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Narrative And Miscellaneous Papers by Thomas De Quincey

Part 2 out of 8

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other regards whatsoever; to make this the first, the second, the third
law of her conduct, and his personal safety but the fourth or fifth.
Yet women, and especially when the interests of children are at stake
upon their husbands' safety, rarely indeed are able to take this Roman
view of their duties.

To return to the narrative. Agnes had not, nor could have, the most
remote suspicion of this Barratt's connection with the shop which he
had not accidentally entered; and the sudden appearance of this wretch
it was, at the very moment of finding herself charged with so vile and
degrading an offence, that contributed most of all to rob her of her
natural firmness, by suddenly revealing to her terrified heart the
depth of the conspiracy which thus yawned like a gulf below her. And
not only had this sudden horror, upon discovering a guilty design in
what before had seemed accident, and links uniting remote incidents
which else seemed casual and disconnected, greatly disturbed and
confused her manner, which confusion again had become more intense upon
her own consciousness that she _was_ confused, and that her manner
was greatly to her disadvantage; but--which was the worst effect of
all, because the rest could not operate against her, except upon those
who were present to witness it, whereas this was noted down and
recorded--so utterly did her confusion strip her of all presence of
mind, that she did not consciously notice (and consequently could not
protest against at the moment when it was most important to do so, and
most natural) the important circumstance of the muff. This capital
objection, therefore, though dwelt upon and improved to the utmost at
the trial, was looked upon by the judges as an after-thought; and
merely because it had not been seized upon by herself, and urged in the
first moments of her almost incapacitating terror on finding this
amongst the circumstances of the charge against her--as if an ingenuous
nature, in the very act of recoiling with horror from a criminal charge
the most degrading, and in the very instant of discovering, with a
perfect rapture of alarm, the too plausible appearance of probability
amongst the circumstances, would be likely to pause, and with attorney-
like dexterity, to pick out the particular circumstance that might
admit of being _proved_ to be false, when the conscience
proclaimed, though in despondence for the result, that all the
circumstances were, as to the use made of them, one tissue of
falsehoods. Agnes, who had made a powerful effort in speaking of the
case at all, found her calmness increase as she advanced; and she now
told me, that in reality there were two discoveries which she made in
the same instant, and not one only, which had disarmed her firmness and
ordinary presence of mind. One I have mentioned--the fact of Barratt,
the proprietor of the shop, being the same person who had in former
instances persecuted her in the street; but the other was even more
alarming--it has been said already that it was _not_ a pure matter
of accident that she had visited this particular shop. In reality, that
nursery-maid, of whom some mention has been made above, and in terms
expressing the suspicion with which even then I regarded her, had
persuaded her into going thither by some representations which Agnes
had already ascertained to be altogether unwarranted. Other
presumptions against this girl's fidelity crowded dimly upon my wife's
mind at the very moment of finding her eyes thus suddenly opened. And
it was not five minutes after her first examination, and in fact five
minutes after it had ceased to be of use to her, that she remembered
another circumstance which now, when combined with the sequel, told its
own tale,--the muff had been missed some little time before the 6th of
April. Search had been made for it; but, the particular occasion which
required it having passed off, this search was laid aside for the
present, in the expectation that it would soon reappear in some corner
of the house before it was wanted: then came the sunny day, which made
it no longer useful, and would perhaps have dismissed it entirely from
the recollection of all parties, until it was now brought back in this
memorable way. The name of my wife was embroidered within, upon the
lining, and it thus became a serviceable link to the hellish cabal
against her. Upon reviewing the circumstances from first to last, upon
recalling the manner of the girl at the time when the muff was missed,
and upon combining the whole with her recent deception, by which she
had misled her poor mistress into visiting this shop, Agnes began to
see the entire truth as to this servant's wicked collusion with
Barratt, though, perhaps, it might be too much to suppose her aware of
the unhappy result to which her collusion tended. All this she saw at a
glance when it was too late, for her first examination was over. This
girl, I must add, had left our house during my illness, and she had
afterwards a melancholy end.

One thing surprised me in all this. Barratt's purpose must manifestly
have been to create merely a terror in my poor wife's mind, and to stop
short of any legal consequences, in order to profit of that panic and
confusion for extorting compliances with his hideous pretensions. It
perplexed me, therefore, that he did not appear to have pursued this
manifestly his primary purpose, the other being merely a mask to
conceal his true ends, and also (as he fancied) a means for effecting
them. In this, however, I had soon occasion to find that I was
deceived. He had, but without the knowledge of Agnes, taken such steps
as were then open to him, for making overtures to her with regard to
the terms upon which he would agree to defeat the charge against her by
failing to appear. But the law had travelled too fast for him, and too
determinately; so that, by the time he supposed terror to have operated
sufficiently in favor of his views, it had already become unsafe to
venture upon such explicit proposals as he would otherwise have tried.
His own safety was now at stake, and would have been compromised by any
open or written avowal of the motives on which he had been all along
acting. In fact, at this time he was foiled by the agent in whom he
confided; but much more he had been confounded upon another point--the
prodigious interest manifested by the public. Thus it seems--that,
whilst he meditated only a snare for my poor Agnes, he had prepared one
for himself; and finally, to evade the suspicions which began to arise
powerfully as to his true motives, and thus to stave off his own ruin,
had found himself in a manner obliged to go forward and consummate the
ruin of another.

* * * * *

The state of Agnes, as to health and bodily strength, was now becoming
such that I was forcibly warned--whatsoever I meditated doing, to do
quickly. There was this urgent reason for alarm: once conveyed into
that region of the prison in which sentences like hers were executed,
it became hopeless that I could communicate with her again. All
intercourse whatsoever, and with whomsoever, was then placed under the
most rigorous interdict; and the alarming circumstance was, that this
transfer was governed by no settled rules, but might take place at any
hour, and would certainly be precipitated by the slightest violence on
my part, the slightest indiscretion, or the slightest argument for
suspicion. Hard indeed was the part I had to play, for it was
indispensable that I should appear calm and tranquil, in order to
disarm suspicions around me, whilst continually contemplating the
possibility that I myself might be summoned to extremities which I
could not so much as trust myself to name or distinctly to conceive.
But thus stood the case: the Government, it was understood, angered by
the public opposition, resolute for the triumph of what they called
'principle,' had settled finally that the sentence should be carried
into execution. Now that she, that my Agnes, being the frail wreck that
she had become, could have stood one week of this sentence practically
and literally enforced--was a mere chimera. A few hours probably of the
experiment would have settled that question by dismissing her to the
death she longed for; but because the suffering would be short, was I
to stand by and to witness the degradation--the pollution--attempted to
be fastened upon her. What! to know that her beautiful tresses would be
shorn ignominiously--a felon's dress forced upon her--a vile taskmaster
with authority to----; blistered be the tongue that could go on to
utter, in connection with her innocent name, the vile dishonors which
were to settle upon her person! I, however, and her brother had taken
such resolutions that this result was one barely possible; and yet I
sickened (yes, literally I many times experienced the effect of
physical sickness) at contemplating our own utter childish
helplessness, and recollecting that every night during our seclusion
from the prison the last irreversible step might be taken--and in the
morning we might find a solitary cell, and the angel form that had
illuminated it gone where we could not follow, and leaving behind her
the certainty that we should see her no more. Every night, at the hour
of locking up, _she_, at least, manifestly had a fear that she saw
us for the last time; she put her arms feebly about my neck, sobbed
convulsively, and, I believe, guessed--but, if really so, did not much
reprove or quarrel with the desperate purposes which I struggled with
in regard to her own life. One thing was quite evident--that to the
peace of her latter days, now hurrying to their close, it was
indispensable that she should pass them undivided from me; and
possibly, as was afterwards alleged, when it became easy to allege any
thing, some relenting did take place in high quarters at this time; for
upon some medical reports made just now, a most seasonable indulgence
was granted, viz. that Hannah was permitted to attend her mistress
constantly; and it was also felt as a great alleviation of the horrors
belonging to this prison, that candles were now allowed throughout the
nights. But I was warned privately that these indulgences were with no
consent from the police minister; and that circumstances might soon
withdraw the momentary intercession by which we profited. With this
knowledge, we could not linger in our preparations; we had resolved
upon accomplishing an escape for Agnes, at whatever risk or price; the
main difficulty was her own extreme feebleness, which might forbid her
to co-operate with us in any degree at the critical moment; and the
main danger was--delay. We pushed forward, therefore, in our attempts
with prodigious energy, and I for my part with an energy like that of

* * * * *

The first attempt we made was upon the fidelity to his trust of the
chief jailer. He was a coarse, vulgar man, brutal in his manners, but
with vestiges of generosity in his character--though damaged a good
deal by his daily associates. Him we invited to a meeting at a tavern
in the neighborhood of the prison, disguising our names as too certain
to betray our objects, and baiting our invitation with some hints which
we had ascertained were likely to prove temptations under his immediate
circumstances. He had a graceless young son whom he was most anxious to
wean from his dissolute connections, and to steady, by placing him in
some office of no great responsibility. Upon this knowledge we framed
the terms of our invitation.

These proved to be effectual, as regarded our immediate object of
obtaining an interview of persuasion. The night was wet; and at seven
o'clock, the hour fixed for the interview, we were seated in readiness,
much perplexed to know whether he would take any notice of our
invitation. We had waited three quarters of an hour, when we heard a
heavy lumbering step ascending the stair. The door was thrown open to
its widest extent, and in the centre of the door-way stood a short
stout-built man, and the very broadest I ever beheld--staring at us
with bold inquiring eyes. His salutation was something to this effect.

'What the hell do you gay fellows want with me? What the blazes is this
humbugging letter about? My son, and be hanged! What do you know of my

Upon this overture we ventured to request that he would come in and
suffer us to shut the door, which we also locked. Next we produced the
official paper nominating his son to a small place in the customs,--
not yielding much, it was true, in the way of salary, but fortunately,
and in accordance with the known wishes of the father, unburdened with
any dangerous trust.

'Well, I suppose I must say thank ye: but what comes next? What am I to
do to pay the damages?' We informed him that for this particular little
service we asked no return.

'No, no,' said he, 'that'll not go down: that cat'll not jump. I'm not
green enough for that. So, say away--what's the damage?' We then
explained that we had certainly a favor and a great one to ask: ['Ay,
I'll be bound you have,' was his parenthesis:] but that for this we
were prepared to offer a separate remuneration; repeating that with
respect to the little place procured for his son, it had not cost us
anything, and therefore we did really and sincerely decline to receive
anything in return; satisfied that, by this little offering, we had
procured the opportunity of this present interview. At this point we
withdrew a covering from the table upon which we had previously
arranged a heap of gold coins, amounting in value to twelve hundred
English guineas: this being the entire sum which circumstances allowed
us to raise on so sudden a warning: for some landed property that we
both had was so settled and limited, that we could not convert it into
money either by way of sale, loan, or mortgage. This sum, stating to
him its exact amount, we offered to his acceptance, upon the single
condition that he would look aside, or wink hard, or (in whatever way
he chose to express it) would make, or suffer to be made, such
facilities for our liberating a female prisoner as we would point out.
He mused: full five minutes he sat deliberating without opening his
lips. At length he shocked us by saying, in a firm, decisive tone, that
left us little hope of altering his resolution,--'No: gentlemen, it's a
very fair offer, and a good deal of money for a single prisoner. I
think I can guess at the person. It's a fair offer--fair enough. But,
bless your heart! if I were to do the thing you want--why perhaps
another case might be overlooked: but this prisoner, no: there's too
much depending. No, they would turn me out of my place. Now the place
is worth more to me in the long run than what you offer: though you bid
fair enough, if it were only for my time in it. But look here: in case
I can get my son to come into harness, I'm expecting to get the office
for him after I've retired. So I can't do it. But I'll tell you what:
you've been kind to my son: and therefore I'll not say a word about it.
You're safe for me. And so good-night to you.' Saying which, and
standing no further question, he walked resolutely out of the room and
down stairs.

