Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

CHAPTER XIX.

streets of the town broke the general stillness, whilst the blades against each other. You will not, I trust, scruple full moon solemnly lit up the scene—it was the proper to declare before me your knightly differences.” spot.

The Duke's wish was fulfilled. Each of the noble youths Heimbert and Fadrique now drew their glittering related the whole of the events from the evening prior to weapons from their scabbards, and stood opposed to each embarkation, up to the present moment, whilst Alva other ready for the combat. But before a thrust was listened in silent meditation, without moving a feature. made, a strange feeling prompted them to fall into each other's arms ; lowering their weapons for a moment, they were locked in brotherly embrace and then quitting one another's hold, the fearful duel began.

The soldiers had long since ended their varrative, They were no longer companions in arms, nor friends, and the Duke, still lost in contemplation, said not a nor kindred, who thus pointed their murderous weapons word. At last he addressed them as follows: "As I at each other. One antagonist thrust at the other hope for mercy on the last day, young knights, from my keenly, yet coolly ; guarding, at the same time, his own conscience I pronounce your honour truly vindicated breast against hostile attack.

with regard to each other. Twice have ye stood up in After having exchanged several dangerous passes, the mortal combat on account of the slights which escaped combatants paused and looked at each other with in- Don Fadrique Mendez' lips ; and though the two unircreased affection, each anxious to test the valour of his portant scratches respectively received may not suffice associate.

to efface the stain of these gibes, yet I hold that your Heimbert, with his left, turned Fadrique's sword, common perils before the ramparts of Tunis, and the dewhich met him on making a tierce sideways, but whilst liverance afforded by Count Heimbert von Waldhausen doing so, the razor edge of his opponent's weapon pene- to Don Fadrique Mendez in the desert, after obtaining trated his leather glove, and the crimson blood gushed for him his bride, empower Count Waldhausen to forforth. “Stop," exclaimed Fadrique, and they examined give an opponent for whose welfare he has testified such the wound, but on finding it to be trifling, they renewed | lively interest. Legends of ancient Rome have told usthe combat, after having previously bound up the scratch of two captains under the great Julius Caesar, who, with a handkerchief.

having amicably adjusted a difference, formed a brotherly A few moments had elapsed, when Heimbert made a alliance with each other, and fought side by side in the successful thrust at Fadrique's right shoulder, and now Gallic wars. But I affirm that you have done still the German, in his turn, cried “ Stop," as he felt sure more for each other, and therefore declare your dispute that his thrust had taken effect. At first, Fadrique ended for ever. Sheathe your swords, and embrace in denied having received any hurt, but soon blood began my presence.” to flow copiously from the wound, and he was obliged to In obedience to the commands of their general, the accept his friend's proffered services.

young knights now sheathed their weapons, but, jealous The cut, however, proving unimportant, the noble of the least injury their honour might sustain, they still Spaniard felt his strength undiminished either in arm or hesitated to clasp each other's necks. hand, and once more each blade glistened in the air. The great hero beheld them somewhat angrily, then

At this moment, the garden gate, which was not very said : “ Think ye, gentlemen, that I could wish to save distant from the scene of action, was heard clinking, and the life of two brave soldiers at the expense of their a horseman seemed to be approaching through the shrub- honour ? Rather than do so, I would have them both bery. Both combatants ceased from their engagement, killed before my eyes at the same moment. I see, howand turned with impatient looks towards the unwelcome ever, that some other measures must be adopted with intruder, who was now perceived, in the figure of a such head-strong fellows as ye are." warrior mounted on a tall charger, brushing through the And leaping down from his horse, which he then rows of slender pines.

tied to a tree, he stepped between the two knights, havFadrique, as master of the house, addressed the ing his drawn battle-blade in his right, and exclaimed: stranger as follows: “Senor, why you have taken it upon “Whoever denies that all differences between Count you to intrude upon the privacy of a stranger's garden, Heimbert von Waldhausen and Don Fadrique Mendez I shall discuss with you another time. For the present, have not been honourably and sufficiently adjusted, I shall content myself with requesting that you will rid must answer for his opinion to the Duke of Alva ; and us of all further inconvenience by instantly departing, if those two knights themselves should have any objecfavouring me, however, with your name.”

