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"In no place, my liege, so well, as from the terrace of my garden," answered the Protovestiare, "if you will condescend to honour it."

"Excellently well thought of, my lord. Thither will we all. Let some one call the despot Choniates—he is well versed in sea matters-his advice may be of use.' "There is another!" cried Theophylact and Contari simultaneously.

"Then there lacks only one. No doubt the number is

full."

cr

'Ay, sire," said Phranza. "GOD only send them a good passage!"

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"He will, He will, Phranza. The wind holds very fair." In the meantime the news was evidently spreading:housetops and church roofs began to exhibit first one or two scattered spectators-then thicker groups, then to be crowded. Gradually, the sea-wall was thronged, though nothing, at present, could be seen from that.

"There it is, my liege," cried Contari; "that makes the five."

"Let us go down, my lord, to your terrace," cried the Emperor. Contari, you will come too. As soon as the procession is formed, we will join it."

But such was the eager devotion of the populace, that even as they descended the tower stairs, the bells began to toll forth the summons; and falling in with the tide of the crowd, Constantine and his attendants passed through the Contoscalion and so on to the sea-wall.

Theodora had been drawn forth by the beauty of the afternoon into the garden of Phranza:—and with a heart sick with hope deferred, she was walking up and down the terrace, gazing on the Bosporus and the hostile armament, and almost renouncing the hope of again meeting him whom she had so lately seen depart with so sanguine expectation of success. It was about three o'clock, when

the sounds of confusion were heard in the palace-and presently her attendant, Maria, hastened into the garden. "Lady! dear lady! the ships are in sight!"

It was so ;-now, even from the shore there could be no doubt of the fact. For far to the west, the sun glanced on the white sails, flaking the sea as with spots of snow. A hum and buzz in the great city, like the wind in a distant forest: shouts here and there: horses galloping: then the bells rang out. Multitudes, multitudes on the sea-wall, on every vacant space, on every house-top.

Theodora's heart beat till she could hear no other sound. The servants were forgetful of all distinctions of rank in the excitement of the moment. Presently from the galley of the Capitan Pasha, as it rode proudly among the lesser vessels, the great green flag rose, and waved in the gale. Instantly all was confusion in the blockading fleet:-the approach of the enemy was at length seen: orders were issued in all directions; trumpets sounded, and atabals clanged; little boats were rowed hither and thither: and slowly and with difficulty, the three hundred vessels of the infidels forming in a crescent, stretched from the stable gate on the sea-wall to the landing place now called e Harem Iskelehsi on the Asiatic side.

While Theodora was employed in watching these movements, there was a stir and a hum of voices in the palace itself; and presently the Emperor, her father, Justiniani, and three or four more of the principal officers of the court, entered the garden. After kneeling to Constantine, she was about to retire; but he said, kindly, "Nay, lady, you have as much interest in the end of this day's business as any one; pray you stay, and if it please you, be seated, Justiniani, let all the powder remaining in the city, every ounce of it, be brought down to the seawall; draw thither what artillery we can manage, and look

that the guns be double shotted. We must take good heed of a surprisal on the other side, in the midst of all this excitement. My Lord Curopalata, that shall be

your charge." "Were it not well," said Phranza, "that orders be given forth in the Horn about the chain? It will be a delicate business, to admit those vessels and exclude the rest."

"Lieutenant Contari," said the Emperor, "go down to the harbour, show them that ring, and bid them follow your directions in all things. And when you have shown it them, wear it for our sake."

Contari kissed the hand that was held out to him, and withdrew.

"Had it not been for him," said Nicetas Choniates, who had joined the royal party previously to their entering the garden of Phranza, "I had not now stood by your majesty."

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He is a right good soldier, and an honest man," replied Constantine.-"How fast they are nearing us!"

'Twenty minutes will bring him up with them," said the Exarch; “and I suspect that he will reserve his fire till he is close to them."

At this moment the wind, which had been steadily south-south-west, shifted two points to the north. Up immediately went the stud-sails of the vessels, fluttering for a moment like white birds at the end of the shrouds, and then steadily bellying out.

"That must mean that the wind has changed," said the Exarch. "Ay, by my faith, so it has !"-looking at a weather-cock on one of the turrets," and a good change too; it will carry their smoke right into the enemy's teeth.”

In the mean time, the five great ships were steadily

coming up channel. The foremost carried the Genoese arms at her mast-head, and was named the Unicorn; she bore the character of the swiftest ship in the Mediterranean. Her forecastle-literally a castle rising up in the forepart of the deck-was crowded with archers and musketeers. She had ten cannon on deck; and at her gangways was an apparatus for discharging the Greek Fire. Next came the S. Irene, the only imperial vessel; the great flag, bearing the double-headed eagle displayed, towered aloft, and her deck, nearly as well manned as the Unicorn's, was far more lavish in its display of painting and gilding. The two next vessels were the Dolphin and the S. Francis; and about a quarter of a mile further back lagged the great Bucentaur.

De Rushton was on deck, surrounded by the officers of the vessel, among whom was the Great Drungaire of the Empire. "Captain Bulgari," said he, "before we go into action, I wish you, and I wish all the officers to understand, that the Emperor's express orders are, that we run every risk to relieve the city. From what I know of its state when I left, I am sure that now-the wind having delayed us so fearfully long-it must almost be at extremity"

“The green flag up on the Capitan Pasha's galley !" reported the man at the mast-head.

"Then we shall be in action in a quarter of an hour," said Sir Edward. "And you, gentlemen,-and you also, good yeomen,-remember that you will be fighting in sight of your wives and daughters, fighting for their safety and for their honour; that your Emperor himself will be the judge and the rewarder of your bravery; that your contest will be under the very walls of your Cathedral; that you are going about God's service, and may look for God's blessing. We are but five vessels, it is

true; but consider that our mariners are the best in Europe, our ships the strongest that can be built,—our cause, above all, that of the Faith; while that host of boats were knocked up by men that never built a vessel before, are manned by men that never were on the sea, are fighting merely to escape the punishment that a tyrant can inflict. Gentlemen, I will not waste your time with more words; there is the enemy, and there is the city, and I am sure you know how to do your duty."

Then arose a shout from the vessels, that rang as far as the Seven Towers; and still the dark waves foamed before their bows, and still their sails swelled steadily out, and still the great dome of S. Sophia rose clearer and clearer; and now they could hear the distant clang of its bells, mellowed as it stole over the sea of Marmora. "My lord," said Captain Bulgari, "were it not well that we lay to for the Bucentaur ?"

"Use your judgment," said De Rushton.

loth to lose unnecessary time."

"I were

"My lord, I fear they may otherwise cut her off." "Make the signal, then.”

dingly made.

And the signal was accor

Through the streets of Constantinople great pieces of artillery were rolling along, dragged by men, women, and children; the precious barrels that yet remained of powder were brought up under the immediate superintendence of Justiniani; smiths were stationed on the city side of the great chain, to drive out its staples when the moment should come; flags were floating from every turret ; the houses were well-nigh deserted; many of the shops were closed; the more distant streets were still as death. Constantine maintained his position in Phranza's terrace.

"Ha! lying to!" cried the Exarch. "Well, well, he knows what he is about."

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