Read CHAPTER LIII of Wagner‚ the Wehr-Wolf , free online book, by George W. M. Reynolds, on


In the meantime the Princess Aischa, the now neglected wife of the grand vizier, had repaired to the imperial seraglio to obtain an interview with her brother, Solyman the Magnificent. The sultan, as the reader has already learnt, was deeply attached to Aischa. Their mother, the sultana, or empress mother, who was still alive, occupied apartments in the seraglio. Her children entertained the greatest respect for her: and her influence over the sultan, who possessed an excellent heart, though his sway was not altogether unstained by cruelties, was known to be great.

It was therefore to her mother and her brother that the beautiful Aischa proceeded; and when she was alone with them in the Valida’s apartment, and removed her veil, they immediately noticed that she had been weeping. Upon being questioned relative to the cause of her sorrow, she burst into an agony of tears, and was for some time unable to reply. At length, half regretting that she had taken the present step, Aischa slowly revealed her various causes of complaint against the grand vizier.

“By Allah!” exclaimed the sultan, “the ungrateful Ibrahim shall not thus spurn and neglect the costly gift which I, his master, condescended to bestow upon him! What! when the Shah of Persia, the Khan of the Tartars, and the Prince of Karamania all sought thine hand, and dispatched embassadors laden with rich gifts to our court to demand thee in marriage, did I not send them back with cold words of denial to their sovereigns? And was it to bestow thee, my sister, on this ungrateful boy, who was so late naught save a dog of a Christian, ready to eat the dirt under our imperial feet, was it to bestow thee on such an one as he, that I refused the offers of the Persian Shah! By the tomb of the prophet! this indignity shall cease!”

“Restrain your wrath, my son,” said the Sultana Valida. “Ibrahim must not be openly disgraced: the effects of his punishment would redound on our beloved Aischa. No rather intrust this affair to me; and fear not that I shall fail in compelling this haughty pasha to return to the arms of his wife ay, and implore her pardon for his late neglect.”

“Oh! dearest mother, if thou canst accomplish this,” exclaimed Aischa, her countenance becoming animated with joy and her heart palpitating with hope, “thou wouldst render me happy indeed.”

“Trust to me, daughter,” replied the Sultana Valida. “In the meantime seek not to learn my intentions; but, on thy return home, send me by some trusty slave thy pass-key to the harem. And thou, my son, wilt lend me thine imperial signet-ring for twelve hours!”

“Remember,” said the sultan, as he drew the jewel from his finger, “that he who wears that ring possesses a talisman of immense power a sign which none to whom it is shown dares disobey; remember this, my mother, and use it with caution.”

“Fear not, my dearly beloved son,” answered the Sultana Valida, concealing the ring in her bosom. “And now, Aischa, do you return to the palace of your haughty husband, who ere twelve hours be passed, shall sue for pardon at thy feet.”

The sultan and Aischa both knew that their mother was a woman of powerful intellect and determined character; and they sought not to penetrate into the secret of her intentions.

Solyman withdrew to preside at a meeting of the divan; and Aischa returned to the palace of the grand vizier, attended by the slaves who had waited for her in an anteroom leading to her mother’s apartments.

It was now late in the afternoon, and the time for evening prayer had arrived ere the Sultana Valida received the pass-key to Ibrahim Pasha’s harem. But the moment it was conveyed to her, she summoned to her presence three black slaves, belonging to the corps of the bostanjis, or gardeners, who also served as executioners, when a person of rank was to be subjected to the process of bowstring, or when any dark deed was to be accomplished in silence and with caution. Terrible appendages to the household of Ottoman sultans were the black slaves belonging to that corps like snakes, they insinuated themselves, noiselessly and ominously into the presence of their victims, and it were as vain to preach peace to the warring elements which God alone can control, as to implore mercy at the hands of those remorseless Ethiopians!

