

would be devoured by a wild beast on the also three sections. One section shows still

No ma




the foundations of numerous chambers, sev- subjects of archeological conjecture as can border of the Dead Sea ; and Professor John enteen or eighteen perhaps, and the others be imagined, for there is nothing to tell what A. Paine may be right in supposing that the have uncertain traces of large fountains. their actual purpose has been.

ancient mount and the modern Jebel Sîâghah Yet it is very difficult to determine what In the northern quarter of the ancient are one and the same. Its remarkable charpurpose this building bas served, and still city, there is an oblong building, the use of acter as a jutting headland is said to be ap. more so to discover what prince caused its wbich could not be divined. It was fifty / parent from all sides, and it seems to be the erection. The name Masbitâ conveys no idea, yards from east to west, by twenty-five from very place to be chosen for a lookout over except, perhaps, as it means “ winter-quar- | north to south, and had doorways in the cen- the whole country. The main conclusion so ters," that it has often been used as such by tre of the eastern and the western faces. far reached is that Nebo was the highest porthe Arabs for their flocks and berds. That Beneath it were solid vaulted cisterns of great tion of the range of mountains, and Pisgah the palace is no relic of Saladin or the caliphs depth, beautifully arched. A round temple the extreme headland. seems to be certain, for otherwise the Bedou- standing near by seems to have for a time ins would surely have preserved some tradi. been converted into a Christian church. A tion of it. Its ante-Moslem origin may be beautiful piece of workmanship is a mass of QUEEN MARY'S GHOST. inferred from the human and animal figures masonry that once served as a dam, and as

A STORY IN THREE CHAPTERS. sculptured into the walls, yet it is hardly pos- the sustaining wall of an immense reservoir, sible that it has been a Christian work. The which might easily be restored, and used

MARGUERITE KENT." great historian of architecture, Fergusson, again for the fertilization of the neighbor. supposes that it belongs to the Sassapian dy. hood.

CHAPTER III. nasty of Persia and to the times of Chosroes It is scarcely ten miles from Medeba to II., which would fix its date at the beginning Heshbon, following the Roman road, but of the seventh century of our era. But, every traveler to whom the localities, in my eyes nearer home, to the fountain, though the wealth of this king was enormous,

which the scenes of Holy Scripture are that plays from out the imperial crown atop and though his empire extended for a short placed, are dear, turns to the west about in a spray down over the figures of Rizzio, time to the Hellespont and the Nile, it is in- midway the distance, climbs the Jebel Mus- and Mary, and Elizabeth ; and, as the sun credible that he should have taken pleasure | lubeiyeh, and pushes to the north until he sinks bebind the Canongate, I watch the wain possessing so magnificent a hunting-box, reaches Mounts Nebo and Pisgah, from the ter fret over their faces. as it is proposed to call it, in an utterly desert summit of which Moses before dying sur- The window at which I stand is embedded, region. It is true that there is nothing de veyed the promised land.

as it were, between the turrets projected on cidedly Jewish, Greek, Roman, or Saracenic, It is not easy to identify a hill in a whole either hand, in a square recess that is paneither in the plan or in the details of the ridge of mountains as the scene of an event eled quite apart from the main chamber, building, but it is equally uncertain that its of more than three thousand years ago, and which, as I turn to it now, nervous with reorigin is Persian or Arabian.

especially when there are neither ruins nor strained thought, I see clouded with a dry Dr. Tristram was also so successful as to written monuments to guide in the choice. | fog of shade, which blows from every corner, explore the castle where John the Baptist The identification of Mount Pisgah has ac- with almost my thought, to the window I have was imprisoned and beheaded, and which be-cordingly been a matter of much dispute left. came so famous by its desperate resistance in among Biblical orientalists. This much Fortunately, this gloom, born so sud. the Jewish war against Titus and the Ro- alone is certain, that the elevation which wit-denly, does not dye deeper all at once, but mans. In spite of its historical interest, his nessed the death of Moses must have been continues gray and vivacious, as these northparty were the first Western travelers since one of the highest points of the hill-land of ern twilights always do, for a long while yet. the Roman times who ever visited it. The Northwestern Moab. The other requirements As I pace to and fro, I am awed from out situation of Machærus, lying out of the track of the site, in order to establish a complete my feverish thoughts by the air of desolation from north to south, was well known to all harmony with the Scriptural narrative, are that every thing about me asserts. Involun. the neighboring tribes, and even its dame at such as may easily exist with a large number tarily I look behind me to see whether I am present is the exact Arabic translation of mountains.

