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struck the pistol from the hand of one of the rob- || pression the nearer they approached. Contempt bers, snatched the second from his companion, and fired. The foremost of my antagonists fell. I drew my cutlass and defended myself against the others. There were still four left; but probably I should have found employment for them all for a short time, had not a loud whistle from one of the robbers brought three others to the spot; farther resistance would in this case have been madness, accordingly when they called to me a second time to surrender, I complied; they promised to spare my life. I emptied my pockets, which contained but a mere trifle
of life is powerfully felt only in the first moments of enthusiasm, and hatred, excited by the ingratitude of mankind, if it has once found a place in the heart, may easily be strengthened by the eloquence of a robber. In short, after insisting on some conditions with which they complied, I yielded to necessity, and became their Captain, which I still am, as you sec. Now tell me, deat Count, with the same candour as I have related my history, what you think of all this, and what you would have done, had you been in my place."
"Ha! exclaimed one of my plunderers, was worth our while truly to give ourselves all this trouble and to have our le der badly wounded into the bargain! Upon my soul you deserve to have your skull split for your pains!'-Heferent parts of your narrative. You reinain my
friend, I find, wherever you may be; and as fortune decreed that I should once fall into the hands of robbers, I have reason to rejoice, on my own account, that you are their Captain. But tell me, I conjure you, what is your plan for the future>"
made a motion with his cutlass as though he was abour to do what he mentioned, and I stood my ground. On your word, said 1, have I surrendered my arms; give me them again and let me take my chance. What you think little is nothing less than all I possess in the world, and yet at one time I commanded a hundred such fellows as you. My resolute tone and the equivocal nature of my address, produced an effect upon them. They conversed together in a gibberish which I did not understand, and looked at the wounded man who appeared to be in the agonies of death. It is an unexampled favour,' said one of them for us to spare your life. But tell us who you are.I saw no reason for concealment, and acquainted them with the circumstances which I have just related to you. Their gibberish again began, and continued for some minutes.
"You see yourself, at length,' said the most violent of them, what you have done and what you have to fear. Nothing but respect for your courage induced us to offer you quarter, and now you must shew yourself worthy of it. According to your own account you have not much to lose; you have now an opportunity by which much may be gained. We are fond of brave men; will you be our companion, or-.' They brandished their cutlasses with a menacing air. No, replied I resolutely."
"So extraordinary is the lot of man, that even among robbers he may do much good if he pleases; these wretches who are used to consider nothing as sacred, religiously keep their word with each other. To me they swore implicit obedience, and that prince who had only ten thousand subjects so faithful, would be nearly omnipotent on earth. When I came to them I found almost all their hands polluted with human blood. It was not in my power to wash out these horrid stains; but my efforts to prevent a repetition of such atrocities have hitherto been crowned with success, and shall still be exerted for the same purpose. I have already saved at least twenty human lives; my example has restrained them from the commission of many barbarities, and this house, which every week used to be the grave of some unfortunate person, "I was on the point of replying in the nega- has been for these six months only a rendeztive, as I had done before, but I cannot deny that vous for dividing our plunder and our peaceful the sight of the drawn cutlass made a deeper im. || asylum."
"Nor yet our Captain? Our number when we are all assembled amounts nearly to forty; Our posts are lucrative, and our magazines are full; you have headed freebooters in war; we are the same, only briver, to a certainty, than they, and are likewise at war with all the world, || it is true, but what signifies that? You are little, or not at all, beholden to the world; resolve then quickly, or
"What I would have done in your place!" replied the Count, "probably the very same as you did. How deeply your fate has affected me my countenance must have informed you at dif
"What you may easily guess."
"Not surely to continue in your present course?"
"No; but at least till I can not only escape unmolested from my comrades, but likewise with a tolerably full purse."
"But do you consider what fate awaits you in case you are discovered, attacked, and overpowered "
"A severe one, to be sure; but after all, perhaps, not death. Compulsion excuses much, and another circumstance excuses me, at least to my own conscience."
"And what is that?"
The Count applauded his humanity, and intreated his former friend to abandon so dangerous a career as soon as possible. He even offered him his purse, nor would he take it back till the other appearing offended, he perceived him to be in earnest in the refusal of it.