To the three black slaves did the Sultana Valida issue her commands; and to the eldest she intrusted Solyman’s signet-ring and the pass-key which Aischa had sent her. The slaves bowed three times to the empress mother laid their hands on their heads to imply that they would deserve decapitation if they neglected the orders they had received and then withdrew. There was something terribly sinister in their appearance, as they retired noiselessly but rapidly through the long, silent and darkened corridors of the imperial harem.

It was night and the moon shone softly and sweetly upon the mighty city of Constantinople, tipping each of its thousand spires and pinnacles as with a star.

Ibrahim Pasha, having disposed of the business of the day, and now with his imagination full of the beautiful Calanthe, hastened to the anteroom, or principal apartment of the harem.

The harem, occupying one complete wing of the vizier’s palace, consisted of three stories. On the ground floor were the apartments of the Princess Aischa and her numerous female dependents. These opened from a spacious marble hall; and at the folding-doors leading into them, were stationed two black dwarfs, who were deaf and dumb. Their presence was not in any way derogatory to the character of Aischa, but actually denoted the superior rank of the lady who occupied those apartments in respect to the numerous females who tenanted the rooms above. As she was the sister of the sultan, Ibrahim dared not appear in her presence without obtaining her previous assent through the medium of one of the mutes, who were remarkably keen in understanding and conveying intelligence by means of signs. A grand marble staircase led from the hall to the two floors containing the apartments of the ladies of the harem; and thus, though Aischa dwelt in the same wing as those females, her own abode was as distinct from theirs as if she were the tenant of a separate house altogether.

On the first floor there was a large and magnificently furnished room in which the ladies of the harem were accustomed to assemble when they chose to quit the solitude of their own chambers for the enjoyment of each other’s society. The ceiling of the anteroom; as this immense apartment was called, was gilt entirely over; it was supported by twenty slender columns of crystal; and the splendid chandeliers which were suspended to it, diffused a soft and mellow light, producing the most striking effects on that mass of gilding, those reflecting columns, and the wainscoted walls inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and with ivory of different colors. A Persian carpet three inches thick was spread upon the floor. Along two opposite sides ran continuous sofas, supported by low, white marble pillars, and covered with purple figured velvet fringed with gold. In the middle of this gorgeous apartment was a large table, shaped like a crescent, and spread with all kinds of preserved fruits, confectionery, cakes, and delicious beverages of a non-alcoholic nature.

The room was crowded with beauteous women when the presence of Ibrahim was announced by a slave. There were the fair-complexioned daughters of Georgia the cold, reserved, but lovely Circassians the warm and impassioned Persians the voluptuous Wallachians the timid Tartars the dusky Indians the talkative Turkish ladies beauties, too, of Italy, Spain, and Portugal indeed, specimens of female perfection from many, many nations. Their various styles of beauty, and their characteristic national dresses, formed a scene truly delightful to gaze upon: but the grand vizier noticed none of the countenances so anxiously turned toward him to mark on which his eyes would settle in preference; and the ladies noiselessly withdrew, leaving their master alone with the slave in the anteroom.

Ibrahim threw himself on a sofa, and gave some hasty instructions to the slave, who immediately retired. In about a quarter of an hour he came back, conducting into the anteroom a lady veiled from head to foot. The slave then withdrew altogether; and Ibrahim approached the lady, saying, “Calanthe beauteous Calanthe! welcome to my palace.”

She removed her veil; and Ibrahim fixed his eager eyes upon the countenance thus disclosed to him; but he was immediately struck by the marvelous resemblance existing between his page Constantine, and the charming Calanthe. It will be remembered that when he called, in a mean disguise, at the abode of Demetrius, he saw Calanthe for the first time, and only for a short period; and though he was even then struck by her beauty, yet the impression it made was but momentary: and he had so far forgotten Calanthe as never to behold in Constantine the least resemblance to any one whom he had seen before.

But now that Calanthe’s countenance burst upon him in all the glory of its superb Greek beauty, that resemblance struck him with all the force of a new idea; and he was about to express his astonishment that so wondrous a likeness should subsist between brother and sister, when the maiden sunk at his feet, exclaiming, “Pardon me, great vizier; but Constantine and Calanthe are one and the same thing.”

