Sir Rowland Hill, finding
that the French marshal lacked determination to attack his strong position
at Albuera, resolved to assail his legions in their quarters at Santa
Martha, for which place the whole division marched on the morning of the
1st July. The enemy retired as usual before him, their rear-guard
skirmishing with the cavalry advance of the British, who suffered some
loss at forcing the passage of the Guadacia, upon the ford of which the
French brought their flying artillery to bear; and against Berlenza some
fighting ensued, and Ronald Stuart narrowly escaped being cut in two by an
eighteen-pound shot from the enemy's guns. Many weeks were consumed in
tedious marching and skirmishing, in which there was neither glory nor
gain to be acquired ; and right glad were the second division when the
route for the gay city of Aranjuez, the Windsor of Spain, reached them
while stationed at the dull and uninteresting town of Don Benito.
At Llerena, a town
romantically situated at the base of the huge Sierra San Bernardo, they
received intelligence of the glorious victory won by Lord Wellington's
army over that of Marshal Marmont on the field of Salamanca; and learned
that Joseph, the ci-devant king of Spain, had been driven from his usurped
throne, and compelled to establish his headquarters in the city of
A Spanish peasant, who had
witnessed the battle, brought the tidings to Llerena, which was
illuminated in consequence; and a huge bonfire, lighted by the 36th
Regiment, blazed from the summit of San Bernardo.
When news of the victory
obtained at Salamanca reached Marshal Soult, he raised the siege of Cadiz,
and retreated towards Cordova, leaving his cannon and ammunition in the
hands of the British. He drew off all his troops from Estremadura, in
consequence of which the presence of the second division was no longer
requisite in that province; hence the unexpected route for Aranjuez.
Gladly they bade farewell to Don Benito, turning their faces towards
Castile—the famous and romantic Castile,—of old the land of the warrior
and troubadour, of love and chivalry, 'of battle and of song.'
At Truxillo Ronald had the
pleasure of again seeing his friend the Captain Conquesta, who presented
him to his newly-wedded bride, Donna Maria, with whose history the reader
is already acquainted. Ronald spent a very pleasant evening with the
cavalier, who for his edification fought over again the campaigns of
Buenos Ayres, enriched with many episodes, in which he himself, and ' that
stout and honourable cavalier the General Liniers,' acted prominent parts.
At Truxillo, Stuart was
appointed one of the lieutenants of the light company, an alteration which
he considered no small compliment, as the smartest fellows alone are
selected for the flank companies. On march' ing past the convent walls of
Jarciejo, they were greeted by many a viva from the nuns, who waved their
white kerchiefs from the grated loopholes to the troops, who replied to
them by loud cheers, each corps making the old walls shake as they came up
in succession. Ronald's heart was, perhaps, the saddest there among thirty
thousand men. It was impossible to be otherwise than sorrowful, when so
near the tomb of the high-souled and noble Catalina. The same evening they
crossed the Tagus, at Almarez, by a pontoon bridge. It was with mingled
feelings of pride and veneration that the three regiments of the first
brigade passed the spot where so many brave comrades had found a soldier's
last resting-place. The ruined forts were now overhung with wild weeds and
grass; the wallflower, the honeysuckle, and ivy clung to the embrasures of
Fort Napoleon, and nodded on the remnant of the old tower of Ragusa. In
some places a fleshless bone projecting from the sod bore witness of the
hasty interment received by the dead. On descending from the pass of
Miravete they came in sight of Almarez, its rocks and woods and winding
river, just as the broad setting sun went down in all its glory. A loud
and exulting cheer burst from the bonneted Highlanders, and was carried
along the column to the rear, reverberating a thousand times among the
splintered peaks and frowning craigs of the Lina. The bands of the 50th,
the 71st, and 92nd Regiments struck up the 'British Grenadiers;' and thus
they passed in their glitter and pride, with drums beating and colours
flying, above the sod that covered the breast of many a gallant comrade.
