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On the following day, the young monarch felt the pressure of hunger and cold: “Pardon! pardon!” cried he, loudly imploring the mercy of the vicar of the God of peace, and making the sign reverenced by Christians. His appeal was vain; the vengeance of the pontiff was not yet satiated, and the second night closed on the desolation of Henry. On the third morning Gregory heard those who surrounded him murmur loudly at his conduct. “This is not,” they said, “the severity of an apostle, it is the atrocious cruelty of a tyrant.” Women threw themselves at his feet in tears; but he was still inflexible, and the pleasure of humbling a rival banished from his heart every feeling of pity. Not until the third day, and after signing a deed of submission, was the unhappy Henry, more dead than alive, admitted to hear a solemn mass sung by Gregory in the church. Henry was on his knees. After the consecration the Pontiff broke the holy wafer, and said, “There are men here, who have accused me of invading the papal chair by unlawful means, and of committing enormous crimes both after and before my accession to the throne of St. Peter, &c. &c. Before the supreme God, judge of the living and dead, I demand, if I am guilty, that this bread of life may be changed for me into poison, and may destroy me in a moment.”
XIV. MARIA, THE LAST QUEEN OF GEORGIA.
THE regions extending from the Caspian to the Black Sea comprehend a succession of fertile valleys and lofty mountains, divided by nature into distinct provinces.
The courage of the men and the beauty of the women of these valleys have been celebrated throughout Europe and Asia.
The ancient history of these countries is much enveloped in fable. Christianity was introduced there at an early period; and the inhabitants were renowned for the undaunted courage with which they resisted all attempts to introduce the religion of Islam among them, and which enabled them to preserve their Christian faith while all the countries round them fell under the yoke of the Mahometans.
Towards the end of the last century, the Georgians and other Christians of the neighbouring provinces, harassed by perpetual combats with the Turks and Persians, implored the protection of Russia. This was readily granted, and the kings and nobles of these countries soon saw themselves in security from the infidels by the help of the soldiers of the Czar. But Russia soon affected to discover that these semi-barbarous chiefs, far from cooperating to preserve tranquillity in their dominions, were, on the contrary, a perpetual source of quarrels and disturbances; and it being judged that their absence was essential to the prosperity of the country, they were removed to St. Petersburgh or elsewhere, and the whole country reduced to be a province of Russia. Georgia was placed under the government of the Prince Tsitsianoff, a relation of the royal family of that country, but who had been long in the Russian service.
Maria, the widow of George, the thirteenth king of Georgia, who died at the commencement of this century, was allowed to remain at Tiflis, the capital of the country, with her children, in consequence of her great desire to end her days in her native country; but, not satisfied with this indulgence, she endeavoured to escape from the Russian power, by a secret plan which she carried on with great art. She was, however, closely watched by Tsitsianoff; knowing well her turbulent and decided disposition, he had advised the Russian government to oblige the Queen to leave Georgia, and in the mean time he neglected no means of information as to the steps she might take. By magnificent promises, he had gained over to his interest a Georgian noble, who was a follower of the Queen and admitted to her fullest confidence. This traitor, called by the Russians Kalatusoff, discovered to Tsitsianoff all that passed in the palace of Maria, and detailed even her conversations with himself and others. In her plans of escape Maria was aided by the Pshavi, a courageous and formidable tribe from the mountains of the Caucasus, to the north-east of Tiflis. These mountaineers had chiefly composed the guard of the kings of Georgia, and had always shown much attachment to the royal family. Acquainted with the Queen's design to make her escape, they had determined to receive her, with her children, in the midst of their almost inaccessible mountains; and would probably have succeeded in this generous scheme but for the treason of Kalatusoff, who was unfortunately too much trusted by Maria. The moment for her escape was arrived. Gadilla, a chief of the Pshavi, a man of extraordinary courage and of gigantic stature, was the person to whom the conduct of the affair was committed. He often came to Tiflis to concert with the Queen the plan of escape, and at last all was ready. Gadilla had ordered the men of his tribe to be at hand, and had apprised the Queen that they were in arms, and eagerly waiting her arrival in the mountains. Tsitsianoff was informed of all these circumstances by Kalatusoff; but, curious to see Gadilla, he had him arrested and brought before him. The Pshave was conducted to the hall, where he saw only the general and his Armenian interpreter; though Kalatusoff was also present, but hidden under the sofa. After the common salutation, the general demanded of Gadilla what was the motive of his coming to Tiflis, who replied that he came to buy salt. The general then said, “Do not conceal the truth; you have some secret reason for your arrival here.” Gadilla answered, “No, I came only to buy salt.” “Gadilla,” said the general, “thy life depends on thy telling me the truth; and know that, if thou hidest it, I can order thy head to be struck off in a moment.” “Cut off my head!” said the Pshave, with a look of anger and contempt; “by whom, then? by that Armenian interpreter ?” And then, with his hand on his dagger, he continued: “Have I not my dagger, which never leaves me?” Tsitsianoff, seeing that menace was vain with this intrepid man, rose; and, approaching the Pshave, said with an air of mildness, and putting his hand on his shoulder, “Brave Gadilla, be not in a rage; no harm is intended you; only tell us the truth.” But flattery and menaces were used equally in vain; and whilst the Pshave was stoutly denying everything, the general called Kalatusoff from beneath the sofa, hoping to confound Gadilla by the sight of a man in whose presence he had so often consulted with the Queen on the subject of her evasion. Kalutusoff addressed the Pshave: “Gadilla, it is useless to deny the motive of your visits to Tiflis. Was not I with the Queen yesterday when you came to announce that all was ready for her flight 2 that the mules were waiting at Kouki, and ready to transport her to the mountains 7" The Pshave, with a look of cold contempt, said the whole was false, and nothing but lies. He was not allowed to continue. Six grenadiers rushed into the hall, seized his dagger, brutally struck him, and led him away to the fortress. As he was going, Kalatusoff had the meanness to strike him on the face, which called forth from Gadilla the proud menace, that, were he not disarmed, he would sacrifice them all to his vengeance. Tsitsianoff sought no farther proof of the truth of the plot formed by the Queen. He felt more than ever how necessary her absence was to the welfare and tranquillity of the country, and her departure was fixed for the next day (April 1803). To give a kind of solemnity to her departure, it was ordered that General Lazaref, in full dress, accompanied by an Armenian interpreter, named Sorokin, should proceed very early in the morning with two companies of infantry to the Queen's palace, accompanied by military music, and then should order her to depart with them. Accordingly, early the next day, Lazaref, having presented himself before the dwelling of the Queen, entered without ceremony into her room. The Queen was already awake; she had learnt, some time before, the cruel order that was to tear her from her country, and to the last moment she retained hopes of evading it. She was seated cross-legged, in the Oriental