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“Go and help him!"
M. and Madame Merret remained silent during the whole time the mason was employed in walling the door. In this there was calculation on the part of the husband, whose object it was to avoid giving his wife a pretext for throwing in words of a double meaning;, and on the part of Madame de Merret, there was prudence, perhaps pride.
When the wall was about built, the crafty mason managed, when M. de Merret's back was turned, to break one of the two windows of the door. This act gave Madame de Merret to understand that Rosalie had spoken to Gorenflot-then she and the mason saw, not without deep emotion, the face of a man of dark and sombre countenance, black hair, and piercing eyes. Before her husband had turned, she had time to make a signal to the stranger; and that sign said, Hope.
At four o'clock, close upon dawn, for the month was September, the work was done.
The mason was placed under the care of John, and M. de Merret slept in his wife's room.
In the morning, as he rose, he carelessly remarked: "Oh,I had forgotten
I must go to the mayor's office for the passport."
He put on his hat, but when he had made three steps toward the door, he bethought himself, and took up the crucifix.
Seeing that, his wife's heart leaped with delight.
"He will call at Duvivier's!" thought she.
As soon as he had gone out, Madame de Merret rang for Rosalie, and screamed in tones of frightful energy:
"A pick-axe! a pick-axe! and to work. I marked Gorenflot's way; and we have time to make an opening, and to close it up again."
In an instant, Rosalie brought a sort of spike to her mistress, who with a degree of ardor not to be expressed, commenced demolishing the wall.
She had already knocked out several bricks, when on drawing back to give a vigorous blow, she saw M. de Merret standing behind her pale and menacing.
"Place your lady on her bed," said the merciless man. Anticipating what was likely to occur during his absence, he had simply written to the mayor, and sent a message for Duvivier.
The jeweller arrived shortly after. "Duvivier," said M. de Merret, "have you not purchased crucifixes from the Spaniards, who have passed through our town?"
"John," said he, turning to his man, you will serve my meals in Madame de Merret's room; she is unwell, and I shall not leave her side until I see her restored to health."
The merciless man remained fifteen days by his wife's side; and, during the first six days, if a noise was heard from the walled closet, and if his wife then cast an imploring look for the wretch who was dying within, he would answer, without permitting her to utter a single word:
"You have sworn that there was no one in that closet!"
LADY HESTER STANHOPE.
FROM THE JOURNAL OF A TRAVELLER.
LEAVING our party, who, alarmed by the unsettled state of the country, are coasting it from St. Jean d'Acre to Beyrout, Bartlett, the artist, and myself are zigzaging Galilee in search of the picturesque.
At Sidon it was concluded to visit Lady Hester Stanhope, but we were warned that we were reckoning without our host, she having rejected all comers for many months past, and that the English were her favorite abomination.
Undeterred by the prophecies of our Sidonian friends, Antonio was dispatched with a note, couched in terms of studied courtesy, stating, in substance, that an American gentleman would be happy to pay his passing compliments to her ladyship. An hour or two after his departure, we mounted and moved slowly towards her residence, which lies about four hours journey eastward. At a sudden turn in the road, which, like all other eastern roads, was a bridle-path, we came in full view of her famous retreat, resembling, in the distance, a small village, surrounded by a wall, and perched on the top of a barren, craggy, conical mountain, with scarcely an herb to be seen on its repulsive sides, though surrounded by a luxuriant country. The spot on which we stood was a perpendicular precipice of equal height with the object of our curiosity, from which we were separated only by a broad, deep valley. Here we halted, the sun two hours high, for the double purpose of affording Bartlett an opportunity to make a sketch, and to await our messenger. Bartlett had put his last touch to the drawing as Antonio, pushing his mule to his best paces, came up the steep road, puffing with exertion, and delighted with the success of his mission and the glorious prospect of rich fare, which is seldom the lot of an eastern traveller. He gave a glowing picture of the wonders he had seen, how he had been handed from sentry to sentry, and from servant to servant;
how he had passed through gates and courts and halls, and had been actually in her presence. She was the grandest lady his eyes had ever looked on; she had ordered him refreshments, and told him to stay the night, thinking he was to return to Sidon; but hearing that it was a matter of doubt, told him to mount with all speed and endeavor to bring his master to her before nightfall; that he was welcome, come when he would; she had abundant accommodation for myself and all my company, provided they were not English. Bartlett, hearing his doom, took the path, with his servant and guide, to a village about seven miles distant, while Antonio, with a diligence sharpened by a mountain appetite, drove our baggage mules to Lady Hester's, where we arrived two hours after sun-set, with the single accident of the mule having slipped over a projecting rock and sent my yataghan, with its silver scabbard, into the abyss below, and with great difficulty recovering his foot-hold.
