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ENTERTAINING AND INSTRUCTIVE VARIETIES
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THE HEROIC DEFENCE OF BENDER BY CHARLES XII.
Among the astonishing acts of heroism nions; the King, whose haughty temper cf this extraordinary man, none are could not brook any thing like dictation, more remarkable for a mixture at once refused to comply, and the following of gallantry and temerity, than the cir attack was made Feb. 12, 1713, which cumstance which our engraving illus Voltaire thus eloquently describes :--trates.
The word of command was imme'It is necessary, for the better under- diately given The Turks marched up standing of the following relation, to to the fortifications : the Tartars were premise that Charles, after his total de- already waiting for them, and the cannon feat by Peter the Great, at the battle of began to play. The Janissaries on the Pultowa, was obliged to fly into Turkey, one side, and the Tartars on the other, and took up a temporary residence at instantly forced the little camp. Hardly Bender, a town in European Turkey, had twenty Swedes time to draw their the capital of the province of Bessarabia, swords when the whole three hundred on the N. W. coast of the Black Sea, were surrounded and taken prisoners between the mouths of the Danube and without resistance. The king was then the Dneister.
on horseback, between his house and Here he remained waiting the turn of his camp, with the generals Hord, affairs in his favour, until the Porte, Dardoff, and Sparre; and seeing that either from caprice or to oblige the all his soldiers had suffered themselves European pow at war with Charles, to be taken prisoners before his eyes, he ordered him to quit the Ottoman domi- said, with great composure to these VOL. III.
“ Igive you
three officers, “Come, let us go and ments. "Come,' says the king, 'let us defend the house; we will fight, added go and drive out these barbarians ;' and he, with a smile, pro aris et focis.” putting himself at the head of his men,
“ Accordingly, accompanied by these he with his own hands opens the door of three generals, he forthwith gallops up the hall that leads to his bed-chamber, to the house, in which he had placed rushes into the room and fires upon the about forty domestics as centinels, and plunderers. which he had fortified in the best manner “ The Turks, loaded with spoil, and he could.
terrified at the sudden appearance of the “ The generals, accustomed as they king, whom they had ever been accusa were to the dauntless intrepidity of tomed to respect, threw down their arms, their master, could not help being sur- leap out of the window, or fly to the prised to see him resolve in cold blood, cellars. The king taking advantage of and even with an air of pleasantry, to their confusion, and his own men being
defend himself against ten pieces of can animated by the success of this attempt, * non, and a whole' army: nevertheless they pursue the Turks from chamber to they followed him, with some guards chamber; kill or wound those who had and domestics, making in all about not made their escape ; and in a quarter twenty persons.
of an hour clear the house of the enemy. “When they came to the door, they In the heat of the fight the king perfound it beset by the janissaries. Be ceived two janissaries who lay concealed sides, two hundred Turks and Tartars under his bed, one of them he stabbed had already entered by a window, and with his sword, the other asked pardon made theinselves masters of all the by crying - Amman.” apartments, except a large hall where your life, replied the king to him, on this the king's domestics had retired. Hap- condition, that you go and give the pily this hall was near the door at which basha a faithful account of what you the king designed to enter with his little have seen." 'The Turk readily promised troop of twenty persons. He threw to do as he was bid, and was allowed to himself off his horse with pistol and leap out at the window like the rest. sword in hand, and his followers did The Swedes, having at fast made the same.
themselves masters of the house, again Tlie jauissaries fell upon him on all shut and barricadoed the windows. They sides. They were aniniated with the were in no want of arms. A ground promise which the basha had made, of room full of muskets and powder had eight ducats of gold to every man who escaped the tumultuary search of the should only touch his clothes, in case janissaries. These they employed to they could take him. He wounded and good purpose. They fired through the killed all those who came near hiin. A windows almost close upon the Turks,.' janissary whom he wounded clapped his of whom, in less than half a quarter of blunderhuss to his face, and had he not an hour they killed two hundred. The been jostled by the arm of a 'Turk, owing cannon still played upon the house; but to the crowd that moved backwards and the stones being very soft, there were forwards like waves, the king had cer only some holes made in the walls, and tainly been killed. The ball grazed nothing was demolished. upon his nose, and carried off part of his “ The kam of 'Tartary, and the basha, ear, and then broke the arm of General were desirous of taking the king alive, Hord, whose constant fate it was to be being ashamed to lose so many men, and wounded by his master's side.