“Methought the brother pleaded with marvelous eloquence on behalf of his sister,” said Ibrahim, with a smile; and raising Calanthe from her suppliant posture, he led her to a seat, gazing on her the while with eyes expressive of intense passion.

“Your highness,” observed the maiden, after a short pause, “has heard from my own lips how profound is the attachment which I have dared to conceive for you how great is the admiration which I entertain for the brilliant powers of your intellect. To be with thee, great Ibrahim, will I abandon my country, friends ay, and even creed, shouldst thou demand that concession; for in thee and in thee only are all my hopes of happiness now centered!”

“And those hopes shall not be disappointed, dearest Calanthe!” exclaimed Ibrahim, clasping her in his arms. “But a few minutes before you entered this room a hundred women the choicest flowers of all climes were gathered here; and yet I value one smile on thy lips more than all the tender endearments that those purchased houris could bestow. For thy love was unbought it was a love that prompted thee to attach thyself to me in a menial capacity ”

The impassioned language of the grand vizier was suddenly interrupted by the opening of the door, and three black slaves glided into the anteroom half crouching as they stole along and fixing on the beauteous Calanthe eyes, the dark pupils of which seemed to glare horribly from the whites in which they were set.

“Dogs! what signifies this intrusion?” exclaimed Ibrahim Pasha, starting from the sofa, and grasping the handle of his scimiter.

The chief the three slaves uttered not a word of reply, but exhibited the imperial signet, and at the same time unrolled from the coil which he had hitherto held in his hand a long green silken bowstring. At that ominous spectacle Ibrahim fell back, his countenance becoming ashy pale, and his frame trembling with an icy shudder from head to foot.

“Choose between this and her,” whispered the slave, in a deep tone, as he first glanced at the bowstring and then looked toward Calanthe, who knew that some terrible danger was impending, but was unable to divine where or when it was to fall.

“Merciful Allah!” exclaimed the grand vizier; and throwing himself upon the floor, he buried his face in his hands.

In another moment Calanthe was seized and gagged, before even a word or a scream could escape her lips; but Ibrahim heard the rustling of her dress as she unavailingly struggled with the monsters in whose power she was. The selfish ingrate! he drew not his scimiter to defend her he no longer remembered all the tender love she bore him but, appalled by the menace of the bowstring, backed by the warrant of the sultan’s signet ring, he lay groveling on the rich Persian carpet, giving vent to his alarms by low and piteous groans.

Then he heard the door once more close as softly as possible: he looked up glared with wild anxiety around and breathed more freely on finding himself alone! For the Ethiopians had departed with their victim! Slowly rising from his supine posture, Ibrahim approached the table, filled a crystal cup with sherbet to the brim, and drank the cooling beverage, which seemed to go hissing down his parched throat so dreadful was the thirst which the horror of the scene just enacted had produced.

Then the sickening as well as maddening conviction struck to his very soul, that though the envied and almost worshiped vizier of a mighty empire having authority of life and death over millions of human beings, and able to dispose of the governments and patronage of huge provinces and mighty cities he was but a miserable, helpless slave in the eyes of another greater still an ephemeron whom the breath of Solyman the Magnificent could destroy! And overcome by this conviction, he threw himself on the sofa, bursting into an agony of tears tears of mingled rage and woe. Yes; the proud, the selfish, the haughty renegade wept as bitterly as ever even a poor, weak woman was known to weep!

How calm and beautiful lay the waters of the Golden Horn beneath the light of that lovely moon which shone so chastely and so serenely above, as if pouring its argent luster upon a world where no evil passions were known no hearts were stained with crime no iniquity of human imagining was in the course of perpetration. But, ah! what sound is that which breaks on the silence of the night! Is it the splash of oars? No for the two black slaves who guide yon boat which has shot out from the shore into the center of the gulf, are resting on the slight sculls the boat itself, too, is now stationary and not a ripple is stirred up by its grotesquely-shaped prow. What, then, was that sound?