Two days we mourned over this failure, and scarcely knew which way to
turn for another ray of hope;--on the third morning we received
intelligence that this very jailer had been attacked by the fever,
which, after long desolating the city, had at length made its way into
the prison. In a very few days the jailer was lying without hope of
recovery: and of necessity another person was appointed to fill his
station for the present. This person I had seen, and I liked him less
by much than the one he succeeded: he had an Italian appearance, and he
wore an air of Italian subtlety and dissimulation. I was surprised to
find, on proposing the same service to him, and on the same terms, that
he made no objection whatever, but closed instantly with my offers. In
prudence, however, I had made this change in the articles: a sum equal
to two hundred English guineas, or one-sixth part of the whole money,
he was to receive beforehand as a retaining fee; but the remainder was
to be paid only to himself, or to anybody of his appointing, at the
very moment of our finding the prison gates thrown open to us. He spoke
fairly enough, and seemed to meditate no treachery; nor was there any
obvious or known interest to serve by treachery; and yet I doubted him

The night came: it was chosen as a gala night, one of two nights
throughout the year in which the prisoners were allowed to celebrate a
great national event: and in those days of relaxed prison management
the utmost license was allowed to the rejoicing. This indulgence was
extended to prisoners of all classes, though, of course, under more
restrictions with regard to the criminal class. Ten o'clock came--the
hour at which we had been instructed to hold ourselves in readiness. We
had been long prepared. Agnes had been dressed by Hannah in such a
costume externally (a man's hat and cloak, &c.) that, from her height,
she might easily have passed amongst a mob of masquerading figures in
the debtors' halls and galleries for a young stripling. Pierpoint and
myself were also to a certain degree disguised; so far, at least, that
we should not have been recognized at any hurried glance by those of
the prison officers who had become acquainted with our persons. We were
all more or less disguised about the face; and in that age when masks
were commonly used at all hours by people of a certain rank, there
would have been nothing suspicious in any possible costume of the kind
in a night like this, if we could succeed in passing for friends of

I am impatient of these details, and I hasten over the ground. One
entire hour passed away, and no jailer appeared. We began to despond
heavily; and Agnes, poor thing! was now the most agitated of us all. At
length eleven struck in the harsh tones of the prison-clock. A few
minutes after, we heard the sound of bolts drawing, and bars
unfastening. The jailer entered--drunk, and much disposed to be
insolent. I thought it advisable to give him another bribe, and he
resumed the fawning insinuation of his manner. He now directed us, by
passages which he pointed out, to gain the other side of the prison.
There we were to mix with the debtors and their mob of friends, and to
await his joining us, which in that crowd he could do without much
suspicion. He wished us to traverse the passages separately; but this
was impossible, for it was necessary that one of us should support
Agnes on each side. I previously persuaded her to take a small quantity
of brandy, which we rejoiced to see had given her, at this moment of
starting, a most seasonable strength and animation. The gloomy passages
were more than usually empty, for all the turnkeys were employed in a
vigilant custody of the gates, and examination of the parties going
out. So the jailer had told us, and the news alarmed us. We came at
length to a turning which brought us in sight of a strong iron gate,
that divided the two main quarters of the prison. For this we had not
been prepared. The man, however, opened the gate without a word spoken,
only putting out his hand for a fee; and in my joy, perhaps, I gave him
one imprudently large. After passing this gate, the distant uproar of
the debtors guided us to the scene of their merriment; and when there,
such was the tumult and the vast multitude assembled, that we now hoped
in good earnest to accomplish our purpose without accident. Just at
this moment the jailer appeared in the distance; he seemed looking
towards us, and at length one of our party could distinguish that he
was beckoning to us. We went forward, and found him in some agitation,
real or counterfeit. He muttered a word or two quite unintelligible
about the man at the wicket, told us we must wait a while, and he would
then see what could be done for us. We were beginning to demur, and to
express the suspicions which now too seriously arose, when he, seeing,
or affecting to see some object of alarm, pushed us with a hurried
movement into a cell opening upon the part of the gallery at which we
were now standing. Not knowing whether we really might not be
retreating from some danger, we could do no otherwise than comply with
his signals; but we were troubled at finding ourselves immediately
locked in from the outside, and thus apparently all our motions had
only sufficed to exchange one prison for another.

We were now completely in the dark, and found, by a hard breathing from
one corner of the little dormitory, that it was not unoccupied. Having
taken care to provide ourselves separately with means for striking a
light, we soon had more than one torch burning. The brilliant light
falling upon the eyes of a man who lay stretched on the iron bedstead,
woke him. It proved to be my friend the under-jailer, Ratcliffe, but no
longer holding any office in the prison. He sprang up, and a rapid
explanation took place. He had become a prisoner for debt; and on this
evening, after having caroused through the day with some friends from
the country, had retired at an early hour to sleep away his
intoxication. I on my part thought it prudent to intrust him
unreservedly with our situation and purposes, not omitting our gloomy
suspicions. Ratcliffe looked, with a pity that won my love, upon the
poor wasted Agnes. He had seen her on her first entrance into the
prison, had spoken to her, and therefore knew _from_ what she had
fallen, _to_ what. Even then he had felt for her; how much more at
this time, when he beheld, by the fierce light of the torches, her wo-
worn features!

'Who was it,' he asked eagerly, 'you made the bargain with? Manasseh?'

'The same.'

'Then I can tell you this--not a greater villain walks the earth. He is
a Jew from Portugal; he has betrayed many a man, and will many another,
unless he gets his own neck stretched, which might happen, if I told
all I know.'

'But what was it probable that this man meditated? Or how could it
profit him to betray us?'

'That's more than I can tell. He wants to get your money, and that he
doesn't know how to bring about without doing his part. But that's what
he never _will_ do, take my word for it. That would cut him out of
all chance for the head-jailer's place.' He mused a little, and then
told us that he could himself put us outside the prison walls, and
_would_ do it without fee or reward. 'But we must be quiet, or
that devil will bethink him of me. I'll wager something he thought that
I was out merry-making like the rest; and if he should chance to light
upon the truth, he'll be back in no time.' Ratcliffe then removed an
old fire-grate, at the back of which was an iron plate, that swung
round into a similar fire-place in the contiguous cell. From that, by a
removal of a few slight obstacles, we passed, by a long avenue, into
the chapel. Then he left us, whilst he went out alone to reconnoitre
his ground. Agnes was now in so pitiable a condition of weakness, as we
stood on the very brink of our final effort, that we placed her in a
pew, where she could rest as upon a sofa. Previously we had stood upon
graves, and with monuments more or less conspicuous all around us: some
raised by friends to the memory of friends--some by subscriptions in
the prison--some by children, who had risen into prosperity, to the
memory of a father, brother, or other relative, who had died in
captivity. I was grieved that these sad memorials should meet the eye
of my wife at this moment of awe and terrific anxiety. Pierpoint and I
were well armed, and all of us determined not to suffer a recapture,
now that we were free of the crowds that made resistance hopeless. This
Agnes easily perceived; and _that_, by suggesting a bloody
arbitration, did not lessen her agitation. I hoped therefore, that, by
placing her in the pew, I might at least liberate her for the moment
from the besetting memorials of sorrow and calamity. But, as if in the
very teeth of my purpose, one of the large columns which supported the
roof of the chapel, had its basis and lower part of the shaft in this
very pew. On the side of it, and just facing her as she lay reclining
on the cushions, appeared a mural tablet, with a bas-relief in white
marble, to the memory of two children, twins, who had lived and died at
the same time, and in this prison--children who had never breathed
another air than that of captivity, their parents having passed many
years within these walls, under confinement for debt. The sculptures
were not remarkable, being a trite, but not the less affecting,
representation of angels descending to receive the infants; but the
hallowed words of the inscription, distinct and legible--'Suffer little
children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the
kingdom of God'--met her eye, and, by the thoughts they awakened, made
me fear that she would become unequal to the exertions which yet
awaited her. At this moment Ratcliffe returned, and informed us that
all was right; and that, from the ruinous state of all the buildings
which surrounded the chapel, no difficulty remained for us, who were,
in fact, beyond the strong part of the prison, excepting at a single
door, which we should be obliged to break down. But had we any means
arranged for pursuing our flight, and turning this escape to account
when out of confinement? All that, I assured him, was provided for long
ago. We proceeded, and soon reached the door. We had one crow-bar
amongst us, but beyond that had no better weapons than the loose stones
found about some new-made graves in the chapel. Ratcliffe and
Pierpoint, both powerful men, applied themselves by turns to the door,
whilst Hannah and I supported Agnes. The door did not yield, being of
enormous strength; but the wall did, and a large mass of stone-work
fell outwards, twisting the door aside; so that, by afterwards working
with our hands, we removed stones many enough to admit of our egress.
Unfortunately this aperture was high above the ground, and it was
necessary to climb over a huge heap of loose rubbish in order to profit
by it. My brother-in-law passed first in order to receive my wife,
quite helpless at surmounting the obstacle by her own efforts, out of
my arms. He had gone through the opening, and, turning round so as to
face me, he naturally could see something that I did _not_ see.
'Look behind!' he called out rapidly. I did so, and saw the murderous
villain Manasseh with his arm uplifted, and in the act of cutting at my
wife, nearly insensible as she was, with a cutlass. The blow was not
for me, but for her, as the fugitive prisoner; and the law would have
borne him out in the act. I saw, I comprehended the whole. I groped, as
far as I could without letting my wife drop, for my pistols; but all
that I could do would have been unavailing, and too late--she would
have been murdered in my arms. But--and that was what none of us saw--
neither I, nor Pierpoint, nor the hound Manasseh--one person stood
back in the shade; one person had seen, but had not uttered a word on
seeing Manasseh advancing through the shades; one person only had
forecast the exact succession of all that was coming; me she saw
embarrassed and my hands preoccupied--Pierpoint and Ratcliffe useless
by position--and the gleam of the dog's eye directed her to his aim.
The crow-bar was leaning against the shattered wall. This she had
silently seized. One blow knocked up the sword; a second laid the
villain prostrate. At this moment appeared another of the turnkeys
advancing from the rear, for the noise of our assault upon the door had
drawn attention in the interior of the prison, from which, however, no
great number of assistants could on this dangerous night venture to
absent themselves. What followed for the next few minutes hurried
onwards, incident crowding upon incident, like the motions of a dream:
--Manasseh, lying on the ground, yelled out, 'The bell! the bell!' to
him who followed. The man understood, and made for the belfry-door
attached to the chapel; upon which Pierpoint drew a pistol, and sent
the bullet whizzing past his ear so truly, that fear made the man
obedient to the counter-orders of Pierpoint for the moment. He paused
and awaited the issue. In a moment had all cleared the wall, traversed
the waste ground beyond it, lifted Agnes over the low railing, shaken
hands with our benefactor Ratcliffe, and pushed onwards as rapidly as
we were able to the little dark lane, a quarter of a mile distant,
where had stood waiting for the last two hours a chaise-and-four.

[Ratcliffe, before my story closes, I will pursue to the last of my
acquaintance with him, according to the just claims of his services. He
had privately whispered to me, as we went along, that he could speak to
the innocence of that lady, pointing to my wife, better than anybody.
He was the person whom (as then holding an office in the prison)
Barratt had attempted to employ as agent in conveying any messages that
he found it safe to send--obscurely hinting the terms on which he would
desist from prosecution. Ratcliffe had at first undertaken the
negotiation from mere levity of character. But when the story and the
public interest spread, and after himself becoming deeply struck by the
prisoner's affliction, beauty, and reputed innocence, he had pursued it
only as a means of entrapping Barratt into such written communications
and such private confessions of the truth as might have served Agnes
effectually. He wanted the art, however, to disguise his purposes:
Barratt came to suspect him violently, and feared his evidence so far,
even for those imperfect and merely oral overtures which he had really
sent through Ratcliffe--that on the very day of the trial, he, as was
believed, though by another nominally, contrived that Ratcliffe should
be arrested for debt; and, after harassing him with intricate forms of
business, had finally caused him to be conveyed to prison. Ratcliffe
was thus involved in his own troubles at the time; and afterwards
supposed that, without written documents to support his evidence, he
could not be of much service to the re-establisment of my wife's
reputation. Six months after his services in the night-escape from the
prison, I saw him, and pressed him to take the money so justly
forfeited to him by Manasseh's perfidy. He would, however, be persuaded
to take no more than paid his debts. A second and a third time his
debts were paid by myself and Pierpoint. But the same habits of
intemperance and dissolute pleasure which led him into these debts,
finally ruined his constitution; and he died, though otherwise of a
fine generous manly nature, a martyr to dissipation at the early age of
twenty-nine. With respect to his prison confinement, it was so
frequently recurring in his life, and was alleviated by so many
indulgences, that he scarcely viewed it as a hardship: having once been
an officer of the prison, and having thus formed connections with the
whole official establishment, and done services to many of them, and
being of so convivial a turn, he was, even as a prisoner, treated with
distinction, and considered as a privileged son of the house.]

It was just striking twelve o'clock as we entered the lane where the
carriage was drawn up. Rain, about the profoundest I had ever
witnessed, was falling. Though near to midsummer, the night had been
unusually dark to begin with, and from the increasing rain had become
much more so. We could see nothing; and at first we feared that some
mistake had occurred as to the station of the carriage--in which case
we might have sought for it vainly through the intricate labyrinth of
the streets in that quarter. I first descried it by the light of a
torch, reflected powerfully from the large eyes of the leaders. All was
ready. Horse-keepers were at the horses' heads. The postilions were
mounted; each door had the steps let down: Agnes was lifted in: Hannah
and I followed: Pierpoint mounted his horse; and at the word--Oh! how
strange a word!--'_All's right_,' the horses sprang off like leopards,
a manner ill-suited to the slippery pavement of a narrow street. At
that moment, but we valued it little indeed, we heard the prison-bell
ringing out loud and clear. Thrice within the first three minutes we
had to pull up suddenly, on the brink of formidable accidents, from the
dangerous speed we maintained, and which, nevertheless, the driver had
orders to maintain, as essential to our plan. All the stoppages and
hinderances of every kind along the road had been anticipated
previously, and met by contrivance, of one kind or other; and Pierpoint
was constantly a little ahead of us to attend to anything that had been
neglected. The consequence of these arrangements was--that no person
along the road could possibly have assisted to trace us by any thing in
our appearance: for we passed all objects at too flying a pace, and
through darkness too profound, to allow of any one feature in our
equipage being distinctly noticed. Ten miles out of town, a space which
we traversed in forty-four minutes, a second relay of horses was ready;
but we carried on the same postilions throughout. Six miles ahead of
this distance we had a second relay; and with this set of horses, after
pushing two miles further along the road, we crossed by a miserable
lane five miles long, scarcely even a bridge road, into another of the
great roads from the capital; and by thus crossing the country, we came
back upon the city at a point far distant from that at which we left
it. We had performed a distance of forty-two miles in three hours, and
lost a fourth hour upon the wretched five miles of cross-road. It was,
therefore, four o'clock, and broad daylight, when we drew near the
suburbs of the city; but a most happy accident now favored us; a fog
the most intense now prevailed; nobody could see an object six feet
distant; we alighted in an uninhabited new-built street, plunged into
the fog, thus confounding our traces to any observer. We then stepped
into a hackney-coach which had been stationed at a little distance.
Thence, according to our plan, we drove to a miserable quarter of the
town, whither the poor only and the wretched resorted; mounted a gloomy
dirty staircase, and, befriended by the fog, still growing thicker and
thicker, and by the early hour of the morning, reached a house
previously hired, which, if shocking to the eye and the imagination
from its squalid appearance and its gloom, still was a home--a
sanctuary--an asylum from treachery, from captivity, from persecution.
Here Pierpoint for the present quitted us: and once more Agnes, Hannah,
and I, the shattered members of a shattered family, were thus gathered
together in a house of our own.

