THE DANES

Sketched by Themselves.

A SERIES OF POPULAR STORIES BY THE BEST
DANISH AUTHORS,

TRANSLATED BY MRS. BUSHBY.


IN THREE VOLUMES.--VOL. III.


LONDON:
RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.
1864
.


[The right of Translation is reserved.]


LONDON: PRINTED BY W. CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET,
AND CHARING CROSS.

CONTENTS OF VOL. III.


The Fair Prospect.
Death and his Victims.--By Adam Oehlenschlœger.
All Souls' Day.--By B. S. Ingemann.
Lisette's Castles in the Air.--By H. V. Holst.
Twice Sacrificed.--By Carit Etlar.
Herr Sinclair.--By E. Storm.
The Aged Rabbi.--By B. S. Ingemann.
The Bankrupt.--By Carl Bernhard.
The Hereditary Goblet.--From the Swedish of Uncle Adam.
The Death Ship.--By B. S. Ingemann.
The Brothers; or, A Good Conscience.
Esben.--By S. S. Blicher.





THE DANES

Sketched by Themselves.


THE FAIR PROSPECT.

From his infancy he had loved the sea, with its restless waves; the dark blue ocean, with its white sails; and the idea of a sailor's pleasant life pervaded his very dreams. During the winter months he was satisfied to go to school, and learn to read and write; but in summer, when the soft wind stole with its balmy breath through the windows of the schoolroom, he used to fancy that it brought him greetings from the adjacent sea--that it came fraught with the odour of the sun-bleached deck, of the tarry rope, of the swelling sail--and then the schoolroom became too confined for him, and his little breast heaved with a longing which he could not repress.

All his holidays were spent at the quays, or on the seashore. When a ship arrived from some foreign land, he would gaze at it with longing eyes, and he would wish it were not speechless, that it might tell him of the magnificent clear moonlights on which the tropical skies and the dreamy ocean seemed to unite, and form one wide and bland expanse, or of the dark stormy night on which the tempest, resting on its breezy pinions, broods over the foaming sea. Oh! how he envied the careless, sunburnt sailors, who looked down from the gunwale, or hung, apparently in frolic mood, amid the yards above! Who could be so happy as they, to skim over the sea with only a slender plank beneath their feet, with the white sails outstretched like wings above their heads!

When it became late in the evening, he would saunter slowly and sorrowfully homewards to the small, confined house in the suburbs of the town, where his mother, who had, perhaps, just finished her day's hard work, would meet him with gentle reproaches for staying out so long. When he had then assisted her to bring in the heavy pail of water, to stretch the somewhat blackened ropes in the court, and prop them up with long sticks; to water the flowers in the little garden, and the pots of balsam and geranium in the window; and when their simple supper was finished, it was his delight to place himself on a low wooden stool at his mother's feet, while she knitted, and listened to the stories she told him of his poor father, who had gone far away and had never returned. Vivid were the pictures the good woman drew from the magic-lantern of her memory. Now, it was of her maritime wedding, with the two waving Dannebrog flags, the numerous smartly-dressed sailors, with their short jackets, white hats, and red pocket-handkerchiefs, each with his sweetheart on his arm; now, of the day when his father came home from a voyage, and found him--the boy--in the cradle, a welcome gift on his arrival; now, of the dreadful hour when the owner of the ship sent for her, and she was informed, in a few cold words, that her husband had died out on the wide ocean, had been wrapped in his hammock, and lowered into the deep. The stories always ended here with the widow's tears; but the boy would sit lost in deep thought, and would follow in his imagination the sinking hammock, with his father's corpse, down beneath the blue, blue waves, lower and lower, into the darkening abyss, until he became giddy from his own fancies.

Sometimes his mother was not at home; then he always fixed his gaze upon a miserable little picture which hung against the wall, and which represented a brig in full sail. He would fancy himself standing beneath its broad canvas, and waving his farewell to the land; or he would steal into the recess of the window, and please himself by imagining that he was in the cabin of a ship, and that the white curtain which hung in the window, and was slightly agitated by the wind, was the flapping of the sails in a storm. His little head would at length droop and rest against the window-sill, whilst sleep closed his eyes, and permitted him to continue in dreams his fancied voyage.

One day--a bright sunshiny day--he was strolling along the edge of the harbour wall, gazing at the ships, and chattering now and then with the seafaring people. His little white hat had fallen back, and rested awry upon his curly head, as the poor boy jumped and played about, his shirt sleeves tucked up, and without any jacket. How happy he was when the sailors bade him run an errand for them, or what was better still, help them to move or lift anything. As he wandered farther and farther on, he came upon a large ship that was lying close to a wharf, and taking in its cargo. The boy stood long opposite to it, and looked attentively upon it.

That strange, mysterious feeling in the human mind, which arises at the sight of the place where our death-bed is to be, or our coffin is to rest, prompted him to exclaim, 'How quiet; how peaceful it is here.' Though he thought--unknowing of the future--that his grave would be under some shady tree, yet in contemplating the scene before him, he felt that it was cool, and fresh, and inviting to repose. It was with a peculiar and undefinable sensation that his eye wandered over the newly-tarred hull of the ship--around which the glancing waves were lightly sporting--up the supple mast, till it rested on the pennon at its top. The busy crew went backwards and forwards, to and from the vessel, which appeared to be nearly ready for its approaching voyage, and the master stood upon the deck, issuing commands, and superintending everything.

The boy ventured nearer and nearer; with earnest looks he watched everything on board, and everything seemed to have been familiar to him in some dream of the past--everything, from the nicely-painted half-open cabin-door, to the dog that rattled its chains whenever any of the sailors passed it. The captain at length came forward, and, as he leaned over the gunwale, his scrutinizing eye fell upon the boy, who as steadily gazed at him. For a time they stood thus--both silent. At last the captain said:

'What do you want here, boy? Are you waiting for anyone?'

'No; I am only fond of seeing ships, sir,' was the boy's answer; as he took off his little white hat, and twirled it about in his hand.

'To whom do you belong?' asked the skipper.

'My mother supports herself by her labour, sir,' replied the boy, 'and my father lies out yonder;' he pointed towards the ocean. 'I also should like to go to sea; but my mother says I am too little yet. Do you think, sir, I am really too little?' he added, with an arch, insinuating smile, as he looked up into the captain's eyes.

'Well, well, perhaps not,' said the master of the vessel. 'Do you know anything about a ship?'

How happy was the boy at that moment; with one bound he was at the side of the captain, and he proceeded with sparkling eyes and flushed cheeks to name to him all parts of the ship; there was not a sail, not a rope, not a topmast unknown to him, and the master's looks followed him with approbation and goodwill.

'I am bound to the Brazils,' said he; 'would you like to go with me? But it is a long voyage, and the weather is not always good.'

The boy's answer was a cry of joy; he seized the skipper's hard hand and pressed it to his soft cheek, but suddenly his gladness was checked.

'My mother!' he exclaimed, sorrowfully.

'We will go to her,' said the captain, as he laid aside his pipe and took his hat.

Next day there was a fresh and stiff breeze, but the wind was fair, and the good ship 'The Fair Prospect' bent its way out of the harbour under full sail; it was going to the Brazils, far away beyond the wide, wide ocean, and many a month must pass before its anchor would again drop amidst the waters that laved the shores of the dear native land. But--'Away, into the world--away!' came wafted on the joyous breeze;--'Be of good cheer!' smiled the gay, bright sun;--'Farewell--forget me not!' whispered the rolling waves; and high up amidst the masts hung the exulting ship-boy, while he waved his little red cap, and wept from mingled feelings of grief and joy.

How many remained upon that shore in unruffled tranquillity! They only felt that they were obliged to be stationary, and would never see all the beautiful, the grand, and the wonderful things that the vast world has to display. But among them stood the loving mother, who had no joy on earth but him who had just left her--and in deep sorrow she concealed her tearful countenance. 'Dear mother, farewell!' he breathed upon the air; but she could not hear these, his parting words. Yet he felt as if his heart would have burst from his breast, and flown to her. And surely she knew this. Did she not feel that there were some sad, tender, affectionate thoughts from him who was gone, following her to her humble home, to her deserted rooms, to the empty little couch, on which she cast herself in an agony of grief? Alas! how many anxious nights would she not have to pass in that lonely cottage, now terrified by frightful dreams, now startled from her troubled sleep by the howling and uproar of the midnight storm!

One was terrible to listen to. It was a night in spring; but the heavens were black and threatening, so that all was darkness around. The tempestuous clouds chased each other wildly through the skies, and cast their gloomy masses from one part of the heavens to another; the moon shone forth every now and then for a moment, as if in derision of its own impotence, and when its straggling beams then glanced in through the small windows, they seemed for one second to gleam upon the floor, merely to vanish again. The low house shook; the tiles fell from the roof with a loud crash into the little court below; the doors swayed backwards and forwards as if moved by invisible hands; and the wind absolutely roared in the chimney.

The mother lay awake in her little chamber: she sat up in her bed, clasped her hands, and cried in her agony of spirit, 'Oh, my dear, dear child! where are you this fearful night?' Then she looked at his bed, which had so long stood empty. How willingly she would have cheated herself into the idea that all was a dream, and that it really was his fair little head she saw resting on his pillow; but it was fancy--only fancy--for no living form was there! There was none to speak one word of comfort to her; no human being near to console her; she raised her thoughts to heaven, and prayed to God to spare the life of her child in that terrific night; she prayed that she might once more be allowed to fold him in her arms, and earnestly did she further pray--alas! for a mother's heart--that if he must die, the death-struggle might be brief!

And where was the boy while these anxious prayers were ascending to Heaven on his behalf? Behold! Yonder on the vast wild sea, where the tempest is lashing the waves into mountains, flies the slight bark with the lightning's speed! The subordinate has become the master: the wind, that but lately, managed by the sailors' art, wafted their vessel gently along, has suddenly burst forth in its might, and in its wanton fury assails them from every point. Now the ship seems engulfed by the raging waters; now borne aloft as if it were about to career in the air. Yet on these frail planks, which seem to be but as a toy to the elements, there is a will stronger than theirs. See how every stitch of canvas disappears from the towering masts! Look at the fearless, determined countenance of the man who holds the rudder in his strong grasp! See how boldly, how firmly, yon sailors tread upon and hang among the swaying yards above! Oh slip not, slip not! for ye hold life and death in your hands; place cautiously the searching foot; turn the swimming eye from yonder raging deep. Hark! what a frightful blast of wind! It seems to come howling from afar, then rolls with a hollow sound over the foaming waves. The ship trembles from stem to stern; and, as if battling with the ocean, it swings first to one side, then to the other, and then it seems to rise and ride triumphant over the heaving billows. In its lightness lies its only hope of safety.

But what is that which has fallen from the main-topsail-yard down into the sea beneath? The bubbling foam conceals it for a moment, but it rises to the surface. From a break between the dark heavy clouds the moon casts a solitary ray, mild as a compassionate smile. It is the boy--the boy who loved the blue billows so much--he has fallen into their wild embrace, and they like him too well to give him up again. In vain do anxious faces bend over the side of the ship; in vain are ropes cast out; the small hands fight but a feeble battle for life; the fair curly head, over which his unseen mother's prayers and blessings are at that moment hovering, raises itself once more in the pale moonshine; but the struggle is soon over. Some few undefined thoughts flit through his soul: he fancies that he hears his mother's voice. Yes, peace be with you, child! She is praying with you at your hour of death. And he sinks down--down--calmly beneath the waves. The subsiding tempest chants his requiem; the moon sheds a farewell ray upon the spot where he sank; and the grave has closed over the sea-boy's corpse! The war of the elements is over, and the ship glides peacefully into its destined harbour.





DEATH AND HIS VICTIMS.

BY ADAM OEHLENSCHLŒGER.

Though I am feeble, yet, dear Death,

Awhile let me remain!

'Old man--thy locks are white as snow--

Still thou art loth with me to go:

But come--thy pray'r is vain!'

 

I am in manhood's prime--wouldst thou

Then break my staff to-day?--

'The tall pine on the mountain's side,

By lightning struck, falls in its pride,

My call thou must obey!'

 

I am a maiden--beauteous, young,

Wouldst hide me in the tomb?

'Thou, for this world, art all too fair,

The bright rose never withers where

Thou soon again shalt bloom!'

 

So soon, a hero canst thou snatch

From glory's high career?

'I come, clad as a warrior proud--

What wouldst thou? 'neath my mailed shroud

No fleshless bones appear.'

 

Extinguish not--oh yet--dear Death!

Love's fire--that burns so bright!

'Oh! I can hold in close embrace,

And though my mouth no warm lips grace,

Behold--my teeth are white!'

 

Wouldst tear me from my golden hoard

With merciless commands?

'Follow! beneath the earth's black mould

Gold never rusts--and thy dear gold

Shall shine in others' hands!'

 

What! from his country's councils drag

The statesman proud? away!--

'I call thee to a court more high,

Where angel-forms, above the sky,

Throng round God's throne alway!

 

Against my ancient 'scutcheon--ha!--

To raise thy scythe dar'st thou?

'Adam--the noblest of thy race--

Was made to bow before my face,

Thy farce is ended now.'

 

Thy vengeance wreck not thou on me.

Behold--this brow a crown adorns!

'Vain is thy claim--thy power is o'er--

Death on the cross God's own Son bore;

Think on His crown of thorns!'

 

We are so little--us at least

From the dark grave--oh, spare!

'Does not your Heav'nly Father love

Young children? Ye shall sport above

With winged cherubs there.'

 

Call not the anxious mother hence

From those her cares employ!

'Come--at Heaven's window thou shalt stand

And gaze on the beloved band,

And thou shalt weep with joy!

 

'For though my form is frightful--I

Am less your foe than friend,

I bring ye all but transient woe;

Your souls my scythe may never mow,

These shall to God ascend!'





ALL SOULS' DAY.

BY B. S. INGEMANN.


It was a stormy autumn evening; the last yellow leaves of the beech-trees were whirling through the forest near Soröe, and the usually calm lake was lashed into wild waves like those of the open sea.

'Does Italian Franz reside in this wood?' asked a clear, manly voice from the road, as Count Otto stopped his grey steed close to a peasant's cottage, and knocked at the little window with his riding-whip.

'You can't lose your way,' replied an old woman, opening the window a very little. 'If you take the path on the left, alongside of the lake, the first house you will come to is where the under-ranger lives.'

The young count thanked her and proceeded on. When he turned into the path by the left, where the moon shone full through the trees, and cast its silver rays upon the agitated lake, his horse shied, and sprang to one side; at the same moment the count's eyes fell upon the trunk of a hollow oak-tree by the side of the road, against which a figure appeared to be leaning. It was that of a man in the garb of a hunter he saw; his rifle lay at his feet; his horse, bound to the old tree, stood by his side, and, as a moonbeam fell on his face, lighting up his features, the young count felt, for the first time in his life, a strange sensation of terror--it was as if he beheld before him a well-known countenance, but terribly changed and distorted. He gave himself no time to examine into the cause of this fear, a feeling which he had never before experienced in any of his numerous journeys, not even when he had fallen in with highwaymen and robbers, with whom he had often had desperate encounters, but without reasoning one moment with himself, or taking time to think why he felt such sudden dread, he plunged his spurs into his horse's sides, and galloped on as fast as possible. The solitary hunter leaning against the decayed tree was Italian Franz. This name had been bestowed on him on account of his having been in the employment of a noble family, with whom he had resided for several years in Italy, and who, as a reward for his faithful services to them, had obtained for him the rangership he now held near Soröe. He was born in this part of the country, where his father had been the owner of a mill. But his long residence in a southern climate had tanned his originally fair northern complexion, and imparted a swarthy, sunburnt hue to his cheek, while his light hair had also become darker in these remote lands. He was a man somewhere about forty years of age, and when he was in good spirits, or in a gay humour, he might have passed for much younger, especially when he indulged in the vivacity of manners he had acquired in the South. But when his fierce and gloomy fits came over him, he looked so old, and also so wild and formidable, that no one would willingly have met him alone in the woods. He would often remain whole nights in the forest, with his gun over his shoulder, whistling or singing Italian airs in the moonlight, especially when autumnal gales whirled the leaves around him, and the lake was dark and agitated.

While he thus wandered in the deep woods or by the lonely lake, his only child, the beautiful Giuliana, who was born in Italy, sat, a solitary being in the forest lodge, and gazed at the charming pictures of Capri, Torrento, and Ischia, and many other lovely spots, views of which her father had brought with him from her enchanting native land, and which she in vain tried to recall to memory, for she had left it at so early an age that she retained but a very faint recollection of it, and to her its beauties were almost ideal. She did not remember her mother at all; her father could never be induced to speak of her; and from the time she first began to notice what was going on around her, she had always felt inclined to cry when other children spoke of their mothers, because she had none herself.

She was about three years of age when the Countess R. took her from Salerno on her journey home from Italy, accompanied by her father, who had attended the noble family on a previous journey; and thenceforth Giuliana had never seen her beautiful unknown native land. During the two years, over which period their travels had extended, her infantine mind had opened considerably; and of that time she preserved many reminiscences. She had always been a pet of the beautiful countess, and had travelled in the inside of the carriage with her and the two young counts Otto and Wilhelm, while her father went outside with the servants, though he was by no means always their companion, for when the party arrived at inns in towns where they knew no one, it was always Jćger Franzesco who enlivened them, and amused the whole party. Giuliana well remembered how the countess and both her sons had wept when her father, ten years back, took leave of them, and carried her, then only five years of age, to the forest lodge at Soröe, while the young counts, who were then nearly grown up, accompanied their invalid and melancholy mother to some German watering-place.

From that time, no year had passed over Giuliana's head without her having received several kind and costly souvenirs--dresses, and other gifts--from the countess. She always wore, however, the simple dress of a peasant girl, not to seem peculiar or arrogant amongst her neighbours; and she looked much prettier on Sundays, in her knitted red sleeves and flowered bodice, than the smartest country girls, who, instead of appearing in their national costume, awkwardly attempted to sport what they thought fashionable attire. It was only at weddings, and on other great occasions, that she drew forth from her stores some pearls, or other precious stones, to adorn herself; and occasionally when she was alone, or on her father's or her own birthday, she could not resist the childish temptation to put on the pretty foreign garb which she knew was worn in her native country, and which, copying from her father's Italian pictures, she had amused herself by making up out of the foreign silks and other materials the bountiful countess had sent her.

Jćger Franz bad acquired more knowledge from his foreign travels than was usually possessed by men in his situation of life. He had been a great favourite of the deceased count, and had been treated by him more as a friend than as a servant. Being the companion of so superior and well-informed a man as the count, had improved him greatly. Up to the last hour of the count's life, Franz had been, next to the countess and their two children, his chosen associate; and when, on his return from a scientific tour in Sicily and the coasts of Barbary, he was attacked by a fever at Naples, which put an end to his life, the countess, being at that time confined to her bed by illness, Franz was the only one from whose hands he would take the medicines prescribed for him; and his last request to his wife was, that she would provide for the future days of his faithful Franz.

The many foreign countries Franz had visited, and the intercourse in which he had so long lived with his superiors, had much improved his mind and tastes, and he was able to give his daughter a much better education than the generality of country girls could aspire to. Italian Franz's pretty daughter was, therefore, well known over the whole district of Soröe, and the daughters of the principal burghers in the town did not think it beneath them to visit her. If ever they took upon themselves the least airs of superiority, she soon put them down in a gay and seemingly whimsical manner. She was a favourite, also, among the peasant girls, and they were not a little proud that she generally classed herself amongst them, notwithstanding her intimacy with the daughters of the clergyman and other young ladies in the neighbourhood. Within the last few months, however, her numerous young female friends had evinced some lukewarmness towards her, and she was left more to solitude in her father's somewhat lonely house; but if those of her own sex partly deserted her, the young gentlemen of the neighbourhood, both those who belonged to town and country, began to pay much attention to the little Italian, who was now fifteen years of age, and had been confirmed the last Easter.

Franz had secretly embraced Roman Catholicism in Italy, but had not found it possible to avoid letting his daughter be brought up in the Lutheran religion, although in her early childhood she had learnt the Ave Maria, and treasured the Holy Virgin and all the saints in her heart.

In a small side-chamber in the forest lodge, into which no one entered but the father and daughter, there hung over a little domestic altar, made of oak-tree, a beautiful picture of the Queen of Heaven, before which a lamp burned day and night, and Giuliana never forgot to keep the lamp always trimmed, and to ornament the little altar with fresh flowers on every festival day. Her father often retired to solitary meditation, or prayer, in this little oratory; but on one particular day every year he locked himself in there for twenty-four hours, and always issued from it in a state of great agitation, and as pale as a corpse, exhausted by fasting and earnest prayer. This was always on the 2nd of November, All Souls' Day.

Giuliana had once asked her father why he kept that particular day so strictly, but she never ventured to repeat the inquiry, she had been so frightened by the terribly withering look he cast upon her. There also lay an impenetrable veil of mystery over her mother's fate, and the history of her own childish years, which she never dared to attempt to raise. She was always glad when her moody father seemed for a little while to forget the past and the future. He also appeared to enjoy these short intervals of forgetfulness, and many people thought him the gayest and happiest man breathing. However, whenever All Souls' Day approached, he avoided the society of his fellow-beings, and plunged into the depths of the forest night and day, apparently in quest of game; but he frequently returned on these occasions without having shot anything, and often without having once discharged his gun.

It was on just such an evening in the beginning of October that Giuliana, in her loneliness, had taken out her dear Italian costume, to please herself by putting it on, and perhaps amuse her father when he came home. She was sitting with the silver ornaments in her dark hair, with the rose-coloured bodice and skirt of which she had read, and with the little pictures she loved so much before her, fancying herself amidst the charming scenes her imagination so often portrayed. It was late in the evening when she heard the sound of a horse's feet approaching, and observed that it had stopped at the paved pathway which led to the house. She concluded it was her father, and rose to meet him, when the door opened, and the young Count Otto entered, starting with astonishment at seeing the beautiful Italian girl in a Danish forester's house. He did not know if he was dreaming or awake, for never before had he beheld any one so lovely, and the Southern costume gave to the charming figure which stood before him an air strangely fanciful and romantic.

'Giuliana!' he exclaimed, after a moment's reflection. 'Yes, you must be Giuliana herself; and I am Otto,' he added--'the frolicsome little Otto, who teazed you with bitter oranges in the corner of the carriage ten years ago.'

'Otto!' cried Giuliana, calling to mind the half-grown boy who used to be her playfellow, as she had often seen him in her dreams of childhood. In her joy she had almost thrown her arms round his neck, but she beheld a handsome young man before her, and drew back, blushing. 'You have taken me by surprise, count,' she said, colouring still more deeply. 'I was only a very little child when you last saw me, and now you find in me but a big child. I expected no one but my father this evening, and this dress--'

'Becomes you admirably,' interrupted the count, 'and transports me back, as if by magic, to fair Italy. Do not thus cast your eyes down; let me see if I can recognize my little pet of five years old again. Yes, the eyes are the same; but I must not now speak so familiarly to you, or call you "my Giuliana," as I did then.'

'And my little knight Otto, with his wooden sword, which was to protect me from the brigands, has also disappeared,' said Giuliana. 'But tell me, count, what fortunate circumstance has recalled us to your recollection, that you should surprise us with a visit here, in our remote hermitage?'

'I shall tell that to your father,' replied Otto, gravely. 'He is not at home, I find: but do you not expect him back this evening?'

'He is out hunting in the forest,' said Giuliana. 'However, I hope he will come home this evening; I have seen very little of him for some days past. But you must be tired after your long journey, and must require some refreshment. Please to make yourself at home here, Herr Count, and excuse my absence for a few minutes; I will soon return.'

So saying, Giuliana tripped out of the room, and Count Otto sat down near the table. At first he observed nothing around him; he could see nothing but the image of the beautiful Giuliana, who had made a sudden and strong impression upon him, which, however, he chose to ascribe to her fanciful attire, and the surprise of their first meeting.

Nevertheless, he almost forgot why he had come, and that his visit was more to the father than to the daughter. But he now decided on remaining a little time at Soröe. Carelessly glancing over the table, he observed some of the best travels in Italy that had ever been published, and lying near them, collections of engravings of the most remarkable places, and of national costumes. He also saw some nicely-bound volumes, containing Tasso and Aristo in their original language, and, on a shelf against the wall, handsome copies of the old Danish tragedies, with selections from the best Danish and foreign poets.

A small wooden crucifix, on which was placed a wreath of immortelles, stood on a chest of drawers in an alcove, and at its feet lay an open Bible. The count rose, and, approaching the recess, he saw a curtain, which he drew aside, when a small bed on a pretty oaken bedstead in a corner became visible.

'Here, then, that lovely creature sleeps,' thought he, 'happy in her sweet, innocent dreams: and she has chosen very intellectual and refined company for her solitude. Who would have expected to find such a girl in an abode like this?'

At that moment a nice-looking peasant girl entered, and began to arrange the table for supper--it was Giuliana, who had laid aside the foreign costume in which she had felt so embarrassed before the stranger. He thought she looked still more charming in the simple, unpretending peasant dress, but he did not wish to make her feel bashful by letting her see how much he admired her. He questioned her about her father's circumstances, and her own position; and then informed her of his mother's death, a piece of intelligence which made a much deeper impression on Giuliana's feeling heart than he could have anticipated.

He himself was much affected when he told of his bereavement; but his extreme grief seemed to be caused by something more than even sorrow for her loss. As soon as they had recovered themselves a little, the count took pains to avoid entering further on a subject so distressing to them both, and led the conversation towards those topics on which the various books of travels scattered about made him think he could venture. He soon perceived how the dim, childish recollections in Giuliana's excitable mind had been revived, and kept from fading away, by the beautiful engravings and interesting works depicting the enchanting land of her birth, and how it was that she felt herself such a stranger in the bleak North, and longed so much to return to the sunny South. To her it appeared like a wonderful fairyland, where her brightest dreams and hopes were centred. Her father's fits of deep melancholy, and his frequent uncontrollable bursts of agony of soul--the cause of which she could not fathom, and which she had no means of alleviating--often grieved her extremely. The constraint under which she generally felt with him, even when he was in good spirits, and unusually cheerful, contributed much to increase her longing for a change to a brighter land, and also to make her contrast in her young mind the peace and happiness entwined amidst her childish recollections, with her gloomy life in the lonely forest lodge.

She did not, however, express these sentiments to the young count, or dwell upon her own feelings, but they were soon perceived by her observant guest. He had begun to place before her some pleasanter prospects for the future, and had just mentioned that he knew a family who were soon going to Italy, and that they were in want of a lady-companion, who would take charge of two little girls. He was just speaking of this, and feeling in his own secret soul some dim, undefined hopes of agreeable days to come, when the neighing of a horse was heard close by. Suddenly the door was opened, and a man entered, in whom the count recognized the solitary hunter he had seen near the old tree in the forest, whose countenance had appeared so dreadful to him in the pale moonlight.

'My dear father,' cried Giuliana, springing forward to meet him, 'guess whom I have to present to you! Hush!' said she to Otto, 'let us see if he can find out who you are.'

Otto, who had been standing in the shade, now came forward towards the light which Giuliana held up near his face, and looked earnestly and in silence at Italian Franz.

'What is the matter, father?' exclaimed Giuliana. 'You have turned deadly pale--you seem to be seized with giddiness!'

'Who art thou?' cried Franz, starting back from Otto as if struck with sudden insanity. 'If thou art a living being, speak!--speak, and do not thus gaze like a spectre at me!'

'Good Heavens, father! it is only Otto!' said Giuliana, anxiously, yet soothingly.

'We take turns in being afraid of each other this evening,' said the count. 'For as I rode past you in the forest, Franz, I took you for a spectre, or some awful apparition, and now you pay me the same compliment, I see. But how goes it, old Franz, and how are you?'

'Very well, Herr Count--very well, thank you,' said Franz. 'I recognize you now by your voice, though it has, of course, become much deeper than when I heard it last. So it was you who rode past me down yonder, near the lake, upon that fiery horse? I was standing wrapt up in my own thoughts, when suddenly a horseman sprang forward from among the trees, and, passing me in wild haste, vanished speedily from my sight. By the glimpse I had of him, I thought his face was not altogether unknown to me, but I should as soon have expected to have seen the Wild Huntsman, or a ghost, as you, Herr Count.'

'Am I so much changed?' asked the count. 'I can now quite recognize you again, Franz, although you certainly look a little older. And Giuliana's eyes shine like a pair of well-remembered stars from my childhood's heaven. I believe I am as tall as my father was, and I am thought very like him.'

'I can't see any very strong resemblance,' said Franz, turning away from him. 'But has the count had no refreshment, Giuliana? Move that light a little farther off, it hurts my eyes; sit down, Herr Count, and let us be merry. I have still a flask of old Syracuse--we shall empty that together to the health of your mother, the noble countess.'

'I wear this mourning for her,' said Otto, suppressing his emotion. 'Three months ago, at Toplitz, she was released from her long-continued sufferings.'

'Dead!' exclaimed Franz, and covered his face with his hands. 'You come, perhaps, Herr Count, as the envoy of the dead, and bring me a word of farewell; or, more probably, she has latterly forgotten Jćger Franz. She has had no communication with me for ten long years.'