tions to bring forward, let them state them. I stand “ I intend not to quit this spot,” replied the stranger: here as the champion of my convictions.” Upon this “my name I will readily communicate ; you are in the the youths made a low obeisance to their great general, presence of the Duke of Alva.” And by a sudden turn who led the reconciled parties to their brides. of his horse, the moon shone full upon his long pensive The Duke would not be deprived of the pleasure of features, the seat of true greatness, dignity, and awe. taking a prominent share in the solemnisation of the The two young soldiers bowed low, and let their wea- nuptials, and took upon himself the part of giving away

both the lovely brides to their handsome bridegrooms, “ I should know yon," continued Alva, measuring being also present at the marriage feast. them with his twinkling eyes. · Yes, in truth, I do Alllived from that time in undisturbed joyful harmony ; know you well, ye young heroes of the siege of Tunis. and though Count Heimbert was shortly after summoned Heaven be praised that two such brave soldiers, whom I with his beautiful spouse into his fatherland, yet letters had already given up as lost, yet see the light; but now of salutation were mutually exchanged between the relate to me what affair of honour has directed your friends; and the late posterity of Count Waldhausen

pons fall.

[ocr errors]

the brave and generor s

house of Mendez, whilst the descendants of the latter | Heimbert with eager fondness.*

* The title of this tale is in the original “The Two Captains."

TO MY STUDY.

A thonsand blessings on thee now

My quiet little room,
For all thy power to clear m'* brow,

And dissipate my gloom.
I enter thee with haggard looks,

And heart o'ercharged with pain;
I look upon my darling books,

And I am strong again.
Hatred and envy, strife and fear

(The cankers of our lot),
Contempt and coldness come not nèar,

And weakness is forgot.
There is, at least, a quiet nook

Where I may draw my breath.
And out on life's broad river look,

Fast sweeping on to death.
Here death himself has lost his powers,

I dread him here no more,
He cannot kill life's sweetest flowers,

For they have died before.

He cannot kill the love of dream

That faded long ago,
A moment's sunbeam from above,

Upon a path of woe.
He cannot kill the hopes of fame,

That flushed upon my brow;
The future echoes, not my name,

E'en that is silent now.
True, he may shroud the kindling past

From memory's anxious view;
But then the death-shade would be cast

O'er sin and sorrow too,
For memory's book holds many a leaf,

It sickens me to see ;
Then turn I jaded for relief,

My little room, to thee.
When all-resigned I sit and rest,

Regardless of my doom,
And loving thee of all things best,

My quiet little room!

BY

THOMAS

DE

JOAN OF ARC.
In reference to M. Michelet's History of France.

QUINCEY.

(Concluded from page 184.) LA Pucelle, before she could be allowed to justified their singeing her a little. And just at practise as a warrior, was put through her manual such a crisis, expressly to justify their burning and platoon exercise, as a juvenile pupil in di- her to a cinder, up gallops Joanna with a brigade vinity, before six eminent men in wigs. Accor- of guns, unlimbers, and serves them out with ding to Southey (v. 393, Book III., in the original heretical grape and deistical round-shot enough edition of his “ Joan of Arc") she “appall’d the to lay a kingdom under interdict. Any miracles, doctors.” It's not easy to do that: but they had to which Joanna might treat the grim D.Ds. some reason to feel bothered, as that surgeon after that, would go to the wrong side of her little would assuredly feel bothered, who, upon pro- account in the clerical books. Joanna would be ceeding to dissect a subject, should find the sub- created a Dr. herself, but not of Divinity. For ject retaliating as a dissector upon himself, espe- in the Joanna page of the ledger the entry would cially if Joanna ever made the speech to them be—“Miss Joanna, in acct. with the Church, which occupies v. 354—391, B. III. It is a Dr. by sundry diabolic miracles, she having double impossibility; 1st, because a piracy from publicly preached heresy, shown herself a witch, Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation: now and even tried hard to corrupt the principles of a piracy à parte post is common enough ; but six church pillars.” In the meantime, all this a piracy à parte ante, and by three centuries, deistical confession of Joanna’s, besides being would (according to our old English phrase*) drive suicidal for the interest of her cause, is opposed a coach-and-six through any copyright act that i to the depositions upon both trials. The very best man born of woman could frame. 2dly, It is quite witness called from first to last deposes that contrary to the evidence on Joanna's trial; for Joanna attended these rites of her Church even Southey's “ Joan” of A. Dom. 1796 (Cottle, Bris- too often ; was taxed with doing so; and, by tol), tells the doctors, amongst other secrets, that blushing, owned the charge as a fact, though cershe never in her life attended— 1st, Mass; nor tainly not as a fault. Joanna was a girl of 2d, the Sacramental table ; nor 3d, Confession. natural piety, that saw God in forests, and hills, Here's a precious windfall for the doctors; they, by and fountains; but did not the less seck him in snaky tortuosities, had hoped, through the aid of chapels and consecrated oratories. a corkscrew (which every D.D. or S.T.P is said This peasant girl was self-educated through her to carry in his pocket), for the happiness of ulti- own natural meditativeness. If the reader turns mately extracting from Joanna a few grains of to that divine passage in Paradise Regained, heretical powder or small shot, which might have which Milton has put into the mouth of our

