Page images

will be allve before the coffin-lid is put on. like mine was beyond the reach of medicine, Only think of the difference of the two situ- The greater part of that day was spent in ations.”

religious exercises, from which I felt con. “A confounded difference, indeed," thought siderable relief. The day after was the last I, taking hold of the pen. But, at the very I was to behold upon earth. It came, and I moment when I was going to write, I ob. endeavoured by every means to subdue the served above the following words :

terror which it brought along with it. On “ I hereby engage, after my natural de arising from bed, I sent for my servant, an cease, to give over my soul to the owner of elderly woman, whom I had got to supply this book."

the place of Barnabas and Louise, and gave “What !” said I, “this is the old come her one hundred gilders, being all the money pact ; the one you wished me to sign be. I could find in Wolstang's bureau-" Now, fore?"

Philippa," said I, “ as soon as the clock of “ The same, my dear friend."

the study has struck three, come in, and you “ Then I 'll be dd if I sign it." will find me dead. Retire, and do not enter

“ Only think of the consequences," said till then.” She went away, promising to do he.

all that I had ordered her. “ I will abide the consequences, rather During the interval, I sat opposite the than sell my soul.”

clock, marking the hours pass rapidly by. “ Buried alive, my dear Sir!monly Every tick was as a death-knell to my earthink."

every movement of the hands, as the motion “ I will not sign the compact.”.

of a scimitar levelled to cut me in pieces. I “ Only think of being buried alive,” con. heard all, and I saw all in horrid silence. tinued he“ stifled to death--pent upon Two o'clock at length struck. “ Now," said all sides earth above, earth below-no hope I, “ there is but one hour for me on earth -no room to move in—suffocated, stupified, then the dreadful struggle begins—then I horror-struck-utter despair. Is not the idea must live again in the tomb only to perish dreadful ? Only think what your feelings miserably.” Half an hour passed, then forty will be, when you come to life in that narrow minutes, then fifty, then fifty-five. I saw charnel-house, and know your situation.” with utter despair the minute hand go by the

I gave a shudder at this picture, which latter, and approach the meridian number of was drawn with horrible truth ; but the ener- the dial. As it swept on, a stupor fell over gies of religion, and the hopes of futurity, my spirit, a mist swam before my eyes, and rushed upon my soul, and sustained it in the I almost lost the power of consciousness. At dreadful trial. “ Away, away,” said I, last I heard one strike aloud ; my flesh pushing him back. I have made up my creeped with dread--then two; I gave an mind to the sacrifice, since better may not universal shudder—then three, and I gasped be. Whatever happens to my body, I am convulsively, and saw and heard nothing resolved not to risk my eternal soul for its further. sake."

" Then, fool," said he, while a frown perfectly unnatural to him corrugated his brow,

CHAPTER V. and his eyes shot forth vivid glances of fire" then, fool, I leave you to your fate. You At this moment I was sensible of an in. shall never see me again.” So saying, he sufferable coldness. My heart fluttered, then walked out of the room, dispensing with his it beat strong, and the blood passing as it usual bows and grimaces, and dashing the were over my chilled frame, gave it warmth door fiercely after him, wbile I threw myself and animation. I also began by slow deupon a couch in an agony of despair. grees to breathe. But though my bodily

My doom was now sealed beyond all hope; feelings were thus torpid, my mental ones for, going to the windows a few minutes were very different. They were on the rack; thereafter, I beheld my own funeral, with for I knew that I was now buried alive, and my cousin at the head of the procession, that the dreadful struggle was about to com. acting as chief mourner. In a short time, I mence. Instead of rejoicing as I recovered saw the company returning from the inter. the genial glow of life, I felt appalled with ment." All is over then," said I, wringing blank despair. I was terrified to move, be. my hands at this deplorable sight. “ I am cause I knew I would feel the horrid walls of the victim of some infernal agency, and must my narrow prison-house. I was terrified to prepare for the dreadful sacrifice.” That breathe, because the pent air within it would night I was supremely wretched, tosaing in. be exhausted, and the suffocation of struggling cessantly in bed, while sleep was denied to humanity would seize upon me. I was even my wearied eyelids. Next morning my terrified to open my eyes, and gaze upon the haggard look was remarked by my servant, eternal darkness by which I was surrounded. who proposed sending for a physician ; but Could I resist ? the idea was madness. What this I would not allow, knowing that woe would my strength avail against the closed

[ocr errors]

“ The

coffin, and the pressure above, below, and on meaning of this ?" éjaculated I involuntarily, every side ?