'My dying mother sent this ring to your daughter, said Otto, handing to Giuliana a gold ring, with a little diamond cross on it. On the inside of the ring was engraved, 'Keep watch over your soul, and pray for the dead.'

'I have a few words to say to you, Franz, when we are alone.'

'Go, my daughter, and fetch us some wine,' said Franz, bending the while a scrutinizing look upon Otto, yet trying to appear quite at his ease, though a degree of nervousness and anxiety in his countenance and demeanour proved that he was not so.

Giuliana left the room; and after a moment's silence, which seemed embarrassing to them both, Otto took Italian Franz's hand, and said:

'You must solve an enigma for me, which embitters my remembrance of my mother's last hours. She suffered exceedingly, but I think not so much from bodily as from mental pain. In the last interview I had with her, when I hoped she would have opened her mind to me, and have cast off the burden of some secret which seemed to oppress her heart, it was almost too late; she could scarcely speak, but she pronounced your name, and said, in a trembling voice, "Go to him, and ask him if that be true about which I have never ventured to ask him, and which, for full fifteen years past, like a frightful suspicion, has haunted my soul--ask him, for the sake of my eternal salvation, if--"'

'If what?' demanded Franz, springing up from his seat.

'I could not understand another word; she was dying, and her speech was very imperfect. Suddenly a convulsive fit came on, and in a moment she was gone. It is now, alas! too late to obtain, for her peace, an answer to the mysterious question; but for the sake of my own peace, I would claim it. Tell me, Franz, what is it you know which made my mother so miserable on her death-bed?'

'And did she really and truly say nothing more?' asked Franz, with a relieved look.

'Not another word. But you must tell me the rest.'

'Thank your God that you have escaped hearing more, Herr Count! I will carry to my grave what I know; it would be good neither for you nor for myself, were I to disclose it.'

'You shall, though,' cried the count, grasping his short sword. 'I will know it, or--'

'Act as you please, Herr Count,' said Franz, coldly, and without appearing to be in the least intimidated by the threat. 'You would be doing me a service by putting an end to a life which I care not to hold; but no power on earth shall wring from me one word I do not choose to utter.'

The coolness of Franz checked the rising anger of the young man.

'Forgive my impetuosity, Franz,' he said, in a lower tone; 'your firmness and your calm demeanour put me to shame; I have no right to insist on any explanation from you. But I shall remain for a little while in this neighbourhood; we shall probably meet often, and when you are convinced of the great importance it is to me to discover what you now think advisable to conceal, perhaps you will change your determination.'

'I doubt that,' replied Franz. 'If you were a holy priest, Herr Count, and belonged to the true church, in which alone salvation can be found, but which is proscribed hereabouts, it would be another thing.'

'It is, then, a matter of conscience, Franz, about which my mother--'

'Think what you will of me, Herr Count, but do not implicate your mother! Whatever she may have fancied, and whatever account I may have to render to Him who will judge every soul, and the actions of every being, at the great day of doom--for the sake of your own peace of mind seek not to dive into the mystery of my gloomy fate; enough that it casts a dark shadow over my life. For Giuliana's sake, let me also entreat of you to keep this conversation secret from her, and if you do not wish to destroy the childish simplicity and peace of that unfortunate girl, leave us as soon as you possibly can, that she may not witness such scenes between you and myself.'

'I have a plan in regard to Giuliana, Franz, which I shall tell you to-morrow. To-night I do not feel in spirits to enter on the subject. Farewell!'

So saying, the young count left him, and when Giuliana entered shortly after with the wine, she found her father alone, and asked why Count Otto had gone away in such a hurry, and without even bidding her farewell.

'He had business to attend to, my child,' replied her father; 'but he intends to remain at Soröe to-night, and he will pay us another visit before he goes away.'

'What! is he going away so soon?' sighed Giuliana. 'I thought he meant to have stayed some time among us.'

'Have you, then, much pleasure in the thought of seeing him, my daughter?' asked Franz.

'Oh yes, yes! he is my dear old playfellow, and it seems to me as if we had always known each other. If he had not been so tall, and also a count, a nobleman of high rank, I would actually have embraced him when he came in so suddenly, and told me he was little Otto.'

'Never forget, my child, to behave to him with the respectful distance which becomes the difference between his situation and ours,' said Franz gravely, and fell into a gloomy mood.

In the hope of enlivening him, Giuliana took up the little Italian mandolin which her father had brought from her native land, and sang, in the language of that foreign country, Franz's favourite song, which ran as follows:--

'If life's joys thou wouldst find,
'Twere well oft to be blind,

Let the changeful hours roll as they may.

The stranger who goes,
Where the summer wind blows,

Dreads to think of a dark wintry day.

 

'The stranger who goes,
Where the summer wind blows,

Dreams that brightness and beauty shall last.

But too oft as he strays,
Where life's fountain plays,

He turns with regret to the past.

 

'Yet sometimes he strays,
Where life's fountain plays,

And pleasures unfading are met.

Where the balmy breeze sighs,
'Neath the soft Southern skies,

His soul can all sorrow forget!'

The next day Count Otto came again. Contrary to his usual custom, Franz remained at home, and he sought, by lively conversation and jovial manners, to efface the remembrance of the painful scene of the previous evening. He seemed determined to entertain his guest himself without any assistance from Giuliana, with whom Otto had, therefore, very little communication. Thus several days passed, yet the young count did not seem to think of his departure, although Franz often reminded him of it by drinking to his safe journey home.

Otto no longer doubted that Franz had observed the impression which the beautiful Giuliana had made upon him, and at the same time he became more watchful of his own feelings. Upon reflection, he allowed to himself that the father was acting wisely in wishing to check a passion which, if it were implanted and nourished in the heart of the lovely Giuliana, might cause, on account of the difference in their rank and station in life, great unhappiness to both. For several days he battled with himself, and several times he resolved to go away at once, and to give up the plan about Giuliana, which he had not yet communicated to her father. This plan would indeed gratify her long-cherished desire to visit her dear native land, but it would necessarily place her and him in a position which might be dangerous to the peace of both, unless he could sacrifice for her the opinions of his family, and the prejudices inherent to his standing in life. The longer he considered the matter, the more he felt convinced that the situation he proposed her filling was far beneath Giuliana. After all, he was his own master, and he valued mind, beauty, and amiable disposition more than all the genealogical trees and worm-eaten patents of nobility that ever existed.

Notwithstanding all her father's efforts to prevent Giuliana from being much with the count, he met her frequently by accident, and often saw her when Franz's occupations obliged him to be absent, and it was not long before he perceived that the interest she took in him, and the attention she paid him, sprang from something more than mere good will, or simple childish affection. She tried, indeed, to obey her father's directions, and to be distant and respectful; she called him, as she had been desired, 'Herr Count,' and always corrected herself when the familiar 'Otto' trembled on her lips. Yet, from a thousand little circumstances, the said Otto could not fail to see that he was very dear to her, and when his departure was mentioned, it was evident that she tried in vain to conceal her distress at the idea of his going.

One evening, on returning home, Franz found Count Otto at the forest lodge, where he was sitting close to Giuliana, reading some beautiful old ballads to her; the sight of their intimacy displeased him, and by way of reminding the count of his long-delayed journey, he asked what day of the month it was.

'It is the second of November,' replied Otto; whereupon Franz, who for some weeks past seemed to have dismissed all his old sad thoughts, and had been always cheerful, often in a gay humour, became suddenly silent and gloomy. In a minute or two he rose with a grave air, and entering the little side-room, which he had fitted up as an oratory, he locked himself in. As he did not come back, Otto asked Giuliana what could detain him so long there.

'This is All Souls' Day,' she replied; 'my father did not remember it until you mentioned the day of the month. He keeps this day more strictly than any of the other fasts or festivals of the Church. He always passes it in fasting and prayer. I shall not see him again until about this time tomorrow evening.'

'Who would have thought that Jćger Franz was so pious?' said Otto. 'For some days after my arrival he scarcely gave me an opportunity of saying one serious word, he was so full of mirth and pleasantry.'

'My father's humours are very changeable now-a-days,' sighed Giuliana, 'and I am certain he would be happier if he did not get into such wild spirits sometimes. These strange fits of gaiety are generally succeeded by moods of deep dejection. Do you remember,' she continued, 'the evening that you arrived--'

'Let us not think of that evening,' cried Otto, interrupting her, while his countenance darkened at the recollection of the dreadful secret which he had come on purpose to discover, but his anxiety about which had given way to the new and softer feelings which his daily intercourse with the beautiful Giuliana had awakened in his heart. He tried in vain to recover his equanimity of manner, and finding that even her society could not, that evening, chase away the gloom that was stealing over his mind, he took his leave earlier than usual.

When Count Otto returned the next evening, he found that Franz had not yet made his appearance, and that Giuliana was very uneasy at his long self-imprisonment; but she did not dare to knock at the door, or in any way to intrude on his solitude. At length the door of the oratory was slowly opened, and Franz came out of it, but so altered in appearance as scarcely to be recognized. There was such agony in the expression of his wild, almost livid face, that he looked like one who might be supposed to have died in a state of despair, and arisen from the grave because he could find no rest there.

'But, dear Franz, what strange whim induces you to do such terrible penance?' asked Otto, with a mixed feeling in his own mind of horror and compassion.

Giuliana made a sign to him to be silent, while she quickly, yet quietly, set about getting something to revive and strengthen her father. It was not until he had drunk a whole flask of wine that he seemed to recover his consciousness, and to observe who was in the room.

'What, you still here, Herr Count?' he said, turning to Otto. 'I thought you had gone long ago. I have been ill, as you may perceive, and my memory is not quite clear yet, but I shall soon be better. Some good wine and the fresh air will speedily set me to rights. Will you hunt with me to-morrow?'

'Oh yes, with pleasure,' replied Otto, who treated him almost as if he were a lunatic, who must be coaxed and humoured. Before he left the lodge, however, that evening, Franz had quite recovered himself, and was as talkative and lively as usual.

'I have done penance long enough,' said he, as he emptied glass after glass of wine. 'Let us be merry now, as long as we can.'

The next day they rode out hunting together. On their way homewards Giuliana became the subject of their conversation, and Otto praised her warmly, and commended Franz for the care he had taken in educating her so well, and in cultivating her natural taste for all that was grand and beautiful. 'But,' he added, 'what sort of abode is a forester's lonely cottage for such a superior girl? Such a jewel would adorn a crown, and is too good to be thrown away among low people, or hidden in obscurity. She is fitted to shine in a much higher station of life.'

'I pray you not to put any such nonsense into the girl's head, count,' replied Franz. 'I see that you like her, but she can never be a countess; and if you say one syllable to her touching upon love or admiration, I shall be compelled to make it my earnest request to you to give up coming to my house.'

'But if I now ask her hand, Franz--'

'Are you mad, Herr Count?' said Franz, stopping his horse, and looking inquiringly at him. 'If things have really come to this pass, I must only warn you, Herr Count, that you will have to put up with my society alone for the future, should you continue to honour us with your visits, for hereafter I shall lock Giuliana up out of your way.'

'But if she herself, as I hope--'

'So much the worse,' cried Franz, interrupting him. 'She shall never be yours, Herr Count; rather than that, I would bury her in a convent, if I could find one here.'

'But what are your reasons?'

'I am the girl's father, and do not choose to give my consent; if that is not a sufficient reason, fancy any one you please. Cast a glance at your genealogy, and see how well a woodman's daughter would look among such a noble assemblage. Doves may not mate with eagles--that is my opinion. Breathe not a single word about love to Giuliana, Herr Count; not a single whisper. Promise me this, upon your honour, or you shall never see her again.'

'Well,' replied Otto, 'for the present I cannot escape giving you the promise you require; but you must, and shall, withdraw your unreasonable objections.'

'Never, as long as I live. Nothing can make me alter my decision while I have life; and when I am dead, perhaps you will change your mind yourself.'

After this conversation, Otto determined, as soon as possible, to tear himself away from the vicinity of the beautiful Giuliana, that he might not be tempted to break the promise her singular father had wrung from him; but he also resolved, in the course of a very few years--under, he hoped, more propitious circumstances--to return, and seek future happiness in a marriage with the beautiful girl, to whom, he now felt convinced, his whole soul was bound by the most delightful and indissoluble of chains, and from whom, he thought, that only an absurd and obstinate whim was the cause of his present needless separation. He had not, as yet, said a single syllable to Giuliana of his feelings for her; but she had not failed to read them in his amorous glances, and perceived them in the warm interest he took in her, and in his pleasure at the congeniality of their minds and tastes. That she seemed to find new life in his society, that he had made a deep impression on her heart, and that her sentiments were an echo of his, were evident to him also; he saw that a word, a breath from his lips, of love, would develop the sweet feeling of affection, which she scarcely understood herself, and cause the opening rosebud to burst into the full-blown charming flower. If that word were not to be spoken, Otto knew that he must fly from the lovely girl. But he was angry at himself for not having resisted the opposition he had encountered from selfish tyranny, and for having bound himself by a promise, which he could not break without creating disunion and unhappiness in a family circle; a proceeding from which he shrank, even though he believed that despotic and unjust authority was exercised on one side. He determined, however, once more to endeavour to make Franz yield to his wishes; and while waiting for an opportunity of doing this, an event occurred which materially changed the face of affairs.

The celebrated painter, Carl van Mander, who was invited by Christian IV. from the Netherlands, to improve the arts in Denmark, resided for some time at Soröe, where he painted an altar-piece for the church. He was an ardent lover and studier of nature, and was anxious always to give truthful design and colouring to his pictures. This caused him often to introduce real portraits into his historical or Scripture pieces, and whenever he beheld a striking countenance he hastened to make a sketch of it, which he afterwards worked up to suit different subjects.

Thus the countenance of Italian Franz had often almost terrified him when he met him accidentally in the woods, and on one occasion he had seized an opportunity of sketching him while they were both sitting, among other chance visitors, in a little tavern to which the painter sometimes resorted for the purpose of seeing a variety of faces. Without considering that there might be any harm in so doing, the painter transferred the likeness of Franz to his altar-piece for the church of Soröe. The artist had gone, and the picture was put up in its proper place in church. Everyone, from far and near, hastened to see it, and Carl van Mander's 'Last Supper' was pronounced a masterpiece.

Italian Franz seldom attended church; he liked the doctrine of absolution, and the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, which he had joined in Italy; and there being none within reach of his residence, he had fitted up an oratory in his own house. When he felt indisposed, or his gloomy fits came on, he often lamented that no Catholic priest was near to give him absolution, or to administer extreme unction to him when he should be at the point of death. At such periods of excited feelings he would lock himself into his oratory, and, as he had no priest to whom to make his shrift, he would write his confessions in secret, with injunctions that the document should not be opened until after his death. He had often thought of taking a journey to the capital to see a priest, but had always put it off, and sometimes he seemed to forget altogether that he had anything to confess.

Franz had acquired in Italy a taste for the arts--he had become fond of paintings; therefore, when he heard that the new altar-piece was finished and hung up in the church, he felt a wish to see it, and agreed to accompany Count Otto to the morning service one Sunday. They entered just as the clergyman was finishing his sermon. He had been endeavouring to awaken to a sense of their sins the souls around him; and with fervent eloquence was likening those careless Christians, who heard the Word but did not obey it--who acknowledged Christ with their lips, but denied him in their actions--to Judas Iscariot, who, with a kiss, betrayed his kind Lord and Master.

Franz started at these last words. At that very moment his eyes fell on the altar-piece, in which he instantly beheld his own likeness in the face of Judas Iscariot, who sat like a traitor amidst the holy group.

'Yes, I am Judas!' he shrieked, in accents of agonized despair. 'Do you not all see that I am Judas? Why do ye not curse me? Why do ye not stone me? I am Judas--the execrable Judas!

The entire congregation turned and looked with horror at the frantic being, who stood like a maniac, his whole countenance fearfully distorted, gazing wildly at the picture over the altar, and who, at the first sound of the organ, rushed out of the church with a piercing cry, as if its deep tones had sounded on his ear like the last trumpet's blast.

Otto was so overwhelmed with astonishment at this extraordinary scene, that he stood for a time as if nailed to the floor of the church. When he remembered himself, and hastened after the unfortunate Franz, whom he now sincerely believed to be deranged in his intellects, and who, he feared, might commit self-destruction in his access of insanity, that individual was nowhere to be found. After he had in vain sought for him in the town, he decided on taking the road to the forest lodge, to see if he were there, and to prepare Giuliana to hear of the calamity, the existence of which he thought could no longer be doubted. As he pursued his way in much anxiety, a terrible suspicion crossed his mind--a dread, which Franz's strange conduct, and his last astounding outbreak, rendered but too likely to be realized. When, on following the path to the left through the wood, he approached the shores of the lake, he beheld a crowd of peasants gathering round a tree, on which some miserable person had hanged himself, but whom, in their terror at the sight, and their horror of a suicide, they had not attempted to cut down.

It was Italian Franz, who thus fearfully had carried out his insane fancy that he was Judas, and who had put an end to himself in this dreadful manner. Count Otto had the body cut down instantly, and he resorted to every means of restoring animation, but in vain, for life was quite extinct. With many entreaties, and considerable bribes, Otto at length prevailed on some of the peasants to remove the corpse, at dusk, to the town, where it was quietly buried in the churchyard, and the affair was hushed up as much as possible.

Giuliana was sitting alone at the forest lodge when Count Otto entered, and broke to her, cautiously and kindly, the sad intelligence of her father's sudden death; but he considerately withheld from her the knowledge of the mode of his death, as well as the strange scene in the church. But when she insisted on seeing the body, and was told that it was already consigned to the grave, she herself suspected what Otto had taken such pains to conceal from her. Her tears then flowed in silence, and in silence she prayed, with her whole soul, to the Almighty for the salvation in eternity of her unhappy parent.

While Giuliana sat absorbed in her sorrow, Otto, who had constituted himself the guardian and adviser of the orphan girl, undertook the duty of looking through the papers of her late father. During his search among them, he found, in a hidden drawer, the secret confession, which the unfortunate deceased had written in his moments of wretchedness and self-upbraiding. He carried it privately away with him, and read it when quite alone.

When Giuliana met Otto again, she almost forgot her own grief in her distress at the deep affliction which she saw in his countenance. She anxiously inquired if he were ill, and she forced herself to battle against her own dejection in order to cheer him, and restore peace and happiness to his heart. But the more warmly and affectionately she showed him her sympathy and solicitude--the nearer their common sorrow seemed to bring their hearts, and to accelerate the moment, when their deep, though unconfessed mutual attachment need no longer be pent up, but all, of which neither could doubt, might be openly admitted--the more unaccountable became Otto's melancholy and singular conduct. He avoided all intimate conversation. He assumed a measured calmness of manner, and a degree of distance in his communication with her, which she would have believed to arise from coldness, indifference, or a narrow-minded regard to their different positions in life, had she not before observed such unmistakable marks of his love for her, and known how little he cared for the distinctions of rank, and how capable he was of overcoming all such obstacles if he pleased.

'I can no longer delay my departure,' he said to her one day, when the constraint which prevailed between them was most painful to both; 'but I am not now going to Italy--America is my destination.' He then entreated the astonished Giuliana to accept of a large portion of his fortune, in order to secure her from all pecuniary adversity in the future, and which would enable her to purchase a small property in the country, or to reside in the capital with a respectable family, to whom she was related, and who would receive her kindly.

Giuliana could hardly suppress her tears, but she forced herself to smile, while she declined any assistance.

'I thank you, Herr Count,' she said, with composure--'I thank you much for the sympathizing kindness you, unasked, have shown me. I have but one wish in this world, and that is to see my native country again. Here I cannot live, and if you have any benevolent desire to benefit me, Herr Count, have the goodness to procure for me a situation as waiting-maid, or in some other capacity, in a family who are going to Italy. You once yourself proposed this; and I venture to hope that perhaps you will, if possible, indulge me in my dearest wish, now that I am left a solitary being in the world.'

'Well, then,' said the count, after a moment's reflection, 'since your longing to revisit your native country is so strong that you cannot live happily anywhere else, I will myself accompany you thither, and we shall adopt my original plan. You shall travel as companion to my aunt, and go with her and her children to Rome and Naples, where I shall see you safely settled in some agreeable family circle before I set off on my more distant voyage.'

Giuliana's childish delight at the hope of seeing the much-loved land of her birth could not, however, overcome her deep, secret sorrow at the alteration which had taken place in Count Otto; and her wounded feelings would not permit her to accept of his offer, for her sake, to relinquish for a time the visit to another continent, on which he had so recently determined. She entreated him, therefore, earnestly not to delay his voyage, but allow her to attend his aunt and her children, without himself accompanying them.

But he had made up his mind to go, and he told her that, without his escort, his aunt would not undertake to travel so far as Italy.

All was soon prepared for the journey. The aunt was informed of the count's plan for Giuliana, to which, fortunately, she was willing to agree. In a few days afterwards she made her appearance in her travelling carriage at the door of the principal hotel at Soröe; the count met her there, and took her and her children to the forest lodge, where they were introduced to their travelling companion, who immediately joined them, and who soon made a favourable impression on them all by her beauty and sweetness of manners.

The aunt had conjectured that there was some love affair between the young count and the pretty daughter of the sub-ranger, in whose neighbourhood he had remained so long, and she fancied that, in order to escape the taunts and gibes of the other members of his family, her nephew intended to marry Giuliana in a foreign country. Rumour had not failed to busy itself in the capital, by assigning a reason for the count's stay at Soröe. Poor Giuliana had been described sometimes as a simple peasant girl, who had allowed herself to be deluded by the gay count, and who believed his fine speeches, mistaking them for more honest ware; sometimes as an artful, half-Italian wood-nymph, who, under the mask of modesty and virtue, had enticed the hoodwinked young count into a snare, from which he could not escape.

His aunt had not troubled herself much about all this gossip; she educated her children herself, and had only accepted Giuliana's companionship because the count had made that the condition of his escort, without which she would not have liked to have ventured on so long a journey.

Now, however, she was very curious to ascertain the exact nature of their connection, and found, to her great surprise, that they themselves avoided that degree of intimacy and freedom in behaviour which travelling together almost rendered necessary; and that, far from seeking each other, they rather seemed to shun every opportunity of being near each other, even though these often occurred by accident. On the other hand, she could not but remark the anxious attention, nay, even devotion, with which the count forestalled every wish of Giuliana; and the quiet, retiring manner in which she sought to take her place as an inferior among the travelling party, although in mind and manners fitted to be their equal. The expression of patient sadness in her countenance, which neither her youthful pleasure at approaching Italy, nor the enlivening effect of the frequent changes of scene during a long journey, seemed to chase away, soon won the heart of the good-natured baroness; and she was pleased to see that Giuliana had also become a favourite with her children. The young girl seemed to be always more at ease and more cheerful in the count's absence than when he was present. Giuliana had taken her mandolin with her in the carriage, and she often amused the children by playing on it, and singing for them. When they stopped at the different inns, and she was alone in her own room in the evening, the baroness sometimes heard her playing and singing there also, but not the lively airs she sang in the carriage. Her songs were all expressive of deep sadness, and if the baroness entered her room unexpectedly, she generally found the sweet songstress with tears in her eyes.

The count's melancholy surprised his aunt still more, as he had always been remarkable for his gaiety and high spirits. He would now sit for hours in the carriage without uttering a syllable, and when they were all enjoying themselves at the evening's repast, after the fatigues of the day, he would often start up and leave them, complaining of a violent headache.

However, when they had crossed the Simplon, and were descending into the paradise of Giuliana's dreams--when they beheld the rich plains where the vines festooned themselves gracefully around the elms--where the lovely lakes were studded with beautifully wooded islets, and the lofty hills reared their blue summits to the skies, all gloomy thoughts seemed to have vanished, and everyone gazed with delight on the enchanting view. Giuliana clapped her hands in her transport of joy, and seizing Otto's hand, she pressed it to her heart, while she exclaimed:

'May God bless and reward you, dear count! I shall never cease to thank you for affording me yonder sight, and this happy moment!'

Tears sprang to Otto's eyes, and throwing his arm round her, he pressed her suddenly with impetuosity to his heart; but as if frightened at this unpremeditated act, he immediately afterwards got out of the carriage, and thenceforth took a seat on the outside, where, he said, he could have a better view of the country.

This scene in the carriage, of which the baroness had been a witness, fully convinced her of Otto's suppressed passion for Giuliana; and soon after their arrival at Florence, some words spoken to herself in her own apartment by Giuliana, in which Otto was named in terms of deep attachment--and the words of a song which she sang in her solitude, all of which had been overheard by the baroness--proved to her that the same sentiments pervaded both their hearts, though both seemed to wish to conceal their feelings.

She had, in consequence, a serious conversation with Otto, and urged him to explain what was the reason of his conduct, and why he seemed thus to seek and to repress the poor girl's affection.

In reply, he placed before her the confession of Italian Franz, and then hastened out to order post-horses for Leghorn, where the American ship, by which he had engaged a passage, was lying almost ready to sail.

The baroness shut herself up in her own chamber, and read:

'I, Franz Ebbeson, born September--, anno Domini 1--, and, when this shall be read, dead, as I hope, in sincere repentance, and trusting to mercy hereafter, confess and make known, that in my irregular youthful days I burdened my soul with fearful sins, for which I pray that the mediation and 'good offices of the Holy Church may be granted, therewith to obtain pardon for me at the great day of judgment.

'For some years I attended the noble family of R--ske while they were travelling and residing in Italy. The count was very kind to me, and raised me from the situation of his servant to that almost of a friend. But, notwithstanding his goodness, I betrayed and wronged him, out of a criminal love for his beautiful wife. In his absence on a scientific tour in Sicily and the coast of Barbary, which lasted nearly two years, during which he had left his family to my care at Naples, T took advantage of the weakness and the kind condescension of the young countess. At the time of the count's return, the consequences of the countess's and my faithlessness were too evident; and she pretended illness to screen herself. The count, almost immediately after his arrival, was taken ill, and I was the only one whom he would allow to attend him. In my wretchedness at having plunged myself and the countess into a misfortune which would lead to inevitable disgrace, the Wicked One inspired me with a horrible thought--a dreadful temptation that my sinful soul could not chase away; and when I ought to have mixed a few drops of laudanum with the medicine the poor count was to take, my hand trembled, and more than a hundred drops fell into it. I was going to throw the medicine away, but it seemed as if Satan seized my hand, and--I carried the deadly mixture to my unfortunate master.

'"God reward you for your kind attention to me, Franz," he exclaimed; and he speedily fell into that deep sleep from which he never more was to awaken. For fifteen years I have borne alone the burden of this guilty secret, of which neither the repentant countess, nor her and my daughter Giuliana, had the slightest knowledge, though perhaps during our last journey together, the countess might have suspected it. On All Souls' Day--the day of my ill-requited master's death--I have for ten years past devoted myself to praying for his eternal salvation. On that solemn day may some purer spirit pray for me, and may God have mercy on my sinful soul!'

The paper fell from the hands of the baroness, but she instantly caught it up, and destroyed it.

'Then they are half-sister and brother!' she exclaimed. And she understood what had seemed poor Otto's strange conduct.

But did Giuliana know it also?

At that moment a letter was brought to her from the young count, in which he entreated her to conceal from Giuliana what it would be better she should never know, and to treat her with motherly kindness for his sake. He added, that he had himself provided for her future comfort in pecuniary matters. There was, however, a little note addressed to Giuliana enclosed, which he requested should only be given to her if it were necessary to calm her grief for his departure.

A few days after he had left them, Giuliana became extremely ill and the baroness, thinking it was better she should know the truth, handed her Otto's farewell letter, which ran as follows:


'Ever-beloved Sister,--In this world we must separate, but yonder, where bride and bridegroom are as sister and brother, where there are no ties of blood, you will find the fond and faithful spirit, which is eternally bound to you, before Him who is Lord of the living and the dead.'


Giuliana outlived her grief for being separated from Otto, and learned to love him as an angel whom she would meet in future at the holy gates of the heavenly paradise. She retired into a convent dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and never forgot, on All Souls' Day, to pray for the repose of her unhappy father's spirit.

Count Otto returned no more to Europe. He died in a skirmish with some savage Indians. But by his papers which were sent to his family, it was evident that, unlike the more tranquil Giuliana, he had never overcome his unfortunate passion, but had carried that fatal attachment in its full force to his distant grave.





LISETTE'S CASTLES IN THE AIR.

FROM THE DANISH OF H. P. HOLST.


I have always considered a garret as one of the most poetical abodes on earth. Ye happy beings who, from that lofty altitude, can look down upon the paltry bustle of the world, do ye not also appreciate the advantages which ye possess? Envy not those whose cradles were rocked in palaces or gilded saloons, for their good fortune cannot be compared to yours. In these airy regions peace and freedom reign. Ye are surrounded with the purest atmosphere--ye have but to throw open your elevated casements to inhale the clear, fresh air, whilst the rich beneath you, in their close chambers, seek eagerly for one breath of it to refresh them, and assist their stifled respiration. No prying opposite neighbour watches you, or disturbs your peace: there is nothing except the swallow which builds its nest upon the roof, or the linnet that flutters before your window, and greets you with its song. Ye are raised far above all human misery, for none of it is apparent to your eye; the manifold sounds of the busy street--the itinerant vendor's varied cries--the rumbling of carriages and carts, scarcely reach your ears. Ah, happy tenants of those lofty regions! how frequently, and with what magnetic power, do ye not draw my glances upwards towards you!