Saviour when first entering the wilderness, and Yes, old—very old phrase : not, as ignoramuses fancy, a musing upon the tendency of those great impulse & phrase recently minted by a Repealer in Ireland. growing within himself

“Oh, what a multitude of thoughts arise!' &c. of English and Burgundians ; on the 15th of that he will have some notion of the vast reveries month, she carried the Dauphin into Rheims; on which brooded over the heart of Joanna in early Sunday the 17th, she crowned him; and there she girlhood, when the wings were budding that should rested from her labour of triumph. What recarry her from Orleans to Rheims, when the mained was—to suffer. golden chariot was dimly revealing itself that All this forward movement was her own: exshould carry her from the kingdom of France cepting one man, the whole Council was against Delivered to the eternal kingdom.

her. Her enemies were all that drew power from It is not requisite, for the honour of Joanna, earth. Her supporters were her own strong nor is there, in this place, room to pursue her enthusiasm, and the headlong contagion by brief career of action. That, though wonderful, which she carried this sublime frenzy into the forms the earthly part of her story: the intellectual hearts of women, of soldiers, and of all who lived part is, the saintly passion of her imprisonment, by labour. Henceforwards she was thwarted; trial, and execution. It is unfortunate, there and the worst error, that she committed, was to fore, for Southey's “ Joan of Arc” (which however lend the sanction of her presence to counsels which should always be regarded as a juvenile effort), she disapproved. But she had accomplished the that, precisely when her real glory begins, the capital objects which her own visions had dictated. poem ends. But this limitation of the interest These involved all the rest. Errors were now less grew, no doubt, from the constraint inseparably important; and doubtless it had now become more attached to the law of Epic unity. Joanna's difficult for herself to pronounce authentically history bisects into two opposite hemispheres, and what were errors. The noble girl had achieved, both could not have been presented to the eye

in as by a rapture of motion, the capital end of one poem, unless by sacrificing all unity of theme, clearing out a free space around her sovereign, or else by involving the earlier half, as a narrative giving him the power to move his arms with efepisode, in the latter ;-this might have been done fect; and, secondly, the inappreciable end of win-it might have been communicated to a fellow- ning for that sovereign what seemed to all France prisoner, or a confessor, by Joanna herself, in the the heavenly ratification of his rights, by crownsame way that Virgil has contrived to acquaint ing him with the ancient solemnities. She had the reader, through the hero's mouth, with ear- made it impossible for the English now to step lier adventures that, if told by the poet speak- before her. They were caught in an irretrievable ing in his own person, would have destroyed the blunder, owing partly to discord amongst the unity of his fable. The romantic interest of the uncles of Henry VI., partly to a want of funds, early and irrelate incidents (last night of Troy, but partly to the very impossibility which they be&c.) is thrown as an affluent into the general lieved to press with tenfold force upon any French river of the personal narrative, whilst yet the ca- attempt to forestal theirs. They laughed at such pital current of the epos, as unfolding the origin a thought; and whilst they laughed, she did it. and incunabula of Rome, is not for a moment Henceforth the single redress for the English of suffered to be modified by events so subordinate this capital oversight, but which never could have and so obliquely introduced. It is sufficient, as redressed it effectually, was—to vitiate and taint concerns this section of Joanna's life, to say—that the coronation of Charles VII. as the work of a she fulfilled, to the height of her promises, the witch. That policy, and not malice (as M. Micherestoration of the prostrate throne. France had let is so happy to believe), was the moving prinbecome a province of England ; and for the ruin ciple in the subsequent prosecution of Joanna. of both, if such a yoke could be maintained. Unless they unhinged the force of the first coroDreadful pecuniary exhaustion caused the English nation in the popular mind, by associating it with energy to droop; and that critical opening La power given from hell

