List Of Contents | Contents of Alvira- The Heroine of Vesuvius
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Travelling in those days was slow and difficult.  The giant steam-
engines that now sweep over hills and torrents with a speed that rivals
the swoop of the sea-bird were unknown.  The rickety old diligence or
stage-coach was only found on the principal thoroughfares between the
large cities.

Cassier knew these roads would be the first taken in pursuit, and
carefully avoided them.  Seeking a destination where the chances of
detection would be lessened, he was attracted towards Geneva, already
famous as the hot-bed of secret societies and the rallying-point of
infidelity.  He would reach it by a circuitous route.  From Paris to
the historic old capital of Switzerland, in the centre of mountains
and the heart of Europe, was a herculean journey for the fugitives.

On they went for two and three days' journey, stopping at humble inns
on the roadside where the news of the capital had not reached.  Time
inured them to danger and calmed the fever of anxiety consequent upon
their hurried and hazardous flight.

But the avenging law had followed in close pursuit.  The officers of the
Government were directed from village to village; they found themselves
on the track of an old man and two beardless youths in naval cadet
costume.  The chase became exciting.  Wealth and fame awaited their

One evening, in the glow of a magnificent sunset, Cassier and his
daughters were wending their way along one of the picturesque roads
of the Cote d'Or.  They were on the slope of a shady mountain, and
through a vista of green foliage they could see the road they had
passed for miles in the distance.  The silence of the mountainside
was unbroken, save by the music of wild birds and the roar of a torrent
that leaped through the moss-covered rocks towards the valley.  The
wild flowers gave aromatic sweetness to the mountain-breeze, and the
orb of day, slowly sinking in a bank of luminous crimson clouds in the
distant horizon, made the scene all that could be painted by the most
brilliant fancy.  Our young heroines gave frequent expression to their
delight, but their aged sire was silent and watchful.  He frequently
took long and piercing looks on the road he had passed.  Anxiety
mantled on his wrinkled brow; a foreboding of danger cast its prophetic
gloom over his spirits.

Suddenly he turned from a long, fixed look through the trees, and with
a thrill of alarm cried out:  "They are coming!"

For a moment he gave the jaded horses the whip.  He refused any further
information to the terrified girls; he bit his lip, drew his sword
close to him, and prepared for a struggle; for he had resolved to die
rather than go back a prisoner to Paris.

The pursuers were each moment gaining ground; the costume of the
gendarmes was discernible as they galloped in a cloud of dust along
the plain.  The hill was long and heavy before the wearied horses of
Cassier.  He saw flight was vain; stratagem must come to his aid in
the emergency.

At this moment he came to a turn in the mountain road where the trees
were thicker and the shade more dense.  Like a skilful general in the
critical moment when victory and defeat hang, as it were, on the cast
of a die, he conceived instantaneously the plan of a desperate
expedient.  He drew up his horses and bade his trembling children await
his return.

Returning a few paces he secreted himself behind an oak-tree and calmly
awaited the arrival of the Government officers.

Soon the clatter of the galloping horses was heard in the distance.
The wild scream of startled birds resounded through the groves; the
sun seemed to glow in a deeper crimson, the breezes sighed a mournful
cadence through the waving foliage.  On the troopers came up the side
of the hill.  Cassier had counted them--they are but two; despair has
lent courage to his heart, and will give a giant stroke to his aged

At the sight of the suspected caleche drawn up in the shady road, one
of the pursuing officers gave spurs to his horse, and flew out before
his companion to seize the prey--to be the first captor of the
delinquent fugitive.  Fatal indiscretion!  Plunging along at desperate
speed, and dreaming of gold and renown, the burnished sword of Cassier
took his horse on the flank.  Its rider fell to the earth; before he
had seen his enemy, the sword of Cassier had pierced his heart.

A scream from the carriage announced that the scene had been witnessed
by tender girls who had not been accustomed to deeds of violence and
bloodshed.  But the combat has now but commenced.  The battle of the
Horatii and Curatii, on which an empire depended, was not more fierce.

The second gendarme saw the fate of his companion; he reined his horse,
dismounted, and came with drawn sword to meet the Parisian banker, who
had now become a mountain bandit.