Yes: once again, daughter of the hills, thou sleptst as heretofore in
my encircling arms; but not again in that peace which crowned thy
innocence in those days, and should have crowned it now. Through the
whole of our flying journey, in some circumstances at its outset
strikingly recalling to me that blessed one which followed our
marriage, Agnes slept away unconscious of our movements. She slept
through all that day and the following night; and I watched over her
with as much jealousy of all that might disturb her, as a mother
watches over her new-born baby; for I hoped, I fancied, that a long--
long rest, a rest, a halcyon calm, a deep, deep Sabbath of security,
might prove healing and medicinal. I thought wrong; her breathing
became more disturbed, and sleep was now haunted by dreams; all of us,
indeed, were agitated by dreams; the past pursued me, and the present,
for high rewards had been advertised by Government to those who traced
us; and though for the moment we were secure, because we never went
abroad, and could not have been naturally sought in such a
neighborhood, still that very circumstance would eventually operate
against us. At length, every night I dreamed of our insecurity under a
thousand forms; but more often by far my dreams turned upon our wrongs;
wrath moved me rather than fear. Every night, for the greater part, I
lay painfully and elaborately involved, by deep sense of wrong,

'--in long orations, which I pleaded
Before unjust tribunals.'
[Footnote: From a MS. poem of a great living Poet.]

And for poor Agnes, her also did the remembrance of mighty wrongs
occupy through vast worlds of sleep in the same way--though colored by
that tenderness which belonged to her gentler nature. One dream in
particular--a dream of sublime circumstances--she repeated to me so
movingly, with a pathos so thrilling, that by some profound sympathy it
transplanted itself to my own sleep, settled itself there, and is to
this hour a part of the fixed dream scenery which revolves at intervals
through my sleeping life. This it was:--She would hear a trumpet sound
--though perhaps as having been the prelude to the solemn entry of the
judges at a town which she had once visited in her childhood; other
preparations would follow, and at last all the solemnities of a great
trial would shape themselves and fall into settled images. The audience
was assembled, the judges were arrayed, the court was set. The prisoner
was cited. Inquest was made, witnesses were called; and false witnesses
came tumultuously to the bar. Then again a trumpet was heard, but the
trumpet of a mighty archangel; and then would roll away thick clouds
and vapors. Again the audience, but another audience, was assembled;
again the tribunal was established; again the court was set; but a
tribunal and a court--how different to her! _That_ had been
composed of men seeking indeed for truth, but themselves erring and
fallible creatures; the witnesses had been full of lies, the judges of
darkness. But here was a court composed of heavenly witnesses--here was
a righteous tribunal--and then at last a judge that could not be
deceived. The judge smote with his eye a person who sought to hide
himself in the crowd; the guilty man stepped forward; the poor prisoner
was called up to the presence of the mighty judge; suddenly the voice
of a little child was heard ascending before her. Then the trumpet
sounded once again; and then there were new heavens and a new earth;
and her tears and her agitation (for she had seen her little Francis)
awoke the poor palpitating dreamer.

* * * * *

Two months passed on: nothing could possibly be done materially to
raise the standard of those wretched accommodations which the house
offered. The dilapidated walls, the mouldering plaster, the blackened
mantel-pieces, the stained and polluted wainscots--what could be
attempted to hide or to repair all this by those who durst not venture
abroad? Yet whatever could be done, Hannah did; and, in the mean time,
very soon indeed my Agnes ceased to see or to be offended by these
objects. First of all her sight went from her; and nothing which
appealed to that sense could ever more offend her. It is to me the one
only consolation I have, that my presence and that of Hannah, with such
innocent frauds as we concerted together, made her latter days pass in
a heavenly calm, by persuading her that our security was absolute, and
that all search after us had ceased, under a belief on the part of
Government that we had gained the shelter of a foreign land. All this
was a delusion; but it was a delusion--blessed be Heaven! which lasted
exactly as long as her life, and was just commensurate with its
necessity. I hurry over the final circumstances.

There was fortunately now, even for me, no fear that the hand of any
policeman or emissary of justice could effectually disturb the latter
days of my wife; for, besides pistols always lying loaded in an inner
room, there happened to be a long narrow passage on entering the house,
which, by means of a blunderbuss, I could have swept effectually, and
cleared many times over; and I know what to do in a last extremity.
Just two months it was, to a day, since we had entered the house; and
it happened that the medical attendant upon Agnes, who awakened no
suspicion by his visits, had prescribed some opiate or anodyne which
had not come; being dark early, for it was now September, I had
ventured out to fetch it. In this I conceived there could be no danger.
On my return I saw a man examining the fastenings of the door. He made
no opposition to my entrance, nor seemed much to observe it--but I was
disturbed. Two hours after, both Hannah and I heard a noise about the
door, and voices in low conversation. It is remarkable that Agnes heard
this also--so quick had grown her hearing. She was agitated, but was
easily calmed; and at ten o'clock we were all in bed. The hand of Agnes
was in mine; so only she felt herself in security. She had been
restless for an hour, and talking at intervals in sleep. Once she
certainly wakened, for she pressed her lips to mine. Two minutes after,
I heard something in her breathing which did not please me. I rose
hastily--brought a light--raised her head--two long, long gentle
sighs, that scarcely moved the lips, were all that could be perceived.
At that moment, at that very moment, Hannah called out to me that the
door was surrounded. 'Open it!' I said; six men entered; Agnes it was
they sought; I pointed to the bed; they advanced, gazed, and walked
away in silence.

After this I wandered about, caring little for life or its affairs, and
roused only at times to think of vengeance upon all who had contributed
to lay waste my happiness. In this pursuit, however, I was confounded
as much by my own thoughts as by the difficulties of accomplishing my
purpose. To assault and murder either of the two principal agents in
this tragedy, what would it be, what other effect could it have, than
to invest them with the character of injured and suffering people, and
thus to attract a pity or a forgiveness at least to their persons which
never otherwise could have illustrated their deaths? I remembered,
indeed, the words of a sea-captain who had taken such vengeance as had
offered at the moment upon his bitter enemy and persecutor (a young
passenger on board his ship), who had informed against him at the
Custom-house on his arrival in port, and had thus effected the
confiscation of his ship, and the ruin of the captain's family. The
vengeance, and it was all that circumstances allowed, consisted in
coming behind the young man clandestinely and pushing him into the deep
waters of the dock, when, being unable to swim, he perished by
drowning. 'And the like,' said the captain, when musing on his trivial
vengeance, 'and the like happens to many an honest sailor.' Yes,
thought I, the captain was right. The momentary shock of a pistol-
bullet--what is it? Perhaps it may save the wretch after all from the
pangs of some lingering disease; and then again I shall have the
character of a murderer, if known to have shot him; he will with many
people have no such character, but at worst the character of a man too
harsh (they will say), and possibly mistaken in protecting his
property. And then, if not known as the man who shot him, where is the
shadow even of vengeance? Strange it seemed to me, and passing strange,
that I should be the person to urge arguments in behalf of letting this
man escape. For at one time I had as certainly, as inexorably, doomed
him as ever I took any resolution in my life. But the fact is, and I
began to see it upon closer view, it is not easy by any means to take
an adequate vengeance for any injury beyond a very trivial standard;
and that with common magnanimity one does not care to avenge. Whilst I
was in this mood of mind, still debating with myself whether I should
or should not contaminate my hands with the blood of this monster, and
still unable to shut my eyes upon one fact, viz. that my buried Agnes
could above all things have urged me to abstain from such acts of
violence, too evidently useless, listlessly and scarcely knowing what I
was in quest of, I strayed by accident into a church where a venerable
old man was preaching at the very moment I entered; he was either
delivering as a text, or repeating in the course of his sermon, these
words--'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.' By some
accident also he fixed his eyes upon me at the moment; and this
concurrence with the subject then occupying my thoughts so much
impressed me, that I determined very seriously to review my half-formed
purposes of revenge; and well it was that I did so: for in that same
week an explosion of popular fury brought the life of this wretched
Barratt to a shocking termination, pretty much resembling the fate of
the De Witts in Holland. And the consequences to me were such, and so
full of all the consolation and indemnification which this world could
give me, that I have often shuddered since then at the narrow escape I
had had from myself intercepting this remarkable retribution. The
villain had again been attempting to play off the same hellish scheme
with a beautiful young rustic which had succeeded in the case of my
ill-fated Agnes. But the young woman in this instance had a high, and,
in fact, termagant spirit. Rustic as she was, she had been warned of
the character of the man; everybody, in fact, was familiar with the
recent tragedy. Either her lover or her brother happened to be waiting
for her outside the window. He saw in part the very tricks in the act
of perpetration by which some article or other, meant to be claimed as
stolen property, was conveyed into a parcel she had incautiously laid
down. He heard the charge against her made by Barratt, and seconded by
his creatures--heard her appeal--sprang to her aid--dragged the ruffian
into the street, when in less time than the tale could be told, and
before the police (though tolerably alert) could effectually interpose
for his rescue, the mob had so used or so abused the opportunity they
had long wished for, that he remained the mere disfigured wreck of what
had once been a man, rather than a creature with any resemblance to
humanity. I myself heard the uproar at a distance, and the shouts and
yells of savage exultation; they were sounds I shall never forget,
though I did not at that time know them for what they were, or
understood their meaning. The result, however, to me was something
beyond this, and worthy to have been purchased with my heart's blood.
Barratt still breathed; spite of his mutilations he could speak; he was
rational. One only thing he demanded--it was that his dying confession
might be taken. Two magistrates and a clergyman attended. He gave a
list of those whom he had trepanned, and had failed to trepan, by his
artifices and threats, into the sacrifice of their honor. He expired
before the record was closed, but not before he had placed my wife's
name in the latter list as the one whose injuries in his dying moments
most appalled him. This confession on the following day went into the
hands of the hostile minister, and my revenge was perfect.


Why is it that _Adventures_ are so generally repulsive to people of
meditative minds? It is for the same reason that any other want of law,
that any other anarchy is repulsive. Floating passively from action to
action, as helplessly as a withered leaf surrendered to the breath of
winds, the human spirit (out of which comes all grandeur of human
motions) is exhibited in mere _Adventures_, as either entirely laid
asleep, or as acting only by lower organs that regulate the _means_,
whilst the _ends_ are derived from alien sources, and are imperiously
predetermined. It is a case of exception, however, when even amongst
such adventures the agent reacts upon his own difficulties and
necessities by a temper of extraordinary courage, and a mind of
premature decision. Further strength arises to such an exception, if
the very moulding accidents of the life, if the very external coercions
are themselves unusually romantic. They may thus gain a separate
interest of their own. And, lastly, the whole is locked into validity
of interest, even for the psychological philosopher, by complete
authentication of its truth. In the case now brought before him, the
reader must not doubt; for no memoir exists, or personal biography,
that is so trebly authenticated by proofs and attestations direct and
collateral. From the archives of the Royal Marine at Seville, from the
autobiography or the heroine, from contemporary chronicles, and from
several official sources scattered in and out of Spain, some of them
ecclesiastical, the amplest proofs have been drawn, and may yet be
greatly extended, of the extraordinary events here recorded. M. de
Ferrer, a Spaniard of much research, and originally incredulous as to
the facts, published about seventeen years ago a selection from the
leading documents, accompanied by his _palinode_ as to their accuracy.
His materials have been since used for the basis of more than one
narrative, not inaccurate, in French, German and Spanish journals of
high authority. It is seldom the case that French writers err by
prolixity. They _have_ done so in this case. The present narrative,
which contains no sentence derived from any foreign one, has the great
advantage of close compression; my own pages, after equating the size,
being as 1 to 3 of the shortest continental form. In the mode of
narration, I am vain enough to flatter myself that the reader will find
little reason to hesitate between us. Mine at least, weary nobody;
which is more than can be always said for the continental versions.

On a night in the year 1592, (but which night is a secret liable to 365
answers,) a Spanish '_son of somebody_,' [Footnote: _i.e._ 'Hidalgo']
in the fortified town of St. Sebastian, received the disagreeable
intelligence from a nurse, that his wife had just presented him with a
daughter. No present that the poor misjudging lady could possibly have
made him was so entirely useless for any purpose of his. He had three
daughters already, which happened to be more by 2+1 than _his_
reckoning assumed as a reasonable allowance of daughters. A
supernumerary son might have been stowed away; but daughters in excess
were the very nuisance of Spain. He did, therefore, what in such cases
every proud and lazy Spanish gentleman was apt to do--he wrapped the
new little daughter, odious to his paternal eyes, in a pocket
handkerchief; and then, wrapping up his own throat with a good deal
more care, off he bolted to the neighboring convent of St. Sebastian,
not merely of that city, but also (amongst several convents) the one
dedicated to that saint. It is well that in this quarrelsome world we
quarrel furiously about tastes; since agreeing too closely about the
objects to be liked and appropriated would breed much more fighting
than is bred by disagreeing. That little human tadpole, which the old
toad of a father would not suffer to stay ten minutes in his house,
proved as welcome at the nunnery of St. Sebastian as she was odious
elsewhere. The superior of the convent was aunt, by the mother's side,
to the new-born stranger. She, therefore, kissed and blessed the little
lady. The poor nuns, who were never to have any babies of their own,
and were languishing for some amusement, perfectly doated on this
prospect of a wee pet. The superior thanked the hidalgo for his very
splendid present. The nuns thanked him each and all; until the old
crocodile actually began to cry and whimper sentimentally at what he
now perceived to be excess of munificence in himself. Munificence,
indeed, he remarked, was his foible next after parental tenderness.

