Billeder på siden



[ocr errors]

Here's your supper; I'm going searched for some time in vain. home, and shan't be here till to. The door was firmly fastened into morrow afternoon, so you'll have the solid cliff, and other egress bad time to think it over' before there

She dragged we meet again. Duncan will be some boxes under the little slit thinking I've run away with you that served her as a window, and if he doesn't find me at home. piling one on the top of another, Good night. You won't be want- peeped out. But there was nothing a night-light, will you ?” ing to be seen except the blue sky,

He put a few hard sea biscuits a passing cloud, or a gull flapping on a barrel, and a cup of water, slowly by. She was too high even and shutting the door after him, to distinguish the splash of the shot the heavy bolt into its hole in breakers beneath; and dismounting the rock, and went away. Norah from her pedestal, she restored the was alone in this dreary cavern, boxes to their former place, fearful which was now fast becoming quite lest Michael should discover her dark, as evening drew on. Harry anxiety to escape. As she did so, must have begun to wonder at her she broke an empty bottle that lay prolonged absence, and would per- on the ground, and stooping to haps pass below this very spot in pick up the bits of broken glass, a his search for her. Would he bear sudden thought struck her. Might her if she shouted ? She tried, but she scrape a hole through the door her voice seemed choked and sufficiently large to allow her arm strangled by the solid sandy walls to pass through and draw back on all sides. And even should she the bolt ? Eagerly she tried, but succeed in letting him know where the hard door laughed at her she was, if Michael found him there efforts, and the scraping sounded he would fling Harry down the so hollow and loud, that she knew rocks with ease, for he was an Michael must hear it long before enormously powerful man. No, she could be aware of his approach. she would remain quiet, still refus. With a sigh she threw away the ing to take the oath required of glass, and sat down once more on her till she should find some means her blanket to ruminate sadly on of escape. Then kneeling to offer the peril into which her idle curiher usual nightly prayers to God osity had brought her. By and by and to the Blessed Virgin for Michael's step sounded outside, safety and protection, with more and he opened the door. fervor than she had ever yet “Well," he said, with the same breathed them, she lay down with taunting smile, "are you pretty a calm, strong heart, and fell well tired of your own company? asleep. When she awoke on the You've had time to think it over' following morning, it was

I gniess.

What do you say ? minutes before she could collect Which is it to be ?" her scattered thoughts and recol- “I'll never be your wife, Michael lect where she was, and all that White," replied Norah fiercely. had passed. It was quite impossi- “ You may kill me, if you dare, ble to tell what time it was, but it but I'll be no wife of yours.” seemed to her from the light that A scowl darkened the man's the day was far advanced. She ate face as he listened to her answer, the frugal breakfast that Michael and for some minutes he stood had left for her on the previous there in silence. day, and then set to work to ex- 6 You've a fine spirit,” he said amine her prison, to see if there coolly at last, “but I'll break it bewere any mode of escape. But she fore I've done with you. I'll give





you a couple of days more of this, as she had come, and once more reand see what you say then, and if turn to Harry and happiness. Seizyou stick to what you say now, ing her piece of glass, she set to why, you know I'm not a man to work, scrape, scrape, scrape; pausbreak my word. Yomg Duncan ing at tiines to listen, lest bis deccame round to me last night, and laration of intended absence might I showed him all over my house to have been a ruse on the part of prove that you weren't there. I'm Michael to entrap her. But no; all thinking I've thrown him off the was still, and patiently and vigorscent for the present, so he won't ously she scraped the hard wall, be taking the jump from this cliff slowly making her way to the socket I promised him. I ain't going to of the bolt. At length, with arms starve you, so here's your dinner." and fingers aching, she lay down

He put some dried fish and sea- and went to sleep, knowing by the biscuit on the barrel, and left her progress she had already made, that once more to her own thoughts. she would have time to finish her Norah's heart did not fail her yet. task before the return of her gaoler. Much might happen in two days, But it was harder work on the foland she ate her biscuit and fish lowing day, for the grain of the stone cheerfully, and then began once grew closer, and the glass broke bemore to search for means of escape. fore it again and again. But paThe door was hopeless, and she tiently, steadily she worked on, tried the sandy wall. With the aid pausing now and then to listen or to of the bit of glass it crumbled, eat, though her arms and back though not easily, and she thought ached with the unceasing exertions that she might yet loosen that ob- of hours. The streak of sunlight stinate bolt that kept her from life from her little window crept slowly and happiness. It made less noise across the wall, and then died out; than the door, but still she feared the rosy glow of sunset faded into that Michael might hear, and re- the gloom of night, but still she bad solved to wait until he left her in the not yet reached the bolt, and she evening. She knew he was there, knew not how early on the morrow for she heard him whistling softly Michael would arrive. It would be to bimself, and she sat down to wait maddening indeed to be balked on patiently till evening came with a the very eve of escape, and eagerly, fresh ray of hope to cheer her. The frantically Norah worked away, as hours dragged wearily on, and the the darkness became deeper and tears would gather in her eyes as she deeper. Suddenly the glass broke pictured poor Harry's frantic grief short off in ber hand. It was the at her disappearance. At length last piece of the bottle which she Michael opened the door, and throw- had broken, and she groped about ing in a heap of biscuits, said gruff- to find another. Then ber hand ly, “You must make those last you came in contact with something on as you can, for I'm not coming here the ground. It was a box of lucitill the day after to-morrow, so you fers. She struck one, found a botmust make up your mind by that tle, and breaking the neck off, set time, for I'm tired of this work." to work once more. Now and then

