페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

As her husband quitted the apartment, Donna Adelaida was remarked by some to turn deadly pale-a circumstance carefully treasured, and afterwards and circumstantially remembered to her disadvantage. A pause—the more remarkable from the before joyous temperament of the party-now succeeded, and as every person turned to watch the retreating figure of their host, an oppressive feeling of anticipated evil pervaded the assembled mass. Slightly bowing to his astonished guests, the master of the feast passed through the open door way never to return.

Hardly a minute had elapsed, and as yet, unable to recover from their surprise, the panic-struck party retained their standing positions, when a deep groan of mingled pain and horror, uttered with a fearful loudness, broke the spell. Actuated by one common impulse, all rushed towards the door, and, passing onward to the first landing-place, the mystery was solved at once.

Glittering in the splendid habiliments which in honor of the occasion, he had that night worn, but in many places stained and disfigured with the dark purple of his own blood, lay the inanimate form of all that remained of the once proud, haughty possessor of that wealth which had made him the envy of thousands; no one stood by—not a mark or footstep on the marble pavement left a print by which the murderer could be traced none knew the menial through whose means the message had been carried, and he alone who could have solved the history of the fearful deed lay motionless in death. Search, fruitless as indefatigable, was everywhere instituted, examinations made, persons seized, but at the time all and every measure proved abortive, and a thick veil hung impervious o'er the deed. The motive alone by which the act was perpetrated was manifest, for on the bosom of the corpse, secured to the dagger which had deprived the victim of life, was affixed a paper bearing three words—"Giberto and revenge;"—yet it was widely circulated that Giberto had long ceased to exist :- friends or partizans he had none to espouse his cause, neither could it be conjectured how the crime was so daringly, yet so secretly accomplished without detection. For the present, however, so it was; and although sin like that, can seldom escape punishment even in this world, it seemed as though in the present case retribution could result but by miracle alone.

Well has it been said that “the ways of God are inscrutable," and well was it exemplified in this case, and moreover brought to pass through the instrumentality of the actual perpetrator of the deed, who, lured by the temptation of reward proffered for discovering the offender, a despised outcast of society, stepped forth and voluntarily engaged to afford a clue towards the so much wished for discovery, provided he was to be rewarded by

the possession of the princely sum extended as a bait. The bargain was instantly struck, and the despicable miscreant announced himself the actual assassin, but at the instigation of his employer, Giberto, who, the better to effect his object without a chance of failure, had for months past been secreted in Malaga, with but one sole object-seeking opportunity for the gratification of his revenge.

Thus, then, it was evident, that the various tales circulated of his death, were but fabrications, and eventual enquiry elicited that the more circumstantial statements of his decease originated with himself,

Measures were speedily adopted for securing the culprit, who, as yet, lingered round the scene of his former happiness and present guilt, and ere many hours had elapsed, Giberto and the hired bravo were securely lodged within the dungeons of the Fort.

Now it was that from all sides sprung up remarks and recollections of circumstances that for many a long day had been buried in oblivion.

Again the whole story of Giberto's misplaced attachment was brought to light, and exaggerations innumerable were promulgated, and his supposed crimes discussed with an avidity well worthy of a better cause.

Neither did the character of the helpless and innocent cause of so much mischief escape unassailed, nor were there wanting persons ready to affirm that from the first intimation of her lover's attachment, she had manifested every possible encouragement, while others even more wicked than the rest, quoted her agitation on the night of the murder as convincing evidence of her having been accessary to the deed; these persons forgetting that on the dreadful occasion triey themselves, and all present, admitted the painful feeling under which they labored when Don Triarto so suddenly, and at so strange a moment, left the room.

Such were the idle clamours which engaged the minds of the inhabitants; and at length overwhelmed with the repeated suspicions of the many, though still without the slightest proof of guilt, the yet beautiful widow was cast into prison, there to await the award which an investigation of the charge might demand.

It were hard to tell how the mind of Adelaida bore up against the accumulation of horrors, which apparently would never cease, but the very consciousness of innocence has frequently afforded more support in the hour of affliction, even to the weak, fragile form of a timid woman, than may be shown in the boastful carriage of the stronger and more powerful sex, when confronted with equal peril.

The preparations for examination were soon completed, and the three together stood in the presence of the judges on whose decision rested their release from prison, or whose word might lead them forth to meet a painful and ignominious end.

All Malaga was conversant with the story of Giberto's early life—his various accomplishments-his many virtues, and the readiness with which he gained the good will of all who knew him, was a theme familiar to their ears; yet these and other favorable impressions, which in spite of prejudice, yet clung to their minds, were quickly superseded by the remembrance of the manifold atrocities which had been laid to his charge, and few, among those who formerly classed themselves among his most familiar friends, could have identified the mutilated being then under examination for his life, with him whom they had previously courted in days long passed by. The chief and indeed only evidence against him was in the assertions of the assassin, but so minutely did the wretch detail the craft and cunning with which the plot had been laid, and carried into execution, and so satisfactorily did he explain the mode in which each moment had been occupied by Giberto, since his reaching Malaga, that not a doubt existed on the mind of any then present, but that the accomplishment of the foul deed for which the prisoner was about to suffer had been for a long period the sole and all-engrossing aim of his existence.