to employ a whole army against sixty “ The king plunged his sword in the persons, thought it most adviseable to janissary's breast. At the same time, set fire to the house, in order to oblige his domestics, who were shut up in the the king to surrender. They ordered great hall, opened the door to him. The some arrows twisted about with lighted king, with his little troop, springs in matches, to be shot upon the roof, and like an arrow. They instantly shut the against the doors and windows, In a door, and barricade it with whatever moment the house was in flames. The they can find. Thus was Charles XII. roof all on fire was ready to tumble upon shut up in this hall with all his atten the Swedež. The king, with great calmdants, consisting of about sixty men, ness, gave orders to extinguish the fire. officers, guards, secretaries, valets de Finding a small barrel full of liquor, chambre, and domestics of every kind. he took it up, and being assisted by two
“The janissaries and Tartars pillaged Swedes, threw it upon the place where the rest of the house, and filled the apart- the fire was most violent. At last he
“ What a
THE PORTFOLIO. recollected that the barrel was full of desperate fight must have -naturally in brandy ; but the hurry inseparable from spired, gave place at once to a mild and such a scene of confusion, hindered gentle behaviour ; not one word of imhim from thinking of it in time.--- patience dropped from his lips : not one The fire now raged with double fury. angry look was to be seen in his face.The king's apartment was reduced to He eyed the janissaries with a smiling ashes. The great hall where the Swedes countenance, and they carried him off were was filled with a terrible smoke, crying." Alla,” with a mixture of res, mixed with sheets of fame, that darted pect and indignation. His officers were in at the doors of the neighbouring taken at the same time and stripped by apartments. One half of the roof sunk the Turks and Tartars. This strange within the house, the other fell on the event was, followed with very remarkoutside, crạckling amidst the flames. able consequences.
“ In this extremity, a centinel called Walberg, ventured to cry, that there was a necessity for surrendering.
EXTRACTS FROM NEW strange man is this, says the king, to
BOOKS. imagine that it is not more glorious to be burnt than taken prisoner !” Another Scenes and Impressions in Egypt. By centinel, named Rosen, had the presence
the author of Sketches in India. of mind to observe, that the chanceryhouse, which was not above fifty paces This tour is a very extensive one. distant, had a stone roof, and was proof Sailing from Bombay in December 1822, against fire; that they ought to sally the author navigated the Red Sea in an forth, to take possession of that house, Arab vessel; landed at Kosseir, crossed and then defend themselves to the last the Desert to Egypt, surveyed the wonextremity. " There is a trne Swede ders of that land, embarked again at for you,” cries the king, and embracing Alexandria, visited Malta, Sicily, Nathe centinel, he made him a colonel upon ples, traversed Italy, and closed his
“Come on, my friends, says he, journey at Paris. From the various take as much powder and ball with you. scenes of which he has sketched his imas you can, and let us take possession pressions, we shall select two or three of the chancery, sword in hand.” examples: Crossing the desert is not
" The Turks, who all the while sur with him a barren subject; but it is rounded the house, were struck with fear written with all the pedantry of a coupand admiration, to see the Swedes con try shoolmaster. tinúe in it, notwithstanding it was all in "" 'The road through the desert is most fames; but their astonishment was great wonderful in its features : a finer cannot ly increased when they saw the door be imagined. It is wide, hard, and firm, opened, and the king and his followers winding for at least two-thirds of the rushing out upon them like so many mad way, from Kosseir to Thebes, between
