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else, for the Sultan spoke Greek with great fluency, and indeed Latin also. "Let those Nazarenes be summoned here. My lord, you may retire into the outer tent; your interview with them must be short; but I shall look, in less than two hours, for your return."
"Never, my lord," replied the Great Acolyth. And he withdrew.
Presently the two whom he had named were ushered into the tent, a small party of Janissaries waiting without.
My lords both," said De Rushton, "I have a sad task to perform: for I must bid both you and your fellow prisoners prepare for death."
"For death, Lord Acolyth!" cried young Gabriel Notaras, who was barely twenty years of age;-" how mean you ?"
Thus, my lord: Mahomet has offered conditions to the Cæsar which he cannot accept with honour. The terms it matters not now to particularise; they import the absolute surrender of the city. They are refused; and the Sultan has just declared that, if they be not accepted in two hours, he will behead every one of his prisoners in the sight of the wall."
Young Notaras, though distinguished for his courage during many of the sallies,-and particularly in the last night's expedition,-had never before seen a cold-blooded death approach him by inches,—and he turned away his head.
D'Angouleme, on the contrary, smiled. "Now GODa-mercy!" said he: "does the man think to frighten us, or the Cæsar, or whom? Carry back my duty and allegiance to Constantine, De Rushton ;-tell him that though, had GOD so ordered it, I had liefer have died on the field of battle; yet falling in his service and that of
Christendom, I shall be well content,—and still more so if they give us our choice of apostasy,-for then we shall be martyrs. And one thing more. I would fain have my body of Franks-brave fellows are they all-on the walls, to see me die: they will fight the better for it, De Rushton, hereafter."
"It shall surely be so," replied his friend.
"And what little money I have, or furniture, let it be divided among them,-will you see to that ?"
"Certainly I will," answered the Acolyth.
"Then that is all. There is no chance of a Priest being allowed to visit us-for Mahomet has sworn that none such shall enter the camp. But I pray you, let some Latin Priest, if he can be had, be on the walls, and give us absolution."
"That shall be done," said De Rushton. come," he added, in a soothing voice, laying his hand on Gabriel's shoulder ;-" take no shame, Lord Gabriel! It is all natural that you should feel this. Many a man laughs at death in a battle, who shrinks from him on a sick bed. But think of the cause,-and it will seem easy. For GOD and for the Cæsar. The One will reward you, —the other will lament you. setting us all an example-men, whom the bravest knight might be proud to follow, will now be proud to follow you. Take cheer, my lord!"
You have the honour of
"I am most ready to lay down my life," replied Gabriel: "do not mistake me-but you do not-you were ever kind,-I was but thinking of my father, and my brothers, and my poor little Justina. Let them know, I pray you; and tell my father that, if I could see him on the ramparts, it would much encourage me." "I will not fail,” replied his friend. "You must communicate these sad tidings to the other prisoners-for
the Sultan will not allow me to see them." As he spoke, the interpreter entered with the information that Ma homet did not wish the interview to be prolonged.
"Then farewell, De Rushton, till we meet in a better place," cried D'Angouleme. "And whatever happens, let not the Cæsar be persuaded by the friends of the prisoners to consent to the Sultan's terms."
"Farewell, my lord," said Gabriel: "bear my dear love to my father and my brothers, and sometimes remember me!"
Half an hour served to bring the Acolyth into the Emperor's presence; with the intelligence that the negotiation had failed. He related what had passed, and then said," Have I your Royal licence to do as they wished ?"
"Call out the Franks, my lord," said Constantine; "I will myself go to the Logothete."
The intelligence soon spread through Constantinople that the last negotiations had failed, and that the prisoners were to die. The ramparts by the Tower of S. Romanus, and the Tower itself, were thronged with spectators; the Franks were drawn up under arms: all of the Varangians and the other troops that could be spared were marched forth, to do honour to the gallant end of their brothers in arms;-men, women, and children flocked together in a tumultuous mass; here a greyheaded old man, the tears streaming down his cheeks, would find reverent way made for him, by those who knew that his son was among the victims; here a widow hurried frantically forward, wringing her hands, and uttering piercing shrieks; here a sister came forth to look for the last time on her brother. And still the preparations for death went forward; the prisoners, who had been conveyed across the Horn, were made to kneel
in three rows, about a bow shot from the city walls; around them a very strong body of troops was drawn up so as to form three sides of a hollow square, and to leave the 'fourth open to Constantinople; while other regiments were formed on the same side of the walls, so as to make a sally impossible. From the midst of the space destined to the sufferers rose a tall flag-staff from which floated a white banner, the sign that the time for peace was not over.
The prisoners were so near that they could easily be recognised; and various comments passed in the crowd on their demeanour.
"That is young Raphael-the son of old Cucullari at the Mint-he behind the Great Constable."
"He looks pale enough."
"Hush! that is his uncle, leaning against the breastwork there he will hear you."
"Two hours, said you ?"
“Ay—and better than one must be passed."
"Who is that, at the extreme left ?"
"That, with his head bent ?—I cannot make out.Oh! that is Isidore Chalcocondylas-a nephew of Gennadius, you know."
"I wonder where Gennadius is."
"Oh! he will not come-he will have nothing to do with the Latins, as more than half of them are."
"The Emperor will kill his prisoners."
"He has sworn it."
"Is it wise ?"
"What is there to hope in, but in defying the dogs ?" “Well, well!—Ah! that is young Gabriel Notaras. Now would I give an arm to save him."
"So would I, so would I. A brave young fellow." A shout rose among the crowd.
"Back! back! Out
of the way! Stand back! Make room for his Illustriousness! Make way for his Holiness!"
And advancing together, neither yielding precedence to the other, Cardinal Isidore and the Archbishop of Chalcedon passed along the ramparts. The people, as the custom was, knelt as the Archbishop went by, and kissed his hand or his mandyas. Isidore received no mark of recognition except from the Varangians and Franks, who presented arms as he passed. Arriving then at the part of the rampart nearest the prisoners, they turned towards them; and then Isidore fell back a little, in order to show that the Archbishop was first going to pronounce Absolution over those of his own rite. This had not been accomplished without the most decided interference on the part of the Emperor; who urged that in his own nation, and supplying the place of the highest dignitary of the Greek Church, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Archbishop of Chalcedon ought to claim precedence over all other ecclesiastics whomso
The Prelate then stood forth on the ramparts: and those of his own rite among the prisoners, though they could not catch his words, bent most reverently, and bowed to those words which they could not hear. "Our humility," said he, "having received by succession from the Apostles the commission to remit and retain, by virtue of that authority in me dwelling, absolves you from all sins that by human frailty you have committed, knowingly, or ignorantly, in thought, word, or deed; from ban and excommunication; from curse of father or curse of mother; from guilt and from punishment; in the Name of the FATHER, and of the SON, and of the
1 Eminence was not applied to Cardinals till the beginning of the seventeenth century.