“ No, I must abide the strug. “Is it a dream ? am I asleep, or am I gle, which a few seconds more will bring on : awake ? Am I dead or alive?” While I must perish deplorably in it.”

meditating thus, and struggling to extricate Meanwhile, I felt the necessity of breath. myself from the coffin, I heard some one say ing, and I did breathe fully ; and the air distinctly—“Good God, he is come alive!" was neither so close nor scanty as might have My brain was distracted by a whirlwind of been supposed. “ This, however," thought vain conjectures; but before it could arrange I, “ is but the first of my respirations : a one idea, I felt myself seized upon by both few more, and the vital air will be exhausted ; arms, and raised up with irresistible force. then will the agony of death truly com. At the same instant, the fillet was drawn from mence." I nevertheless breathed again, and my eyes. I opened them with amazementagain, and again ; but nothing like stifling instead of the gloom of death, the glorious seized upon me-nothing of the kind, even light of heaven burst upon them! I was when I had made fifty good respirations. confounded ; and, to add to my surprise, On the contrary, I respired with the most I saw_supporting me two men, with whose perfect freedom. This struck me as very faces I was familiar. I gazed at the one, singular ; and being naturally of an in- then at the other, with looks of fixed asquisitive disposition, I felt an irresistible tonishment. " What is this ?" said I; wish, even in my dreadful situation, to inves- 66 where am I ?" tigate if possible the cause of it.

“ You must remain quiet,” said the eldest, coffin must be unconscionably large.” This with a smile. “We must have you put to was my first idea ; and to ascertain it, bed, and afterwards dressed.” I slightly raised my hands, shuddering at the “What is this?" continued I; “ am I same time at the thought of their coming not dead—was I not buried ?" in contact with the lid above me. However, “Hush, my dear friend_let me throw they encountered no lid. Up, up, up, I ele- this great-coat over you.” vated them, and met with nothing. I then “But I must speak," said I, my senses groped to the sides, but the coffin laterally still wandering—"Where am I ?—who are seemed equally capacious; no sides were to you ?" be found. “ This is certainly a most extra- “Do you not know me?" ordinary shell to bury a man of my size in. “Yes," replied I, gazing at him intently I shall try if possible to ascertain its limits —“My friend Doctor Wonderdudt. Good before I die--Suppose I endeavour to stand God, how do you happen to be here ? Did upright." The thought no came I not come alive in the grave ?” across my mind than I carried it into execu. “ You may thank us that you did not," tion. I got up, raising myself by slow said he "Look around, and say if you know degrees, in case of knocking my head against where you are.”' the lid. Nothing, however, impeded my I looked, as he directed, and found my. extension, and I stood straight. I even raised self in a large room fitted up with benches, my hands on high, to feel if it were possible and having half-a-dozen skeletons dangto reach the top-no such thing; the coffin ling from the roof. While doing this, he was apparently without bounds. Altogether, and his friend smiled at each other, and I felt more comfortable than a buried man seemed anxiously awaiting my reply, and could expect to be. I had not as yet opened enjoying my wonder. At last I satisfied my eyes, being daunted at the idea of en. myself that I was in the anatomical theatre of countering the dres darkness of the grave. the university, But my courage being somewhat augmented “But,” said 1, " there it something in all by the foregoing events, I endeavoured to this I cannot comprehend. What—where is open them. This was impossible ; and, on the coffin po examination, I found that they were ban. “What coffin, my dear fellow ?" said daged, my head being encircled with a fillet. Wunderdudt. On endeavouring to loosen it, I lost my “ The coffin that I was in." balance, and tumbled down with a hideous “ The coffin," said he, smiling, “ I supnoise. I did not merely fall upon the bottom pose it remains where it was put the day of the coffin, as might be expected; on the before yesterday.” contrary, I seemed to roll off it, and fell lower, I rubbed my eyes with vexation, not as it were, into some vault underneath. In knowing what to make of these perplexing endeavouring to arrest this strange descent, circumstances. “I mean,” said I, “ the: I caught hold of the coffin, and pulled it on coffin--that is the coffin I drew over upon me the top of me. Nor was this all; for, before when I fell.” I could account for such train of extraor. "I do not know of any coffin," answered dinary accidents below ground, and while yet be, laughing heartily; “but I know ivery stupified and bewildered, I heard a door open, well that you have pulled upon yourself my and, in an instant after, human voices. good mahogany table; there it lies.” And, “ What, in Heaven's name, can be the on looking, I observed the large table which




