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-walls are strong and high—my comrades in arms fear not a whole host of Saxons, were they headed by Hengist and Horsa! The war cry of the Templar and of the Free Companions rises high over the conflict! and by mine honour, when we kindle the blazing beacon, for joy of our defence, it shall consume thee, body and bones; and I shall live to hear thou art gone from earthly fires to those of that hell, which never sent forth an incarnate fiend more utterly diabolical!"
"Hold thy belief," replied Ulrica, " till the proof reach thee.—But no!" she said, interrupting herself, " thou shalt know, even now, the doom, which all thy power, strength, and courage is unable to avoid, though it is prepared for thee by this feeble hand.—Markest thou the smouldering and suffocating vapour which already eddies in sable folds through the chamber?—Didst thou think it was but the darkening of thy bursting eyes—the difficulty of thy cumbered breathing? —No! Front de Boeuf, there is another cause— Rememberest thou the magazine of fuel that is stored beneath these apartments 1"
"Woman!" he exclaimed with fury, " thou hast not set fire to it ?—By Heaven thou hast, and the castle is in flames I"
"They are fast rising at least," said Ulrica, with frightful composure, "and a signal shall soon wave to warn the besiegers to press hard upon those who would extinguish them. Farewell, Front de Boeuf!—May Mista, Skogula, and Zernebock, gods of the ancient Saxons—fiends, as the priests now call them—supply the place of comforters at your dying bed, which Ulrica
VOL. III. F F
now relinquishes!—But know, if it will give thee comfort to know it, that Ulrica is bound to the same dark coast with thyself, the companion of thy punishment, as the companion of thy guilt. —And now, parricide, farewell for ever! May each stone of this vaulted roof find a tongue to echo that title into thine ear!"
So saying, she left the apartment; and Front de Boeuf could hear the crush of the ponderous key as she locked and double locked the door behind her, thus cutting off the most slender chance of escape. In the extremity of agony he shouted upon his servants and allies—" Stephen and St. Maur !—Clement and Giles !—I burn here unaided !—To the rescue—to the rescue, brave Bois de Gilbert, valiant De Bracy.—It is Front de Boeuf who calls!—It is your master, ye traitor squires !—Your ally—your brother in arms, ye perjured and faithless knights! —all the curses due to traitors upon your recreant heads, do you abandon me to perish thus miserably!— They hear me not—they cannot hear me—my voice is lost in the din of battle.—The smoke rolls thicker and thicker—the fire has caught upon the floor below.—O for one draught of the air of heaven, were it to be purchased by instant annihilation!" And in the mad frenzy of despair the wretch now shouted with the shouts of the fighters, now muttered curses on himself, on mankind, and on Heaven itself. "The red fire flashes through the thick smoke '." he exclaimed, "the demon marches against me under the banner of his own element.—Fonl spirit, avaunt! I go not with thee without my comrades—all, all are thine, that garrison these walls.—Thinkest thou Front de Boeuf will be singled out to go alone 1 —No—the infidel Templar, the licentious De Bracy—Ulrica, the foul murdering strumpet— the men who aided my enterprises—the dog Saxons, and accursed Jews, who are my prisoners —all, all shall attend me—a goodly fellowship as ever took the downward road—Ha, ha, ha!" and he laughed in his frenzy till the vaulted roof rung again. "Who laughed there 1" exclaimed Front de Boeuf, in altered mood, for the noise of the conflict did not prevent the echoes of his own frenzied laughter from returning upon his ear.— "Who laughed there? Ulrica, was it thou? Speak, witch, and I forgive thee—for, only thou or the fiend of hell himself could have laughed at such a moment. Avaunt! avaunt!"
But it were impious to trace any farther the picture of the blasphemer and parricide's deathbed. SIR W. SCOTT.
ALBANIA AND ITS INHABITANTS.
Albania comprises part of Macedonia, Illyria, Chaonia, and Epirus. Iskander is the Turkish word for Alexander; and the celebrated Scanderbeg (Lord Alexander) is alluded to in the third and fourth lines of the thirty-eighth stanza. I do not know whether I am correct in making Scanderbeg the countryman of Alexander, who was born at Pella, in Macedon, but Mr. Gibbon terms him so, and adds Pyrrhus to the list, in speaking of his exploits.
Of Albania, Gibbon remarks, that a country "within sight of Italy is less known than the interior of America." Circumstances, of little consequence to mention, led Mr. Hobhouse and myself into that country before we visited any other part of the Ottoman dominions; and with the exception of Major Leake, then officially resident at Joannina, no other Englishmen have ever advanced beyond the capital into the interior, as that gentleman very lately assured me. Ali Pacha was at that time (October, 1809) carrying on war against Ibrahim Pacha, whom he had driven to Berat, a strong fortress which he was then besieging: on our arrival at Joannina we were invited to Yepaleni, his highness's birthplace, and favourite Serai, only one day's distance from Berat; at this juncture the vizier had made it his headquarters.
After some stay in the capital, we accordingly followed; but though furnished with every accommodation, and escorted by one of the vizier's secretaries, we were nine days (on account of the rains) in accomplishing a journey which, on our return, barely occupied four.
On our route we passed two cities, Argyrocastro and Libochabo, apparently little inferior to Yanina in size; and no pencil or pen can ever do justice to the scenery in the vicinity of Zitza and Delvinachi, the frontier village of Epirus and Albania proper.
The Arnasuts, or Albanese, struck me forcibly by their resemblance to the Highlanders of Scotland, in dress, figure, and manner of living. Their very mountains seemed Caledonian, with a kinder climate. The kilt, though white; the spare, active form; their dialect, Celtic in its sound; and their hardy habits, all carried me back to Morven. No nation are so detested and dreaded by their neighbours as the Albanese: the Greeks hardly regard them as Christians, or the Turks as Moslems; and in fact, they are a mixture of both, and sometimes neither. Their habits are predatory: all are armed ; and the red-shawled Arnaouts, the Montenegrins, Chimariots, and Gegdes are treacherous; the others differ somewhat in garb, and essentially in character. As far as my own experience goes, I can speak favourably. I was attended by two, an infidel and a Mussulman, to Constantinople, and every other part of Turkey which came within my observation; and more faithful in peril, or indefatigable in service, are rarely to be found. The infidel was named Basilius; the Moslem, Dervish Fahiri; the former a man of middle age, and the latter about my own. Basili was strictly charged by Ali Pacha in person to attend us; and Dervish was one of fifty who accompanied us through the forests of Acarnania to the banks of Achelous, and onward to Messalunghi in TEtolia. There I took him into my own service, and never had occasion to repent it till the moment of my departure. Lord Byron.