leaving tracks in the dust on the floor, and khaur. The ruins occupy a ground of un- All the hills that have been proposed for in so doing run against the four-posted bed dulating hillocks, and cover in solid mass the honor of being called Mount Pisgah pos- which stands jutting far out from the wall, a more than a square mile of ground. Among sess most of the features demanded by the square of dry-rot, which cries out upon me them is a small temple, which plainly shows sacred text. It is apt to be the case that the at the contact in rickety creaks and cracks of that, up to a period not far removed from its scholar who writes the longest argument in denunciation that are heart-breaking enough final destruction, there must bave been in favor of his own particular identification, car- for a real voice. Vachærus a large population who, in the ries the palm, yet no greater certainty and The hangings of crimson damask are midst of fanatic Jews, were at liberty to precision are really attained. Thus, the moth-eaten and decayed; the silken fringes practise the rites of the sun-god worship. | American Palestine Exploration Society is and tassels, mouldy-green in color, stretch Exactly one hundred yards in diameter stands now glorying over its own success in the from post to post, edging the canopy that the circular citadel on the summit of a long, identification of Mount Pisgah, for it has Mary Stuart pillowed her uneasy head under flat ridge of hills. The only remains of it published not less than sixty thousand words so many, many years ago. still clearly definable were two dungeons, one to prove the correctness of the choice, but in I picture her lying there, as fair and young of which must have been the prison-house of a little while will appear a treatise of one as Cecile, just as she came fresh from the beJohn the Baptist. hundred thousand words favoring another

loved shores of France, to rule the savages Riding to the north until they reached the hill, which will be looked upon as the final of this wild, rebellious country. I forget her Wady Zerka Maïn, and following its course authority until another appears. There is a sins-I forget every thing but her beauty notil they came upon the Roman road, they great deal of truth in the remark recently and her misfortunes, and reach up to gather, met, a short distance farther north, the ruins made by an eminent American scholar and in memory of her, a bit of the sad old fringe. of Yedeba. There is no doubt that this city critic: “One urges the identity of a hill be- I hold it, as I walk to and fro, reverently enjoyed, during the Roman period, a high cause its name is written without an accent, in my hand; and I touch, just where she state of prosperity, and its mention in the and another because it is written with an ac- may have touched, the faded tapestry hangantique poem of the Book of Numbers indi. cent."

ing on the walls. I am becoming so poscates that it was one of the most ancient It was Mount Pisgah from the summit of sessed with thought of her that, as I look up cities of Moab. Conspicuous objects from which Moses, shortly before his death, sur- at her picture, the sweet, plaintive face made afar are two columns standing erect, one veyed the land on the other side of the Jor- by God to snare the souls of men, I have to Ionian and the other Corinthian, about eigh- dan to the foot of Hermon, the mountainous think hard to prevent myself from bending teen feet high, with a large block of stone region to the north, and to the south as far the knee. laid across. These columns are as fruitful as Zoar, the city of palms on the southeastern Over my head, the ceiling is divided in diamond and hexagonal panels, as frames to tional incentive to reach the other side is re- I shut my eyes against it, it is so real the coats of arms and initials of royalty, and quired.

and pleading, and I am so helpless to save. the cobwebs are in each notch, like phantom Now I am back again in the perpendicular, I cannot get away from her though, for I sponges, with a spider hiding in every pore. and walking away to the window to look at hear the rustle of her silken dress, the

I stand in front of the fireplace to look up my watch, and count how many hours are clinking of golden chains coming nearer and at Elizabeth's wooden face, set in her halter left me to stay here.

nearer-I hear her sweet voice singing her of ruff, as antagonistically as though she were It is eight o'clock, and the stars are be- lament for France-I feel the light, awakenmy own picked and chosen enemy. I regret ginning to spot out from their field of blue ing touch of her warm, sost fingers upon my the pistol left lying in my trunk at the hotel, in a thick blossoming as of dandelions. face! thinking how agreeably I might make the The guide will be here at five o'clock with When I open my eyes again, it is almost time fly by peppering away at the target of the keys, and there are nine hours yet to be with a spring out from my chair. her nose.

made the best of in this place of rust, and There is certainly the music of a dress This serves to remind me of Dundas's blight, and mildew.