What a luxury it is sometimes to a cynic that there go two words to a
bargain. In the convent of St. Sebastian all was gratitude; gratitude
(as aforesaid) to the hidalgo from all the convent for his present,
until at last the hidalgo began to express gratitude to _them_ for
their gratitude to _him_. Then came a rolling fire of thanks to
St. Sebastian; from the superior, for sending a future saint; from the
nuns, for sending such a love of a plaything; and, finally, from papa,
for sending such substantial board and well-bolted lodgings, 'from
which,' said the malicious old fellow, 'my pussy will never find her
way out to a thorny and dangerous world.' Won't she? I suspect, son of
somebody, that the next time you see 'pussy,' which may happen to be
also the last, will not be in a convent of any kind. At present, whilst
this general rendering of thanks was going on, one person only took no
part in them. That person was 'pussy,' whose little figure lay quietly
stretched out in the arms of a smiling young nun, with eyes nearly
shut, yet peering a little at the candles. Pussy said nothing. It's of
no great use to say much, when all the world is against you. But if St.
Sebastian had enabled her to speak out the whole truth, pussy
_would_ have said: 'So, Mr. Hidalgo, you have been engaging
lodgings for me; lodgings for life. Wait a little. We'll try that
question, when my claws are grown a little longer.'

Disappointment, therefore, was gathering ahead. But for the present
there was nothing of the kind. That noble old crocodile, papa, was not
in the least disappointed as regarded _his_ expectation of having
no anxiety to waste, and no money to pay, on account of his youngest
daughter. He insisted on his right to forget her; and in a week
_had_ forgotten her, never to think of her again but once. The
lady superior, as regarded _her_ demands, was equally content, and
through a course of several years; for, as often as she asked pussy if
she would be a saint, pussy replied that she would, if saints were
allowed plenty of sweetmeats. But least of all were the nuns
disappointed. Everything that they had fancied possible in a human
plaything fell short of what pussy realized in racketing, racing, and
eternal plots against the peace of the elder nuns. No fox ever kept a
hen-roost in such alarm as pussy kept the dormitory of the senior
sisters; whilst the younger ladies were run off their legs by the
eternal wiles, and had their chapel gravity discomposed, even in
chapel, by the eternal antics of this privileged little kitten.

The kitten had long ago received a baptismal name, which was Kitty;
this is Catharine, or Kate, or _Hispanice_ Catalina. It was a good
name, as it recalled her original name of pussy. And, by the way, she
had also an ancient and honorable surname, viz., _De Erauso_, which is
to this day a name rooted in Biscay. Her father, the _hidalgo_, was a
military officer in the Spanish service, and had little care whether
his kitten should turn out a wolf or a lamb, having made over the fee
simple of his own interest in the little Kate to St. Sebastian, 'to
have and to hold,' so long as Kate should keep her hold of this present
life. Kate had no apparent intention to let slip that hold, for she was
blooming as a rose-bush in June, tall and strong as a young cedar. Yet,
notwithstanding this robust health and the strength of the convent
walls, the time was drawing near when St. Sebastian's lease in Kate
must, in legal phrase, 'determine;' and any _chateaux en Espagne_, that
the Saint might have built on the cloisteral fidelity of his pet
Catalina, must suddenly give way in one hour, like many other vanities
in our own days of Spanish bonds and promises. After reaching her tenth
year, Catalina became thoughtful, and not very docile. At times she was
even headstrong and turbulent, so that the gentle sisterhood of St.
Sebastian, who had no other pet or plaything in the world, began to
weep in secret--fearing that they might have been rearing by mistake
some future tigress--for as to infancy, _that_, you know, is playful
and innocent even in the cubs of a tigress. But _there_ the ladies were
going too far. Catalina was impetuous and aspiring, but not cruel. She
was gentle, if people would let her be so. But woe to those that took
liberties with _her_! A female servant of the convent, in some
authority, one day, in passing up the aisle to matins, _wilfully_ gave
Kate a push; and in return, Kate, who never left her debts in arrear,
gave the servant for a keepsake a look which that servant carried with
her in fearful remembrance to her grave. It seemed as if Kate had
tropic blood in her veins, that continually called her away to the
tropics. It was all the fault of that 'blue rejoicing sky,' of those
purple Biscayan mountains, of that tumultuous ocean, which she beheld
daily from the nunnery gardens. Or, if only half of it was _their_
fault, the other half lay in those golden tales, streaming upwards even
into the sanctuaries of convents, like morning mists touched by
earliest sunlight, of kingdoms overshadowing a new world which had been
founded by her kinsmen with the simple aid of a horse and a lance. The
reader is to remember that this is no romance, or at least no fiction,
that he is reading; and it is proper to remind the reader of real
romances in Ariosto or our own Spenser, that such martial ladies as the
_Marfisa_, or _Bradamant_ of the first, and _Britomart_ of the other,
were really not the improbabilities that modern society imagines. Many
a stout man, as you will soon see, found that Kate, with a sabre in
hand, and well mounted, was but too serious a fact.

The day is come--the evening is come--when our poor Kate, that had for
fifteen years been so tenderly rocked in the arms of St. Sebastian and
his daughters, and that henceforth shall hardly find a breathing space
between eternal storms, must see her peaceful cell, must see the holy
chapel, for the last time. It was at vespers, it was during the
chanting of the vesper service, that she finally read the secret signal
for her departure, which long she had been looking for. It happened
that her aunt, the Lady Principal, had forgotten her breviary. As this
was in a private 'scrutoire, she did not choose to send a servant for
it, but gave the key to her niece. The niece, on opening the
'scrutoire, saw, with that rapidity of eye-glance for the one thing
needed in any great emergency, which ever attended her through life,
that _now_ was the moment for an attempt which, if neglected,
might never return. There lay the total keys, in one massive
_trousseau_, of that fortress impregnable even to armies from
without. Saint Sebastian! do you see what your pet is going to do? And
do it she will, as sure as your name is St. Sebastian. Kate went back
to her aunt with the breviary and the key; but taking good care to
leave that awful door, on whose hinge revolved her whole life,
unlocked. Delivering the two articles to the Superior, she complained
of a headache--[Ah, Kate! what did you know of headaches, except now
and then afterwards from a stray bullet, or so?]--upon which her aunt,
kissing her forehead, dismissed her to bed. Now, then, through three-
fourths of an hour Kate will have free elbow-room for unanchoring her
boat, for unshipping her oars, and for pulling ahead right out of St.
Sebastian's cove into the main ocean of life.

Catalina, the reader is to understand, does not belong to the class of
persons in whom chiefly I pretend to an interest. But everywhere one
loves energy and indomitable courage. I, for my part, admire not, by
preference, anything that points to this world. It is the child of
reverie and profounder sensibility who turns _away_ from the world as
hateful and insufficient, that engages _my_ interest: whereas Catalina
was the very model of the class fitted for facing this world, and who
express their love to it by fighting with it and kicking it from year
to year. But, always, what is best in its kind one admires, even though
the kind be disagreeable. Kate's advantages for her _role_ in this life
lay in four things, viz., in a well-built person, and a particularly
strong wrist; 2d, in a heart that nothing could appal; 3d, in a
sagacious head, never drawn aside from the _hoc age_ [from the instant
question of life] by any weakness of imagination; 4th, in a tolerably
thick skin--not literally, for she was fair and blooming, and decidedly
handsome, having such a skin as became a young woman of family in
northernmost Spain. But her sensibilities were obtuse as regarded
_some_ modes of delicacy, _some_ modes of equity, _some_ modes of the
world's opinion, and _all_ modes whatever of personal hardship. Lay a
stress on that word _some_--for, as to delicacy, she never lost sight
of the kind which peculiarly concerns her sex. Long afterwards she told
the Pope himself, when confessing without disguise her sad and infinite
wanderings to the paternal old man (and I feel convinced of her
veracity), that in this respect, even then, at middle age, she was as
pure as is a child. And, as to equity, it was only that she substituted
the equity of camps for the polished (but often more iniquitous) equity
of courts and towns. As to the third item--the world's opinion--I don't
know that you need lay a stress on _some_; for, generally speaking,
_all_ that the world did, said, or thought, was alike contemptible in
her eyes, in which, perhaps, she was not so _very_ far wrong. I must
add, though at the cost of interrupting the story by two or three more
sentences, that Catalina had also a fifth advantage, which sounds
humbly, but is really of use in a world, where even to fold and seal a
letter adroitly is not the least of accomplishments. She was a _handy_
girl. She could turn her hand to anything, of which I will give you two
memorable instances. Was there ever a girl in this world but herself
that cheated and snapped her fingers at that awful Inquisition, which
brooded over the convents of Spain, that did this without collusion
from outside, trusting to nobody, but to herself, and what? to one
needle, two hanks of thread, and a very inferior pair of scissors? For,
that the scissors were bad, though Kate does not say so in her memoirs,
I knew by an _a priori_ argument, viz., because _all_ scissors were bad
in the year 1607. Now, say all decent logicians, from a universal to a
particular _valet consequentia_, _all_ scissors were bad: _ergo_,
_some_ scissors were bad. The second instance of her handiness will
surprise you even more:--She once stood upon a scaffold, under sentence
of death--[but, understand, on the evidence of false witnesses]. Jack
Ketch was absolutely tying the knot under her ear, and the shameful man
of ropes fumbled so deplorably, that Kate (who by much nautical
experience had learned from another sort of 'Jack' how a knot _should_
be tied in this world,) lost all patience with the contemptible artist,
told him she was ashamed of him, took the rope out of his hand, and
tied the knot irreproachably herself. The crowd saluted her with a
festal roll, long and loud, of _vivas_; and this word _viva_ of good
augury--but stop; let me not anticipate.

From this sketch of Catalina's character, the reader is prepared to
understand the decision of her present proceeding. She had no time to
lose: the twilight favored her; but she must get under hiding before
pursuit commenced. Consequently she lost not one of her forty-five
minutes in picking and choosing. No _shilly-shally_ in Kate. She
saw with the eyeball of an eagle what was indispensable. Some little
money perhaps to pay the first toll-bar of life: so, out of four
shillings in Aunty's purse, she took one. You can't say _that_ was
exorbitant. Which of us wouldn't subscribe a shilling for poor Katy to
put into the first trouser pockets that ever she will wear? I remember
even yet, as a personal experience, that when first arrayed, at four
years old, in nankeen trousers, though still so far retaining
hermaphrodite relations of dress as to wear a petticoat above my
trousers, all my female friends (because they pitied me, as one that
had suffered from years of ague) filled my pockets with half-crowns, of
which I can render no account at this day. But what were my poor
pretensions by the side of Kate's? Kate was a fine blooming girl of
fifteen, with no touch of ague, and, before the next sun rises, Kate
shall draw on her first trousers, and made by her own hand; and, that
she may do so, of all the valuables in Aunty's repository she takes
nothing beside the shilling, _quantum sufficit_ of thread, one
stout needle, and (as I told you before, if you would please to
remember things) one bad pair of scissors. Now she was ready; ready to
cast off St. Sebastian's towing-rope; ready to cut and run for port
anywhere. The finishing touch of her preparations was to pick out the
proper keys: even there she showed the same discretion. She did do no
gratuitous mischief. She did not take the wine-cellar key, which would
have irritated the good father confessor; she took those keys only that
belonged to _her_, if ever keys did; for they were the keys that
locked her out from her natural birthright of liberty. 'Show me,' says
the Romish Casuist, 'her right in law to let herself out of that
nunnery.' 'Show us,' we reply, '_your_ right to lock her in.'