’Twas the voice of agony bursting from woman’s throat; and the boat is about to become the scene of a deed of horror, though one of frequent alas! too frequent occurrence in that clime, and especially on that gulf.

The gag has slipped from Calanthe’s mouth; and a long loud scream of agonizing despair sweeps over the surface of the water rending the calm and moonlit air but dying away ere it can raise an echo on either shore. Strong are the arms and relentless is the black monster who has now seized the unhappy Greek maiden in his ferocious grasp while the luster of the pale orb of night streams on that countenance lately radiant with impassioned hope, but now convulsed with indescribable horror.

Again the scream bursts from the victim’s lips; but its thrilling, cutting agony is interrupted by a sudden plunge a splash a gurgling and a rippling of the waters and the corpse of the murdered Calanthe is borne toward the deeper and darker bosom of the Bosporus.

The sun was already dispersing the orient mists, when the chief of the three black slaves once more stood in the presence of the grand vizier, who had passed the night in the anteroom, alone, and a prey to the most lively mental tortures. So noiselessly and reptile-like did the hideous Ethiopian steal into the apartment, that he was within a yard of the grand vizier ere the latter was aware that the door had even opened. Ibrahim started as if from a snake about to spring upon him for the ominous bowstring swung negligently from the slave’s hand, and the imperial signet still glistened on his finger.

“Mighty pasha!” spoke the Ethiopian in a low and cold tone; “thus saith the Sultana Valida: ’Cease to treat thy wife with neglect. Hasten to her throw thyself at her feet implore her pardon for the past and give her hope of affection for the future. Shouldst thou neglect this warning, then every night will the rival whom thou preferrest to her be torn from thine arms, and be devoted as food for the fishes. She whom thou didst so prefer this night that is passed sleeps in the dark green bed of the Bosporus. Take warning, pasha; for the bowstring may be used at last. Moreover, see that thou revealest not to the Princess Aischa the incident of the night, nor the nature of the threats which send thee back repentant to her arms.’”

And, with these words, the slave glided hastily from the room, leaving the grand vizier a prey to feelings of ineffable horror. His punishment on earth had begun and he knew it. What had his ambition gained? Though rich, invested with high rank, and surrounded by every luxury, he was more wretched than the meanest slave who was accustomed to kiss the dust at his feet.

But, subduing the fearful agitation which oppressed him composing his feelings and his countenance as well as he was able, the proud and haughty Ibrahim hastened to implore admittance to his wife’s chamber, and when the boon was accorded, and he found himself in her presence, he besought her pardon in a voice and with a manner expressive of the most humiliating penitence. Thus, at the moment when thousands perhaps millions, were envying the bright fortunes and glorious destiny of Ibrahim the Happy, as he was denominated the dark and terrible despotism of the Sultana Valida made him tremble for his life, and compelled him to sue at Aischa’s feet for pardon. And if, at the same instant of his crushed spirit and wounded pride, there were a balm found to soothe the racking fibers of his heart, the anodyne consisted in the tender love which Aischa manifested toward him, and the touching sincerity with which she assured him of her complete forgiveness.

Return we again to that Mediterranean island on which Fernand Wagner and the beauteous Nisida espoused each other by solemn vows plighted in the face of Heaven, and where they have now resided for six long months. At first how happy how supremely happy was Nisida, having tutored herself so far to forget the jarring interests of that world which lay beyond the sea, as to abandon her soul without reservation to the delights of the new existence on which she had entered. Enabled once more to use that charming voice which God had given her, but which had remained hushed for so many years, able also to listen to the words that fell from the lips of her lover, without being forced to subdue and crush the emotions which they excited, and secure in the possession of him to whom she was so madly devoted, and who manifested such endearing tenderness toward herself, Nisida indeed felt as if she were another being, or endowed with the lease of a new life.

