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and apt to take the law in her own hands. She had her own notions of cleanliness also. She ordered the fellow to be drawn through the horse-pond, to cleanse away all offenses, and then to be well rubbed down with an oaken towel."
“And what became of him afterwards?” said the inquisitive gentleman.
“I do not exactly know. I believe he was sent on a voyage of improvement to Botany Bay."
“And your aunt,” said the inquisitive gentleman; “I'll warrant she took care to make her maid sleep in the room with her after that."
“No, sir, she did better; she gave her hand shortly after to the roistering squire; for she used to observe, that it was a dismal thing for a woman to sleep alone in the country.”
She was right,” observed the inquisitive gentleman, nodding sagaciously; "but I am sorry they did not hang that fellow."
THE MYSTERIOUS CHAMBERS
(From The Alhambra) As I was rambling one day about the Moorish halls, my attention was, for the first time, attracted to a door in a remote gallery, communicating apparently with some part of the Alhambra which I had not yet explored. I attempted to open it, but it was locked. I knocked, but no one answered, and the sound seemed to reverberate through empty chambers. Here then was a mystery. Here was the haunted wing of the castle. How was I to get at the dark secrets here shut up from the public eye? Should I come privately at night with lamp and sword, according to the prying custom of heroes of romance; or should I endeavor to draw the secret from Pépe the stuttering gardener; or the ingenuous Dolores, or the loquacious Mateo? Or should I go frankly and openly to Dame Antonia the chatelaine, and ask her all about it? I chose the latter course, as being the simplest though the least
romantic; and found, somewhat to my disappointment, that there was no mystery in the case. I was welcome to explore the apartment, and there was the key.
When I returned to my quarters, in the governor's apartment, everything seemed tame and common-place after the poetic region I had left. The thought suggested itself: Why could I not change my quarters to these vacant chambers ? that would indeed be living in the Alhambra, surrounded by its gardens and fountains, as in the time of the Moorish sovereigns. I proposed the change to Dame Antonia and her family, and it occasioned vast surprise. They could not conceive any rational inducement for the choice of an apartment so forlorn, remote, and solitary. ... I was not to be diverted from my humor, however, and my will was law with these good people. So, calling in the assistance of a carpenter, and the ever officious Mateo Ximenes, the doors and windows were soon placed in a state of tolerable security, and the sleepingroom
prepared for my reception. Mateo kindly volunteered as a body-guard to sleep in my antechamber; but I did not think it worth while to put his valor to the proof.
With all the hardihood I had assumed and all the precautions I had taken, I must confess the first night passed in these quarters was inexpressibly dreary. I do not think it was so much the apprehension of dangers from without that affected me, as the character of the place itself, with all its strange associations: the deeds of violence committed there; the tragical ends of many of those who had once reigned there in splendor. .
The whole family escorted me to my chamber, and took leave of me as of one engaged on a perilous enterprise; and when I heard their retreating steps die away along the waste antechambers and echoing galleries; and turned the key of my door, I was reminded of those hobgoblin stories, where the hero is left to accomplish the adventure of an enchanted house.
In the course of a few evenings a thorough change took place in the scene and its associations. The moon, which when I took possession of my new apartments was invisible, gradually gained each evening upon the darkness of the night, and at length rolled in full splendor above the towers, pouring a flood of tempered light into every court and hall. The garden beneath my window, before wrapped in gloom, was gently lighted up, the orange and citron trees were tipped with silver; the fountain sparkled in the moonbeams, and even the blush of the rose was faintly visible.
I now felt the poetic merit of the Arabic inscription on the walls: “How beauteous is this garden; where the flowers of the earth vie with the stars of heaven. What can compare with the vase of yon alabaster fountain filled with crystal water? nothing but the moon in her fulness, shining in the midst of an unclouded sky!”
On such heavenly nights I would sit for hours at my window inhaling the sweetness of the garden, and musing on the checkered fortunes of those whose history was dimly shadowed out in the elegant memorials around. Sometimes, when all was quiet, and the clock from the distant cathedral of Granada struck the midnight hour, I have sailed out on another tour and wandered over the whole building; but how different from my first tour! ...
