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less mothers were there, with their pale and mangled children, who, in their vain attempt at flight, had fallen under our unsparing swords. Miserable old women, with their grey hair clotted with blood, and young girls, lovely as the Houries of Pa radise, their bosoms gashed with wounds, lay trampled on by the cattle, among burnt
and overthrown tents, and all the melancholy wreck into which the demoniacal work of a few minutes had transformed a populous and well-ordered camp. When these terrible effects of our prowess flashed upon my inexperienced eyes, I became rooted to the spot: however unmoved the hardy and valiant heroes of our land might be, I was overwhelmed with sadness and horror. It recalled to my memory most vividly and painfully a scene of my childhood, which had begun to fade like a dream of the night; the slaughter of my clan, and the death of my mother, were again before my eyes, and the visions of glory and promotion, after which I had panted so ardently, became for the time worthless and disgusting."
In this affair Ismael serves with distinction, and the Toorkomans return to the Aoul loaded with spoil, and carrying with them about two hundred female prisoners. The women of the tribe come forth to meet them, anxious at once to receive intelligence of the safety of their relatives, and of the value of the plunder. The female captives constitute the only portion of the spolia opima, which they consider de trop, since, without this reinforcement, they already felt themselves quite equal to discharge the functions of wives and mothers to the tribe, even had its male population been greater. Ismael is received by Shireen, to whom he brings a little girl as a present, with every demonstration of strong affection. The passion of these lovers, however, necessarily remains secret, for the Khan has promised his daughter's hand to another, and the discovery of their attachment would be followed by the ruin of their hopes. All this part of the narrative is admirably executed. The beautiful, the loving Shireen, trusting with woman's confidence in the man she loves, and giving up all for his sake, is drawn with a pencil at once delicate and happy. heart of Ismael, too, is agitated by passion, deep and tempestuous. They meet, as they love, in secret. In all countries human nature is the same, and the natural consequences of such
an attachment follow. Shireen is about to become a mother, and the discovery of her situation by the enraged Khan must insure the death of both. The lovers meet in tears,, and part in agony. No light seems to glimmer in their horizon,—all is darkness and despair. Under these circumstances, the mysterious Dervish again appears to Ismael, as he ruminates on the consequences of his guilt in a dark and solitary glen. He takes him severely to task for his past conduct, but promises to provide for his safety and that of Shireen. This promise he keeps. Selim, the brother of Shireen, and the bosom-friend of Ismael, has discovered her situation, and comes not to reproach him for his perfidy, but to save him from its consequences. He gives him a horse of true Arab blood, ycleped Boorrauk, directs him on the path to the desert, and bids him instantly to fly. His sister's life he promises likewise to preserve. The parting of the friends is affec-' tionate, and Ismael mounts Boorauk, and sets forward on his journey. There is great talent and imagination in the description of his sufferings in the desert, but we have no room for a swatch. He encounters the deadly Sirocco, and is in imminent peril of his life. Hope again seems gone, when the Dervish re-appears, and conducts him to a cave, where he remains in safety for two days, when, the storm having passed, he continues his route under happier auspices. At the extremity of the desert he encounters a stranger, who turns out to be Ibrahim, brother of Nader Khouler Beg, the Wellington of Persia, whose power rivals even that of the Shah. With this personage, who declares himself to have been an intimate friend of his father, Ismael unites himself, and they journey onward together. Ibrahim is a fine character, well and powerfully de lineated; brave, wild, and fearless, courting danger for its own sake; generous and kind-hearted. Their route lies past the village in which Ismael was born. He beholds his paternal house in ruins, and the spot desolate. We now come to one of the best specimens of powerful description which these volumes afford. We consider it in all respects admirable. They are beset by a powerful band of Toorkoman robbers.
"We are beset,' said he; I saw the point of a spear and a fur cap rising over a bush in yon ravine, and we shall be immediately pursued, for there cannot be a doubt that they are enemies; but if we can cross this plain, and gain the defile beyond, where only two can ride abreast, we may do well enough yet :-string thy bow-get thy arrows ready, and prepare to fight for life and death:-now is an opportunity to try thy mettle.' I was ready in a moment, and again received the praises of Ibrahim for my expertness. Thou art a choice hand indeed, youth,' said he, I have great confidence in thee: by the mercy of Allah, we shall baffle the rascals yet.'