At first, too, how much had Wagner and Nisida to say to each other, how many fond assurances to give how many protestations of unalterable affection to make! For hours would they sit together upon the seashore, or on the bank of the limpid stream in the valley, and converse almost unceasingly, wearying not of each other’s discourse, and sustaining the interests and the enjoyment of that interchange of thoughts by flying from topic to topic just as their unshackled imagination suggested. But Fernand never questioned Nisida concerning the motive which had induced her to feign dumbness and deafness for so many years; she had given him to understand that family reasons of the deepest importance, and involving dreadful mysteries from the contemplation of which she recoiled with horror, had prompted so tremendous a self-martyrdom: and he loved her too well to outrage her feelings by urging her to touch more than she might choose on that topic.

Careful not to approach the vicinity of large trees, for fear of these dreadful tenants of the isle who might be said to divide its sovereignty with them, the lovers may we not venture to call them husband and wife? would ramble hand-in-hand, along the stream’s enchanting banks, in the calm hours of moonlight, which lent softer charms to the scene than when the gorgeous sun was bathed all in gold. Or else they would wander on the sands to the musical murmur of the rippling sea, their arms clasping each other’s neck their eyes exchanging glances of fondness hers of ardent passion, his of more melting tenderness. But there was too much sensuality in the disposition of Nisida to render her love for Wagner sufficient and powerful enough to insure permanent contentment with her present lot.

The first time that the fatal eve drew near when he must exchange the shape of man for that of a horrid wolf, he had said to her, “Beloved Nisida, I remember that there are finer and different fruits on the other side of the island, beyond the range of mountains; and I should rejoice to obtain for thee a variety. Console thyself for a few hours during mine absence; and on my return we shall experience renewed and increased happiness, as if we were meeting again after a long separation.” Vainly did Nisida assure him that she reckoned not for a more extensive variety of fruits than those which the nearest grove yielded, and that she would rather have his society than all the luxuries which his absence and return might bring; he overruled her remonstrances and she at length permitted him to depart. Then he crossed the mountains by means of the path which he had described when he escaped from the torrent at the point where the tree stretched across the stream, as described in the preceding chapter; and on the other side of the range of hills he fulfilled the dreadful destiny of the Wehr-Wolf! On his return to Nisida after an absence of nearly twenty-four hours, for the time occupied in crossing and recrossing the mountains was considerable he found her gloomy and pensive. His long absence had vexed her: she in the secrecy of her own heart had felt a craving for a change of scene and she naturally suspected that it was to gratify a similar want that Fernand had undertaken the transmontane journey. She received his fruits coldly; and it was some time ere he could succeed in winning her back to perfect good humor.

The next interval of a month glided away, the little incident which had for a moment ruffled the harmony of their lives was forgotten at least by Nisida; and so devoted was Fernand in his attention, so tenderly sincere in his attachment toward her and so joyful, too, was she in the possession of one whose masculine beauty was almost superhumanly great, that those incipient cravings for change of scene those nascent longings for a return to the great and busy world, returned but seldom and were even then easily subdued in her breast.

When the second fatal date after their union on the island approached, Wagner was compelled to urge some new but necessarily trivial excuse for again crossing the mountains; and Nisida’s remonstrances were more authoritative and earnest than on the previous occasion. Nevertheless he succeeded in obtaining her consent: but during his absence of four or five-and-twenty hours, the lady had ample leisure to ponder on home the busy world across the sea and her well-beloved brother Francisco. Fernand when he came back, found her gloomy and reserved; then, as he essayed to wean her from her dark thoughts, she responded petulantly and even reproachingly.

The ensuing month glided away as happily as the two former ones; and though Fernand’s attentions and manifestations of fondness increased, if possible, still Nisida would frequently sigh and look wistfully at the sea as if she would have joyed to behold a sail in the horizon. The third time the fatal close of the month drew nigh, Wagner knew not how to act; but some petulance on the part of Nisida furnished him with an excuse which his generous heart only had recourse to with the deepest, the keenest anguish. Throwing back the harsh word at her whom he loved so devotedly, he exclaimed, “Nisida, I leave thee for a few hours until thy good humor shall have returned;” and without waiting for a reply he darted toward the mountains. For some time the lady remained seated gloomily upon the sand; but as hour after hour passed away, and the sun went down, and the moon gathered power to light the enchanting scene of landscape and of sea, she grew uneasy and restless. Throughout that night she wandered up and down on the sands, now weeping at the thought that she herself had been unkind then angry at the conviction that Fernand was treating her more harshly than she deserved.