Right or wrong, however, in strict casuistry, Kate was resolved to let
herself out; and _did_ so; and, for fear any man should creep in whilst
vespers lasted, and steal the kitchen grate, she locked her old friends
_in_. Then she sought a shelter. The air was not cold. She hurried into
a chestnut wood, and upon withered leaves slept till dawn. Spanish diet
and youth leaves the digestion undisordered, and the slumbers light.
When the lark rose, up rose Catalina. No time to lose, for she was
still in the dress of a nun, and liable to be arrested by any man in
Spain. With her _armed_ finger, [aye, by the way, I forgot the thimble;
but Kate did _not_]--she set to work upon her amply-embroidered
petticoat. She turned it wrong side out; and with the magic that only
female hands possess, she had soon sketched and finished a dashing pair
of Wellington trousers. All other changes were made according to the
materials she possessed, and quite sufficiently to disguise the two
main perils--her sex, and her monastic dedication. What was she to do
next. Speaking of Wellington trousers would remind _us_, but could
hardly remind _her_, of Vittoria, where she dimly had heard of some
maternal relative. To Vittoria, therefore, she bent her course; and,
like the Duke of Wellington, but arriving more than two centuries
earlier, [though _he_ too is an early riser,] she gained a great
victory at that place. She had made a two days' march, baggage far in
the rear, and no provisions but wild berries; she depended for anything
better, as light-heartedly as the Duke, upon attacking, sword in hand,
storming her dear friend's entrenchments, and effecting a lodgment in
his breakfast-room, should he happen to have one. This amiable
relative, an elderly man, had but one foible, or perhaps one virtue in
this world; but _that_ he had in perfection,--it was pedantry. On that
hint Catalina spoke: she knew by heart, from the services of the
convent, a few Latin phrases. Latin!--Oh, but _that_ was charming; and
in one so young! The grave Don owned the soft impeachment; relented at
once, and clasped the hopeful young gentleman in the Wellington
trousers to his _uncular_ and rather angular breast. In this house the
yarn of life was of a mingled quality. The table was good, but that was
exactly what Kate cared little about. The amusement was of the worst
kind. It consisted chiefly in conjugating Latin verbs, especially such
as were obstinately irregular. To show him a withered frost-bitten
verb, that wanted its preterite, wanted its supines, wanted, in fact,
everything in this world, fruits or blossoms, that make a verb
desirable, was to earn the Don's gratitude for life. All day long he
was marching and countermarching his favorite brigades of verbs--verbs
frequentative, verbs inceptive, verbs desiderative--horse, foot, and
artillery; changing front, advancing from the rear, throwing out
skirmishing parties, until Kate, not given to faint, must have thought
of such a resource, as once in her life she had thought so seasonably
of a vesper headache. This was really worse than St. Sebastian's. It
reminds one of a French gayety in Thiebault or some such author, who
describes a rustic party, under equal despair, as employing themselves
in conjugating the verb _s'ennuyer,--Je m'ennuie, tu t'ennuies, il
s'ennuit; nous nous ennuyons_, &c.; thence to the imperfect--_Je
m'ennuyois, tu t'ennuyois_, &c.; thence to the imperative--_Qu'il
s'ennuye_, &c.; and so on through the whole melancholy conjugation.
Now, you know, when the time comes that, _nous nous ennuyons_, the best
course is, to part. Kate saw _that_; and she walked off from the Don's
[of whose amorous passion for defective verbs one would have wished to
know the catastrophe], and took from his mantel-piece rather move
silver than she had levied on her aunt. But the Don also was a
relative; and really he owed her a small cheque on his banker for
turning out on his field-days. A man, if he _is_ a kinsman, has no
right to bore one _gratis_.

From Vittoria, Kate was guided by a carrier to Valladolid. Luckily, as
it seemed at first, but it made little difference in the end, here, at
Valladolid, were the King and his Court. Consequently, there was plenty
of regiments and plenty of regimental bands. Attracted by one of these,
Catalina was quietly listening to the music, when some street ruffians,
in derision of the gay colors and the form of her forest-made costume--
[rascals! one would like to have seen what sort of trousers _they_
would have made with no better scissors!]--began to pelt her with
stones. Ah, my friends, of the genus _blackguard_, you little know
who it is that you are selecting for experiments. This is the one
creature of fifteen in all Spain, be the other male or female, whom
nature, and temper, and provocation have qualified for taking the
conceit out of you. This she very soon did, laying open a head or two
with a sharp stone, and letting out rather too little than too much of
bad Valladolid blood. But mark the constant villany of this world.
Certain Alguazils--very like some other Alguazils that I know nearer
home--having stood by quietly to see the friendless stranger insulted
and assaulted, now felt it their duty to apprehend the poor nun for
murderous violence: and had there been such a thing as a treadmill in
Valladolid, Kate was booked for a place on it without further inquiry.
Luckily, injustice does not _always_ prosper. A gallant young
cavalier, who had witnessed from his windows the whole affair, had seen
the provocation, and admired Catalina's behavior--equally patient at
first and bold at last--hastened into the street, pursued the officers,
forced them to release their prisoner, upon stating the circumstances
of the case, and instantly offered Catalina a situation amongst his
retinue. He was a man of birth and fortune; and the place offered, that
of an honorary page, not being at all degrading even to a 'daughter of
somebody,' was cheerfully accepted. Here Catalina spent a happy month.
She was now splendidly dressed in dark blue velvet, by a tailor that
did not work within the gloom of a chestnut forest. She and the young
cavalier, Don Francisco de Cardenas, were mutually pleased, and had
mutual confidence. All went well--when one evening, but, luckily, not
until the sun had been set so long as to make all things indistinct,
who should march into the ante-chamber of the cavalier but that sublime
of crocodiles, _Papa_, that we lost sight of fifteen years ago,
and shall never see again after this night. He had his crocodile tears
all ready for use, in working order, like a good industrious fire-
engine. It was absolutely to Catalina herself that he advanced; whom,
for many reasons, he could not be supposed to recognise--lapse of
years, male attire, twilight, were all against him. Still, she might
have the family countenance; and Kate thought he looked with a
suspicious scrutiny into her face, as he inquired for the young Don. To
avert her own face, to announce him to Don Francisco, to wish him on
the shores of that ancient river for crocodiles, the Nile, furnished
but one moment's work to the active Catalina. She lingered, however, as
her place entitled her to do, at the door of the audience chamber. She
guessed already, but in a moment she _heard_ from papa's lips what
was the nature of his errand. His daughter Catharine, he informed the
Don, had eloped from the convent of St. Sebastian, a place rich in
delight. Then he laid open the unparalleled ingratitude of such a step.
Oh, the unseen treasure that had been spent upon that girl! Oh, the
untold sums of money that he had sunk in that unhappy speculation! The
nights of sleeplessness suffered during her infancy! The fifteen years
of solicitude thrown away in schemes for her improvement! It would have
moved the heart of a stone. The _hidalgo_ wept copiously at his
own pathos. And to such a height of grandeur had he carried his Spanish
sense of the sublime, that he disdained to mention the pocket-
handkerchief which he had left at St. Sebastian's fifteen years ago, by
way of envelope for 'pussy,' and which, to the best of pussy's
knowledge, was the one sole memorandum of papa ever heard of at St.
Sebastian's. Pussy, however, saw no use in revising and correcting the
text of papa's remembrances. She showed her usual prudence, and her
usual incomparable decision. It did not appear, as yet, that she would
be reclaimed, or was at all suspected for the fugitive by her father.
For it is an instance of that singular fatality which pursued Catalina
through life, that, to her own astonishment, (as she now collected from
her father's conference,) nobody had traced her to Valladolid, nor had
her father's visit any connection with suspicious travelling in that
direction. The case was quite different. Strangely enough, her street
row had thrown her into the one sole household in all Spain that had an
official connection with St. Sebastian's. That convent had been founded
by the young cavalier's family; and, according to the usage of Spain,
the young man (as present representative of his house) was the
responsible protector of the establishment. It was not to the Don, as
harborer of his daughter, but to the Don, as _ex officio_ visitor
of the convent, that the hidalgo was appealing. Probably Kate might
have staid safely some time longer. Yet, again, this would but have
multiplied the clues for tracing her; and, finally, she would too
probably have been discovered; after which, with all his youthful
generosity, the poor Don could not have protected her. Too terrific was
the vengeance that awaited an abettor of any fugitive nun; but, above
all, if such a crime were perpetrated by an official mandatory of the
church. Yet, again, so far it was the more hazardous course to abscond,
that it almost revealed her to the young Don as the missing daughter.
Still, if it really _had_ that effect, nothing at present obliged
him to pursue her, as might have been the case a few weeks later. Kate
argued (I dare say) rightly, as she always did. Her prudence whispered
eternally, that safety there was none for her, until she had laid the
Atlantic between herself and St. Sebastian's. Life was to be for
_her_ a Bay of Biscay; and it was odds but she had first embarked
upon this billowy life from the literal Bay of Biscay. Chance ordered
otherwise. Or, as a Frenchman says with eloquent ingenuity, in
connection with this story, 'Chance is but the _pseudonyme_ of God
for those particular cases which he does not subscribe openly with his
own sign manual.' She crept up stairs to her bed-room. Simple are the
travelling preparations of those that, possessing nothing, have no
imperials to pack. She had Juvenal's qualification for carolling gaily
through a forest full of robbers; for she had nothing to lose but a
change of linen, that rode easily enough under her left arm, leaving
the right free for answering any questions of impertinent customers. As
she crept down stairs, she heard the Crocodile still weeping forth his
sorrows to the pensive ear of twilight, and to the sympathetic Don
Francisco. Now, it would not have been filial or lady-like for Kate to
do what I am going to suggest; but what a pity that some gay brother
page had not been there to turn aside into the room, armed with a
roasted potato, and, taking a sportsman's aim, to have lodged it in the
Crocodile's abominable mouth. Yet, what an anachronism! There
_were_ no roasted potatoes in Spain at that date, and very few in
England. But anger drives a man to say anything.

Catalina had seen her last of friends and enemies in Valladolid. Short
was her time there; but she had improved it so far as to make a few of
both. There was an eye or two in Valladolid that would have glared with
malice upon her, had she been seen by _all_ eyes in that city, as
she tripped through the streets in the dusk; and eyes there were that
would have softened into tears, had they seen the desolate condition of
the child, or in vision had seen the struggles that were before her.
But what's the use of wasting tears upon our Kate? Wait till to-morrow
morning at sunrise, and see if she is particularly in need of pity.
What now should a young lady do--I propose it as a subject for a prize
essay--that finds herself in Valladolid at nighfall, having no letters
of introduction, not aware of any reason great or small for preferring
any street in general, except so far as she knows of some reason for
avoiding one or two streets in particular? The great problem I have
stated, Kate investigated as she went along; and she solved it with the
accuracy with which she ever applied to _practical_ exigencies.
Her conclusion was--that the best door to knock at in such a case was
the door where there was no need to knock at all, as being unfastened,
and open to all comers. For she argued that within such a door there
would be nothing to steal, so that, at least, you could not be mistaken
in the ark for a thief. Then, as to stealing from _her_, they
might do that if they could.

Upon these principles, which hostile critics will in vain endeavor to
undermine, she laid her hand upon what seemed a rude stable door. Such
it proved. There was an empty cart inside, certainly there was, but you
couldn't take _that_ away in your pocket; and there were five
loads of straw, but then of those a lady could take no more than her
_reticule_ would carry, which perhaps was allowed by the courtesy
of Spain. So Kate was right as to the difficulty of being challenged
for a thief. Closing the door as gently as she had opened it, she
dropped her person, dressed as she was, upon the nearest heap of straw.
Some ten feet further were lying two muleteers, honest and happy
enough, as compared with the lords of the bed-chamber then in
Valladolid: but still gross men, carnally deaf from eating garlic and
onions, and other horrible substances. Accordingly, they never heard
her, nor were aware, until dawn, that such a blooming person existed.
But she was aware of _them_, and of their conversation. They were
talking of an expedition for America, on the point of sailing under Don
Ferdinand de Cordova. It was to sail from some Andalusian port. That
was the very thing for _her_. At daylight she woke, and jumped up,
needing no more toilet than the birds that already were singing in the
gardens, or than the two muleteers, who, good, honest fellows, saluted
the handsome boy kindly--thinking no ill at his making free with
_their_ straw, though no leave had been asked.

With these philo-garlic men Kate took her departure. The morning was
divine: and leaving Valladolid with the transports that befitted such a
golden dawn, feeling also already, in the very obscurity of her exit,
the pledge of her escape; she cared no longer for the Crocodile, or for
St. Sebastian, or (in the way of fear) for the protector of St.
Sebastian, though of _him_ she thought with some tenderness; so
deep is the remembrance of kindness mixed with justice. Andalusia she
reached rather slowly; but many months before she was sixteen years
old, and quite in time for the expedition. St. Lucar being the port of
rendezvous for the Peruvian expedition, thither she went. All comers
were welcome on board the fleet; much more a fine young fellow like
Kate. She was at once engaged as a mate; and _her_ ship, in
particular, after doubling Cape Horn without loss, made the coast of
Peru. Paita was the port of her destination. Very near to this port
they were, when a storm threw them upon a coral reef. There was little
hope of the ship from the first, for she was unmanageable, and was not
expected to hold together for twenty-four hours. In this condition,
with death before their faces, mark what Kate did; and please to
remember it for her benefit, when she does any other little thing that
angers you. The crew lowered the long-boat. Vainly the captain
protested against this disloyal desertion of a king's ship, which might
yet perhaps be run on shore, so as to save the stores. All the crew, to
a man, deserted the captain. You may say _that_ literally; for the
single exception was _not_ a man, being our bold-hearted Kate. She
was the only sailor that refused to leave her captain, or the king of
Spain's ship. The rest pulled away for the shore, and with fair hopes
of reaching it. But one half-hour told another tale: just about that
time came a broad sheet of lightning, which, through the darkness of
evening, revealed the boat in the very act of mounting like a horse
upon an inner reef, instantly filling, and throwing out the crew, every
man of whom disappeared amongst the breakers. The night which succeeded
was gloomy for both the representatives of his Catholic Majesty. It
cannot be denied by the greatest of philosophers, that the muleteer's
stable at Valladolid was worth twenty such ships, though the stable was
_not_ insured against fire, and the ship _was_ insured against the sea
and the wind by some fellow that thought very little of his
engagements. But what's the use of sitting down to cry? That was never
any trick of Catalina's. By daybreak, she was at work with an axe
in her hand. I knew it, before ever I came to this place, in her
memoirs. I felt, as sure as if I had read it, that when day broke, we
should find Kate hard at work. Thimble or axe, trousers or raft, all
one to _her_.