sweeping close by--there is surely a light last request, and, as I unscrew the top of his As I lean up against the window-sash I changing the wbole complexion of the room flask, I am reminded again that on the table am a little stirred by hearing a noise not from ebony to a ghastly green, and in it I see the game-pie awaits my attack, and that it made by myself, a tick-tick that sounds at a wraith of Mary Stuart, standing almost would be perhaps as well not to defer opera- once foreboding and unearthly, and when I within reach of my hand. tions.

think again I know that I am listening for My heart leaps fairly into my mouth, and I am more cadaverous at the end


the first time to the “ death-watch"_which I swallow hard in the next breath to get it feast than I was at its beginning, for I have is said so surely to foretell misfortune. back again into its proper place. I am trem. had a vision wedded to every mouthful-of It is in the wainscoting near my feet, and bling as if just awakening from a nightCecile eating hers elsewhere than at my side, I reach down with my hand to find in the mare, and too numb with astonishment to and start up from my seat insane with a de- dark, if I may, the haunt of the beetle. As I move hand or foot. It is only left me to sire to have it out with some man of my do so, feeling squeamish and ashamed of my. stare breathlessly at the marvel of the size.

self, only the flapping of a raven's wing scene! Then I am startling again awake the ghost- against the window, or the hooting of an owl In the ghastly green glare she is moving ly footsteps that ecbo mine so from the audi. about the turrets, could fitly play an accom- slowly about, singing a plaint wbich is ence-chamber yonder, and the little turret. paniment to my mood.

heart-breaking, and the sweep of her silken room where Rizzio ate his last supper.

I am glad to raise my head again to see train across the floor is as a wail following In the dim light I see the figured hang- the moon risen behind the palace, silvering after. There is a black coif upon her head, ings of silk, blotched with mildew and eaten the house-tops; and below, how tlie shadow pointed about her pallid, frozen face like the in ghastly holes, stringing down from the of the palace sprawls grotesquely across the rim of a heart, a white veil hanging down beskeleton frames on the walls; and upon the square.

hind a stiff ruff about her neck. I see her as mantel-piece, as I enter, I find the name “Ma- It is not long before I find my eyes she sings, fingering with deathly fingers, bead ry Stuart" written in the dust lying an inch opening and shutting drowsily, while a pe- by bead, the rosary upon her breast. thick upon it.

culiar torpor begins all at once to penetrate I hear a voice now from the outer cham. I begin to wonder, in the midst of the de- and take possession of every bone in my ber-and at its sound she stops in ber walk, cay and desolation, if Cecile's finger was the body.

to raise her hands with a gesture of mingled one which traced it there, and at the thought I cast about in my mind for a memory weariness and passion, to lay them closely I begin tenderly to widen out the limits of in this room of any thing to sit or lie upon. over her ears. each letter by writing it over again with my The 5ed yonder is guiltless either of mat- It is a stern, hollow voice, saying: “Ah,

When I stop in my ramble, the entire tress or pillow, and the chairs that I remem- fair ladies, how pleasant were this life of world of the old palace seems to catch its ber standing about, covered with embroidery yours if it should ever abide, and then in breath for fear of making the least sign of wrought by the fair fingers of Mary and her the end we might pass to heaven with this life, and the intense silence stands as if on maids-of-honor, are altogether too prim and

But fie on that knave Death, that tiptoe, awaiting another break which comes stately for a lounge.

will come whether ye will or not! and when whenever I move an uneasy foot, or touch, Cecile's throne is there, the cavernous he hath laid on the arrest, then foul worms in passing, any of the quaint old furniture. arm-chair, and perhaps she has left it warm will be busy with this flesh, be it never so

Here, in the turret, I hear a sound go behind her. At the thought I am groping fair and tender; and the silly soul, I fear, wailing up, like the wind crying in a rigging away from the recess to the spot where I shall be so feeble, that it can carry with it with pain, and I know that it is a sudden know it must be.

neither gold, garnishing pearl, nor precious swing of the breeze about the stern, gray In the dark I stumble up against its stones.” towers.

back, and then, feeling with my hands for its “ Will I never be rid of him?" I hear the I seek, just outside the turret-room door, seat, I tumble sleepily upon it.

queen cry, and then with it mocking laughthe one half-hidden by tapestry, through the As I do so, I think of Rip Van Winkle's ter as of many voices in the cabinet without. bars of which Cecile crept so mischievously encounter with mischievous spirits with “Good Knox," comes another shrill voice that day.