It was a proud time for the first brigade; and while their hearts throbbed
quicker to the 'spirit-stirring' roll of the drum, or swell of the merry
bugle, they forgot not that they trod near the tomb of those who heard
their notes no more.
Two days afterwards the
troops occupied the town of Calzada de Orepesa, in the midst of which
stood an old baronial fortalice, or square embattled tower, which was
garrisoned by a party of Don Salvador de Zagala's guerilla corps. Soon
after seeing his light company dismissed to their several billets, Ronald,
on passing this keep, was surprised to hear his name eagerly and
distinctly called by some one within it; and on looking up at its huge
gloomy front, beheld a hand beckoning to him through a narrow loophole,
which was cut at the top and bottom for the ejection of arrows in the
olden time. Who could be thus imprisoned here, and acquainted with his
name, he was utterly at a loss to conjecture; but he turned to the guard
of guerillas, who lay reposing on the earth in a cool shady place, under
the masses of wild vines which straggled over the barbican wall, smoking
cigars and burnishing their arms, which, as well as their dress, were of
so motley a kind as to remind Ronald of his old acquaintances in the wood
of La Nava. All wore the red military cockade of Spain fastened to the
front of their broad hats or slouching caps.
On inquiring who was
imprisoned in the tower, they replied a ladrone or thief, and brought to
him a guerilla, whom they dignified with the title of Senor el Castellano,
i.e., the constable or governor of the castle, a huge-headed,
broad-shouldered, brawny, and muscular fellow, who had evidently been a
muleteer, but had resigned the whip and bells for the musket and poniard.
He wore a pair of French epaulettes on his mule-driver's jacket; a sash
encircled his waist, bearing a powder-horn, and several pistols and
daggers ; the large plume of some staff-officer decorated his sombrero,
and his followers were most of them arrayed likewise in the trappings of
the slain. The castellano received Ronald with much respect, and led him
through the windings and intricacies of the ancient tower, which, with its
round wheel-stairs, arched passages, and narrow loopholes, reminded him of
the old pile at Lochisla. From the number of doors which were unlocked by
huge clanking keys in their progress, Stuart was led to expect something
extraordinary, but on reaching a solitary turret chamber, when the door
was thrown open, what was his surprise to behold Captain De Mesmai, whom
he supposed to be in the castle of Albuquerque. He was miserably altered,
and Ronald, while he beheld him, became filled with pity and indignation—
pity for his situation, and indignation at the ungenerous Spaniards. His
blue uniform had been stripped of its lace, epaulettes, stars, and medals,
and hung about him in tatters, showing his skin in many places. A guerilla
on sentry at the door had appropriated the helmet and corselet of the 10th
to himself. De Mesmai had been plundered of his boots, and his feet were
in a miserable state, in consequence of the long marches the guerillas had
compelled him to make. He was thin and gaunt, and a beard of a week's
growth bristled upon his chin ; but there was the same merry
devil-may-care twinkle in his eye, which showed that his bold and buoyant
heart was yet unchanged.
'Vive la bagatelle—Hoa!
Vive la joie!' cried he, springing forward and clasping Ronald in his arms
with true French energy. 'My dear friend, you may judge how glad I am to
see you. I shall now be rescued from the brutality of these base and
accursed Spanish dogs.' As this was said in Spanish, lightning gleamed in
the eyes of Castellano, who stood by. He grasped the hilt of his poniard,
but relinquished it as Ronald's fiery and threatening glance fell on him.
Yet he scowled malignantly at De Mesmai as he withdrew his hand.
'Ah, Stuart, mon ami! of
what I have suffered at the hands of these guerillas you can form no idea.
I have been plundered, as you see ; I have been beaten, kicked, even spit
upon. Mon Dieu/ such treatment for a gentleman and soldier of France! I
have been locked up in this desolate stone chamber for four nights and
days, during which not one morsel of food has passed my lips.'
