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ADVENTURES IN SOUTH AMERICA.
The first adventure, in which I was so that he became essentially romantic concerned, took place very shortly after in much of his feelings; he loved an I joined the Dolphin, a beautiful sloop adventure for its excitement and for the of twelve guns, and arose out of a love novelty that was often connected with affair of one of our officers. We were it ; as to its danger, he never thought lying off the small town of Manchos, of that, unless as being more likely to where we had been ordered by the heighten the excitement. He was naChiefs of the Revolution to wait for turally mild and gentle, but when roused further orders, and, as I had only just by insult or by danger he was fierce as it joined the service, I was glad of the a young panther, and rushed forwards opportunity of creating an intimacy reckless of consequences. He was a with my future companions during the kind and warm-hearted fellow, and was idle time and ample leisure we enjoyed a universal favorite among both the 21 on that station. Among them was a officers and crew of the Dolphin, at the * very young man, who, if one might time of my joining them. judge from first appearances, was the I have already said we were lying of 1:1 last person I would have expected to Manchos. That town was a small but meet among such bold and daring com- convenient place, and possessed all the x panions as those with whom he had as usual characteristics of those towns sociated himself. This person was which were built by the Spaniards in on George Falkland-he was below the their American possessions ; it had no middle stature, and was extremely thing, however, that could give it any slight in his person, with a face re- peculiar charm in the eyes of our party, ' sia markably feminine, both in the form who looked to no interest in it except and the expression; it was oval, with a as far as it was ancillary to our amusesmall mouth and nose, light blue eyes, ment or convenience. It had once and a complexion approaching that of possessed a pretty extensive trade, a female more nearly than I have ever and many of the first mercantile seen in any other man; but what gave houses in Spain had accredited agents the great peculiarity to his face was, resident in it, but it lost all these adhis having neither beard nor whisker, vantages during the troubles of the and as all our party had very large revolution, which have certainly estabwhiskers and mustachoes, his deficiency lished the independence of the States, was the more remarkable ; he used but have at the same time destroyed often laugh at his own appearance when the trade and desolated the fortunes of in contrasting it with that of others, and the wealthiest inhabitants, and as they he would then divide his hair, which left some of the towns in a state very was a very light brown, in the middle little removed from utter desolation, of his forehead so as to make the con- the little town of Manchos was not trast greater by giving the most femi- the least afflicted among the sufferers
. nine appearance possible to his face. Close to this town there was a place Notwithstanding this peculiarity, the intimately connected with the advenfirst impressions which he created on ture I am about to relate. It was a the minds of strangers were always of broad road of about a mile in length, the most favorable kind, especially and perfectly straight; it had a double among females, for whom he seemed
row of the most magnificent trees on to possess some irresistible charm: his each side, and they threw a deep and manners were generally mild and gen- cooling shade from their rich luxuriant tle, and his mind seemed to have been foliage, so remarkable in this climate. moulded by his favourite studies,
which This spot was once the place—the faextended to every specics of romance, vourite place of promenade. It was so
shady and cool, in the palmy days of sojourn there. They had taken it but Spanish power and Spanish wealth ; a short time before, and it was not but since the outbreak of the revolu- without reason that many of the good tion it was very little frequented, in- people of Manchos expressed to us a deed when we were there, it was al- wish that the original Spanish propriemost overgrown with grass. Parallel tors were still its inhabitants instead of to this shady road was the river : it its present possessors. flowed within low and wooded banks. There was one circumstance conAt a distance of some hundred yards nected with these persons and the vilfrom the road, between them, there la they occupied, which partook somestood—or rather once stood, a number what of the mysterious in the eyes of of small, and what, in more tranquil the populace—it was very generally times were comfortable villas ; some of believed, that there was a young lady them had been completely levelled to immured within its walls, or, at least, the ground, the victims of popular under a very strict surveillance ; such a fury against their possessors ; others belief led to the imagining and narrawere totally consumed by fire, and a ting many strange stories respecting few still remained, in a very deserted this person, who was said to be beautiand neglected state. Of this latter ful as well as young. I shall not menkind was