, they felt that the sceptre Pucelle used with a corresponding felicity of of the invader was broken. audacity and suddenness (that were in themselves But she, the child that, at nineteen, had wrought portentous) for introducing the wedge of French wonders so great for France, was she not elated? native resources, for rekindling the national pride, Did she not lose, as men so often have lost, all ardfor planting the Dauphin once more upon his sobriety of mind when standing upon the pinnacle feet. When Joanna appeared, he had been on of successes so giddy? Let her enemies declare. the point of giving up the struggle with the During the progress of her movement, and in the English, distressed as they were, and of flying to centre of ferocious struggles, she had manifested the South of France. She taught him to blush for the temper of her feelings by the pity which she such abject counsels. She liberated Orleans, that had everywhere expressed for the suffering enemy. great city, so decisive by its fate for the issue of She forwarded to the English leaders a touching the war, and then beleaguered by the English with invitation to unite with the French, as brothers, an elaborate application of engineering skill un- in a common crusade against infidels, thus openprecedented in Europe. Entering the city after ing the road for a soldierly retreat. She interposed sunset, on the 29th of April, she sang mass on to protect the captiveorthe wounded-she mourned Sunday, May 8, for the entire disappearance of over the excesses of her countryman-she threw the besieging force. On the 29th of June, she herself off her horse to kneel by the dying fought and gained over the English the decisive English soldier, and to comfort him with such battle of Patay; on the 9th of July, she took ministrations, physical or spiritual, as his situaTroyes by a coup-de-main from a mixed garrison ' tion allowed. " Nolebat,” says the evidence, “ ati ense suo, aut quemquam interficere." She that ran before France and laggard Europe by sheltered the English, that invoked her aid, in many a century, confounding the malice of the her own quarters. She wept as she beheld, ensnarer, and making dumb the oracles of falsestretched on the field of battle, so many brave hood! Is it not scandalous—is it not humiliating to enemies that had died without confession. And, civilisation that, even at this day, France exas regarded herself, her elation expressed it- hibits the horrid spectacle of judges examining the self thus:-on the day when she had finished prisoner against himself ; seducing him, by fraud, her work, she wept; for she knew that, when into treacherous conclusions against his own head; her task was done, her end must be approach- using the terrors of their power for extorting coning. Her aspirations pointed only to a place, fessions from the frailty of hope ; nay (which is which seemed to her more than usually full of worse), using the blandishments of condescensione natural piety, as one in which it would give her and snaky kindness for thawing into compliances pleasure to die. And she uttered, between smiles of gratitude those whom they had failed to freeze and tears, as a wish that inexpressibly fascinated into terror! Wicked judges! Barbarian jurisher heart, and yet was half fantastic, a broken prudence ! that, sitting in your own conceit or prayer that God would return her to the solitudes the summits of social wisdom, have yet failed to from which he had drawn her, and suffer her to learn the first principles of criminal justice—sit ye become a shepherdess once more. It was a na- humbly and with docility at the feet of this girl tural prayer, because Nature has laid a necessity from Domrémy, that tore your webs of cruelty into upon every human heart to seek for rest, and to shreds and dust. “Would you examine me as shrink from torment. Yet, again, it was a half- a witness against myself ?" was the question by fantastic prayer, because, from childhood up- which many times she defied their arts. Con wards, visions that she had no power to mistrust, tinually she showed that their interrogations were and the voices which sounded in her ear for ever, irrelevant to any business before the court, or that had long since persuaded her mind, that for her entered into the ridiculous charges against her. no such prayer could be granted. Too well she General questions were proposed to her on points felt that her mission must be worked out to the of casuistical divinity; two-edged questions which end, and that the end was now at hand.-All not one of themselves could have answered went wrong from this time. She herself had without, on the one side, landing himself int created the funds out of which the French heresy (as then interpreted), or, on the other, in restoration should grow; but she was not suf- some presumptuous expression of self-esteem. fered to witness their development, or their pros- Next came a wretched Dominican that pressed perous application. More than one military her with an objection, which, if applied to the plan was entered upon which she did not ap- Bible, would tax every one of its miracles with unprove. But she still continued to expose her soundness. The monk had the excuse of never person as before. Severe wounds had not taught having read the Bible. M. Michelet has no such her caution. And at length, in a sortie from excuse ; and it makes one blush for him, as de Compiegne, whether through treacherous collu- philosopher, to find him describing such an arsion on the part of her own friends is doubtful to gument as "weighty,” whereas it is but a varied this day, she was made prisoner by the Burgun- expression of rude Mahometan metaphysics. Her dians, and finally surrendered to the English. answer to this, if there were room to place the