Charles and his principal officers ranges of rocky hills, rising often perwere armed with sword and pistol. pendicularly on either side, as if they had Every man fired two pistols at once, the been scraped by art; here, again, rather moment the door was opened ; and in the broken, there overhangiug, as if they twinkling of an eye, tlırowing away their were the lofty banks of a mighty river, pistols, and drawing their swords, they and you traversing its dry and naked made the Turks recoil above fifty paces. bed. Now you are quite landlocked ; But in a moment after, this little troop now again you open on small valleys, was surrounded. The king, who was and see, upon heights beyond, small booted, as usual, entangled himself with square towers. It was late in the even-, his spurs, and fell. One and twenty Ja- ing when we came to our ground, a sort nissaries at once sprang upon him. He of dry bay; sand, burving sand, with throws up his sword into the air, to save rock and cliff, rising in jagged points all himself the mortification of surrendering around---a spot where the waters of it. The Turks bear hinn to the basha's ocean might sleep in stillness, or with, quarters, some taking hold of his arms, the soft voice of their gentlest ripple, and others of his legs, in the same man lull the storm-worn mariner. The dew ner as sick persons are wont to be carried of the night before had been heavy, we in order to prevent their being hurt. therefore pitched our tent, and decided
No sooner did the king see himself in on starting, in future, at a very early their hands, than the violence of his tem- hour in the morning, so as to accomplish per, and the fury which such a long and our march before noon. It was dark
In the grey
when we moved off, and even cold. always associate the horse with the Arab Your camel is impatient to rise ere you warrior, and the horse alone; also the are well seated on him; gives a shake, crooked scimetar. Now these belong to too, to warm his blood, and half dis the Syrian, and the Persian, the Mamelodges you; marches rather faster than luke, and the Turk as well. The camel by day, and gives occasionally a hard is peculiar to the Arab alone. It was quick stamp with his broad callous foot. on the camel that Mahomet performed Our moon was far in our wane. She his fight to Medina. It was on a white rose, however, about an hour after we she camel that he made his entry into started, all red, above the dark hills on that city. Seventy camels were arrayed our left; yet higher rose, and paler grew, by his side in the Vale of Beder. And till at last she hung a silvery crescent in it was on his own red camel that the the deep blue sky. I claim for the tra Caliph Omar, with his wooden dish and veller a love of that bright planet far leathern water-bottle, and bag of dates, beyond what the fixed and settled resi came to receive the keys of the holy city dent can ever know ;---the meditation of of Jerusalem and the submission and the lover, the open lattice, the guitar, homage .of the patriarch Sophronius. the villagers' castanets, are all in sweet Moreover, it is on a winged white camel, character with the moon, or on her in in a golden saddle, that the Moslem, crease, or full orbed; but the traveller who is faithful to the end, believes that (especially in the East) he loves her in he shall ride hereafter." her wane: so does the soldier at his still Among the antiquities of Thebes, picqnet of the night; and the sailor, on Luxor, Carnác, Memphis, &c. we think his silent watch, when she comes and the following most interesting. breaks in upon the darkness of the night “Nothing is more difficult than to to soothe and bless him.
procure here any little antiques of value, “Who passes the desert and says all to carry away with you as memorials of is' barren, all lifeless ?
your visit : the Arabs, indeed, . bring morning you may see the common you little mummy ornaments, such as pigeon, and the partridge, and the little termini of wood or pottery, which pigeon of the rock, alight before your are always found in the tombs; also very feet, and come upon the beaten scarabæi, rings of wood or pottery, camel-paths for food. They are tame, scraps of papyrus, and a variety of trifles for they have not learned to fear, or to which I cannot name: but these are distrust the men who pass these solitudes. sure to be the mere refase of the privia The camel-driver would not list a stone leged collectors, and of the many sharpto them; and the sportsman could hardly witted non-descripts in their service. find it in his breast to kill these The ground is regularly parcelled out on gentle tenants of the desert : the deer both sides of the river: here England might teinpt him; I saw but one; far, may dig, there France; this is Mr. Šalt's very far, he caught the distant camel ground, that Mr. Drovetti's ; here Lord tramp, aud paused, and raised and threw Belmore made excavations, there an back his head to listen, then away to the American 'traveller. The Arab fallahs road instead of froin it; but far a-head get their twenty paras a day, and work he crossed it, and then away up a long as little as possible for the money. slope he fleetly stole, and off to some French and Italians, generally in 'Turksolitary spring which wells, perhaps, ish costume, that is, in a sort of half and where no traveller, no human being has half dress, are their task-masters, and ever trod.