just such peaked gray caps upon their heads -“fare you well; and it were better with There is a clang of echoes as I walk to it as these turrets wear, and I wonder if, like you if your trumpet-blasts against the monand touch tenderly the cold iron that has him, the drink that I have taken is account- strous regimen of women were blown only pressed so closely her dear flesh. I press my able for the strange lethargy which is crawl. in the pulpit. So you keep far from her maface against them, and the heat of my lips is ing stealthily over me through every vein. jesty's hearing." killed at once. Through the rusty rounds I Are these rooms really haunted by the Then there is more derisive laughter, and see dimly the narrow stone steps go winding ghosts of Mary Stuart and her courtiers, and, anotber train comes rustling across the floor, down. The air, cool with the rush, up the in order that they may enjoy to-night's frolic and a tall, spare woman comforts Mary, who draft of the spiral, beats upon my cheek like unmolested, are they binding me over in this is wringing her hands and sobbing. a ghost's breath trying to blow me cold. way to keep the peace ?

“My subjects, it would appear, must obey All at once I am seized with a desire to I believe that I hunt for the flask and him, not me. I must be subject to them, not go everywhere that she has been, and am find it. And the draught brings out, like a they to me." stooping to put my leg through, and trying bright enamel upon the gloom, not Cecile's “Madame, do not permit this man to to crowd between the bars, which are not face exactly, but one that has a look of her knock so hastily upon your heart as to bring placed here-as below-stairs—so very close —from the frame that I saw in the daylight tears." together.

hanging on yonder wall-pallid and sweet, “Never was prince handled as I am. I I succeed well enough to know that, in and bruised with feeling as a flower bent by vow to God I shall be once avenged." order to be entirely successful, only an addi- a storm.

“That is truly so, but your majesty must



To my

your soul.


am, yet his face looks also so dead in this " Let yon man come forth. He has been

not allow this man of heretical texts to fret her, I see her shrink away from his touch, shoulder at Ruthven's steel cap.

There are swords in plenty to holding up both hands as though she would dying hour I shall carry the scars of that quit you of him, and Erskine of Dun has one push him off.

contact on my knuckles. at his side as he takes him now to the door. Before he may answer, the shade of the “Confound you for a set of unmannerly If I bore it so near his body he should be arras gives birth to another form, this time clad hounds !” I cry, as they hustle past me to spitted upon it ere he traveled half-way to St. in complete armor; and when the queen raises disappear through the doorway opening into Giles."

her head from its repelling droop away from the presence-chamber, and with them, at tbe Their voices are scarcely above a whisper, her husband, she looks up into the ghastly sound of my voice, the green glare also goes and the spectral light is upon their faces, visage of the apparition.

out, and I am left standing there in the dark, enameling each feature with fearful effect. His back is turned upon me, so I cannot feeling about with my hands to grasp at the

Through the window in the recess behind see his face, but the visor of his cap is raised, silken skirts slipping past me in flight. The them I see the moon sinking in the sky, look disclosing it to Mary, and at its sight the ends of my fingers are cheated just as they ing strangely dead and white, in contrast with queen springs to her feet, crying out upon close. I tread upon broken dishes, I smell this green radiance.

the man seated at her side the one word the greasy odor of candles suddenly quenched, Now the arras dropped over the door lead" Judas!”

I am exactly on the spot where I saw her ing into the turret-room is drawn aside by an "What dare you here, my Lord Ruth- standing last, and searching in vain with my unseen hand, and a man steps out to stand ven?" She turns to face the man upon the aside, holding his cap so low in his hand that threshold. “I command you quit my sight." " Cecile !” I cry, passionately. its white feather sweeps the floor as Mary He does not follow even with his eyes the Now that the spectral light is put out, I passes in.

line indicated by the point of her imperious- see over my shoulder how the moon shines in In his other hand I see suspended a lute, ly extended finger, but remains standing upon the bedchamber floor in a purch as of , grimly and motionless before her.

white velvet laid upon the soft, toick gloom,

and I know that, if my bird is here, she may weird atmosphere that I feel as though I here over- long," comes in a hollow, rever- not fly unseen. would not touch him for the world,

berating voice, while he points at Rizzio be. I search with my feet slipping among the Inside the turret-room is a table spread, hind and sheltered by the queen's body. dishes crashed upon the floor about the overand, as Mary seats herself silently upon the “What has he done? He is here by my thrown table, grope around the walls with sofa at one side, and the candle-lights fight will.” She turns, with her proud air broken, my fingers catching in the rags of old silk, to conquer the spectral glare which fills every to Darnley. “Why do you this thing ?” and just as I am about to complete my cir. nook and cranny, there is the sound of foot- “ 'Tis not I,” Darnley half stutters, half cuit the corner before me is forsaken by a steps approaching from the audience-chamber laughs ; “it is nothing."