Far up yonder--high--high--mounting towards the clouds--where the rosebush and the white curtains adorn the window, lives a little milliner girl, about seventeen years of age. Courteous reader, if you are not shocked at the idea of ascending that steep staircase, and these innumerable steps, we will visit her together. Be not afraid! Your reputation shall not suffer--I shall cast Peter Schlemil's cap over you--you shall see all, and be yourself unseen. You will! Then follow me, but be silent and discreet; it is a charming girl whom we are going to see.

We enter--hush! Make no noise, for Heaven's sake; Lisette is occupied. At this moment she is busy trying on, before the mirror, a bonnet of the newest fashion, which she has just finished making. This is one of the most important incidents in a milliner's life. It is to her of as much consequence as his pieces are to a dramatic writer; with every new bonnet which she has constructed--with every new play which he has composed--comes the deep anxiety, whether the work shall add another blossom to the garland of their fame, or shall despoil them of their renommée. Let us not disturb her, but rather let us take a survey of the little apartment which contains all her treasures.

If your eye be accustomed to rest on silken tapestry, rich carpets, elegant toilet, and costly work-tables, these principal embellishments of a young lady's boudoir, I would advise you somewhat to lower your ideas, for Lisette possesses none of these, nor does she feel the want of them. All that belongs to her is simple and frugal, but scrupulously clean and neat. The ceiling and the walls rival in whiteness the snowy coverlet which is spread over her couch. Near this stands a wardrobe, in which hang two dresses and a shawl; and on a chair close by lie a couple of caps and a straw hat, trimmed with gay ribbons. These form her little stock of habiliments. A large oaken table occupies the centre of the room; it is covered with pieces of crępe, silk, satin, artificial flowers, plaits of straw, patterns, a knife, and a pair of scissors. These are all her store, and all her apparatus. On a plain chiffonier lie a Psalm-book, a well-worn romance of Sir Walter Scott, some songs, and a little pamphlet, entitled 'The Ladies' Magic and Dream Book.' These comprise her whole library. I had nearly forgotten the most valuable article among her furniture--yon old lounging-chair, covered with morocco leather: I call it the most valuable, for it was her only heirloom from her forefathers. A mirror is suspended over the chiffonier, before which Lisette is standing, fully engaged in taking a survey of herself. There is no mistaking the smile that is playing around her lips--the light that is beaming from her eyes. The critical examination has been satisfactory, and she is pleased with her own handiwork. And well may she be so; for the tasteful white silk bonnet casts a soft shade over her brow of ivory, and the rose-coloured crępe with which it is trimmed seems pale when compared to her blooming cheek. I could venture to wager a thousand to one that Lisette's face is a hundred times prettier than that of the fair dame or damsel for whom this bonnet is intended. Doubtless this idea has struck her also; see, she hastens to her wardrobe, and takes from it her light green shawl. She throws it around her shoulders, arranges it in graceful folds over her slender throat and fairy form, turns to the glass and contemplates herself, first on one side, then on the other, and laughs in the glee of her heart.

Brava, Lisette--brava! Hark! she sings--

'For a country girl I surely may

Look on myself with some small pride;

Alonzo--yes! all the world will say,

Thou hast chosen a nice little bride.'

At that moment she fancies she hears some one knock at her door. In the twinkling of an eye everything is put in due order; the shawl is hung on the peg in its proper place, the bonnet laid conspicuously on the table, and 'Come in' is answered to the summons. 'Come in, Ludvig,' she repeats in a clearer voice; but Lisette must surely have been mistaken, for no one enters at her bidding. She goes towards the door and listens, she peeps through the keyhole, and finally opens the door and looks out, but no mortal is there.

The foregoing scene is resumed: the shawl is taken again from its sanctum, the bonnet is replaced on her rich glossy brown hair; again her dark eyes shine, and again she smiles in the most captivating manner. Happy little Lisette! How unpretending must be her claims to the joys of life! A bonnet is sufficient to minister to her happiness. She parades up and down the room. How proudly she carries her little head; what fascination in her air and figure! She has that grace which is neither acquired nor affected; that untaught grace which nature, in its caprice, sometimes bestows on a milliner's girl, and denies to a lady of the court, or to a princess!

At that moment her glance falls on the forgotten common straw hat with its pink ribbons, and the sight of it instantly dispels all her gaiety. Who now wears such a bonnet? It is quite, quite out of fashion, unfortunate Lisette! You--you alone are born to hide your lovely countenance under such a hideous shade; and not one single male being may behold how charmingly the modern little silk bonnet becomes you. Another is to enjoy the fruit of your labour, to sport the work of your hands, and the production of your taste and skill! Poor girl! It is hard, it is unjust, your sad fate is really to be pitied.

With the slightest look in the world of chagrin she has cast herself into the leather arm-chair to take some rest after her fatigues. The clock has struck half-past seven, and she has been working since four in the morning. She can hardly repress her impatience. 'What can have become of Ludvig!' she exclaims to herself. 'Everything seems to conspire against me to-day; surely he cannot have taken it into his head to visit me in the forenoon, when he knows that this is my leisure time? Why does he not come? For though he plagues me sometimes, and he is often vexed with me, he knows very well how glad I am to see him.'

Lisette becomes thoughtful, and begins to meditate upon the future. Her position is trying enough. What signifies it to her that her embroidery, her flounces, her caps, are always beautiful; that her bonnets look quite as fashionable as those of the court milliners? She barely makes a maintenance, and she has an invalid mother to support. What prospect is there of any change in her circumstances? What good fortune has she to hope for in the future? She throws herself back in the lounging-chair, closes her eyes, and begins--to dream.

Ah! who does not know what happy miracles take place in dreams? Real joys are seldom the growth of this world, and are only found by a few, but to compensate for their absence, by the bounty of Providence, a reflection of them is permitted to all mankind; for fancy may, for an instant, bestow that happiness which never can be realized. The pleasures of imagination are open to all; in dreams we may taste of felicity, and surely none are so wretched as never in fancy to have known a moment of consolation and comfort.

Lisette is smiling; she is not asleep, but she has closed her eyes, the better to enjoy her little world of phantasies and dreams. Her situation in life is altered. She is no longer the poor Lisette who must toil from day to day to supply her urgent wants, and whose wardrobe consists only of two or three dresses, a shawl, and a coarse straw hat. Oh, no; it is far different! She need no longer exert herself so much, and is no longer obliged to rise with the swallow, whose nest is near her window. She has bought silk dresses, a pretty bonnet, and a fashionable shawl. She has been to Charlottenlund; has heard the band at Frederiksberg; and wandered in the woods with her young friends. What magic has suddenly wrought this change in her destiny? She dreams it; and who would recall her from the harmless enjoyment of her vivid waking visions? Lisette delights in the theatre; she has been there twice in her life, and has seen the 'Elverhöi' and 'King Solomon;' but she knows all the opera and vaudeville airs by heart, and sings them like an angel. She has just settled that she will take a box for the season, when she hears a knock at the door. 'Come in!' she exclaims, languidly; and this time it is no false alarm, for a waiting-maid walks in with a parcel and a bandbox. Lisette is somewhat annoyed at the interruption; however, she rises and asks what is wanted. The maid brings an old bonnet to be retrimmed for her mistress, and orders a new one for herself, which she desires may be ready by the next Sunday, when she is going out, and will call for it. She dares not let her mistress see it; but her lover, the mate of a ship trading to China, insists on her being nicely dressed. He has presented her with a China-crape shawl, which she begs may be allowed to remain at Lisette's until the important Sunday.

As she is leaving the room the clock strikes eight, and Lisette suddenly remembers that she has not watered the rosebush, which was given her by Ludvig. What shameful carelessness! She hastens to perform the pleasing task: that in doing this her glance falls upon the pavement below, and that at the same moment the handsome hussar officer, Lieutenant W----, is passing by--surely must be the work of chance. He bows--it must be to the family of the Councillor of State in the lower story, not to the inhabitant of the poor garret up at the roof of the house. He casts a look up towards heaven, and sees a heaven in Lisette's beautiful eyes. Perhaps he was watching the clouds, and thinking of the weather; but his eyes sparkled like the beam of the noonday sun, or like two very bright stars. He lifts his hand to his military cap--how elegant are his movements! What a pretty compliment to pass unnoticed! Unnoticed? If so, what means that deep blush on Lisette's cheek? Is it the blush of triumphant beauty, or is it merely a passing tint, cast by the roses over which she is bending?

Lisette busies herself with the plant, and trains its branches with more than usual assiduity. It would seem that she redoubled her care of the rosebush, by way of making up to its donor for her momentary faithlessness. 'I will never see him more,' said Lisette to herself; 'I will never come near the window again at eight o'clock. To-day I have done so for the last time. But why so? I am guilty of nothing--I have never once spoken to him; all I know is, that he always passes this way precisely at eight o'clock; but I have no right to think that it is on my account. Perhaps it is not good for my rosebush to be watered so late; and Ludvig is so jealous--oh, so jealous! I can't imagine why; I am sure he has no cause for jealousy. It is too bad. Ah--these men! these men! They expect from us one sacrifice after another, but not the slightest pleasure will they allow to us.'

During this monologue her eye had fallen on the parcel left by the waiting-maid. Her curiosity became excited to see what is in it, and especially what sort of a shawl the mate had bestowed upon 'that stupid Lena.' She stands for some time debating with herself, her eye riveted on the parcel; at length she determines to open it. What a beauty it is! No countess could have a handsomer shawl. Lisette wraps it round her, and betakes herself again to the glass, where she gazes at it with the utmost admiration, slightly tinctured perhaps with a little dash of envy. Taking it off, and laying it on her table, she places herself a second time in the old leather arm-chair, and sinks back into the world of dreams. But it is no longer the box at the theatre that occupies her imagination; her head is full of the charming shawl. She fancies that she has one as pretty; that her plain dress is exchanged for another of splendid materials; that she is surrounded by admirers, and--little coquette that she is--that she gives them no hope, for she loves only Ludvig: but still, she does not quite discard them.

But where is Ludvig himself all this time? Look round, and you will behold him now!

Do you see that young man with an intelligent countenance, with bright speaking eyes and dark curly hair, who at this moment has entered the room. That is Ludvig. His open collar exhibiting his throat, and the rest of his somewhat fantastic costume, at once evince that he is an artist: but we must add that he is an artist of no ordinary talent, and that as a portrait-painter he is admired and sought after, he has closed the door softly, and stealing forward on tiptoe, he approaches Lisette, who, lost in her magic world of dreams, is not at all aware of his presence. She is leaning gracefully back in the large easy-chair, her eyes closed, their long dark lashes reposing on her fair soft cheeks, and an enchanting smile, caused by the drama of her imagination, playing around her rosy lips. He bends over her as if he would fain, from the expression of her countenance, read her unspoken thoughts. What a study for a painter! What an exquisite pleasure for an ardent lover! Ludvig can no longer merely look--he snatches up her hands, and covers them with kisses. Lisette opens her eyes. At that very moment she had been dreaming of him; she had refused all her other suitors for his sake; she had forgotten the caprice, the jealousy, the absurdities of which she had often accused him, and only remembered how happy she was to be beloved by him. Ludvig could not have arrived more opportunely. She reproaches him playfully for being so late, scolds him for keeping her waiting so long, but soon allows herself to be appeased. She tells him how industrious she has been, shows him the newly-finished bonnet, and does not omit to try it on before him--for she must have his opinion to confirm her own. Perhaps all this may be called coquetry; well, allowing it to be coquetry, there is no guile or deceit in it. Poor Ludvig is over head and ears in love; therefore he is charmed with Lisette, with the bonnet, with everything. His warm feelings find expression in compliments such as Lisette is not accustomed to hear from him, and she naturally thinks him more than usually agreeable. They chat about their first acquaintance, the simple incidents of their love history, and 'Do you remember when?'--'Do you recollect that time?'--these phrases, so often introduced into the colloquies of lovers, pass and repass from their lips; they dwell, not only on their past reminiscences, but on their future hopes, and above all, on their mutual affection, that theme which never seems to become wearisome, and the variations to which appear to be endless. Lisette then relates her day-dreams and her castles in the air--at least a part of them, as much as she thinks Ludvig can bear to hear, but even that part seems to displease him, for an ominous shake of his head, as he listens to her, does not escape her observation.

'Good Heavens!' she exclaimed, 'how have I sinned now? What does that grave look portend? It is really very tiresome. Two minutes ago you were so lively and so good-humoured. Is there any harm in my building castles in the air to amuse my leisure moments, and laying plans in fancy which I know can never come to pass?'

'And how can you be so hasty, and seem so vexed about nothing? I am not at all displeased, my dear girl. I do not deny that these dreams of yours are quite innocent; but I do say this, that if your head be filled with all these romantic schemes and ideas, and you encourage yourself in cherishing them, by-and-by you will be so led away by the vagaries of your own imagination, that you will be discontented with the humble lot which, alas! I have but the means of offering you.'

'Oh! you have no need to entertain such a fear. Am I not happy in the thought that the time may come when we shall share each other's destiny? or have I ever regretted that my fate is to be united to yours? What care I for wealth, or for all those fictions which it pleases the world to call good fortune? It is your affection alone which can make me rich; without that, I should value nothing.'

Who could withstand such words from the beautiful mouth of a charming young girl? Ludvig has already in his own mind owned he was wrong, and now he hastens to beg a thousand pardons. He presses her to his heart, and is about to assure her of his entire confidence in her, when he suddenly perceives the costly shawl that is lying, half folded, on the table, and the words die away upon his lips. Suspicion has darted across his mind. 'Where could that expensive shawl have come from?' he asks himself. 'She could not afford to buy it. Does she receive presents from anyone but me? Can she be faithless--false?' His easily-aroused jealousy speedily got the better of him, and her guilt was no longer to be doubted.

Lisette had not in the slightest degree observed this sudden change; she permitted her head to rest affectionately on his shoulder--but he quickly disengaged himself, and pushed her coldly from him.

'What is the matter, Ludvig?' she asked, in much surprise. 'Are you out of humour again? What is wrong now?'

'Oh! nothing, nothing! at least, nothing of consequence enough for you to care about.'

'What can you mean? Am I not privileged to share your sorrows and annoyances, whether they are great or small? You know you are sure of my sympathy; why, then, should you conceal anything from me? But you have no longer any confidence in me; you love me no longer as you used to do, or you would not treat me thus.'

'These reproaches come well from your lips, indeed, Miss Lisette. Certainly you have much to complain of.'

Lisette became angry, for she knew that she was innocent of all evil. Had she not, a few minutes before, vowed not to go so often to the window, when the handsome hussar officer passed? And had she not recently, in fancy, discarded all her suitors, determining to admit and to listen only to Ludvig? And now to be treated so by him! Was her fidelity to be thus rewarded? 'Fie, Ludvig!' she exclaimed, with some vehemence. 'You are too tyrannical; you have often been hasty, irritable, nay, unkind to me; but I have borne it all patiently, for I knew your unreasonable jealousy; but you are too sharp with me--too cruelly sharp--I have not deserved this from you, and I will not put up with it.'

'Well said! You speak out, at any rate. You won't "put up with it," Lisette? Of course you have no need to put up with me any longer. There are plenty, I know, who will flatter you, and make a fool of you: but you will not find one who loves you as sincerely as I do.'

'And why not, pray? Perhaps I may though.'

'What do you say, Lisette? Ah! now I see I have been mistaken in you. Farewell! You shall never behold me more. I will not stand in the way of your good fortune. My presence shall never again irritate you for a moment. Farewell!'

He rushed from the room, and Lisette had already the handle of the door in her hand, intending to run after him and call him back; but she stopped a moment to reflect. 'No!' she exclaimed to herself, 'I will not afford him such a triumph. Let him go. Is he not clearly in the wrong; and must I invariably give in? No; this time he shall wait awhile.'

Lisette is very angry; she paces up and down her room, without so much as casting one look down towards the street to see where he is going. 'It is quite unbearable,' she cries. 'He teazes me out of my life with his ridiculous jealousy. It is a proof of his love, he says.... Ah, dear! I am sure I would much rather dispense with such love tokens.' Lisette throws herself into the easy-chair, and commences humming an opera air. Then she begins to rack her brains to discover what on earth could have caused Ludvig's sudden transition from good-humour to anger and jealousy; but she vainly tries to find a reason for his strange conduct. 'I will think no more about him! He does not deserve the affection I waste upon him, nor that I should take his folly so much to heart. Is this love? Not the slightest indulgence will he permit to me; he cannot endure that I should be happy even in dreams! It is my only, only comfort, and he shall not deprive me of it.' So saying, she lets herself fall back in her lounging-chair: at that moment she feels a kind of perverse satisfaction in doing what Ludvig disapproved of.

The force of habit is strong, and she soon fails into her day-dreams again. She fancies she has dismissed all her admirers, and now stands alone in the world. She invests herself with astonishing talents; no longer wastes her energies in making bonnets and taking in sewing. She has had first-rate masters for every accomplishment under heaven, and every possible branch of education, from moral philosophy down to--hair-dressing. She dances like Vestris--sings like Catalani--and plays like Moschelles. With youth, beauty, and shining talents, she is received into the highest society, and the mystery which hangs over her early days but adds a piquancy to the charm of her numerous fascinations: for the great world, so monotonous in itself, loves the excitement of curiosity. She soon becomes the cynosure of fashion, adored by all the gentlemen--envied by all the ladies. Still she is not satisfied with mere drawing-room admiration. She will go upon the stage. She comes out in an opera of Scribe, composed by Auber, and arranged by Heiberg. The theatre rings with applause; bouquets are showered at her feet; the bright stars of Copenhagen--Madame H----, and Mademoiselle W----, have, at length, found a rival, and to this rival a large salary is offered by the manager of the theatre. She has scarcely finished reading his highly complimentary letter, when another is brought to her. In haste she opens it, and, casting her eyes on the signature, she sees, 'Sigismund Frederick, Count of R.' She starts with surprise; the young, the rich, the distinguished count, assuring her that he cannot live without her, offers her his heart, his fortune, and his hand! But, just then, amidst the glow of her gratified vanity and ambition, a small voice whispers the name of--Ludvig. He has been rough and rude to her; he left her in anger; he deserves no remembrance from her; yet--her heart yearns towards him--she feels that she can forgive and forget; that she can repay good for evil, and can sacrifice everything for him she loves.

Poor Lisette passes into a state of great excitement between the phantasms of her imagination and the real feelings of her soul; she actually rises to answer the visionary letter, and she writes as follows:--


'Noble Count,--I should be very ungrateful if I did not highly value the honour which you have conferred upon me, in condescending to make me the offer which I had not the slightest claim to expect. I will not repay your goodness by any want of candour, and am, therefore, obliged to confess to you that that heart for which you ask is no longer free; and that love with which you would honour me I am unable to return as it deserves. From my earliest youth I have been attached to a poor artist; he was my first love, and will be my last. I will venture to indulge the hope that you will receive this open admission as a proof of my sincere regard and high esteem for you, which forbid me to accept the happy fortune that destiny, doubtless, reserves for one more worthy of it than myself.'


Lisette was mightily pleased with this billet, which she considered a chef-d'œuvre of the romantico-literary style. She had conned it over several times, and was about to fold and seal it, when the striking of a neighbouring clock awoke her to the realities of life, reminded her that she had some work to finish, and at once demolished all her castles in the air.

The horn inkstand is put away, the letter is left lying forgotten amidst the shreds of silk; and the scissors and the needles are once more in full activity. In the meantime Ludvig has returned, and stands by Lisette's side, in a repentant mood. He has come back to try to obtain some explanation about the unfortunate shawl, and to throw himself at her feet, and beg her forgiveness that he had again offended her by his suspicions. But Lisette is angry, and she will scarcely take the least notice of him. She does not, however, hold out long, her naturally kind heart soon becomes softened, she sets his mind at ease by enlightening him on the affair of the shawl; but, very properly, takes him well to task. Ludvig is in the seventh heaven. He blames himself severely, calls Lisette by all the tender names that language can suggest; he swears never more to torment her by his suspicions and jealousy, and seizes her hands to kiss them, in ratification of his vow, but, at that moment, he espies some stains of ink on her delicate fingers. 'You have been writing! To whom were you writing?' he abruptly asks, in a hoarse voice, while his countenance gradually darkens. Lisette colours, and looks perplexed. She is unwilling to confess that she has again been building castles in the air, knowing, as she does, that he has an objection to them; she stammers, and is at a loss for an answer.

Her embarrassment adds fuel to the flames; the demon of jealousy is again at work in Ludvig's mind, he utters not a syllable, but darting at her a glance that, if looks could kill, would have annihilated her on the spot, he seizes his hat and is about to leave her. Lisette is in the greatest consternation. She tries to detain him. 'Ludvig--dear Ludvig!--I have--can you forgive ...?'

'What have you done? What am I called on to forgive? you false, deceitful one!' he cries, passionately interrupting her, while he endeavours to break away from her.

'Oh, do not be so violent, Ludvig! I have been amusing myself with my dreams again. I have again been building castles in the air. Forgive me this once more! There is what I have been writing.'

She hands him the letter, and, as he reads it, his stormy brow clears, and his features relax. 'From my earliest youth I have been attached to a poor artist, he was my first love, and will be my last.' These words, which he reads, and re-reads, several times, quickly appease his wrath. 'And this is what you were writing!' he exclaims, in a tone of joy. Oh! I am so happy! Now I cast suspicion to the winds; from this time, henceforth, I bid adieu to all jealousy.' In the delight of the moment he communicates to Lisette what had before been hovering on his lips, the unexpected good fortune which had fallen to his share. An uncle, whom he had never seen, had bequeathed him a little fortune, which was large enough to place them in easy circumstances. Lisette is in raptures, and, mingling their joy, they lay plans together for their future life. It is not Lisette alone who now builds castles in the air, for Ludvig joins her in this pleasing occupation with all his might; and yon humble garret becomes, at that moment, a heaven of love and happiness.





TWICE SACRIFICED.

FROM THE DANISH OF CARIT ETLAR.



I.

THE DREAMS OF YOUTH.

About three miles from Viborg lies the celebrated Hald. The palace upon the high hill, the lake slumbering beneath the ruins of the old baronial castle upon the island, the fresh luxuriant forest, make in combination a charming and romantic picture, which, placed as it were in a frame of dark-brown heath-clad hills, forms a strong contrast to the monotonous, melancholy-looking plain, in the centre of which it appears like a beautiful flower in the dreary desert, suddenly and unexpectedly seen, and therefore the more highly appreciated.

One afternoon, in the spring of the year 1705, three persons were riding through the wood not far from Viborg. One was a young lady, by her side rode a gentleman who did not look much older than herself, and at some distance behind them a servant in a rich livery, embroidered according to the fashion of the time.

The young lady was very beautiful; the mild, calm, expression of her countenance, the sweet, trusting glances from her large dark-blue eyes, disclosed one of those soft, feminine natures for which life should be all quiet and sunshine, because they bend and break beneath its storms.

The gentleman who rode by her side, as near as the horses could approach each other, wore the uniform of an officer. His features were expressive of courage and talent, and all that freedom from care which is the happiest endowment of youth and inexperience.

The young lady was Jeanné Rysé, a daughter of the Baroness Rysensteen, in the district of Rive. The gentleman was her cousin, Captain Krusé. They were both returning from a visit to Major-General Gregers Daa, who two years before had purchased Hald, and built the handsome house upon the hill.

There was evidently a deeper feeling between Jeanné and the captain than merely cousinly regard; this was betrayed both by their very confidential conversation, by Jeanné's smile, and by the endearing glances that seemed to meet and answer each other. They loved each other; and they were laying plans for the future, as that afternoon they rode together through the wood. It was not of the present moment they were thinking--no, none but children and old people, the two at the extreme points of life--take pleasure in the present moment. Around them everything reposed in a deep and serene tranquillity; the clear, transparent air, the sun's rays gleaming through the foliage of the trees, the perfume of the flowers, the blackbird's flute-like song, all tended to increase the sense of happiness which pervaded both their hearts, that fresh young love that causes all the blossoms of the soul to expand.

'This evening,' said Jeanné, 'I will tell all to my mother; it appears to me that it would be wrong to conceal our wishes longer.'

'Oh, let us wait,' said he. 'The confession will not augment our happiness.'

'But it will indeed!' replied Jeanné. 'My mother has hitherto always been my confidante in everything; it will distress her when she finds that I am concealing our attachment from her. Do not be afraid, dearest. She is so good, she has never thought of anything but my happiness, and she will undoubtedly give her consent to our engagement. I know perfectly well that my mother will refuse me nothing,' she added with a gay smile.

Krusé made no reply; they rode on for some time in silence side by side, while the same subject engrossed the minds of both, but there was a difference in the way they thought of it. He was thinking, as it is natural for men to do, only of his own happiness; Jeanné, on the contrary, of that which she hoped to be able to bestow upon him.

'What if your mother should disapprove of our marriage?' exclaimed Krusé, at length, after they had left the wood, and were riding towards Viborg, which was to be seen at a little distance.

'But she will not disapprove,' replied Jeanné, decisively. 'I know her too well. Still, happen what may, my friend,' she said, as she stretched out to him a small, well-shaped hand, 'we love each other, and we will never cease to do so. Is not this knowledge enough to induce you to overcome every obstacle?'

Krusé's answer was the same as has been given in similar cases from the time of the Deluge. Both forgot at that moment how long it is to--never!

On the same evening, about two hours later, Jeanné sat alone with the Baroness in her private apartment, and confided to her the whole story of the attachment--indeed, the engagement between herself and Krusé. The elder lady listened patiently and attentively to the tale; her face wore its usual bland smile, her voice had its accustomed sweet and affectionate tone.

'I have long suspected these feelings on your cousin's side, my dear child,' she said quietly, 'but I did not suppose that you would admit having returned them without first making some communication to me.'

'Oh, my own dearest mother!' cried Jeanné, in the most caressing manner, and in a beseeching tone, 'you must forgive me!'

'There is nothing to forgive,' replied the Baroness. 'What has happened has happened, and it appears to me there is nothing more to be said on the subject. I have known Krusé since he was a child; he is of a very amiable disposition and noble character, most gentlemanly and chivalric in all his actions. I also truly believe that he loves you, my darling Jeanné; who could do otherwise?'

And the mother leaned over the kneeling daughter, who had placed her hands upon her lap, and kissed her fair brow.

'But Krusé, notwithstanding all these excellent qualities, can never be your husband.'

Jeanné uttered a faint shriek.

'Oh, mother, mother! What do you say?' she cried, in the greatest consternation.

'Listen to what I have got to say,' continued the Baroness, 'and listen calmly. Krusé is poor; he has nothing except his pay as an officer, which is scarcely enough to meet the daily expenses of a gentleman. You, my dear child, are not rich either, as after my death your brother will inherit the property. It is only, therefore, by marriage that your future comfort can be secured. You have, naturally, never thought of all these circumstances. At your age the heart is swayed by happier interests; it is not until later that the prosaic part of life forces itself upon us, and awakens us from our dreams. But I--your mother--have well considered all this. While you have engaged yourself to your cousin, I have fixed upon another for you--another who, with the same chivalric character, unites better prospects for your future life. Yes, weep on, my darling girl! I understand your tears, for I have felt as you do, for I have loved as you do. When I was about your age I was much attached to a young nobleman, who was as poor as Krusé. My parents chose another for me, and I acknowledge now how fortunate it was that they were not influenced by my wishes. I judge by this--that the woman whom he afterwards married has led a very unhappy life.'

Jeanné's face expressed the deepest grief while her mother was speaking; she wept, she wrung her hands, and at length she exclaimed:

'Oh, my dear mother! If you have considered what is best for me, have you not remembered that the fate for which you destine me will render me utterly miserable? It will be my death!'

'No, it will not, Jeanné! That is merely an idea peculiar to your age; people don't die so easily. Time is an excellent doctor for such wounds.'

'Who, then, have you chosen for me?'

'Major-General Gregers Daa, of Hald. He was with me to-day when you were out riding with your cousin; he asked for your hand, and obtained my consent to your marrying him.'

Major-General Gregers Daa was a tall, thin man, with a pallid face and very grave expression of countenance. His hair was beginning to turn grey, the numerous wrinkles on his expansive brow-were perhaps as much the consequence of deep thought as of advanced age, for both of these despots impose their marks in the same mode.

Gregers had held an important post, and had won many laurels in the last war. At the cessation of hostilities which followed the peace of Travendal, he returned to Jutland, purchased Hald, and had the palace rebuilt. When these two events were completed, he had nothing before him but a quiet, monotonous life, without interest to himself, and without affording happiness to any one. The landed proprietors who were his neighbours found no pleasure in his society, for he was cold and reserved in manners. The poor lauded his charity and his munificent donations; but these, in accordance with the nature of the donor, were dictated more by a sense of duty than by any positive satisfaction he had in relieving distress. No one sought his friendship; indeed, it was rather avoided. In the lonely situation in which he was placed, he was poor--for even fortune becomes a burden in utter solitude. The present time offered nothing, the future seemed to promise nothing, and the past was the repository of no cherished recollections for him.

