As the prison clock tolled ten, Glossin slipped off his shoes, and silently followed Mac-Guffog to the smuggler's room. As he entered, the door was locked on the outside; and he found himself alone with the former partner of his guilt. The cell was so dark that it was some time before he could detect the form of the smuggler, who was lying on a pallet-bed beside the bar.
"Dirck Hatteraick," he whispered. And the smuggler, recognising his voice, told him with a curse to begone.
"Speak to me no more. I'm dangerous."
"Then," said Glossin, losing his temper, "at least get up, for an obstinate Dutch brute!" But he had barely uttered the words when Hatteraick sprang from where he lay and grappled with him. So sudden and irresistible was the attack, that Glossin fell, the back part of his neck coming full upon the iron bar with stunning violence. Nor did the ruffian release the deadly grip upon his throat until the last remnant of life had left his victim's miserable corpse.
On the day following the death of Glossin, Dirck Hatteraick was himself found dead in the cell, having hanged himself by means of a cord taken from his bed, which he had cunningly contrived to attach to the prison wall.
Little more remains to be told. Bertram was before long restored to the possession of his father's house and property, and Julia Mannering became his wife.
His sister Lucy found a husband in her old lover Charles Hazlewood, and the dominie was raised once again to a condition of ecstatic happiness, seeing "his little Harry"--as he still continued to call him--now Laird of Ellangowan, and himself librarian in the house to which he had been so long a stranger.
THE STARTLING ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN
_Although the short book from which these stories are taken was written in 1785 by Rudolf Erich Raspe, a German of many talents who took up his residence in England, there really was a Baron Munchausen who served the author as a model. His whole name was Hieronymus Karl Friedrich von Munchausen, a German, of course, but serving in the Russian army. After several campaigns against the Turks, he retired from the army and amused himself by telling awful whoppers about his bravery as a soldier and huntsman.
A German editor who visited the baron two years before he died was told by the baron's neighbors that he really did tell wonderful stories in his younger days._
AN ADVENTURE WITH A LION AND A CROCODILE
By R. E. Raspe
Some years before my beard announced approaching manhood, or, in other words, when I was neither man nor boy, but between both, I expressed in repeated conversations a strong desire of seeing the world, from which I was discouraged by my parents, though my father had been no inconsiderable traveller himself. A cousin by my mother's side took a liking to me, often said I was a fine forward youth, and was much inclined to gratify my curiosity. His eloquence had more effect than mine, for my father consented to my accompanying him in a voyage to the island of Ceylon, where his uncle had resided as governor many years.
We sailed from Amsterdam with despatches from their High Mightinesses the States of Holland, and in about six weeks we arrived at Ceylon, where we were received with great marks of friendship and true politeness.
After we had resided at Ceylon about a fortnight I accompanied one of the governor's brothers upon a shooting party.
Near the banks of a large piece of water, which had engaged my attention, I thought I heard a rustling noise behind; on turning about I was almost petrified (as who would not be?) at the sight of a lion, which was evidently approaching with the intention of satisfying his appetite with my poor carcass, and that without asking my consent.
What was to be done in this horrible dilemma? I had not even a moment for reflection; my piece was only charged with swan-shot, and I had no other about me. However, though I could have no idea of killing such an animal with that weak kind of ammunition, yet I had some hopes of frightening him by the report, and perhaps of wounding him also. I immediately let fly, without waiting till he was within reach; and the report did but enrage him, for he now quickened his pace and seemed to approach me full speed. I attempted to escape, but that only added (if an addition could be made) to my distress; for the moment I turned about I found a large crocodile, with his mouth extended almost ready to receive me. On my right hand was the piece of water before mentioned, and on my left a deep precipice, said to have, as I have since learned, a receptacle at the bottom for venomous creatures; in short, I gave myself up as lost, for the lion was now upon his hind legs, just in the act of seizing me. I fell involuntarily to the ground with fear, and, as it afterward appeared, he sprang over me. I lay some time in a situation which no language can describe, expecting to feel his teeth or talons in some part of me every moment. After waiting in this prostrate situation a few seconds, I heard a violent but unusual noise, differing from any sound that had ever before assailed my ears; nor is it at all to be wondered at, when I inform you from whence it proceeded.
After listening for some time, I ventured to raise my head and look round, when, to my unspeakable joy, I perceived the lion had, by the eagerness with which he sprang at me, jumped forward, as I fell, into the crocodile's mouth! which, as before observed, was wide open; the head of the one stuck in the throat of the other, and they were struggling to extricate themselves. I fortunately recollected my hunting knife which was by my side; with this instrument I severed the lion's head at one blow, and the body fell at my feet! I then, with the butt-end of my fowling-piece, rammed the head farther into the throat of the crocodile, and destroyed him, by suffocation, for he could neither gorge nor eject it.
Soon after I had thus gained a complete victory over my two powerful adversaries, my companion arrived in search of me; for finding I did not follow him into the wood, he returned, apprehending I had lost my way or met with some accident.
After mutual congratulations we measured the crocodile, which was just forty feet in length.
CROSSING THE THAMES WITHOUT THE AID OF BRIDGE, BOAT OR BALLOON
By R. E. Raspe
My first visit to England was about the beginning of George the Third's reign. I had occasion to go down to Wapping to see some goods shipped, which I was sending to some friends at Hamburgh: after that business was over, I took the Tower Wharf in my way back. Here I found the sun very powerful, and I was so much fatigued that I stepped into one of the cannon to compose me, where I fell fast asleep.
