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staircase, I could hear his heavy foot ascending the steps. Directly after, the gate was unbarred, the drawbridge lowered, and a footstep crossing it announced that the Spaniard was within the walls. 1 followed as rapidly as I could, and got within the gate just in time to see the form of my conductor disappear round one of the angles of the fortifications; but, accelerating my pace, I overtook him as he reached the foot of the path which seemed to ascend towards the southern end of the rock.
"This way lies the town," said I, pointing in the opposite direction; "you surely have mistaken the routev"
The Spaniard made no answer, but pointing with his hand up the difficult and narrow path, and beckoning me to follow him, he began the ascent. The moon shone on his countenance for a moment as he turned towards me, and I thought I could perceive the same sinister expression upon it which had been one of the first things that drew my attention to him. I continued to follow, however, and struggled hard to overtake him; but without much effect. I became fatigued, exhausted, almost ready to drop, but was unable to diminish the interval between us. The ascent soon became very steep—so steep, indeed, that it was with the greatest difficulty I could keep from sliding back faster than I advanced. My feet were blistered, and I toiled along on my hands and knees, till my flesh was torn and penetrated with the sharp points and edges of the rock. After thus slowly and painfully groping my way for a considerable distance, we at length reached a place where the path pursued a level course—but what a path! what a place! A narrow ledge, scarce two feet wide, had been formed, partly by nature, partly by art, at the height of a thousand feet above the water, around a sweep of the rock where it rose perpendicularly from its base to its extreme summit. This ledge was covered with loose stones, which, at every foot-step, fell rattling and thundering down the mighty precipice, till the sound died away in the immense depths below. I could not conjecture whither the Spaniard was leading me; but I had now gone too far to think of retreating. Every step I now made was at the hazard of life. The ledge on which we were walking was so narrow, the loose stones which covered it rolled so easily from under our feet, and my knees trembled so violently from fear and fatigue, that I could scarcely hope to continue much further in safety over such a pathway. At last we reached a broader spot. I sunk down exhausted, yet with a feeling of joy that I had escaped from the perilous path I had just been treading. The Spaniard stood beside me, and I thought a malign smile played round his lips as he looked down upon me, panting at his feet. He suffered me to rest but for a moment, when he motioned me to rise. I obey ed the signal, as if it were the behest of my evil genius.
"Look round," said he, "and tell me what you behold?"
I glanced my eyes round, and shuddering withdrew them instantly from the fearful prospect The ledge or platform on which we were standing was but a few feet square; behind it a large and gloomy cavern opened its black jaws; and in front, the rock rose from the sea with so perpendicular an ascent, that a stone, dropped from the edge, would have fallen without interruption straight down into the waves.
"Are you ready to make the leap?" said the Spaniard, in a smooth, sneering tone, seeing, and seeming to enjoy the terror depicted on my countenance.
"For heaven's sake," cried J, " who are you, and why am I made your victim?"
"Look!" cried he, throwing the sombrero from his head, and npproaching close to me, " Look! know you not these features? They are those of one whose path you have crossed once, but shall never cross again!"
He seized hold of me as he spoke, with a fiendish grasp, and strove to hurl me headlong from the rock. I struggled with all the energy of desperation, and for a moment baffled the design. He released his hold round my body, and stepping back, stood for an instant gazing on me with the glaring eyeballs of a tiger about to spring upon his prey; then darting towards me, he grasped me with both hands round the throat, and dragged me, despite my vain struggling, to the very verge of the precipice. With a powerful exertion of strength, which I was no longer able to resist, he dashed my body over the dreadful edge, and held me out at arm's length above the dread abyss. The agony of years of wretchedness compressed into a single second, could not have exceeded the horror of the moment I remained suspended. There was a small tree or bush which grew out of a cleft just beneath the ledge. In my frenzied struggle, I caught by a branch of it just at the critical instant when the Spaniard relaxed his hold, intending to precipitate me down the fearful gulf. His purpose was again baffled for another moment of horror. He gnashed his teeth as he saw me swing off upon the fragile branch, which cracked and bent beneath my weight, and which, at most, could save me from his fury but for a fleeting moment. That moment seemed too long for his impatient hate. He sprang to the very verge of the ledge, and placing his foot firmly on the tree, pressed it down with all his strength. In vain with chattering teeth and horror-choked voice, I implored him to desist. He answered not, but stamped furiously on the tree. The root began to give way—the loosened dirt fell from around it— the trunk snapped, cracked, and separated—and the fiend set up an i nhuman laugh, which rung in my ears like the mocking of a demon, as down—down—down I fell, through the chill, thick, pitchy air, till striking with a mighty force on the rocks beneath—I waked, and lo, it was a dream!
