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in the tower above me, and of the ships remains nearly a terra incognita. The far away upon the ocean that were steer- view from the bluff, at the extremity of ing by that light, and of the straining the Point, is unequalled; and that from eyes that were directed toward our bed- the summit of the light-tower is even side.
more extended than one from the mastThe keepers spoke of the anxiety head of the largest ship. Newport or and responsibility which they felt dur- Long Branch has nothing like it. I ing wintry gales, although it was pleas- think that the real grandeur of the sea ant to feel that some one, at least, was may be best seen during the burricane interested in them and in their business. of the winter months, when snow and It not unfrequently happened that the sleet come driving across the cape, and storm-panes of the light-room were bro- the surf crashes upon the rocks with its ken by heavy gales, and sometimes even most terrific violence; when great ships, by wild geese flying against them in blinded with the hail, and staggering the Fall.
through the darkness, strike upon the The time will doubtless come when rocks below the Light, or are thrown Montauk Point will be a place of resort upon the cruel sands of Napeague. for those who really wish to visit the Yet, in the summer months, Montauk sea, who will go down to its barren presents attractions for the tourist, sands for the sake of beholding the equalled by very few sea-side spots in ocean in its primitive grandeur -- for America. Hot weather is unknown those who, like Thoreau, will search for there. We found overcoats not uncomsomething there beside " a ten-pin alley, fortable during the evenings of our or a circular railway, or an ocean of stay, although the season was July, and mint juleps.” To those who love the in New York the warmest of the year. roar of the surf, and who appreciate the The air is at all times pure, bracing, sublimity of the storms of autumn and and full of health to those not suffering winter, it is a region which will wear from pulmonary disorders, and the outwell. There are few spots upon the ward chilliness, which the traveller exAtlantic coast that, in these respects, periences at sunset, renders the warmth can compete with this locality. At and comfort of the habitations the present it is almost unknown to the
more appreciated and welcome. In the travelling world. The sportsman comes course of time Montauk will doubtless in the Fall to deal death and destruc- have its Ocean House and its Bellevue. tion to the water-fowl, and occasionally At present it is the wild Montauk, held a yachting-party is enabled, in fair and existing almost on sufferance beweather, to land there for a day's recrea- tween the remorseless jaws of the sure tion; but except to these, Montauk yet age Atlantic.
PEDRO EL MORO, THE SWORD-BLADE MAKER OF PUEBLA.
THE few veterans now remaining, search of an artisan to repair. I had who formed part of that gallant little been told, by a Mexican gentleman at army that, in the winter of 1847–8, cut whose house I was stopping, that one its way to the city of Mexico-_"the on whom I might rely resided in a cerhalls of the Montezumas "-cannot but tain street, to which I was endeavoring remember, at the close of the campaign, to pilot myself according to the directhe scene presented at the city of Pue
tions given me. bla-Puebla de los Angelos (the City I had already
ssed more than one of the Angels)—as the homeward-bound gunsmith's shop, where the job could troops poured into it. Brigades and have been done quite as well as by him regiments arriving and departing daily, of whom I was in search, who was not with their long trains of wagons and a gunsmith, but a sword-blade maker; ambulances; troops of horse hourly but my informant had interested me in clattering over the hard, flinty pave- the account he gave of him; moreover, ment; mounted orderlies flying through he showed me a sword he had wrought, the streets, as if carrying respites to which for keenness and elasticity surculprits just about to be executed, to passed any thing I had ever before the imminent danger of the lives of the seen. The name he went by, toom pečlestrians, as well as their own necks. “Pedro el Moro" (Peter the Moor)IIere, a commanding officer calls to the
set me speculating as to whether it gave head of a column to "halt," but isn't any indication of his descent from that obeyed, not being heard ; there, a regi- race whose skill in tempering metal was ment takes a course down the wrong one of the wonders of the world; whose street, while mounted officers go tearing Damascus blades *-miracles of skillalong to correct the mistake, which at
* Damascus will long be held famous as having length is accomplished in a disorderly
been the manufactory of those extraordinary manner. Now, you are greeted by some weapons, by whose keen edge and high temper one just arrived, who has not seen you