In extenuation, question, or defence, Giberto uttered not a word; an astonished look of mingled pity and contempt curled his lip, when first confronted with his accuser, but from the moment he entered until quitting that tribunal a doomed man, neither by word or sign could the feelings that agitated his bosom have been judged; and although standing within a few paces of her whose almost angelic beauty had caused such abject misery, not for an instant did he raise his eyes toward those features, to gaze on which he had once considered as the greatest blessing life could offer.

Had the warm nature of his being changed ? did he now look with horror on the innocent cause of all this wretchedness? or was he fearful by again turning towards the object of his early love, the apparent indifference which he had assumed to carry him through the scene then acting, might deprive him of that firmness which he so much needed? What his motive was, God alone knows, but with an apparent calmness throughout the trial, and equally unmoved at its conclusion, he heard that sentence pronounced which in one short hour would cease to number him among men.

Prejudiced as was the community at large against the miserable woman, and loud as were the brutal howlings of the

mob, demanding she should share the fate of Giberto, yet the total absence of even a shadow of suspicion that the unhappy lady could have possessed a knowledge of the intended murder, compelled the judges to pronounce her acquitted of the crime.

For months succeeding that agonizing hour when Adelaida Leheld the early companion of her childhood led forth to execution, Heaven mercifully decreed her an oblivion of all earthly ills-neither was it until a short time previous to the evening when we saw her kneeling in the church of San Juan, that the persecuted being had regained her reason.

Slowly, and perhaps unwillingly, she recovered from her illness, and finally awoke to consciousness to find herself possessed of the large fortune bequeathed by her murdered husband; but of what avail was wealth to her ? with whom could she partake the blessings thus offered ? her father had preceded her to the tomb, and he in whose presence perhaps even poverty would have been a blessing, slept the last long sleep in an unhonored grave. From that period all her immense riches, and her time, were devoted towards alleviating distress, and supplicating mercy from the Deity in behalf of those with whom she had been connected.

From a sentiment of hatred, the vulgar rabble now viewed her rather with a feeling of awe than of detestation, and hence arose the agitation of Mateo when he strove to withdraw our party from the church.

No sooner had the fiat issued which was to reckon Giberto with the dead, than the callous ruffian, who for a heap of paltry dross bartered the blood of his companion, with a brutal effron. tery almost beyond the scope of human wickedness, insolently demanded the reward.

With a scowling visage, well betokening some deeply hidden meaning, the officer appealed to, commanded the money instantly to be paid, and as the delighted wretch clutched with his greedy hands the glittering price of blood, the dread sentence of death again rung on his ear, and in this instance pronounced his own irrevocable doom.

To dwell on the mental sufferings of the then abject traitor would be but to inflict pain on all who detest viewing human nature in her most degrading garb; nor would a prolonged account of the execution, which took place in the presence of hundreds, gratify those who having waded through the history of Giberto's persecutions, and insane passion, may not perchance withhold their pity at his untimely fate, though execrating the coldbloodiness of his crime. ; ;

Arrived at the spot destined to witness his last struggles, he begged earnestly that his eyes might not be blind-fold-a

request, however, seldom or never complied with; and raising his fine figure to its extreme height, while his companion lay writhing on the earth, Giberto gave the signal to fire, and the next instant the bodies lay side by side, unconscious of this world for ever.

In the left side of Giberto's vest a small packet was discovered sewn within the lining, which when examined proved to contain nothing but the broken fragments of—a woman's fan.

THE ALCESTIS OF EURIPIDES:

Translated into English Verse, according to the text of Monk.

BY REV. J. BANKS, M.A.

Late Scholar of Lincoln College, Oxford.

INTRODUCTION.

In producing the Alcestis of Euripides, in an English form, I have been actuated by a natural wish to impart to those who are unable to read the original, some of the pleasure which the scholar cannot fail to derive from its perusal. To render it in any degree likely to attain this end, I have felt it needful to translate it metrically; and adhering pretty fairly to the sense of the text, to keep the interest of the piece as unbroken as possible, by note or comment, or otherwise. The scholar will easily see, if haply he peruse the following pages, that I have not published them with any view to throwing light upon a play, which has been so completely edited by the present Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, as to leave nothing for illustration : but I trust he will at the same time acquit me of having unnecessarily sacrificed truthful rendering of the sense of passages, for the temptations of metrical elegance, and

« 이전계속 »