08 JulTHE SIEGE OF ABYDOS

THE SIEGE OF ABYDOS.
A Romantic Tale…
As Read By Ladies and Gentlemen of the Regency Era.

The infidel Turks, ever at variance with the Christians, were, in the reign of king Orchanes, extremely ambitious to possess the famous Castle of Abydos; and accordingly vast preparations were made for a close siege. Previous to the arrival of the Turkish army before the castle, the angelic Sophronia, daughter of the governor of Abydos, was visited by a dream. She thought, that while walking out on a beautiful evening, breathing the fragrant air, and gazing on the brilliant stars, she fell into a loathsome ditch, in which she remained an hour, terrified, and unable to move. At length, a handsome youth passed, and she implored him to rescue her. She did not implore in vain; the young man assisted her out, cleaned her clothes, and comforted her with pleasant words. They then proceeded to a delightful bower, put on costly attire, and the youth regaled the rescued lady with delicious fruits, and sang sonnets on her personal beauty. Sophronia awoke, sad and disappointed, to find that her late bliss was only a dream. In a day or two afterwards, the Turkish army appeared, and a vigorous siege commenced; nevertheless, the Christians stoutly defended the place, and would, ultimately, have obliged the enemy to retire, had no intervention taken place. It happened, unfortunately for the garrison, that a gallant Turkish captain, in the prime of youth, called Abdurachman approached so near to the castle gates, as to be plainly observed by the fair Sophronia, from a small turret window, out of which she had viewed the besiegers. The lady imagined this captain to be the person to whom she was so much obliged in her dream, and rejoiced at the supposed discovery; she hoped that the assailants would be successful in taking her father’s castle that she might have an opportunity of falling into the hands of the gallant captain she so greatly admired. The siege still raged with much fury, but was continually repulsed by the brave Christians, insomuch that the Turkish general became disconcerted, and in the evening of the third day after the commencement of the siege, retired to his camp, about a league distant from the scene of action. Sophronia, meanwhile, was agitated at the ill success of the Turks, though she did not despair of seeing the captain again.

She made a confidante of her maid Annis, who undertook, daring as the attempt was, to steal from the castle to the enemy’s camp, in order to convey a letter from her mistress to Abdurachman. The intrepid Annis commenced her task in the night: she avoided passing the sentinels and wardens of the castle, but found her way to a postern gate, scarcely known to any but herself. She arrived at Abdurachman’s tent; the captain was conversing with his friends about what the general intended to do on the morrow. Annis desired to speak with him in private, to which he consented. She then delivered the letter, which was bound with a lock of the fair writer’s hair, and the astonished Abdurachman perused the following:—

“Adored Youth,

“I am passionately in love with you, and am sorry that you have been frustrated in your endeavours to take the castle. As I adore you beyond measure, and shall certainly take poison if you do not succeed; I engage to deliver Abydos with all its riches into your hands, provided you follow my instructions. I advise, that in the morning by sunrise, you raise the siege and withdraw your whole army from the castle, and return not again till you hear from me. My father will be so rejoiced at your departure, that he will be off his guard, and then I can easily conduct you with secrecy into the castle.”

The delighted Turk very politely answered this remarkable billet doux, assuring [pg 59] the fair writer that he was at her service, and that he would implicitly follow her directions as to the taking of Abydos. As soon as he had dismissed Annis, he flew with Sophronia’s letter to the general, who, upon reading it, expressed great astonishment; he determined to raise the siege the next morning, and resolved to rely fully on the beautiful traitress for the future success of his enterprise. The next day came, and the general raised the siege and departed. The Christians were rejoiced to see it, and in the evening made merry and drunk wine. The governor’s daughter took advantage of the garrison at this unguarded moment; and fearing to trust again to the sincerity of her maid, resolved to proceed herself to Abdurachman’s tent. Annis led the way. The night was serene, and the light of the moon showed the stately castle of Abydos, dark and majestic. No noise was heard, save the heavy and uniform step of the sentinels, whose bright arms, as they caught the moon’s rays, sparkled against the gloomy looking building. Little did the inmates, now as tranquil as the night, dream of being surprised by an enemy; and little did the brave governor imagine that his own beloved daughter, at this moment, was treacherously hastening to a merciless foe, with the intent to conduct him to Abydos! Sophronia reached her lover’s tent weary and faint, for she had walked with great haste. She sank into the captain’s arms, and then, almost inaudibly, informed him that not a moment was to be lost, and that he must follow her immediately to the castle.

He obeyed, and having formed a litter for the lady, she was borne on the shoulders of four stout Turks. When they arrived at the postern gate, Sophronia told the captain that he, with his men, must first enter the castle, and then kill the sentinels and wardens, after which he would be enabled to give admittance to all his friends. The Turks strictly obeyed the lady, who before the affair began hastened with Annis to her apartment in order to await the issue of her plot. The Turks entered the castle by hundreds, killing all they met, and were soon masters of the place. Meanwhile, Sophronia and Annis, both dreadfully agitated, heard from their chamber the dying groans of the poor Christians. Sometimes the clashing of swords was distinguished, as if a number of persons were engaged in combat; sometimes the loud lamentations of women intervened; and sometimes the voices of the conquerors were alone heard in exultation. At length the door of Sophronia’s room burst open, and Abdurachman rushed in to seize her, while Annis, nearly dead with terror, calmly submitted to the grasp of a common soldier who accompanied the captain.

The dreadful scene was acted and over; the Turks were possessors of the famed castle of Abydos, and Sophronia’s father, the governor, was hanged. Alas! deluded Sophronia! The faithless Abdurachman, whom she supposed to have seen in a dream, regarded her not; even lots were cast for her, and she fell to the share of one whom she did not know. The beautiful Sophronia took poison and expired.
.

Leave a Reply

*

Content Protected Using Blog Protector By: PcDrome.