bars of iron have been severed, and delicate gos
samers floating in the air, offering no opposing for an age, and you are pressed to take
weight to the instrument, have been cut in two as wine, or something stronger; then, your if by a flash of fire. These weapons defied all at. hand is wrung by another, with such a tempts at imitation, until the Russian General
Amossoff, celebrated as a metallurgist, it is said, painful squeeze as to make you think
has produced blades which are equal to the Damasyou are greeted by a blacksmith; while cus. By four methods he succeeded in producing the owner of the “strong hand,” half
steel of the Damascus quality, only one of which
appears to be of practical importanco. full of brandy and brim-full of affec
these methods was : melting the ore with graphite, tion, bids you farewell, while he rushes requiring great purity and large consumption of off to take his place in the ranks of his fucl, and is uniform in its results
. It is supposed,
from its simplicity, to be the ancient method of regiment, the rear-guard of which has
producing steel : charcoal of the cleanest sort, as just turned the corner. Add to all this pino; a furnace constructed of the most refractory the heating of drums, the braying of
materials; the best quality of crucible; the most
malleable and ductile iron; pure native graphite; trumpets, the sounding of bugles, the
flux of dolomite, or calcincd quartz; a high temfifing of fifes, and it will convey a toler- perature; fusion as long-continued as possible. ably faithful picture of Puebla at the
The blast of the furnace is kept on until the fuel is
entirely consumed, and the crucible not removed period of which I write.
until cold. The cover is then taken off, the graph. It was amid such scenes I made my ite removed, and the lump of steel is produced. way through the city, one afternoon, The temper is given to the blade by plunging it
into grease when it is heated to redness. Amos. holding in my hand one of my pistols, soff, with a blade of his manufacture, cut a gauze which, being out of order, I was in handkerchief in the air--a feat that cannot be ac
were famous throughout Palestine, and taps with his hammer and a rub or two whose “Andrea Ferrara” and Toledo with his file, put it together again, and blades were equally famous throughout the job was done. On paying him the Europe.
trifle he charged, I asked him if he had Strange to say, my speculations, con- a sword for sale equal to the one I was trary to the usual results of such ima- shown by the gentleman already alludginings, had, as will be seen, a founda- ed to. He said he had not; he never tion.
made such blades unless specially orI found the object of my search occu- dered. pying a small shop answering the dou- “You saw the blade, then, Señor ? " ble purpose of workshop and store, in said he, inquiringly. an obscure neighborhood. It was well “Yes," replied I ; " and, if you have stocked, however, with all kinds of one like it, I would like to see, and, weapons peculiar to and even outside perhaps, buy it, if the price does not of his calling; and though all, or near- go beyond the depth of my purse.” ly all, were second-hand, they were, “I have a better blade in my shop nevertheless, of the first quality. now, but it belongs to the brother of
As soon as the owner emerged from the gentleman you have vamed.” the little room behind the shop, where As he spoke, he turned to a large I noticed he was reading a somewhat chest, unlocking which, he drew fortb bulky volume lying on a table before a light cavalry sabre, which he unhim, instead of hammering or filing, as sheathed and held up before me. 1 I expected to find him, I saw at once saw nothing in its appearance beyond why he was called “Pedro el Moro.” the ordinary sword worn by the MexiHe wore a shawl wound into a turban cans; it was bright, it is true, but it on his head. No other feature of his had no extraordinary finish or polish. dress, however, corresponded, except it In an instant he had its point bent until might be a sash round his waist; but it touched the hilt, held it there some that could not very well be called a pe- time, and, on releasing it, it flew back culiarity, for the Spanish-Americans to its original position, presenting a often adopt this feature in the costume perfectly straight appearance. But, to of their ancestors. In fact, with the prove it, he laid the sword along an inexception of the turban, his dress might strument he had for measuring its perbe said to be that usually worn by per- fect straightness, when I was astonished sons of his calling. It was, neverthe- to see it did not vary a hair's breadth less, sufficiently conspicuous to cause from a straight line. his neighbors to substitute the word It was not the first time I had seen “Moor” for his Spanish, or rather his swords bent in this way, nearly if not Moorish, pame of “Alfaro."