'Rascal! do you dare to
treat an honourable prisoner of war thus? exclaimed Ronald, turning to the
Spaniard, who bestowed a sullen look upon him, but made no reply.
'I fully expected that
before this,' continued De Mesmai, 'D'Erlon would have made some effort to
effect my exchange. The devil confound him! I will revenge myself on him
for his forgetfulness, by being doubly sweet to madame, his dear little
countess, whose fortunate cher ami I have the honour to be.- Diable! what
would the 10th Cuirassiers,—the pets of the Parisian ladies,—the dandies
and glory of the Boulevards, say, could they see me in this plight? Faith,
I believe a dozen girls in the Rue des Trois Maries would run crazy, could
they know of it. Diablement! shirtless and shoeless,—and with a coat as
holy as that of Monseigneur St. Denis, which hangs in the aisle of the old
church of Besancon. Look at me, Monsieur Stuart ; your allies, the
guerillas, have clone all this. But I will revenge myself on D'Erlon, and
garnish his empty old 'head with certain ornaments which shall be
nameless,—I will, by the name of the bomb!'
'I am glad to find that
your high spirits have not deserted you, and that you are as merry a
fellow as ever. Can it be, that those wretches have really starved you
'For four days, my friend,'
said De Mesmai; 'four days and four nights, on my sacred honour! my most
earnest entreaties for bread were disregarded. When I used humbly to
request, Pan, gracios Senor Castellano,—pan en el nombre de Dios! this
scowling coward used to point to the village, ruined by Massena's troops,
and reply,—Carajo! Perro é ladrone! El Espanol no hay nada. A quien Dios
de mala ventura! "Dog and thief! the Spaniard has none. Ill luck to you'"
This was my hourly answer. Tete-Dieu! how my blood has boiled up within
me, and I have longed to thrust my hand into his ungenerous heart! Sacre!
with two of my gallant 10th at my back, and were I again astride of my
fleet Norman, I could soon make these rascals fly like hares before the
hound. But may this right hand and arm be withered and shrunken into the
shoulder, if ever again it spares the life of a Spaniard when my sword has
once laid the dog at my mercy. I will revenge in red blood the countless,
the never-to-be-forgotten indignities I have received from these infernal
guerillas. They have been taunting me for these few days past with a
defeat which, they say, Marmont has met with at Salamanca. Bah ! Lord
Wellington could never beat Marmont, and I know the rogues have lied.'
Ronald smiled, but made no
effort to undeceive him. 'Take my arm, De Mesmai, and permit me to lead
you from this place,' said he, apprehensive that blows would soon be
exchanged between the Gaul and Spaniard, who glared at each other with
unspeakable hatred and ferocity. 'Vive la joie! how I rejoiced when I
beheld the scarlet columns of the British descending by the Navil Moral
road on Calzada de Orepesa. I knew that my hour of deliverance was at
'Come, then; march,
monsieur. Let us leave this dismal tower. Stand aside, worthy Senor
'Satanos, Senor Officiale!
it cannot be that you mean to release our prisoner? asked the guerilla,
grasping his poniard again.
'Unhand your dagger, you
rascally guerilla! or I will seize you by the throat, and hurl you to the,
bottom of your tower,' cried Ronald, laying his hand on his sword.
'Il a la mine guerrier;
said De Mesmai sneeringly, in his native language, and laughing at the
guerilla, who still hesitated, while others came crowding into the
apartment, and began to handle the locks of their muskets. 'Would to St.
Beelzebub I had a weapon to strike in with you ! We would cut our way
through these base plebeians, as through so many children.'