Here and there you meet do not hesitate to strike them, to which with something of green,---a tree alone, they do not submit, laugh, scowl, or run or two, nay, in one vale you may see away. I saw one of these parties, and some eight or ten; these are the acacias; watched them long; a man was directsmall-leaved and thorny, yet kind, in ing them in the common Arab dress, the that “ they forsake not these forsaken brown zaboot; he had a beard, and quite places.” You have affections in the an Arab complexion ; indeed, he had been desert too ; your patient and docile for some time the evening before at our camel is sometimes vainly urged if his house, to arrange about the hire of a fellow or his driver be behind; he will boat, and we took him for a common stop, and turn, and give that deep hoarse Arab, till he said something to Monsieur gurgling sound, by which he expresses R. (Rifaud) in good French, with the uueasiness and displeasure. It is some trúe accent of his country. thing to have rode, though but for a few “ With this man I had some conversadays, the came of the desert. We tion; he told me that he had deserted
37 from the French army in Egypt, that “He declined returning with us that numbers of his countrymen had done the evening to our boat, but said he would same; and that he was married, and himself accompany us to Saccara on the settled in the country,
- & renegade, in morrow, which he did. His wish was fact. I asked him if la France, la bello to show the interior of that pyramid France,' with her wines and her plea- opened by the French, he having founded sures, never entered his head: he
some opinion on the examination of it, gave a kind of shrug, and with a sort of which leads him to suppose that none of imploring look, said, “Mais Monsieur, the pyramids were sepulchres---I leave ah oui, mais enfin que voulez-vous ?' him to amuse himself with the difficulty. Well, thought I to myself, I understand He is a kind man, with much enthusiasm you; a quoi bon ?' y ou make all your about Egyptian antiquities, having exlittle excursions at Thebes on jack-asses, hibited enterprise and perseverance, and driven by Arab or Coptic boys all dirty, fearlessly expended all he could : he is laughing, and good tempered, glad to unpretending too, considering his visit have the light work, and double pay they to Paris, and and the nonsense he heard get from you; you are terribly pestered talked there about Moses and Orpheus, at all times by people who ask Buck and which, at times, will peep from sheesh, more from idleness, habit, and under his modest avowals, that he is amusement, than want. You soon pick only a sailor, with a strong turu this up a few words of vulgar Arabic, and way, which has made him both labour from necessity learn others. In walking and read on antiquities. in the bazaar of the village on a market ““ We were all much disappointed, day, I singled out a fine-looking young and he was exceedingly provoked, to man, a Copt, and (through Mohammed, find that the Arab fellahs had blocked our Arab) asked him many things about up the entrance, and that so effectually, the inhabitants of his persuasion. I and with such huge stones, that it would learned from him, that their church was have taken many men and a day's laabout five miles away, among the hills; bour to have removed them. We rethat all who attended went there on the turned along a raised bank, just dividing Saturday afternoon for an evening and the desert from a low green, cultivated midnight service, and returned on the flat, the ancient bed of the lake AcheruSunday morning to their homes, where sia: we went on, and through a few cathey then enjoyed themselves according lumps of dates, and down to another to their means; that they were not inore long open flat, where, to the eye of the oppressed than the Arab fellahs, nor by antiquarian, a few stones scattered here them : there is, though, some slight ca and there in the corn, give the site and pitation tax, which has been immeno traces of a street of the ancient city of rially paid.
Memphis. " I learned from other quarters, that “ In other parts, you see remains of a the Copts are more intelligent, more wall of unburnt brick; and again, in one often in employ, and more provident spot, brick-work of a later date; a part (comparatively) than the common Arabs, of a bath; and also the facing of a canal. among whom they are settled; but there These last are of the city in its latter is little perceptible difference to the eye days: the stones, with their hieroglyof a stranger even in their appear phics, as old as the time of its first
founder; the sumptuous temple of the “Returning, we again called on Ca- great Vulcan of the Egyptians, so reviglia. Magic had been at work in his nowned ouce, is the more particular oblittle hut: plans and drawings had been ject of Mr. Caviglia's search; and here, hung all round, concealing and orna as his fancy suggests, and his means admenting all its walls ; his books estab mit of his buying and rooting up a tree, lished on shelves and tables ;. in fact, it or getting them not to sow on a few looked that sort of home, in which the square yards of fertile land, he digs and soldier and the traveller find some com excavates---finds nothing ! hopes, fears, fort in their sojournings. Among his and digs again, and finds a broken shaft, books I observed Denon, a Florence a statue, or a stone---and sleeps the edition, the Zendavesta, and the works sounder, and wakes the happier for it! of Pascal. We turned over the plates He appears to understand how to conof Denon; and he showed us a small ciliate the common Arab very well: hieroglyphic vocabulary, in manuscript, though not settled, he was already erectfor the interpretations in which Dr. ing near his hut, where he had dug a Young and Mr. Champollion were the well
, a little kind of wig-wam of the authorities,
date leat, about six feet or more in