Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

in his doublet, he called to his men, and on fire ; thick volumes of smoke came spurred on to the fray.

rolling up, obscuring everything around. What a scene did that court-yard pre- The uplifted arm of Quartermain was sent! Men and horses lay about on every stayed; his adversary had departed; but side. A trooper in cuirass and helmet he who seized the arm of Quartermain was lay weltering in gore. A rioter, who no other than the idiot, Erkinwald Aubrey. had regaled too freely on the wines which Every instant the fire was increasing; the place afforded, lay beside him. The the cries of those below grew louder and captain of the arquebusiers had fallen to more loud ; the clang of arms, the shouts of the ground, whilst some dozen rioters stood the victorious, and groans of the wounded, around with bared weapons, madly thirsting all added terror to the scene. Quartermain for his blood. A vast concourse filled the sprang down the stairs and through the long court-yard; two men were posted at the en-suite of rooms crowded by the rioters, plun. trance of the mansion, armed with cleavers, dering what attracted them, destroying all to oppose the entrance of all whom they the rest. Wild and flushed was every face desired to exclude. Sherring, mounted on around; bodies of smoke came pouring a sable steed, cleft his way amidst the through the chambers; the crackling of the crowd, like one possessed. Bills and blades burning timbers could be distinctly heard; flashed in the light of the torches. The whilst around, a bright flame burst forth, flagged pavement of the court-yard was wet illuminating the scene. with blood, and strewn with slaughtered The oaken steps which led into the open victims; whilst behind arose the tall towers air were totally destroyed, and a yawning and 'stately pinnacles of the ancient mån- abyss of fire prevented all escape, save by sion, red in the torchlight, against the inky the windows. With one bound he sprang sky.

into the court-yard. The strife still conPerceiving the dangerous situation of the tinued unabated. He turned to gaze upon idiot, Quartermain called loudly to Michael the burning pile, unheedful of the combat to desist, yet to this no attention was given, that raged around, and Aubrey, who had and a Spaniard raised his blade on high. followed him for some distance, was now Ambróse dashed forward to the portal, nowhere to be seen. sprang on the ground, and rushed towards

From every window of the lofty and the battlements.

beautiful structure bright flames dashed The blow had been given by the trooper, forth, hissing and crackling as they caught and a severe wound had been inflicted on

upon the neighbouring timbers and rich the idiot, who, however, still retained his sculptures of an early age. A black cloud hold. Seizing the upraised arm of the overhung the devoted pile, whilst every trooper, Desist," he cried, “from this object was illuminated by the ruddy light cowardly attack!” then aided the nearly that told of death and destraction! exhausted idiot to the battlements.

Suddenly the fire sent forth a dreadful “What!" shouted the Spanish knight, roar, the huge pile seemed to tremble; then, “would'st thou dare ? What, Master Quar. with a crash so loud and terrible that the termain, might be the object of thine errand ? earth beneath it seemed to shake, the roof -to disperse yon yelling multitude, not to fell in, appearing for an instant to subdue command my household !" Then thrusting the flames, when they burst forth afresh him rudely aside_“Go, sir, to your duty." with renewed vigour, bounding and leaping

“This I will not endore,” cried Quarter- upwards as though at merry gambols, turnmain ; '" no one shall dare

ing the black sky blood-red. “Dare !" repeated Michael, springing and A terrible scene succeeded. Groans and drawing his long sword from the scabbard. cries arose from those buried beneath the Their swords crossed.

ruins. Some poor wretches, with bodies At that moment, a loud cry was raised half concealed beneath the massive timber, from those below that the building was: lay there in their death-agonies, crying for

66

the men. :

help where no help could be afforded; and ). The bright and vivid fames arose from the some who, but a moment before, were strong building fired by the rioters. The wareand full of health, lay matilated corpses on houses in the Steel-yard, the dwellings of the ground!

the, Lombard merchants, the mansion of The vast multitude retreated as the fire in Sir Michael de la Pole, the house of Matas, creased, yet fighting as they went, trampling and from St. Martin's-le-Grand and Queentheir companions down. The clatter of hythe, all sent forth bright sheets of flame, hoofs was heard in Eastchepe; the jingling darting upwards towards the black sky; and spur, the clashing steel, announced them the Thames reflected back those flames that to be troopers, and soon a body of men rose so near-its bank, and flowed along like came wheeling into the court-yard, with molten lava; and sheets of vivid fire darted Denis in the rear, shouting out his war-cry from the White Tower, The loud and in. as they came along.