white form tiptoeing to the avor. without, and a dame, attired in brocade and “Madame," interrupts Ruthven,, in the The legs of the fallen tabre are stretching feathers, steps loftily across the room, fol- same terrible voice, “this villain David has out between us, and she has the start of me lowed by two courtiers, into the supping- offended us. He has caused your majesty to by a few steps. closet.

banish a great part of the nobility, that he “ Cecile," I call to her, “ do not runI am fully persuaded of being wide awake might be made a lord. He has been the de- speak to me!” now, for, as they passed, my hand hanging stroyer of the commonwealth, and must learn But she is gone, and her white veil floats down was brushed slightly against by the his duty better.—Take the queen, your wife, over the mooalight on the rioor like a cloud. Felvet of her train. Really interested to see to you,” he adds, as Mary, trembling violent- I reach to grasp it, and my fingers meet towhat is going to happen next, I do not stir. ly, throws herself still more in his way. gether as in real vapor.

I see them drink from the cups, and their Rizzio is kneeling upon the floor behind, “I can run faster than you, you foolish lips move stifly in conversation, but I cannot and clinging in affright to her dress.

child;" for I have reached before her the hear a word they utter. Only shrill laughter “Lay no hands on me," cries Ruthven, door leading into the presence-chamber, and, sometimes murders the silence, and is echoed unsheathing his dagger, as the gentlemen in thus heading her off, lean my back up against in a smothered way from another crew in the waiting hasten now to fall upon him. “I will it. outer chamber.

not be handled." And then there is a tramp Presently the queen, waited upon by the of more feet, a rush of armed forms crowd- echoes as of persons moving about below, to courtiers standing at her back, leans ing to back him, until the little room bristles and I am aware that they may return for her across the table to speak to the man who drew with the gleaming points of swords and dag- at any moment. The thought startles me the arras and stepped aside as she entered. gers.

into a rapid study of the room. Just as I “Give us, David,” I hear her say in a “No harm is intended to you, madame; decide to make a rush for the corner opposite hoarse whisper, a madrigal of swift repeats but only to that villain.”

I bear the click of something striking against and reports, that I may live out of the fancies They are reaching over her shoulder to irou. I am across the room in a breath, and which this night puts upon me."

get at Rizzio, crouched upon the train of her reaching through the bars with both hands. At this Rizzio raises the lute lying at dress,

They just escape touching her, and that is his side, and, drawing his fingers across its “Justice! Save my life, madame-save all. Then there is the cautious rustling of strings, I hear begun the refrain of a song

silk against the narrow limits of the stairs, which is quaint with old-time meaning, and “Do not hurt him !"-the queen stretches and the air blown past her is scented with a 60 tenderly given that the queen bows her out her arms entreatingly. “If he has done faint sweetness of violet, and I know well that head upon the edge of the table to listen. wrong, he shall answer to justice.”

it is she. As he plays and sings in a low, breathless But she cannot stay them. The lawless “ Child, do not !” I cry, earnestly; "you way, there is no other sound. But when he crew are forgetting her sex and royalty, and will surely fall." drops the lute and reaches forward to accept a brutal borderer has pushed his pistol But she does not listen. The rustling a cup of wine from the queen's own hand, all against her bosom.

and the scent of violet grow fainter, and die at once a tall, slim figure stalks out from the “Give way!” he cries, fiercely; and I can loiteringly. gloom of the arras to stand upon the thresh- stand it no longer.

For a moment I struggle and crowd, but old of the closet.

The queen's voice has been altogether too I have found the incentive wbich I lacked As he appears, each occupant of the room much like Cecile's, and my brain is all awhirl hours ago to reach the other side, and I fight starts with astonishment, and the gentlemen with excitement. Just as I hear the table hard inch by inch. waiting upon the queen step aside that he topple over with the crash of dishes, and out The thought of catching her alone on may enter and seat himself upon the sofa. from the closet they come dragging almost these dark stairs is enough. Gasping for

“What pleasure have you here, Darnley ? " by his hair the struggling wretch, I am in breath, at last I whisper : asks the queen, hoarsely; then, as he moves their midst, and, true to the instinct of my Cecile, I am afraid of the dark; wait for still nearer and essays putting his arm about day, hitting hard and straight out from the

** I am not answered save by a few dull


my life!”

[ocr errors]

í me!”

« הקודםהמשך »