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forego my fate, for whither should I flee but infamy would follow? I do devote myself thy victim, nay, even thy faithful wife, and my own injuries forgive. Beware, alone, no deed of thine do injure aught of mine! of that alone beware, for even a victim may avenge! Respect my father! and all that is mine!"
She was his faithful wife. Three years had passed, and Antonio's band had been hunted down, until some had died of hunger and fatigue-some on the scaffold. Antonia and Giannina wandered now alone, except that Giannina carried in her arms an infant, that slumbered sweetly amongst dangers. She thought if ever she again could reach her native village, to leave the babe at her old father's door, with these few words, "It is Giannina's child!" But they were distant now-far distant-from her home, in the recesses of Calabria, which, alone, the pencil of Salvator hath pourtrayed in all their wildness: he wandered there with bandits such as they, and he hath left us the wild mountain scene, the rude banditti, and his captive self, storied on his
More than once had Antonio, for whose head a large reward was offered, been rescued by the quickness and courage of Giannina But the Tyrolese troops, to whom the Austrian commander at Naples had as
signed the task of exterminating the banditti, left them no repose. One day, harassed beyond measure, and closely pursued, they reached a bridge, so exposed to view, that they dared not hazard passing it. It was in summer, and the river, over which the bridge was built, now flowed in a narrower bed, but yet too deep to ford. They determined to take refuge under one of the arches which the current had abandoned. Hark! their pursuers approach! Their steps are heard on the bridge! The outlaws scarcely dared to breatheGiannina pressed her infant to her breast-it gave a feeble cry-Antonio smothered it upon its mother's bosom !
ECORDS of military adventures have been always received by the public with indulgence; and it is in the hope that I shall share it, that I venture to submit to the reader a brief account of a military expedition into Arabia Felix. It is my design rather to give my recollections and impressions, than a memoir of
The danger was past :-Giannina dug a grave in the sand, and placed within it the body of her poor lifeless child.
"Antonio, the robber's head ?" cried the populace of a small town in Calabria, as a female with disheveled hair and haggard mien brought a bleeding head, fresh severed from the trunk, to the magistrate of the dis
"A thousand crowns are thine, thou second Judith!"
"I seek not the reward-Antonio was my husband-he killed my child, but yesterday-this night I slew him as he slept !"
A MILITARY ADVENTURE IN THE DESERT.
military transactions from notes taken on the spot.
Barren mountains and arid plains, the blazing sun and interminable desert, the Arab and his troop of camels, are images of allurement to the fancy, which have been made familiar to us all. But the primitive style of warfare practised by these
* Salvator Rosa is said to have been made prisoner by Calabrian banditti, and to have been detained some months by them in the mountains. One of his landscapes, in which are introduced some figures of robbers, and of a young man who appears in captivity, is supposed to rela te to his own story.
wild people has rarely been described. Perhaps if the Ashantee war will not form an exception, the troops of civilized nations have not for many centuries been engaged with such simple savages. Their use of the spear, the shield, and the broad sword, their total ignorance of discipline, and their disorderly mode of attack, when brought into contrast with modern tactics, carry us back into very remote times.
I am not able to explain the causes of the rupture between these natives of the Desert, and the Imaum (Prince) of Muscat. We became first engaged in a contest with these people as the ally of the Imaum. Of the several families of Arabs which are scattered over the plains of sand which go under the name of "Arabia the Blest," the greater number were on terms of amity, and even of alliance, with this chief. But one settlement, that of the Whabees, had for many years given him molestations, advancing into the neighbourhood of Muscat, and defeating his troops. At the period when this narrative commences, there was a body of five hundred Sepoys left at his disposi tion by the British Government, under the command of Captain Thompson of the 17th Light Dragoons. These he despatched into the interior to the strong hold of the enemy, called Ben Boo-Ali, about seventy miles from the coast, in confident expectation that they would be reduced by a disciplined force. The event proved the contrary. Captain Thompson advanced, with much difficulty and fatigue to within half an hour's march of the town, and fell into an ambuscade. Under the covert of a rising ground, over which it was necessary he should pass, the Whabees, to the number of about eight hundred, lay concealed. They waited for the opportune moment, and then rushed upon their unsuspecting enemy with an appalling outery. It is not surprising that the magical uprising of such a confused host of terrifying figures, struck the Sepoys with instant panic. Darting their
spears before them, and brandishing their double-edged swords, the Whabees were in their ranks in a moment. Our men found their arms only an incumbrance, and, although some efforts were made to rally them, for the most part they flung them away and fled. Very few escaped, and the vengeance of the Arabs was fully glutted.
When the news of this defeat reached Bombay, the Government thought it necessary to send an expedition against the offending settlement. The 65th Regiment, the Bombay European Regiment, a Light Battalion of Sepoys, the Second Battalion of the 7th Native Infantry, and four or five troops of artillery, with two companies of pioneers, were ordered to be in readiness for this service. The command was given to Lieutenant-General Sir Lionel Smith; and we embarked, in the month of January, 1821, a force which did not fall much short of three thousand men.