When Greek met Greek in the days of old, the earth trembled.  Never
was more equal or deadly fight.  Cassier had learned the sword exercise
in his youth as a useful art; the police officer was a swordsman from
profession.  For a moment sparks flew from the whirling, burnished
blades.  The silence of deep resolve wrapt the features of the
combatant in fierce rigidity.  Again and again they struck and parried,
struck and parried, until wearied nature gave feeble response to the
maddened soul.  The aged Cassier felt, from his age and fatigue, about
to succumb; gathering all his strength for a desperate effort, he
threw his weight into a well-measured shoulder stroke, when, lo! his
antagonist's sword flew in pieces--the brave gendarme fell weltering
in the blood of his murdered companion.

All is still again.  The sun has gone down in murky splendor, the birds
are silent, and the solitude of the wild mountain-pass is like the
night, that is darker after the flash of the meteor.  The hapless but
brave soldiers of justice lie in their armor on the field of battle;
the fresh blood gurgles from the gaping wounds, and the madness of
defeat is fiercely stamped on their bronzed features; one holds in
death-grasp the unsheathed sword he had not time to wield, the other
sill stares with open eye on the broken blade that proved his ruin.

A heavy splash and a crimson streak in the foam announce that the
torrent has become the grave of the fallen police; the road, steeped
with blood, is covered with fresh earth; the scene that witnessed the
tragedy is fair and beautiful as before.  Cassier, reassured, with
bold step and pulse of pride, turns towards his conveyance to resume
his journey.

Aloysia was just recovering from a fainting fit, and her sister had
labored to restore her during the exciting moments of the deadly strife
that had just been concluded.  Neither of them saw the perilous
situation of their father, and were thus saved the shock the extremity
of his peril was calculated to have produced.

A few days found them safely across the frontiers of France, threading
the passes of the Alps, and away from the grasp of justice, that pursued
them in vain.

Chapter XII.

As the wearied stag that has eluded the chasing dogs rests in safety
in the covert of its native mountains, our fugitives at length breathed
freely in the beautiful city of Geneva.  Wild and grand as had been
the scenery they passed through, the excitement of the flight and the
fear of seizure had, to them, robbed nature of her charms.  Ever and
anon, indeed, they had looked around with searching eyes, but not to
gaze in rapture on the snow-capped mountains, the green valleys, and
crystal streams; it was rather to peer along the road they had passed,
to see if any speck on the horizon would indicate the pursuing horses
of the gendarmes.  But now for the first time the magnificence of the
Alpine scenery and the charm of the lovely queen of the Swiss valleys
burst on their view.  Mont Blanc, already seen from the north, seemed
to lift its snowy drapery higher into the blue sky, and stood out more
majestic in its crystallized peaks when seen from the bridges of the
Rhone.  Another firmament was seen through the clear azure water of
the beautiful lake; and although the air was cold and fresh in the icy
chill of the mountains, and nature stripped of her green, yet our
young heroines were charmed with their first view of the city, and
rejoiced in the prospect of a long sojourn.

There are few spots in the world where the lovers of the sublimities
of nature can drink in such visual feasts as at Geneva.  Since railways
have shortened distance and cut through mountains, there is no more
fashionable rendezvous for the world of art than the suburbs of the
Swiss capital.  During the summer months every little nook on the
surrounding mountain-sides is occupied by artists of every sex and of
every nation.  What juvenile album is complete without a sketch of
Mont Blanc?  The old mountain stands out in its eternal majesty as a
vision of awful beauty for old and young; and many a noble soul has
been borne from the contemplation of the grandeur of nature to study
in awe the greatness of Him "who makes mountains his footstools."  The
artificial beauties of the modern Geneva far surpass the old; yet those
mountains, those peaks and snows and lakes, were always there.  It was
known to Constantine, and crept into importance and worth in proportion
as science and art were developed in the civilization of Europe.

At the time we write the beautiful Swiss capital was one of the
principal seats of learning in Europe.  But, alas! its literature was
blasted by the false principles of the Reformation.  Like marble
cenotaphs that have corruption within, Geneva, clothed with all the
beauties of nature and art, was rotten to the core in her moral and
religious character.  She became the mother of heresiarchs, the theatre
of infidelity, and by her press and preaching scattered far and wide
the wildest theories of deism and unbelief.  All the secret societies
of the world were represented in her lodges, and within her walls,
were gathered men of desparate and socialistic politics who had sworn
to overturn as far as they could the authority of society, to despise
the rights of property, and to trample on the laws of order.  There
was no city in the world guilty of more blasphemy than this beautiful
Geneva; and even to this day, as the sins of fathers descend to their
children, the teachings of Calvin, of Bayle, and of Servetus hang like
a chronic curse over the city to warp every noble feeling of Christian

Amongst the leaders of the secret societies, amongst the socialists
who plot the ruin of their fellow-citizens, and amongst the infidels
who blasphemously ridicule the mysteries of Christianity, we must now
seek the unfortunate Cassier, who has arrived in Geneva.