one still standing at the tion the various things that were cirfarthest end of this shady road ; it was culated respecting her, and shall only completely shut out from public view, say, that it was very generally supposed as its grounds were surrounded by a that she was the only child of a Spavery high and strong fence, which ex- nish merchant, of great wealth, who tended to the river, so that no part of was murdered in a distant part of the the villa or its grounds were visible state, in the early stages of the revoluexcept from the river side. It had ori- tion, and rumour went so far as to add, ginally been built by a wealthy Spanish that old Joseph De Castro and his son merchant, who perished with the inte- were at least cognizant of the murder, rests of his country in those parts, and and that this young lady, who was to when we were at Manchos, it was oc- possess all her father's wealth, was carcupied, though kept in a most neglected ried off by this man, with the intention state, by a very different person. This of marrying her to his son, as soon as person was named Joseph De Castro. the troubles of the country should He was much above the middle age,
Such was the story very geneand of an active habit and vigorous rally credited, and it naturally excited constitution, he was a short and stout a very deep and lively interest, among man, evidently of mixed blood-be- the populace, for her, and as deep a tween the Spaniard and Negro, and hatred for her master , I need scarcely quite different from the native Indian; say, that we, the crew of the Dolphin he was a quiet and intelligent person, felt a little anxious to unravel the mysand well acquainted with the world, tery of this lady, who, it appeared, had but there was an expression of the never been seen except by some wodeepest intrigue and subtlety about men of the place, who were occasionhim that was very repulsive, so that it ally employed about the villa, and was impossible to like him. Indeed their description of her heightened our although he was known to have been curiosity in no slight degree ; but we a most active and energetic revolution were always restrained by Seyton from ist, and had shewn the most desperate forming any decided plan for effecting courage on some occasions, he yet was our purpose, as he had communications looked upon with doubt and suspicion of a public nature, and of much imby the inhabitants of Manchos, so that portance with Joseph De Castro, notwithstanding his wealth, which he which might be interrupted by any freely distributed in the place, he was such step on our part—the truth was, very generally unpopular. He was this individual was of more importance usually accompanied by a young man than the good people of Manchos whose likeness to him at once bespoke imagined, he was one of the most achim to be his son, and whose filthy tive, as well as influential, of the secret profligacy rendered him detested in the agents of the revolution, his great vicinity. Such was the possessor of wealth and deep subtlety gave him the the little villa at the period of our means of effecting most important VOL. I.
measures, in such a way, that the Au- light ; I gladly encouraged him in this thor of them was never known except intention, and we soon fell into conto a few who were as deeply involved versation on the matter which induced in them as himself. His residence at Seyton to send him ashore at so late an Manchos, though it appeared to the hour the previous evening; on this people of that place to be for the sake point however he was as ignorant as of mercantile pursuits, was caused by myself
, he had not spoken or heard a the necessity that existed for some such word on the subject from any one, " and active and cautious agent, to observe in truth,” he added gaily, “I was much all movements in that district, and es more pleasantly employed”—the nature pecially to hold communication with of that more agreeable employment he our vessels, which were usually kept was not long in communicating to me. about these coasts, unless when sent When Seyton was giving to him his on some secret expedition : these com- instructions, he desired him to go direct munications were at one period very to the villa of old Joseph De Castro, frequent, and always passed between and added that it was very possible be Seyton, who commanded the Dolphin, might meet some important persons and old Joseph De Castro, and were there, his immediate business, however, kept profoundly secret ; so much so was to deliver letters to old Joseph and that the inhabitants of the place were to wait for an answer—in the expectanot aware of our being in communica- tion of something novel, and, considertion, and even we ourselves did not ing the stories about the villa and its know the nature of the correspondence, inhabitants, perhaps something romanat least I never knew the nature of tic too. He started in high spirits, and, them, although I had as much oppor- having gone up the river, landed not tunity of discovering them as any other very many yards from the house, he of our ship's company, for I was often was immediately challenged by two the actual bearer of the letters that armed men, and, on his stating lus bupassed between these two persons, who siness, was conducted into the house. were equally remarkable in their
way, Having passed through the ball he was one for the subtlety by which he ob- led through a large room into a smalltained information, and the other for er one that opened into it, this inner the bold and daring manner in which apartment was handsomely furnishhe executed all his plans.
