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come from the shore. Of the French, no one remained but the surgeon of the lugger, Raoul's steward and personal attendant, and Raoul himself. If to these be added the two Italians, and their oarsmen, Carlo and his niece, with Winchester and his boat's crew, we enumerate all who now remained at the rocks.
By this time the sun had sunk below the adjacent hills, and it was necessary to decide on some course. Winchester consulted the surgeon as to the expediency of removing his patient. Could it be done, it had better be done soon.
"Mons. lieutenant," answered this personage a little drily, mon brave capitaine has but a short time to live. He has entreated to be left here, on the scene of his glory, and in the company of that female whom he so well loved-maisyou are the victors"- shrugging his shoulders-" and you will do your own pleasure.'
Winchester coloured and bit his lips. The idea of torturing Raoul, either in body or mind, was the last intention of one so humane, but he felt indignant at the implied suspicion. Commanding himself, notwithstanding, he bowed courteously, and intimated that he would remain himself, with his prisoner, until all were over. The Frenchman was surprised, and when he read the sympathy of the other in the expression of his countenance, he felt regret for his own distrust, and still more at having expressed it.
"Mais, Monsieur," he answered, "night will soon come -you may have to pass it on the rocks."
"And if we do, doctor, it is no more than we seamen are used to. Boat-service is common duty with us. I have only to wrap myself in my cloak, to enjoy a seaman's comfort."
This settled the matter, and no more was said. The surgeon, a man accustomed to the exercise of such resources, soon managed to make his dispositions for the final scene. In clearing the lugger, a hundred light articles had been thrown on the islet on which she had touched, and among others were several rude mattresses of the seamen. or three of these were procured, placed on the smoothest surface of the rock, and a bed formed for Raoul. The medical man, and the seamen, would have erected a tent with a sail, but this the wounded man forbade.
"Let me breathe the free air," he said-" I shall use but little of it;-let that little be free."
It was useless to oppose such a wish, nor was there any motive for it. The air was pure, and little need be apprehended from the night, in behalf of Ghita, surrounded as they were by the pure waters of the ocean. Even when the Tramontana came, although it was cool, its coolness was not unpleasant, the adjacent hill sheltering the islets from its immediate influence.
The English seamen collected some fuel from the spare spars of the lugger, and lighted a fire on the rock where they had been found. Food of all sorts was abundant, and several casks of water had been struck out whole, as provision against a siege. Here they made coffee, and cooked enough food for the wants of all the party. The distance prevented their disturbing those who remained near Raoul, while the light of the fire, which was kept in a cheerful blaze, cast a picturesque glow upon the group around the dying man, as soon as the night had fairly set in. It superseded, too, the necessity of any lamps or torches.
We pass over all the first outpourings of Ghita's anguish, when she learned the wound of Raoul, her many and fervent prayers, and the scenes that took place during the time that the islet was still crowded with the combatants. More quiet hours succeeded when these last were gone; and as the night advanced, something like the fixed tranquillity of settled despair followed the first emotions. When ten o'clock arrived, we reach the moment at which we wish to raise the curtain once more, in order to present the principal actors in the scene.
Raoul lay on the summit of the islet, where his eye could range over the mild waters that washed the rock, and his ear listen to the murmuring of his own element. The Tramontana, as usual, had driven all perceptible vapour from the atmosphere, and the vault of heaven, in its cerulean blue, and spangled with thousands of stars, stretched itself above him, a glorious harbinger for the future, to one who died in hope. The care of Ghita and the attendants had collected around the spot, so many little comforts as to give it the air of a room suddenly divested of sides and ceiling, but habitable and useful. Winchester, fatigued with his day's work,
and mindful of the wish that Raoul might so naturally feel to be alone with Ghita, had lain down on a mattress, leav ing orders to be called should anything occur; while the surgeon, conscious that he could do no more, had imitated his example, making a similar request. As for Carlo Giuntotardi, he seldom slept; he was at his prayers in the ruins. Andrea and the podestâ paced the rock to keep themselves warm, slightly regretting the sudden burst of humanity which had induced them to remain.
Raoul and Ghita were alone. The former lay on his back, his head bolstered, and his face upturned towards the vault of heaven. The pain was over, and life was ebbing fast. Still, the mind was unshackled, and thought busy as His heart was still full of Ghita; though his extraordinary situation, and more especially, the glorious view before his eyes, blended certain pictures of the future, with his feelings, that were as novel as he found them powerful.
