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jailer found guilty, and passed sentence, until, step by step, and before the bottle was out, the Empecinado bad, in imagination, and somewhat prematurely, been condemned, placed in capilla, confessed, and led out to execution. Just as the . lawyer was conjecturing how he would look with the rope round his neck, some one tapped at the door. .
• Adelante! » cried the jailer, and Cambea made his appearance.
• Senor Alcayde," said he, « the corregidor is at the prison-gate, and desires to speak with you..
Putting on one side the bottle and glasses, the jailer hurried to receive the chief magistrate of the town, but as he passed through the door behind which the Empecinado was concealed, the latter made a sort of buck-leap, with his fetters upon his feet, and grappled him like a tiger, seizing him by the hair with his left hand, and with his right clutching his throat so as nearly to strangle him. At the same time Cambea threw himself upon the lawyer, whose head he muffled in his own cloak, and then, taking him up in his arms, carried him bodily to the Empecinado's cell, and there locked him in. Then returning to the assistance of Diez, they tied the jailer's hands, and, putting a gag in his mouth, placed him also in the dungeon. The next thing to be done was to rid the Empecinado of his manacles, which was soon accomplished by means of riveting tools found in the jailer's room.
But they had as yet only surmounted a part of their difficulties, and much remained 10 be done before they could consider themselves in safety. It is true, they had the keys, and could unlock the door and walk out of the prison, but the streets were swarming with French soldiers, through whom they would have to run the gauntlet before getting out of the town. To do this with less chance of detection, they returned to the dungeon , and, taking the clothes off its present inmates, put them on themselves. Cambea took possession of the lawyer's three-cornered bat, and Diez of that of the alcayde, and then arranging their cloaks in such a manner as to conceal the greater part of their faces, they walked out of the principal gate of the prison , carefully shutting it after
them, and passing unsuspected through the French soldiers on guard. Fortunately, as it was the hour of high mass, all the town's people were in the church, and the French took no notice of the two fugitives as they walked through the streets with grave and deliberate pace, studiously avoiding any appearance of haste, lest it might lead to detection.
In this manner they had nearly got out of the town, when they perceived an orderly dragoon holding two horses, saddled and bridled, at the door of a house, apparently waiting for some officer of rank who was about to take a ride, The Empecinado had found in a pocket of his borrowed garments a box, full of that excessively fine and pungent snuff, called in Spain the encarnado de los frayles. Emptying the contents into his hand, he walked up to the soldier, and asked to be directed to the quarters of the general commanding. While the man was answering him, Diez threw the snuff in his face and eyes, and opening his cloak, gave him a buffet that stretched him, stunned and blinded, upon the ground. Then, seizing his drawn sword, he sprang upon the officer's horse, and Cambea mounting that of the dragoon, they succeeded in passing the town-gate unchallenged.
They had not been clear of the town five minutes, when they heard trumpets sounding and drums beating to arms, and soon the road in their rear was covered with light cavalry in hot pursuit. But their horses were good, the start they had obtained so great, that they speedily reached the mountains. Three days afterwards the Empecinado had rejoined Mariano Fuentes, and was again at the head of his band.
DANIEL DE FOE.
It has been long a favourite theory of ours, however paradoxical it may appear, that Fiction is far truer than History: Ibat of the qualities and abstract elements by which Truth is distinguished from Falsehood, the former possesses by far the greatest share. Bold and heterodox as our opinion may seem, it is not without the support derived from the suffrages of at least two distinguished names : the one of a person whose genius in prose fiction is perhaps unequalled in the annals of Literature, while the military achievements of the other supply the history of the times in which he lived with its most brilliant and memorable materials.
Fielding, justly called by Byron « the prose Homer of human nature, has made the following acute distinction between the description of past ages and human conduct as drawn upon the page of History, and the same pictures limned in brighter colours in the more attractive gallery of Fiction. «In History, - says the author of Tom Jones and of Amelia, « no« thing is true but the names and dates : in Fiction everything . is true but the names and dates, » a proposition which, however startling, we think, after due deduction is made for the necessary exaggeration incident to an epigrammatically expressed dogma, will be found, on examination, to contain a great deal more truth than the History whose claims to credit are so unceremoniously disposed of.
The other great name to which we have alluded is that of the Duke of Marlborough: who, on being complimented upon his accurate knowledge respecting some rather obscure facts in the annals of his country, confessed that he derived his information from the historical plays of Shakspeare, alledging that the writings of the poet were the sole source of his knowledge on the subject.
And if an acquaintance with names and dates was all that is necessary to form the statesman-if the mind of the student could be enriched and fertilized by these husks and shells of knowledge — we could by no means venture to speak so disparagingly of the relative importance of this species of study. It is however Man, bis motives, his passions, and his powers, that alone deserve tbe attention of him who would acquire that noblest and usefullest art, to judge of the future by the past to reach that mighty and almost magic power of predicting,
« As old experience doth attain
« To something of prophetic strain,» with a certainty little short of intuition, what will be the conduct of an individual or of a nation under given circumstances.
When we reflect upon the eternal and never-decided controversies affecting almost every important point in the story of the past-controversies involving not only the motives and secret springs from which events have flowed, but frequently even the elementary truth or falsehood of the facts — with what relief do we turn our eyes from the dry and sterile desert of History, varied only by the mirage of fantastic theories — to the rich and abounding plains of Fiction.
For be it remembered that the immortality of Fiction demands, as an indispensable condition, the truth of its own delineations of either the external world of nature or the more vast and wondrous universe of the mind of Man.
And thus the truth is at once a pledge of durability to the Fiction itself, and an earnest of the advantages to be derived from its study. Every one who has even slightly examined the records of past ages, must have been struck and mortified by observing how seldom great events or remarkable characters are exbibited on the scene of the Historian in their true colours or their just dimensions. Party malignity has dwarfed the illustrious, or swelled the mean ; whilst events have lost all keeping and relative proportion, distorted by the false medium through which they are viewed.
To the night-wanderer among the mountains, the sparrow, near at hand, takes the semblance, as seen through the mist, of an eagle ; a tust of heath is mistaken for a forest.
In fiction, on the contrary – such fiction at least as has passed through the trial of time, and has vindicated the praise of generations-every thing falls naturally into due order and gradation: not exposed to the shisting and uncertain judgments of personal or party feeling, il yields its mine of absolute and eternal truth, not to all in equal proportions indeed, but to all in the measure of the labour, patience, and skill which they employ in developing its deep and precious treasures. It is curious and instructive to mark how events and persons considered in their own time of the most immortal and imperishable importance, have become interesting to posterity from their accidental connection with works then unknown and neglected, but which have since been slowly ripening into glory : to see how eagerly the antiquarian disinters from the dust and oblivion of centuries, to illustrate a line of Homer, or an obscure expression in Shakspeare, long-forgotten books which were launched upon the waters amidst the triumphal acclamations of the epoch which produced them : destined to be recalled from «the portion of weeds and outworn faces, » to attain a kind of parasitic notoriety from their connection with the productions of True Fiction. - In applying to the case of De Foe the remarks which we have ventured to make, we trust to render more apparent the truth of the principle we are endeavouring to establish : and we consider that the illustrious subject of our present pages