stood in the middle of the ball, overturned your grave lay. So they brought you back upon the floor. Doctor Wunderdudt (he to the college, resolving to inter you towas professor of anatomy to the college) night, if the tailor, or the devil himself, now made me retire, and had me put in bed should stand in their way. Your timely retill clothing could be procured. But I would suscitation will save them this trouble. At not allow him to depart till he bad unravelled the same time, if you are still offended at the strange web of perplexity in which I still then, they will be very happy to take you found myself involved Nothing would sa- back, and you may yet enjoy the felicity of tisfy me but a philosophical solution of the being buried alive." problem"Why was I not buried alive as I Such was a simple statement of the fact, had reason to expect?” The doctor expounded delivered in the professor's good-humoured this intricate point in the following man- and satirical style; and from it the reader

may guess what a narrow escape I had from “The day before yesterday,” said he, “I the most dreadful of deaths, and how much informed the resurrectionists in the service I am indebted, in the first instance, lo the of the university, that I was in want of a stupid blundering of the resurrectionists, subject, desiring them at the same time to and, in the second, to the tailor. I returned set to work with all speed. That very night to my own house as soon as possible, to the they returned, assuring me that they had no small mortification of my cousin, who was fished up one which would answer to a hair, proceeding to invest himself with all that bebeing both young and vigorous. In order to longed to me. I made him refund without inform myself of the quality of what they ceremony, and altered my will, which had brought me, I examined the body, when, to been made in his favour; not forgetting in my indignation and grief, I found that they so doing his refusal to let my body remain bad disinterred my excellent friend, Mr. two days longer unburied. A day or two afFrederick Stadt, who had been buried the terwards I saw a funeral pass by, which, on same day.”

inquiry, I learned to be Wolstadg's. He “What!" said I, starting up from the died suddenly, as I was informed, and some bed, “ did they disinter me?-the scoun- persons remarked it as a curious event that drels."

his death happened at precisely the same mo“ You may well call them scoundrels," ment as my return to life. This was merely said the professor, “for preventing a gentle- mentioned as a passing observation, but no man from enjoying the pleasure of heing bu- inference was deduced from it. The old doried alive. The deed was certainly most fe- mestic in Wolstang's bouse gave a wonlonious; and, if you are at all anxious, I derful account of his death, mentioning the shall have them reported to the Syndic, and hour at which he said he was to die, and how tried for their impertinent interference. But it was verified by the event. She said noto proceed. No sooner did I observe that thing, however, about the hundred gilders. they had fallen upon you than I said—My Many considered her story as a piece of mere good men, this will never do. You have trumpery. She had nevertheless a number brought me here my worthy friend, Mr. of believers. Stadt. I cannot feel in my heart to anatom

These events which are here related at ize him, so just carry him quietly back to full, I can only attest by my own word, exhis old quarters, and I shall pay you his cept indeed the affair of the coming alive, price, and something over and above.” which every body in Gottingen knows of. If

“What!" said I, again interrupting the any doubt the more unlikely parts of the dedoctor, “is it possible you could be so inhu- tail, I cannot help it. I shall conclude with man as to make the scoundrels bury me acknowledging that a strong change has been again ?"

wrought in my opinions; and that from ridi“Now, Stadt," rejoined be, with a smile, culing the doctrines of the sage of Samos, I “you are a strange fellow. You were angry am now one of their firmest supporters. at the men for raising you, and now you are Blackwood's Vagazine. angry at me for endeavouring to repair their error by reinterring you."

“But you forget that I was to come ative?" “ How the deuce was I to know that, my

NOTES ON LISBON. dear boy?"

“ Very true. Go on, doctor, and excuse me for interrupting you so often."