ed and well lighted, appearing as if It was on an occasion of this kind some persons had only that moment rethat one of our party first obtained ad tired from it, here his conductors, taking mission into the villa, and so led to the his letters for Joseph de Castro, left unravelling the mystery:— The crew him alone.—Being now alone, he ocwere carousing one evening on board cupied himself for a short time in lookthe Dolphin, when a boat came along ing out, to use his own phrase, to see side and delivered letters for Seyton, how the land lay, and, having suffihe, on hastily looking over them, order- ciently reconnoitred the apartment, ed George Falkland to be in readiness proceeded to walk to and fro, in the to go ashore immediately, at the same fashion of the quarter deck; his time calling him aside and whispering thoughts were as usual, occupied in some something privately—in a short time fanciful imagining, and he longed for Falkland, who had left us to prepare something to occur that would lead to for his mission, returned in high spirits, the unravelling of the mystery which and dressed in the manner, which he hung about the villa in the minds of the was in the habit of saying, shewed him good people of Manchos. He was not off to the most advantage, and he soon long parading the apartment in this after went ashore-he did not return manner, when he observed that a small till shortly before daybreak, having been door at one end of it was partially open, at least eight hours away, and, as it was and that there was light in the inner my watch, I was on deck at the time of room to which it led; he thought it his coming on board. He seemed in strange that as he had particularly ob great spirits, and thinking it was too served this door to have been closely near day to retire to his birth, he pro- shut on his first examination of the posed remaining on deck and keeping apartment, it should now be so evidentthe watch with me, as a pleasant mode ly open, but he still continued his walk for both of us ta svend zur time till day as before, till he heard some one stir
ring at the door, so he suddenly turned lively and playful sallies had the effect round and was not a little surprised at of rousing him, so that he flung aside seeing a female looking attentively at all the pensive and sombre thoughts he him, she instantly withdrew on per was so fond of indulging, and joined in ceiving she was observed, and, to the the conversation with all the spirit and disappointment of Falkland the door zest that might be expected from him, was again closed-he was unable to see when placed thus unexpectedly alone whether the apparition, which appeared with this fascinating creature—she seema and vanished so quickly, was aged or ed to be about eighteen years of age, young, and so was left to imagine whe- of a remarkably slender form and low ther or not she was the beautiful young in stature; she was perfect in her figure Spanish prisoner of whom he had heard and light as a zephyr ; the only portion so much.-— Falkland, however, was not of her that partook strongly of her the man likely to remain long in sus. Spanish original was her face, which pense on such a subject, he soon re- had the dark and sparkling eyes, so solved on ascertaining the matter, and full of sentiment and so full of fire, so stepped boldly to the door, opened with the long and shadowy lashes that it and walked into the inner apartment, give so soft and gentle an expression to from which the apparition had presented the face; she had all the colour and form itself-in an instant he found himself of feature which so marks the ladies looking at one of the most beautiful of Spain; her hair, which was a pergirls he had ever seen, even the much fect black, was parted in the middle of talked of heroine of the villa and its her forehead and brought behind the mysteries ; he hesitated, but it was only ears, falling down on the neck before for a moment, and as he was about to in full and luxuriant curls, that, as they offer some respectful apology, for he changed with every motion of her head, was somewhat ashamed of his intrusion, gave every moment some new variety she laughed full in his face, and darting to her appearance. It was not to be quickly by him, seated herself on a wondered at that a young fellow, like snall lounger at the farthest end of the Falkland, full of romance and advenapartment; her manner of doing this ture, should be caught by the charms was full of archness and playful co- of this young beauty, about whom there quetry, and Falkland, having caught had hung so much of mystery, espeher dark laughing eyes as she passed cially when she had treated him with him, laugbed in return, and in the im- such evident frankness and shewed in pulse of the moment followed her. In that way, which persons like her so well an instant he was seated at her side understand, that she was not insensible he was not the person likely to find any to either his attractions or his attendifficulty in commencing a conversation tions; indeed a conversation commenced under such circumstances, and he asked under such circumstances and continuher, laughingly, how she came to be ed for some hours, without any intruwatching him, as he had detected her, sion on their loneliness, was not likely she told him at once and with evident to conclude without two such young frankness that it was merely her girlish persons feeling some interest in each curiosity, adding that she had heard so other, and wishing that they could meet much of the Dolphin, and her gallant again ; such wishes soon formed gentle crew, their daring and their adventures, words and still gentler looks to express that