When Gregers returned from the war, and had ceased to fight foreign foes, he found at home a still more obstinate foe to battle with, and that was ennui. A sister, much younger than himself, who had resided with him, and taken charge of his house, had died a few years before the date of the commencement of this story. He regretted her loss very much, and day by day he missed more and more the comforts a lady's taste and society had spread around him. It was about this time that he first met Jeanné Rysé, and the sight of her awakened emotions in his mind which he had never before known. He wished to have her in his lost sister's place; he wished to be her confidential friend, her counsellor, her companion, and, yielding to these growing wishes, he determined on asking from the Baroness the hand of her daughter. He had, however, not the most remote idea of the wretchedness with which his proposals were to blast Jeanné's hitherto tranquil and happy existence.

He was wealthy; he was the last--the only survivor of his race. Both of these considerations had also some weight in Gregers's resolution, and had not less influence on that of the Baroness Rysé. But expediency and good intentions sometimes merge into wrong, especially when they forget to take into account the passions and the heart. This fault was committed both by Gregers and the Baroness.

Eight days after her conversation with Jeanné, the Baroness Rysé's carriage was seen going towards the Hald, with running footmen before the horses, a coachman, and another servant, with powdered perukes; in short, with all that show and affectation of state which might lead the beholder to forget the Dutch plebeian Henrik Rysé, to whom the family owed their patent of nobility. The Baroness herself was elegantly dressed; she was one of those old beauties on whose exterior the hand of taste must replace what time has stolen away.

Gregers Daa received the lady at the foot of the outside stairs in a garb which plainly showed he had not expected her visit at that moment. He led her with a bewildered air into his study, where, before her arrival, he had been occupied. Everything in this room bore witness to an old bachelor's uncomfortable home. An ancient-looking hound was stretched on the sofa, and gazed in evident astonishment at the intruder without vacating his place. The dust lay thick on the sills of the window, on the chairs, tables, and bookcases; the air was redolent of tobacco-smoke; books, plants, and weapons were lying in dire confusion about the room.

The Baroness's ironical smile, and the somewhat sneering manner in which she glanced round at the various articles in the study, seemed to open Gregers's eyes to its untidy condition. He stammered an apology, and opened a door leading to a large room close by, but the lady declined entering it.

'Let us stay here,' she exclaimed. 'The one room is as good as the other for what we have to talk about.'

She removed a bundle of papers from a high-backed easy-chair, placed herself in it, and motioned to Gregers to sit down also.

The sun was shining brightly through the window, the soft breeze was swaying the branches of a large elm-tree, with their fresh light-green leaves, backwards and forwards outside, the sparrows were chirping under the roof; farther off was heard the song of the larks as they soared over old Buggé's Hald, the ruins of which were to be seen from the window, and were glittering in the sun.

Presently the lady spoke.

'I come to you, general, on the same errand, relative to which you lately called on me, and I bring you my entire acceptance of the proposal you did me the honour to make respecting a marriage between you and my daughter.

Gregers Daa's tall figure drew itself up in military style; he bowed, and said:

'You have, then, communicated my wishes to your daughter, dear madam?'

'I did so on the very same day that you called on us.'

'And she has no objection to pass her future life with an old man such as I am?'

'On the contrary,' replied the Baroness, quietly, and without the slightest hesitation, 'she has many objections to it.'

Gregers looked thunderstruck; he fancied he had not heard aright.

'My dear general!' said the Baroness, with an insinuating smile, 'the principal duty you and I owe to each other is sincerity, and I shall, therefore, venture to speak candidly to you. My daughter likes another--stay, do not interrupt me--I mean that she feels a great kindness for, and much interest in, a poor relation, who, so to speak, has grown up with her, and who has been the only one, until now, who could realize the visions every young girl's fancy is prone to create. But, good Heavens! what does that signify? At her age one loves the whole world, or rather, we really love only our own selves in every object which pleases our inclination. I have impressed on my daughter the necessity of giving up her foolish dreams, and of forsaking the world in which she has hitherto lived, to enter into another by your side.

'And was she willing to obey you?' asked Gregers, anxiously.

The Baroness's cheerful smile partially chased away his fears:

'Willing!' she exclaimed. 'Do you really think, my dear general, that I would wish to see you united to a lady who could not prove, by her obedience to her parent, that she would be able to obey her husband?'

'But as she already loves another, a younger man than I am, who, doubtless, is more able than I to comprehend and to share her sympathies, how can I expect her to love me?'

'Love you!' exclaimed the Baroness, in evident surprise. 'No--at least not at the present moment; she cannot be expected to do so, since she has, as yet, hardly the honour of knowing you. In regard to the future, it will altogether rest with yourself to call forth this love. Your superior character, and the mildness of manners I have remarked in you, will indubitably lead the dear child to the goal you desire. I say lead, not mould, because I know that a husband may easily lead his wife, but not easily gain his wishes by coercion. From my experience of the feelings of my own sex, I can affirm that, in most cases, gentlemen may obtain as much affection as they can desire; but they understand less how to awaken this affection than to retain it when once bestowed. It is an acknowledged fact, that though the man begins by showing the woman the first attention, it generally ends in her showing him the last.'

Thus commenced a conversation, during the course of which the Baroness succeeded in removing all the general's scruples. They afterwards proceeded to discuss the matter in question under another point of view--a view which appeared to the lady of very much more consequence than anything wherein feelings were concerned. The marriage settlements were skilfully introduced by the Baroness, who evinced as much practical sense in this second portion of the conversation as in the first; while Gregers Daa, on his side, showed a degree of high-minded liberality which quite surpassed her most exaggerated expectation.

And thus was this marriage determined on, this bargain concluded, in which was bartered away a young girl's future happiness, to secure for her some insignificant worldly advantages. The sacrifice was accomplished with festive pomp, with flowers, smiles, and songs on one side, with smothered sighs and suppressed tears on the other. The same wedding-bells that rang to announce Gregers Daa's happiness rang Jeanné's freedom of soul and happiness into the grave.

The first few weeks after the wedding were spent in society, visiting, and all the round of amusements which it was more the fashion to offer to newly-married people at that period than in our days. Gregers objected to this dissipation in vain, the Baroness insisted on it, and the complaisant son-in-law allowed her to take her own way. The Baroness Rysé hoped, by these means, to procure her daughter some diversion, which might lead her to forget: she had herself never felt any other than these small sorrows that vanish amidst wax-lights and noise in a ball-room; she could not, therefore, conceive that Jeanné might, indeed, be stupified by all the entertainments provided for her, but that solitude is the only comfort in deep sorrow, and the great physician for suffering.

Betwixt the mother and daughter, these such opposite characters, the principal difference was simply this--that the Baroness thought only of marriage, and Jeanné of love.

As to the general, he found, to his great surprise, that all those feelings, so new to him, which had begun to be so softening and so pleasant, had suddenly changed their nature. That love, which had wiled his heart out of its accustomed torpor, which had come like a sunbeam on a late day in autumn, unexpectedly, and all of a sudden, had been as hastily enjoyed as if its loss were feared. He tried in vain to acquire the affection he coveted; but how could he think that an old man's measured and bashful love could be able to chase away the clouds of lassitude and grief which rested on Jeanné's beautiful but pale brow, or dislodge the remembrance of what she had lost by what she had won? When at last, after long and fruitless struggles, he perceived the impossibility of attaining the desired object, which seemed always to draw back from him like the obscure and misty images on a wide heath, he shut himself up in his own study--but not with his former peace of mind; and he bore the marks of his internal battles in his hollow sunken cheeks and whitened hair. From this time forward Gregers endured his sorrows in silence, as Jeanné did hers: the only difference between them was--the cause of the unhappiness of each.

Thus passed some years: Gregers Daa felt that no blessing had attended his marriage. He was childless. There lay a little embalmed corpse in his family vault in the cathedral of Viborg, with an inscription full of grief on the lid of the coffin--that was his only child; it had died soon after its birth.

The only person who never appeared to remark the cold and comfortless terms on which Gregers and Jeanné lived was the Baroness. She resided for some months every summer in her son-in-law's house at Hald, drove about in his carriage, received visits from all her acquaintances; in short, she seemed to be the real mistress of the mansion, exactly as on every alteration and improvement at Rysensteen she showed herself to have unlimited command over the general's money.

War at length broke out again, after the short and enforced peace Denmark had been obliged to put up with. King Frederick IV. had secretly entered into an alliance with Poland and Saxony against Sweden. Reventlow was fighting in Scania; shortly after was heard, for the first time, that one of the most ancient and most honoured names among the Danish nobility was coupled with a lost battle--a name from which heroism and victory, until then, had appeared to be inseparable. Jörgen Ranzau was defeated by Steenbock on the outside of the gates of Helsingborg, and the scene of war after that was removed into Germany. Gregers Daa was ordered to join the army. One evening in the month of November this intelligence reached Hald.


II.

THE FAREWELL.

Gregers Daa received the letter when he was sitting in the same room as Jeanné. His pale cheeks flushed as he read it; Jeanné remarked his emotion. She sat working near the fireplace, and at a little distance from her was a third person, a guest that evening--this person was Captain Krusé.

After Jeanné's marriage he had often visited her at Hald, Gregers himself encouraged him to come, when he perceived that she seemed pleased to see him. He had not then the most remote idea of the engagement which had formerly existed between them.

'That letter seems to interest you,' said Jeanné, turning towards the general.

'Yes--certainly!' replied Gregers. 'I am called away to-morrow.'

'Called away!' exclaimed at the same moment Jeanné and Krusé.

There was something in the tone of the captain's exclamation which seemed to displease the general; he knitted his brow, while he answered,

'I ought to have said that we are called away. I have just received an order for our regiment to join the army in Holstein immediately.'

Jeanné uttered no exclamation. During the last two or three years she had acquired complete command over her feelings; her countenance remained calm, and did not betray the slightest sign of agitation.

Gregers relapsed into his former silence; he had returned to the place where he had before been sitting, by a table in a corner of the room, at a little distance from Jeanné, because, he said, the lights on her table hurt his eyes; from that place his look seemed to be fastened steadily upon the two others.

During the uncomfortable silence which now reigned in the drawing-room, were distinctly heard the wailing of the stormy wind, and the screech of the owls amidst the elm-trees on the outside of the windows.

Shortly after Gregers arose, took a candle, and left the room. Those who remained behind heard his steps becoming fainter and fainter as he traversed the long corridor which led to his study. When they were alone Jeanné let her work fall, and bending over the table covered her eyes with her hand. On raising her head again in a little time, she uttered a low cry, for Krusé was lying at her feet! She made a motion of her hand as if to bid him go, but the captain seized that soft white hand and pressed it to his lips, while he cast an indescribably beseeching look up at her.

'You have heard it,' he whispered; 'we must go--we shall part, for ever, perhaps--I must say a few words to you first. Meet me down yonder--only this once, this once--for the first and the last time!'

'No, no!' cried Jeanné, vehemently: 'I have already refused this. Oh, go!--it would be wrong!'

'Oh, I pray you,' he continued, in a still more touching and trembling voice, 'do not refuse my petition! Are you afraid of me, Jeanné, though in all these long years I have shown you how safe you are near me? Or are you afraid that your glance will fall on yonder wood, where, one afternoon, you promised to love me, where the sun shone, and the birds sang, while God received those vows which have since been so cruelly broken?'

Jeanné burst into tears. 'But go--only go, unhappy one! Do you not hear? There is some one coming--it is my husband.'

'Let him come, he is not my worst enemy at this moment.'

Jeanné cast on him a sorrowful and reproachful look, but at the same time held out her hand to him. Krusé sprang up.

'Then you have some pity for all that I have suffered,' he said; 'and you will not let me go without one kind word at parting?'

She bowed her head almost imperceptibly, and yet it was sufficient for him; his eyes shone, his lips trembled, in his deep emotion.

When Gregers returned to the room, they were both sitting quietly and in perfect silence.

A few minutes afterwards, Krusé took leave, and rode away. Within an hour from that time, a youthful figure stole softly out of one of the side-doors which led from the apartments of the lady of the house down to the garden. She was wrapped in a large shawl, and moved slowly, and, as if unwillingly, onwards. Krusé hastened to meet her as she entered the garden. Jeanné received him more coldly than she need have done after having consented to the interview. But he knew her so well, he had expected nothing else.

'You desired me yesterday,' he began, in a low and unsteady voice, 'not to come up often to Hald, and were vexed at me this evening because I venture to disobey your injunction. God is my witness, Jeanné, that it was my intention to have been guided by your commands.'

'Why, then, did you come this evening?' she asked.

'Because I knew before the general did that we were to be ordered on immediate service, and I could not resist seeing you once more ere our departure.'

'Would to God we had never met each other!' she whispered in a low sad voice. 'It would have been better for us both.'

'Oh, I entreat you,' he said, with that irresistible tenderness which had always found its way to Jeanné's heart, 'do not say that. I am going far away now, and your wish will be fulfilled; but why should you give me so sad a souvenir to take with me? It is probable, Jeanné, that I shall never return--indeed, it is almost certain, for on what account, or for whom need I seek to save my life?--but if I do return, should I be fated to live, will you then be less merciful than God, and deny me permission to visit you as hitherto? If you will only grant me leave to see you again, I shall never misuse that kindness by a word or a look of which you might disapprove; no sigh, no complaint shall betray to you what I suffer.'

'Oh Heavens!' whispered Jeanné, 'do I not suffer too myself, and do you not perceive that your presence here only prolongs a struggle under which it is certain that we shall both sink? What can you wish to know that you do not already know? What can you see here except that I am Gregers Daa's wife?'

'Yes, it is true--too true!' he replied, scarcely above his breath. 'Farewell! It is best that we should never meet again.'

'Farewell!' replied Jeanné, in the same heartbroken tone. 'But you will not thrust yourself needlessly in the way of danger. Do you hear?--you will not do that? Oh, you must not--you dare not!'

'I am weary of battling with my fate!'

'And I, too!' exclaimed Jeanné, bursting into tears.

There was a confession as well as a depth of sorrow in these words; he raised his head, grasped her hand, and carried it to his lips.

'Farewell!' he said--'farewell! God be with you, Jeanné!'

She left her hand in his, and whispered, 'Farewell, until we meet again!'

'I may come, then!' he exclaimed joyfully.

'Since you threaten to throw your life away. But go now--leave me. Let me beg this of you.'

Krusé knelt before her, whilst he kissed her hand and said:

'Put up a prayer for me, then I shall, perhaps, come back, and God may have compassion upon us both.'

He sprang up and left her; a minute or two after, the clatter of his horse's hoofs was heard upon the other side of the garden fence.

Jeanné stood and listened.

At that moment Jeanné felt her hand seized, and the following words were uttered in a low, sad, scarcely audible tone:

'Put up also a prayer for me, Jeanné!'

She started back, and uttered a piercing shriek. A man stood before her, in whom she recognized Gregers Daa, whose countenance in the bluish moonlight looked even paler than usual, and whose smile was sweet, placid, and resigned as it had ever been.

Jeanné thought herself lost; she fell at his feet, and stretched out her clasped hands towards him, while she exclaimed:

'Oh, forgive me! Do not condemn me. I am not so guilty as you must think--if you only understood me--if you only knew all--'

'Hush, my dear child!' whispered Gregers, in a voice that was full of grief, but mild and consoling. 'Do not weep so bitterly; I know all, and it is you who do not understand me. You have never understood me aright. Let us go in now.'

He assisted the pale, trembling young woman up to her apartment, and then retired to his own study.

The next morning, Gregers, attended by his servant, had started on his journey before Jeanné was awake.


III.

THE BATTLE.

One dark December evening, about a month after the general's departure from home, the Danish army had encamped in the vicinity of Gadebusk. In spite of the darkness and the rough weather, there seemed to be an unusual stir and activity in the camp that evening, which betokened that something of importance was about to happen.

Shortly before it had become dark, a reconnoitring expedition which had been sent out returned with the intelligence that General Steenbock, the commander-in-chief of the Swedish army, had approached until within three miles of the Danish camp, and that, according to all appearances, he was preparing to attack the Danes at dawn of day. Messengers were sent in various directions. A few of these were to summon the general officers to a council of war, others to take orders to the different portions of the infantry who lay in cantonments in the nearest villages.

King Frederick IV. had arrived at the camp two days previously from Oldeslobe. He had taken up his quarters at the little country town of Wakenstadt, whither the officers who had been commanded to assist at the council of war that evening repaired.

There was a striking contrast between the appearance of these gentlemen, who, on account of the presence of the king, wore their embroidered and dashing uniforms, and the low, dirty, peasants' parlour, where the meeting was to be held.

A peat fire was smoking and blazing in the open chimney; its lurid glare fell on the plastered clay walls, to which time and damp had imparted a greenish hue. Two small windows, whose panes of glass the storm raging without caused to shake in their leaden frames, had no curtains. The floor was of clay, the furniture consisted of a long bench and three straw chairs, which were arranged around a deal table that stood in the middle of the room, covered with maps and drawings, and the apartment was illuminated by two or three tallow candles. The moment, however, was too critical for any of those present to waste a thought upon the chattels around them.

The discussions in this council of war were long and stormy. Immediately after the king had communicated the intelligence brought by the scouts, there arose a difference of opinion between him and Reventlow, the commander-in-chief. The count thought that it would be unwise to accept battle at the place where the army then was, because the infantry either could not be assembled before the following morning, or, at any rate, they would be fatigued after their forced march, which it would be necessary to undertake very early to arrive in time.

To this was to be added that the Saxon auxiliaries, thirty-two squadrons of cavalry, happened that evening to be at eighteen miles' distance from the rest of the army.

The king did not see the force of the argument; he entirely differed from the count. Full of confidence in the continuance of the good luck which had placed in his power the most important of the German provinces of Sweden, he declared the position of the army to be excellent, covered as it was by hills, woods, and morasses. He hoped that the forthcoming battle would crown all his previous victories.

The shrewd courtier only adhered to his opinion until he saw that the king was determined not to give up his own. Thereupon he pretended to have been reasoned over to his majesty's views. He bowed smilingly, and exclaimed:

'I also agree that we should remain here. If we conquer, to your majesty will belong the whole glory of the victory. The whole glory, but above all the whole responsibility,' he added, in a whisper to his neighbour, as he took his place again on the wooden bench at the table.

Reventlow's yielding to the king's wishes was a sign to all his party to act in the same spirit. One alone still contended that it would be wrong to accept battle under their circumstances--one alone, and he was Major-General Gregers Daa. He stood in that circle somewhat paler and more suffering than usual, cold, stiff, and stern as ever. He would not swerve from his opinion, gave reason after reason, and did not seem to remark that his coadjutors had by degrees changed their ground and had become his adversaries.

'But, by the Lord, Major-General Daa!' exclaimed the king, angrily, and evidently provoked at the general's cold, calm, but determined opposition, 'you must undoubtedly have stronger reasons for contending with us all than those you please to name? From the time that you joined the army last you have been prevented by illness from taking any part in the earlier actions, and now that you appear to be well again, you are the only one who maintains that we ought to retreat. ARE YOU AFRAID OF BEING KILLED?'

A general silence followed this insulting question. All present looked by turns at the king and at the general. Gregers's face became deadly pale, his eyes flashed, and his lips trembled as if from cold, while he rose and replied:

'I shall answer your majesty's question to-morrow. I beg to say that I now quite agree with all the rest.' With these words he bowed and left the room.

The king saw the terrible effect his insult had produced, and he called to Gregers to come back, but the latter seemed not to hear him. He hastened out, closing the door after him.

When Gregers had gone a little way beyond the village, where the camp commenced, he stopped for a few moments, as if in earnest thought; he cast a glance of deep distress up towards the heavens, and pressed his hand upon his breast. He then walked quickly back to the camp.

Here all was movement and noise. The sutlers had a rich harvest that evening. Crowds of soldiers lay around the watch-fires, chattering together, or playing at throwing dice on the top of the drums. They sang, they drank, or prepared themselves for the coming dangers by relating the wonderful heroic exploits that had been performed during those that were past. The report of the enemy's approach had already reached every one. Gregers continued his walk until he had reached one of the farthest-off tents. Here he came to a stand, listened for a moment, and then entered it.

Captain Krusé was sitting at a table, which stood near his camp-bed; he was supporting his head with both his hands, and was so intently gazing on an open letter, so absorbed in its contents, that he did not observe the general's entrance until the latter was standing by the table. He then quickly concealed the letter, and rose.

'Do I interrupt you?' asked Gregers.

'No,' replied Krusé, evidently much confused.

'You have received a letter?'

'No!'

'It appeared to me, though, that you were reading one when I came in.'

'The letter I was reading is six years old,' said Krusé.

'Indeed! And at such a length of time after its date does it retain sufficient interest to carry it with you to your tent and read it on such an evening as this?'

'It is the memento of a loss--of a death; and you know, general, that the heart does not value its memories by their age, but by the estimation in which we hold those to whom they are traceable.'

'No,' said the general, 'I am not aware of any such feeling, for I have no souvenirs, no cherished remembrances.'

Krusé looked up in amazement at the bitter and almost despairing meaning which lay in these words. Gregers continued:

'I came to ask you to visit me this evening. There is a subject on which I wish to have some conversation with you. Have you time to spare?'

'Yes, general.'

'Very well, come then to me in my tent, near the forest of firs, within an hour--not later, pray observe.'

'I shall be punctual,' said Krusé.

Gregers took leave, but, before doing so, he cast a glance towards the table, where Krusé had concealed the letter.

The captain remained behind, musing: he could not fathom the cause of this visit. Latterly, Gregers seemed to have avoided his society. During the foregoing conversation, it struck him that there was something harsh and unfriendly in the expression of his countenance, which betokened a dark and hostile mood.

An hour later Krusé entered the general's tent. He found him sitting at a table, on which lay two pistols and a sealed letter. Gregers beckoned to him to come forward, and, pointing to a straw chair a little way from the table, requested him to be seated.

'Have you heard the news?' he began abruptly. 'We are to fight to-morrow.'

'Yes,' replied Krusé. 'So much the better!'

'I also would have thought the same at your age. I would, most likely, have thought the same now, if I, like you, were single, and had not bound another to my fate.'

'You allude to the amiable lady yonder, at Hald?'

'Yes; and perhaps you are surprised that I should be thinking of her just this evening?' asked Gregers sharply.

'No--certainly!' replied Krusé, somewhat astounded at the question. 'What is there to surprise me in your doing so?'

'You are not speaking the truth, captain. Among all living creatures, you are the only one who could dare to conceive a doubt on this subject. You,' he continued, in a hollow and moaning tone of voice, as if the words he were uttering could with difficulty pass his lips--'you, who love her, and whom--she loves in return.'

Krusé was speechless for a moment, while Gregers was making visible and violent efforts to regain his composure.

'Now I understand him,' he thought; 'he has found everything out, and intends to murder me.'

This thought had scarcely entered his mind when it took the shape of a conviction. In the deep silence now reigning in the tent, he heard the general's suppressed groans as he drew his breath heavily, and saw the arm by which he supported himself as he leaned it on the table, tremble.

'What answer have you to give me?' inquired the general.

Krusé raised his head:

'It is true what you say, general. I do love her.'

The admission did not make the slightest alteration in the expression of the general's countenance, as Krusé had expected it would have done.

'How long ago did your love for her commence?' he asked.

'I have loved Jeanné Rysé since my childhood. She was the first, the only one I ever loved--the only one I ever will love. And now, general! After this confession, I wait to hear what further you have to say to me. I see that you have prepared for what was to happen,' he added, glancing towards the pistols which lay on the table. 'I have been long expecting it, and, when you came into my tent, I anticipated that what sooner or later must end thus was close at hand.'

Gregers remained silent for a few seconds, and then said:

'You are mistaken, captain! I was not thinking of killing you when I asked you to come here this evening. If such had been my intention, it would have been carried out long ago. For three years, Krusé, I have known that you loved her, but I saw, at the same time, how little guilt there was in this secret love.' He held out his hand to Krusé. 'Poor fellow!' he continued, 'how could you help that you loved her? You, who were young, and whom God had destined for her. The error was, that no one gave me any idea of this until it was too late. I was a witness to the grief you both evinced; I heard the last words, the last sighs with which you parted from each other! I know it all. What you, on the contrary, do not know is--that I also loved Jeanné.'

'You!' cried Krusé.

'Yes; you are surprised at that, are you not?' continued Gregers, with a melancholy smile. 'An old man, who had no other right to that girl's love than what chance and authority bestowed. But I loved her, nevertheless, with an affection that in strength and devotion quite equalled your own. She was the only one, the last who bound me to life; my heart grew young again under the influence of this love, which, in spite of a husband's claims, preserved a lover's first timidity.'

'You loved her!' cried Krusé, as if he must have the words repeated, in order that he might take in the possibility of their truth. 'But Jeanné never suspected this.'

'Nay, do not think that I could betray my feelings when I so soon perceived that she was not able to return them! From the garden below have I, like you, often and often gazed up at her windows, until her shadow and her light disappeared; I have felt myself intoxicated at inhaling the perfume she scattered around her; in short, I have been more easily contented than you, for you told her that you loved her, while I hardly dared to confess so much to myself. Nor will she ever know it until I have ceased to live.'

Gregers stopped speaking for a few minutes, while he fixed his gaze on the empty space before him within the tent Krusé could not find words to answer him, he felt so much moved by what he had just heard. A little after, Gregers continued:

'To-morrow we go to battle, or rather accept it, since the enemy offers it to us. It is possible that I shall not outlive the day; it is, indeed, almost certain.'

'Certain!' exclaimed Krusé.

'Yes, my friend!' replied Gregers quietly. 'As you said lately, one has one's presentiments in this world, let us suppose that mine will be fulfilled. In case this should happen, I have written a letter, which I now give into your keeping; take care of it, for it contains my last will. My first intention was that you should have remained for a time ignorant of its contents, but I have thought better of it. When I am dead, go back to Hald, its doors will open to you, not as heretofore, to receive your sighs and complaints--no, you will enter Hald as its master, Jacob Krusé! I give Jeanné to you, and when I have done that I have given you all, for my property shall belong to you both, since I am a childless man and the last of my race. Raise your head, my son! Why do you bend over the table in this manner? She shall be yours, as a reward for her fidelity and your sufferings! You must love each other. I bequeath her to you, and it is my wish and my prayer that you will make up for all the sorrow I have caused her.'

Gregers placed his hand on the young officer's drooping head. Krusé sank to the ground, and knelt before him! As Gregers raised him, he flung his arms round his neck and burst into tears. There was something very strange in this scene between the husband and the lover!

'Oh my God!' cried Krusé, 'I see it all; you will let yourself be killed.'

'No, certainly not that, my friend!' replied the general. 'But I shall be killed, that is all. I believe, as I told you, in presentiments, and I owe you both this reparation--you and her. Go, now! Go and take the letter with you. I wish to be alone a little time.'

So saying, the general opened the tent, and motioned to Krusé to leave it.

The next day, about mid-day, the battle near Gadebusk commenced. Twice during the morning Krusé had gone to Gregers's tent, but the general had declined receiving him either time, upon the plea of having much business to attend to. The drums and the trumpets shortly after called the soldiers to muster in their ranks, and the captain was obliged to hurry to his duty.

When Gregers Daa rode past Reventlow, to the head of the division he commanded, he stopped his horse, and turning to the commander-in-chief, said in a low tone, so as not to be overheard by those near,

'General! I have a request to make to you.'

'To me!' cried Reventlow, much surprised.

'Yes!' continued Gregers; 'and I beseech of you, for the sake of that friendship of which you have given me so many proofs, to grant it.'

'It is already granted, my dear general, if even only on this account, that within another hour I may not be in a condition to accede to anyone's wishes.'

'With the third national regiment, on the left wing of the army, there is one Captain Krusé in command of a company. I particularly wish that his life may be saved, if possible. Will you, therefore, kindly place him accordingly?'

'Colonel Eifeler,' cried Reventlow, beckoning to one of the nearest officers, 'be so good as to order a portion of the third national regiment, under Captain Krusé, to serve as cover for the height, on which his majesty has determined to take the command.'

The colonel touched his cap, put spurs to his horse, and galloped off. Gregers Daa thanked Reventlow with a long and warm pressure of the hand, and then went on to join his own men.

The Danish army was drawn up on a hill, behind a morass; its left wing was protected by a river, its right by a large and thick forest of firs. Two hours before the commencement of the action the Saxon cavalry had arrived, and had united with the Danish.

The Swedes commenced the battle with a brisk cannonade, and stormed the hill under their watchword, 'Mit Gott and Jesu Hülfe!' Shortly after all was enveloped in smoke, which the wind drove over against the enemy. The fire of musketry mingled with the louder booming of the cannon; the signal trumpets sounded; the drums rolled, and men were falling in the agonies of death.

An old chronicle says that the battle, 'with great effusion of blood, lasted until five o'clock. As no one on either side would give any quarter, there were fewer prisoners made; officers fought each other as in a duel, and such were the individual combats, that the Danish and Swedish officers were generally found dead, lying close to each other on the field of slaughter.'