It was broad daylight. In my sleep I had rolled from the heap of stones which had furnished me with my evening seat of meditation, and which, during my sleep, had supplied my imagination with an abundance of materials for horrid precipices and "deep-down gulfs." The laugh of the infernal Spaniard turned out to be only a burst of innocent merriment at my plight from little Paul Messenger, a rosy, curly-haired midshipman, and one of the finest little fellows in the world. The matter was soon explained. The commodore returning to the boat, and seeing me, as he expressed it, sleeping so comfortably on a bed of my own choosing, thought it would be a pity to disturb me; so shoving off, he left me to my slumbers; but on reaching the ship, gave the officer of the deck directions to send a boat for me at daylight. Little Paul, always ready to do a kind act, asked to go officer of her; and we returned together to the frigate, laughing over my story of the imaginary adventures of the night.
SEASONS OF PRAYER.
To prayer, to prayer ;—for the morning breaks, And earth in her Maker's smile awakes. His light 1b on all below and above, The light of gladness, and life, and love. O, then, on the breath of his early air,
Send upward the incense of grateful prayer.
To prayer ;—for the glorious sun is gone,
To prayer;—for the day that God has blessed
There are smiles and tears in the mother's eyes,
O, hour of bliss! when the heart overflows
There are smiles and tears in that gathering band,
Kneel down by the dying sinner's side,
Kneel down at the couch of departing faith,
And hear the last words the believer saith.
He has bidden adieu to his earthly friends:
There is peace in his eye that upwards bends;
There is peace in his calm, confiding air;
For his last thoughts are God's, his last words prayer.
The voice of prayer at the sable bier!
A voice to sustain, to soothe, and to cheer.
It commends the spirit to God who gave;
It lifts the thoughts from the cold, dark grave;
It points to the glory where he shall reign,
Who whispered, "Thy brother shall rise again."
The voice of prayer in the world of bliss!But gladder, purer, than rose from this. The ransomed shout to their glorious King, Where no sorrow shades the soul as they sing;But a sinless and joyous song they raise;And their voice of prayer is eternal praise.
Awake, awake, and gird up thy strength
To join that holy band at length.
To him who unceasing love displays,
Whom the powers of nature unceasingly praise,
To Him thy heart and thy hours be given;
For a life of prayer is the life of heaven.
Hunkv Wars. THE COBBLER OF MESSINA.
There is a sort of enthusiasm in public spirit, which renders it politically prudent in corrupt statesmen to encourage it; and yet there is something so great and so divine in this enthusiasm, that statesmen of a better turn, though they dare not encourage, yet cannot but admire it. We have a shining and surprising example of this in the Cobbler of Messina, which happened in thelastcentury, andisatonce a proof that public spirit is the growth of every degree: and, which is a point that our great men ought to consider with attention, that wherever corruption becomes flagrant and universal, this heroic lunacy of public spirit is most likely to appear.
This cobbler was an honest man, and, I was going to say, poor; but when I consider that he maintained his family, and was above dependence, I cannot prevail upon myself to make use of the expression. He was also a man of reflection; he saw the corruption, luxury, and oppression; the private frauds, the public robberies, the enormous violation of justice, under which his country laboured. He saw rapes unpunished, adulteries unreproved, barbarous murders either screened by corrupt senators, or atoned for by money; in a word, he saw a universal degeneracy of manners prevail, partly from the want of will, partly from the want of power in the government to chastise offenders. In this situation he resolved to undertake the arduous task of reforming these disorders, and thoughtitbothlawful and expedient to assume the authority of avenger of the innocent, and the terror of the guilty Full of this romantic resolution, he provided himself with a short gun, which he carried under his cloak, and equipped with a powder pouch on one thigh, and a bag of bullets on the other, he sallied out in the evenings, and, as proper opportunities offered, despatched such as he knew to be incorrigible offenders, to that tribunal, where he was sensible they could not elude justice; and then returned home, full of that satisfaction which is the sole reward of public spirit. As there were in Messina a great number of these overgrown criminals, the cobbler, in the space of a few weeks, did very great execution. The sun never rose without discovering fresh marks of his justice; here lay a usurer, who had ruined hundreds; there, an unjust magistrate, who had been the curse of thousands; in one corner, a nobleman who had debauched his friend's wife; in another, a man of the same rank, who, through avarice and ambition, had prostituted his own; but as the bodies were all untouched, with all their ornaments about them, and very often with considerable sums in their pockets, it was visible they were not despatched for the sake of money; and their