By this time we had got clear of the ravines, and were bounding over the plain more at our ease. It was some six or scven miles in breadth, and thinly sprinkled with wild pomegranates and thorns, but afforded free enough scope for our horses, and tolerable footing. We had not, however, ridden half a mile when a low thundering noise in our rear told us that our pursuers were on our traces; and they soon appeared emerging from the ravines we had quitted, to the number of fifteen or twenty horsemen, whose great fur caps and long spears proclaimed at once what they were. Stakhferullah!' cried Ibrahim, there's enough of them, to be sure! Oh for five or six of my brave Kuzzilbashes, with their matchlocks and keen scymitars, and not one step farther would Ibrahim fly! But now fly we must, and that in earnest. Come, come, put your horse on his mettle; I know mine will serve me: let us see who wins the race; by the sword of Allee, the stake is a sharp one!'
"On we swept with redoubled speed: -our horses seemed to know how much need there was for their exertions, and devoured the ground. The distance between us and our foes visibly increased, and they became scattered by the unequal speed of their own horses-the plain seemed to fly backward, and the opposite hills to ap proach fast. Barikillah!' cried Ibrahim Khan, this is excellent, but it cannot last; -we must not kill our horses! Let us try what the leaders of these fellows are made of let us see what they will say to a matchlock ball!' Three of the party had kept pretty well up all along, and were not much more than half-a-mile behind us; two or three others were spurring on at various distances, within a mile in their rear ; and last of all came on the main body, keeping more together.
Pull up by degrees,' cried Ibrahim, until these three fellows approach; it will breathe our horses, at all events; and if we are lucky in our aim, we may dispose of some of them, and check the rest for a while. I did as he proposed :-the three first horsemen, supposing our beasts blown,
came thundering on abreast, their spears in rest, protending far over their saddle-bows. Already were they within thirty yards, standing on their stirrups, and ready to bear us down, when Ibrahim, turning round on his saddle, without checking his horse, gave his fire; and I at the same moment discharged an arrow at the group. Whether the ball took place on man or horse we never knew, but there was a sudden cloud of dust, and we saw the middle horseman rolling with his steed several times over on the ground, from whence he never rose again;-the others, checking their horses in full career, wheeled off a few paces to either side, and halted. I saw my arrow sticking in the shoulder of the righthand horse. A way we rode once more like the wind; Ibrahim charging his matchlock as he went, and I fitting another arrow to the string;-and we quickly regained our vantage of distance.
"The next two horsemen now came up with their companions, and the pursuit was renewed, while we strained every nerve to gain the jaws of the defile, which, now hardly a mile in front, opened between two rocky hills, sprinkled with underwood.We might gain the pass," said Ibrahim anxiously, but our horses can never keep up at this violent rate, and the pathway before us is terribly rough. See you yon ruined watch-tower on the height ?-it is our only chance. It may stand our friend against these desperate odds-push on, and gain the tower, Ismael-up that rocky path to the right. I will protect the rear until you are ready to command the entrance from its top; we shall at least sell our lives dearly.'
"There was no time for farther words: on we swept like the whirlwind; our horses panting with their exertions, and two of the enemy now gaining upon us. I reached and sprang up the path without accident, although the huge fragments of rock in my way might have baffled a fresher horse. I found that the tower stood within a small walled inclosure, still in tolerable preservation; but the gate having been long ago destroyed, the gateway was open to all, and admitted my horse without difficulty. The tower, which stood in the wall overhanging the defile, had its entrance also by a gateway; but this had been partly built up by some banditti, who formerly frequented the place; and it was with difficulty that it admitted a horse without its rider. I sprang from mine, and dragging him inside, rushed up-stairs to the summit with my bow, ready to defend the entrance. Ibrahim Khan, whose horse had stumbled from fatigue, was but just entering the outer inclosure, while the exertions necessary to recover the animal's footing had deprived him for the time of the use of his matchlock; at this moment the foremost Toorkoman was close
behind with his spear. The moment I saw how matters were situated, I took a deliberate aim with my arrow; and just as the fellow was rising to make his thrust, he received it up to the feather in his heart. Uttering a loud yell, he fell backwards, checking his horse so rudely that it also reared and fell-blocking up the path so effectually, that had his companions been close at his heels, they could not have advanced a step.
