« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
to turn itself, backed upon him with the quickness of an axe-stroke.
The gunner, if driven back against the side, was lost. The crew uttered a cry.
12. But the old passenger, until now motionless, made a spring more rapid than all those wild whirls. He seized a bale of the false assignats, and, at the risk of being crushed, succeeded in flinging it between the wheels of the cannon.
The bale had the effect of a plug. A pebble may stop a log, a tree-branch turn an avalanche.
The cannon stumbled. The gunner, in his turn, seizing this terrible chance, plunged his iron bar between the spokes of one of the hind wheels.
13. The cannon was stopped. It staggered. The man, using the bar as a lever, rocked it to and fro. The heavy mass turned over with a clang like a falling bell, and the gunner, dripping with sweat, rushed forward headlong and passed the slipping-noose about the bronze neck of an overthrown monster.
It was ended. The man had conquered. The pygmy had taken the thunder-bolt prisoner. The whole crew hurried down with cables and chains, and in an instant the cannon was securely lashed.
XLII. — FIDELITY.
A barking sound the shepherd hears,
A cry as of a dog or fox; —
Among the scattered rocks :
The dog is not of mountain breed;
Its motions, too, are wild and shy;
Unusual in its cry:
It was a cove, a huge recess,
That keeps, till June, December's snow, A lofty precipice in front,
A silent tarn below!
There, sometimes, does a leaping fish
Send through the tarn a lonely cheer;
The crags repeat the raven's croak,
In symphony austere.
Not knowing what to think, awhile
The shepherd stood; then makes his way
As quickly as he may ;
From those abrupt and perilous rocks
The man had fallen, — that place of fear! At length, upon the shepherd's mind
It breaks, and all is clear.
But hear a wonder now, for sake
Of which this mournful tale I tell ! A lasting monument of words
This wonder merits well:
The dog, which still was hovering nigh,
Yes, proof was plain, that, since the day
On which the traveler thus had died,
Or by his master's side:
1. “ You hard-hearted, obstinate, crusty, musty, fusty, old savage !” said I, in fancy, one afternoon, to my grand-uncle Rumgudgeon, shaking my fist at him in imagination.
2. Only in imagination; for what I did say, as I opened the drawing-room door and approached him, was this: “I am sure, my dear uncle, that you have no design seriously to oppose my union with Kate. This is merely a joke of yours, I know. Now, uncle, all that Kate and myself wish at present is that you would oblige us with your advice as — as regards the time, you know, uncle; in short, when will it be most