He slammed the door, and bolted she struck one of her lucifers to see it, and strode away, evidently ruf how she progressed, for she felt fled by something that had occur- more and more convinced that if red. Norah breathed more freely. she did not escape before Michael's She would be alone, then, for two next return, all hope was gone. In nights and a day, free to work at the bright light of day she might be the bolt, free, perhaps, to descend seen and brought back, even after she bad left the cave. Hour after head began to nod, then fell forhour she worked on, till, with an ward on his chest; bis breath beecstasy not to be described, she felt came heavier and heavier, until it the glass scrape the rough iron bolt, was a loud snore, and he slept. and in a few seconds she had push- With cautious, creeping step, and ed it back with quick, eager fingers, a heart beating so that it seemed to and stood free! Her heart beat suffocate her, Norah advanced to wildly as she crept through the long the mouth of the cavern, past the dark passage in which she found sleeping man. Once he moved, and herself. It wound on and on, now muttered some inaudible words, and up, now down, till at length she the cold perspiration started to her perceived a little glimmer of light forehead as she paused and held her before her, and knew she was ap- breath. But he did not wake; a proaching the outer cave. Hastily, few steps more, and she would be yet cautiously, she hurried forward, free — another and another — the till a sight met her eyes that nearly cool night air was on her face, the brought a scream of terror and dis- blue sky above her, and she was may to her lips. In the very mouth outside the cavern. of the cave by which she had enter- What sudden consciousness was ed, sat a man, in whose broad it that made the sleeping, halfshoulders and bullet head she recog- drunken man start up from his sleep nized Michael White. He was gaz- just as Norah's head was disappearing out to sea, apparently watching. ing beneath him? With a loud for somebody, and evidently had oath he sprang to his feet, and not heard her steps. Poor Norah! Norah, with a terrified wail, sprang her heart sank as she found herself wildly from point to point, clingthus thrust back at the very mo- ing, scrambling, clutching in her ment of escape. She leaned against eager haste, less fearful of the death the wall for a few moments in below than of the wretch above, an agony of indecision. Should horribly conscious that he was folshe rush forward and pass bim lowing her with steps as rash and before he had time to see her, or rapid as her own. She reached the should she wait patiently in the bottom by the same huge boulder hope of his falling asleep? Even on which she had been sitting beher terror could not bring her to fore she began her disastrous climb the first alternative, and she stood to the cavern; at that moment her perfectly still, waiting to see what eye fell on the fatal cliff, and as he might do. Presently he turned it did so a fearful scream reached his head, and taking up a bottle by her ears, a dark form dashed past his side, drank a deep draught of her, and Michael White lay a its contents.

crushed and quivering mass upon "The coward!” he muttered the rocks at her feet. With a scream angrily to himself, "he's afraid of of horror, she fled away from the this bit of a moon. He won't come, dreadful spot, over the hard, smooth and I shall have to keep this girl sands, towards the little village that here another night."

lay wrapped in slumber. Her cries He settled himself against the and knocks soon roused her uncle side of the cave, and drank again and annt, who heard her strange and again from the bottle by his tale with horror and surprise, and side. Norah watched him with re- Harry was soon on the spot, holding newed hope. He would soon feel bis lost darling in his arms. the effects of the strong spirit, the sun was just rising over the cliffs as odor of which filled the cavern, and the fishermen bronght back the fall asleep. She was right. His mangled body of their late comrade


to his home, there to await bis smiles and hearty good . wishes burial in the quiet churchyard on were on every side when, a week the bill; but Harry was not with after, Harry Duncan led. Norah thein, for he felt that he could not Grey to the altar, and many a grasp look with charity on the corpse of of the hand did each receive in him who had sought to do him such token of the sympathy that all had a grievous wrong. There were few felt for them in the troubles that followers and no mourners at the had ruflled the course of their true funeral of the smuggler; but bright love.