'Look you, senors,' said
Ronald, ''tis madness of you to obstruct me. Our soldiers are thronging
all about the village, and by a single blast on this I will summon a
hundred men in a moment.' As he spoke, he disengaged from his belt the
silver whistle which, as a light infantry officer, was now part of his
appointments. By this movement the folds of his plaid were raised, and the
golden cross of St. James glittered before the eyes of the Spaniards,
whose favour was instantly won by the sight of the well-known Spanish
badge of military achievement. They fell back right and left, and the
passage was free. De Mesmai, vowing vengeance against them, departed with
his deliverer, who soon got him attired in other clothing, which, though
somewhat motley, was preferable to the rags he had lately won.
Adjourning to a taberna,
kept by an old Jewess, they partook of an olla podrida,—a mess composed of
fragments of fowl, flesh, and various ingredients stewed together, an
excellent dish, when well spiced and seasoned, and one that is considered
very substantial and nourishing by the Spaniards. For this, and a stoup of
very sour wine, the conscientious patrona charged Ronald two durcs.
After this they parted.
Ronald had to take command of the escort of the regimental baggage, and De
Mesmai was sent to the rear-guard, with whom some other prisoners of war
marched. The unfortunate cuirassier, with true French volubility, gave
Stuart a profusion of thanks for his kindness, and departed, swearing by
the bomb that he would make his escape on the first opportunity which
offered. This threat he executed two days afterwards, near Talavera de la
Reina, when the division was on its march; and, aided by some Spaniards in
the French interest, he gained Andalusia in safety, and rejoined Marshal
Soult's army at Cordova. After passing through a variety of towns and
villages, the troops of Sir Rowland Hill, on the 29th of September, beheld
before them the famous and venerable city of Toledo—of old the populous
and wealthy capital of Spain, once so celebrated for its magnificence and
glory, of which, alas ! so little now remains. The appearance of the dark
city, illumined by the glow of the setting sun, which bathed in purple
everything that its rays fell upon, formed a new and agreeable object to
the brigades, as they emerged in succession from the rich groves and cool
vine-trellises that, bending under purple grapes, had for miles and miles
overshadowed their line of march, and echoed to the music of the thirty
regimental bands. A cheer arose from the advanced-guard when they came in
sight of Toledo. Situated amidst the most delightful and romantic scenery,
it crowns the summit of a rocky eminence, around which runs its girdle of
walls and battlemented towers, circled on three sides by the Tagus, which,
reflecting the hue of the sky, was now wandering like a river of blood
among gloomy trees, sylvan ravines, and rocky places, adding greatly to
the singular beauty of the surrounding country. The roofs of the houses,
which are generally about five or six stories high, were seen shining in
the sun above the serrated lines of the ramparts; and rearing high above
all rose the enormous Gothic tower and spire of the ancient cathedral, the
red sky appearing between pinnacle and buttress, flying arch and traceried
window, giving a peculiar appearance of lightness and richness to the huge
dark mass. The opinion formed by the soldiers on first viewing Toledo was
changed on entering it, and seeing the close, crooked, desolate, and
filthy alleys which branch off in every direction.
A very handsome street,
where the cathedral stands, and which leads to the great square, is, or
was, the principal one in the city, and was kept tolerably well paved and
clean. But everything which meets the eye announces decay, and attests
that trade, commerce, wealth, and glory have departed from Toledo. The
population, which once exceeded two hundred thousand souls, has now sunk
to about one-eighth of that number.
At the city gate the troops
were met by a number of the Spanish nobility and their attendants on
horseback, followed by crowds of the citizens, who received them with loud
acclamations. The alcaldes, headed by the governor, El Medico, a fierce
guerilla chief, appeared at the archway, attired in their robes of
scarlet, and attended by halberdiers and alguazils dressed in short black
cloaks and doublets, and wearing broad hats, from beneath which their long
hair hung down on their jagged lace collars. Numerous bands of
ecclesiastics, chanting as they came, and bearing banner, cross, and
smoking chalice, were likewise in attendance. Above their dark masses were
borne aloft the dressed-up images of the Virgin, Santa Casilda, and San
Ildefonso, of whom so many legends are told in Toledo. These affairs,
fluttering with rich drapery and blazing with jewels, displayed all that
singular mixture of mummery, religion, and effect, which is so much
studied in the rites of the Church of Rome.
