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Turks usually selected a festival as the time of their attacks; but on this Pentecost, except a slight movement in the Horn, all had been still. The service in the great church had been performed with the utmost possible magnificence; the aristocracy and beauty of Constantinople had thronged it, as in the better days of the city. The Emperor himself had assisted at High Mass; the Archbishop of Chalcedon bad officiated pontifically; the day was blue and balmy; the sky all smiles,—the earth all freshness; and now twilight had come down on a scene of comparative peace, and had deepened into dark night. De Rushton sat, as I have said, by his bride, and very sweet had been their conversation. They had been recalling the long-gone days, before Phranza went on his fruitless mission; how first they had known each other, when De Rushton took service in the Byzantine Court; how Theodora had grown up under his very eye; how she had long suspected his love for her; together with all the pleasant questions, and more pleasant answers, naturally rising out of such a review.

As the night wore on, Phranza entered, and was warmly welcomed, both by Theodora and De Rushton. “ Is there any thing new ?' inquired the latter.

“Nothing," replied Phranza, “ except that Gennadius is more than usually troublesome. He has been preaching. I understand, this evening before the Studium. Really this licence must no longer go unbridled. I am no great friend to the Cardinal Isidore myself; but truly, to find him called dog, devil, hypocrite, Abithophel, Judas Iscariot,—and that on such a festival as this-is beyond all bearing."

“ Worst of all," said Theodora, on the feast that ought to be the Feast of Love."

“Even so," returned her father : “but there lies his main argument,—the old Double Processionist controversy.”

“Well,” said De Rushton, “I shall request the Emperor to have him confined to his monastery : there, at seast, he will do little harm. If I had my way, to prison he should

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forthwith." “Nay, that would hardly be prudent, either," returned

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the Great Protovestiare. "Send him to his monastery, say I; and do you second me there."

“Do not you think it strange,” asked his son-in-law, that Mahomet, contrary to his usual wont, has let this festival pass so quietly ? He has renegades enow in the camp-Leontius for one to let him know what day it is."

“ It is odd,—and more odd than pleasant," replied Phranza. “ It was just so, you remember, before the galleys were transported. Belike he has some new scheme in his head. But I tell you what, De Rushton, I begin to have better hopes than I have had for some tine. The weather is getting fearfully hot,-by the way, how pleasant are those orange trees of yours, Theodora, -and I am sure the army cannot lie much longer as it is. Some epidemic will break out in it, to a certainty." “ It will only be a respite,” said Sir Edward.

Nay, he cannot return till autumn; and by that time, how much may be done! Besides, when they know what the imminency of our danger has been, depend upon it the princes of Christendom will hasten their armaments. Rely on this : if the city falls, Rome will be his next prize. De Rushton smiled.

Nay,” said Phranza, “ if you mean that the Roman Church has a privilege of perpetuity, that need not preserve the city, any more than from the Goths. If Nicholas had only known his true interest, we should long ago have had help.”

Pray God it be so !” cried De Rushton. At this moment a servant entered. “My lord, the Lochagus Burstow is below, and desires to speak to your lordship.”

“Bid him come up,” returned the Acolyth. “Shall I leave you with him ?” asked Theodora, rising. "First let us see what he wants,” replied her husband.

Burstow presently entered, holding something carefully in his hands, with “A fair good night, my lords !"

“What have you there, Burstow” inquired Sir Edward.

A carrier pigeon, my lord. It has a billet round its Deck; shall. I cut the string ?”

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Ay. When did it arrive ?”

“But now, my lord. It came right into the guardhouse."

He cut the string, and gave the letter to De Rushton. The pigeon turned its glossy neck about, as if looking for protection.

“Come to me, poor little trembler,” cried Theodora, taking it out of Burstow's rough hands,—who touched her as if she had been a being of superior kind to himself,

.“ come to me: it is a shame to employ such innocent creatures as you in such bloody messages.

“We must not open this, Lord Phranza,” said De Rushton. “It is directed, . To the Emperor, with speed.' I know the hand, though."

“Let me see,” said Phranza. “Ay, so do I. It is our good friend, yonder,” and he nodded in the direction of the camp; " but we had better go with it at once.” "Surely,” said Sir Edward. Burstow, do you

follow us: we may want you.”

"Are you going, then ?” asked Theodora. “When shall you

be back ?” Soon, if I possibly can,” returned the Great Acolyth, kissing her, “but it must depend on what this note may contain. Something of importance it is, or it would not have been sent in this manner. Do not sit up love : though I hope I shall not be long."

“ Good night, my child,” said Phranza. “I, at all events, shall not come back to-night. Go you to S. Sophia's to-morrow ?” "I purpose to do so,” she replied.

" “Then, after Liturgy, I shall, perhaps, see you again. Good night."

“ This confirms what we were saying even now, Lord Protovestiare," observed De Rushton, as they crossed the First Court. “This mode of conveying intelligence is so perilous that, unless it had been something of weight, Calil would not have attempted it. Chrysolaras tells me that he never did it without great anxiety."

“Why truly, it might easily fail, take what precautions he will. I suppose he designs a surprise. If so, we may have to spend this night most precariously. But here

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We must see the Cæsar on urgent business, guard."

“ The Emperor is at After-Vespers, my lord,” replied the guard.

“Please it your Highness to walk into the reception room. He shall be informed instantly on his return."

“ Has he been gone long ?”.

"Nearly half-an-hour, my lord; he cannot be much longer."

Well, we must wait, then," said Phranza : “but the delay is vexatious. At S. Irene's, is he ?”

Yes, my lord.”

“ We will wait for him, then, here, good fellow.” And they took one or two turns up and down before the entrance. But they had not to wait long. Fifes and hautboys presently rang out, and, with a small guard of Varangians, the Emperor, and a few officers of his household, returned to the palace. “Good evening, my lord Phranza," said he.

“ Good evening, Lord Acolyth. I love not to miss After-Vespers on these great Festivals. Any thing of importance ?"

“I rather think there is, sire. A despatch has arrived."

“Has it?" asked Constantine, understanding to what he referred. “Have you opened it ?”

“No, my liege." “Then follow me instantly." And, leading the way

. into a small room used by the First Secretary for the despatch of business, Constantine seated himself; and, having desired that every one else should leave the apartment, said,

“From Calil, is it ?”

“Yes, my liege," replied De Rushton. “It arrived by a carrier pigeon

and is addressed to your Majesty.”

Read it,” said Constantine.

Sir Edward read—“The Emperor is informed that a general assault of the city is to take place at daybreak on Tuesday morning, both by sea and land. The attack will be made in three places : Baltha Ogli, the Bulgarians and Croatians, at the Silivri gate ; the Pasha of Anatolia,

but now,

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with the Anatolian and Roumelian troops at the breach by S. Romanus's Tower; the Sultan will command the Janissaries there in person, as a body of reserve; the galleys in the Horn will be commanded by Achmet Pasha and Leontius. This intelligence is certain. The number of troops employed, as near as the writer can ascertain, fifteen thousand Janissaries; two hundred and fifty thousand ordinary infantry. Every effort is being made to ensure success. If this attack can be repulsed, the city is safe.”

CHAPTER XXVIII.

“We must straight employ you Against the general enemy Ottoman.'

Othello.

We have now reached the evening of Whit-Monday, May 28, 1453. A night and a morning, and the destinies of the great city will have been accomplished; the long line of its princes will have ceased for ever ; its heroic actions and its dark crimes have passed away from real existence; itself, equally with the account of its fall, be a tale that is told. But yet, on that fair evening, it existed ; its emperor and its princes were a living reality; its churches were unprofaned; its monasteries inviolate; it retained the impression of primeval times, and, amidst the changing West, exhibited the stamp of the immutable East.

“ Whither away?" inquired Phranza, as he met Sir Edward de Rushton on the ramparts, near Port S. Peter, about six o'clock on the evening of this, the last day of the city.

“To the Emperor," replied the Acolyth,"at S. Romanus’s Tower—he wishes me to visit that, and the other positions which will be attacked to-morrow, with him, while it is yet daylight."

"I will go with you. What have you been doing this afternoon ? I have not seen you ?”

“I have been arranging for the defence of this side, as well as may be. It seems that the old breaches made

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