It was not till the sun was high in the heavens that Wagner reappeared; and though Nisida was in reality delighted to find all her wild alarms, in which the monstrous snakes of the isle entered largely, thus completely dissipated, yet she concealed the joy which she experienced in beholding his safe return, and received him with gloomy hauteur. Oh! how her conduct went to Wagner’s heart! for he knew that, so long as the direful necessity which had compelled his absence remained unexplained, Nisida was justified in attributing that absence to unkind feelings and motives on his part. A thousand times that day was he on the point of throwing himself at her feet and revealing all the details of that frightful destiny; but he dared not oh! no, he dared not and a profound melancholy seized upon his soul. Nisida now relented, chiefly because she herself felt miserable by the contemplation of his unhappiness; and harmony was restored between them.

But during the fourth month of their union, the lady began to speak more frequently and frankly of the weariness and monotony of their present existence; and when Fernand essayed to console her, she responded by deep-drawn sighs. His love was based on those enduring elements which would have rendered him content to dwell forever with Nisida on that island, which had no sameness for him so long as she was there to be his companion; but her love subsisted rather sensually than mentally; and now that her fierce and long-pent up desires had experienced gratification, she longed to return to the land of her birth, to embrace her brother Francisco; yes, even though she should be again compelled to simulate the deaf and dumb. The close of the fourth month was at hand, and Wagner was at a loss how to act. New excuses for a fresh absence were impossible; and it was with a heart full of anguish that he was compelled to seize an opportunity in the afternoon of the last day of the month, to steal away from Nisida and hasten across the mountains. Oh! what would she think of his absence now? an absence for which he had not prepared her, and which was not on this occasion justified by any petulance or willfulness on her part? The idea was maddening, but there was no alternative.

It was noon on the ensuing day when Fernand Wagner, pale and care-worn, again sought that spot on the strand where the rudely constructed cottage stood; but Nisida was not within the hut. He roved along the shore to a considerable distance, and still beheld her not. Terrible alarms now oppressed him. Could she have done some desperate deed to rid herself of an existence whereof she was weary? or had some fatal accident befallen her. From the shore he hastened to the valley; and there, seated by the side of the crystal stream, he beheld the object of his search. He ran he flew toward her; but she seemed not to observe him; and when he caught a glimpse of her countenance, he shrank back in dismay it was so pale, and yet so expressive of deep, concentrated rage!

But we cannot linger on this portion of our tale. Suffice it to say that Wagner exerted all his eloquence, all his powers of persuasion to induce Nisida to turn a kind glance upon him; and it was only when, goaded to desperation by her stern silence and her implacable mien, he exclaimed, “Since I am no longer worthy of even a look or a syllable, I will quit thee forever!” It was only when these words conveyed to Nisida a frightful menace of loneliness, that she relented and gradually suffered herself to be appeased. But vainly did she question him relative to the cause of his absence on this occasion; he offered a variety of excuses, and she believed none of them.

The month that followed was characterized by many quarrels and disputes; for Nisida’s soul acquired all the restlessness which had marked it ere she was thrown on the island, but which solitude at first and then the possession of Wagner, had for a time so greatly subdued. Nevertheless, there were still occasions when she would cling to Wagner with all the confiding fondness of one who remembered how he had saved her life from the hideous anaconda, and who looked up to him as her only joy and solace in that clime, the beauty of which became painful with its monotony yes, she would cling to him as they roved along the sands together she would gaze up into his countenance, and as she read assurances of the deepest affection in his fine dark eyes, she would exclaim rapturously, “Oh! how handsome how god-like art thou, my Fernand! Pardon me pardon me, that I should ever have nursed resentment against thee!”