In the name of King
Ferdinand of Spain, as his representative, and of the alcaldes and
citizens of Toledo as their governor, El Medico welcomed Sir Rowland Hill
and the soldiers of the fighting division to the ancient capital of Spain,
in a speech of wonderful length and pomposity. As the brigades marched
through the city, the joyous acclamations of the people, the tolling of
bells, the chant of the priests, the din and uproar, the reiterated cheers
and shouts of ' Long live Ferdinand VII. ! Long live the brave British
nation ! Viva Don Rowland Hill—viva/' resounding on all sides, almost
drowned the music of the bands and tramp of the marching feet. Even
Ranald-dhu, the piper-major of the Gordon Highlanders, with his six
colleagues, had to blow their bags up with might and main before they
could make themselves heard. The martial, yet wild-looking, garb of the
92nd attracted great attention, and a dense crowd of staring Spaniards
squeezed along on the flanks of the regiment, accompanying it through all
the streets. The Highland garb was a new sight to the citizens of Toledo,
who, although they had heard of the bare-kneed Scottish regiments, with
whose valour all Spain was ringing, they now beheld one of them within the
walls of the city for the first time. The remarkable appearance of Dugald
Mhor with his snowy tresses and blue bonnet, marching close to the
colonel's side, elicited many a shout of wonder: but the old Gael was too
much accustomed to be distinguished thus, and cared nothing about it, as
he strode on with his long claymore swinging at his thigh, and his brass
target slung on his back. What the latter, with its brass studs and steel
pike could be, it was impossible for the Spaniards to conjecture : but
they imagined it to be some unmeaning badge of office, like the gold-stick
of the Guards, and concluded that Dugald was some very important personage
among the strangers. The windows and terraced tops of the houses were
crowded with people, and the balconies overlooking the streets were filled
with ladies, who kissed their white hands, waved their veils, and tossed
bouquets of flowers, and even their little gloves, to the officers, crying
ever and anon—'Long live Sir Rowland Hill! Sus valiente caballeros y
The balconies were
decorated with garlands of flowers, quilts, carpets, and pieces of ancient
tapestry; the banners of noble families, of corporations, and of Spain
waved from the windows amid gaudy pennons and streamers of every kind.
Hurrah ! it was indeed a magnificent scene of joy, noise, and uproar.
Every man wearing the red coat was the friend of the Spaniard ; and even
the wearied little drum-boy, lugging along his drum, was a hero and a
deliverer of Spain. That night solemn prayers for the success of the
British arms were offered up in the great cathedral. The outside of its
dome and spire was blazing with myriads of variegated lamps, and the town
was illuminated with great splendour. The lighted-up spire presented a
most singular appearance for leagues around. Rising from the glittering
city, it stood like a vast column of fire against the dusky sky, causing
the windings of the Tagus to gleam afar off, from the savage defiles and
deep gorges through which it wanders. The soldiers were billeted on the
inhabitants of the city, within the walls ; and the general and his staff
were received into the mansion of the governor, El Medico.
The Highlanders and the
left wing of an English regiment (the 66th, I believe) were quartered in
the mouldering palace of the ancient kings of Castile, the Alcanzar, a
building which has since degenerated into a house of refuge for the poor.
In the evening, the theatre was thronged with officers of the division,
the ladies, and all fashionable people in the town, to witness the
representation of a new piece. It was entitled The Plains of Salamanca,
and composed by a young student of Toledo, in honour of the late victory
obtained by the British arms. Between the acts or jornados, the bands of
the 34th Regiment and of the Highlanders occupied the orchestra, and
played a number of Spanish airs, in compliment to the audience.