"Ibrahim, meantime, had entered and got his horse under cover; then, calling me to assist him, we hastily rolled some large stones to the entrance, so as to impede the enemy's progress. This was soon done, for the stones formerly used still lay there. We then hurried above, to defend our castle.
"It was full time; for now the whole party of horsemen, sixteen in number, had come up or were close at hand; and three or four were entering the outer gateway together. Scarcely had the first got beyond the threshold when the report of Ibrahim's matchlock was heard, and the Toorkoman, dropping the reins, rolled on the ground; the ball had passed through his body. Nor was I less fortunate in my aim: as the horse of the second, terrified at the noise and fire of the matchlock, reared and turned round, my arrow struck the rider behind the ear: he fell immediately; and sharp as his foot still stuck in the stirrup, his terrified horse dragged him at speed down the steep, scattering in confusion the rest, who were all busily ascending.
"The sudden fate of these men checked the fury of their comrades' onset. Not possessed of any fire-arms themselves, they dreaded the effect of these weapons so much, that no one cared to expose his person; while Ibrahim, unwilling to expend his ammunition, would not fire again until certain of doing execution: my arrows too were precious, for of them no supply was to be had. Thus there was a cessation of hostilities on either side, the enemy having collected under shelter of the wall, and we remaining on the watch to shoot the first who might make his appearance.
"This pause was of no long duration; we soon became sensible that the enemy had dispatched one or two of their number round the walls to see if entry might be obtained by some other passage less exposed than the gateway. The first unfortunate spy, however, had no sooner turned the corner, than he became exposed to our shot, and Ibrahim's matchlock sent him sorely wounded back to his companions.
"The enemy had now lost four of their party, and the majority of the rest, in all probability, would willingly have given up a contest against men so desperate, in which, at best, so little was to be gained. But there were among them some of a more determined spirit, who urged on the rest to revenge their fallen companions, and ex
erted themselves successfully to inspire them with confidence. On hearing the report of Ibrahim's matchlock, they conceived that he must now be unarmed, and they resolved to make a desperate and simultaneous attack upon our barricadoes. At once the whole party rushed to the outer gateway, some on horseback, some on foot; and regardless of my arrows, which flew not without effect, the principal body pressed forward to the entrance of the tower, while some returned my discharge of arrows from their own bows. Below! below!' cried Ibrahim, we must defend the entrance to the last; we must not lose our horses. Follow me quickly.' And he rushed down to the gateway of the tower, the barricadoes of which the Toorkomans had already commenced pulling down.
"My spear now pierced one of the foremost, while Ibrahim blew out the brains of another on the spot with his pistol. . Allah il Allah!' cried they, as they gave back for a moment at this unexpected assault; they have more guns!' But their rage and determination was now at its height; they returned to the charge, while we, on our part, dealt them ghastly wounds with our spears and swords. But stone after stone was now falling, and the large breaches gave entrance to their spears, which not only prevented our opposing them so effectually, but slightly wounded us both. We were about to abandon our horses, and to retreat to the platform above, there to sell our lives as dearly as possible, when a confused noise without struck our ears, and caused a momentary pause in the efforts of our antagonists.
"The sound came nearer and nearer, and was like the tramp of horse. We are gone,' cried Ibrahim; it is a fresh party of Toorkomans-let us ascend and die hard there!' At this moment, we heard a hurrah! mingled with 'Kuzzilbash! Kuzzilbash!' and accompanied with several shots and loud cries. Allah hu Akber!' cried Ibrahim, they are my Kuzzilbashes!-we are safe, praise be to Allah and the Prophet!-Ha, my good steed!' as the horses neighed loud at the noise of the tumult, we shall now face the villains on equal terms, nor need to fly again.' Up he bounded to the platform on the summit, whither I quickly followed him; and from thence, indeed, we saw an animating scene. There were the few remaining Toorkomans flying like chaff before the wind, before a party of 40 or 50 Kuzzilbash horsemen, fully equipped, whose matchlocks every now and then rang upon the ear, and a horse of the fliers was seen to fall, or a fur cap to roll along the ground. Nearer at hand, fifteen or twenty more of our deliverers, having put most of the dismounted Toorkomans to death, strove who should enter first, and release those who had been
so sorely beleaguered. An officer in rich apparel, who had just dismounted from a noble horse, all foaming with the speed he had made, now entered the court, and, followed by several soldiers, approached the tower. At the entrance he was met by Ibrahim Khan, covered with sweat and dust and blood. Who art thou?' cried the officer. Hussun Allee Beg,' exclaimed Ibrahim Khan, in reply, is it thou? Welcome, by the hand of my brother! welcome, in any season, to the soul of Ibrahim! but doubly so, when, like the water of life to a dying man, thou comest so opportunely in the time of need.""