cessant pealing of the alarm-bell from every " Denis and his hackbut men!” shouted city church, the crackling of the timbers,

the roarthe mighty roar of the devour“ Down with them down !" cried the ing element, the yells of the 'Prentices and sergeant, setting spurs into his horse's servitors, the fanfares of the trumpets, and flanks, and galloping to the centre of the the clash of the steel harness, and the troop; but from this position he was driven groans of the wounded, all added terror to by a sudden rush of the multitude. In an the scene, as the rioters sped towards instant they seized on the affrighted Denis, the ville of Southwark, to join the boys and hurled him to the ground,

of the Mint; whilst, a vast body of the A dozen swords gleamed in the light of valiant 'Prentices came dashing along the cressets and torches, and pistols and Cannon Street, led on by the puissant carbines were lovelled at this breast. At slaughterman, fresh from the shambles of that instant Nick Sherring, mounted on his St. Nicholas. Waving huge cleavers high in sable steed, came rearing and plunging the air, they attacked the pursuing troopers amidst the throng. Wielding his stout in the rear, and then fell back on either sledge he soon dispersed the intended execu- side to give them way. On-on-they tioners of the sergeant, and having assisted pressed-reeling, shrieking, bent on further him to rise, dashed his spurs deep into his mischief-ready for any deed of shame or horse's flanks, and rode away.

violence. Driven and closely pursued by the troopers, Suddenly the troopers dash forward like the rioters fled towards the bridge. The demon horsemen of the Hartz ; wildly they fire had now somewhat subsided, yet cast dash across the bridge, amidst the yells of a dull red light around, and exhibited the the assembled multitude. A bright sheet mail-clad veterans assembled near.

of flame darts forth from Cæsar's Tower, Hotly pursued, the rioters retreated yell- and half a score of deadly messengers come ing, and disputing the ground inch by inch, whizzing through the air ; they strike the and displaying by the torchlight the quaint house of a wealthy mercer, firing the rich carvings and sculptures in the antique and costly wares. dwellings. On they went across the Chepe Up-up-lads !" cried the slaughtertowards the bridge, the clatter of hoofs man. “Let's take a peep in the mercer's behind them.

house. Hip, hip, huzza !” “To the Mint-to the Mint!” shouted "Nay, nay," shrieked another; "he's a the mob. “To the Friars—to the Friars !" jolly citizen-let his dwelling alone.” And

so they hurried onward, with But the slaụghterman, in order to conbared and clashing weapons, passed the vince the throng, swore a fierce oath, and little Church, where the Monument now assailed the oaken door of the dwelling with stands, to the bridge.

his cleaver. The river, crowded by vessels of every Again the guns from the Tower are disdescription, presented a singular spectacle. charged, and this time with better effect.

The multitado press vigorously onwards, | lusty shout, and are suggested firing the and the shout, “To the Mint, to the Mint!" bridge. arose again.

For an instant a dead silence ensued; Yet what maketh the vast body to halt so then was heard the voice of him who led suddenly in their course ? The city gates the troops. "Forwards !” he shouted, and are closed, no help can be had. The flames on dashed the trained bands, rearing and burst forth from the mercer's house, dis- struggling amidst the mighty multitude. closing every object around, and there, high op, upon the castellated roof of the Gate. Within a comparatively short period, the house, amidst the traitors' heads and bridge was cleared of rioters, the fire at the trophies, are stationed a body of carbineers, mercer's house extinguished, and by six in with their pieces levelled ; a volløy succeeds, the morning, peace was restored to the and the 'Prentices and servitors, slaughter city. men, and the whole multitude, retreat be. The day which followed was wont to be fore it, and rush again towards the city; a high festival with the citizens : that day, but at the further extremity of the bridge however, was one of sorrow and of mourn. the trained bands, in full array, are planted. ing. The huge shafts of the Maypoles A loud yell was raised by the mob a yell hung neglected on the walls of the churches. Bo piercing, as to put to shame the war. The trained bands patrolled the streets ; whoop of the Indians.

sergeants-at-arms were busied all the day " Surrender!" cried the captain of the arresting those engaged in the rioting of the guard. “Throw down your arms, I com. previous night; the shops were closed, the mand ye, in the king's name.”

prisons crowded, and the streets desorted; "Never, never !” shouted the mob. the whole scene was one of sorrow and of "Down with the French, Lombards, Spa- mourning: and so passed the festival of niards down !" And then they raised a May-day, 1517.