We entered a long passage guarded by Albanian soldiers in their fanciful costumes, and lined with well-dressed servants. A dragoman came forward, who led me to an Italian gentleman, who showed me my apartment. A divan of luxurious proportions, covered with crimson cloth, extended the width of a very large room opposite the entrance; two European beds, covered with the same material, without curtains, flanked the door-way. This room was an isolated house; in front was an arbor, forming a continuation of the roof, covered with vines; the area formed by the arbor was bordered with parterres of flowers. The luggage was scarcely disposed of, when an Italian servant, in Syrian dress, with a candle in an European silver candlestick, came to say that miladi would be happy to see me. With a view, perhaps, to produce an imposing effect, he led me through any quantity of passages, doors and gates, till we arrived
• John W. Hamersley, Esq., of New York.
at her sitting-room. It was an unpretending snuggery, both as to size and decoration, with low ceiling. Two divans, about the size of common sofas, stood opposite each other, about ten feet apart, and in the recess of a window were two spermaceti candles in tall candlesticks, so placed that the light was thrown between the two divans, which were both in the shade.
She rose to meet me with a cordiality and ease perfectly electrical; said how happy she was to entertain Americans, and with a lady-like rapidity, laughing with the glee of a girl. "Do you know," she ran on, "what a pleasant disappointment I've had by a mistake of my dragoman? He came to me with open eyes and mouth, half pleased, half frightened, with your open letter in his hand, and announced the arrival of a Persian prince! What, asked I, can a Persian prince want with me? I seized the note, and reading the words an American gentleman,' saw his error; he had read an 'Amercan,' which is the title of a prince of Persia, and you may easily imagine how much more gratified I am to entertain an American than a Persian prince.'
Her presence is commanding, perhaps five feet ten inches in height, but slightly stooping with debility, being recently arisen from a sick bed; her eyes piercing; features prominent.
She dresses in a loose robe of fine worsted, with silk tassels pendant in perpendicular rows on either side in front; she wears the yellow Turkish slipper, and an enormous cachemere shawl, twisted into a turban, almost buries her head. Her costume, she says, is of no country; to use her own words, "mia fantasia." She has no weapons visible.
household; she brought out with her une demoiselle de société," who returned home a few years afterwards. The usual preambles to conversation disposed of, she began to speak freely of her household; she "had a Turkish dragoman to attend to her Turkified guests, and a Frank to take care of her Frankified visitors." She passed to the English nation, whom she belabored most mercilessly, and finally launched into astrology. She professes to tell by the features of any person she sees, his whole history and destiny. She identifies his star; she expressed herself well pleased with mine; it is not a "proof print," but modified" by another near it." Though earnestly pressed, she would not designate the constellation, while she volunteered to say that such an one's star was in Leo, where, by-the-bye, she put her own.
About nine o'clock a servant announced dinner, waiting my cue. She said she had been very sorry to think that dinner was just over as my servant arrived, and made an apology for the Arab cookery. She is never seen to eat, and pretends that she has no occasion-possibly to foster the belief in her supernatural powers.