The same chronicle tells us that the Swedes stormed the hill three times. The last time they were so fortunate as to be able to take up their position at the foot of the hill, without the Danes having the power to hinder them. Two attempts had been made in vain. The Danes were beaten back, the Saxon cavalry gave way, and fled in disorder; Steenbock followed up his good fortune, and sent troops to pursue them. The Danes, too, were beginning to give way, for the enemy's cannon, loaded with grape, and discharged from a short distance, was making terrible havoc among them.

At that moment a squadron of Danish horse, led by a tall, thin officer, came dashing down the hill, and for the third time made an attempt to drive back the enemy. The spirited horsemen dropped on all sides, but others, who had escaped unharmed, continued their onset, and fell upon their foes, their brave leader charging at their head. The cannons were silent, while musket and pistol shots flew hotly around. Shouts of triumph--groans from the wounded horses--prayers--the moans of the dying--and wild cries of encouragement, issued from that confused multitude, immersed in dust and smoke, amidst which were to be seen sabres flashing and sinking, and in the hottest of the fight the tall officer, who seemed invulnerable himself though he dealt destruction around.

From a height at a little distance King Frederick had witnessed the whole. He had seen the two unsuccessful attempts to drive the enemy back, and the dragoons who had galloped down the hill to make the third effort. Gregers Daa's name was in the mouth of everyone around. It was he who was speeding on to fulfil his promise.

This furious attack took the Swedes by surprise, and they began at length to draw back. It was in vain that Steenbock sent them reinforcements; before these reached the battlefield he beheld his troops, as if panic-struck, take wildly to flight, and heard the noise made by the dragoons as they spiked the Swedish cannon.

In the midst of the field, among heaps of the wounded and dying on both sides of him, lay their commander, the heroic Gregers, struck by a pistol-ball, while he was trying to wrest the colours from a Swedish officer.

This episode--the gallant conduct of the dragoons--had given the Danes time to recover themselves, and the battle was resumed with fury at another place. Some of the dragoons jumped from their horses, and bore their wounded general away from the field. Gregers was carried to the village, and into the very same room in which, the evening before, he had been so humbled and insulted.

King Frederick soon after entered the chamber, went up to the bed, and leaning over him, took his hand, while he exclaimed:

'How this disaster goes to my heart, my dear general! I have sent for my own surgeon; he will be here presently, and he will do all that he can to preserve to our fatherland a life so invaluable as yours.'

'You are mistaken, my liege,' replied Gregers. 'The surgeon will be of no use, and I am only fulfilling my destiny. Had your majesty been unequal, yesterday evening when you put upon me the humiliation of doubting my courage, I would have killed you; that being impossible, there was nothing for it but to let myself be killed. The ball is in my breast. It will realize my wish.'

The king uttered in a low voice some words full of admiration of a heroism that sought death on account of a hasty and inconsiderate expression from his lips.

When Gregers had finished speaking to the king, he turned his head away from him. His eyes met those of Krusé, who was kneeling on the other side of the bed. A sweet and happy smile stole over the pale countenance of the dying man, as he held out his hand to the captain.

'You see that my presentiments were correct,' he whispered, in a weak and failing voice. 'Now she will be happy, and you also; now you may love each other freely--for ever. And when you are happiest, sometimes spare a thought to me--an old man, who was ignorant that it was he who hindered your happiness--who went away when he discovered it. Farewell, my son. Be kind to her, whom we both love!'

Gregers drew a deep sigh, clasped his feeble hands, and his spirit fled to other worlds!'


A month later, two persons were sitting in one of the drawing-rooms at Hald; the one was Jeanné, the other Captain Krusé, who the same day had arrived with the general's body from Holstein. Gregers Daa had been buried in his family vault in the cathedral at Viborg. Jeanné had read the letter he had addressed to her in his tent the evening before the battle. Krusé related to her, word for word, what had passed the same evening between them. Jeanné wept bitterly while he spoke, and when he had finished there was a long and unbroken silence in the room. A little after, Jeanné held out her hand to him, and said,

'Leave me, now, my friend. I wish to be alone.'

There was something of decision and earnestness in the tone in which she spoke that alarmed the captain.' He held her hand in his while he asked:

'And when may I come back?'

'Never! Never come back!' replied Jeanné, with the utmost composure, 'for I no longer love you!'

Krusé stood petrified. Then he whispered in accents which betrayed the deepest despair:

'And your vows, and your assurance that if you did not belong to him, no living creature should separate us?'

'I have not forgotten all that,' she replied; 'but I now belong to him more than ever I did. Go, Jacob Krusé, I beseech of you. It is not the living which separates us, but the dead!'

Having thus spoken she left the room.

What strange contradictions there are in a woman's heart! Jeanné kept her word, and remained until her death a lonely and sorrowing widow.

The following year Krusé fell at the siege of Tönning.





HERR SINCLAIR.

BY E. STORM.

Herr Sinclair o'er the briny wave

His course to Norway bent;

'Midst Guldbrand's rocks he found his grave;

There, his last breath was spent.

 

Sinclair pass'd o'er the billows blue

For Swedish gold to fight;

He came, alas! he little knew

Norwegian dust to bite.

 

Bright beams that night the pale moon flung--

The vessel gently roll'd--

A mermaid from the ocean sprung

And Sinclair's fate foretold.

 

'Turn back, turn back, thou Scottish chief!

Hold'st thou thy life so cheap?

Turn back, or give my words belief,

Thou'lt ne'er repass this deep!'

 

'Light is thy song, malicious elf!

Thy theme is always ill!

Could I but reach thy hated self

That voice should soon be still!'

 

He sail'd one day--he sail'd for three--

With all his vassal train;

On the fourth morn--see--Norway--see!

Breaks on the azure main.

 

By Romsdal's coast he steers to land,

On hostile views intent;

The fourteen hundred of his band

Were all on evil bent.

 

With lawless might, where'er they go

They slaughter and they burn;

They laugh to scorn the widow's woe:

The old man's pray'r they spurn.

 

The infant in its mother's arms,

While smiling there--they kill.

But rumours strange, and wild alarms

Soon all the country fill.

 

The bonfires blazed--the tidings flew--

And far and wide they spread

The valley's sons that signal knew;

From foes they never fled.

 

'We must ourselves the country save;

Our soldiers fight elsewhere.

And cursed be the dastard knave

Who now his blood would spare!'

 

From Vaage, Lessoe, and from Lom,

With axes sharp and strong;

In one great mass the peasants come--

To meet the Scots they throng.

 

There runs a path by Lidé's side,

Which some the Kringell call;

And near it Laugé's waters glide:

In them the foe shall fall.

 

Now weapons, long disused, are spread

Again that bloody day.

The merman lifts his shaggy head

And waits his destined prey.

 

Brave Sinclair, pierced with many a ball,

Sinks groaning on the field.

The Scots behold their leader fall,

And rank on rank they yield.

 

'On peasants! on--ye Normand men!

Strike down beneath your feet!'

For home and peace the Scots wish'd then;

But there was no retreat.

 

With corpses was the Kringell fill'd;

The ravens were regaled.

The youthful blood which there was spill'd

The Scottish girls bewail'd.

 

No living soul went home again

Their countrymen to tell

The hope to conquer those how vain,

'Midst Norway's hills who dwell.

 

They raised a column on that spot,

To bid their foes beware;

And evil be that Normand's lot

Who coldly passes there!






THE AGED RABBI.

A Jewish Tale.

BY B. S. INGEMANN.


I.

'Is thy day of persecution to return, lost, unhappy Israel?' exclaimed the old rabbi, Philip Moses, sadly shaking his venerable grey head, as one evening in the autumn of 1819 stones were thrown in through the windows of the house in which he resided, whilst the rabble of Hamburg shouted in the street in derision the first words of the Jew's lament for Jerusalem.

'Yes! ye are right,' he continued mournfully; 'Jerusalem is demolished and laid waste. Ye could not stone us against Jehovah's will! But His wrath is sore kindled against us. His patience was great, but His people have forgotten Him in the midst of their banishment; they have forsaken the Law and the Prophets amidst the dwellings of strangers; they have mingled their blood with the blood of the unbeliever; and lo! therefore God's people are thrust forth from the earth, and blotted out from among the living.'

'Oh, grandfather, grandfather!' cried his weeping grandchildren, clinging to him in their terror, 'protect us from the fearful Christians!'

'If ye be still the children of Israel,' answered the old man calmly, 'fold your hands and bow your knees, turn your faces towards the east--towards the ruins of God's holy city--and pray to Jehovah, the God of your fathers! While thus engaged in prayer, what if these stones crush your heads and dash out your brains? Praise Jacob's God with me, and die in the name of the Lord God of Sabaoth! Then shall His cherubim bear ye in peace to our father Abraham's bosom!'

'Is that the only comfort you can bestow, simple old man?' said his son Samuel, the father of the children. He was the richest jeweller in Hamburg, and now saw his valuable shop exposed to be ransacked and plundered by the furious mob. 'Can you give us no better advice than to pray? I know something better. We will all let ourselves be baptized to-morrow.'

'Would you renounce the faith of your fathers on account of your anxiety about your jewellery, my son?' said the old man, casting a contemptuous glance on the wealthy, trembling Israelite, who, overcome with fear, was rushing from keeping-place to keeping-place, gathering together and packing up his most valuable articles.

'Truly it is indifferent to me whether they call me Jew or Christian,' replied Samuel, 'so I can save my goods and my life. When the question is, whether I shall be a rich man to-morrow or a beggar--whether I shall walk the streets, and go to the Exchange in peace, or if I am to be pelted in open day by the very children, and risk my health, my limbs, my life itself--when my jewels, my furniture, my wife, my children, and my windows are in question--I should be a great ass if I hesitated to let a handful of cold water be thrown upon me. It is only a stupid ceremony; but I daresay it is just as good as our own crotchets. Now-a-days that is the best creed which gives security and advantages in trade and commerce.'

'Miserable being!' cried old Philip Moses, drawing himself up to his full length, 'accursed be the spirit that speaks by your mouth! It is that pestilential spirit which has wrought evil among God's people, and caused them to become a byword to the nations of the earth, and an abomination to the Lord of Heaven! Accursed be those goods and that life for which you would barter the faith of your forefathers, and mock even the altar of the strangers, to which you would fly in your abject cowardice! Accursed be the security and the advantages for which you would betray Jehovah! Accursed be the trade and the commerce that have enticed God's people to become the slaves of Mammon, and frantic worshippers of the golden calf!'

'You talk wildly, old man!' replied Samuel. 'You do not know how to accommodate yourself to the times. You are aged, and cling to old notions; but the days of your prophets are gone by.'

'Their words shall stand to the last of days,' said the old man, raising his head proudly; 'and be it my care to proclaim them among ye, even if the earth should burn around me, and sink beneath my feet! Is it not enough that we are a stricken and dispersed race, cast forth into the wide world, and condemned to live despised in the land of the stranger? Shall we add humiliation to humiliation, and despicably constrain ourselves to laud and call those just who scorn us and trample us in the dust?'

The jeweller's handsome saloon was full of fugitive Israelites, who sought refuge and protection at the abode of the wealthy Samuel; whilst the police and the watchmen pretended to be endeavouring to quiet and disperse the mob outside.

The assembled Jews loudly deplored their misfortunes, and some of them gazed with astonishment on the aged Philip Moses, who stood there firmly and fearlessly, like a prophet among them, and poured forth words of wisdom and instruction to his trembling fellow-believers.

Two or three of the old rabbis, with long beards and black silk talars, or robes, alone listened attentively and with calm seriousness to him, the most ancient of their community. But the young beardless Israelites uttered cries of lamentation, bewailing the conduct of the people of Hamburg, bewailing their broken windows, and all the damage that would accrue to their trades or business in consequence of this new persecution.

'Ah! if my mother had not been so over-faithful to my father,' said a conceited young Jew, 'I might have gone with comfort to the theatre, and seen that pretty Ma'amselle Wrede, without being recognized as a Jew, and abused accordingly; and running the risk of getting my head broken to boot.'

'Oh! that we had never been circumcised!' cried another; 'our lives are actually not safe in the streets.'

'Would that we were all baptized!' groaned a third. 'Ay, with some philter that would turn our dark hair to red, and remove the too apparent marks with which Jehovah has signalized us and cast us out among our foes.'

'Oh!--woe--woe!' shrieked the women and children--'whither shall we fly in our great distress and misery? Ah! were it but morning, and this dreadful night were past!'

'Leave off your lamentations, ye foolish and untoward ones!' cried Philip Moses. 'The Lord has struck ye with imbecility, and with blindness, and with corruption of heart. He has scattered ye abroad among all the tribes of the earth, because of your perversity; he has given thee a timorous heart, oh Israel! so that the sole of thy foot cannot find rest, and thou feelest that thy life is in jeopardy, and goest about groaning night and day; and in the morning thou sayest, Would that it were evening! and in the evening, Would that it were morning! because of the terror of thy heart, and the visions that are before thine eyes. But hearken what the Lord declares unto you by the mouth of His servants from the tabernacle in your foreign synagogue. If your affliction and your humiliation be greater than your transgressions, shake the dust from your feet, and go forth from the place where ye are treated with ignominy and oppression. Leave the iniquitous Mammon in the hands of the evildoers, and take only with you that to which there cleaves no curse in the sight of Jehovah! Come! I will lead ye from city to city, and from land to land, until we find some spot on earth where Jehovah may veil our disgrace and grant us freedom among the children of mankind, or else, like our fathers of old, among the wild beasts of the wilderness!'

'What are you dreaming of, old man?' exclaimed his rich kinsmen, in dissatisfied chorus. 'Should we leave our hard-won gains, and go forth like beggars into the world, with old sacks on our shoulders? Where shall we find a more commercial town than this? And in what part of the world would we not be exposed to annoyances and persecutions? No path leads back to the promised land, and were we to be guided by your dreams, we should neither be able to feed our wives and our little ones, nor to gather golden pieces and silver ducats.'

'If ye believed in Jehovah,' replied Philip Moses, 'ye would also believe that there is a way to the promised land; but that thought is too grand for your contracted souls. The flesh-pots of Egypt are dearer to you than the manna from heaven in the wilderness; and if the Lord God were to call up Moses among you, ye would stone him as your fathers stoned the prophets.'

'What avails all this long discourse, poor, foolish old man?' said his son, the rich jeweller, interrupting him. 'Sit down there in your comfortable arm-chair, and amuse yourself with the children, Moses, while the rest of us consult together what is best to be done. He is going into his dotage,' added he, turning to the other Jews, 'and sometimes he is not quite in his right senses, he has quarrelled with all his family, and I keep him here, out of charity, in my house, as you see; but for all that I have to put up with many hard words, and much abuse from him.'

Then there commenced a mumbling in the room, and a buzzing sound as in a bee-hive, everyone giving his opinion as to the best way of quieting the people of Hamburg, and making up matters with them. Some proposed that a deputation should be sent to the Senate to demand the protection of the military for their houses.

'It would be of no use,' said others. 'These mean, abominable members of the Hanseatic League are our worst enemies; these stupid, paltry, petty dealers, who envy our cleverness in business, and covet our profits--it is just they themselves who set the populace against us.'

'Then let us remove to Altona,' cried some. 'Those Danish blockheads will at least have sense enough to be willing to receive us with all our riches; and they will be glad to have an opportunity of causing a loss to the impudent Hamburgers, in return for their "Schukelmeier" cry.'

'But when the worst part of the storm is over, we will repent having gone,' argued others; 'for there is not so much business done, or so much money to be made there, as here. It is better for us to put up with rudeness and with temporary annoyances, than to run the risk of seriously injuring our business, and lessening our gains.'

'If the worst happens, we can but let ourselves be baptized,' said Samuel, 'and then we can no more be called Jews than the Hamburgers themselves.'

'What good would that do?' exclaimed a shabby-looking Jew, with a long beard. 'It is not on account of our religion that they persecute us; it is only our wealth and the luxuries we can afford, that excite their envious dislike. Our handsome houses are our misfortune, and our splendid equipages; our beautiful villas on the Elbe and the Alster, and all the braggadocio of our young fops. Go about like me, with a matted beard and tattered garments. Live well in the privacy of your own houses, but let not your abundance be seen by anyone. You will then find that no one will envy you, or persecute you. Let the children in the street point at us, and abuse us. Is it not for being what it should be our pride to be called? If they even treated us as if we were lepers, they could not prevent us from being God's chosen people. We are blessed in our affairs, and in our wedlock; we multiply, and fill all lands, and devour the marrow thereof; we are really the lords of the people, though we do not blush to seem their slaves.'

This advice was rejected by the richer and more modern Israelites, who had no inclination to array themselves in sackcloth and ashes, and to relinquish the ostentatious display of that wealth which, in the midst of so many humiliations, and with so many equivocal acts, and little tricks in trade, they had amassed.

'No, no! I know a much better plan,' said one of the richest men present, who had originally been a sort of pedlar, and sold tapes and ribbons. 'We will take it by turns to give turtle-feasts; we will invite all the young men, the sons of the merchants, to our tables; our wives and our daughters must show all manner of kindness and complaisance to them, and not keep them at such a cold distance as they do now; let them lay aside their reserve, and try to please them. It is better, far better, even to marry among the Christians, than to have them as enemies, now-a-days.'

On hearing these words, old Philip Moses arose; he could no longer endure to listen to his people humbling themselves, as he thought, so basely. He tore his clothes, and anathematized the tongue that spoke last. He then tried, with all the eloquence of which he was master, to touch the hearts and rouse the spirits of those who were the best among the assembly, by setting forth to them the misery and degradation which their own selfishness and cupidity had brought upon them. He characterized their present persecution as a just punishment from Jehovah for their degeneracy, and their being so absorbed in the pursuit of money. He condemned their indifference to the faith and the customs of their forefathers; their neglect of the Sabbath, and of its holy rites; their shaving off their beards, and their being ashamed to be known to be what they were. He inveighed against their connection with Christians, and more especially their marriages with them, by which two of his own sons had disgraced him. And he denounced their excessive keenness in the pursuit of gold, as likely to be ruinous to them, as being certain to have an injurious effect on their settling happily in any and every country in the world.

But this was too much for his fellow Jews to harken to in silence. They all attacked him vehemently, calling him a crazy old traitor, who only wished their destruction. Loudly, however, as swelled their chorus of abuse, still more loudly arose the voice of the old man, as he, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, reproved them: 'O Israel! thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee. I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed; how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God. Your sons have withholden good things from me. For among my people are found wicked men; they lay wait as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit, therefore they are become great and waxen rich. They are waxen fat--they shine; yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked. They judge not the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord. Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? Go ye upon her walls and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements, for they are not the Lord's!'

Scarcely had he uttered these last words than a shower of stones, hurled against the closed window-shutters, demolished them, and dashed in, while this new attack was followed by shouts of triumph and derisive laughter from the streets.

'Away with him--away with the old prophet!' cried several of the Jews. 'His imprecations are bringing fresh evil and persecution upon us.'

'This is not a time to be preaching all that old twaddle to us about our sins,' said his son, the rich Samuel. 'I will not listen to another word; and if you expect to remain longer in my house, you must keep your tongue to yourself, I can tell you. It would be more to the purpose if you went to your room, and shaved off that beard of yours, that you might look like other men. We must howl with the wolves we are among, and if the mob were to catch a glimpse of your long beard, which is just like that of an old he-goat, and your masquerade garb, they would pull the house down about our ears.'

'Oh, grandfather, grandfather!' exclaimed the youngest of his grandchildren, starting away from him, 'how your eyes are blazing! You are not going to hurt my father?'

'For your sakes, I will not curse him,' said the old man, in a low, tremulous voice; 'but accursed be the spirit which influences him, and my unfortunate, perverted people! I shall shake the dust from my feet at the threshold of your door, my son, and never more shall you behold my countenance in this world; but, in your last moments, you will remember this hour. I will wander defenceless among our enemies; I will bare this grey head to their insults, stand amidst their showers of stones, and peradventure be torn asunder by their violent hands, before my own child shall pluck out the beard from my aged cheeks, or turn me out of his house as a beggar.'

'Stay!--are you mad?' cried Samuel; 'you will not pass alive through that mob outside. Hold him, some one!' he exclaimed to those around. 'He is deranged, as you see, and is going into his dotage. I should be sorry if anything were to happen to him, or he were to meet with any injury.'

But old Philip Moses went away, like Lot, from the doomed Sodom, and never once looked back. No one attempted to detain him, for his denunciations, and his terrible look, had frightened them all. With his snow-white locks uncovered, and in his torn dark silk talar, alone, and without his staff, he went forth, and shook the dust from his feet as he stepped from the door.

When the Hamburg populace perceived him, a group of children began to abuse him, but no one took up the cry, and not a hand was lifted against the silent, venerable-looking old man.

'Let him go in peace!' said one to the other; 'it is old Philip Moses. He is a good man; it would be a sin to hurt him, or to scoff at him.'

'But if we had his son Samuel in our clutches,' said others, 'he should not get off so easily; he is the greatest bloodsucker among them all!'


II.

It was late at night--the tumult in the streets had ceased. No more carriages rolled along from the theatre, or from parties at the houses of the rich Hamburg merchants. The promenade on the 'Jungfernstieg' had been over long before, and the pavilions were locked up. Lights glimmered faintly from the upper windows of the large hotels, and only here and there a solitary reveller was to be seen, humming an air, as he was wending his way homewards from the 'Salon d'Apollon,' or was stopped by some straggling night-wanderer of the female sex. The moon was shining calmly on the Alster, and the watchman had just called the hour by St. Michael's clock; but two strange-looking figures still walked up and down the 'Jungfernstieg,' and seemed to have no thought of home, though the sharp wind scattered the leaves of the trees around them, and the flitting clouds often obscured the moon on that cold September night. A dark-haired young girl walked, shivering with cold, alongside of an old Jew, and seemed to be speaking words of comfort to him, in a low, sweet voice; and that Jew was the aged Philip Moses!

'You are freezing, my child,' said the old man, as he threw the skirt of his torn talar around her shoulders. 'Let me take you back to the house of your mother's brother; but I will not cross his threshold again. I made that vow the day he was seduced into wedding the artful Christian girl. On this day has my third son closed his door against me, and I have no more daughters on this earth. But yes, I have you still--you, the daughter of my dear and excellent Rachel! Come, let me take you home. It is hard enough upon you to be an orphan--fatherless and motherless--and a servant to your Christian aunt; you shall not become houseless for my sake. Poor Benjamina!' he exclaimed, as a bright beam from the moon, that was unclouded for a minute, enabled him to see her lovely youthful face distinctly, and to observe how tears were gathering in her long dark eyelashes. 'Poor Benjamina! you are indeed kind to care so much for your rough old grandfather, and not to be afraid to come and wander about with him, in our day of persecution, when he was thrust out alone among our foes!'

'Ah, dear, good grandfather!' replied Benjamina, 'how could my uncle Samuel behave so ill to you! But all my uncles are not so bad as he is. I am tolerably comfortable at uncle Daniel's every other week, and they are kind to me now at uncle Isaac's, since I have grown stronger, and am able to assist my aunt in the kitchen. Do go with me to one of them. Their wives and new connections do not hate us as the other Christians do; and you must go somewhere. Since uncle Samuel has become so rich, he disdains all his poorer relations, and will not associate with them. Why did you choose to live with him, rather than with either of your other sons? I am sure neither of them could have found it in his heart to have treated you as Samuel has done to-day. You never took a vow not to enter Isaac's house, therefore do go with me to it. I shall reside there with you, and attend upon you: and the pretty children will become fond of you. They can learn from you the history of Joseph and his brethren, and hear about little Benjamin, my namesake. You can teach them as you taught me at my poor mother's, when I was a little girl. Come, dear grandfather, come!--before day dawn, and our persecutors awake. In these times of tribulation we must cherish each other--we unfortunate and persecuted fugitives.'

'It is five years since I have entered my son Isaac's house,' said the old man, slowly. 'How many children has he now?'

'Ah, you do not know that, dear grandfather, and yet he is your own son! His fifth boy is an infant in its cradle.'

'Is his Christian wife kind to him? and does she not turn his feeble spirit from Jehovah, and the faith and the customs of our forefathers? I have not seen him lately at the synagogue, but he never misses going to the Exchange.'

'Only come with me to him, grandfather, and you will see that he is better than Samuel, though he may not go to the synagogue, and only puts the shop-door on the latch on Saturday, instead of shutting it up. You will like his nice little boys, though my aunt rather spoils the eldest. They have all light hair and pretty blue eyes, like their mother. Many Christians visit the house; and the good Mr. Veit, who is a painter, sometimes teaches me to draw when I am there. You do not hate all Christians, do you, grandfather, because some of them treat us cruelly? You do not condemn them all so much as these--our uncharitable persecutors?'

'No, my child,' replied the old man. 'I admit the general philanthropy of the Christians, which they believe they learned from their wise but unfortunate prophet; though, in their present conduct towards us, they give no proof of it. Yet far be it from me to blame them for this. Our law tells us to make our own hearts clean before we judge others; that so we may find forgiveness in the day of atonement. But stay not out here longer, so late, my daughter; your good name may be made the prey of the tongue of the backbiter and the slanderer, although it is only in a work of mercy and of love in which you are engaged, and for which the Lord God of Sabaoth will bless you in future days. Leave me to wander out into the solitary paths! The Lord can send to me--even to me--a raven in the desert, if he think fit. My tent is now the great Temple of the Lord, where the sun and the moon are lights in the high altar, and the four corners of the earth are the pillars of the tabernacle. Hark! from thence shall it seem to me that His mighty cherubs are singing praises to His name, when the wild storms of nature are playing around my head. Let me go, my child, and weep not because I am a lonely wanderer! I would rather roam, houseless, through the world, than seek a refuge under the roof where I am an unwelcome intruder. I would rather be stoned by the Christians than be disdained as a pauper by my own kindred--my own children--and perhaps hear that I am so, when the infirmities of age compel me to listen in silence.'

'Well, then, so be it, dear grandfather, and I will remain with you. The Christians may stone me in your arms if they will.'

The old man was silent for a time, and he appeared to be fighting a hard battle in his heart.

'Come then, my child,' said he at length, seizing Benjamina by the hand, 'for your sake will I endure disgrace, and ask shelter from a son, who cared more for a strange woman than for his father's blessing.'

They then proceeded in silence to the 'Hopfenmarkt,' and rang at the clothier Isaac's door.

'Is that any of our people?' whispered an anxious voice from a window. Philip Moses answered in Hebrew, and a little while after the outer door was opened.

Isaac received his deserted old father, who had thus taken refuge with him, with sincere pleasure; yet this pleasure was damped by the perplexed and uneasy feelings which came over him when he thought of the daily reproaches which he foresaw he would have to encounter, and the many disturbances in his domestic life which he feared the unbending rabbi would occasion. But their common grievances and danger drew their hearts together. Though Isaac's house was, at present, exempt from all damage (since, through his marriage with a Christian, and his frequent intercourse with Christians, he seemed almost separated from his own people), he lived still in constant terror, on account of the inimical disposition evinced towards the Jews, which had now actually broken out in open persecution of them; and he sought in vain to conceal from those with whom he associated the interest he secretly took in the fate of his unhappy nation.

He was extremely indignant when he heard how his rich brother, Samuel, had behaved to the old man: and he begged his father to forget all the past, and make himself at home in his house. But he resolved, at the same time, not to permit his domestic peace to be disturbed, or the habits of his daily life to be disarranged, by the old man's prejudices--such at least as could not be borne with easily, and might not give cause of complaint. 'He must accommodate himself, as my guest, to the ways of the house,' thought he to himself. 'He will be accustomed to them in time, and there would be no use in beginning as we could not go on.'

'Your brother Samuel has not honoured his father, and he cannot succeed in worldly matters,' said Philip Moses, as he seemed endeavouring to read in the countenance of his son what was passing in his mind. 'But may the Almighty give him, and all our people, grace to repent, and let not His angry countenance be turned upon us to our ruin! My days will not be many,' he added, earnestly; 'but had it not been for my faithfully attached Benjamina's sake, I would rather have gone forth to wander over the wide world than have exposed your heart, my son, to a trial which, I fear, is beyond your strength.'

Isaac's wife was quite out of humour when Benjamina went to her bedroom to tell her what had taken place.

'It will never answer,' said she, 'to have that old instigator of strife here in our house. He hates me already, because I am not one of your nation. It was on my account that he has never hitherto chosen to put his foot within our doors.'

'No, my grandfather does not hate the Christians,' replied Benjamina, cheerfully. 'If he lives here, he will bring good luck and a blessing to the house. Dearest aunt, may I not get the little blue chamber ready for him? I did not dare to go near him when he was with my uncle Samuel, and yet he was so kind to me when I was a child.'

'Well, I suppose I can't help his staying, for the present at least,' replied the aunt, peevishly, 'so you can put the blue chamber in decent order for him, Benjamina. But if you make too much fuss about him, or give me any additional trouble with this new pest, I will send you back to Daniel. You may stay for the present; but keep him as much as possible away from the children and the rest of us. We shall have quite annoyance enough with him at the dinner-table.'

'Poor, poor grandfather!' sighed Benjamina, as weeping silently she left her unkind aunt, who had often before spoken harshly to her, but had never wounded her feelings so deeply as now.

Isaac had afterwards an unpleasant matrimonial scene, and a sharp battle of words with his wife, in reference to the old man, to whom he could not deny an asylum in his house, however many scruples he himself had as to keeping him.