The Captain, though true to his duty, seems to have desponded. He gave
no help towards the raft. Signs were speaking, however, pretty loudly
that he must do something; for notice to quit was now served pretty
liberally. Kate's raft was ready; and she encouraged the captain to
think that it would give both of them something to hold by in swimming,
if not even carry double. At this moment, when all was waiting for a
start, and the ship herself was waiting for a final lurch, to say
_Good-bye_ to the King of Spain, Kate went and did a thing which
some misjudging people will object to. She knew of a box laden with
gold coins, reputed to be the King of Spain's, and meant for
contingencies in the voyage out. This she smashed open with her axe,
and took a sum equal to one hundred guineas English; which, having well
secured in a pillow-case, she then lashed firmly to the raft. Now this,
you know, though not _flotsam_, because it would not float, was
certainly, by maritime law, '_jetsom_.' It would be the idlest of
scruples to fancy that the sea or a shark had a better right to it than
a philosopher, or a splendid girl who showed herself capable of writing
a very fair 8vo, to say nothing of her decapitating in battle several
of the king's enemies, and recovering the king's banner. No sane
moralist would hesitate to do the same thing under the same
circumstances, on board an English vessel, though the First Lord of the
Admiralty should be looking on. The raft was now thrown into the sea.
Kate jumped after it, and then entreated the captain to follow her. He
attempted it; but, wanting her youthful agility, he struck his head
against a spar, and sank like lead, giving notice below that his ship
was coming. Kate mounted the raft, and was gradually washed ashore, but
so exhausted, as to have lost all recollection. She lay for hours until
the warmth of the sun revived her. On sitting up, she saw a desolate
shore stretching both ways--nothing to eat, nothing to drink, but
fortunately the raft and the money had been thrown near her; none of
the lashings having given way--only what is the use of a guinea amongst
tangle and sea-gulls? The money she distributed amongst her pockets,
and soon found strength to rise and march forward. But which _was_
forward? and which backward? She knew by the conversation of the
sailors that Paita must be in the neighborhood; and Paita, being a
port, could not be in the inside of Peru, but, of course, somewhere on
its outside--and the outside of a maritime land must be the shore; so
that, if she kept the shore, and went far enough, she could not fail of
hitting her foot against Paita at last, in the very darkest night,
provided only she could first find out which was _up_ and which
was _down_; else she might walk her shoes off, and find herself
six thousand miles in the wrong. Here was an awkward case, all for want
of a guide-post. Still, when one thinks of Kate's prosperous horoscope,
that after so long a voyage, _she_ only, out of the total crew,
was thrown on the American shore, with one hundred and five pounds in
her purse of clear gain on the voyage, a conviction arises that she
_could_ not guess wrongly. She might have tossed up, having coins
in her pocket, _heads or tails_? but this kind of sortilege was
then coming to be thought irreligious in Christendom, as a Jewish and a
Heathen mode of questioning the dark future. She simply guessed,
therefore; and very soon a thing happened which, though adding nothing
to strengthen her guess as a true one, did much to sweeten it if it
should prove a false one. On turning a point of the shore, she came
upon a barrel of biscuit washed ashore from the ship. Biscuit is about
the best thing I know, but it is the soonest spoiled; and one would
like to hear counsel on one puzzling point, why it is that a touch of
water utterly ruins it, taking its life, and leaving a _caput
mortuum_ corpse! Upon this _caput_ Kate breakfasted, though
_her_ case was worse than mine; for any water that ever plagued
_me_ was always fresh; now _hers_ was a present from the
Pacific ocean. She, that was always prudent, packed up some of the
Catholic king's biscuit, as she had previously packed up far too little
of his gold. But in such cases a most delicate question occurs,
pressing equally on medicine and algebra. It is this: if you pack up
too much, then, by this extra burthen of salt provisions, you may
retard for days your arrival at fresh provisions; on the other hand, if
you pack up too little, you may never arrive at all. Catalina hit the
_juste milieu;_ and about twilight on the second day, she found
herself entering Paita, without having had to swim any river in her

The first thing, in such a case of distress, which a young lady does,
even if she happens to be a young gentleman, is to beautify her dress.
Kate always attended to _that_, as we know, having overlooked her
in the chestnut wood. The man she sent for was not properly a tailor,
but one who employed tailors, he himself furnishing the materials. His
name was Urquiza, a fact of very little importance to us in 1847, if it
had stood only at the head and foot of Kate's little account. But
unhappily for Kate's _début_ on this vast American stage, the case
was otherwise. Mr. Urquiza had the misfortune (equally common in the
old world and the new) of being a knave; and also a showy specious
knave. Kate, who had prospered under sea allowances of biscuit and
hardship, was now expanding in proportions. With very little vanity or
consciousness on that head, she now displayed a really fine person;
and, when drest anew in the way that became a young officer in the
Spanish service, she looked [Footnote: _'She looked,' etc_. If
ever the reader should visit Aix-la-Chapelle, he will probably feel
interest enough in the poor, wild impassioned girl, to look out for a
picture of her in that city, and the only one known _certainly_ to
be authentic. It is in the collection of Mr. Sempeller. For some time
it was supposed that the best (if not the only) portrait of her lurked
somewhere in Italy. Since the discovery of the picture at Aix-la-
Chapelle, that notion has been abandoned. But there is great reason to
believe that, both in Madrid and Rome, many portraits of her must have
been painted to meet the intense interest which arose in her history
subsequently amongst all the men of rank, military or ecclesiastical,
whether in Italy or Spain. The date of these would range between
sixteen and twenty-two years from, the period which we have now reached
(1608.)] the representative picture of a Spanish _caballador_. It
is strange that such an appearance, and such a rank, should have
suggested to Urquiza the presumptuous idea of wishing that Kate might
become his clerk. He _did_, however wish it; for Kate wrote a
beautiful hand; and a stranger thing is, that Kate accepted his
proposal. This might arise from the difficulty of moving in those days
to any distance in Peru. The ship had been merely bringing stores to
the station of Paita; and no corps of the royal armies was readily to
be reached, whilst something must be done at once for a livelihood.
Urquiza had two mercantile establishments, one at Trujillo, to which he
repaired in person, on Kate's agreeing to undertake the management of
the other in Paita. Like the sensible girl, that we have always found
her, she demanded specific instructions for her guidance in duties so
new. Certainly she was in a fair way for seeing life. Telling her beads
at St. Sebastian's, manoeuvreing irregular verbs at Vittoria, acting as
gentleman-usher at Valladolid, serving his Spanish Majesty round Cape
Horn, fighting with storms and sharks off the coast of Peru, and now
commencing as book-keeper or _commis_ to a draper at Paita, does
she not justify the character that I myself gave her, just before
dismissing her from St. Sebastian's, of being a 'handy' girl? Mr.
Urquiza's instructions were short, easy to be understood, but rather
comic; and yet, which is odd, they led to tragic results. There were
two debtors of the shop, (_many_, it is to be hoped, but two
meriting his affectionate notice,) with respect to whom he left the
most opposite directions. The one was a very handsome lady; and the
rule as to _her_ was, that she was to have credit unlimited,
strictly unlimited. That was plain. The other customer, favored by Mr.
Urquiza's valedictory thoughts, was a young man, cousin to the handsome
lady, and bearing the name of Reyes. This youth occupied in Mr.
Urquiza's estimate the same hyperbolical rank as the handsome lady, but
on the opposite side of the equation. The rule as to _him_ was--
that he was to have _no_ credit; strictly none. In this case,
also, Kate saw no difficulty; and when she came to know Mr. Reyes a
little, she found the path of pleasure coinciding with the path of
duty. Mr. Urquiza could not be more precise in laying down the rule
than Kate was in enforcing it. But in the other case a scruple arose.
_Unlimited_ might be a word, not of Spanish law, but of Spanish
rhetoric; such as '_Live a thousand years_,' which even annuity
offices hear, and perhaps utter, without a pang. Kate, therefore, wrote
to Trujillo, expressing her honest fears, and desiring to have more
definite instructions. These were positive. If the lady chose to send
for the entire shop, her account was to be debited instantly with
_that_. She had, however, as yet, not sent for the shop, but she
began to manifest strong signs of sending for the shop _man_. Upon
the blooming young Biscayan had her roving eye settled; and she was in
a course of making up her mind to take Kate for a sweetheart. Poor Kate
saw this with a heavy heart. And, at the same time that she had a
prospect of a tender friend more than she wanted, she had become
certain of an extra enemy that she wanted quite as little. What she had
done to offend Mr. Reyes, Kate could not guess, except as to the matter
of the credit; but then, in that, she only executed her instructions.
Still Mr. Reyes was of opinion that there were two ways of executing
orders: but the main offence was unintentional on Kate's part. Reyes,
though as yet she did not know it, had himself been a candidate for the
situation of clerk; and intended probably to keep the equation
precisely as it was with respect to the allowance of credit, only to
change places with the handsome lady--keeping _her_ on the
negative side, himself on the affirmative--an arrangement that you know
could have made no sort of pecuniary difference to Urquiza.

Thus stood matters, when a party of strolling players strolled into
Paita. Kate, as a Spaniard, being one held of the Paita aristocracy,
was expected to attend. She did so; and there also was the malignant
Reyes. He came and seated himself purposely so as to shut out Kate from
all view of the stage. She, who had nothing of the bully in her nature,
and was a gentle creature when her wild Biscayan blood had not been
kindled by insult, courteously requested him to move a little; upon
which Reyes remarked that it was not in his power to oblige the clerk
as to that, but that he _could_ oblige him by cutting his throat.
The tiger that slept in Catalina wakened at once. She seized him, and
would have executed vengeance on the spot, but that a party of young
men interposed to part them. The next day, when Kate (always ready to
forget and forgive) was thinking no more of the row, Reyes passed; by
spitting at the window, and other gestures insulting to Kate, again he
roused her Spanish blood. Out she rushed, sword in hand--a duel began
in the street, and very soon Kate's sword had passed into the heart of
Reyes. Now that the mischief was done, the police were, as usual, all
alive for the pleasure of avenging it. Kate found herself suddenly in a
strong prison, and with small hopes of leaving it, except for
execution. The relations of the dead man were potent in Paita, and
clamorous for justice, so that the _corregidor_, in a case where
he saw a very poor chance of being corrupted by bribes, felt it his
duty to be sublimely incorruptible. The reader knows, however, that,
amongst the relatives of the deceased bully, was that handsome lady,
who differed as much from her cousin in her sentiments as to Kate, as
she did in the extent of her credit with Mr. Urquiza. To _her_
Kate wrote a note; and, using one of the Spanish King's gold coins for
bribing the jailor, got it safely delivered. That, perhaps, was
unnecessary; for the lady had been already on the alert, and had
summoned Urquiza from Trujillo. By some means, not very luminously
stated, and by paying proper fees in proper quarters, Kate was smuggled
out of the prison at nightfall, and smuggled into a pretty house in the
suburbs. Had she known exactly the footing she stood on as to the law,
she would have been decided. As it was, she was uneasy, and jealous of
mischief abroad; and, before supper, she understood it all. Urquiza
briefly informed his clerk, that it would be requisite for him to marry
the handsome lady. But why? Because, said Urquiza, after talking for
hours with the _corregidor_, who was infamous for obstinacy, he
had found it impossible to make him 'hear reason,' and release the
prisoner, until this compromise of marriage was suggested. But how
could public justice be pacified for the clerk's unfortunate homicide
of Reyes, by a female cousin of the deceased man engaging to love,
honor, and obey the clerk for life? Kate could not see her way through
this logic. 'Nonsense, my friend,' said Urquiza, 'you don't comprehend.
As it stands, the affair is a murder, and hanging the penalty. But, if
you marry into the murdered man's house, then it becomes a little
family murder, all quiet and comfortable amongst ourselves. What has
the _corregidor_ to do with that? or the public either? Now, let
me introduce the bride.' Supper entered at that moment, and the bride
immediately after. The thoughtfulness of Kate was narrowly observed,
and even alluded to, but politely ascribed to the natural anxieties of
a prisoner, and the very imperfect state of liberation even yet from
prison _surveillance_. Kate had, indeed, never been in so trying a
situation before. The anxieties of the farewell night at St. Sebastian
were nothing to this; because, even if she had failed _then_, a
failure might not have been always irreparable. It was but to watch and
wait. But now, at this supper table, she was not more alive to the
nature of the peril than she was to the fact, that if, before the night
closed, she did not by some means escape from it, she never
_would_ escape with life. The deception as to her sex, though
resting on no motive that pointed to these people, or at all concerned
them, would be resented as if it had. The lady would resent the case as
a mockery; and Urquiza would lose his opportunity of delivering himself
from an imperious mistress. According to the usages of the times and
country, Kate knew that in twelve hours she would be assassinated.

People of infirmer resolution would have lingered at the supper table,
for the sake of putting off the evil moment of final crisis. Not so
Kate. She had revolved the case on all its sides in a few minutes, and
had formed her resolution. This done, she was as ready for the trial at
one moment as another; and, when the lady suggested that the hardships
of a prison must have made repose desirable, Kate assented, and
instantly rose. A sort of procession formed, for the purpose of doing
honor to the interesting guest, and escorting him in pomp to his
bedroom. Kate viewed it much in the same light as the procession to
which for some days she had been expecting an invitation from the
_corregidor_. Far ahead ran the servant-woman as a sort of
outrider. Then came Urquiza, like a Pasha of two tails, who granted two
sorts of credit, viz. unlimited and none at all, bearing two wax-
lights, one in each hand, and wanting only cymbals and kettle-drums to
express emphatically the pathos of his Castilian strut. Next came the
bride, a little in advance of the clerk, but still turning obliquely
towards him, and smiling graciously into his face. Lastly, bringing up
the rear, came the prisoner--our Kate--the nun, the page, the mate, the
clerk, the homicide, the convict; and, for this day only, by particular
desire, the bridegroom elect.