With the girl it was different. As a woman, she had felt
the force of this sudden blow in a manner that she found difficult to bear. Still, she blessed God, that what had occurred, happened in her presence, as it might be; leaving her the means of acting, and the efficacy of prayer. To say that she did not yet feel the liveliest love for Raoul, all that tenderness which constitutes so large a portion of woman's nature, would be untrue; but, her mind was now made up to the worst, and her thoughts were of another state of being.
A long pause had occurred, in which Raoul remained steadfastly gazing at the starry canopy above.
"It is remarkable, Ghita," he said, at length, "that IRaoul Yvard-the corsair-the man of wars and tempests— fierce combats and hair-breadth escapes-should be dying here, on this rock, with all those stars looking down upon me, as it might be, from your heaven, seeming to smile upon me !"
Why not your heaven, as well as mine, Raoul ?" Ghita answered, tremulously. "It is as vast as He who dwells in it-whose throne it is-and can contain all who love him. and seek his mercy."
"Dost thou think one like me would be received into nis presence, Ghita ?"
"Do not doubt it-free from all error and weakness Himself, his Holy Spirit delights in the penitent and the sorOh! dearest, dearest Raoul, if thou would'st but
A gleam, like that of triumph, glowed on the face of the wounded man; and Ghita, in the intensity of her expectation, rose, and stood over him, her own features filled with a momentary hope.
"Mon Feu-Follet!" exclaimed Raoul, letting the tongue reveal the transient thought which brought the gleam of triumph to his countenance. "Thou, at least, hast escaped! These English will not count thee among their victims, and glut their eyes on thy charming proportions !"
Ghita felt a chill at her heart. She fell back on her seat, and continued watching her lover's countenance, with a feeling of despair, though inextinguishable tenderness was still crowding around her soul. Raoul heard the move. ment; and turning his head, he gazed at the girl, for quite a minute, with a portion of that intense admiration that used to gleam from his eyes in happier moments.
"It is better as it is, Ghita," he said, “ than that I should live without thee. Fate has been kind, in thus ending my misery."
"Oh! Raoul! there is no fate, but the holy will of God. Deceive not thyself, at this awful moment; but bow down thy proud spirit, in humility, and turn to Him for succour !"
"Poor Ghita!-Well, thine is not the only innocent mind by millions, that hath been trammelled by priests; and, I suppose, what hath commenced with the beginning, will last till the end."
"The beginning and the end, are both God, Raoul. Since the commencement of time, hath he established laws which have brought about the trials of thy life-the sadness of this very hour.”
"And dost thou think he will pardon all thy care of one so unworthy?"
Ghita bowed her head to the mattress over which she leaned, and buried her face in her hands. When the minute of prayer, that succeeded, was over, and her face was again raised with the flush of feeling tempered by innocence on it, Raoul was lying on his back, his eyes riveted, again, on the
vault of heaven. His professional pursuits had led him farther into the study of astronomy than comported with his general education; and, addicted to speculation, its facts had often seized upon his fancy, though they had failed to touch his heart. Hitherto, indeed, he had fallen into the common error of limited research, and found a confirmation of his suspicions, in the assumed grasp of his own reason. The dread moment that was so near, could not fail of its influence, however; and that unknown future over which he hung, as it might be, suspended by a hair, inevitably led his mind into an inquiry after the unknown God.
"Dost thou know, Ghita," he asked, "that the learned of France tell us that all yonder bright stars are worlds, peopled most probably like this of our own, and to which the earth appears but as a star itself, and that, too, of no great magnitude?"
"And what is this, Raoul, to the power and majesty of Him who created the universe? Ah! think not of the things of his hand, but of Him who made them!"
“Hast thou ever heard, my poor Ghita, that the mind of inan hath been able to invent instruments to trace the movements of all these worlds, and hath power, even, to calculate their wanderings with accuracy, for ages to come?"
"And dost thou know, my poor Raoul, what this mind of man is ?"
"A part of his nature-the highest quality; that which maketh him the lord of earth."
"His highest quality-and that which maketh him lord of earth, in one sense, truly; but, after all, a mere fragment -a spot on the width of the heavens-of the spirit of God himself. It is, in this sense, that he hath been made in the image of his creator."
"Thou think'st then, Ghita, that man is God, after all.” "Raoul!-Raoul! if thou would'st not see me die with thee, interpret not my words in this manner!"
"Would it, then, be so hard to quit life in my company, Ghita?" To me it would seem supreme felicity were our places to be changed."
"To go whither? Hast thou bethought thee of this, my beloved?"
Raoul answered not for some time. His eyes were fast