This danger past, they reach the camp of Nader without further accident. The character of this great chieftain is on the whole, perhaps, the happiest effort of the book. Stern, noble, and ferocious, not naturally bloody, yet shedding blood in profusion when it can advance his cause; generous, yet unrelenting, rigid in exacting discipline, but profuse in rewarding valour; full of talent and energy, Nader is represented not only in perfect accordance with historical truth, but with a strength and vigour of delineation, indicative of very high power in the artist. Ismael is introduced by Ibrahim to this great chieftain, and Nader is pleased with his appearance, and the account given by Ibrahim of the skilful and courage ous manner in which he bore himself in the combat with the Toorkomans. Nader, however, is not accustomed to take things on trust, and directs our hero to give, without delay, a taste of his qualities as a warrior. The following is the issue :
"After gazing steadily on me for a while, the chief turned to his brother, and said in a familiar under-tone, The youth's appearance is not against him; he is young, but hardy-looking, and quite an Affshar in countenance. Young man,' continued he, turning to me, thou hast commenced thy career favourably; the Zoheir-udowlut is satisfied with thy conduct, and his good report goes far with me. Thou shalt have employment, and fair scope to shew thy own value. Men here receive the esteem and promotion which their own merits determine,-nor, however partially we may be disposed towards thee, for thy services to our brother, or our ancient friendship for thy father, shall the course adopted with regard to thee be different. For the present, Hussun Allee Beg shall provide for thy wants; thou needest refreshment and repose; retire and enjoy them freely.'
"I bowed low, and was retiring, when
the thong which suspended the quiver at my side, accidentally becoming loose, it fell to the ground, and the few remaining arrows it contained tumbled out. The accident attracted the eye of Nader: Truly, young man,' said he, thy quiver looks like that of a soldier returning from the field; thy shafts have been spent, and spent to purpose, I hear. They say thy arrows tell sharply and true; come hither, let me see thee use them.' I stood a moment irresolute, and uncertain of his meaning: 'String thy bow,' cried Nader, giving the wellknown word of command in use among our tribe it carried me back to the Desert, and I instinctively obeyed; old habits rushed upon my mind, and awakened all its energy. Will your Highness permit turning round at the same time to look for me to have my horse ?'-said I to my chief, Boorrauk. Nader smiled at my eagerness.
What is a bow without a string?-what is a Toorkoman without his horse ?-let it straight be brought.' He praised its figure and its spirit, and turning to Ibrahim, remarked that we were both wild, active creatures, well suited to each other. Yah, Hyder!-Yah, Allee!' cried I mentally, as I mounted help a good Sheah at his need! for much may depend on this mo
"I now mounted and waited for orders
to proceed. The Maidaun before the tents of the chief was the place appropriated to military exercises, nor were there wanting butts and poles upon which to hang marks for the archers to practise at. The motion of Nader's arm pointed out the mark at which I was to aim: the crowd opened wide in the same direction, and I started at full speed after the Toorkoman fashion. Three times I passed the lofty pole within a moderate distance, each time discharging an arrow: once in approaching, once in retreating, and once in the act of wheeling
and each time I was fortunate enough to make them ring upon the basin which hung suspended by a thong from its summit. It happened that, as I returned a fourth time, a blue pigeon, numbers of which built their nests in the wells and watercourses of the neighbourhood, flew over the plain, and whether alarmed and confused by the noise, or sent by Allee expressly to do me service, it alighted upon the top of the pole at which I had been shooting. The thought of making this the mark for my last arrow, struck me as I observed it, and I urged my horse to fuller speed, lest the bird should take wing before I came within distance: just as I reached within a long and difficult shot, I saw the first flutter of its wing upon the rise; but my bow was drawn, I uttered an ejaculation to Moorteza Allee, and saw my shaft strike the bird before it had well quitted the pole. It fluttered and fell, while the cries of the
crowd rent the air, and Barik illah!' Mashallah!' Mashallah!' echoed on all sides. Many years have passed since that day, but I still can remember the thrill of delight with which I picked up the bird, and galloping to the tent, with glowing cheeks laid it at the feet of Na der.