It was very late before they parted. Notwithstanding the softness of his bed, the Count's mind was too busily employed to allow him to sleep; at the first dawn of day he prepared to depart. The Captain would not permit him to go till tawards evening, and before he set off conducted him once more among his people.
"We have treated you, Count," said he, " an intimate friend, now give us your word of honour, that you will never speak of this adventure, that you will never give a hint concerning our band, nor a description of the interior or exterior of this house, nor mention any circumstance that might excite suspicion, or occasion
a search for us, till I myself give you permission."
The Count readily gave his word of honour; a tremendous oath bound his servant to secrecy, and his master pledged himself for his observance of it. A voluntary present rewarded the courtesy of the inferior robbers; two of them, after sunset, conducted the stranger to the high road, put him into the way to the nearest town, and abruptly withdrew.
The Count kept his word. In six or seven months his friend informed him by letter, that his band was dispersed, that he had himself escaped with three of his most trusty people, and that he was then a Captain in the Spanish service. This happened shortly before the attack of Gibraltar by the celebrated floating batteries, and it is not improbable that our adventurer met his fate on that occasion, as his first letter was also his last.
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Our hero was presented to the great Arthur by his friend Percival. Having witnessed Blomberis's actions, he made him known to the knights of the round table, as a young hero worthy of one day becoming their brother.-Launcelot, Tristan, King Carados, and all the knights of the English court received him with friendship.— The monarch overpowered him with kindnesses, and vainly wished to detain him some time. Bliomberis's first care was to enquire for his father ; Gauvain was the only one who could give him any news respecting Palamede: he had met him on his way to Orcania; Bliomberis would have departed immediately, but he was forced to wait for his dear Ebene; and he already repented having confided him to the care of the imprudent Clodion.
THIS knight was the renowned Gauvain, one of the heroes of King Arthur's round table.The youthful Clodion had that morning unhorsed him; and Gauvain, irritated by his defeat, fought with a rage that would have been fatal to any other than Bliomberis, who made a shower of blows fall on his adversary, and parried Gauvain's with the utmost skill. The combat had lasted an hour; the knights' weapons were already dyed with their blood; their strength began to fail them, when, with mutual consent, they stopped for a few moments to take breath. Both seated on the turf which they had bathed with their blood, these brave warriors, without fear or suspicion, calmly conversed together, awaiting till their strength should allow them to renew the fight. Bliomberis availed himself of this moment to relate to Gauvain the circumstance which had caused his error. The latter, whose wounds had rendered him more attentive, listened to Bliomberis, and when he had ceased, expressed much sorrow for the unfortu-him to Orcania. Percival made our hero's griefs nate mistake, and entreated his pardon. The known to the great Arthur, and this monarch, to two enemies embraced, and that was the more satisfy the impatience of an affectionate son, gave wisely done, as the prize for which they fought him one of his fleetest coursers. Bliomberis, afno longer existed. Gauvain's horse had just ter having thanked the king, immediately debreathed his last sigh. Bliomberis continued his parted for Orcania, followed by Blanchefleur, and journey on foot as well as his brave antagonist; her beloved Percival. and, without leaving Blanchefleur and her knight, they arrived at Cramalore.
He had some cause to repent: the eight days expired, and Clodion did not appear. Blicmberis, in despair, would have gone on foot to Brunor's castle; but the wish of seeing his father called
After travelling for two days, they lost their way among the mountains, and went on for a
considerable time without meeting any one to so crushed by the charming Ebene, that he had direct them to the right road. When, suddenly, scarcely breath remaining. Bliomberis caused a woman, dishevelled, came and threw herself him to be carried into his castle, unchained the on her knees before them :-"Valiant knights," lovers, made Prince Clodion's armour be restored cried she, "for pity's sake, come and save the to him, and gave him the horse he had received mest miserable and most affectionate of women! from King Arthur. Clodion embraced his libemy mistress will perish in the flames unless you rators a hundred times, swore never to forget fly to her deliverance. Our two heroes immedi- their kindness; and, wishing to quit a country ately consented to follow the lady, and they soon where he had met with so many misfortunes, arrived before a castle, the drawbridge of which with Celina immediately embarked, and after a was raised. A thick smoke, accompanied by pleasant and speedy voyage, arrived safely at flames, was visible above the ramparts; and Tournay. Bliomberis and Percival feared they were too late. They blew a loud blast; the bridge was lowered, and the friends saw two knights approach, the one clothed in sable armour, the other in gilt. "Strangers," said the black knight, "do not come to interfere in this act of justice, and allow me to punish the guilty."-" They may be so," rejoined the Cambrian, "in that case, my sword will wrongly assist my courage; but they may be innocent, and then it will punish the cruel."Scarcely were these words uttered, when a combat commenced between Percival and the black knight, and Bliomberis rushed on his compa
Bliomberis resumed his journey, and at length arrived in Orcania; but Palamede was no longer there; and his son sought him for a long time throughout England, but fate seemed to have determined that they should not meet.