Now came her trial. This trial, moving of whole in a clear light, was as shattering as it was course under English influence, was conducted rapid. Another thought to entrap her by asking in chief by the Bishop of Beauvais. He was a what language the angelic visiters of her solitude Frenchman, sold to English interests, and hoping, had talked : as though heavenly counsels could by favour of the English leaders, to reach the want polyglott interpreters for every word, or that highest preferment. Bishop that art, Archbishop God needed language at all in whispering thoughts that shalt be, Cardinal that mayest be, were the to a human heart. Then came a worse devil, words that sounded continually in his ear; and who asked her whether the archangel Michael doubtless, a whisper of visions still higher, of a had appeared naked. Not comprehending the triple crown, and feet upon the necks of kings, vile insinuation, Joanna, whose poverty suggested sometimes stole into his heart. M. Michelet is to her simplicity that it might be the costliness of anxious to keep us in mind that this Bishop was suitable robes which caused the demur, asked but an agent of the English. True. But it does them if they fancied God, who clothed the flowers not better the case for his countryman—that, of the valleys, unable to find raiment for his serbeing an accomplice in the crime, making himself | vants. The answer of Joanna moves a smile of the leader in the persecution against the help- tenderness, but the disappointment of her judges less girl, he was willing to be all this in the makes one laugh horribly. Others succeeded spirit, and with the conscious vileness of a cats- by troops, who upbraided her with leaving her paw. Never from the foundations of the earth father; as if that greater Father, whom she was there such a trial as this, if it were laid open believed herself to have been serving, did not in all its beauty of defence, and all its hellishness retain the power of dispensing with his own rules, of attack. Oh, child of France! shepherdess, pea- or had not said, that for a less cause than martyrsant girl! trodden under foot by all around thee, dom, man and woman should leave both father how I honour thy flashing intellect, quick as God's and mother. lightning, and true as that lightning to its mark, On Easter Sunday, when the trial had been

some

long proceeding, the poor girl fell so ill as to cause in life never to utter a falsehood, and, above all, a belief that she had been poisoned. It was not a sycophantic falsehood; and, in the false hopoison. Nobody had any interest in hastening mage of the modern press towards women, there & death so certain. M. Michelet, whose sympa- is horrible sycophancy. It is as hollow, most of thies with all feelings are so quick that one would it, and it is as fleeting as is the love that lurks. gladly see them always as justly directed, reads in uxoriousness. Yet, if a woman asks me to tell the case most truly. Joanna had a two-fold a falsehood, I have long made up my mind—that malady. She was visited by a paroxysm of the on moral considerations I will, and ought to do so, complaint called home-sickness; the cruel nature whether it be for any purpose of glory to her, or of her imprisonment, and its length, could not of screening her foibles (for she does commit a but point her solitary thoughts, in darkness, and few), or of humbly, as a vassal, paying a pepperin chains (for chained she was), to Domrémy. corn rent to her august privilege of caprice. BarAnd the season, which was the most heavenly ring these cases, I must adhere to my resolution period of the spring, added stings to this yearning. of telling no fibs. And I repeat, therefore, but That was one of her maladies--nostalgia, as medi- not to be rude, I repeat in Latincine calls it; the other was weariness and exhaus