A table was set out in Frank fashion in the arbor in front of my room. Two wax candles disclosed to the savage appetite of a traveller four dishes of meats and two kinds of home-made wine. Everything had an air of elegant appropriate taste, that nameless stamp of comfortable, sensible England. Four servants anticipated my wants with a tact and unobtrusiveness, proving a rare discipline. Peach pies and cream succeeded meats, and gave place just at the proper moment, without the trouble of a wish, to pipes and coffee. Watching his opportunity, as the first smokeless whiff gave evidence that the pipe was functus officio, an upper servant said, that if fatigued, I might as well lie down; if not, mi ladi wished to see me. He took from the table one of the candlesticks, and conducted me again to my mysterious friend. She likes Americans because her grandfather loved them; she had heard him declare that had he been ten years younger he would have emigrated there, he was so disgusted with the vices of his country. She spoke much of her grandfather; had heard her grand
"Now," says she, "make yourself comfortable on that divan," pointing to that opposite her own; put yourself in your easiest position; if you prefer it, sit like the Turks, or, if you like it better, lay yourself at full length, and put ceremony aside." We were scarcely seated, having chosen a Turkish position as best suited to my costume, when a little black girl brought in coffee, and anon, at two several journeys, two long cherry-stick pipes. Lady Hester sipped water instead of coffee, but smoked immoderately. This little girl is the only female of her
mother say, that no one dared to look him in the face when he was angry. But she loved Americans for another reason; they were "to cut a great figure in the Millennium, which will commence in three months. At that time will appear on the earth the great good man and the great bad man; the last is now well known to the world. She knows the very spot where the great good man will first be seen; it is in Syria; his advent will be the signal of wars and rumors of wars. She knows the names of the horses and swords which will figure in the fight; one of the swords is called Ham, which has never been drawn but once. The good of the earth are to flock to the standard of the good man; the bad will gather their forces to his antagonist. A grand battle is to be fought in Syria, and fivesevenths of the population of the globe will die of the sword, pestilence, or famine. New diseases of a frightful character will overrun the globe. After four years of bloodshed, the earth will be be peace, the good man triumphant, and the Millennium commence."
When asked the name of the bad man, she assumed an oracular bearing, and took my honor not to divulge the name; but the prophecy having failed it may be no breach of faith to say that it was Père Enfantin, chief of the Saint Simonians, who, with the remnant of his little band professing their faith to their fatherland, escaping from liberal France, and fearing Christian Europe! ("tell it not in Gath") found liberty of conscience with the sinnedagainst Ottoman.
It is the belief of this sect that La Bonne Mère will shortly appear to rule over them. They sent her a deputation from Egypt inviting her to be La Bonne Mère, which she attributes to a belief that she is rich.
"The good man has already been heard of: he was to travel blindfold, led by an angel, for three hundred days; he then finds two women, one of whom is to be very beautiful but deceitful, the other not so brilliant but good; after much doubt he will choose the latter. He will have several ministers-one from America."
that she "well knew where the garden of Eden is; it is not in America, but it is very probable that this man will be the American minister. Seven countries of Europe will supply ministers. When the war shall commence half of America will be emptied; persons of wealth, enterprise, and merit, will flock to Syria. Now take my advice: Syria is in a troubled state; you cannot travel in it with satisfaction. Go to Greece, and return to me in three months; I will gradually initiate you in certain mysteries and secrets; you will find events then commencing at which the world will be astonished." But divers engagements conflicting with that arrangement, she was satisfied with the promise that she should see me with the American host which will come out in the Millennium.
When told of a certain Mr. Furman who thought the garden of Eden was in America, and had gone in search of it west of the Mississippi, confident of living for ever if successful, she replied
She spoke in raptures of Colonel Dekay: "that is the kind of man I like, he came from Constantinople to Beyrout, in a cutter only a few yards long, on purpose to see me. She believes in the Bible only as a book of history; it corroborates other books in her possession; she has manuscripts of which there are no copies extant taken by her from the centre of solid masonry, where they have been buried for ages, disclosed only to her supernatural sight.
"Christianity," she added, "is the shallowest of all religions. In Judaism there is something, and more than men wot of. The morality of the Bible was made for milk-sops.' She pitied the delusion of those who did not consider revenge a virtue; would not admit that Christianity had promoted civilisation.
Of Wolfe, the Jewish missionary, she spoke with great bitterness; impatient of my praises of Lady Georgiana, she answered, with ineffable sarcasm, "a woman with one eye whom her family were glad to get rid of at any hazard." Her knowledge, she says, is wonderful; she knows the place of deposite of charmed money. Napoleon discovered it, but was immediately palsied when he touched it. Some are so beset with flies and vermin of all kinds that glad they are to abandon it and escape. The lost ten tribes of Israel are at this moment charmed in Egypt. Mehemet Ali has battered the iron gates which confine them with thirty-six cannon, but can make no impression; they are to appear on the arrival of the great good man."
When asked what was her religion,
she held up her crutch-cane by way of diagram; "every star has its good angel and its bad angel, or inferior one (laying her finger on the handle), and its demon; next in order comes the human being, and," running down her finger on the cane," its plant, its medicine, its metal, and so on to insignificance. All this chain has a mysterious connection; the poison therein cannot hurt the man; the medicine can heal any disease or wound instantaneously of or to its associate link; the most ferocious beast of this holy alliance will fawn upon the man-the plant is his most nutritious food; but the star is the head and superior. The first study of every man should be to find out his star and chain of existence to avail himself of their aid; (after reading my destiny, she concluded), any agricultural enterprise you may embark in will succeed to a miracle, and that, although too mild to be first in the new empire, we shall greatly need such as you to temper our designs.'
She has discovered the "grand arcanum;" "there are two kinds known: one like that of Djezzar Pacha, who has been seen to sprinkle a powder, something like tobacco, over bars of iron, and, presto, they were gold. I have used a kind of oil, have tried its virtues, but will not practise it from conscientious scruples." Allegiance to her creed and sovereignty were in vain tendered as the price of a successful experiment.
At one o'clock, a servant brought a candle to light me to my apartment. "To-morrow I will send a man with you to point out the fine sights in the neighborhood;" she would not listen to my plea of honorary obligation to join company with a friend who was now being victimized, hard by, awaiting my appointment. Who was this friend? An Englishman-a serious objection. What is he? An artist-worse still. Is that the only obstacle? None other. Then he shall be sent for.
Eleven o'clock, and Antonio, next morning, surprised me in bed, and very reluctant to leave it; but fortified by a princely breakfast at noon, and a few contemplative pipes, with a bright sun, a fresh breeze, and the promised cicerone, we went in quest of Bartlett, whom we soon spied with his correct and rapid eye, transferring the rugged but brilliant mountains to his portfolio;
he had fared hard, reluctantly admitted to a wretched hovel, and, with more appetite than supper, had passed a night of watchfulness and suffering. Much piqued on learning the anti-Anglican sentiment which pervaded her ladyship's establishment, he flatly refused to enter her gates; but when I hinted at the peach pies and cream, the spirit of forgiveness beamed in the famished visage of the artist; in emphatic silence we followed our guide to the rarest specimen of bow and arrow castellation that this or any country can boast of a strong-hold of the Druses, of massive construction, perched upon and covering the entire area of a lofty natural rock, some sixty feet square, inaccessi except by a narrow concealed flight of steps. Its basaltic character suggests the idea of nature imitating art. The castle is in perfect preservation, appointed with all the pomp and circumstance of glorious war, with its donjon, keep, turrets, seeret passages, and forming withal the crown of an amphitheatre. The landscape was animated by a mountain torrent, which rushed by us bounding and sporting like a thing of life.
Taking a circuit we called at a Convent of the Greek Church. Il Padre Presidente refreshed us with pipes, coffee and sherbet; lauded Miladi to the seventh heaven, and, with the bearing of a courtier, charged us with his compliments. Four o'clock brought us to Lady Hester's. A servant said she wished to see me alone. After an hour's animated chat, she enjoined me to exact a solemn promise from my friend that he would not draw any horse he might see in her enclosure, or make a scaramouch of her, for if her friends saw her as she was they would cry.
Asking after her wonderful horse, which report states to have a natural saddle, she said he was destined to perform an extraordinary part. Have you never heard, she inquired, that the Messiah is to come on a white horse? She afterwards said the animal was a mare, and had double back bones, giving the idea of a saddle; she was not white. But without satisfying my curiosity, she directed me to call my friend, that we might see her garden before it was dark. When Bartlett was come, she drew on her gloves, took her cane, and with feeble steps moved towards a door which had es