During this time Percival had got rid of his enemy. Bliomberis, a conqueror without having fought, mounted Ebene, and ran, accompanied by his friend, to deliver the unfortunate victim. What was their surprize in recognizing Clodion and a beautiful lady chained, and just upon the point of falling into the fames! The lady was Celina, and these imprudent lovers had been surprized by Brunor and Danain, who had condemned them to this inhuman death. But Danain had been killed by Percival, and Brunor
During his travels our hero performed many deeds worthy of being recorded in the book of fame; he delivered numerous captive lovers, unhorsed knights, and defended the fair damsels that needed his protection. Percival, enchanted with his dauntless friend, loved him with the warmest fraternal affection; Blanchefleur would have given all she possessed, with the exception
her lover, to have witnessed the union of Bliomberis with Felicia; and as she knew the conditions on which the Princess was to be married, she had kept an exact journal of all our hero's actions, to enable her to relate them with correctness to Pharamond. She had already on her list forty-two castles taken, eleven knights vanquished, and sixty-three damsels rescued from the hands of their persecutors.
They had just reached each other's body with their lances, when the horse of Bliomberis's antagonist bounded on one side, and prevented his rider from touching our hero. In vain the enraged knight made him feel the spur; he still resisted, and at last raised himself on his hind legs, threw the knight to a considerable distance, and ran prancing towards Bliomberis. The latter looked at the fine animal, who was cantering and snorting around him, and uttered a scream of joy upon recognising Ebene; he quickly leaped on the ground, ran to the fine courser, warmly caressed him, and the affectionate animal appeared to share his joy. The knight in gold n armour, took the advantage of this moment; he arose, and advanced sword in hand to strike Bliomberis on the back. Ebene saw him, and, when the traitor came within his reach, he kicked him in the chest with all his strength, threw him down, trod upon him, and, notwith-seemed to bespeak that grief had wrinkled it standing Bliomberis's cries, continued walking rather than age; his lance and his shield were by over him. his side; on the latter there was painted a crown of cypress, with these words,—I will have no other. Percival did not recollect ever having seen this knight before; and wishing to become acquainted with him, made a noise to awake him. unknown knight had scarcely opened his eyes when, resuming his helmet, and grasping his lance and shield, he sprung on a proud courser that stood by his side, and without saying a word to Percival, gallopped towards him in a menacing attitude. The haughty Cambrian ran to mect him; but notwithstanding the strength of
Yet the glorious name Bliomberis had acquired did not compensate for his disappointment in not having met his father; and he was on his return to King Arthur's court, when crossing a forest, he arrived before the steps of Merlin's terrace, the spot where Blanchefleur had been pursued by Brehus. Near these steps our travellers per ceived a tall knight, clothed in black armour, lying by the side of Merlin's fountain, and who appeared in a profound sleep. Heat had induced him to take off his helmet, and his countenance
Gauvain, Bliomberis, Arrodain, all arose, and casting side glances on the rash stranger, with one voice demanded the honour of trying their arms against his. Arthur, pleased with their impatience turning towards the unknown, said, "Sir knight, you have only to chuse among these warriors. The stranger asked for a helmet, and writing separately the name of each knight, threw them into it, and after having shaken it, drew out that of Bliomberis. He immediately threw a scrutinizing look on our hero and seemed dissatisfied with his fate; he, however, began to prepare for the combat. Bliomberis piqued at the contempt with which the unknown treated him, and proud of the honour of being a knight of the round table, embraced his dear Percival, kissed the king's hand, and called for Ebene.