It was Kate's fixed opinion, that, if for a moment she entered any
bedroom having obviously no outlet, her fate would be that of an ox
once driven within the shambles. Outside, the bullock might make some
defence with his horns; but once in, with no space for turning, he is
muffled and gagged. She carried her eye, therefore, like a hawk's,
steady, though restless, for vigilant examination of every angle she
turned. Before she entered any bedroom, she was resolved to reconnoiter
it from the doorway, and, in case of necessity, show fight at once,
before entering--as the best chance, after all, where all chances were
bad. Everything ends; and at last the procession reached the bedroom
door, the outrider having filed off to the rear. One glance sufficed to
satisfy Kate that windows there were none, and, therefore, no outlet
for escape. Treachery appeared even in _that_; and Kate, though
unfortunately without arms, was now fixed for resistance. Mr. Urquiza
entered first--'Sound the trumpets! Beat the drums!' There were, as we
know already, no windows; but a slight interruption to Mr. Urquiza's
pompous tread showed that there were steps downwards into the room.
Those, thought Kate, will suit me even better. She had watched the
unlocking of the bedroom door--she had lost nothing--she had marked
that the key was left in the lock. At this moment, the beautiful lady,
as one acquainted with the details of the house, turning with the air
of a gracious monitress, held out her fair hand to guide Kate in
careful descent of the steps. This had the air of taking out Kate to
dance; and Kate, at that same moment, answering to it by the gesture of
a modern waltzer, threw her arm behind the lady's waist, hurled her
headlong down the steps right against Mr. Urquiza, draper and
haberdasher; and then, with the speed of lightning, throwing the door
_home_ within its architrave, doubly locked the creditor and
debtor into the rat-trap which they had prepared for herself.

The affrighted out-rider fled with horror: she already knew that the
clerk had committed one homicide; a second would cost him still less
thought; and thus it happened that egress was left easy. But, when out
and free once more in the bright starry night, which way should Kate
turn? The whole city would prove but a rat-trap for her, as bad as Mr.
Urquiza's, if she was not off before morning. At a glance she
comprehended that the sea was her only chance. To the port she fled.
All was silent. Watchmen there were none. She jumped into a boat. To
use the oars was dangerous, for she had no means of muffling them. But
she contrived to hoist a sail, pushed off with a boat-hook, and was
soon stretching across the water for the mouth of the harbor before a
breeze light but favorable. Having cleared the difficulties of exit she
lay down, and unintentionally fell asleep. When she awoke the sun had
been up three or four hours; all was right otherwise; but had she not
served as a sailor, Kate would have trembled upon finding that, during
her long sleep of perhaps seven or eight hours, she had lost sight of
land; by what distance she could only guess; and in what direction, was
to some degree doubtful. All this, however, seemed a great advantage to
the bold girl, throwing her thoughts back on the enemies she had left
behind. The disadvantage was--having no breakfast, not even damaged
biscuit; and some anxiety naturally arose as to ulterior prospects a
little beyond the horizon of breakfast. But who's afraid? As sailors
whistle for a wind, Catalina really had but to whistle for anything
with energy, and it was sure to come. Like Caesar to the pilot of
Dyrrhachium, she might have said, for the comfort of her poor timorous
boat, (though destined soon to perish,) '_Catalinam vehis, et
fortunas ejus_.' Meantime, being very doubtful as to the best course
for sailing, and content if her course did but lie offshore, she
'carried on,' as sailors say, under easy sail, going, in fact, just
whither and just how the Pacific breezes suggested in the gentlest of
whispers. _All right behind_, was Kate's opinion; and, what was
better, very soon she might say, _all right ahead:_ for some hour
or two before sunset, when dinner was for once becoming, even to Kate,
the most interesting of subjects for meditation, suddenly a large ship
began to swell upon the brilliant atmosphere. In those latitudes, and
in those years, any ship was pretty sure to be Spanish: sixty years
later the odds were in favor of its being an English buccaneer; which
would have given a new direction to Kate's energy. Kate continued to
make signals with a handkerchief whiter than the crocodile's of Ann.
Dom. 1592, else it would hardly have been noticed. Perhaps, after all,
it would not, but that the ship's course carried her very nearly across
Kate's. The stranger lay-to for her. It was dark by the time Kate
steered herself under the ship's quarter; and _then_ was seen an
instance of this girl's eternal wakefulness. Something was painted on
the stern of her boat, she could not see _what;_ but she judged
that it would express some connection with the port that she had just
quitted. Now it was her wish to break the chain of traces connecting
her with such a scamp as Urquiza; since else, through his commercial
correspondence, he might disperse over Peru a portrait of herself by no
means flattering. How should she accomplish this? It was dark; and she
stood, as you may see an Etonian do at times, rocking her little boat
from side to side, until it had taken in water as much as might be
agreeable. Too much it proved for the boat's constitution, and the boat
perished of dropsy--Kate declining to tap it. She got a ducking
herself; but what cared she? Up the ship's side she went, as gaily as
ever, in those years when she was called pussy, she had raced after the
nuns of St. Sebastian; jumped upon deck, and told the first lieutenant,
when he questioned her about her adventures, quite as much truth as any
man, under the rank of admiral, had a right to expect.

This ship was full of recruits for the Spanish army, and bound to
Concepcion. Even in that destiny was an iteration, or repeating
memorial of the significance that ran through Catalina's most casual
adventures. She had enlisted amongst the soldiers; and, on reaching
port, the very first person who came off from shore was a dashing young
military officer, whom at once by his name and rank, (though she had
never consciously seen him,) she identified as her own brother. He was
splendidly situated in the service, being the Governor-General's
secretary, besides his rank as a cavalry officer; and, his errand on
board being to inspect the recruits, naturally, on reading in the roll
one of them described as a Biscayan, the ardent young man came up with
high-bred courtesy to Catalina, took the young recruit's hand with
kindness, feeling that to be a compatriot at so great a distance was to
be a sort of relative, and asked with emotion after old boyish
remembrances. There was a scriptural pathos in what followed, as if it
were some scene of domestic re-union, opening itself from patriarchal
ages. The young officer was the eldest son of the house, and had left
Spain when Catalina was only three years old. But, singularly enough,
Catalina it was, the little wild cat that he yet remembered seeing at
St. Sebastian's, upon whom his earliest inquiries settled. 'Did the
recruit know his family, the De Erausos?' O yes, every body knew
_them_. 'Did the recruit know little Catalina?' Catalina smiled,
as she replied that she did; and gave such an animated description of
the little fiery wretch, as made the officer's eye flash with gratified
tenderness, and with certainty that the recruit was no counterfeit
Biscayan. Indeed, you know, if Kate couldn't give a good description of
'Pussy,' who could? The issue of the interview was--that the officer
insisted on Kate's making a home of his quarters. He did other services
for his unknown sister. He placed her as a trooper in his own regiment,
and favored her in many a way that is open to one having authority. But
the person, after all, that did most to serve our Kate, was Kate. War
was then raging with Indians, both from Chili and Peru. Kate had always
done her duty in action; but at length, in the decisive battle of
Puren, there was an opening for doing something more. Havoc had been
made of her own squadron: most of the officers were killed, and the
standard was carried off. Kate gathered around her a small party--
galloped after the Indian column that was carrying away the trophy--
charged--saw all her own party killed--but (in spite of wounds on her
face and shoulder) succeeded in bearing away the recovered standard.
She rode up to the general and his staff; she dismounted; she rendered
up her prize; and fainted away, much less from the blinding blood, than
from the tears of joy which dimmed her eyes, as the general, waving his
sword in admiration over her head, pronounced our Kate on the spot an
_Alferez_, [Footnote: _Alferez_. This rank in the Spanish
army is, or was, on a level with the modern _sous-lieutenant_ of
France.] or standard-bearer, with a commission from the King of Spain
and the Indies. Bonny Kate! Noble Kate! I would there were not two
centuries laid between us, so that I might have the pleasure of kissing
thy fair hand.

Kate had the good sense to see the danger of revealing her sex, or her
relationship, even to her own brother. The grasp of the Church never
relaxed, never 'prescribed,' unless freely and by choice. The nun, if
discovered, would have been taken out of the horse-barracks, or the
dragoon-saddle. She had the firmness, therefore, for many years, to
resist the sisterly impulses that sometimes suggested such a
confidence. For years, and those years the most important of her life--
the years that developed her character--she lived undetected as a
brilliant cavalry officer under her brother's patronage. And the
bitterest grief in poor Kate's whole life, was the tragical (and, were
it not fully attested, one might say the ultra-scenical,) event that
dissolved their long connection. Let me spend a word of apology on poor
Kate's errors. We all commit many; both you and I, reader. No, stop;
that's not civil. You, reader, I know, are a saint; I am _not_,
though very near it. I _do_ err at long intervals; and then I
think with indulgence of the many circumstances that plead for this
poor girl. The Spanish armies of that day inherited, from the days of
Cortez and Pizarro, shining remembrances of martial prowess, and the
very worst of ethics. To think little of bloodshed, to quarrel, to
fight, to gamble, to plunder, belonged to the very atmosphere of a
camp, to its indolence, to its ancient traditions. In your own defence,
you were obliged to do such things. Besides all these grounds of evil,
the Spanish army had just there an extra demoralization from a war with
savages--faithless and bloody. Do not think, I beseech you, too much,
reader, of killing a man. That word '_kill_' is sprinkled over
every page of Kate's own autobiography. It ought not to be read by the
light of these days. Yet, how if a man that she killed were----? Hush!
It was sad; but is better hurried over in a few words. Years after this
period, a young officer one day dining with Kate, entreated her to
become his second in a duel. Such things were every-day affairs.
However, Kate had reasons for declining the service, and did so. But
the officer, as he was sullenly departing, said--that, if he were
killed, (as he thought he _should_ be,) his death would lie at
Kate's door. I do not take _his_ view of the case, and am not
moved by his rhetoric or his logic. Kate _was_, and relented. The
duel was fixed for eleven at night, under the walls of a monastery.
Unhappily the night proved unusually dark, so that the two principals
had to tie white handkerchiefs round their elbows, in order to descry
each other. In the confusion they wounded each other mortally. Upon
that, according to a usage not peculiar to Spaniards, but extending (as
doubtless the reader knows) for a century longer to our own countrymen,
the two seconds were obliged in honor to do something towards avenging
their principals. Kate had her usual fatal luck. Her sword passed sheer
through the body of her opponent: this unknown opponent falling dead,
had just breath left to cry out, 'Ah, villain, you have killed me,' in
a voice of horrific reproach; and the voice was the voice of her

The monks of the monastery, under whose silent shadows this murderous
duel had taken place, roused by the clashing of swords and the angry
shouts of combatants, issued out with torches to find one only of the
four officers surviving. Every convent and altar had a right of asylum
for a short period. According to the custom, the monks carried Kate,
insensible with anguish of mind, to the sanctuary of their chapel.
There for some days they detained her; but then, having furnished her
with a horse and some provisions, they turned her adrift. Which way
should the unhappy fugitive turn? In blindness of heart she turned
towards the sea. It was the sea that had brought her to Peru; it was
the sea that would perhaps carry her away. It was the sea that had
first showed her this land and its golden hopes; it was the sea that
ought to hide from her its fearful remembrances. The sea it was that
had twice spared her life in extremities; the sea it was that might now
if it chose, take back the bauble that it had spared in vain.


Three days our poor heroine followed the coast. Her horse was then
almost unable to move; and on _his_ account, she turned inland to a
thicket for grass and shelter. As she drew near to it, a voice
challenged--'_Who goes there_?' Kate answered, '_Spain_.' '_What
people_?' '_A friend_.' It was two soldiers, deserters, and almost
starving. Kate shared her provisions with these men: and, on hearing
their plan, which was to go over the Cordilleras, she agreed to join
the party. _Their_ object was the wild one of seeking the river
_Dorado_, whose waters rolled along golden sands, and whose pebbles
were emeralds. _Hers_ was to throw herself upon a line the least liable
to pursuit, and the readiest for a new chapter of life in which
oblivion might be found for the past. After a few days of incessant
climbing and fatigue, they found themselves in the regions of perpetual
snow. Summer would come as vainly to this kingdom of frost as to the
grave of her brother. No fire, but the fire of human blood in youthful
veins, could ever be kept burning in these aerial solitudes. Fuel was
rarely to be found, and kindling a secret hardly known except to
Indians. However, our Kate can do everything, and she's the girl, if
ever girl _did_ such a thing, or ever girl did _not_ such a thing, that
I back at any odds for crossing the Cordilleras. I would bet you
something now, reader, if I thought you would deposit your stakes by
return of post, (as they play at chess through the post-office,) that
Kate does the trick, that she gets down to the other side; that the
soldiers do _not_: and that the horse, if preserved at all, is
preserved in a way that will leave him very little to boast of.

