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rendered themselves, in conse- birthdays. Now it so happened,
quence, more especially the objects of a villain's hatred! Too cowardly openly to evince his enmity, Trayner meditated a plan of vengeance so diabolical in its nature, and so sudden in its result, that it fell with the velocity of the thunderbolt upon its unsuspecting victims, without affording the slightest warning of its fatal approach.
Making his patron's ill-placed confidence subservient to his purposes, he secretly employed emissaries to foment the general discontent that still prevailed amongst the men of the "British legion; " and by enforcing the performance of vexatious duties, curtailing the rations, and giving harsh replies to the repeated remonstrances for a redress of grievances become almost too heavy to be borne-all which he pretended to do in the name of the colonel, although Blosset was really unconscious of this abuse of his authority-he so irritated the minds of the soldiers against their commander, that they only waited a favorable opportunity of breaking out into open revolt. Like a skilful angler, he let them nibble at the bait, in the conscious security of being able to hook his prey at any moment it might suit his convenience; and the hour drew near that was to present the garrison of Achaquas with a tragedy conceived and executed by a fiend in human shape, and teach the inhabitants of the New World this great moral lesson, that an all-wise Providence may at times permit the triumph of powerful guilt over feeble innocence !
Most of my readers are of course well aware that in catholic countries it is the common usage to celebrate the anniversary of the canonization of each and every saint in the calendar. On these occasions the individual whose name may correspond with that belonging to any of these sanctified worthies, regards it as his own peculiar festival, and keeps it as we protestants do our
that the good lady to whom the present "Liberator " of Colombia owes his existence, was prevailed upon by the orthodox gossips to select the venerable Saint Simon as her son's patron. The motive that led to this choice, or the arguments for and against its adoption, or whether it was decreed "nemine contradicente," the annals of the Bolivarian family sayeth not! It suffices that I acquaint my reader, who may not possess the advantages of this saintly patronage, that such was the fact, and the day rapidly advancing that was to afford to all classes of the republic an opportunity of blending with their devotion to the saint a demonstration of respectful homage to the virtues of their ruler!
Bright and glorious rose the sun upon the morn that preceded the Eve of Saint Simon, as if unconscious that his setting rays were doomed to linger on a scene of carnage!
All in the little town of Achaquas were actively engaged in making preparations for the coming festival. Besides illuminations, it was intend ed to amuse the populace with the favorite spectacle of a bull-fight, and messengers were despatched to bring from the plains some of the fiercest of these animals it was likewise in contemplation to represent a drama, in which several of the officers were to enact parts; and the light company of the "legion," being the first for fatigueduty, were sent to the woods to collect materials for the erection of a temporary theatre in the "Grande Plaza." Parades were to be dispensed with throughout the garrison during the day, and all wore the face of seeming hilarity. It might have been remarked, however, that the soldiers of the "legion more particularly confined themselves to the precincts of their barracks, which occupied an angle of the square, and whence they appeared to be unconcerned spectators of all that passed without. Things re
mained in this tranquil state till the return of the light company. These poor fellows had been exposed for several hours to the heat of the sun : ardent spirits had been twice or thrice administered to them, and under the influence of the excitement it produced they became noisy and riotous. Upon this result Trayner had calculated. He had himself fired the train, and with all the feelings of gratified malice he anxiously expected the issue of the general explosion. He was to be seen in different parts of the town driving the inebriated and unarmed men before him with his naked sabre. He at last encountered Risdale, and reproached him in most unqualified terms with the state of the company, who with truth replied, that he did not hold himself responsible for their conduct, since they had not been under his orders during the period of their fatigue-services, and advised soothing measures to be employed to recall the men to their senses. This counsel Trayner imperiously rejected, adding, You, sir, are as drunk as those whose cause you espouse "" ! Indignant at a charge so void of foundation, and under the impulse of the moment, Risdale gave his accuser the lie. Major Carter of the legion coming up at that instant, the expression was by Trayner represented as an act of insubordination, and Risdale ordered under an arrest, a mandate he immediately obeyed by retiring to his quarters.
Meantime the barracks presented a scene of confusion. The whole of the men were assembled, and appeared to be discussing the best mode of action. Some proposed to address a respectful remonstrance to Paez, stating their request, that Blosset might be removed from the command, and offering to serve under a Creole colonel of their own selection (and here the name of Gomez was loudly vociferated); others expressed their doubts of the efficacy of an appeal, and their determination to seek justice at the point of
the bayonet : all were unanimous in declaring they would no longer submit to the neglect and tyranny of a superior who seemed to forget that he was himself an Englishman. They had scarcely arrived at this unity of decision, when one or two men who had witnessed the altercation between Trayner and Risdale burst in upon the meeting, and related the occurrence. The men's minds, already in a state of ferment, wanted but this additional stimulus to render them desperate. One of the regimental bugles sounded the shrill call to arms; " and the next instant the whole, with fixed bayonets, rushed into the "Grande Plaza," and formed in line of battle!