A comic opera, called the
Tonadilla, closed the amusements of the evening. It was performed by a
single person, a young and pretty actress, who sang, in a remarkably sweet
voice, a long story or ballad full of drollery, love-adventures, and
gallantry, drawing loud applause and astounding vivas from the audience,
with whom she appeared to be a decided favourite, the stage being strewn
with the chaplets and bouquets of flowers tossed to her by cavaliers from
the boxes and pit.
Certainly the whole
performance did not impress the British portion of the audience with a
very high opinion of the state of the Spanish theatre. The house was
small, ill-constructed, ill-fitted up, and ill-lighted with a few
oil-lamps, the nauseous fumes of which, mixed with those of oranges,
cigars, and garlic, rendered the atmosphere very far from pure. The scenes
were daubs, the attire of the actors rags, and the play destitute of
talent ; but the beauty of the bright-eyed ladies in the boxes, the pretty
actress with her tonadilla, and the martial music in the orchestra, were
sufficient to counterbalance other drawbacks and defects. Sir Rowland's
division lay two days in Toledo. On the evening before they marched,
Ronald made a tour of the city to view all worth seeing. After visiting
the famous sword manufactory, which yet flourishes as of old, he bent his
steps towards the cathedral, the doors of which (like those of all
Continental churches) stood open day and night. It was almost dark when he
entered it, and the appearance of that vast temple, when involved in gloom
and mystery, is fully calculated to impress the mind with holy sadness,
with pure veneration, and with awe. The pale light of the moon and stars,
twinkling through eighty-six tinted and traseried windows, glimmered
alternately on the scores of massive and magnificent columns that upheld
the lofty roof, and showed where the perspective of 'the long-drawn
aisles' vanished away in darkness and obscurity. Six tall candles twinkled
before the dark painting on the altar, and many holy tapers gleamed
fitfully in far recesses before the shrines and images of Eugenius,
Casilda, Ildefonso, Leocadia, and other favourite saints of Toledo, before
which many a solitary devotee knelt on the cold pavement in earnest
The dark figures of monks
and cavaliers—the latter in broad hats and long cloaks—were gliding
noiselessly about, adding greatly to the general effect of the scene. They
moved like shadows; scarcely a footfall was heard as they trod lightly on
the carved stones, beneath which sleep many a king and queen of fair
Castile,—many a proud grandee and redoubtable warrior.
After endeavouring to
decipher by the dim light of a neighbouring shrine the pompous
inscriptions on the marble tombs of the great Don Alvar de Luna, Cardinal
Mendoza, and others, Ronald turned to leave the place, his mind filled
with admiration and enthusiasm at its vastness, grandeur, solemnity, and
magnificence. As he passed down one of its side aisles, indulging in a
train of these fine sentiments, they were cut short, somewhat abruptly, by
a person coming violently against him in the dark.
'Sir, you are very
unceremonious,' cried Ronald angrily, feeling for his sword. 'What do you
mean by coming against me thus rudely?'
'I believe I may, without
injustice, ask the same question of you,' answered a familiar voice ; and
as they advanced from between, the columns into the light of a shrine,
Ronald beheld with surprise the face of Louis Lisle.
'I did not expect you so
very suddenly, and especially here at Toledo,' said he, dubious in what
manner to greet his old friend, whose features became at once clouded by
the cold and stern expression which they had generally worn of late,
especially since the hour in which he beheld the interview between Stuart
and Catalina in the cottage at Almarez. ' You have made expedition in your
march from Lisbon.'
'I arrived here about two
hours ago, with a detachment of convalescents from Belem. You are aware
that the division marches at sunrise to-morrow; so I wish to see the
cathedral before leaving Toledo,' and turning coldly, he was about to move
'Louis Lisle,' exclaimed
Ronald, suddenly and fiercely, as he strode before and intercepted him,
while all his long pent-up indignation broke forth uncontrollably; 'halt,
sir! You shall not stir one pace from the spot until I have spoken with
you. We must come to an explanation : my own honour demands it. Whence is
it that you treat me in this studied, cold, and insolent manner, and have
ever done so since that hour in which we met on the plain at La Nava?'