“Well," continued be, “ the men carried CAPITAL punishments are very rare in Portuyou last night to deposit you in your long gal, perhaps not once in two years. The usual home, when, as fate would have it, they mode is hanging, in which case the criminal were prevented by a ridiculous fellow of a is turned off a ladder, as was formerly the tailor, who, for a trifling wager, had engaged practice in England; but here, the moment Lo sit up alone, during the whole night, in the unhappy wretch is launched into eternity, the church-yard, exactly at the spot where the hangmap jumps off the ladder after him,


and, by throwing himself upon his shoulders, only strangled the man, but actually broke breaks his neck, and terminaets his struggles his neck, as was perceived by his head sudin an instant.

denly falling forward on his breast with a But for very heinous offences they have a jerk; indeed I thought I heard the neck more imposing execution, well adapted to break. In this situation he was left for impress the mind with awe, though not more twenty minutes, after which he was unbound painful to the suffering party than the other. from the post and seat, and laid on his back The following is an account of an execution on the stage by the side of the post. of this kind which I witnessed :

The other criminal, who had stood a miseTwo men had been found guilty of forging rable, trembling spectator of his associate's the paper currency of the country to a very execution, was then supported up to the same considerable amount, and to make a proper place, for by this time terror had rendered example of them, an old law, which had lain him too feeble to walk without assistance dormant for nearly a century, was put in and the horror he had endured for the last force; this law submitted them to be burnt hour, in being obliged to witness such a scene, alive. But as even the Portuguese (as well and in which he was soon to bear a principal as ourselves) are too refined now to relish part, must have been a punishment far greater roasting our fellow creatures, as an epicure than the death itself. does a lobster, they were first allowed to be The same ceremony and execution again strangled.

took place; and after this man was also laid These wretched men, habited in long on the stage, the executioner left it, and the loose white dresses, were on the day of exe- fire was applied to the fuel beneath. The cution brought from the prison, and accom, flames soon rose through the openings of panied by several priests, slowly marched to the floor, which had been left for that purthe Caes do Soctre.*

pose, and seized the linen robes that covered In the centre of the square a stage was the bodies, which, in about half an hour, erected, the flooring of which was of thick were entirely consumed. oak; but the planks were left about an inch Their ashes were then collected and asunder, to admit the ascending flames when thrown into the river, according to the the fuel, which was placed beneath, should sentence. be lighted. The stage itself was about six · One curious circumstance attended the feet from the ground; in the middle of it burning of these men. They were placed on was a post about eight feet high, and in front the platform side by side; and after the of that, and connected with it, was a seat for rope, which confined their arms behind, was one person.

burnt, the contraction of the muscles of When the men arrived at the place of the arms, by fire, caused them gradually to execution, a priest addressed them for some rise in a perpendicular direction from the time, after which one of them ascended the stage, extending towards heaven; and the platform, and was placed on the seat with his cords which confined the wrists together, back against the post. The executioner then not being burnt through, the hands remained bound him, by a rope passed round his mid- clasped, as in the act of supplication. The dle, to the stake; another rope confined his Arms continued in this posture till the whole thighs to the seat, and his feet were also of the bodies were consumed, when they fell firmly tied down to the flooring ; his hands into the flames. The effect of this circumwere tied before him, secured at the wrists, stance was uncommonly awful ; even after and a cord behind him bound his elbows close death, they seemed to implore mercy from to his sides. Thus secured, he could not their God, while one atom of their persons by any exertion or convulsion move a limb. existed.

A priest then mounted the platform, and Upon the whole, I could not but consider stood for a long time talking to the poor the method of thus strangling a criminal, inwretch. After he had administered the sa- finitely superior to our indecent mode of crament, he quitted the scaffold, and the exe- hanging. Here the whole person was concutioner proceeded to his office; he pulled cealed by a white full drapery; and so sethe hood of the white dress the criminal wore cured that not a motion or convulsion could over his head, so as to entirely conceal his be perceived through the whole time of their face, and then passed a circular rope over suffering; whereas, with us, every struggle his head, bringing one part of it round the of agonized expiring nature is exposed to front of his neck, and passing the other part view, with savage and indecent inhumanity. (or bite) of it through a hole in the post be Never can I forget an execution I was once hind, and then through the loop of that he forced to witness. Three men were hung passed a short stick, by turning which round together (for rebellion in Grenada, West Inhe gradually tightened the rope round the dies, in 1796-7), on a gallows, and that man's neck, and then, instantly, with all his being very narrow, they were necessarily might, and with the utmost velocity, twisted hung rather close together; the consequence the cord, by means of the stick, till it not was, that in the spasinodic struggles of death,

by jerking up their knees, and turning round * A small square so called, near the river, and open and round, as suspended by the rope, they towards it. Caes signifies a Quay.

were for five minutes alternately "kicking VOL. I.