The noise now became astounding; and, at intervals, cries of "Down with Blosset!" "Death to Trayner!" "A Creole commander!" "Gomez forever!" could be distinguished amid the almost deafening din that prevailed. The greater part of the officers, roused from the "siesta" they had been indulging in, were seen hurrying halfequipped along the different streets leading to the Great Square. Among the first to reach the scene of riot was Lieutenant-Colonel Davy, whose gallant attempt to quell the disturbance was quickly rewarded with the infliction of two or three wounds, and who only preserved his life by the prompt rescue afforded him by some of his friends who had fortunately followed his steps. The infuriate soldiers resisted all endeavors to pacify them: luckily they had no ammunition, or the result might have proved fatal to many. Trayner, with true characteristic baseness, avoided the storm he had conjured; and Blosset, who now made his appearance with wildness depicted on his countenance, would have fallen a sacrifice to his unpopularity, had not the sudden cry of "Paez ! Paez !" acted like an electric shock upon the nerves of the men, and paralyzed their faculty of action. With the velocity of an eagle pouncing upon its prey,
Paez distanced all his staff (who vainly endeavored to keep pace with him), and stood calm and collected in front of the mutineers: his eye flashing indignation was the only visible indication of his ruthless ire. He beckoned to some of his native followers, and gave them private orders, which they immediately proceeded to execute. A few minutes elapsed, during which period a profound silence reigned where so lately uproar had presided. Paez soon discovered, by a glance, that part of his commands had been obeyed. The regiment of Apure drew up in position to enfilade the rioters, and loaded with ball-cartridge on the spot. He then called Captain Wiltheu (his English aide-de-camp), and directed him to proclaim aloud, that if any officer, non-commissioned officer, or private, had any complaint to make, he should advance to the front. Two or three minutes' pause succeeded the promulgation of this notice at its expiration six sergeants deputed by the men to plead their cause with the general quitted the ranks, and took their station in advance, when they were instantaneously disarmed by the native officers, who began to muster in considerable numbers round their tyrannical leader.*
The wily Trayner now deemed it time to show himself, and approaching Paez, informed him that he had been engaged in augmenting the Creole guard upon the magazines, and other precautionary measures for the safety of the town, and requested his further orders. Paez soon furnished him with suitable employment, by directing him to superintend the immediate execution of the six men whom he designated as self-convicted ringleaders of the revolt. Trayner said something in an under tone to the general, who ejaculated, "Right-certainly !-Let the light company of the British legion' furnish the firing-party, and
its captain will command it!" What language can portray Hodgkinson's feelings when the cruel mandate met his ear? He saw at once the source whence this malignant blow sprung, and resolved, at the risk of his life, to defeat its purpose. Stepping hastily forward, and cast→ ing his sword at the feet of Paez, he thus addressed him: “General, when I first drew that weapon, it was in the sacred cause of honor:it shall never be sullied in the hands of its owner;-I therefore relinquish it. I came hither the soldier of liberty, and sworn enemy to oppres sion, and will not degrade myself by becoming the deliberate assassin of my deluded countrymen. My fute depends upon your will; my disgrace or honor upon my own!" During this intrepid speech, Paez evinced no emotion, whilst all around betrayed more or less agitation. Pity and admiration were the predominant sensations; for few, if any, doubted but his doom was fixed! Blosset had been intimate with Hodgkinson's father, and now resolved to make an effort in favor of the son, and forestall a sentence which, once pronounced by Paez, would, like the laws of the "Medes and Persians," have been irrevocable. He hastily approached the general, and entered into conversation with him. Their language was inaudible, but from the colonel's gestures it might be surmised that he pleaded the cause of mercy. Paez's looks were still cold and relentless. The agony which every sensitive bosom felt during the few minutes that this conference lasted is not to be described the life of a fellow-creature depended on a breath; and that breath, like the deadly siroc of the desart, could wither all who came within its fatal influence! Paez speedily put a period to the horror of suspense by directing Trayner to deprive Captain Hodgkinson of his rank, an order which was
I suppose Paez acted upon the principle that the end justifies the means. The proclamation was merely a subterfuge, since he had not the most distant idea of listening to complaints, much less of redressing them.
executed by the former with all the alacrity of gratified malice, and the noble victim of unmerited indignity sent under a Creole escort to the guard-room, thus escaping a scene his less fortunate comrades were doomed to witness, and which was calculated (by the terrific impression it made upon their minds) to defy even the obliterating power of time to efface from their memory.
Twelve men of the light company were now selected as the executioners of the six unhappy beings who stood in mute despair awaiting the awful signal of their death. Hodgkinson and Risdale's absence had, however, left them without an officer. This circumstance was reported to the general, who caused proclamation to be made through an aide-de-camp, that any subaltern of the "British legion" volunteering the duty should be promoted to the rank of captain. I think I hear my reader exclaim, "Great God! is it possible that a British officer could be induced by the promise of any reward to accept such an office?" Softly, kind reader; you form too favorable an estimate of human nature sad experience may yet convince you, as it has myself, that self-interest is too often the main spring of our actions; yet I hope and believe there are many exceptions to be met with in all classes of society, in none more so than The Navy and Army of Great Britain, in which numbers might be found to possess the magnanimity of a Hodgkinson-few, if any, that could be seduced by bribery, or influenced by fear, to follow an example which truth now compels me to record.
Belonging to the grenadiers of the (( legion, "there was a man of the name of Gill, who, from the rank of sergeant, which he held on leaving England, had for his good conduct, cleanliness of appearance, and other soldierlike qualities, been promoted to a second lieutenancy. He had formerly been a private in one of our regiments of life-guards, where I have always understood he obtained
the reputation of a steady, sober, and well-conducted man. However high his character might stand on these points, yet it could not be expected, from the nature and quality of his former habits and associates, that he should possess that delicacy of feeling, that nice sense of honor, that tact of discriminating accurately between obedience and servility, which distinguishes the gentleman from the plebeian, and stamps him with that superiority over his species, by the world denominated polish, and which is alone to be acquired by education, and a constant intercourse with good society. is not surprising, therefore, that Gill, wholly destitute of these refinements, should have acted according to his own limited comprehension of right and wrong, and eagerly embraced the opportunity of preferment which now unexpectedly presented itself. Scarcely had the sound of Paez's alluring offer died upon the air, when he advanced, and received from the hands of the general those epaulettes which had appertained to Hodgkinson; and as soon as the officious Trayner had aided in adjusting them to his shoulders, he proceeded, with the most perfect "sang froid," to place himself at the head of the firing party!!!
And here I must request the reader's permission to pause for an instant to nerve myself for the horrid task I have undertaken. How shall I find words to narrate an event that beggars description? The vivid coloring of creative fancy would fail in its attempt to paint the sad reality! Some years have elapsed, and still the dreadful scene is as fresh in my recollection as at the hour I witnessed it. Too faithful memory retraces every incident. I yet behold, in imagination, the "Grande Plaza," the assembled troops, the stern and ruthless Paez with his drawn sword (like his prototype, the fiendish Richard), in an assumed reverie, tracing lines upon the sandy soil at his feet. I see the pallid and imploring looks of the un
happy sufferers wandering from one object to another, till they rest in all the fixidity of despair upon the platoon, which with evident reluctance is slowly preparing the murderous tube. At a little distance I perceive the infamous Trayner (like the demon over the fall of man) exulting in the desolation he has caused. I see dejection portrayed on the countenance of the men of the "legion," whilst the drooping heads and downcast eyes of the officers betray their inward emotion. A cry of agony wounds my ear. I turn, and behold a group of Creole banditti forcing the six struggling victims towards the low wall that connects the church with the "Caza del Cura." I see them arrive there, and constrained to kneel. The fatal platoon advances, halts. I hear the word "Make ready." I close my eyes in fearful anticipation of the next order: a shout causes me to reopen them. The six unhappy men, as if actuated by one simultaneous impulse, have leaped the enclosure, and are making their way through the cemetery to the woods in the rear. Vain, alas! are their hopes of safety. Mounted and dismounted Creoles are pursuing them with the speed and fury of bloodhounds. They are turned, and again driven back to the square. The foremost, panting for breath, directs his flight towards Paez, with a view, perhaps, of exciting his compassion: he has nearly reached the goal he strives to attain. Merciful Heaven! Trayner, the diabolical Trayner, intercepts his progress, and betrays his last hope! The villain's sword has passed through his palpitating bosom. I hear his shriek of anguish, I see him fall-I can behold no more—my sight grows dim -every faculty is enchained by hor-an indistinct sensation of confused sounds is the only evidence retain of existence. How long this stupor lasts I know not when I recover I find myself alone in the "Grande Plaza ; "the troops are dismissed; the last gleam of twilight
has just sunk into the obscurity of night; six bloody corses, extended where they fell, are damning proofs of the recent massacre. Replete with melancholy forebodings, I take the road to my quarters. As I pass the general's house, the sound of music assails my ear. I approach an open window. The barbarian is enjoying the pleasures of the sprightly dance, whilst the mangled remains of six fellow-creatures lie weltering in their gore only fifty yards distant from the scene of his festivity!! I hear a toast proposed: it is the health of Bolivar. The deafening " Vivas" that accompany the libation recall to my mind that it is the Eve of Saint Simon!
The last scene of this eventful drama had still to be represented, and the patron saint of the republican leader yet to be propitiated, by a further offering of human sacrifice!
The morn dawned again upon the town of Achaquas, but the sun denied to its inhabitants the cheering influence of his rays. The mutilated bodies of the six unfortunate wretches had, by the friendly aid of some of their comrades, been consigned to the peaceful grave. The heavy rain which fell during the night had washed away the purple evidence that so lately marked the scene of slaughter. The gloom of the atmosphere imparted its sombre tint to the features of the British as they mustered for the parade, to which the shrill note of the bugle had just summoned them. It was known that two privates of the legion, who had been recognised as having wounded Lieut.-Colonel Davy, were to make expiation for their crime; but the fate of these men created little or no sympathy: the justice of their doom was universally acknowledged. The hollow square was quickly formed; its fourth face supplied by the wall before described in it stood Paez : the same look of remorseless severity sate upon his brow, but he appeared (unusual with him) to be