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HOLY GHOST."-And the multitude on the ramparts answered, as one man, Amen.
Then came the turn of Isidore; and he, laying aside the red hat, and in his place coming forward, pronounced the Absolution of the Latin Church. "Our LORD," said he, "by the merits of His Passion absolve you from all sin; and by His authority, and the authority of His blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, and of our holy Lord Nicolas, in this case committed to me, as far as the keys of Holy Mother Church extend, I do absolve you from every sentence of excommunication, interdict, or other censure whatsoever, and restore you to the unity of the faithful of CHRIST, and to the Holy Sacraments of the Church. And by the same authority I absolve you from all sin, confessed, or by human frailty forgotten; and, as far as I may, I restore you to Baptismal innocence, shutting the gates of hell and purgatory, and opening the doors of Paradise. And this grace remain you in the Article of Death."
Scarcely had he finished, when the Emperor and the Great Logothete came together on the wall. The crowd bowed low before them; less, as it seemed, out of veneration for the dignity of the Cæsar, than in respect to the silent agony of the father. Constantine acknowledged their salutations; the Logothete passed on, fixing his eyes on the ground, till the Emperor stood still, and gazed over the ramparts. Then Lucas Notaras looked too; and clasping his hands together, gazed earnestly on his son, who was still kneeling in prayer. Presently he rose, and evidently distinguished his father and the Emperor; and waving his hand to them, he again knelt, and seemed completely occupied in devotion.
"Take comfort, my son," said the Archbishop of Chalcedon. "Could the Lord Gabriel live a thousand
years, he could never fall so gloriously, or meet death so well prepared, as now. The GOD Who gave him to you at first, now requires him at your hands; only give him up willingly, and the merit which is his, shall in part be reckoned to you. And who knows but that he goes to intercede for the city before the Throne of GOD; and thus to avail more by his death, than he could ever have done by his life ?"
"The holy Father speaks well," said Constantine. "Take comfort, I pray you; and pray, as I shall do, that as he has run the race with glory, so he may reach the goal with joy."
"You never had a son, sire," said the Great Logothete. "But I have had a father and brethren," replied the Emperor, "and have lost them; would they had been honoured with such a fate."
It now wanted about a quarter of an hour to the expiration of the allotted time; and even as the Emperor spoke, the white banner, which had hitherto floated in the breeze, was hauled down, and a red flag hoisted in its place.
"Sire," said Sir Edward de Rushton, "they understand their business. They wish to torture our feelings as much as possible, and perhaps to move the prisoners to apostasy."
"Which, by God's grace," said Constantine, "they will not do. But have you caused our captives, and specially Redschid Pasha, to be informed of their fate? If they have any preparations to make, we will not debar them time."
"Are you constant in that resolution, sire ?"
"Most constant," replied the Palæologus. "I have sworn it; and it is but a just punishment of the perfidy and cruelty of Mahomet."
Then, my liege, were it not well to have them up on the ramparts at once? It would show that we are in earnest; and might give the prisoners another chance of their lives."
“Let them instantly be brought up," said the Emperor. And a messenger was despatched to the granary of S. Theodora, where since it was now empty,-the Turkish prisoners had been confined.
They are sent for,"-so ran the murmur in the crowd,-"the Emperor will keep his word."
"To be sure he will-but does Mahomet know it ?" "Yes, yes, he knows it,-the Acolyth, they say, bore him the message."
“He never will kill his prisoners, then. Why, we have Redschid Pasha."
"What does he care? He will soon make another Pasha, and there will be an end of the matter.”
"I am glad we shall have our revenge."
“A useless one, too.”
"Not so-not so; it will cut off all further thoughts of negotiation. We must fight when this is done." "By S. George we must-there will be no quarter from them."
"Here they come-mark! mark!"
The Turkish prisoners were indeed being led forth. It was a long procession; for every one marched between two soldiers. The crowd was ordered to fall back: and a clear space with some difficulty formed for them as nearly opposite the Christian captives as might be.
"I grieve," said the Emperor, "that Mahomet's cruelty should have brought this fate upon you; but, as surely as those men die, so surely is your doom sealed. But I would spare you and them, if I can: and to that end, one of you shall have free licence to go to the Sultan, and
tell him what I have now said. You, fellow; you are young; we give you your life on condition of your message faithfully. Will you do this ?"
"I will, may it please your Majesty."
"And further say thus;-that if Mahomet is even now willing to exchange the Lord Chrysolaras, or the Lord Gabriel Notaras, or Sir Etienne d'Angouleme for Redschid Pasha,-I am willing to accept the terms."
The Turk, transported with joy at having escaped what he had considered inevitable destruction, was escorted to the nearest gate, and was eagerly watched as he crossed the narrow space that intervened between the wall and the besieging army. Mahomet, though not to be seen, was believed to be in one of the tents in that quarter of the camp; and so the event proved. For presently the messenger was seen conducted thither; while there was evidently a pause of expectation among the Turkish troops.
It was soon, however, at an end. The red flag in its turn descended, and the black banner was run up; and at the same moment eight or ten of the Janissaries, with drawn swords, approached the prisoners. The excitement among the crowd on the walls became intense; for two or three Muftis accompanied the Janissaries, and it was evident that the fate of the prisoners was not so absolutely decided, but that they might save their lives by denying their faith.
Advancing to one corner of the first line, the Mufti stood before young Raphael Cucullari,-a Janissary went behind him. The Mufti was evidently speaking; Raphael replied; and, almost before the Mahometan teacher could step back, the head of the Greek captive fell on the ground. A thrill of horror ran through the multitude on the walls; but it was speedily changed into fresh
interest, as the same offer was made to him who knelt next to the corpse, rejected, and followed with the same issue. The third sufferer was Sir Etienne d'Angouleme. He, those that had the best sight said, when the proposal of apostasy was made to him shook his head and smiled; but spoke not.
"GOD have mercy on his soul !" cried the Cardinal, when the fatal blow was given: "for he hath died a Martyr !"
"Amen," said Sir Edward de Rushton.
Thus the scene of death went on,-every victim in the first line remaining firm to their faith, till the executioner reached Gabriel Notaras. He had evidently, from the 'first, suffered more than his brethren, and some were even anxious lest, in the last moment of his life, he should fall away. Not so the Archbishop, who had known him from his youth.
"A moment more," he said to the Logothete, “and his pain will be over. Do not cover your eyes: see, he
is looking at you!"
Gabriel Notaras looked up at his father for the last time their eyes met; there came a beautiful smile over his countenance; and the next moment he had done with the siege and its miseries for ever.
Still the work of death went on; and still the victims fell not away from the faith. At length the Janissaries reached Isidore Chalcocondylas, the nephew of Gennadius, who was one of the last. The spectators saw, with some surprise, that the brief question of the Mufti was succeeded by others; that presently the Janissary withdrew; that a short conversation followed, when the young Greek arose, and retired into the tents.
"He hath apostatized! he hath apostatized!" burst from the crowd; and neither the presence of the Em