Chapter XIII.
The Secret Societies.

To outsiders Masonry is a mystery.  When Masons speak or write of
themselves they give the world to understand the are but a harmless
union for mutual benefit, and for the promotion of works of benevolence.
That such is the belief of many individuals in the lower grades of
Masonry, and even of some lodges amongst the thousands scattered over
the face of the earth, we have no doubt; but that charity in its varied
branches has been either the teaching or the fact amongst the great
bulk of Freemasons during the last two hundred years we unhesitatingly

In the ceremony of making a master-mason, and in a dark room, with a
coffin in the centre covered with a pall, the brethren standing around
in attitudes denoting grief and sorrow, the mysterious official who
has the privilege of three stars before his name gives the aspirant
this interesting history of the origin and aim of his office.

"Over the workmen who were building the temple erected by Solomon's
orders there presided Adoniram.  There were about 3,000 workmen.  That
each one might receive his due, Adoniram divided them into three
classes--apprentices, fellow-craftsmen, and masters.  He entrusted
each class with a word, signs, and a grip by which they might be
recognized.  Each class was to preserve the greatest secrecy as to
these signs and words.  Three of the fellow-crafts, wishing to know
the word of the master, and by that means obtain his salary, hid
themselves in the temple, and each posted himself at a different gate.
At the usual time when Adoniram came to shut the gates of the temple,
the first of the three fellow-crafts met him, and demanded the word
of the masters.  Adoniram refused to give it, and received a violent
blow with a stick on the head.  He flies to another gate, is met,
challenged, and treated in a similar manner by the second.  Flying to
the third door, he is killed by the fellow-craft posted there on his
refusing to betray the word.  His assassins bury him under a heap of
ruins, and mark the spot with a branch of acacia.

"Adoniram's absence gives great uneasiness to Solomon and the masters.
He is sought for everywhere; at length one of the masters discovers
a corpse, ad, taking it by the finger, the finger parts from the hand;
he takes it by the wrist, and it parts from the arm; when the master
in astonishment, cries out 'Mac Benac,' which the craft interprets by
the words, 'The flesh parts from the bones.'"

The history finished, the adept is informed that the object of the
degree which he has just received is to recover the word lost by the
death of Adoniram, and to revenge this martyr of the Masonic secrecy.

Thousands of years have rolled over since the alleged death of the
clerk of works at Solomon's temple, and if the streams of human blood
that his would-be avengers have caused to flow have not satiated this
blood-thirsty shade, those that Masons, Communists, Internationals,
and other secret societies will yet cause to flow in the cities of
Europe will surely avenge the ill fated Adoniram.

It is also asserted by some Masons of strong powers of imagination
that they take their origin from the Eleusinian Mysteries.  These were
pagan orgies attached to some Grecian temples.  Surrounded by mysterious
ceremonies and symbols, and supported by every mythical and allegorical
illusion that could inspire awe or confidence, these mysteries were
very popular amongst the Greeks.

"The mysteries of Eleusis," says the profound German mythologist,
Creuzer, "did not only teach resignation, but, as we see by the verses
of Homer to Ceres sung on those occasions, they afforded consoling
promises of a better futurity.  'Happy is the mortal,' it is said there,
'who hath been able to contemplate these grand scenes!  But he who
hath not taken part in these holy ceremonies is fore ever deprived of
a like lot, even when death has drawn him down into its gloomy abodes.'"

Harmless and absurd as these mysteries were in the commencement, they
afterwards lapsed into all the immoralities of pagan worship.  But
to give such a remote, and even such a noble, origin to the frivolous
deism of modern Masonry is about as absurd as to say that men were
at one time all monkeys.

The truth is, Freemasonry was never heard of until the latter part of
the Middle Ages.  It found its infancy among the works of the great

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