quite up to the handle, but they invaHe was a man far beyond the prime riably retained more or less of a curve of life, and his long white beard gave for some time after. He put it to anto his countenance, surmounted by the other test, however, which proved the turban, a venerable and at the same exquisite temper of the blade in a way time an Oriental appearance. Perceiv- such as I had only read of, and not ing my object in entering, he silently without some doubt. In relating it, took the pistol from my hand, exam- therefore, I know I will lay myself open ined it a moment, unscrewed the lock, to the charge of exaggeration, particupartly took it asunder, gave a few light larly as no officer of the American army,
or any one connected with it, witnessed complished by the best English steel. The elasticity is so great that one may put his foot on the end
the operation but myself, as nothing of the blade and bend it to a right angle, when it
would induce the old man to put it to will fly back to its place perfectly unchanged. the same test for any of those to whom Amossoff dicd in Siberia in 1851 ; but his successor in the works he superintended, it is said, cannot
I related the circumstance, for reasons produce steel of equ'il quality.
which will appear further on.
He took a heavy iron instrument, ser- to him. I learned from him that his pentine in shape, which he fastened in father, who was of Moorish descent, a vise. It was, in fact, a ponderous iron followed the same calling as himself, as scabbard, into which, bringing artificial did his father before bim; and that the force to bear on it, he pushed the sword- walls of the Alhambra actually formed blade up to the hilt. “Now, Señor," one side of their little workshop for said he, “I will leave it there as long generations, until a thirst for adventure as you please, and, when I draw it out, induced his father to join a Spanish you will find it as straight as before.” ship-of-war, shortly after the American
Impatient to see the result, I request- Revolution. His ship was ordered to ed him to draw it out at once; which the Mexican station; and, while in the he did, when it presented the same per- port of Vera Cruz, a quarrel having fect line as before. I was silent with arisen between him and one of the offi. astonishment, for I did not think any cers, he deserted the ship, in which he thing less flexible than india-rubber held the position of armorer, and fled could follow the windings of that sin- to the interior of the country, where he gular scabbard without breaking.* settled.
The pains he went to in proving the The old man became more loquacious quality of his steel sprung from no de- and sociable as he proceeded in his narsire to sell his weapons, but purely from ration. It was easy to see, he loved to professional pride; and the more sur- talk about his father, and of Granada. prise I evinced, the more pleased he ap- With the latter he seemed as well acpeared.
quainted as if he had lived there all his If I felt astonishment at what I saw, I
life. also felt an equal degree of interest in “If you will do me the honor, Señor," the individual whose wonderful skill said he, “ to step in to my little sittinghad created it: Was it possible I stood, room, I will show you a sword which, here in Mexico, before a veritable de- though far inferior to the one before scendant of the once powerful Moor, you, will nevertheless excite your curithe conquerors of Spain, and for hun- osity quite as much." dreds of years its possessors ? Was I was not slow in accepting his invithis venerable old man really a link be- tation, Before he showed me this tween the present and the past, and to weapon, however, he entered into a whom, from father to son, for genera- somewhat lengthened discourse, which tions on generations, was transmitted was of so interesting a nature, I offer the secret by which is produced such no apology for placing a portion of it miracles of art—art now unknown, lost before the reader. to the modern world, but found hid “ Take care !” said he, as I passed away here in this corner of the world ? in, holding the sword, the quality of Yet so it was.