All the ladies and knights repaired to the place of combat, and Arthur gave himself the signal for the barrier to be opened.
On one side appeared the unknown knight, his bronzed armour formed a pleasing contrast with his milk-white steed. On the other side advanced Bliomberis, mounted on the handsome Ebene : his air bespoke confidence, blended with modesty. The two knights rushed on each other; their lances were broken, but they remained unmoved. The terrible scymetar already glittered in their hands; repeated blows drew fire from their shields and helmets
blows, they had not the effect of making the unknown move one step, while the hitherto magnanimous Percival was thrown from his saddle for the first time in his life. Bliomberis wished to avenge his brother in arms, and judging of the strength of his antagonist by what he had just witnessed, fixed himself steadily in the saddle, and grasping his lance, rushed on the unknown. Vain precautions! The tall knight received our hero's lance on his shield; and unhorsing the valiant Bliomberis, threw him on the turf beside his companion in arms. After this double victory, the unknown pursued the two horses that had fled, led them back to their masters, and bowing gracefully to Blanchefleur, without uttering a word, rode off, and was soon out of sight. Our heroes, still lying on the ground, looked at each other, and knew not what to think. Never before during his life had this proud Cambrian been overthrown; it was also the first time Bliomberis had endured such a mortification, and they thought it must have been some infernal spirit who had assume the form of a knight to conquer them: consoled by this idea, our warriors continued their route towards Cramalot, where Percival wished to have his friend received a knight of the round table.
The relation he gave Arthur of Bliomberis's ac tions, induced this monarch to comply with his request. The only adventure Percival passed over in silence, was the one which happened beside Merlin's fountain, and all the knights of the English court joyfully gave their votes to the new brother that was so favourably introduced to them. The lovely Genievre, and the gentle Yseult, were too much attached to Blanchefleur to withhold for a moment their suffrage from her defender. Bliomberis was then unanimously admitted to the round table, the knights of which were so celebrated for their valour and gallantry. These honours, however, did not banish Felicia from his mind; her image continually haunted him, and he reflected with transport that the two years of trial would in a month be expired.
A few days previous to his departure for France, as King Arthur was seated at table, with his ladies and knights, a warrior entered, whose dignified appearance inspired respect. His visor was raised, and his shield without device, announced that he wished to remain unknown; he haughtily approached the king, and bowing gracefully, said, "Mighty prince, the fame of thy renown has induced me to cross the sea. The desire of beholding thee and the lovely Genievre, has brought me from a far distant country, and I do not regret my journey; yet one wish still remains ungratified; which is, to engage the most valiant of your knights."
At these words, Launcelot, Tristan, Perceval,
tually surprised at meeting so much resistance, passion was combined with valour. Eager to terminate the fight, they grasped each other round the body. Each struggled violently to throw his rival to the ground; their horses escaped from under them; the same instant brought them both standing on the earth; but neither of the warriors let go his hold. Foot to foot, breast against breast: their armour clanged with the pressure of their efforts; but instead of weakening, each shock renewed their vigour; so equal was their strength, that whilst combating they seemed at rest, and their reciprocal resistance made them appear motionless.
Bliomberis, while struggling with his antago nist, descried a fleur-de-lys engraven on his cuirass; this sign immediately told him who was his opponent.-" Mighty Pharamond," exclaimed he, "I acknowledge myself conquered! and if it be your pleasure, I will fall efore you on the sand; but let me enjoy the honour of having resisted you. This is the most glorious day of my life, and my defeat is more prized by me than all my victories." Pharamond answered, by pressing his hand :-" All I shall exact from you," said he," is secresy, I wish to depart unknown; and contented with having proved my strength against that of Arthur's most valiant knight, I shall ever remember your bravery and courtesy ; B b
are you also the same? Your heart." "It is not altered," said a voice; and the princess rushed into his arms. Scarcely had Blanchefleur delivered the letter, than Felicia flew on the wings of love to the forest. Words cannot paint the transports of our lovers-they embracerthey wept-and the intoxication of their happiness scarcely allowed them the faculty of feel
let us exchange swords." Bliomberis bent one knee before the French monarch, who embraced him, presented him with his sword, and took our hero's, then mounted his white courser, quitted the lists, and disappeared.
