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tod the broad blue pennant streaming at the main, there were few objects in all that gay and animated bay on which the eye could rest with greater pleasure, than on that noble vessel. The bustle consequent upon coming to anchor was, among our active and well disciplined crew, but of brief duration. In a very few minutes, every yard was squared with the nicest precision; every rope hauled taught and laid down in a handsome Flemish coil upon the deck, and the vast symmetrical bulk, with nothing to indicate its recent buffetings from the storm, lay floating as quietly on the bright surface, as if it were part of a mimic scene, the creation of some painter's pencil.
Though I had been on duty ever since the previous midnight, yet I felt no disposition to go below; but for more than an hour after the boatswain had piped down, I remained on deck gazing with ungated eyes, on the various and attractive novelties around me. A part of the fascination of the scene was doubtless owing to that feeling of young romance, which invests every scene with the colours of the imagination; and a part, to its contrast with the dull monotony of the prospect to which I had lately been confined, till my heart fluttered like a caged bird, to be once more among the green trees and the rustling grass—to see fields covered with golden grain, and swelling away in their fine undulations—to scent the pleasant odour of the meadows, and be free to range at will through those leafy forests which, I began to think, were ill exchanged for the narrow and heaving deck of a forty-four. Thoughts of this kind mingled with my musings as I leaned over the tafferel, with my eyes bent on the verdant hills and slopes of Spain: and so absorbed was I in contemplation, that I heard not my name pronounced, till it was repeated a second or third time by the officer of the deck.
"Mr Transom!" cried he, in a quick and impatient voice, "are you deaf or asleep, sir? Here, jump into the first cutter alongside! Would you keep the commodore waiting all day for you, sir?"
I felt my cheek redden at this speech of the lieutenant—one of those popinjays who, dressed in a little brief authority, think to show their own consequence by playing off impertinent airs upon those of inferior station. I had seen enough of naval service, however, to know that no good comes of replying to the insolence of a superior; so, suppressing the answer that rose to my lips, I sprang down the side into the boat, in the stern-sheets of which my commander, who had preceded me, was already seated."Shove off, sir," said he.
"Let fall! give way!" cried I to the men, who sprang to their oars with alacrity, making the boat skim through the water lightly and fleetly as a swallow through the air. In less than five minutes, we were floating alongside the stone quay at the Water-port—as the principal and strongly fortified entrance to the garrison from the bay is called.
"You will wait here for me," said the commodore, as he stepped out of the boat; "and should I not return before the gate is closed, pull round to the Ragged-staff" (the name of the other landingplace), "and wait there."
"Ay, ay, sir," said I, though not very well pleased at the prospect of a long and tedious piece of service, fatigued as I already was with my vigil of the previous night, and the active duties of the day. The old commodore in the meanwhile stepped quickly over the drawbridge which connects the quay with the fortress, and presently disappeared under the massive archway of the gate.
For a while the scene which presented itself at the Water-port was of a kind from which an observant mind could not fail to draw abundant amusement. The quay, beside which our boat was lying, is a small octangular wharf constructed of huge blocks of granite, strongly cemented together. It is the only place which boats, except those belonging to the garrison, or national vessels in the harbour, are permitted to approach; and though of but a few yards square in extent, is enfiladed in several directions by frowning batteries of granite, mounted with guns, which by a single discharge might shiver the whole structure to atoms. Merchant vessels lying in the bay are unloaded by means of lighters, which, with the boats of passage continually plying between the shipping and the shore, and the market boats from the adjacent coast of Spain, all crowd round this narrow quay, rendering it a place of singular business and bustle. As the sunset hour approaches, the activity and confusion increases. Crowds of people of all nations, and every variety of costume and language, jostle each other as they hurry through the gate. Theetately Greek, in his embroidered jacket, rich purple cap, and flowing capote, strides carelessly along. The Jew, with his bent head, shaven crown, and coarse though not unpicturesque gaberdine, glide with a noiseless step through the crowd, turning from side to side, as he walks, quick wary glances from underneath his downcast brows. The Moor, wrapped close in his white bernoose, stalks sullenly apart, as if he alone had no business in the bustling scene; while the noisy Spaniard by his side wages an obstreperous argument, or shouts in loud guttural sounds for his boat. French, English, and Americans, officers, merchants, and sailors, are all intermingled in the motley mass, each engaged in his own business, and each adding his part to the confused and Babel-like clamour of tongues. High on the walls, the sentinel.", with their arms glistening in the sun, are seen walking to and fro on their posts, and looking down with indifference or abstraction on tno scene of hurry and turmoil beneath them.
Among the various striking features that attracted my attention, from time to time, as I reclined in the stern-sheets of the cutter, gazing on the shifting throng before me, there was one whose appearance and manners awakened peculiar interest. He was a tall, muscular, dark-looking Spaniard, whose large frame, and strong and wellproportioned limbs were set oft' to good advantage by the national dress of the peasantry of his country. His sombrero slouched in a studied manner over his eyes, as if to conceal their fierce rolling balls, shaded a face, the dark sunburnt hue of which showed that it had not always been so carefully protected. From the crimson sash which was bound round his waist, concealing the connexion of his embroidered velvet jacket with his nether garments, a long knife depended: and this, together with a sinister expression of countenance, and an indescribable something in the general air and bearing of the man, created an impression which caused me to shrink involuntarily from him whenever he approached the boat He himself seemed to be actuated by similar feelings. On first meeting my eye, he drew his sombrero deeper over his brow, and hastily retired to another part of the quay: but every now and then I could see his dark face above a group of the intervening throng, and his keen black eyes seemed always directed towards me, till, perceiving that I noticed him, he would turn away, and mix for a while among the remoter portion of the crowd.