III.

The next day was Saturday. Philip Moses kept the sabbath in his own room, and prayed for his unhappy people; but he often started, and a look of pain seemed to contract his features when he overheard his son talking loudly to his customers in the shop, and rattling the money in the till; while his wife, in the other apartments, was engaged in various household duties, in all of which Benjamina was obliged to assist her. He frequently heard her aunt scolding her, and she had scarcely been able to snatch more than a minute to carry her grandfather's breakfast to him, and affectionately to bid him good morning. On that short visit he perceived that she had been weeping; but he would not deprive her of the comfort of fancying she had concealed her tears from him, by letting her know that he had observed them.

Philip Moses was lying with his old head literally bowed into the dust, and was engaged in prayer, when Benjamina returned and called him to dinner. His daughter-in-law had slightly hoped he would be able to put up with such accommodation as their house afforded, but she was neither able nor willing to conceal her ill-humour; and the old man sat silently at table without tasting any of the dishes placed on it, for these consisted of the very things that the Mosaic law particularly forbade. His son did not seem to notice all this; but poor Benjamina did, and fasted also, though she was very hungry. The tumult of the preceding night was talked of, and it was told that there had not been one window left unbroken in Samuel's residence, nor in many of the handsomest houses belonging to the Jews; also, that a couple of Jew old-clothesmen, who were perambulating the streets, had been very ill-used by the mob.

'Why do the rich make so much useless display?' said Isaac, 'and why do the poor seek, by their needless oddity, to draw public observation upon themselves?'

'Have you become a Christian, my son?' demanded the old man; 'or perhaps this is not the Sabbath-day?'

'I adhere to the doctrines of my forefathers,' replied his son, 'in what I consider to be of consequence, and in what is applicable to the age in which we live, and to the ideas of what is holy and unholy that my reason and my senses can acknowledge. I wish my father would do the same, and not be scandalized at what is really quite innocent.'

'My father-in-law must try to put up with our fare,' said the mistress of the house, handing him, with thoughtless indifference, a plate of roast pork. 'Our house is quite in disorder to-day,' she added, by way of apology, when he silently handed her back the plate, 'and I really did not bethink me of our guest; but I shall have something else another time, when I am accustomed to remember what he will not eat.'

A gloomy silence then followed at table, and Isaac cast a reproachful look at his wife, which she did not omit to notice. The old man made a movement as if he were about to rise, but at that moment his eye fell on Benjamina; he remained silent and reseated himself. What Benjamina read, however, in her grandfather's countenance, drew unbidden tears to her beautiful eyes--tears which she quickly brushed away, while in her embarrassment she, unwittingly, broke up her bread into small crumbs on the tablecloth. For this act of extravagance she received a sharp reprimand from her aunt, with a rude reminder that these were not times to waste bread, and that 'those who had nothing of their own should think themselves lucky to get anything to put in their mouths.'

'Wife!' whispered Isaac, to his better half, as they rose from table, 'that was not according to our agreement.'

When old Philip Moses was alone with his son afterwards, he looked long and earnestly at him, and then said, in a dejected tone of voice:

'My son, speak out the truth freely--the grey-haired, antiquated Jew is an unbidden guest; you are ashamed to close your doors against him, but not to give him wormwood in his cup of welcome; and my poor Benjamina is looked on as a mendicant here, to whom you have not many crumbs of bread to spare.'

'How so--my father?' stammered Isaac. 'If my wife--forgive her!--I myself remarked a degree of thoughtlessness in her, which pained me.'

'Isaac--Isaac!' exclaimed the old man, 'why does your voice tremble, and why do your eyes avoid mine? But I will still call you my son, and will tarry awhile to see if you can free yourself. Your heart is not bad, Isaac; but, alas! it has been with you, as with the sons of Israel, who, captivated by the daughters of a strange people, forgot father and mother, and that Lord who brought them out of Egypt--they never beheld the promised land.'

'Let not my marriage offend you so much, my dear father,' said Isaac, gathering courage to speak out, 'and be not shocked at my way of living. Remember, I came into the world half a century later than you did. Opinions alter with time and with circumstances, and I have learned to see much in our religion, and our position as regards the rest of the world, in a very different light to what you do. I should indeed be blind, if I did not perceive that our people are the most remarkable on the face of the earth, and the least subject to change, even in their ruin, and their dispersion among all the nations in the world. But I do not think that we are, therefore, called upon eternally to separate ourselves from all other living beings. Inwardly we may, indeed, feel our distinction from them; and let this secret knowledge strengthen us to support our humiliations, and teach us to rise superior to our oppressors and persecutors, even when we are condemned to crawl in the dust before them; inwardly we may despise them, but outwardly we must amalgamate with the great masses of mankind, who will otherwise crush us in our stubbornness.'

'If I understand you aright, my son, you mean that we may continue to be Israelites, while we accept Christian customs and fashions; and that our race might be preserved, notwithstanding that we put an end to it ourselves by mingling our blood with that of the stranger.'

'As a people and as a nation we are already lost,' replied his son; 'and with the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem has the outward structure of our religion fallen to the ground. Do you not believe that if our great lawgiver had lived in these times, and in this land, he would not have prescribed very different rules for our conduct?'

'Would he have changed the commandments to fear and serve the God of Sabaoth, and to honour father and mother?' asked the old man.

Some persons came in at that moment, and the conversation was broken off.

In the evening Isaac was not at home, but some of his wife's relations came to visit her, along with a couple of foppish young men, who looked in from a party in the neighbourhood. No one seemed to notice old Philip Moses; he sat quietly in a remote corner of the room, and listened to the jokes, with which some of the gentlemen entertained the company about the rising against the Jews, at which they laughed very heartily; also telling, with great glee, that they were to be attacked again. Amongst the visitors was a handsome young man, with long fair hair falling over his white collar. He was the young painter Veit, who had lately returned from Rome, and who still wore the peculiar costume adopted there by artists. The two fops seemed inclined to turn his dress into ridicule, for they were afraid that he intended introducing the fashion into Hamburg; but he took no notice of them. He was the son of the physician who attended Isaac's family, and who resided on the 'Hopfenmarkt.' His attraction to the house was Benjamina's beautiful face, which was very interesting to him as an artist. He had hitherto taken no share in the general conversation, but had been standing apart in a window with Benjamina, talking to her about her reverend-looking grandfather, whom he had saluted with the respect which his age and patriarchal appearance demanded.

He now remarked the tenour of the conversation that was going on, and turned quickly from Benjamina to try to stop it, by introducing some other subject. But the thoughtless and unfeeling young men soon resumed their ridicule of the Jews, and indulged in witticisms at the expense of their sufferings during the riot, without at all being checked by the remembrance of whose house they were in, or who was present. At length Veit thought it necessary to remind them where they were; and he did this in so pointed and stinging a manner, that, ashamed and enraged, they immediately took their departure, but not until they had whispered him that he would find them the next morning near the Obelisk. No one overheard the challenge, but Veit vowed to himself that he would chastise them severely, and that that meeting should be a blacker hour to them than any which had occurred during the tumult they had considered so amusing. But their exit did not put an end to strife. Some elderly wholesale dealers thought fit to take up the defence of their friends who had just gone, and seemed at least not to disapprove of the chastisement inflicted on the privileged Hebrew usurers for their long-practised extortions.

Veit again became the champion of the Jews, and descanted with warmth on the hateful, unchristian spirit which could impel Christians so shamefully to break the peace, and maltreat a fugitive, defenceless race, to whom the state had promised its protection.

4 We complain that they hate us and defraud us,' said he. 'Do we show love to them when we stone them? Do we not betray them, when we infringe our own laws in order to break faith with them, and withdraw the security on which we told them they might rely, when they settled among us? If we were to show more justice and Christian feeling, we might induce them to like us; but hatred, scorn, and persecution, never yet won either proselytes or friends.'

Benjamina rewarded the defender of her people with a grateful smile, and old Philip Moses rose and stepped quietly, but with dignity, forth from his corner.

'It is just and right that we should be humbled before the Lord!' said he. 'But unjust and wicked are our fellow-creatures who seek our humiliation. Accept an old man's thanks,' he added, as he turned towards the young painter, 'that thou dost not echo the cry of the persecutor, and cast stones at us in the time wherein we are exposed to the contumely and the reproach of the scorner, but that thou hast a word of kindness for the Lord's oppressed and humbled people in the hour of their desolation.'

'Who is that strange old man? He speaks as if he were a Bible,' said the startled visitors one to another.

Isaac's eldest child, a boy of about five years of age, and his mother's darling and absolute image, had all day been peeping at the old man, as if he were some extraordinary spectacle.

'Are not you a Jewish priest?' said he, pertly, as he approached him more closely. 'Why, what a nasty, ugly, long beard you have! Don't come near the windows, or they will be broken for us, mother says.'

'He is your grandfather,' whispered Benjamina to the child; 'you must love him, and behave well to him, Carl!'

'Nonsense!' cried the child, laughing outright--'a Jew with a long beard, who won't eat pork, my grandfather! No, no. See if I don't tell him all the funny things that all the boys say--'

Benjamina cried, and placed her hand over the child's mouth, to prevent the old man from hearing what he was saying; but the unfortunate grandfather had not lost a word that he had uttered. He lifted his hand to crush the serpent that thus hissed in his ear, but at that moment he observed Benjamina's tearful eyes; his arm fell by his side, and he stood pale and silent, with his flashing eyes fixed on the floor.

Just then Isaac came in, and almost started as he beheld the embarrassed countenances around. Not one of the strangers, except the painter, seemed to feel any pity for the old man, but some were hastening away, while others were evidently preparing to follow.

'What is the matter,' asked Isaac, glancing first at the excited old man, and then, with some suspicion, at his wife. 'Has anyone been annoying my old father?'

'How can I help that poor child's chattering?' replied his wife. 'But come, my boy,' she added, taking the urchin tenderly by the hand, and leading him out of the room--'come; hereafter none of us must dare to open our mouths in our own house.'

The painter, reddening with anger, stood near Benjamina and Philip Moses, whose hand he shook kindly; but the old man stood as a statue of stone, with his eyes fixed on the floor. Suddenly he seemed to awaken as if from a dream, raised his head, and looked all around. When he saw Isaac standing before him, the tears started to his eyes, and coursed each other down his pale cheeks into his long white beard.

'Farewell, my son!' he exclaimed, laying his hand on Isaac's head. 'The hand of the Lord rests heavily on thee for thy backsliding. I will not curse thy house, but I leave it, lest its roof should fall down upon me!'

So saying he walked out of the house, and his son made no attempt to detain him. But the weeping Benjamina followed him, and Veit followed them both at a little distance, in order to afford them assistance if the mob should attack them; for the tumult of the preceding evening was recommencing, and there were even more ill-disposed persons gathering in the streets than before. Veit saw the old man take the way towards the gates of Altona, hand in hand with Benjamina, whom he had in vain besought to return to her uncle's family, and Veit therefore concluded that they intended leaving Hamburg, and seeking an asylum in Altona. He determined still to follow them, so as to obtain shelter for them at the house of a friend of his there, in case they should find any difficulty in procuring such for themselves. But before they reached the Altona gates they were intercepted by a mob of the lowest rabble and a number of tradesmen's apprentices, who were flocking from all parts of the town, and wandering from street to street, breaking the windows of the Jews' houses.

'Stop, Stop!' roared the rabble. 'Where are you taking that pretty girl, you old Jew rascal?' Some of them then commenced pulling the old man by the beard, while others began to treat the pale and trembling Benjamina with rudeness and indignity. But at that moment Viet rushed to the rescue, and drawing a sword from his walking-stick, he laid about furiously among the offenders; some gentlemen, and other members of the more respectable classes of the Hamburg population, took his part; and while the police were endeavouring to disperse the mob, Veit succeeded in getting Philip Moses and his granddaughter away, and conveying them through a side gate into a small back street: after a rather long circuit through deserted by-lanes and narrow streets, he was so fortunate as to reach his father's house without further molestation, and the old doctor received his unexpected guests with kind cordiality, and did all he could, both as host and physician, to minister to their wants and comforts. Benjamina was half dead from terror, and the unfortunate old man had sunk in a state of insensibility on the floor the moment he was safely within the door of the house.


IV.

When Philip Moses returned to consciousness, he stared wildly about him, tore his hair, and then, like Job, he opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.

'Let the day perish whereon I was born--let darkness and the shadow of death stain it--let a cloud dwell upon it--wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul? For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me!'

He speedily, however, became exhausted; and a violent fever ensued. In his delirium he raved of the destruction of his people--of Sodom and Gomorrah; and wrung his withered hands as he denounced the sins of the chosen race, and deplored the vengeance of Jehovah. During his illness Benjamina attended him faithfully, and when his fits of excitement came on, she would pray by him, or read to him from a Bible lent to her by Dr. Veit, till he was soothed to peace, and passed into a tranquil and almost happy state.

The good physician had given an asylum in his house to those unfortunate individuals; and his son, the young artist, sat whole days with Benjamina, sharing in her watchful care of the aged invalid. Often, when Benjamina had read to the old man till he went to sleep, and when she then sat by his bedside, with the sacred volume in her hand, while he seemed to smile upon her in his dreams, Veit would take up his pencil, and sketch them together. A new light seemed to beam on Benjamina's soul, partly from what she read to her grandfather, and partly from her conversation with the amiable artist about the holy book which contained the foundation of her faith and of his.

One day Veit came home with his arm in a sling, and gave out that he had hurt it by a fall. But he had found it necessary to chastise the two young fops, who had in vain waited for him at the appointed place of meeting near the Obelisk, the morning that he had promised to be there. He had been unable to go that morning, on account of his guests; and the young men had boasted so much of their own prowess, and sneered so at his failure on the occasion, that he determined to lower the tone of their self-satisfaction, and effectually did so by placing them both in a condition to require the care of a surgeon for six weeks at least. The duels had been fought with swords, and though Veit's wound was but slight, it was some days before he could make use of his pencil. Benjamina suspected what had taken place, and blessed him in her heart for conduct which she deemed so noble and so delicate.

The old Jewish rabbi, in the meantime, was daily recovering. What Veit felt for the young Jewess was no longer a secret to himself, and she had not failed to perceive his sentiments, which were betrayed by a thousand little affectionate acts, by the tones of his voice, and by his eloquent looks. She had liked and admired him from the first time that she had seen him; but since the evening that he had so warmly taken the part of her poor grandfather, since he had continued to show such generous kindness to them both, her grateful heart had learned almost to worship him. But neither of them had yet expressed in words what neither could any longer doubt in regard to themselves, or each other.

Several weeks had now passed. The persecution of the Jews had ceased; all was quiet in Hamburg, and the people of that persuasion could venture into the streets without fear of being hooted at, or ill-treated. But the newspapers told how the same ill-will against the Jews had evinced itself in other places; and from Copenhagen, and many other towns in Denmark, came accounts of similar shameful scenes.

Philip Moses at length arose from his sick bed, but his steps were feeble and tottering. His countenance was less stern, and less petrified, as it were, than formerly; a more subdued and gentler spirit seemed to animate him; yet he still adhered so much to his old feelings, as to lament deeply that it was to Christians he owed his dear Benjamina's safety, and the preservation of his own life.

His son Samuel, the rich jeweller, had during this time, in consequence of his own speculations, and of the failure of a foreign mercantile house with which he had had large dealings, become utterly ruined; and not only did he leave Hamburg a beggar, but he had also been attacked and severely handled when making his escape from his creditors. And though all the right-minded inhabitants of the city disapproved of the ill-treatment he had received, yet there was not much pity felt for him on account of his conduct to his father, who was respected as a really upright man.

Their late tribulations and adversity had checked the arrogance of the Hamburg Jews; and they also began to resort more to their synagogues, and to pay more attention to their priests. A deputation waited upon old Philip Moses, and expressed the wish of the congregation that he would return among their community, saying that they had made arrangements to provide for his maintenance, and that he should be entirely independent of all his relations. They acknowledged that what he had often predicted to them had come to pass, and they now felt inclined to honour him, as a true servant to Jehovah, upon whom a prophetic spirit had descended.

'Will ye turn from the evil of your ways, O Israel!' exclaimed the old man to the messengers of the congregation. If ye will do this, the Lord will let the light of His countenance shine once more upon you. "They that trust in the Lord, shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed." "We will go into His tabernacle; we will worship at His footstool." "He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel;" and my heart shall rejoice before I go hence, and ascend into Father Abraham's bosom.'

When Philip Moses went with Benjamina to Dr. Veit and his son, to bid them farewell, to thank them for all their humanity and goodness, and to pray that blessings might be returned to them tenfold, the two young people looked sorrowfully at each other, and tears came into their eyes.

'Oh, Benjamina!' exclaimed the younger Veit, 'I see that you love me, as I have long loved you;' and before she had time to answer, he had seized her hand, and suddenly they, dropped on their knees before the old man, while the young painter asked their blessing.

Both Dr. Veit and the rabbi started back in consternation.

Could I have dreamed of this, my son,' said Dr. Veit, 'I would never have brought you back from Rome. The difference between your religion--'

'Benjamina is a Christian at heart,' said the young man, abruptly, as he rose from his knees, and assisted the trembling girl to rise. 'By the sick couch of this excellent old man she read our holy Scriptures, and their divine truths have enlightened her soul.'

'Is this true, Benjamina?' exclaimed Philip Moses, turning very pale.

'Yes, dear grandfather, it is true,' replied the young girl, as she threw herself at his feet, and clasped her arms around his knees. 'It was the word of Christ that I read to you when, in the darkness of your soul, you cursed the day of your birth; it was the word of Christ that gave you peace when you would have denounced eternal perdition to your people!'

'You are a Christian at heart, Benjamina, and you love this Christian?' asked the old man, slowly, and apparently with a painful effort.

'Yes, grandfather--yes. I cannot deny the truth,' sobbed the weeping girl, as she bathed his hands with her tears.

'You, also, Benjamina!--you also, daughter of my Rachel!--the last hope of my old days, you also!'

Tears choked his further utterance, and the old man covered his head with his garment, turned away, and tottered towards the door.

'Farewell, then, for this world!' said Benjamina to her sorrow-stricken lover, as with a strong effort she withdrew herself from his encircling arms. 'Yonder--above! where love, and justice, and mercy rule--where Jehovah and Christ are one--we shall be united for evermore!--Father, I will go with you!' she said, as she hastened after the old man. 'Take me with you, and let me die in your arms, but curse me not in the hour of death, for my soul has only bent to the will of the Most High.'

'Lost, for this world!' sighed the young man, as the door closed upon her he loved so much; and all hope seemed extinguished for them on earth.


V.

'What is the matter with you, my son? You go about like one in a dream, and as if the world in which you live were nothing to you,' said the old doctor one day to his son, the young painter, shortly after their guests had left them. 'If you cannot conquer your love, and if the girl return your affection in an equal degree, I am willing to withdraw my objection to your marriage, and old Philip Moses is too worthy a man to wish to make you both miserable.'

'I honour him for the unshaken sincerity of his religious feelings,' replied his son, 'although these will bring me to the grave. I have had a long conversation with him, father: I might have rebelled against his severity, but his mildness has overcome me, and taken from me my last hope. I know that from a sense of gratitude he might bring himself even to join our hands; but the heart of the old man would break in doing so, and I should have to look upon myself as the murderer both of him and Benjamina. He is immovable in his adherence to his creed; and even though he might give Benjamina to me himself, he would curse her in his heart for having deserted the faith of her forefathers.'

'But she has already deserted that faith in her own mind; she loves you; and the old man knows all this, yet he has not condemned her.'

'Still he might do so, if she were openly to throw off Judaism. He loves her as he does his own soul, but he would deem his soul doomed to perdition if it could stray from Jehovah, as he calls his peculiar worship.'

'Well, have patience, my son. The old man's days are numbered. My medical knowledge enables me to tell you that death is already creeping over him.

'Ah, father! you do not know Benjamina; though her heart should break, she would be as true to the dead as she is to the living. But I would not that a knowledge of my grief should add to her sufferings, or deprive her of the peace she may perhaps acquire in the performance of what she considers her duty. Allow me to travel, father! There is no hope of happiness before me now in this world; but I will seek tranquillity in the charming land which is sacred to the arts, and in absence from all that may recall the past.'

Thus the father and son conversed, while the rabbi, Philip Moses, was engaged in consecrating the great sin-offering for his unhappy people. Three days after this event the old man breathed his last in the arms of the faithful Benjamina.


VI.

'The Jews are going to bury their last prophet to-day,' said a lounger on the 'Jungfernstieg' to one of his associates. 'See how they are gathering from all corners! And any one of them who meets the hearse must follow it.'

'It is old Philip Moses,' replied the other: 'he was the only honest Jew in Hamburg, and some say he is the last of the old Mosaic type in the world. He died in the belief, notwithstanding all their wanderings and miseries, that his nation were the holiest on earth, and God's favourite people. When he was dying, they say, he had his windows opened, expecting that their Messiah would come flying in to carry him and his people away back to the promised land.'

'What absurd folly!' exclaimed the first speaker laughing; 'however, we must admit that he was consistent to the last.'

And ridiculing the Jews, they entered one of the pavilions near the Alster.

Towards evening, a young man in a travelling dress stood at the gate of the churchyard belonging to the Jewish community, and gazed sadly and earnestly at a female figure, which, in a deep mourning dress, was kneeling by a newly-made grave. The traveller was the young painter Veit, who had engaged post-horses for that very evening to take him from his native town on his way towards Italy, where he intended to bury himself and his hopeless passion amidst the classic ruins of Rome. Benjamina's self-sacrificing devotion to her grandfather, and his patriarchal adherence to the faith of his ancestors, which held up to execration every departure from that faith, and the intermingling with those whose religion was different, had entirely destroyed his long-cherished hopes; but he determined once again to see his beloved Benjamina, once more to be assured of her sentiments towards him, and then to take a last and sad farewell.

With this resolution he had approached her dwelling, just as the hearse, containing the mortal remains of old Philip Moses, was leaving it. Seeing this, he mingled among the mourners and followed the funeral cortége, although the passers-by wondered to see a fair-haired Christian, in a travelling garb, among the mumbling Jews who accompanied the dead to his last resting-place.

When the mournful ceremony was ended, and they had all left the grave, Veit felt that he could not tear himself away; it seemed as if he found himself impelled to wait there the last scene of his sorrowful fate. He also thought that Benjamina would visit the tomb before night. This expectation was realized, for she did come, later in the evening, with flowers to strew over her grandfather's grave. When he perceived her approaching, he stepped aside, not to disturb her in her pious duty; but he felt that this was the sad and solemn place where he was to take leave of her for life. He remained at a little distance, gazing at her, as she knelt in prayer by the grave, and it was not until she rose to depart that he approached her slowly and silently. He held in his hand a cross of shining mother-of-pearl, which his mother had given him when a child, bidding him present it to her to whom in future he should give his heart. When packing his portmanteaus and desk, he had stumbled on this maternal gift, so long laid by, and he had now brought it to offer it as a parting souvenir to her he loved so hopelessly. It seemed to shine with peculiar brightness in the clear moonlight.

'Benjamina!' he exclaimed; and she raised her beautiful dark eyes from the grave, and recognized him. But when she saw the shining cross in his hand, she sank on her knees, and folded her hands across her breast.

'Heavens! it is fulfilled!' she exclaimed. 'His spirit shows me the symbol of peace and redemption at this grave.'

'What!' cried Veit, in deep anxiety, 'at this grave?'

'At this grave I was to be released, were his last words to me, as an angel enlightened his mind at the moment of death. And see, his spirit has led you here with that holy symbol in your hand, the sign of that faith, believing in which I shall be united to your crucified Redeemer for ever.'

'Praised be the name of that Redeemer!' cried the happy Veit, 'and blessed be that spirit which in death permitted you to seek redemption! Now there is nothing to prevent our union, and I claim you as my bride in the face of the Almighty, and by this grave, where I had feared our final parting was to have taken place.'

They joined their hands over the old man's grave, and Benjamina then told how her departed grandfather, in his last moments, seemed to have understood that the noble predictions of David and the prophets respecting the Messiah had been fulfilled, that he had made the sign of a cross on his death-bed with his cold stiffening hand, and with a smile of ineffable happiness had yielded up his spirit in her arms.

'It was ordained, and it has been wonderfully fulfilled!' exclaimed Veit, as he and Benjamina knelt together by the new-made grave.

The following year, on the anniversary of that day, a happy Christian couple stood by a tomb, which was thickly strewed with fresh flowers; within that tomb reposed the aged Philip Moses, with his face turned towards the east. Benjamina clasped her beloved husband's hand in one of hers, while with the other she pressed the mother-of-pearl cross to her heart.

'Now he knows the truth,' said she, 'and has seen the promised land, and the holy city which is lightened by the glory of God, and where the redeemed out of every kindred, and people, and nation of the earth shall be blessed for evermore!'





THE BANKRUPT.

FROM THE DANISH OF CARL BERNHARD.


About the end of the last century there lived in Copenhagen a wealthy merchant, whose name was Kraft. He was a proud, imperious man, who looked upon riches as the greatest of all advantages, and their possession as the universal, in fact, the only, passport to, or rather source of, happiness. He was extremely rich. His housekeeper declared that he was not able to count his money, he had so much; he measured his ducats by the bushel, and was certainly worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Born in affluence, he had never seen the slightest diminution in the fortune which surrounded him, for his father's mercantile house was already in its third generation, having descended from father to son, without any lessening of its capital during that long period, as there never had been more than one son in the family. In consequence of this, the large means of the firm had remained undivided, and they had been enabled to extend their mercantile transactions over half the world. Their acceptances were as good as ready money. The present merchant Kraft had also an only son, but he had not, in accordance with the custom of his forefathers, taken him into partnership, for he must then have made over to him--at least in appearance--a portion of his supreme authority, and he was too haughty to share his power even with his only son. He had therefore established the young man in business on his own account, though, to a certain extent, under his own surveillance. Herr Kraft's wife had died at an early age; she had presented him with all he wished--a son, who might, in progress of time, carry on the affairs of the house and uphold its name and high credit. When she afterwards presented him with a daughter, he was so alarmed at the possibility of such gifts becoming too abundant, that he thought it rather a fortunate circumstance that the birth of this child cost its mother her life. The unwelcome little girl was sent to the care of an aunt, who brought her up, and it was not until she was a young woman that she returned to her father's house, where, however, she found no sympathy. Her brother was just married to a girl with a handsome fortune, and he had removed to a house of his own. The family now consisted of Herr Kraft, senior, his daughter, and his cousin, an old maiden lady, who was received as an inmate of his house after his wife's death, to give her a home, said Herr Kraft--that he might have some one to vent his ill-humour upon, said Miss Regine herself--that there should be another torment in the house, said the counting-house clerks and the domestic servants, who hated her and her fat, snoring pet, 'Mops,' as much as they feared Herr Kraft and loved his daughter. For Louise was their declared favourite, and, if need had been, they would all have gone through fire and water for her.

A complete contrast to the merchant was his relative, Herr Warner. He was of a mild, unassuming character; he could easily mould his own wishes to those of others, and he valued wealth only as a means of doing good. In all his actions he was guided much more by his feelings than his interests. The lives of these two gentlemen had been as different as were their characters. Herr Warner's parents had not been rich. His mother had made an unfortunate marriage, according to the merchant Kraft, for her husband had lost his small inheritance, and had gone abroad to seek for fortune under foreign skies. Herr Warner, on the contrary, considered that his mother had made a fortunate marriage, for her and her husband's mutual affection outlived the loss of their property, and if they did not become rich in the distant country to which they had gone, they at least obtained a competence there, and a peaceful, happy home.

After the death of his parents, their son went, with but a poor heritage, to the East Indies, where he married a young lady without any fortune. Good luck, however, seemed now to attend him; his cotton plantations throve well and yielded large returns, and a beloved wife and three fine children made his home a paradise. At the expiration of a few years he determined to return to his native country, there to enjoy the fruits of his labours. An infectious disease, however, just then carried off his wife and her elder children, and with his youngest daughter, who alone was left to him, he sailed from India. But she died on the voyage, and was committed to the deep. Thus deprived of every tie, friendless and hopeless, the much-afflicted man quitted the ship in a French port, and repairing to Paris, he resided there for some few years, endeavouring to while away his time in the pursuit of science and literature, the pursuit of wealth having lost all interest for him, who had no one now for whom he cared to work. At length he returned to his native city, where he lived quietly, frugally, and in great retirement, visiting at very few houses except at that of his cousin Herr Kraft, in whose family he appeared to take a warm interest; the regard, however, which he entertained for them all was only returned by the daughter, who became much attached to him. Herr Kraft made a point of disputing with him every day, and had so accustomed himself to this amiable habit, that he absolutely could not do without his relative and these demi-quarrels. There were many different opinions about the state of his finances. 'He must have saved something in the East Indies, where money is as plentiful as grass,' said some; but others, among whom was Herr Kraft, declared 'that he only had enough to make shift with, and it would be a wonder if the little he possessed should hold out during his life--for he was one of those persons whom Dame Fortune seldom favoured, as he did not put a proper value on her gifts, letting his money slip through his fingers by bestowing it on everyone who came with a whining tale to him, he was so foolishly soft-hearted.' And Herr Kraft was right there.