This was about noon; it was the fourth of June, the king's birthday. Exactly at one o'clock these cannon were all discharged in memory of the day they had been all charged that morning, and having no suspicion of my situation, I was shot over the houses on the opposite side of the river, into a farmer's yard, between Bermondsey and Deptford, where I fell upon a large haystack without waking, and continued there in a sound sleep till hay became so extravagantly dear (which was about three months after), that the farmer found it to his interest to send his whole stock to market. The stack I was reposing on was the largest in the yard, containing about five hundred load; they began to cut that first. I waked (with the voices of the people who had ascended the ladders to begin at the top) and got up, totally ignorant of my situation. In attempting to run away, I fell upon the farmer to whom the hay belonged, and broke his neck, yet received no injury myself! I afterwards found, to my great consolation, that this fellow was a most detestable character, always keeping the produce of his grounds for extravagant markets.
TWO STRANGE ADVENTURES IN RUSSIA
By R. E. Raspe
I set off from Rome on a journey to Russia, in the midst of winter, from a just notion that frost and snow must, of course, mend the roads, which every traveller had described as uncommonly bad through the northern parts of Germany, Poland, Courland, and Livonia. I went on horseback as the most convenient manner of travelling; I was but lightly clothed, and of this I felt the inconvenience the more I advanced northeast. What must not a poor old man have suffered in that severe weather and climate, whom I saw on a bleak common in Poland, lying on the road, helpless, shivering and hardly having wherewithal to cover his nakedness? I pitied the poor soul; though I felt the severity of the air myself, I threw my mantle over him, and immediately I heard a voice from the heavens, blessing me for that piece of charity, saying: "You will be rewarded, my son, in time."
I went on: night and darkness overtook me. No village was to be seen. The country was covered with snow and I was unacquainted with the road.
Tired, I alighted and fastened my horse to something, like a pointed stump of a tree, which appeared above the snow. For the sake of safety, I placed my pistols under my arm and lay down on the snow, where I slept so soundly that I did not open my eyes till full daylight. It is not easy to conceive my astonishment to find myself in the midst of a village, lying in a church-yard, nor was my horse to be seen, but I heard him soon after neigh somewhere above me. On looking upwards, I beheld him hanging by his bridle to the weathercock of the steeple. Matters were now very plain to me: the village had been covered with snow overnight; a sudden change of weather had taken place; I had sunk down to the church-yard whilst asleep, gently, and in the same proportion as the snow had melted away; and what in the dark I had taken to be a stump of a little tree appearing above the snow, to which I had tied my horse, proved to have been the cross or weathercock of the steeple!
Without long consideration I took one of my pistols, shot the bridle in two, brought down the horse, and proceeded on my journey. He carried me well. Advancing into the interior parts of Russia, I found travelling on horseback rather unfashionable in winter, so I submitted, as I always do, to the custom of the country, took a single horse sledge, and drove towards St.
I do not exactly recollect whether it was Eastland or Jugemanland, but I remember that in the midst of a dreary forest I spied a terrible wolf making after me with all the speed of ravenous winter hunger. He soon overtook me; there was no possibility of escape. Mechanically I laid myself down flat in the sledge, and let my horse run for our safety. What I wished, but hardly hoped or expected, happened immediately after. The wolf did not mind me in the least, but took a leap over me, and falling furiously on the horse, began instantly to tear and devour the hind part of the poor animal, which ran the faster for his pain and terror. Thus unnoticed and safe myself, I lifted my head slyly up, and with horror I beheld that the wolf had ate his way into the horse's body. It was not long before he had fairly forced himself into it, when I took my advantage and fell upon him with the butt-end of my whip. This unexpected attack in his rear frightened him so much that he leapt forward with all his might, the horse's carcass dropped on the ground, but in his place the wolf was in the harness, and I on my part whipping him continually, we both arrived in full career safe at St. Petersburg, contrary to our respective expectations, and very much to the astonishment of the spectators.
SHOOTING A STAG WITH CHERRY-STONES
By R. E. Raspe
You have heard, I dare say, of the hunter and sportsman's saint and protector, St. Hubert, and of the noble stag which appeared to him in the forest with the holy cross between his antlers. I have paid my homage to that saint every year in good fellowship, and seen this stag a thousand times, either painted in churches or embroidered in the stars of his knights; so that, upon the honor and conscience of a good sportsman, I hardly know whether there may not have been formerly, or whether there are not such crossed stags even at this present day. But let me now relate that which happened to myself some little time ago.
I had been out shooting all day, and had quite expended my powder and shot, when I found myself unexpectedly in presence of a stately stag, looking at me as unconcernedly as if he had known of my empty pouches. I charged immediately with powder, and upon it a good handful of cherrystones, for I had sucked the fruit as far as the hurry would permit. Thus I let fly at him, and hit him just on the middle of the forehead, between his antlers; it stunned him-- he staggered--yet he made off, and I lost sight of him, to my chagrin.
This happened to me in France. Afterwards I visited Russia, and remained there for about a year.
At length, there being no immediate prospect of war with Turkey, I returned to France on leave for a few months, and was staying in the same chateau as I had been when I had fired off this remarkable charge.
We hunted again in the fine forest I had then traversed, with a gay party of French nobles and sportsmen. I had separated myself somewhat from my companions, when, in the opening of a beautiful glade, I beheld a noble stag, with a fine full-grown cherry-tree above ten feet high between his antlers.
I immediately recollected my former adventure, looked upon him as my property, and brought him to the ground by one shot, which at once gave me the haunch and cherry sauce, for the tree was covered with the richest fruit, the like of which I had never tasted before.