The two points of attraction of land in which Gothic virtue was my last Italian journey lay above at least able to establish permanent on Vesuvius and below in subter- forms of government. ranean Rome. In the Roman cat. . Yet of Ravenna and the cataacombs we had for our distinguish- combs perhaps another time; now ed guide a prince of the Church, I would tell of our visit to Vesuwho devotes himself to their inves- vius. tigation. The great results of such We had actually given it up. studies are now known, and a more The mountain was too uneasy. As natural and correct picture of the soon as it was dusk in Naples, the first centuries of Christendom is red tuft of flame shone upon its produced than those obscure repre- heights, threatening and solemn. sentations of deathlike paleness All night through one saw every and the darkness of the grave. I couple of minutes the summit veilwished on Vesuvius, ten times over, ed in smoke and fire. In Pompeii for a scientific guide. How many every one said, it is exceedingly dark secrets lie petrified around it! dangerous, impossible even to climb Longingly I thought, amid the up to the crater. Travellers who smoke and roaring of the volcano, had come down from the mountain of my honored teacher who enliven- had scarcely seen anything but the ed his sparkling geological lectures current of lava which had broken with a poetical intuition. Another out at the cone of ashes. There new source of rich recollections I did not seem to me to be sufficient now found in Italy. But this lay to compensate us, that I should ask neither above nor beneath the earth; my lady companion to undergo the the best part of it floated, as in pain and fatigue which I was able Kaulbach's Battle of the Huns, in to appreciate from a former ascent. the air. It was the spirits of the We went therefore from Pompeii old Goths, who, over the ruins of as far as Sorrento. their royal city of Ravenna, over For those who do not wish to go the half-buried tomb of Theodoric, to Sicily, there is no more beautiful over that wide, solitary pine forest resting-place on the Italian jourby the solitary sea, go hither and ney than Sorrento. Our entrance thither in the air, mourning and was favored. Before the gates of sighing that they were slain so soon. the city Signor Gargiulo met us, Yet, always unsatisfied, they can. the proprietor of the Cocumella in not quit the sight of that beautiful which I had spent so many pleasant days five years before. The strife into the heart, and the soul is host. recognized and greeted me bright and clear to the bottom, as immediately. The great flower- the wide, warm, blue ether around, terrace with its rooms was vacant, and the illuminated depths of the the house not too full. A few min- sea. utes later we were surrounded by Only a little disquietude ever the refreshing shade, the fresh scent again returned; it was Vesuvius of flowers, and .she deep, unchang- even, which looked down so proud ing quiet which All this house on the in its might, so challenging. As shore, distinguished among all the the ruler of the gulf it had already splendid spots on the earth. Ah, met us when we descended at Capua what heavenly days of repose were from the coach. How beautiful and those again in Sorrento. Our ter- magnificent he stretched upwards, race projected like an elevated hall, clothed in the purest velvet blue far out into the orange-garden, like a prince's mantle, the white over whose green tops one looked cloud of smoke like a crown on his into the blue sparkling sea.

From head. When we rode down, two the green woods around, from the evenings later, from Camaldoli, screen of flowers on the terrace, and the sun was setting, the entire rise inexhaustible perfumes; from mountain seemed drowned in rosy the sea floats up eternal freshness. light, just as if a mild inward glow But the Gulf of Naples is grand had broken out on every side. And enough to be pre-eminently sublime now he thundered sullenly through and beautiful. The shore opposite, the silence of Sorrento, and now with the green mountain behind, he threw up his sheaves of flame the strand beneath as if sown with into the night. A giant of the pearls, the blue pointed beads of gloomy primeval ages he projected the islands swimming in the pure into the gentle present, dark, mysether, all combines to form the most terions, and hostile to man. The magnificent tableau, and all is as if volcano occupied the mind even drowned in splendor, and surround- when one was not looking at it. ed by eternal rest. One observes On the fourth evening we made a not how time passes, in looking and sudden resolution, and a quick thinking. And this sea so spark- three-horse team brought us speed ling and so lovely! When we sat ily the four hours' journey to Poinbelow between the rocks, how beau- peii,-a lovely drive. in the night tiful were the green waves in their through blooming fragrant gardens, swelling and murmuring, and so or down by the sea beneath lofty clear and transparent, like moun- hills from which the white towns tain water, transparent even be- threw down their lights on the neath their mirror to the mossy quiet mirror of the gulf. rocks, below, down to the gloomy It was late in the night when we depths out of which the white shells arrived at the well-known inn “ To sparkled. The sun goes on its eter- Diomed,” which lies close to the nal course in the lofty firmament, gates of Pompeii. One finds a the shadows grow longer; suddenly lodging at need there. The upper all the water swims in a red glow, room opens on a broad balcony. and then a mist sinks down, and We stepped out. The wide starry the rippling and whispering and heaven shone and sparkled with plashing of the becomes great power and brilliancy. The louder,-yes, it is evening; one has millions of stars looked down so not observed the passing of the day earnestly and solemnly, and yet the in this cool rest and quiet, where night was so unspeakably mild and no thoughts throw any shadows of beautiful, full of softly breathing


« ForrigeFortsæt »