In the large drawing-room, which was furnished more richly than tastefully, and where everything looked stiff rather than comfortable, Herr Kraft and Herr Warner were pacing up and down. Their conversation had come to a stand. They had been disputing about some of the measures of the government, and Herr Kraft had called the government stupid and despotic; he said it took upon itself to be the guardian of the nation, and to treat the burghers as if they were children under age, prescribing for them, forsooth, what they were to do, and meddling in their own private affairs! He was as warm a supporter of free trade for the higher grade of merchants, as he was an advocate for restraints upon the working classes, for he looked upon all those in an humble sphere of life as 'trash, full of fraud and tricks,' who must have 'a rod held over their heads.' It was the old story--liberality for the higher, despotism for the lower; and this will be repeated till the end of the world. Herr Warner had differed from him in opinion; he thought confidence might be placed in a wise government, and he wished freedom and justice for all, whether they were rich or poor. The argument might have become an angry one, but Warner gave in, for he was anxious to avoid exasperating his violent-tempered cousin, to whom he had come that morning on a delicate mission, requiring no small degree of tact.

A very fine young man, who had been for some time much attached to Louise, and who had won her affections, had determined to ask her hand in a respectful letter to her father. But the reply he had received was a flat refusal, Herr Kraft having made up his mind to listen to no proposals for his daughter except from a suitor selected by himself. Louise wept and was very sad. 'Aunt Regine,' as she was styled, favoured her with sundry ill-natured dissertations upon ungrateful and disobedient children, Mops growled and snarled as if he were taking part with his mistress in the family disagreement, and the entire house and household appeared even more dull and silent than usual. Herr Warner exerted himself to the utmost to bring his cousin to reason, but in vain. Herr Kraft was much enraged that his daughter should have presumed, even at the house of his own sister, to have become intimate with any person who was unknown to him, and could not forgive her having dared even to think of anyone as a lover without his permission. 'And the fellow such a poor wretch into the bargain!' For what was a small landed property, not much bigger than a couple of peasants' cottages and cabbage gardens? He was of an ancient and noble family, it had been said--but what of that? He, Herr Kraft, did not care a straw for nobility; it was merely an idea--an imagination--that some men are to be better than others, because their forefathers, perhaps a hundred years ago, had been people of some renown. Herr Warner maintained that such an 'imagination' contained a moral obligation to be also a distinguished, or at least a worthy man, not to dishonour one's ancestors; and reminded his cousin that he himself was by no means indifferent to his descent.

'No, in that he was certainly right,' said the merchant: 'but he had good grounds for his pride in his forefathers, because for more than a hundred years they had been wealthy merchants, who had established and maintained a highly-esteemed commercial house. That was something solid--not mere fancy.' And then he went on exhibiting all that arrogance which is sometimes to be found among the rich burghers, who are quite as proud of their wealth, and their burgher's brief of a century old, as any nobleman of his genealogical table, or his forefathers' wounds or scars received on the field of glory. But Herr Warner had to go away without having disclosed his errand, and could only console poor Louise with the uncertain hope of a brighter future, in which, however, he himself had little confidence.

Soon after, her prospects became still darker. Herr Kraft gave notice suddenly one day that he had promised Louise to the son of one of his commercial friends, that the betrothal was to take place in eight days, and the wedding in three months. The husband destined for Louise was the son of a rich man, but he was far from handsome, and was still less agreeable. Aunt Regine bestirred herself to make every preparation for the betrothal; Louise implored with tears that her father would not insist on this sacrifice; she said she would give up the man she loved, to please him, but she could not marry another. Uncle Warner, as Louise called him, did all he could for her, and pleaded her cause with her father to the best of his ability; but Herr Kraft laughed--a thing he seldom did--at hearing him speak of true and faithful love. 'Sheer folly, childishness, absurd sentimentality and foolery, that would not pay a shilling of interest.'

'You will make your child miserable,' said Warner.

'On the contrary, she will get a husband worth half a plum, with the prospect of a great deal more,' said the father.

'That may be; but he squints, and has red flaming hair.'

'Bah! People don't notice these trifles after they are married.'

'But he is also dull and stupid, and obstinate and wearisome, and unfeeling and conceited--'

'Well! and what else? However, whatever he may be, she shall take him, and so--Basta!'

'She will not take him--she will throw herself into the sea rather.'

'Bah! It is both wet and cold in the sea. She will take him, because she shall do so. To-morrow we shall have the betrothal, as sure as my name is Kraft, and I will not hear another word on the subject. Will you give us the pleasure of your company at the betrothal? It will take place at seven o'clock in the evening, precisely.'

Herr Kraft and Aunt Regine were the only persons in the house who slept that night. Everyone else was kept awake by uneasiness and anxiety, and the unfortunate Louise cried till her eyes were so swollen, that in the morning she could hardly read a few lines which one of the housemaids brought to her from her sympathizing friend, Herr Warner, who was always anxious, as well as he could, to comfort the afflicted. After reading them, she wept still more bitterly, and the servant girl observed her wringing her hands in despair.

The day wore on, the evening came, and at seven o'clock precisely the invited guests had all arrived, forming quite a family congress of the members of the two wealthy mercantile houses. Uncle Warner was there also. In the morning he had requested an interview with the bridegroom, and had plainly stated to him that Louise loved another, and did not entertain even the slightest friendly feeling towards him; but the young man bristled up, thrust his hand conceitedly through his carotty locks, and looked into the corner of his own eyes, while he replied with the comforting assurance, that what he had been told was nothing to the purpose, it gave him no concern, and that he would not give up the match 'for any price,' as he expressed himself. Uncle Warner was deeply disappointed at his ill-success with the self-sufficient gentleman. They met again at the betrothal party, and the young man had arrayed himself, as he thought, to the best advantage, and looked as smiling as if he were awaiting a beloved and devoted bride. All was ready, and Aunt Regine went to Louise's apartment to bring her.

Heavens and earth! She was not there! She had gone! A letter lay on a table in her room, and that was all the information Aunt Regine could give. But old Maren had heard some one leave the house about an hour before, and almost at the same moment she had observed a carriage drive away, which had been standing at least a quarter of an hour in the street, as if the coachman were waiting for some one. There was presently an awful hubbub in the house. Herr Kraft rushed like a madman from room to room, Aunt Regine hobbled after him, doors were banged, and every corner of the mansion was searched, but Louise was nowhere to be found, and it was now certain that she had fled to escape the threatened evil. The letter she had left was then read, and a heart of stone might have melted at the anguish and the terror expressed in it, as well as the earnestness with which she prayed for forgiveness; every word breathed of a spirit that was utterly crushed and prostrate. But her father threw the letter into the fire, and exclaimed in a firm, harsh voice:

'I have no longer a daughter--her name shall never again be mentioned within my doors--I disown her--I--'

Uncle Warner caught his arm, and pressed it so tightly that he involuntarily stopped, and the curse he was about to utter was arrested on his lips. Aunt Regine began to howl with all her might.

The bridegroom and his family took their departure, and the rest of the party speedily followed their discreet example; Uncle Warner alone remained with the enraged father. But every attempt to mollify his anger, or to awaken in his mind any regret for the harshness by which he himself had driven his daughter to this desperate step, was addressed to deaf ears. Herr Kraft's wrath was only increased by every new argument the good Warner brought forward in the hope of allaying it, and at length he took his leave, expressing his intention of making every inquiry concerning the fate of the unfortunate fugitive. But just as he had left the room, the door was suddenly opened, and Herr Kraft roared after him, in an imperious voice:

'I desire to be troubled with no information you may gather; and with this--Basta!'

He then slammed the door so hard that the noise resounded throughout the whole house.

A whole year had elapsed, but time had worked no change in Herr Kraft's vindictive feelings. Constant fretting, however, had impaired his health, and he became ill. Uncle Warner thought it might be a good opportunity to soften his heart, and he led the conversation to the sad position of forsaken old age, and upon the comfort of an affectionate nurse amidst sickness and infirmities. But Herr Kraft replied that he could never be forsaken in his declining years, for he had a son, 'the heir of his house;' and as far as concerned illness and infirmities, the best attendant was some hired sick-nurse, for she thought only of the good wages she was to get, and it never entered her head to speculate upon what he might leave. He did not put any faith in all the babbling about affection and love, and such nonsense; it was self-interest and money that people thought of in this world, and those who had wealth would always get plenty of attention.

'But you might lose your fortune, you might become as poor as many others are, and then you would stand in need of affection, and learn to know its value,' said Herr Warner.

The rich merchant stared at him with contemptuous surprise; then, with a scornful laugh, he said:

'Yes, to be sure; the moon might fall down from the heavens, but it would not be necessary on that account to put up an umbrella. Don't tease me any more with such nonsense. Enough of it--Basta!'

Herr Kraft got better, and he resumed his accustomed rich man's life--the constant yearning and busy schemes to become richer; but in his cupidity he never thought of Providence.

The moon certainly did not fall from heaven, but within the space of three years, one fine morning, as Herr Kraft was lounging over his breakfast-table, and congratulating himself on being worth a very considerable sum of money, the postman brought him a large packet of letters. His spirits fell the moment he had read them, for they conveyed the startling and afflicting intelligence of a commercial crisis in a foreign country, which had caused the failure of many houses of old standing; and their failure had brought down several others. Among these sufferers was Herr Kraft himself. Yes, the wealthy Kraft, dragged down by others, was now a bankrupt! At that time bankruptcy was a more serious matter than it is now-a-days; a bankrupt never raised himself to fortune a second time, and there were then no instances of a man having failed several times, and yet being able to live on the fat of the land. However, credit, in those days, was a very different matter from what it is now.

Herr Kraft had failed--the honourable, ancient, commercial house was ruined, its riches and its lustre annihilated in a moment. What during a century, and by the zealous labour of several generations, had been gathered, had been destroyed by a single storm, and scattered like chaff before the wind! The cash-keeper suggested--and it was true what he said--that the ready money which was lying in their iron chest might be easily removed and placed somewhere else in security, and that it alone would be sufficient to yield a competency to any man for life. But Herr Kraft was a rigidly honest man, and had not the fall of the house thrown the cash-keeper also out of bread, he would have discharged him for advising such a fraudulent measure. Everything was given up, and as an honourable and respected, but a poor and ruined man, the lately so wealthy and so envied Herr Kraft took his departure from his forefathers' abode.

Herr Warner showed the warmest sympathy in his misfortunes. He immediately proposed that his cousin should come to his house, although he knew that he would have also to receive Aunt Regine and her pet, Mops. But Herr Kraft had already accepted his son's invitation to spend some time with him. This invitation to his house was perhaps not more than was due to a father who had placed him in so independent a position that he was now in easy circumstances, and had not lost anything by the failure of the house. But yes, he had lost the expected rich inheritance, the succession to the firm, &c. &c.; and as he was his father's son, and brought up in his ways, he was very well versed in the calculation of the interest of money, and in book-keeping by single and double entry, but knew little about humanity and kind feeling, which, from his earliest infancy, he had heard his father ridicule.

His failure was a cruel trial to old Herr Kraft; his pride was severely wounded, but his heart was not at all softened. During these sorrowful days, a letter was brought to him by the post, but, as he recognized his daughter's writing, he laid it aside, and when 'Uncle Warner' came, he handed it to him unopened, saying, 'If you know where the writer lives, be so good as to see that this is returned; and therewith--Basta!'

His residence in his son's house was destined to be another heavy trial. The son's wife was the ruler there, and she was far from amiable. Aunt Regine had always been an eyesore to her. Her long-winded prosing was now cut short and ridiculed, and her Mops dare scarcely put his nose outside the good lady's petticoats, under the shelter of which he lay snoring from morning till night. The endless talking about what everything cost, and the eternal reference to the advantage of having money, which formerly had never annoyed Herr Kraft, were now exceedingly disagreeable to him, and drew many a sigh from his oppressed heart. It was given out that everything was to be done to please him, and be heard several times a day these words: 'Whatever papa likes--our only desire is that papa may be comfortable in our house.' But he felt as often that these were empty phrases, a mere façon de parler, and that his wishes, in reality, were never consulted. Had he known what heart was, he would have deplored their want of it; as it was, he only grieved for the loss of his fortune.

When a bubble that has been blown is nearly exhausted, an atom will make it burst. The life Herr Kraft led in his son's house was such, that he only waited for some event to form an excuse for leaving it; he could stand it no longer. The opportunity was not long wanting. His son's wife purchased a dog, which was double the size of Aunt Regine's Mops, and was a very pugnacious animal. It was a great amusement to the young couple to set the two dogs at each other, and they enjoyed exceedingly the terror which Hector's entrance into the room soon seemed to cause Mops, who, with as much speed as his fat would allow, would always waddle towards his mistress, and rush for protection under her garments, which she hospitably raised to admit him, sometimes, in her anxiety on his account, to a most ludicrous height. One day Herr Kraft was sitting on a sofa reading the newspapers, Aunt Regine was taking a quiet nap in an arm-chair, near, and Mops, seduced by the stillness and the warm sunshine, was stretched full length upon the carpet, as happy as dog could be. Suddenly the door of the room was opened, and the son's wife entered, accompanied by Hector. As quick as lightning the animal sprang forward and pounced upon the half-sleeping Mops, Aunt Regine started from her slumbers, and lifted her dress in her hurry up to her very knees, but before Mops could take flight to that open temple of peace, Hector had rendered the asylum useless--he had put an end to the poor favourite's existence, and Mops lay dead upon the floor! The son's wife was shaking with laughter at Aunt Regine's comical appearance, and was so amused that she forgot to call off her dog from Mops, and even when she saw the calamity that had occurred she could scarcely stop laughing. Herr Kraft witnessed this scene over his newspaper; his knitted eyebrows foretold a coming storm, but he mastered his anger, and taking Aunt Regine by the hand, he led her out of the room.

For the first time in his life he felt a sort of longing for a sympathizing friend, and sent to ask Herr Warner to come to him. That gentleman had been much engaged in the affairs of his cousin's bankruptcy, and had been striving to make the best possible arrangement with his creditors for him. Herr Kraft wished to know if he thought it would be possible to rescue as much as would enable him to live with great economy in some retired country place, for the short period of time he might still remain in this world. Nothing would induce him, he said, to remain longer in his son's house, or in Copenhagen, and he would not forsake Aunt Regine. Herr Warner encouraged him in this judicious plan, and promised to do his best to find a residence fur him that would suit, in all respects, 'an amiable family,' he added, 'where you can have the society of worthy people, and yet be as much alone as you choose. For in the days of adversity it is kind-hearted people to whom we cling, and in your son's house, though everything is very handsome and in the nicest order, there is no disposition to make anyone happy, and no trace of real hospitality.' Herr Kraft made no reply to these observations, and when his cousin was gone, he fell into deep thought.

A few days afterwards, the indefatigable friend brought him the information that he had been so fortunate as to find a family at some distance in the country who were willing to receive Herr Kraft and Aunt Regine. The terms were very reasonable, and the size of the house would admit of the host and his guest being quite independent of each other. The family was small, the gentleman was clever and well-educated, his wife, indeed, was absent from home for a time, having gone to some German baths on account of her health, but the house, nevertheless, was well managed. The country round was pretty, though the situation was rather lonely. 'The person in question is named Warner, like me,' said the cousin, 'but we are not at all of the same family. I take it for granted that his name will not be disagreeable to you.' Herr Kraft shook his hand with a friendly smile, and agreed to the arrangement. Two days after this he quitted his son's house, and went into the country, accompanied by Herr Warner, Aunt Regine, and old Maren, who for many years had been Herr Kraft's especial attendant, and was acquainted with all his ways. She was the only human being of whom he would have felt the want, she knew so well how he liked his bed made.

Uncle Warner's namesake received the travellers very politely on their arrival at their future home, and regretted that his wife was not there to welcome her guests; 'she was at present at the baths of Pyrmont,' he said, 'but would be back ere long.' Two fine children, half hidden by their father, gazed with curiosity at the strangers who were thenceforth to live with them. By the kind care of Uncle Warner, a portion of Herr Kraft's own furniture had been brought thither from Copenhagen, and he immediately found himself quite at home in his new sitting-room; every arrangement had been made with a view to his convenience, and the indulgence of his former habits. Aunt Regine's tastes and comforts had also been sedulously attended to; her bed-chamber contained all her favourite articles of furniture, and she had a delightful surprise on finding in a basket near the stove a second Mops, who licked her hand affectionately, and was so like her defunct pet 'of blessed memory,' that she instantly took a fancy to him.

Uncle Warner spent a few days with them, and then returned to town with the pleasing conviction that his cousin could not fail to be comfortable in his new abode. And so he certainly was. Herr Kraft began by degrees to associate with his host, whom he found to be a sensible, pleasant man, and whom he began gradually to like and respect. Before a month had elapsed, Herr Kraft had become so much accustomed to the quiet, secluded life he led, that he would have regretted leaving the peaceful home where he had found so much hitherto unknown comfort, and where he felt that, though stripped of his fortune, he was treated with much more attention than had ever been paid to him in the days of his affluence. Nature had hitherto been a sealed book to him; he now studied it in his wanderings amidst the charming scenery of the neighbourhood, and it spoke to him in language which he could never before have dreamed of understanding. He had never formerly taken any notice of children, but his host's two sweet children managed to insinuate themselves so much into his good graces, that he was always happy to see them, and have them about him. He could not imagine why he took such interest in them, but they were such good-tempered, pretty, clever little creatures, that it was impossible not to be pleased with them. And Aunt Regine liked them almost as much as her new Mops, and it almost as much as her first canine favourite, so that old Maren was right in saying:

'Well, this is really a blessed house we are in; we seem to have all become better-tempered since we have been here; even the master himself is quite a different creature, and does not find fault with his bed as he used to do; formerly, there was no making it to please him. And really now, when he sits leaning his cheek on his hand, wrapt up in his own thoughts, he looks quite a good old man.'

And Herr Kraft often sat with his cheek resting on his hand, wrapt up in his own thoughts, but what these were he communicated to no living being; perhaps they were hardly clear to himself, for they were frequently new and unaccustomed thoughts that came to him in his solitude.

Herr Warner occasionally paid him a short visit, and when he began to speak of commercial matters and the affairs of his late house, the old merchant would heave a deep sigh, and say: 'If everyone has been paid, and no one has lost anything by me, my wishes are fulfilled. I desire nothing more--my time is over--and therewith--Basta!'

But the word came forth like the echo of a sound--the ghost of a habit now almost forgotten; and this conclusion, which had so often caused consternation by its irrevocable vigour, seemed now almost sad.

About the time that the mistress of the house was expected back from Pyrmont, Herr Kraft felt very much indisposed, and when she reached home, he was labouring under a fever, the violence of which had made him delirious. In his delirium he sometimes fancied himself the rich man, whose commercial influence extended over half the world--sometimes impoverished and destitute, a dependant on those around him; but it was always on money that his fevered dreams dwelt, and the demons of gold fought their unhallowed battles in his clouded mind. In the course of a week or two this state of morbid excitement passed away, and was succeeded by an utter prostration of strength, an extreme degree of weakness, in which he lay, for the most part, with his eyes closed, as if sleeping. With how much kindness and solicitude was he not tended during that long illness! Day and night was his anxious hostess in his sick-room, and whenever he opened his eyes, they always rested on the same form. And when the crisis was over, the greatest danger was past, and all the family would assemble round his bed, anyone would have thought that he was a dear member of it, they treated him with so much affectionate attention.

One evening, in the dusk, when they had all left his room for a short time, and old Maren alone was sitting by his bedside, he suddenly opened his eyes and gazed around him, as if he were trying to recollect where he was, and what had happened to him. He then asked about the children. Maren clasped her hands in joy that her master had recovered to consciousness again, while he repeated his question, and added:

'Is it not true, Maren, that the boy is called Ludvig, and the girl Georgia? These are both my own names--'

'Well, that is very natural,' said Maren, significantly. 'What else should they be called?'

'Is my cousin Warner here?' asked the invalid soon after.

He was there, and Maren went immediately to call him. Herr Kraft made a sign to him to sit down near his couch, and another to Maren to leave them by themselves.

'Cousin,' he said, 'I see now how things are--I am in my daughter's house. I have been very ill, but I did not lose the use of my eyes, and Louise has watched by my bed, and attended me.'

Herr Warner nodded in affirmation of what he had said.

'You knew it all along. You took the place of her father when I threw her off--is it not so?'

Warner nodded again; he was so surprised to hear a person generally so stern and overbearing speak thus gently, that he could not utter a word for a moment.

'But her husband was not named Warner, and he had only a very small property, not such a large place as this? How are all these discrepancies to be reconciled?'

Herr Warner then related to him in a few words that his son-in-law had assumed his citizen-like name out of gratitude, because he had presented Louise with a considerable sum of money he had received from the East Indies, for which he had no use himself, but which had enabled the young couple to purchase this large property, where they had lived as happily as they could do while under the ban of his displeasure, and without having obtained his forgiveness. But now he would surely not longer withhold that, and they would all be happy together, for which he thanked God from the bottom of his heart.

To Herr Kraft it seemed all a romance. The discarded daughter had received and devotedly attended in his illness her harsh and unforgiving father; the scorned son-in-law had won his friendship and esteem; the poor cousin had been able to give away a fortune; and the rich merchant lay there an impoverished and repentant man.

'Money was in your hands only an instrument of doing good--to me it was an idol!' he exclaimed, after a silence of some duration. 'But I have learned to know that our Lord did not will money to be a primary consideration. It is all gone now, however!'

Herr Warner assured him that it was not all gone; there would be a surplus left for him after all the creditors were paid, and that he himself had a little money laid by, and they would commence business together; they would soon increase the capital, as Herr Kraft understood mercantile affairs so well. The bankrupt shook his head at these smiling prospects, and replied that his hours were numbered, and he had other employments for the few that might remain of them.

'Whilst I was so ill,' he continued, 'I had very singular dreams. It appeared to me as if an angel and a devil were contending which should get possession of me; the angel always resembled Louise, and at last she drove the devil away, and as he was going, I seemed to hear piles of money falling down, as it were, with a crash. It was a dreadful sound. But just then I heard a voice singing solemn hymns, and, lulled by the soothing melody, I felt a sense of peace and happiness steal over me. I sank into a deep sleep, and had such a charming dream--so charming that I cannot describe it.'

Herr Kraft folded his hands and fell back on his pillow somewhat exhausted, but apparently tranquil. In a few minutes, however, he became restless, and moved uneasily from side to side on his bed. Suddenly he raised himself till he sat upright, and cried, in an excited tone, 'Where is my daughter? Bring her to me--and her children--and her husband.'

Herr Warner summoned them all. Louise knelt by her father's bed, and kissed his hand, over which her tears fell fast. He took her hand and placed it in that of her husband, and then pressed his own hand on her head, as if invoking a blessing upon her. Warner brought the children to him, and he kissed them on their foreheads; he then stretched out both his hands to his cousin, but before the latter had time to clasp them, the invalid had fallen back on his pillow exhausted. It was a solemn moment, and one of entire reconciliation, without a word having been spoken; but they understood each other without words, for language is not always so necessary as many think.

A state of extreme exhaustion succeeded this exertion, and Herr Kraft lay for a long time perfectly quiet, with his eyes closed as if he were sleeping. The party who surrounded his bed felt relieved from a load of sorrow, and, full of hope that he would recover, they whispered cheerfully to each other. Late in the evening he awoke, and spoke of his son. 'Tell him,' said he, 'that I always loved him, but I was foolish in my way of showing my affection. Tell him that, exclusive of a provision for poor Maren, all that can be saved from the wreck of my fortune shall be divided between him and Aunt Regine. Louise, you have had more of a father in Uncle Warner than in me, and may God bless him for his kindness to you! You will all remember me, I know, with affection!'

He held out his hands to them all, and smiled cordially to them, but he retained Herr Warner's and Louise's hands in his. He then lay for a few moment in silence; his lips moved, however, though no sound was heard. Perhaps he was engaged in prayer. A little after he exclaimed half aloud:

'Is it not declared in the Bible, that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God?" The Almighty had placed much in my power. But He will be merciful to me! Everyone has got his own--I have defrauded none, and I possess nothing. Yet God has made me rich--and with that--Basta!'

A happy smile flitted over his countenance--a pleading remembrance for those who survived him. By midnight all was over; he had passed into the deep, dark sleep of death.





THE HEREDITARY GOBLET.

FROM THE SWEDISH OF UNCLE ADAM.


Has the spiritual world any intercourse with the material world? This is a question which must always remain undecided, and which only fools and narrow-minded people definitively answer. It is by analogy alone that we can acquire any kind of right even to guess on this subject--we can determine nothing.

The whole creation is a continuation of imperceptible transitions; it is a close chain, and, in order to arrange it into a system to suit our ideas, the inquirer into it must parcel it into divisions. In nature none exist; the chain itself having no interruptions whatsoever.

As the events of one period influence those of another, by bringing about an uninterrupted series of results, in like manner the powers of nature produce a constant regeneration--a constant repetition of themselves in various forms.

Thus, it is only when we arrive at the boundary between life and eternity, when our conception of forms is no longer applicable, when we are close upon the transition to a higher state of being, that we admit that one link of the chain is missing. Despite of analogy, the want of positive evidence puts it out of our power to prove anything; but, however, the sages of our days, before whose eyes everything, except their own weakness, stands clear, may sneer at me, and consider me superstitious, and a lover of nursery-tales--however the frivolous may ridicule me, or be provoked at my belief in the possibility of such an intercourse--my reason does not reject this belief, and my experience corroborates it.

About twenty years ago I was staying with a lively party in the country. In our circles there reigned a degree of unaffected and openhearted hilarity, an almost childish joy, in which all seemed to participate, and which was not chilled by the highly-polished manners of those who were thus agreeably assembled. It was a charming September afternoon, and the country around was most beautiful; we gave ourselves up to the gaiety and the refreshing enjoyments of a country life. I felt particularly happy, and deeming myself far removed from all earthly sorrow, I fancied that I only breathed to sip in joy with every breath. But I had cause to be joyous, for my sister, who a few years previously had been married against her inclination, had shortly before written me that she now felt very happy with her husband, which hitherto had not been the case. He had altered his conduct, and had become kind, considerate, and cheerful--he was more affectionate and sincere, and Emilie had begun to lead a happier life than she had dared to hope for since the dreadful marriage ceremony had taken place.

This news made me joyful even to extravagance; for I had always loved Emilie more than myself; she had ever been the first to excuse my faults, the readiest to forgive injuries, and to forget her own afflictions; she was my most intimate and most sincere friend, and the whole world might have gazed freely, with me, into her clear eyes, and her pure soul. Her husband, Theodore, on the contrary, had never pleased me; he was one of those reserved, proud beings, who glide like an enigma through life. His feelings and thoughts were like words written in a cipher, to which one vainly endeavours to find the key. In his look there was an inexpressible something, which kept me at a distance; and with his fawning manners, he always appeared to me to resemble a magnificent flower, which even in its pomp looks suspicious--one of Linnćus's Lucidć.

But I had been mistaken--my sister's letters told me so--her unhappiness had only been occasioned by trifling faults on both sides. I had, therefore, resolved to make atonement for my past injustice, and to become Theodore's friend, however repugnant this might be to my own feelings.

One evening we were all assembled in a summerhouse in the garden, chatting, laughing, and singing as merrily as if we had met to celebrate the funeral ceremony of Sorrow--there was no one who seemed to have the most distant idea that, even in our gayest moments, Fate, invisible and icy-cold, always stands amongst us ready to choose her next victim.

Suddenly a servant appeared--he inquired for me--he wore Theodore's livery--a fearful foreboding seized me, I grew pale--a suppressed murmur ran through the company, and the gloomy silence which followed made the moment still more dreadful. The servant handed me a letter--I was forced to sit down to prevent myself from falling; everyone remained in intense expectation, awaiting to hear what the contents of the letter might be!

I read it--'She is dead!' I exclaimed, in a low voice to myself--and 'dead!' sounded like an echo through the circle of my friends.

'Emilie!' I cried, and gazed fixedly before me, as if I were reflecting whether Emilie really could be dead. I sprang up like a madman, but suddenly stood as still as a frightened child--'My sister is dead!' I said to those present--'Farewell, my friends.'

I set off in the most terrible state of mind; I had been all at once hurled from the summit of happiness into the unfathomable depths of misery, where not even hope can find its way, and from which there is no other exit, except by death.

I had to travel thirty miles before I could see my Emilie in her coffin, and I arrived just the day previous to the funeral.

I found everything as usual at the country-house of my sister; the oaks were still standing, rustling in the alley; the rivulet, on the banks of which Emilie and I had last sat beside each other, quietly rippled along--everything was the same; she alone was missing--she had passed away, and gone to her Heavenly Father.

Theodore came to meet me; he was pale; and looked confused; he embraced me, and shed a few tears--I remained as cold as a statue.

I could not understand myself; formerly I had so readily sympathized in the happiness, the sorrow, and the fate of my fellow-creatures--but now, I could take no interest in my own.

Emilie's portrait hung on the wall; how beautiful, how blooming she looked, gentleness beamed from those happy eyes, and that smiling mouth seemed only made to shower blessings on all. 'Thus she was,' I thought; 'thus she always looked upon me;--let me go alone to my sister!' I said in an irritable tone, turning to Theodore, who stood beside me; 'I wish to take leave of her undisturbed.'