"By the head of my father! youth,' said he, Ibrahim has not belied thee in his praises of thy archery or thy horsemanship: these thou hast now fairly proved; let thy skill and conduct in other things be but equally conspicuous, and thou shalt not lack advancement. But this is enough for one day: thyself and thy horse need rest, and, in truth, he is a brave beast, and should be well dealt with;
where didst thou get him? but I need not ask, for every hoof and sinew speaks him desert-bred, as well as thee. Thou art, in truth, a strange youth, and I must hear thy story at large; but not now. Get thee gone for the present-thou art welcome!'
"It now occurred to me, that the General had taken a fancy to my horse. knew that when a great man has once signified his admiration of anything belonging to a dependent, it is deemed equivalent to a demand, and expected that the coveted article shall forthwith be tendered as an offering to conciliate his favour. In the elation of the moment, I felt that I could even bear the bitter pang of parting with my faithful steed; particularly when I considered, that my future fortune might depend upon the sacrifice. Respectfully bowing, therefore, and taking the bridle in my hand, I said, May the favour of your Highness never diminish! may your servant find grace in your eyes! the horse of your servant is unworthy of your notice -but, pardon the poverty of your slave, and deign to accept his humble offering !' So saying, I offered the bridle to an attendant. No, no, young man!' replied Nader; the horse is a good one, and thou meritest him well; keep him, and tend him as he deserves; I promise thee thou shalt need his best service. Meantime, it is thou, rather, who mayest look to me for a token of favour thou hast exhausted thy arms; the stock shall be replenished-now go thy ways! May the happy fortune of your Highness increase! may your favour never diminish towards your servant!' cried I, bowing once more, and left the presence with Hussun Allee Beg."
Ismael finds favour in the eyes of Nader, and is constituted one of his Gholaums, or Life-guards, an honour bestowed only on persons of distinguished merit. The narrative, till the end of the first volume, is occupied chiefly by an account of the prosecu
tion of the war in which Nader was engaged against Malek Mahmoud, and of the events which terminated in the recovery of the Holy shrine from the grasp of that usurper.
The commencement of the second volume finds the army of Nader in quiet occupation of the city of Mushed. We now acquire some insight into the modes of life and manners of the civil portion of the community, though this part of the subject engrosses less of the author's attention than might be wished. During the period of idleness which ensues, the young military men of Nader s army, as might be expected, get into all sorts of dissipation. this respect our hero forms no exception; and we confess, that some of the incidents in this portion of the story are not altogether to our taste, and savour too much of the Arabian Nights, with which work, linked as it is with a thousand delightful memories, it must always be perilous to provoke a comparison.
In stating this our trivial solitary objection, we would wish by no means to be understood as withholding our belief in the truth of the pictures of Persian life presented by the adventures in this portion of the narrative; or as denying the probability of such incidents in a state of society similar to that of Khorasan. But we think, that in themselves they possess little interest, and, with the great powers of invention which the author has evidently at command, he could have had little difficulty in supplying their place by others, of a character better calculated to elicit the sympathies of his readers.
There is really only one scene in the work in which we think any striking failure is discernible. We allude to that in which an attempt is made to interest the feelings of the reader, by a picture of the revolting horrors connected with the deaths of Fatimah and Zeeba. The lowest of all humin
sympathies is that which is excied by mere physical suffering. It is elt, perhaps, by the rudest of mankind as powerfully as by the most refned. But the chord of this feeling is one which a skilful writer will genrally refrain from touching. In the details of torture and bloodshed, thre is ever something shocking to theimagination. Our alms to the bggar, who displays his mutilated and dis