she was long anxious to meet them, them, and Falkland, who thought and, she continued with a playfulness of that notwithstanding all her playfulness manner that was irresistible, hoped that and girlish merryment, she would at she might be forgiven for looking at the times shewadeep pensiveness of thought only one of them that she had the op- and feeling, the charm he prized beyond portunity of seeing ; complimentary as all others, was as perfectly enamoured this reply was, it naturally led to a very of her as he could well be at a first lively conversation that proved very meeting from some expressions which interesting, perhaps too much so, to had fallen from her, he suspected she both parties, and throughout it, the young was not happy, notwithstanding all the and animated beauty continued to shew liveliness she displayed. It seemed to the greatest archness imaginable, it him as if her residence with Joseph de seemed to Falkland to be the natural Castro was far from being one of her bursts of her disposition, and her many own choosing, and that she was very
far from satisfied with the immured life was precisely opposite to the contents she was leading in that retired and soli- of old Joseph De Castro's despatches tary villa. She did not go so far as to All this was conveyed immediately to say anything that would quite justify Seyton, who began to entertain strong all the stories that had been circulated, suspicions of the fidelity of this old but still she spoke as if she was under agent, with whom the chiefs of the some restraint, and expressed herself revolution had desired him to comat times in a way that seemed mysteri- municate. But if this acquaintance ous to him : she seemed often on the was of importance to us in general, it point of speaking more fully, but would proved still more so to Falkland, who ihen instantly check herself, so he re- soon found means of continually meet solved to unravel it all at once ; pre- ing this fascinating girl, and the effect suming on the frankness and indeed the of such frequent meetings was, naturally, confiding manner in which she had been the uniting them by the gentlest feel speaking to him, he told her the im- ings. His mind was of such an imagipressions that were upon his mind and native nature, that his thoughts were asked her to explain some things she always dwelling on some fanciful vision, had said in allusion to her residence in and he now found in her one just suited that place : his enquiry was made in a to occupy the place in his feelings most respectful way and in the kindest which ideal beings had hitherto posao tone and gentlest manner, and nothing sessed. He permitted himself to dream, 21
, could be more insinuating and kind and dream on, of her; and so, by de a and gentle, than his manner on any oc- grees, to mingle her in every thought casion in which his feelings took part ; that concerned himself. The change it she seemed for a moment much affect- which this attachment wrought in his ed by the deep interest which his man- manner, was observed by us all; for, 13 ner seemed to indicate he felt for her ; instead of mingling with us, he seemed she looked him straight and earnestly rather to avoid our society; and while in the face for an instant, and then turn- the laugh and the revelry of the night to ed from him : there was a short pause, went on, he, who once delighted and and before she could reply, the footsteps, sparkled in them, would retire, and of old Joseph were heard in the adjoin- walk the quarter-deck, wrapped up in ing room and he entered the apartment his own reflections. He now seldom where they were sitting.–Falkland joined our excursions, and seemed to cursed in his heart the author of this take no pleasure in our usual amuseintrusion, and, observing that he seemed ments. There was witchery in the surprised and displeased at finding the spell she threw around him. This was young people together, rose to meet particularly observable after one ere him with a look of haughty and fierce, ning, which seemed to have bound defiance, this did not pass unobserved him more effectually than ever. Someby old Joseph, who immediately mo. thing passed between them—some full tioned with his hand to the girl to declaration of her history, or her feelwithdraw, and then coolly placed his ings, or some mutual pledging of affecletters in the hands of Falkland, who tions, which influenced him more than knew his duty too well not to accept all that had previously passed. From them in silence, they were directed to that time he became wholly changed in Seyton, so he retired to his boat and his manner, and grew thoughtful and was soon afterwards on board.
abstracted. We thought, if possible, Such were the circumstances that that, if we were ordered from that stacommenced the acquaintance of the tion, so that he could meet her no romantic Falkland with the beautiful more, the change of scene, and the Isabel D’Altara, and it had perhaps been lapse of time, might, perhaps, wean him happy for them both that it had pro- ' from the remembrance of her ; but
, ceeded no farther ; but, unfortunately, unhappily for him, we were stationed there were a few other messages of the there for some time longer, and he nsed same kind that brought him to the villa to go ashore every evening after sanagain, and enabled him to meet her set, and run in a small canoe up the too often. This acquaintance was of river to where it flowed by the villa. much value to us, and was, on that ac- There she used to meet him in secret
. count, encouraged, for she often com These continued meetings, and the long municated to him information which walks, and many conversations
, in the