A DREAM OF LIFE.

An old man, weak and powerless,

Fast floating down the stream Of old age, chill and powerless,

I dreamed a happy dream.
Methought that Hebe, noiseless,

Appeared in golden mist,
And, while I looked on voiceless,

Took me gently by the wrist.
She bade my limbs their youth renew,

And gave me back the joy
My, once rejoicing glad heart knew,

When I was but a boy.
Methought I cleared the vaulting.bar,

And won the hard-run race:

Alas ! those powers departed are ;

How tottering now my pace !
Methought again I made cock-score

In the cricket-match at school,
Or caught the cunning pike once more,

Or dived deep in the pool.
Methought that in the light-built skiff

I gave Kate Lynn a row :
Ah me! these arms, now grown so stiff,

Were supple then, I trow.
My dream too quickly fled away

I woke, and it was gone';
But, though 'twas but a dream, it may
Console my heart so lone.

C. F. B.

[ocr errors]

DWELLERS IN THE DEEP.

BY GEORGE ST. CLAIR, F.G.8., &o.

CHAPTER VII.-OYSTERS, SCALLOPS, MUSSELS, &c.

(Class LAMELLIBRANCHIATA.) BEFORE serving up the dish of “ natives," The Lamellibranchiate mollusca are the

and setting out the array of goodly ordinary bivalves, or creatures with two pearls supplied to us by the Lamellibranchi- shells, like the oyster; including, however, ate molluscs, it will be proper to give a few a few whose shells are multivalve. The moments' attention to the Pteropoda, or class shell is composed of chalky matter, exuded of wing-footed animals. This little group from the surface of the animal's mantle (or is distinguished by the possession of a pair covering membrane), and contained in the of fin-like organs, or wings, on the sides of cavities of cells, or between layers of memthe neck, by the aid of which the creatures brane. By means of acids the chalky can swim rapidly. To the naturalist ashore matter may be dissolved away, leaving the they are almost unknown; their entire life membranous matter by itself, soft, but still being passed in the open sea, far away from of the original shape of the shell. An oyster any shelter, except what is afforded by the shell, if examined, will be seen to consist of floating gulf-weed. The voyager on the a number of layers, the inner one projecting great ocean-whether in the tropics or the beyond the one that covers it; and this is Arctic seas-meets with them in shoals so the case with other bivalves, though the enormous as to discolour the water for layers may be more compact. The shelly leagues. In high latitudes they are the matter is thrown out at intervals from the principal food of the whale, and of many surface of the mantle, and the animal sea-birds. Their shells, though rarely drifted grows larger, he not only adds a new layer on shore, are obtainable by the dredge, since to the interior of the whole previous shell, they aboand in the fine sediment of the but extends it beyond the former margin. deep-sea bottom. They are very light and The valves are jointed by a hinge, the chadelicate, seldom covering more than the racter of which you will best understand by hinder half of the body, and by some species getting an oyster or a cockle, and examining being dispensed with altogether. The head of it. Near the hinge is an elastic ligament, these animals is usually prominent, possess- which not only binds the valves together, ing eyes and tentacula (or feelers), and their but tends to keep them a little apart, which organization is very complex.