A voyage on the summer seas of the East is by no means the dangerous and disagreeable thing which it is in Europe. Instead of miserable transports, we were conveyed in large merchant vessels, and accommodated with every thing which could conduce to our comfort. We formed a fleet of not less than twenty sail, besides as many as twice that number of patamars (small craft), which contained the horses and a numerous retinue of camp followers.
I am at a loss to designate with geographical accuracy the exact spot of our landing in Arabia, any farther than by saying it was on the coast of the Persian Gulf; for the nests of huts which form the nearest town, do not find a place in any maps with which I am acquainted. Thither (to Zoar) we marched without delay, leaving our Commander-in-chief and staff behind us.
Our march to that place did not explain to me the propriety of the term Felix when applied to Arabia; but I thought it might perhaps deserve that appellation for the beauty
of the interior country. The Arabs, I knew, were a pastoral, as well as a warlike people; and to the word pastoral the idea of a beautiful landscape, by force of association, attaches itself. I could not have been more completely disappointed. The panoramic view was everywhere "barren and bare, unsightly, unadorned." It had no variety of feature: mountains, destitute of all vestige of verdure, everywhere met the wearied gaze; the same never-ending plains of sand extended on all sides in hopeless desolation. In vain the eye sought relief; there was nothing on which it could repose; an irksome monotony wearied the vision, while the heat was insufferable, and no periodical rains ever fell, as in India, to cool the earth. Arabs and vultures could alone live there; and the latter would, doubtless, soon wing their flight from the desolate sterility, but for the carnage which at times occurs on those arid plains.
We soon reached the spot destined for our encampment. A dategrove, some gardens, and an Arab village, about a mile and a half to its rear, were the sole attractive objects. The very idea of a shade from the united power of the sun and the burning sand was unspeakably grateful. Zoar, after the fatigue of our first march, with its little circuit of vegetation, seemed a spring of life in the waste. The simple mode of life, and the still simpler habitations of the natives, were strikingly novel. Our morning walks frequently led us among them. We generally encountered one of the prettiest pictures of their singular existence, composed of groups of females drawing water from the well. This ancient custom still prevails everywhere in the East; but here the women wore masks, which was, probably, of no disadvantage to them in an European eye, as it left the effect of their graceful figures and stately gait perfect, with out counteraction from their ordinary visages. On entering, for the first time, among the rude assemblage of their hats, I was surprised at the 14 ATHENEUM, VOL. 9, 2d series.
apathy with which they beheld us. We excited no curiosity, and drew no crowds about us. Every man we saw was either stretched on the ground, or wandering about, seeniingly without purpose, having an air of indolent fierceness. The women alone appeared to transact the sluggish business of life. Their dwellings were clean, and their persons remarkably so. The dwellings are built of pliant stakes, covered with mud. They were extremely numerous, and huddled together in the utmost confusion; many of them in the midst of the grove of date-trees, but more straggling round it. Two or three mud towers, and a larger construction of the same materials, called the palace of the Sheikh, gave it, at a distance, an air of some pretension, and, to an Arab, no doubt, of grandeur. The palace had been turned into a bazaar, where Scindian and Surat merchants sold shawls, attar of roses, and various kinds of cloths and silks, and whence they conveyed them, I imagine, into the interior country. We sometimes fell in with a party of women weaving cloth, or knitting; and an incredible number of almost naked children were everywhere industriously employed.
On arriving at our ground, a scene of singular confusion took place. The tents were at first pitched with great irregularity, as the camels and camp followers with the baggage came up. Our multitudes intruded on the silence and solitude of the country with the rude clamour of Babel. The Indostanee, Parsee, Arabic, and European languages were heard, mixed and confounded together. We were detained longer than we expected in this encampment, in consequence of the camels, to be furnished by the Imaum, not making their appearance. We joined in the same messes we had formed on board our respective ships; and experienced as yet no intermission of the good cheer and the gay freedom from solitude which marks a soldier's life in garrison. Our only suffering was
from the hot winds, and smothering blinding clouds of sand, which often filled the air, and obliged us to screen ourselves, as well as we could, all day long in our tents. During this time the commander-in-chief, with his staff, remained on the beach, superintending the disembarkation of stores. A perfect security from all possibility of attack reigned through the camp. The pickets, in consequence I believe of a false alarm having being given, were ordered not to load, and the sentries alone were permitted to do so. This gave rise to a catastrophe which I am now to relate, and which might have been expected.
The pickets had been sent out, for aught I know to the contrary, on a star-gazing party, for some hours. The moon had not yet "unveiled her peerless light;" and troops of well-mounted camels were bearing their riders in silent celerity over the sands, to furnish a spectacle at her rising. A captain of one of the pickets, acting up to the spirit of his orders, had forbidden even his sentries to load. On this unfortunate picket the Arabs made their attack. They had dismounted at some distance, and crept unobserved under a covert close to the defenceless outpost. Of course, resistance was vain. Many were cut down, and the rest fled in dismay towards the camp; but the enemy were at their heels, and in the camp as soon as themselves. During the few minutes they were there, they killed and wounded forty of our men, and houghed and left in agonies all the horses and mules they encountered in their way. They did not penetrate farther than the left wing. Some darted their spears through the tents, whilst others stood at the apertures to cut down those who issued from them. The scene of tumult and terror on the spot may be easily conceived. Fear deprived the fugitives of the power of utterance; and, in their haste, they sprang from their sleep, and hurried, almost in a state of nudity, through the labyrinth of tents, stumbling over the ropes, and
meeting or fearing a sworded foe at every turn. It was impossible to form the men, in this quarter, into ranks. The most spirited effort was made for this purpose by Captain Parr, who succeeded in reaching the front of the lines and collecting a few men together; but he fell a victim to his truly courageous attempt; for, separating from this small body, in search of others to join them, he was met and surrounded by the Whabees, and fell under their sabres, after receiving eight wounds during his desperate resistance. On the right, our men turned out on the first alarm; but, in spite of the quickness with which they formed into line, by the time they were ready for any defensive procedure, the enemy had accomplished the massacre and departed. In the morning we only found two of them dead.
After this surprise we were more on the alert. Our camp was formed more scientifically, and our mander-in-chief moved up to us. The Imaum had joined him on the beach, and tents were pitched for him near the staff lines. The Imaum's state and retinue were, as might be expected, very mean. There was not much superiority of dress to distinguish him from his subjects; and, in person, he had not that fierce and martial bearing which is so striking in his people. He received his visitors very unceremoniously, sitting with his hams doubled under him, and often throwing handfuls of rice and dates into his mouth during the conference. He had, according to ancient Oriental usage, reached his present elevation by the murder of his brother. Yet he was esteemed of a benignant disposition, of which latter amiable quality he gave evidence immediately after his arrival amongst us, by ordering seven of his subjects to be hanged, on suspicion of their being spies.
The cause of our detention all this time had been the non-arrival of the camels of the Imaum to carry our baggage, which were to be accompanied by sone hundreds of Bedo
At last they came galloping forward at full speed. It was a singular sight. A promiscuous crowd of camels, horses, and asses, whose backs were unincumbered by any kind of housing, bore their riders along with a swiftness almost incredible. They were sometimes seen through, and sometimes lost in, the clouds of dust which they raised. The Bedoweens brandished their swords, sounded them on their shields, and shouted exultingly as they advanced; and their vanity must have been gratified, to see our whole camp turn out to witness their approach.
of them would feign to fight with one of our red coats, and throwing an assumed expression of ferocity into his countenance, would endeavour to excite some symptom of terror, which if he succeeded in doing, it would occasion him great pleasure. Altogether we afforded each other reciprocal amusement; and the contrast between the European dandy decked out in scarlet and embroidery, and the wild warrior of the Desert, was obviously striking, and greatly to the advantage of the latter. Even in outward appearance how superior was the Arab! His tall form, muscular well-built limbs, sallow complexion, regular marked features, long black hair, and dark eye of fire, set off, with the best effect, by his tunic, turban, and sleeveless cloak, the spear which he carried in his hand, the shield upon his arm, with his sword and kreese in his belt, completed a figure, which when mounted on a spirited steed, was really inspiring. With their naked and terrific simplicity of person and encampment, ours, where all was artificial, was strangely at variance. The contrast was brought strikingly out in the evenings, when the Bedoweens, separating into bands, went out, as the sun sunk behind the mountains, to perform their orisons. Upon these occasions, after casting handfuls of sand upon their heads, in sign of humiliation, they bent gracefully, covering their faces with their hands, to the earth; then they stood erect, and with an expression of deep devotion in their countenances, muttered their invocations. A few ritual attitudes and genuflections being gone through, the ceremony was at an end, and these simple petitioners of Heaven retired without revelry to their uncurtained rest. But before these living pictures, which seemed to us to have as much of imagination as reality in them, had lost their charm of novelty, we were on the march to Ben-boo-Ali.
To these picturesque beings ground on our right was allotted. Here they settled down in the utmost confusion. Of course, they were objects of great curiosity to us. Viewed from a little distance, the strange wild figures of the men, moving about in warrior guise, or basking at length in the sun; the sleek and beautiful figures of the horses, standing in every variety of posture; the camels rearing or reposing their awkward forms, or remaining fixed in the patient motionlessness of still life from sunrise to sunset; the incessant and varying gleam of arms; and the shifting and preposterous shadows of objects, before only known to us as a pageant of poetry, forcibly struck us. We went frequently to observe them more nearly. The harmony and affection which prevailed between the bipeds and quadrupeds was truly edifying. They all ate from the same bag of dates, and drank from the same skin of water, making quite a family circle at their meals.
We found the Bedoweens much more communicative, at least by signs and smiles, than their countrymen, the immediate natives. They appeared to be amused at our ignorance, but showed no curiosity themselves. They suffered us to handle their swords, which are most formidable double-edged weapons, requiring great strength to wield; and they looked upon our spits with evident contempt, disdaining even to take them in their hands. Sometimes one
Nothing could have afforded a finer opportunity for the use of the pencil than the breaking up of our campthe tents taking down, camels loading,