Great was the astonishment of King Arthur and his Court, when they witnessed the termination of a combat, which had made them fear for the lives of the two knights! Bliomberis, faithfuling it. to his word, confided to no one, save Percival, the name of him he had engaged, but it was generally guessed, and the modest Bliomberis was overwhelmed with the praises of all the court.
The two years of trial being nearly expired, our hero despairing of finding his father, took leave of the great Arthur, and set out to dispute the hand of Felicia with his rivals. The faithful Percival, and the amiable Blanchefleur would not be separated from him: they all three crossed the sea, and took the road to Tournay.
Who could paint the feelings that agitated Bliomberis? Each step he made brought him nearer to Felicia; each moment that fled hastened the one in which he should behold her. An hundred times a day his vivid imagination depicted the happy moment; he already enjoyed it in anticipation, and entirely wrapped in his pleasing reveries, only spoke to Percival and Blanchefleur to beseech them to spur on their coursers. These two lovers respected his impatience; and the intelligent Ebene, who always seemed to divine the wishes of his master, never had before galloped with so much celerity.
Bliomberis, however, said, he felt much uneasiness respecting his first meeting with the Princess; he feared lest he should not be able to conceal his emotions; and, continued he, if Felicia should share them we shall be infallibly lost: Percival vainly endeavoured to devise some means to prevent this misfortune; all his suggestions were either hazardous or impracticable; Blanchefleur fortunately assisted them. The imagination of a tender female is more fertile than the genius of all the enchanters in Christendom. "You must," said she to the enamoured Bliomberis, "write to Felicia; I will myself convey the letter to her, and you must repair to your favourite forest, and there await her answer." This advice was immediately followed; Bliomberis wrote to the Princess; Blanchefleur and Percival entered Tournay, with the letter, and our hero gained the forest.
With what delight did he again view the spot where he had been wounded by the furious boar ! Tears insensibly fell from his eyes at the tender remembrances it recalled. He found on several trees the words "for ever," that had been carved by his hand. "Nothing is changed," exclaimed he; "all is the same as I left it. Ah! Felicia,
When their emotions had a little subsided, Bliomberis and Felicia began the relation of all that had happened since their separation, but it could not be concluded, as the Princess was obliged to return to the palace. To avoid suspi cion, Bliomberis agreed not to enter Tournay before the following day, and spent the night on the very spot where he had formerly delivered the turtle dove from the merciless grasp of the hawk.
The earliest dawn brought knights from all parts to contend for the hand of the Princess.So numerous were they that the town of Tournay could scarcely contain them. Bliomberis went to the king's palace, and presented himself at the levee, with a crowd of other warriors. He had been careful not to forget the brilliant sword he had received from Pharamond. This monarch recognized it, and overwhelmed Bliomberis with kindness. Our hero afterwards visited the queen, who gave him a very favourable reception; he then passed into Felicia's apartment, at the moment she was giving an audience to all the noblemen of the court. This Princess could not help blushing, when she told him he had not been seen for a long time.
All was ready for the tournament, the prize of which was to be Felicia. Already a magnificent throne was raised for Pharamond and his Queen. Clodion and the lovely Celina were seated at their feet. Felicia, blazing with all the diamonds of the crown, but whose beauty alone shone. more resplendent than her ornaments, was placed beside Rosamunda; the seats of the amphitheatre, covered with rich carpets, were filled with the lords and ladies of the court, and beneath them was collected an immense crowd of people; and in the area were seen about thirty knights, who were competitors for the hand of the princess.
The King had ordered, that before the tourna ment commenced, the actions of each pretender should be examined; and that only those who had gloriously signalized themselves should be permitted to engage in the combat. Such was the candour of those happy times, that Pharamond asked no other guarantee for the valour of a knight than his own word; and these warriors would not have belied themselves even to obtain the Princess Every one gave the King a modest and true account of his feats.