Who can do justice to a moonlight night in such a climate and such a place? The temperature of a summer midnight in Andalusia is perfectly ethereal. We seem lifted up into a purer atmosphere; we feel a serenity of soul, a buoyancy of spirits, an elasticity of frame, which render mere existence happiness. But when moonlight is added to all this, the effect is like enchantment. Under its plastic sway the Alhambra seems to regain its pristine glories. Every rent and chasm of time; every mouldering tint and weatherstain is gone; the marble resumes its original whiteness; the long colonnades brighten in the moonbeams; the halls are illuminated with a softened radiance,-we tread the enchanted palace of an Arabian tale!
What a delight, at such a time, to ascend to the little
airy pavilion of the queen's toilet ... which, like a birdcage, overhangs the valley of the Darro, and gaze from its light arcades upon the moonlight prospect! To the right, the swelling mountains of the Sierra Nevada, robbed of their ruggedness and softened into a fairy land, with their snowy summits gleaming like silver clouds against the deep blue sky. And then to lean over the parapet of the Tocador and gaze down upon the Granada and the Albaycin spread out like a map below; all buried in deep repose; the white palaces and convents sleeping in the moonshine, and beyond all these the vapory Vega fading away like a dreamland in the distance.
Sometimes the faint click of castanets rises from the Alameda, where some gay Andalusians are dancing away the summer night. Sometimes the dubious tones of a guitar and the notes of an amorous voice, tell perchance the whereabouts of some moonstruck lover serenading his lady's window.
Such is a faint picture of the moonlight nights I have passed loitering about the courts and halls and balconies of this most suggestive pile, "feeding my fancy with sugared suppositions,” and enjoying that mixture of reverie and sensation which steals away existence in a southern climate; so that it has been almost morning before I have retired to bed and been lulled to sleep by the falling waters of the fountain of Lindaraxa.
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) is often called the American Scott. He gave us the historical novel based on American history just as Scott gave us the historical novel based on English history. He really stumbled into the profession of literature. One day as he finished reading a cheap English society novel he exclaimed, “I could do better myself!" He was challenged to do so, and the result was his first book, Precaution, a story of English life. It occurred to Cooper that if he could write a story of some worth describing life little known to him he might write tales of greater merit describing life well known to him; and so the next year gives us The Spy. By this time he had found himself. Through the following years he wrote the Leather Stocking Tales and the Sea Tales, one of
which, The Pilot, was the first salt-water novel ever written and is, says Professor Brander Matthews, “to this day one of the best.” It is hoped the following extract will stimulate the student to a complete reading of one of Cooper's tales.
HAWKEYE, CHINGACHGOOK, AND UNCAS
(From The Last of the Mohicans, chapter III) On that day, two men were lingering on the banks of a small but rapid stream, within an hour's journey to the encampment of Webb, like those who awaited the appearance of an absent person, or the approach of some expected event.
While one of these loiterers showed the red skin and wild accoutrements of a native of the woods, the other exhibited, through the mask of his rude and nearly savage equipments, the brighter, though sun-burnt and long-faded complexion of one who might claim descent from a European parentage. The former was seated on the end of a mossy log, in a posture that permitted him to heighten the effect of his earnest language, by the calm but expressive gestures of an Indian engaged in debate. . . A tomahawk and scalping-knife, of English manufacture, were in his girdle; while a short military rifle, of that sort with which the policy of the whites armed their savage allies, lay carelessly across his bare and sinewy knee. The expanded chest, full-formed limbs, and grave countenance of this warrior, would denote that he had reached the vigor of his days, though no symptoms of decay appeared to have yet weakened his manhood.
The frame of the white man, judging by such parts as were not concealed by his clothes, was like that of one who had known hardships and exertion from his earliest youth.
. . He wore a hunting shirt of forest-green, fringed with faded yellow, and a summer cap of skins which had been shorn of their fur. He also bore a knife in a girdle of wampum, like that which confined the scanty garments of the Indian, but no tomahawk. . . . A pouch and horn completed his personal accoutrements though a rifle of great