'Recall to mind your
conduct on that occasion, and I presume you are sufficiently answered,'
was the cold reply.
Ronald bitterly, 'when children, when youths at home in our own country
among the woods of Inchavon and Lochisla, we were constant companions and
friends—brothers in all but blood. Oh! why should it be otherwise now?
'Ask that question of
yourself, sir,—ask of your own false heart!' replied Louis, proudly and
'Fury! Were you not the
'Stay, Mr. Stuart; I am not
accustomed to be addressed in these thundering tones.'
'Diaoul, Mr. Lisle! I am at
a loss to understand what you mean,' exclaimed Ronald, his wrath
'Did you not, during the
retreat into Portugal, and the advance again from Castello Branca into
Spanish Estremadura, treat me with singular hauteur and coldness? so much
so, that it has been remarked by the whole regiment,—ay, even by the
brigade? 'I acknowledge that! have, Mr. Stuart,' said Lisle, drawing
himself up to his full height, and setting his bonnet haughtily on one
'Death and fury, Louis!'
exclaimed Stuart, regardless of awakening a thousand echoes; 'and for what
has this been the cause?
'I repeat to you
again—search your own heert ; the cause lies there.' 'Blasted be my heart
if I ask it of any but yourself!' replied Ronald, his hot Highland blood
fully roused. 'As I hope to live, but one consideration—one remembrance
alone stays my hand from seeking the usual satisfaction—ay, even in this
cathedral. Ha ! surely this marked change of conduct and manner towards an
old companion and brother-soldier cannot be in consequence of Sir Allan
Lisle's obtaining the peerage, so long dormant?'
'Ronald Stuart,' exclaimed
the other, with a scornful smile, 'you might know me better than to
imagine I could be swayed by ideas so very childish and extremely silly. I
have been forebearing towards you as mortal man could be; but permit me
now to tell you, that you, Ronald Stuart, have behaved most cruelly,
faithlessly, and basely to one, whose name my lips shall never utter in
your presence and hearing.'
'Well do you know whom I
mean !' interrupted the other with increasing vehemence; 'she is
inseparably connected with the memory of your native place. Her you have
falsely forgotten,—and why, Heaven only knows,—forming attachments here
among Spaniards and strangers, while her heart has never wandered from you
' Lisle! what is this you tell me now?'
'Truth, and the feelings of
an enraged yet sorrowing heart! for I have long mourned in secret your
fickleness and inconstancy,—as God is my hearer, Ronald, I have! I deemed
that your hearts were entwined together in such wise that naught but death
could sever them ; but I have been mistaken. I believe the predictions of
old Cavers, our nurse, when she warned the poor girl to beware of you, are
now fulfilled. Your mother was one of the Monteiths of Cairntowis, and the
perfidy of the race appears to be renewed in yourself,—even at this late
'You speak strangely,
Lisle, and in riddles. You cannot mean to insult me openly, by this
allusion to my mother's honourable and ancient family. I can forget and
'Pshaw! I supposed so.'
'How, Mr. Lisle!' exclaimed
Ronald, with renewed fury. 'You cannot suppose for an instant that I
am—heavens! must I name it? —a coward?'
'No, Stuart; a coward never
came of your race, as my ancestors have often known to their cost. The
cross which at this moment glitters on your breast reminds me that you
would not shrink from any earthly danger; therefore do not suppose that my
indignation will lead me to be unjust'
'Your sister—Alice; of her
I would speak.
'Never let her name pass
your lips!' exclaimed the other, as if the very sound of it roused him to
frenzy. 'You have destroyed her, and almost broken her too sensitive—too
gentle—and too confiding heart; but I will revenge her, Stuart,—by the
powers of Heaven I will, and you shall hear from me by daybreak. For this
night, I defy and spit upon you!'
He rushed from the
cathedral, leaving Ronald transfixed with rage and amazement.