3 B



each other on the breech; an effect that, in spite of the solemnity of the scene, was in- The streets in Lisbon are, to a stranger, the decently ludicrous.

greatest obstacle to his pleasure, comfort, or exercise. Like Rome, Lisbon may be said to stand on its seven hills, or rather on its

seventy ; for, with the exception of the three I have often lamented the monotonous beautiful streets leading from the Praça do tone and action of the generality of our Commercio to the Roçio, and those crossing clergymen in the pulpit; the latter is most them at right angles, the whole city is times wholly wanting, except in giving the one continued jumble of up and down, unfortunate pulpit cushion a few clumsy nearly every street being in itself a hill, and thumps, which generally produce more dust many of them are so steep that it would be ex. than they awaken attention; or should tremely dangerous to ride down them with the reverend gentleman be the owner of any other animal than a mule, being quite as a very white band, it may tempt him to much so, as the hill of roly-poly-celebrity in display that and his cambric handkerchief to- Greenwich Park. They are all paved in the gether.

same manner as the carriage-way in the How much, on the contrary, have I been streets of London, nor is there any part apsurprised and pleased, upon hearing and see- propriated to the accommodation of footing the clergy in Lisbon address their con- passengers. It appears as if, in paving them, gregations. Sermons are not considered in the labourers had chosen the sharpest point Portugal as church fxtures, but are only of the stone to place upwards, and such is given upon particular occasions, such as really the case. The want of flagged foot some remarkable saint's day—some public pavement, and the sharp roughness of these, rejoicing, or grieving, &c.; and the report at first annoyed me; and I felt very much that a sermon is to be preached on such a inclined, every time I walked out, to quarrel day, in such a church, is sure to attract as with what I thought the perverseness and full an attendance as ever Garrick or Sid- laziness of the people, for they have inexdops could command in even their happiest haustible quarries of stone all round Lisbon ; efforts. Nor do I wonder at it. The dis- but a little consideration convinced me that course, which I believe is actually studied they were right, and, that I, like all those and weighed prior to delivery, is always con- who forın hasty conclusions from first appearveyed to the hearers by speech, not read from ances, was wrong. The fact is, the streets an ill-written manuscript, and therefore has

are in general so very steep, that it would be, this advantage, that it leaves the body and if not impossible, at any rate extremely every limb at liberty. Whereas, I have in dangerous, to walk on a smooth surface ; England felt a kind of painful fidget, when I while, on the contrary, by being thus rough. have seen the preacher in evident fear of paved, every stone becomes a step, or hold not reading it right, or, as sometimes hap- for the foot, both in ascending and descend. pened, of turning over two leaves at once, ing. That they have been thus paved from which would produce a kind of cross-reading, calculated to call forth any thing but se

an idea of security is evident from the three rious attention in the auditors; or, should he

streets, above-mentioned, and all those lesser be near-sighted, and not quite master of his level about half a mile square), being paved

ones which cross them at right angles (on a subject, you might imagine he was smelling the same as our best streets, with broad flat as well as looking at it. Here, on the contrary, the orator being made fully acquainted stones. The channels for carrying off the rain, with what he intends to say, having his &c., run along the centre of every street.

But there is one abominable nuisance which head, hody, and limbs free from restraint, besides being possessed of a full clear voice,*

can never meet with justification in any shape, it is no ways astonishing that they should at particularly when it is considered that per once instruct, delight, and claim our unqua- haps no city in the world possesses a finer lified approbation.

supply of water, by means of which, not. :, Though by no means a proficient in the withstanding the steepness of the streets, there Portuguese language, yet their delivery is so

are few parts in which sewers and drains distinct, their emphasis so just, and their might not be made, t (though not the over. action so accordant with their subject, a per- flowings and waste water of all the fountains son may always understand the substance, is supposed to run unprofitably down the and much of the detail of their discourses, streets). But that not being the case, every which, as with us, last about twenty mi- species of dirt is thrown from the windows of nutes.

the houses into the streets, where what is not

devoured by the city dogs is left to putrify. I have been informed by themselves, that those This olio of filth is only partially taken away tvho are brought up in the respective con venis as public preachers, are always, besides other qualifica. iions, chosen from among those who possess, na. + Though there are numerous wells, and might qually, a clear, strong, and harmonjous voice. Nor be as many more, I never could learn that there was are the advanliges of manly beauty disregarded, a single pump in all Lisbon.

« PreviousContinue »