which I had just seen tested in so exAs the gentleman's name I had men- traordinary a manner, in my hand; tioned was a passport to his confidence, “ you will cut yourself if you are not he did not hesitate to answer the inter- careful." rogatories—and numerous enough they I happened to hold it carelessly by were, I must acknowledge--I now put the blade, but, being thus admonished,
removed my band, and was surprised to * The late Viceroy of Egypt, it is said, had a
see blood flowing from two or three sword among his collection, the scabbard of which slight scars across my fingers. represented a coiled serpent, the head of which was “ Your sword,” observed I, “is sharpthe handle. Whenever it was drawn forth, it pre
er than I expected it could possibly be, sented as straight a line as if it had lain in an ordinary scabbard. Some English journals denied after having driven it with such force that steel, howsoever tempered, could remain for into that strange-looking scabbard." any great length of time in such a scabbard with
“The edge never touched the iron," out retaining more or less of the curve it pre
said he, smiling. “It would not do to.
injure it in that way. Try its edge, a peats itself; the difference is but in the little further towards the point.”
time and in the manner in which it is I did so, and found it as keen as a repeated. The manner disguises things
in such a way, that most of us see, in “ What in the world is the necessity the transactions taking place under our of having a sword as sharp as this?” own eyes, no resemblance to those of said I, in surprise.
the past, though the resemblance is “What is the necessity of having a there all the same. Neither am I ignosword at all?" asked he.
rant of the history of your country, and Well, I suppose it is to kill people I
of the bright and glorious page it prewith," replied I, laughing.
sents in the history of nations, nor of “ Just so, Señor; and, when it is the great and good man, George Washmade for that purpose, the sharper you ington, she has added to the very few can make it, the better.”
great and good men that God has perTo this very sensible conclusion I did mitted to shed lustre on the world ; nor not, of course, dissent.
of the virtue and self-denial displayed "You people of the Western world,” by your forefathers in their protracted continued he, “ use a sword with as lit- struggle for freedom.” tle care as if it were a wood-chopper; “If the past has so much attraction indeed, Europeans now-a-days use it no for you," observed I, “how can you better. Modern Warfare has rendered pass over the wondrous monuments of the use of such a weapon as that”- à past civilization, which are under pointing to the sword which I bad laid your own eyes here in Mexico ? " on the table—"obsolete; but in the “ What are they, Señor,” replied he, hand-to-band encounters of former days “ without the records, little better than it was irresistible."
a book the language of which one can“Are you not a Mexican ?" observed not understand ? I love to follow, page I, hearing him say, “ You people of the by page, the wondrous deeds of the Western world,” and supposing I had once haughty Moor-a progressive race, been mistaken regarding his birth- like your own; though here, where my place, which I understood to be Mexico. lot is cast, all is stagnation, decay.
True, Señor; I am a Mexican. But Yes, Señor, I love to dwell upon the I do not forget the race from which I history of my kindred and race. The am descended, for all that; nor am I man who is indifferent to them is dead ignorant of their glorious history." to one of the most ennobling feelings
As he spoke, his eyes unconsciously of the human heart. And yet, how wandered to a row of books on a pum- few there are, now-a-days, descendants, ber of shelves covering the wall of one like myself, of old races, ever cast a side of the apartment, whose quaint, thought on the history of their foremusty appearance and peculiar binding fathers, whose names they bear and indicated a past century-a kind of whose features they perpetuate! But mute explanation of the bias of his I am alone in such thoughts. Few apmind.
preciate or even understand me here. I “I see you are well supplied with had long contemplated returning to food for the mind, at all events,” I re- Granada, so that I might leave my marked..
bones with those of my people; but “ They are all of the past--I may one of those intestine quarrels that say, of the remote past,” replied he. curse this unhappy country, robbed me “Not that I am ignorant of modern of all I possessed—for I was not always history, but I prefer reading the history as poor as you see me. My only son, of the past; for he who reads it aright too, was taken from me, and I have now can better understand the present- no kindred left with whom to leave my even foretell the future. History, cherished secret. These, as well as Señor," continued the old man, other trials, interfered with my plans.