The party had gathered wild berries and esculent roots at the foot of
the mountains, and the horse was of very great use in carrying them.
But this larder was soon emptied. There was nothing then to carry; so
that the horse's value, as a beast of burthen, fell cent per cent. In
fact, very soon he could not carry himself, and it became easy to
calculate when he would reach the bottom on the wrong side the
Cordilleras. He took three steps back for one upwards. A council of war
being held, the small army resolved to slaughter their horse. He,
though a member of the expedition, had no vote, and if he had the votes
would have stood three to one--majority, two against him. He was cut
into quarters; which surprises me; for, unless _one_ quarter was
considered his own share, it reminds one too much of this amongst the
many _facetiæ_ of English midshipmen, who ask (on any one of their
number looking sulky) 'if it is his intention to marry and retire from
the service upon a superannuation of £4 4s. 4 1/2d. a year, paid
quarterly by way of bothering the purser.' The purser can't do it with
the help of farthings. And as respects aliquot parts, four shares among
three persons are as incommensurable as a guinea is against any attempt
at giving change in half-crowns. However, this was all the
preservation that the horse found. No saltpetre or sugar could be had:
but the frost was antiseptic. And the horse was preserved in as useful
a sense as ever apricots were preserved or strawberries.

On a fire, painfully devised out of broom and withered leaves, a horse-
steak was dressed, for drink, snow as allowed _a discretion_. This
ought to have revived the party, and Kate, perhaps, it _did_. But
the poor deserters were thinly clad, and they had not the boiling heart
of Catalina. More and more they drooped. Kate did her best to cheer
them. But the march was nearly at an end for _them_, and they
were going in one half hour to receive their last billet. Yet, before
this consummation, they have a strange spectacle to see; such as few
places could show, but the upper chambers of the Cordilleras. They had
reached a billowy scene of rocky masses, large and small, looking
shockingly black on their perpendicular sides as they rose out of the
vast snowy expanse. Upon the highest of these, that was accessible,
Kate mounted to look around her, and she saw--oh, rapture at such an
hour!--a man sitting on a shelf of rock with a gun by his side. She
shouted with joy to her comrades, and ran down to communicate the
joyful news. Here was a sportsman, watching, perhaps, for an eagle; and
now they would have relief. One man's cheek kindled with the hectic of
sudden joy, and he rose eagerly to march. The other was fast sinking
under the fatal sleep that frost sends before herself as her merciful
minister of death; but hearing in his dream the tidings of relief, and
assisted by his friends, he also staggeringly arose. It could not be
three minutes' walk, Kate thought, to the station of the sportsman.
That thought supported them all. Under Kate's guidance, who had taken a
sailor's glance at the bearings, they soon unthreaded the labyrinth of
rocks so far as to bring the man within view. He had not left his
resting-place; their steps on the soundless snow, naturally, he could
not hear; and, as their road brought them upon him from the rear, still
less could he see them. Kate hailed him; but so keenly was he absorbed
in some speculation, or in the object of his watching, that he took no
notice of them, not even moving his head. Kate began to think there
would be another man to rouse from sleep. Coming close behind him, she
touched his shoulder, and said, 'My friend, are you sleeping?' Yes, he
_was_ sleeping; sleeping the sleep from which there is no awaking;
and the slight touch of Kate having disturbed the equilibrium of the
corpse, down it rolled on the snow: the frozen body rang like a hollow
iron cylinder; the face uppermost and blue with mould, mouth open,
teeth ghastly and bleaching in the frost, and a frightful grin upon the
lips. This dreadful spectacle finished the struggles of the weaker man,
who sank and died at once. The other made an effort with so much
spirit, that, in Kate's opinion, horror had acted upon him beneficially
as a stimulant. But it was not really so. It was a spasm of morbid
strength; a collapse succeeded; his blood began to freeze; he sat down
in spite of Kate, and _he_ also died without further struggle.
Gone are the poor suffering deserters; stretched and bleaching upon the
snow; and insulted discipline is avenged. Great kings have long arms;
and sycophants are ever at hand for the errand of the potent. What had
frost and snow to do with the quarrel? Yet _they_ made themselves
sycophantic servants of the King of Spain; and _they_ dogged his
deserters up to the summit of the Cordilleras, more surely than any
Spanish bloodhound, or any Spanish tirailleur's bullet.

Now is our Kate standing alone on the summits of the Andes, in solitude
that is shocking, for she is alone with her own afflicted conscience.
Twice before she had stood in solitude as deep upon the wild--wild
waters of the Pacific; but her conscience had been then untroubled.
Now, is there nobody left that can help; her horse is dead--the
soldiers are dead. There is nobody that she can speak to except God;
and very soon you will find that she _does_ speak to him; for
already on these vast aerial deserts He has been whispering to
_her_. The condition of Kate is exactly that of Coleridge's
'_Ancient Mariner_.' But possibly, reader, you may be amongst the
many careless readers that have never fully understood what that
condition was. Suffer me to enlighten you, else you ruin the story of
the mariner; and by losing all its pathos, lose half the jewels of its

There are three readers of the 'Ancient Mariner.' The first is gross
enough to fancy all the imagery of the mariner's visions delivered by
the poet for actual facts of experience; which being impossible, the
whole pulverizes, for that reader, into a baseless fairy tale. The
second reader is wiser than _that_; he knows that the imagery is _not_
baseless; it is the imagery of febrile delirium; really seen, but not
seen as an external reality. The mariner had caught the pestilential
fever, which carried off all his mates; he only had survived--the
delirium had vanished; but the visions that had haunted the delirium
remained. 'Yes,' says the third reader, 'they remained; naturally they
did, being scorched by fever into his brain; but how did they happen to
remain on his belief as gospel truths? The delirium had vanished: why
had not the painted scenery of the delirium vanished, except as
visionary memorials of a sorrow that was cancelled? Why was it that
craziness settled upon this mariner's brain, driving him, as if he were
a Cain, or another Wandering Jew, to 'pass like night--from land to
land;' and, at uncertain intervals, wrenching him until he made
rehearsal of his errors, even at the hard price of 'holding children
from their play, and old men from the chimney corner?' [Footnote: The
beautiful words of Sir Philip Sidney, in his '_Defense of Poesie_.']
That craziness, as the _third reader_ deciphers, rose out of a deeper
soil than any bodily affection. It had its root in penitential sorrow.
Oh, bitter is the sorrow to a conscientious heart, when, too late, it
discovers the depth of a love that has been trampled under foot! This
mariner had slain the creature that, on all the earth, loved him best.
In the darkness of his cruel superstition he had done it, to save his
human brothers from a fancied inconvenience; and yet, by that very act
of cruelty, he had himself called destruction upon their heads. The
Nemesis that followed punished _him_ through _them_--him, that wronged,
through those that wrongfully he sought to benefit. That spirit who
watches over the sanctities of love is a strong angel--is a jealous
angel; and this angel it was

'That lov'd the bird, that lov'd the man,
That shot him with his bow.'

He it was that followed the cruel archer into silent and slumbering

'Nine fathom deep he had follow'd him
Through the realms of mist and snow.'

This jealous angel it was that pursued the man into noon-day darkness,
and the vision of dying oceans, into delirium, and finally, (when
recovered from disease) into an unsettled mind.

Such, also, had been the offence of Kate; such, also was the punishment
that now is dogging her steps. She, like the mariner, had slain the one
sole creature that loved her upon the whole wide earth; she, like the
mariner, for this offence, had been hunted into frost and snow--very
soon will be hunted into delirium; and from _that_ (if she escapes
with life) will be hunted into the trouble of a heart that cannot rest.
There was the excuse of one darkness for _her_; there was the
excuse of another darkness for the mariner. But, with all the excuses
that earth, and the darkness of earth, can furnish, bitter it would be
for you or me, reader, through every hour of life, waking or dreaming,
to look back upon one fatal moment when we had pierced the heart that
would have died for us. In this only the darkness had been merciful to
Kate--that it had hidden for ever from her victim the hand that slew
him. But now in such utter solitude, her thoughts ran back to their
earliest interview. She remembered with anguish, how, on first touching
the shores of America, almost the very first word that met her ear had
been from _him_, the brother whom she had killed, about the
'Pussy' of times long past; how the gallant young man had hung upon her
words, as in her native Basque she described her own mischievous little
self, of twelve years back; how his color went and came, whilst his
loving memory of the little sister was revived by her own descriptive
traits, giving back, as in a mirror, the fawn-like grace, the squirrel-
like restlessness, that once had kindled his own delighted laughter;
how he would take no denial, but showed on the spot, that, simply to
have touched--to have kissed--to have played with the little wild
thing, that glorified, by her innocence, the gloom of St. Sebastian's
cloisters, gave a _right_ to his hospitality; how, through
_him_ only, she had found a welcome in camps; how, through
_him_, she had found the avenue to honor and distinction. And yet
this brother, so loving and generous, it was that she had dismissed
from life. She paused; she turned round, as if looking back for his
grave; she saw the dreadful wildernesses of snow which already she had

Silent they were at this season, even as in the panting heats of noon,
the Zaarrahs of the torrid zone are oftentimes silent. Dreadful was the
silence; it was the nearest thing to the silence of the grave. Graves
were at the foot of the Andes, _that_ she knew too well; graves were at
the summit of the Andes, _that_ she saw too well. And, as she gazed, a
sudden thought flashed upon her, when her eyes settled upon the corpses
of the poor deserters--could she, like _them_, have been all this while
unconsciously executing judgment upon herself? Running from a wrath
that was doubtful, into the very jaws of a wrath that was inexorable?
Flying in panic--and behold! there was no man that pursued? For the
first time in her life, Kate trembled. _Not_ for the first time, Kate
wept. Far less for the first time was it, that Kate bent her knee--that
Kate clasped her hands--that Kate prayed. But it _was_ the first time
that she prayed as _they_ pray, for whom no more hope is left but in

Here let me pause a moment for the sake of making somebody angry. A
Frenchman, who sadly misjudges Kate, looking at her through a Parisian
opera-glass, gives it as _his_ opinion--that, because Kate first
_records_ her prayer on this occasion, therefore, now first of all
she prayed. _I_ think not so. _I_ love this Kate, blood-
stained as she is; and I could not love a woman that never bent her
knee in thankfulness or in supplication. However, we have all a right
to our own little opinion; and it is not you, '_mon cher_,' you
Frenchman, that I am angry with, but somebody else that stands behind
you. You, Frenchman, and your compatriots, I love oftentimes for your
festal gaiety of heart; and I quarrel only with your levity and that
eternal worldliness that freezes too fiercely--that absolutely blisters
with its frost--like the upper air of the Andes. _You_ speak of
Kate only as too readily you speak of all women; the instinct of a
natural scepticism being to scoff at all hidden depths of truth. Else
you are civil enough to Kate; and your '_homage_' (such as it may
happen to be) is always at the service of a woman on the shortest
notice. But behind _you_, I see a worse fellow; a gloomy fanatic;
a religious sycophant that seeks to propitiate his circle by bitterness
against the offences that are most unlike his own. And against him, I
must say one word for Kate to the too hasty reader. This villain, whom
I mark for a shot if he does not get out of the way, opens his fire on
our Kate under shelter of a lie. For there is a standing lie in the
very constitution of civil society, a _necessity_ of error,
misleading us as to the proportions of crime. Mere necessity obliges
man to create many acts into felonies, and to punish them as the
heaviest offences, which his better sense teaches him secretly to
regard as perhaps among the lightest. Those poor deserters, for
instance, were they necessarily without excuse? They might have been
oppressively used; but in critical times of war, no matter for the
individual palliations, the deserter from his colors _must_ be
shot: there is no help for it: as in extremities of general famine, we
shoot the man (alas! we are _obliged_ to shoot him) that is found
robbing the common stores in order to feed his own perishing children,
though the offence is hardly visible in the sight of God. Only
blockheads adjust their scale of guilt to the scale of human
punishments. Now, our wicked friend the fanatic, who calumniates Kate,
abuses the advantage which, for such a purpose, he derives from the
exaggerated social estimate of all violence. Personal security being so
main an object of social union, we are obliged to frown upon all modes
of violence as hostile to the central principle of that union. We are
_obliged_ to rate it, according to the universal results towards
which it tends, and scarcely at all, according to the special condition
of circumstances, in which it may originate. Hence a horror arises for
that class of offences, which is (philosophically speaking)
exaggerated; and by daily use, the ethics of a police-office translate
themselves, insensibly, into the ethics even of religious people. But I
tell that sycophantish fanatic--not this only, viz., that he abuses
unfairly, against Kate, the advantage which he has from the
_inevitably_ distorted bias of society; but also, I tell him this
second little thing, viz., that upon turning away the glass from that
one obvious aspect of Kate's character, her too fiery disposition to
vindicate all rights by violence, and viewing her in relation to
_general_ religious capacities, she was a thousand times more
promisingly endowed than himself. It is impossible to be noble in many
things, without having many points of contact with true religion. If
you deny _that_ you it is that calumniate religion. Kate
_was_ noble in many things. Her worst errors never took a shape of
self-interest or deceit. She was brave, she was generous, she was
forgiving, she bore no malice, she was full of truth--qualities that
God loves either in man or woman. She hated sycophants and dissemblers.
_I_ hate them; and more than ever at this moment on her behalf. I
wish she were but here--to give a punch on the head to that fellow who
traduces her. And, coming round again to the occasion from which this
short digression has started, viz., the question raised by the
Frenchman--whether Kate were a person likely to _pray_ under other
circumstances than those of extreme danger? I offer it as _my_
opinion that she was. Violent people are not always such from choice,
but perhaps from situation. And, though the circumstances of Kate's
position allowed her little means for realizing her own wishes, it is
certain that those wishes pointed continually to peace and an unworldly

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