It was when she was in such a mood as this that he murmured in her ears, “Nisida dearest, thou hast thy secret which I have never sought to penetrate. I also have my secret, beloved one, as I hinted to thee on that day which united us in this island; and into that mystery of mine thou mayest not look. But at certain intervals I must absent myself from thee for a few hours, as I hitherto have done; and on my return, O dearest Nisida! let me not behold that glorious countenance of thine clouded with anger and with gloom!”

Then ere she could utter a word of reply, he sealed her lips with kisses he pressed her fervently to his heart, and at that moment she thought he seemed so divinely handsome, and she felt so proud of possessing the love of a man invested with such superhuman beauty and such a splendid intellect, that she attempted not a remonstrance nor a complaint against what was but the preface to a fifth absence of four-and-twenty hours. And when Fernand Wagner reappeared again, his Nisida hastened to meet him as he descended from the mountains those mountains which were crossed over by a surefooted and agile man with so much difficulty, and which he knew it would be impossible for him to traverse during that mad career in which he was monthly doomed to whirl along in his lupine shape yes, she hurried to meet him receiving him with open arms smiled tenderly upon him and led him to the sea-shore, where she had spread the noonday meal in the most inviting manner.

The unwearied and unchanging nature of his love had touched her heart; and, during the long hours of his fifth absence, she had reasoned on the folly of marring the sweet harmony which should prevail between the only two human tenants of that island. The afternoon passed more happily than many and many a previous day had done; Nisida thought that Fernand had never seemed so handsome, though somewhat pale, and he fancied that his companion had never appeared so magnificently beautiful as now, while she lay half reclining in his arms, the rays of the setting sun faintly illuminating her aquiline countenance, and giving a glossy richness to the luxuriant black hair which floated negligently over her naked shoulders.

When the last beams of the orb of day died flickeringly in the far horizon, the tender pair retired to their hut rejoicing in the serene and happy way in which the last few hours had glided over their heads when a dark figure passed along the sand and stopped at a short distance from the door of the rudely constructed tenement.

And assuredly this was no mortal being nor wore it now a mortal shape but Satan in all the horrors of his ugliness, though still invested with that sublimity of mien which marked the mighty fallen angel Satan, clothed in terrors ineffable, it was.

For a few moments he stood contemplating the hut wherein the sleepers lay; dread lightnings flushed from his eyes, and the forked electric fluid seemed to play round his haughty brow, while his fearful countenance, the features of which no human pen may venture to describe, expressed malignant hate, anticipated triumph, and tremendous scorn.

Then, extending his right hand toward the hut, and speaking in that deep sonorous tone, which when heard by mortal ears, seemed to jar against the very soul, he chanted the following incantation:

“Woman of wild and fierce desires!
Why languish thus the wonted fires
That arm’d thine heart and nerved thine hand
To do whate’er thy firmness planned?
Has maudlin love subdued thy soul,
Once so impatient of control?
Has amorous play enslaved the mind
Where erst no common chains confined?
Has tender dalliance power to kill
The wild, indomitable will?
No more must love thus paralyze
And crush thine iron energies;
No more must maudlin passion stay
Thy despot soul’s remorseless sway;
Henceforth thy lips shall cease to smile
Upon the beauties of this Isle;
Henceforth thy mental glance shall roam,
O’er the Mediterranean foam,
Toward thy far-off Tuscan home!
Alarms for young Francisco’s weal,
And doubts into thy breast steal;
While retrospection carries back
Thy memory o’er time’s beaten track
And stops at that dread hour when thou
With burning eyes and flashing brow,
Call’d Heaven to hear the solemn vow
Dictated with the latest breath
Of the fond mother on the untimely bed of death.”

Thus spoke the demon; and having chanted the incantation, full of menace and of deep design, he turned to depart.

Sleep was still upon the eyes of Fernand and Nisida as they lay in each other’s arms the island and the sea, too, were sleeping in the soft light of the silver moon, and the countless stars which gemmed the vault of heaven, when the dark figure passed along the sand, away from the rudely-constructed tenement.