Escudent alii meliùs spirantia signa, tion from daily combats with malice. She saw

Credo cquidem vivos ducent de marmore vultus: that everybody hated her, and thirsted for her Altius ascendent : at tu caput, Eva, memento blood ; nay, many kind-hearted creatures that Sandalo ut infringas referenti oracula tanta.* would have pitied her profoundly as regarded Yet, sister woman-though I cannot consent to all political charges, had their natural feelings find a Mozart or a Michael Angelo in your sex, warped by the belief that she had dealings with until that day when you claim my promise as to fiendish powers. She knew she was to die; that falsehood — cheerfully, and with the love that was not the misery; the misery was that this con- burns in depths of admiration, I acknowledge summation could not be reached without so much that you can do one thing as well as the best of intermediate strife, as if she were contending for usmen—a greater thing than even Mozart is known

chance (where chauce was none) of to have done, or Michael Angelo—you can die happiness, or were dreaming for a moment of grandly, and as goddesses would die were goddesses escaping the inevitable. Why, then, did she mortal. If any distant world (which may be the contend? Knowing that she would reap nothing case) are so far ahead of us Tellurians in optical from answering her persecutors, why did she not resources as to see distinctly through their telesretire by silence from the superfluous contest ? copes all that we do on earth, what is the granIt was because her quick and eager loyalty to dest sight to which we ever treat them? St. Peter's truth would not suffer her to see it darkened by at Rome, do you fancy, on Easter Sunday, or frauds, which she could expose, but others, even Luxor, or perhaps the Himalayas ? Pooh! pooh! of candid listeners, perhaps, could not; it was

my friend : suggest something better ; these are through that imperishable grandeur of soul, which baubles to them; they see in other worlds, in taught her to submit meekly and without a their own, far better toys of the same kind. struggle to her punishment, but taught her not to These, take my word for it, are nothing. Do you submit—no, not for a moment—to calumny as to give it up? The finest thing, then, we have to show facts, or to misconstruction as to motives. Be- them is a scaffold on the morning of execution. sides, there were secretaries all around the court I assure you there is a strong muster in those taking down her words. That was meant for no far telescopic worlds, on any such morning, of good to her. But the end does not always cor- those who happen to find themselves occupying respond to the meaning. And Joanna might say the right hemisphere for a peep at us. Telesto herself—these words, that will be used against copes look up in the market on that morning, me to-morrow and the next day, perhaps in some and bear a monstrous premium ; for they cheat, nobler generation may rise again for my justifi- probably, in those scientific worlds as well as cation. Yes, Joanna, they are rising even now we do. How, then, if it be announced in some in Paris, and for more than justification. such telescopic world by those who make a live

Woman, sister—there are some things which lihood of catching glimpses at our newspapers, you do not execute as well as your brother, man; no, nor ever will. Pardon me if I doubt whether

* Our sisters are always rather uneasy when we say any. you will ever produce a great poet from your thing of them in Latin or Greek. It is like giving sealed choirs, or a Mozart, or a Phidias, or a Mickael orders to a sea captain, which he is not to open for bis life Angelo, or a great philosopher, or a great scho- till he comes into a certain latitude, which latitude, per

haps, he never will come into, and thus may miss the selar. By which last is meant-not one who decret till he is going to the bottom. Generally I acknow. pends simply on an infinite memory, but also on ledge that it is not polite before our female friends to cite

an infinite and electrical power of combination; in this particular case, where I am only iterating a disa, bringing together from the four winds, like the greeable truth, they will please to recollect

that the politeangel of the resurrection, what else were dust ness lies in not translating. However, if they insist absofrom dead men's bones, into the unity of breathing lutely on knowing this very night, before going to bed, what life. If you can create yourselves into any of den's Virgil, somewhere in the 6th Book of the Eneid. Lhese great creators, why have you not? Do not except as to the closing line and a-half, which contain ask me to say otherwise; because if you do, you xious to see the equilibrium of advantages re-established

private suggestion of my own to discontented nymphs anwill lead me into temptation. For I swore early 1 between the two sexes.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »