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nishment; the execution is impossible. Should you have succeeded so far as to clear every impediment, every barrier, every centinel ; should you have reached the very heart of the city; should you in its seemingly impenetrable vortex think yourself most secure from any search, you have yet achieved nothing; you have not advanced a single step toward your liberation. Many inmates of the Bagnio, possessing families in the city, enjoy unrestrained egress on the express condition of bringing back the missing, or of taking their place. The most active and watchful of the spies they employ are stationed precisely wherever the security from discovery seems the greatest; and the sufferings of those whose attempts at evasion have been baffled by their vigilance are so cruelly aggravated, that a man must have lost all hope of any
other deliverance on this side the grave, ere he attempt so desperate a mode of regaining his liberty."
In vain I lingered day after day in feverish expectation : in vain I questioned every new face that appeared. No one knew any thing of my business ; no one had heard my name mentioned. At last I became convinced that the drogueman was determined to leave me to my fate, and resolved to give up all further hopes of being freed, at least by the hand of man. I say “ by the hand of man;" for a higher power was beginning to manifest its awful
presence, which held out a prospect of speedy release, not only to me, but to the whole Bagnio.
This was the plague.
The scourge had been expected for some time. By several of the prisoners had the frightful hag, its harbinger, been distinctly seen hovering with her bat's wings over our drear abode, and with her hooked talons numbering one by one her intended but still unsuspecting victims. In the silence of the night she had been heard leisurely calling them by their names, knocking at their several doors, and marking with livid spots the damp walls of their cells.
Nothing but the visitation of this destructive monster seemed wanting to complete the horrors which surrounded me :--for if even, when only stalking forth among men free to fly from its approach, and to shrink from its contact, the gaunt spectre mows down whole nations like the ripe corn in the field, it may be imagined what havoc ensues when it is permitted to burst forth from the inmost bowels of hell, in the midst of wretches close wedged in their dungeons, or linked together at their tasks, whom it must trample down to the last ere it can find a vent in space. It is there that--with a focus of infection ready formed, a train of miasma ready laid on every side-though this prime minister of death strike at random, it never misses its aim, and its progress outstrips the quickness of lightning, or
of thought. It is there that even those who thus far retain full possession of health, already calculate the hours they still may live; that those who to-day drag to their last abode their lifeless companions, to-morrow are laid beside them; and that those who are dying, make themselves pillows of the bodies not yet cold of those already dead. It is there that we may behold the grim destroyer in one place awaited in gloomy silence, in another encountered with fell imprecations; here implored with anxious cries, there welcomed with eager thanks; and now perhaps received with convulsive laughter and mockery, by such as, trying to drink away its terrors, totter on the brink of the
grave from drunkenness as well as from disease.
The before busy bee-hive of the Bagnio, therefore, soon became a dreadful solitude. Its spacious inclosures, so lately teeming with tenants of every description, now began to present a void still more frightful than its former fulness. Universal silence pervaded those endless galleries, but a few days before re-echoing with the confused din of thousands of prisoners, fighting for an inch of ground on which to lay their aching heads; and nothing any longer appeared that wore a human shape, except here and there some livid skeleton, which, as if again cast up by the grave, slowly crept along the clammy walls. When, however, the dire disease had devoured all that could offer food to its voracity, it gradually fell like the flame which has consumed its fuel, and at last became extinct. What few miserable remains of the former population of the Bagnio had escaped its fury, were again restored to the regular sufferings of the place, suspended during the utmost height of the desolation.
I was among these scanty relics. I who, indifferent to life, had never stooped to avoid the shafts of death, even when they flew thickest around me, had more than once laid my finger on the livid wound they inflicted, had probed it as it festered, I yet remained unhurt; for sometimes the plague is a magnanimous enemy, and while it seldom spares the pusillanimous victim, whose blood running cold ere it is tainted, lacks the energy necessary to repel the infection when at hand, it will pass him by who dares, its utmost fury, and advances undaunted to meet its raised dart.
FAMINE IN EGYPT.
I had left a storm gathering in Egypt, of which I since have thanked God I witnessed not the bursting. Already, previous to my departure, the consequence of the scarcity had begun to appear partially in many places; but it was only after I left the country that the famine attained its full force ; and such was, in spite of every expedient of human wisdom or appeal to divine mercy, the progressive fury of the dreadful scourge, that at last the schaichs and other regular ministers of worship,-supposing the Deity to have become deaf to their entreaties, or incensed at their presumption, -no longer ventured themselves to implore offended Heaven, but henceforth only addressed the Almighty through the voices of tender infants; in hopes that, though pleased with the sufferings of corrupt man, Providence might still pity the pangs of untainted child. hood, and grant to the innocent prayers of babes what it denied to the agonising cry of their expiring parents. Led by the Imams to the tops of the highest minarets, little creatures from five to ten years of age there raised to heaven their pure hands and timid looks; and while all the countless myriads of Cairo, collected round the foot of these lofty structures, observed a profound and mournful silence, the feeble voice of spotless infancy was alone heard to lisp from their summits entreaties for divine mercy. Nor did even these feeble supplicants continue to implore a fertility, which no longer could save the thousands of starving wretches already in the fangs of death. They only begged that a general pestilence might speedily deliver them from their lingering and painful agony : and when, from the gilded spires throughout every district of the immense Masr, thousands of infantine voices went forth at the same instant to implore the same sad boon, the whole vast population below, in hoarse and half extinguished sounds, jointly answered, “ so be it !”