My eyes were endeavouring to follow this singular figure in one of his windings through the multitude, when my attention was drawn in another direction by a loud long call from a bugle, sounded within the walls, and in an instant after, repeated with a clearer and louder blast from their summit. This signal seemed to give new motion and animation to the crowd. A few hurried from the quay into the garrison, but a greater number poured from the interior upon the quay, and all appeared anxious to depart. Boat after boat was drawn up, received its burden, and darted off, while others, took their places, and were in turn soon filled by the retiring crowd. Soldiers from the garrison appeared on the quay to urge the tardy into quicker motion; mingled shouts, calls, and curses resounded on every side; and for a few minutes confusion seemed worse confounded. But in a short time the last loiterer was hurried away—the last felucca shoved off, and was seen gliding on its course, the sound of its oars almost drowned in the noisy gabble of its Andalusian crew. As soon as the quay became entirely deserted, the military returned within the walls, and a pause of silence ensued—then pealed the sunset gun from the summit of the rock—the drawbridge, by some unseen agency, was rolled slowly back, till it disappeared within the arched passage—the ponderous gates turned on their enormous hinges—and Gibraltar was closed for the night with a security which might defy the efforts of the combined world to invade it.
Thus shut out at the Water-port, I directed the boat's crew, in compliance with the orders I had received, to pull round to the Raggedstarl The wall at this place is of great height, and near its top is left a small gate, at an elevation of fifty or sixty feet above the quay which projects into the bay beneath. It is attained by a spiral staircase, erected about twenty feet from the wall, and communicating with it at the top by means of a drawbridge. This gate is little used, except for the egress of those who are permitted to leave the garrison after nightfall. On reaching the quay, I sprung ashore, and walking to a favourable position, endeavoured to amuse myself once more by contemplating the hills and distant mountains of Spain. But the charm was now fled. Night was fast stealing over the landscape, and rendering its features misty and indistinct: a change, too, had taken place in my own feelings, since, a few hours before, I had found so much pleasure in dwelling on the scene around me. I was now cold, fatigued, and hungry; my eyes had been fed with novelties until they were weary with gazing; and my mind crowded with a succession of new images, until its vigour was exhausted. I cast my eyes up to the rock, but it appeared cold and desolate in the deepening twilight, and I turned from its steep, flinty sides, and dreadful precipices, with a shudder. The waves and ripples of the bay, which the increasing wind had roughened, broke against the quay where I was standing with a sound that created achilly sensation at my heart; and even the watch-dog's bark, from on board some vessel in the bay, gave me no pleasure as it was borne faintly to my ear by the eastern breeze; for it was associated with sounds of home, and awakened me to a painful consciousness of the distance I had wandered, and the fatigues and perils to which I was exposed. A train of sombre thoughts, despite my efforts to drive them away, took possession of my mind. At length, yielding to their influence, I climbed to the top of a rude heap of stones, which had been piled on the end of the quay, and seating myself where my eye could embrace every portion of the shadowy landscape, I yielded the full rein to melancholy fancies. My wandering thoughts roamed over a thousand topics; but one topic predominated over all the rest. My memory recalled many images; but one image it presented with the vividness of life, and dwelt upon with the partiality of love. It was the image of one who had been the object of my childhood's love, whom I had loved in my boyhood, anil whom now in opening manhood, I still loved with a passionate and daily-increasing affection. Linked with the memory of that sweet being, came thoughts of one who had sought to rival me in her affections, and who, foiled in his purposes, had conceived and avowed the bitterest enmity against me:—and from him, my mind reverted, by some strange association, to the tali and singular-looking Spaniard whom I had seen at the Water-port. In this way my vagrant thoughts ranged about from topic to topic, with all that wildness of transition which is sometimes produced by the excitement of opium. While thus engaged in these desultory meditations, I know not how long a time slipped by; but at length my thoughts began to grow less distinct, and my eyes to feel heavy: and had I not been restrained by a sense of shame and duty as an officer, I should have been glad to resign myself to sleep. My eye-lids, in despite of met did once or twice close for an instant or two; and it was in an effort to arouse myself from one of these little attacks of somnolency, that I saw an object before me, the appearance of whom in that place struck me with surprise. The moon had risen, and was just shedding a thin and feeble glimmer over the top of the rock, the broad deep shadow of which extended almost to the spot where I was sitting. Emerging from this shadow, with his long peculiar step, I saw approaching me the identical Spaniard whose malign expression of countenance and general appearance, had so strongly attracted my attention at the Water-port. That it was the same I could not doubt, for his height, his dress, his air, all corresponded exactly. He still wore the same large sombrero, which, as before, was drawn deep over his brows; the same long and glistening knife was thrust through his sash, and the same fantastically stamped leather gaiters covered his legs. He approached close to me, and in a voice which, though hardly above a whisper, thrilled me to the bone, informed me that the commodore had sent for me; on delivering which laconic message, he turned away, and walked towards the garrison. Shall I own it, gentle reader? I felt a sensation of fear at the idea that 1 was to follow this herculean and sinister-looking Spaniard, and 1 had some faint misgivings whether I ought to obey his summons. But I reflected that he was probably a servant or messenger of some officer or family where the commodore was visiting; that he could have no motive to mislead me; and that were I to neglect obeying the order through fear of its bearer, because he was tall, had whiskers, and wore a sombrero, I should deservedly bring down upon myself the ridicule of every midshipman in the Mediterranean. Besides, thought I, how foolish I should feel, if it should turn out, as is very likely, that this is some ball or party to which the commodore has been urged to stay, and, unwilling to keep me waiting for him so long in this dreary place, he has sent to invite me to join him. This last reflection turned the scale; so, slipping down from my perch, I followed towards the gate. The tall dark form of the stranger had already disappeared in the shadow of the rock; but, on reaching the foot of the spiral