may be regarded as their natural position ; One of the best-known pteropods is the but there is also within the valves, and fixed “ Clio," often called “whales' food,” and to them at some distance from the hinge, a said to be so abundant sometimes that the muscle called the adductor, which enables whale cannot open his mouth without in the animal to draw the valves closely togulphing thousands of them. Clio himself gether. has previously fed upon still smaller crea- Among the bivalves, as among the seatures, and is provided with an extraordinary snails, we find great beauty of colouring, apparatus for seizing his prey. The micro- great variety and elegance of form. Amony scope shows that each of his six tentacles the most valued is the "Spondylus,” found (feelers) bears 3,000 sheaths, each sheath in the tropical seas, and distinguished by containing 20 suckers, all of which can be its long thorny excrescences as well as the fastened on its minute prey; while a couple brilliancy of its colours. A Parisian profesof many-toothed jaws, and a tongue fur. sor once pawned all his silver spoons and nished with sharp spiny hooklets, curved forks, to make up the sum of six thousand backwards, are waiting to complete the work. francs, to purchase a Royal Spondylus ; but

con.

on returning home was so warmly received A feature of the bivalve mollusc “ by his lady that, overwhelmed by the hurri- spicuous by its absence” is the head; that cane, he flung himself on a chair, when the, is to say, the mouth is not situated upon any terrific cracking of the box containing his prominent part of the body, nor assisted in treasure reminded him that he had concealed the choice of food by eyes or other organs of it in his skirt-pocket. Fortunately, only two sense, but is buried between the folds of the of the thorns had been broken off, and the mantle. The gills consist of four ribbondamage admitted of repair ; his despair, like fringes, fixed to the mantle along the however, was so great that his wife had not edge of the shell, on the side where the valves the heart to continue her reproaches, and open, and are covered with little threads in her turn began to soothe the unfortunate called cilia, which by their movement estacollector.

blish currents in the water, a necessary The size of some of these shells is quite thing for the breathing of the animal, and as remarkable as their beauty. The Repub- for bringing it fresh supplies of food. Forlic of Venice once made a present of a tunately, the waters of the ocean contain gigantic “ Tridacna” to Francis I., who such multitudes of microscopic animals and gave it to the Church of St. Sulpice, at Paris, plants that the appetite of the bivalves never where it is still made use of as a basin for goes long unsatisfied, although they have holy water. The two valves together are little power of moving about, and no capasaid to weigh 500 lbs.; sometimes they bility of attacking prey. attain a diameter of 5 feet, and the animal Let us come to Oysters. Professor E. itself weighs 20 or 30 pounds. The shells Forbes considers that the world is mainly are occasionally used as fonts in the village made up of oyster-eaters, who take no intechurches of England, and hence have re- rest in the animal's history, but thinks that ceived the name of font-shells. Mr. Darwin if we could persuade them to hesitate to says that if a man put his hand into the listen for five minutes--they would live and opened shells of one of these creatures, he die wiser and happier men, without the would never be able to withdraw it as long slightest diminution of the keen relish with as the animal lived. If our London readers which, in the days of their darkness, they should be visiting the museum of the Royal enjoyed their testaceous prey. College of Surgeons, they may see a very How starts the infant oyster forth into respectable pair of valves of the tridacna, the world of waters ? Not, as unenlightmeasuring 2 feet 10 inches across, and ened people believe, in the shape of a weighing together 165 lbs., while a single minute, bivalved, protected, grave, fixed, valve of another weighs as much as 143 lbs. and steady oysterling. No; it enters upon

Many of the bivalves form for themselves its career all life and motion, flitting about an organ called a byssus, an elastic rope of in the sea as gaily and lightly as a butterfly slender threads, by means of which they or a swallow skims through the air. Its attach themselves to stones, rocks, and other first appearance is as a microscopic oyster objects. This is the case with the common cherub; it passes through a joyous and mussel, which is occasionally found in im- vivacious juvenility, and skips up and down mense numbers fastened down to the surface as if in mockery of its heavy and immovof the rock. In the case of the bivalve able parents. It voyages from oyster-bed called "pinna,” the filaments of the byssus to oyster-bed, and if in luck, so as to are sufficiently delicate to be used for the escape the watchful voracity of the thougame purposes as silk. In the Great Exhi- sand enemies that lie in wait, or prowl about bition of 1851 a variety of products manu- to prey upon youth and inexperience, at factured from pinna silk were exhibited in length, having sown its wild oats, settles the Neapolitan department. A purse and down into a steady, solid, domestic oyster. other articles formed from this material are An undisturbed oyster-bed is a concen. exhibited in the animal product collection tration of happiness ; dormant though the of the museum at South Kensington, congregated creatures seem, each individual

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »