VOLUME VI.—NUMBER ‘7.
(Drawn and engraved expressly for The Weekly Novelette.}
Entered according to Act of Congress,in the Clerk’s Office of
the District Court of Massachusetts.}
TAH BRARK AVENGRR,
A STORY OF THE SPANISH MAIN.
BY NED BUNTLINE.
“ And much of wild and wonderful,
In these rude isles, might fancy cull;
For thither came, in times afar,
The hardy sonsof roving war,
The pirates trained to spoil and blood,
Skilled to prepare the raven’s 7
Kings of the main their leaders brave,
Their barks the dragons of the wave.”
Witp and beautiful was the view which embraced
the only harbor in the French Island of Tortuga, or
Petit Guaure, and its surrounding scenery. ‘The har-
bor was small, and only accessible by two narrow chan-
nels which were separated by a large rock, upon whose.
white and ragged cliffs grew no shrub or bush, and
which almost entirely hid the harbor from a seaward
view, at the same time protecting it from the heavy
wayes which dashed with ceaseless roar against its ev-
erlasting front. On all sides the harbor was surround-
ed by lofty and rocky hills, almost naked of soil, but
yet overgrown with the luxuriant trees of that tropic
clime, whose uncovered roots seemed to rest upon the
rocks, or creep down through the crevices like coiling
serpents. Here and there green vines were stretched
along the cliffs, like the ivy which clings unto the ruins
of ancient grandeur ; and bright cascades’ with trilling
murmurs leapt adown the ragged heights.
On the top of a square rock directly in front of the
harbor, was a small fort, the battery of which com-
manded both of the narrow entrances to the harbor, and
within ‘the low. parapet. of; this’ fort was built a single
neat.and substantial. dwelling -house.. The rock was
€ntirely isolated from the hill-side, rising perpendicularly
THE TERRIBLE ENCOUNTER ON BOARD THE SPANISH FRIGATE.
in front from the water, and also on all other sides
from the land below. The only means of access to the
fort on its crest was up a narrow pair of stairs which
had been cut in'the solid rock, and which could only be
reached by a boat, and were not capable of permitting
more than two, persons to ascend abreast. The fort was
commanded by the lofty and almost inaccessible preci-
pices in its rear, but these could not be gained except
by :passing under its armed‘ battlements; therefore,
when it was selected by Francisco Solonoia for his for-
tress of defence and. chosen rendezvous of safety, it
seemed as if he might defy all the force which could be
brought against him.
A large cavern was in the rock, which could only be
descended into from the top, and. in this cave was a
crystal spring of pure fresh water, and here, too, was a
spacious place wherein to store his provisions, or secure
his plunder. ‘
A very brief outline of his history up to the date
when commenceth, this story, will place. the. read-
er in an understanding of his position. and profes-
sion, as also the circumstances which had driven him
In his early infancy, at a time when he had but a dim
recollection of a kind lady whom he used to kiss and
call mother, and possessed a vague remembrance of 2
noble looking gentleman who used to take him before
him upon a prancing steed to ride where he could see
the tall trees and bright flowers, he had been stolen, he
knew not by whom, and brought to the island of Cuba,
and there sold or disposed of to the Governor Don En-
rico Larranaga, as a servant.
In the household of this noble cavalier he had been
reared, and though actually held as a slave, such was
his usual promise and intelligence that opportunities
were given him, which he eagerly grasped, to: fit him-
self for a far difterent station in life than that to which
cruel and untoward fate seemed to have doomed him.
The language of his birth was French—for from ‘the
north of France had he been stolen—but he spoke at
an early age both the Ifench ‘and Spanish fluently.
His greatest passion seemed to be for arms and martial
amusements, and such was his early grace and profi-
ciency in these, that the chivalric and noble Don Enri-
co, pleased with his taste and skill, permitted him to be
[See page 104 ]
taught with his own sons; and as he grew up to man-
hood he much excelled these in grace and skill in the
use of his weapons, and in the: management of his
Don Enrico had an only daughter, a fair and queenly
girl four years the junior of Solonois ; one accomplish-
ed with all that education could give, and possessed of
beauty far beyond that of all those around her, even in
that island where beauty is as inherent to woman as
fragrance to the flower.
She, too, had noted the skill; grace, and manly
beauty of the young Solonois, while he secretly nour-
ished a perfect adoration in his heart for her, though he
little dreamed that his passionate dream of love was re-
ciprocated—that she, the proud, beautiful, peerless Me-
dora, the daughter of the haughty governor of Cuba,
would condescend to look upon 4 s/ave, an unknown,
friendless helpless, nameless youth.
Long and secretly nourished he his passion ;, but like
the hidden fire in a volcano, at last it became too strong
for concealment. O, who can describe his joy when
he found that an attachment whichhe had deemed too
hopeless. for utterance, was returned; that all uncon-
sciously he had won a heart which princes might have
sued in vain to gain!
The attachment was discovered by the proud «nd an-
gry father, and the slave was made to feel that he was
indeed a slave. .. Chains and a dangeon for him, threats,
menaces, and a vigilant duenna for her, was the result
of this discovery.
But what cannot gold and love compass? What ob-
stacles impede, what force restrain them ?
Bribes and: entreaties won an officer of her father’s
guard to the interest of Medora—the dungeon doors of
Solonois were unbarred, and in her company the slave
escaped from the surveillance of the cruel father. Hard-
ly knowing whither they fled, they escaped to the south
side of the island, where an attempt was made to e: p-
ture them by a band of pirates who had landed from
the Isle of Pines, then, and even at a later day, a noted
rendezvous for buccaneers.
With such desperate bravery .d'd. Soloncis defend
himself and the fair companion of, bis danver, that. the
desperate pirate leader, alter s«cing four of his best men
lie quivering in death upon the earth,» strack® with’ ud-