He seemed to wish to dissuade me from this, but I would not listen to him, rushed towards the room where the corpse was lying, and drawing out the key, I shut and locked the door, just as Theodore was about to enter.

Here stood the star-spangled coffin, surrounded by massive silver-sconces, the candles in which, with their long wicks, threw a gloomy light upon the black hangings of the apartment.

I fell upon my knees by the side of the coffin and grasped one of my poor sister's hands--it was clenched!--I shuddered, and let it go again, it fell heavily back upon the shroud. A veil was thrown over the face; I wished once more to behold the sweet features; I raised the veil--a distorted, livid countenance grinned at me, the dim, wide extended eyes seemed to wish to pierce through me with their gaze. I grew chill with horror, and dropped the veil. 'Emilie!' I whispered, seized with unutterable anguish. 'It is thee, nevertheless! This frightful head is covered with thy beautiful curls! O God! How death distorts the human face!'

I hurried from the room, it seemed to me as if ghostly spectres stood in every corner, and gazed at me with their rayless eyes--I hardly knew how I got out--but I fancied I heard hollow, scornful laughter behind me.

On the day of the funeral I met old Anna, the companion of my poor sister during her short worldly career; she had been her nurse, and had built her modest hopes and the happiness of her life upon Emilie. Now, she was alone, poor old woman; the object on which all her affections had been centred was gone, and in the future she saw only darkness and misery. As she stood there with her recollections, she resembled an aged tree from times gone by, and which, in a circle of younger and unknown plants, awaits the last storm.

I considered it would be only an annoyance to my brother-in-law if I questioned him concerning the last moments of my beloved sister--but with Anna this would not be the case, I therefore inquired of her.

With the usual garrulity of old age, she now began to describe to me the life of my sister, from the time that I had last seen her; she seemed to find consolation in relating all that she had seen, and had enjoyed, and what she had lost. There often seems nothing which binds aged people to this life but the pleasure of being able to complain--why then should not this faithful old woman be allowed to enjoy this one privilege?

She pictured to me with a sort of enthusiasm how happy Emilie had been, how kind Theodore had lately shown himself, how grieved he had been when my sister caught cold and became seriously ill, with what anxiety he had endeavoured to procure relief for her, how he watched by her bed-side, counted every respiration, and in what despair he was when she finally expired in the most frightful convulsions. 'The day after her decease,' continued the old woman, weeping, 'I saw him prostrate on his knees by the bed-side of the corpse.'

I had therefore done Theodore injustice, had been cold and reserved to one who by his conduct had deserved a better return from me. 'Why must this be?' I thought. 'Why cannot I bear his look? Why do I recoil from his friendship? He certainly never offended me, and Emilie perceived her faults, and became happy with him--why, then, should I increase his sorrow?'

Such were the reproaches which I made to myself, and I again resolved to act like a friend and a brother to him; but it was impossible--between us there existed such a decided aversion that we were never at our ease in the company of each other.

My sister was buried in the evening. The ceremony was solemn and mournful, and the future appeared to me as dark as the church in which it took place. Notwithstanding the numerous lights, a gloomy obscurity reigned throughout the sacred edifice, the dusky monotony of which was uninterrupted, save here and there by escutcheons, distinguishable only from the columns against which they hung by their glaring colours; the coffin was lowered into the family vault; I looked down--it was so dark and sombre in the space below; it seemed to me as if I gazed into eternity. 'Farewell, Emilie!' I said once more--and she was gone.

When I returned to my own room, I placed myself at the window, and looked out upon the fields. The church in which my sister rested lay in the background, illuminated by the silver rays which the pale moon cast upon it. I stood and thought of her life in another world, of our reunion there, and I gazed up towards the heavens, as if I expected to behold her glorified spirit floating in the moonlight. Suddenly it seemed to me as if I heard a movement behind me; I turned round, but saw nothing, for at this moment the moon disappeared behind a cloud--the noise continued--I thought I heard the door of a corner cupboard open--something fell jingling upon the ground and rolled towards me, the moon now shone forth again, and I grew chill with horror--there stood Emilie wrapped in her shroud, gazing at me earnestly with her hollow eyes! She pointed to that which lay on the ground. A moment later and the spectre had disappeared, and my almost broken heart recommenced beating, and warmth returned again to my stiffened limbs. Was it imagination--only a phantom of my excited fancy? No matter; I had distinctly seen her, and something glittering lay at my feet. It was a silver goblet, and no other than that which Emilie had received from her mother as a wedding gift. It was of an antique form, and had been handed down to the females of my mother's family as an heir-loom. There was an old legend attached to it, which prophesied that it should cause the last possessor to obtain speedy happiness. I had not before thought of this; but now it struck me, for I remembered that Emilie was the last possessor, since she had no daughter to whom to bequeath it I lighted a candle, and examined the old family relic more attentively; it was ornamented with flowers and inscriptions, written in hieroglyphics, or some unknown character--I did not understand it. Inside the goblet was thickly gilded, but I soon remarked that from the bottom to about the middle the gold had become of a silvery white, and that also a streak of the same colour extended on one side up to the rim.

It appeared as if some fluid had worn away the gold and laid bare the silver. 'Strange!' I thought 'Nothing can dissolve gold--what can this be?' I determined I would ask some clever man about it, and could not rest until I found an opportunity on the following day, under some pretence or other, to repair to the neighbouring town.

I went to the doctor, a venerable old man, and showed him the goblet, without telling him how it had come into my possession; and I asked him what it could have been that had produced the white appearance.

The old man answered smiling, 'It only shows that the possessor is no chemist, but the goblet is not injured, and you have only to let a goldsmith heat it thoroughly.'

'What has made it so?' I inquired.

'That I cannot exactly tell,' he answered, 'but probably something of quicksilver, which has adhered to the gold--perhaps a solution of corrosive-sublimate.'

'Is not corrosive-sublimate poison?' I asked, horror-struck.

'Yes, certainly it is poisonous--why so?' demanded the old man, surprised at my warmth.

'Nothing!' I replied, trying to regain my composure, 'but tell me, my dear sir! how do people die who have taken this poison?'

He cast a searching glance at me.

'They die,' he said, at last, shrugging his shoulders. 'They die in the most dreadful torments--death is preceded by tremor, and burning in the stomach, and finally by fearful convulsions, which distort the features, and the corpse soon goes to decay.'

Now, all at once a terrible secret was clearly disclosed to me, and almost staggering, I left the worthy old man, who, astonished at my unusual behaviour, seemed to doubt whether I were in my right senses. And he was right, if he did so, for at this moment I was hovering on the brink of insanity. I thank God that I did not really become insane.

Like a spirit of vengeance I flew back to Theodore; I found him sitting on the sofa, and occupied in reading. He rose and came to meet me, with his usual smiling manner. With terrible calmness, and an inward joy, such as a fiend might experience when he is about to crush his victim, I drew forth the goblet, and fixing a look upon Theodore, as if I could annihilate him, I demanded of him with suppressed anger,

'Do you know this?'

He turned pale.

'Confess!' I continued; 'confess, Demon! that my sister received her death by means of this goblet!'

Theodore's usual self-possession entirely forsook him, and he stood there, as if he had fallen from a cloud, and 'Yes!' the only word audible to my excited nerves, convinced me of his crime.

'God!' I cried, shaking the trembling sinner--'Do you know that there is a God? He, not I, will punish you!'

I left him and became as tranquil again as if nothing had happened.

As I drove past the church, on my journey home, I cast a sad glance through the lattice window, into the family vault; I could distinguish the coffin of my sister; 'Emilie, I have revenged you!' I cried, as if the deceased could hear me, and in almost a happy state of mind I continued my journey.

Not long after this, Theodore put an end to his existence, in a fit of gloomy despair. May God be merciful to his soul!

The family goblet could never more be found. Probably Theodore had destroyed that mute witness of his crime. Thus the last possessor had, in fulfilment of the prophecy, received speedy happiness from it--and that happiness was--Death!





THE DEATH SHIP.

BY B. S. INGEMANN.

Upon the deck fair Gunhild stands

And gazes on the billows blue;

She sees reflected there beneath,

The moon and the bright stars too.

 

She sees the moon and the lovely stars

On the clear calm sea--the while

Her steady bark glides gently on

To Britain's distant isle.

 

'Twas long since her betrothed love

Had sought, alas! that foreign strand;

And bitterly had Gunhild wept

When he left his native land.

 

He promised tidings oft to send--

He promised soon to come again;

But never tidings reached her ear--

She looked for him in vain!

 

Fair Gunhild could no longer bear

Such anxious, sad suspense;

One gloomy night from her parents' home,

She fled,--and hied her thence.

 

Mounting yon vessel's lofty side,

To seek her love she swore--

Whether he lay in ocean's depths,

Or slept on a foreign shore.

 

Three days had she been toss'd upon

Wild ocean's heaving wave,

When the sea became at the midnight hour

As still as the solemn grave.

 

On the high deck the maiden stood,

Gazing upon the deep so blue;

She saw reflected there beneath,

The moon and the bright stars too.

 

The crew were wrapt in hush'd repose,

The very helmsman slept,

While the maiden clad in robes of white,

Her midnight vigil kept.

 

'Twas strange!--at that still hour--behold!

A vessel from the deep ascends--

It flutters like a shadow there,

Then near, its course it bends.

 

No sail was spread to catch the breeze;

Its masts lay shattered on the deck;

And it did not steer one steady course,

But drifted like a wreck.

 

Hush'd--hush'd was all on board that bark,

But flitting by--now here--now there--

Seem'd dim, uncertain, shadowy forms,

Through the misty moonlit air.

 

And now the floating wreck draws near,

Yet in the ship 'tis tranquil all;

That maiden stands on the deck alone

To gaze on the stars so small.

 

'Fair Gunhild;' faintly sighs a voice,

Thou seek'st thine own betrothed love--

But his home is not on the stranger's land,

No--nor on earth above.

 

''Tis deep beneath the dark, cold sea,

Oh! there 'tis sad to bide;

Yet he all lonely there must dwell,

Far from his destined bride!'

 

'Right well, right well thy voice I know,

Thou wand'rer from the deep wide sea;

No longer lonesome shalt thou dwell

Far, far away from me.'

 

'No, Gunhild, no--thou art so young,

So fair--thou must not come;

And I will grieve no more if thou

Art glad in thy dear home.

 

'The faith that thou to me didst swear,

To thee again I freely give;

I'm rocking on the billows' lap,

Seek happier ties and live.'

 

'The faith I vow'd I still will hold,

I swear it here anew--

Oh! say if in thy cold abode

There is not room for two?'

 

'Room in the sea might many find,

But all below is cheerless gloom;

When the sun's rays are beaming bright,

We sleep as in the tomb.

 

'Tis only at the midnight hour

When the pale moon shines out,

That we from ocean's depths may rise,

To drift on the wreck about.'

 

'Let the sun brightly beam above,

So I within thine arms repose!

Oh! I shall slumber softly there,

Forgetting earthly woes!

 

'Then hasten--hasten--reach thy hand!

And take thy bride with thee;

With thee, oh, gladly will she dwell,

Deep, deep beneath the sea!

 

'And we will oft at midnight's hour

Upon the lonely wreck arise,

And gaze upon the pale soft moon

And the stars in yonder skies.'

 

Then reach'd the dead his icy hand--

'Fair Gunhild! fear not thou--

The dawn of rosy morn is near,

We may not linger now!'

 

Upon the wreck the maiden springs,

It drifts away again;

The crew of her bark--awaking--see

The Death-ship on the main!

 

The startled men crowd on the deck

With horror on each brow;

They pray to God in heaven above--

And the wreck has vanish'd now!





THE BROTHERS;
OR, A GOOD CONSCIENCE.

FROM THE DANISH.


It was a fresh, cool summer morning; the birds appeared to have exhausted themselves with singing; but the breeze was not exhausted, for, if it seemed lulled for a moment under the clustering leaves of the trees, it was but suddenly to shake them about, and mingle its sighs with their rustling sound; there waved to and fro the heavy heads of the ears of corn in the fields, and the more lowly clover scattered its fragrance around. On the summit of yon green eminence, under the swaying branches of those oak-trees, stands a young peasant, a robust, vigorous youth. Shading his eyes with his hand, he is gazing across the fields, where the public road winds along, separated from the luxuriant corn by rows of young trees, and deep narrow ditches, whose edges are bordered by wild flowers.

Yet it was but a short time before, that war--savage and bloody war--had raged there; that the heavy trampling of the cavalry had torn up that ground, now covered with the plentiful grain; that the thunder of cannon had hushed every wild bird's song, and that those flower-bordered ditches had been the death-beds of many a sinking warrior. The traces of such scenes are soon effaced in nature; it is only in the minds of mankind that they remain, and cannot be blotted out.

Is it this remembrance which calls an expression of gloom to Johan's eyes, as he surveys the meadows, and casts a shade over his brow, as he turns his head and looks into the quiet valley beneath? In it stands a pretty cottage, newly whitewashed and repaired, with white curtains adorning its low windows, and surrounded by a neat little garden, gay with flowers of every hue. There dwell his mother and his betrothed; she who is soon to become his wife--for the wedding-day is fixed. But it is not the preparations for that event which have set the whole house astir; it is a festival of the village, a general holiday; for this day they are preparing to receive the men who had left their homes in order to defend their native land. These had been long absent, had encountered many hardships and perils, and many of them had been prisoners in the enemy's country. Most among them had one true loving heart at least awaiting his return with anxiety--therefore the whole of the little village was preparing a festal welcome for them. But why does Johan look as if he did not observe the promise of abundance around him--as if he were not himself the most fortunate among the villagers--he, who is about to celebrate a double festival? Why does he throw himself down beneath yon tree, and hide his face with his arm?

Ah! memory has recalled to him that day when he and his brother--two strong, active boys--had stopped at this very place to look at a little girl who was crying bitterly. She was very poorly clad, and the curiosity of the boys passing into sympathy, they inquired why she was in tears? It was a long time before she would impart the cause of her grief to them; but when they placed themselves by her on the grass, patted her little cheek, and spoke words of kindness to her, she confided to them that she had recently come to their village. On the other side of the hill stood the small house in which her mother had lived: but she was now dead, and strangers had brought her over to the village. The overseer of the poor had placed her in service with a peasant woman; but she felt so lonely--so forsaken! She would fain return to her cottage, which stood by itself on the heath; but she dared not leave her mistress. Johan took her hand, looked earnestly upon her, and asked what there was so uncommon about her mother's cottage?

'Ah! there is no house like it here in your village,' replied the little girl, with animation. 'You see, it stood so entirely alone, nobody ever came near it, and out before the door the purple heather grew so thickly! When I lay there in the morning, it was so warm and still, and one never heard a sound but the humming of the wild bees and the whirring of the great flies' wings. In the autumn, my mother and I used to cut off the long heather, bind it into bundles, and sell them yonder in the village. There was a well near our door, and when one looked down into it, oh! it was so dark, and deep, and cold! And when one was drawing up the bucket, it creaked and creaked, as if it were a labour to come up; and if it were let go again, one might wait and watch a long time before it got down to where the water was. In winter, my mother sat in the house spinning; then the snow almost blocked up our little windows; we dared not peep out of the door, for fear of the cold north wind getting in; and if one ventured into the outhouse to get peats for the little stove, one's teeth chattered with the cold. On the long, pitch-dark nights, when we went to bed early, to save candles, we used to lie awake, and creep close to each other, listening to every sound. Oh! how glad we were that we were too poor to fear robbers or bad men. Do you think it possible that there can be such a dear cottage as ours anywhere?'

Johan pointed down towards the valley, and said--

'Do you see our house, yonder? Is it not pretty?'

The little girl shook her head, while she replied--

'You think so, perhaps, for you are accustomed to it.'

'I should like very much to see your former home,' said the other brother, George, who had been gazing upon the child with his large expressive eyes. 'Could you find the way to it?'

'Oh! to be sure I could,' she replied. When I go with the sheep up to the top of the hills, I can see it far away towards the east.'

It was agreed that the following Sunday they should all three go to see the wonderfully beautiful cottage the girl had described; and after that excursion they became playfellows and fast friends. In process of time, when the girl grew stronger, the mother of the boys, at their earnest and repeated request, took her as an assistant in her household work, and Ellen became happier and prettier every day. Johan carved wooden shoes for her, carried water for her, and helped her at her weaving; George whitewashed her little room, and planted flowers outside her window: and neither of the brothers ever went to the market-town without bringing a little gift to her.

They were all three confirmed on the same day, though the brothers were older than Ellen; but from that day their peace was disturbed; Lars, the son of the clerk of the church, took it into his head to make up to Ellen, presented her with flowers and a silver ring, and, what was worse, at a dance in the village, shortly after, he danced with her almost the whole evening. Why was it that the gloomy looks of the dissatisfied brothers sought not each other's sympathy? Why did not they open their lips in mutual complaints--why not tell each other that they had never dreamed of any one else dancing with their sister, giving her presents, and speaking soft words to her? Was it not they who had met her first, and had visited with her the cottage on the heath? They, who had been so attached to her? But there had hitherto been two to love her--why had two suddenly become one too many? And when Ellen, her face radiant with joy, came tripping up to George, seized his hand, and said, 'Will you not dance one little dance with me, George?' why did Johan spring forward with a wrathful countenance, snatch away her hand, and exclaim--'No; I am tired of staying here, Ellen; we must go home!'

Then George threw his arm round her waist, pushed Johan away, and said, 'Go, if you like, Johan; but Ellen and I will dance.'

Suddenly the brothers turned upon each other as if they had been bitter enemies; and they would have come to blows, had Ellen not burst into tears, and, separating them, accompanied them home.

From that day forth they watched narrowly each other's word and look, and seemed to be always in a state of miserable anxiety about each other. If they were going to market, they made a point of starting at the same time; for the one dared not leave the other a moment behind, for fear he should have an opportunity of saying a kind word privately to Ellen, or of obtaining a kind look from her, in which the other could not share. If they were sitting together in their humble parlour, they kept a sharp and jealous look-out upon every motion and every glance of hers; and if she spoke a little longer, or with a little more apparent interest, to one, the room seemed to be too confined for the other, and he would rush out to breathe the free air, but yet without feeling the oppression removed from his heart. At length, even the little friendly attentions they used to pay to Ellen were given up, for jealousy taught both the brothers what poison there might lie in them for each.

Perhaps it would have been better if Ellen could have then declared which she preferred; her heart would have led her willingly to do so; but to make the other dear brother unhappy! Had they not both been so kind to the poor child whom they found under the tree? Which, could she say, had surpassed the other in affection to her? Besides, neither of them had asked her which she liked best. No--neither of them had ventured to do that: but both became more gloomy, both apparently more miserable, and the love of both became more impetuous.

They were all three sitting together one evening; for the young men's mother was now very feeble and mostly confined to bed. At length, Johan spoke of the news he had that day heard at the clergyman's house--'that war had broken out, and that the king had called upon all his faithful subjects to assist him in it. For the first time for many months the brothers looked frankly and unsuspiciously at each other, and, holding out his hand, George said--

'Brother! shall we go to the war?'

A hearty shake of the hand was Johan's reply.

'For God's sake, do not leave me, my dear brothers!' cried Ellen. 'Would it not be enough at least for one to ...' she added, almost in a whisper; but she stopped suddenly, for the countenance of both the young men had darkened in a moment. In the fierce look which they exchanged lay more than words could have expressed; and Ellen felt, as if the idea had been conveyed to her in a flash of lightning, that they must both go. She seized a hand of each, pressed them to her beating heart, and told them, in a voice broken by suppressed sobs, that they must go, that they must trust in God, and that she would pray for them both.

That night, when she had retired to her little chamber, she wept bitter tears, and prayed to the Almighty that he would watch over them both; and if one must fall, that he would preserve him whose life would be of the greatest utility. But her sighs were for George, and her secret wishes for his safety.

The brothers joined the army. The life they led there, so new to both, seemed to call forth from their inmost souls long-dormant feelings, and they once more became intimate, but of home they never dared to speak. They often wished to write to that home, but something invisible seemed always to prevent them, and neither of them would let that duty devolve upon the other. It was almost a relief to them when they had to march to the field of battle; the lives of both would be exposed there--God would choose between them. And they looked earnestly one upon the other, and wrung each other's hand. But when they met after the battle, they did not shake hands, they nodded coldly to each other; and, to a comrade from their native village, they said--'When you write home, tell them that our Lord has spared us.'

Again they went forth to meet the enemy; again they participated in that fearful lottery for life or death; and amidst the tumult of the fight, they chanced to stand side by side. At length, driven off the field, they took refuge in a small building, but it was speedily attacked by the enemy; they saw the bayonets glittering on the outside, and heard the officer in command give orders to fire at it. Immediately, Johan pressed the secret spring of a trap-door which led to the woods, and forced himself through it. George stooped over it and was about to follow his example, when an evil spirit entered into Johan's heart; he thrust his brother back, drew down the trap-door, and rushed towards the trees. Immediately he heard the sound of firing; the smoke concealed his flight, he crept into the wood, trembling in every limb, and fainted away upon the grass.

On recovering from his swoon, all was still around him; but he soon fell in with some of his comrades, and rejoined his regiment. The troops were shortly afterwards mustered, and the name of each individual was called. How intense were his feelings when his brother's was heard! None answered to it; and, conquering with a violent effort his emotion, he ventured to glance towards the place that his brother used to occupy, and where he almost dreaded to see a pale and threatening spectre. He heard his comrades talk of him, but his heart appeared to have become seared. He felt that he ought to write to Ellen, and evening after evening he sat down to the task; but he always abandoned it, for he fancied, that without any confession, she would discern that the hand which traced the letters on the paper to her had thrust his brother into the jaws of death. He gave up the idea of writing, but through another sent a message of kindness from himself, and the tidings of George's death.

When a cessation of hostilities for a time was agreed on, and Johan was to return home, he endeavoured and hoped to be able to shake off his deep gloom. He was to see Ellen again, but the thought of her no longer brought gladness to his soul. It was with slow and heavy steps that he approached the cottage in the valley; and when Ellen came out to meet him, and hid her tearful face on his breast, it did not anger him that she wept, for his own heart was so overcharged with misery, that it seemed to weigh him down to the earth. At length he felt somewhat easier; he tried to concentrate his thoughts upon Ellen, and he had everything that could remind him of his brother removed from sight. Yet, when in passing through the woods, he came near some large tree, on which his brother and himself, as children, had cut their names together, painful and dark remembrances would rush on him; and it was still worse when his mother wept, and spoke of George--of what he was as a little boy, and how good, and affectionate, and kind-hearted he had always been. When in the society of the neighbouring peasants, he was silent, and seemingly indifferent to all amusement; and when he heard them remark 'How Johan is changed since he went to the wars!' he felt himself compelled to leave them and fly to solitude. Ellen was kind and gentle to him; but when, of an evening, he loitered near the window of her little chamber, he could not help hearing how she sighed and sobbed.

One afternoon, when he came slowly home from his work in the fields, he began to commune with himself, and his soliloquy ended by his saying to himself--'I will be happy; for, as things are now, I might as well be where George is.' And, thus resolving, he went straight to the window of Ellen's room, at which she was standing, and leaning against the outside frame, he said--

'Listen to me, Ellen! We have mourned long enough for George. I have been fond of you ever since you were a child--will you be my wife now?'

Ellen looked down for a moment; then, raising her eyes to his, she said--

'Ah, Johan! I saw very well how matters stood between you and George; but I will tell you frankly, that I would have preferred to have taken poor George for my husband, and kept you as my brother. However, since it was God's will to remove him from this world, there is no one whom I would rather marry than you. Are you content with this acceptance?'

'I suppose I must be,' replied Johan; but he became very pale, and he added, in a lower and somewhat discontented tone--'There was no need for your saying all this, Ellen; you may believe my assurance, that I am as much attached to you as ever George could have been.'

'Yes, Johan, yes!' said Ellen; 'but it is needless to make comparisons now; nor ought you to be angry at what I have said. You are dearest to me after him; and, even if he stood here in your place, I should not be happy if you were dead and gone.'

'Hush, Ellen, hush!' cried Johan, as he glanced over his shoulder with uneasiness. 'Let us speak about our wedding-day; for my mother cannot live long, and we could not reside together after her death unless we were married.'

After a little more conversation, Ellen shut the window, and withdrew; and the subject was not again alluded to the whole evening. When Johan went to bed, the thought occurred to him--'It was very strange that I forgot to seal our engagement with a single kiss. Am I never more to feel that I have a right to be happy?'

He could not sleep that night--he could not help reflecting how it would have been, if it were George who was about to marry Ellen, and he who was lying in the grave. 'But George would then have caused my death, and perhaps things are better as they are.' He tried to escape from thought--he tried to sleep, and at last sleep came; but it brought no relief, for he found himself again standing in that well-remembered wood, and saw again before him that small house, with its dreadful recollections. He felt himself struggling violently to keep the trapdoor shut, till the perspiration poured down his face; and then he awoke in his agitation, and anything was better than the horror of such a vivid dream. 'Oh! why is it not all a dream?' he exclaimed, as he wrung his hands in agony of spirit.

And there he stood now upon the hill, hiding his face from the sweetness of the morning, and the cheerful rays of the sun, as if he feared to pollute the glorious gifts which God had bestowed on creation, and felt that they were not intended for his enjoyment. Suddenly, he flung himself down, and buried his face amidst the early dew that stood upon the ground, mingling with it the hot tears that chased each other swiftly down his cheeks. At that moment, a soft hand was gently laid upon his head, and a mild voice exclaimed--

'But, Johan! why are you lying here? What can be the matter with you?'

And when he raised his head, and Ellen saw his disturbed look, she sat down by him, and put her arm affectionately round him.

'Do you believe that we shall be happy, Ellen?' he asked mournfully, as he laid his head on her shoulder. 'Tell me--do you really believe that we shall be happy?'

'Why not, dear Johan?' said Ellen, in a soothing manner. 'We are both young--we have a sincere affection for each other--we will do all we can for our mutual happiness through life--and when one has a good conscience, everything goes well.'

Her last words pierced Johan to the very soul; he felt perfectly wretched--he became as pale as death--and a confession which would have crushed his hearer's heart trembled on his lips; but he forced it back to the depths of his own soul, and was silent. Ellen, too, sat silent. After a few moments she seemed to be listening to something, and suddenly she exclaimed--

'Hark! the church bells are ringing! They are coming--I must hasten to our poor mother.'

After she had left him, Johan remained for a time in speechless anguish. 'When one has a good conscience,' he repeated at length. 'Yes--it is true! But I, who have not a good conscience, how shall I become fortunate and happy? Oh! if she adored me--if she would be everything to me--of what avail would that be to me? Do I not feel that every endearment is a crime--every word of love an offence to him in his grave? Oh! if she knew all, she would spurn me from her, order me out of her presence, and heap curses on my head! But soon--soon--she will not be able to do that. We shall become man and wife--ay, man and wife before God's holy altar ... but--will that ever be? When I walk with her up the church aisle--when the bells are ringing, the church adorned with green branches and flowers, and the rich tones of the organ make the heart swell in one's breast--can I be proud or happy? Can I help looking back to see if a bloody shadow be not following me amongst my kindred and my friends, who are the bridal guests? Oh! horror, horror! And when the pastor pronounces that those whom God has joined together no man shall put asunder--oh! the blood will freeze in my veins. No--no living man--but a shadow from the tomb--a spectre--a murdered brother's revengeful ghost--will appear. Oh! George, George! arise from your grave, and let me change places with you!'

Drops of agony are falling from his brow, every joint seems rigid in his closely-clasped hands, and every limb of the unhappy sinner is trembling. But what angel from heaven is yon? He kneels by his side--he pushes back the thick hair, and wipes off the clammy dew of mortal anguish from his forehead. Johan looks up.

'Oh! is it a spectre from the grave, or is it he? George!--George! No--no--no!--he smiles--it cannot be himself!'

Johan stretched out his feverish, trembling hands, and grasped his brother's arm.

'Is it you, George? Merciful God! can it be yourself?'

'It is I--I myself!' replied George, approaching closer to his brother.

'And you are not dead?' cried Johan. 'Answer me, for God's sake! Have I not murdered you?'

'Hush!--hush!' said George; 'you pushed me back from the trap-door, indeed, but I fell down flat, and the guns did not injure me. The enemy took me prisoner, however, and I have just come from captivity. Forgive me, Johan, that I so long forgot we were brothers--so long, that you at last learned to forget it too.'

Johan stood for a few moments as if he had been turned into stone, then raised his eyes, and cast one long, earnest look towards heaven; but in that look there was a world of gratitude and delight. He then threw himself on his brother's neck and embraced him warmly.

'Go to your bride!' he cried, as he withdrew his arms, and pointed to the cottage in the vale. 'I have not killed him!' he shouted; 'I have not murdered my brother!--he lives! Oh! thou God of goodness, I thank thee that thou hast saved my brother!' And he kissed the flowers, he embraced the trees, he rolled on the grass in the wild delirium of his joy; but he became calmer by degrees, his thoughts seemed to become more collected, and he raised his tearful eyes to the blue heavens above, while his lips murmured his thanks and praise for the unexpected blessing vouchsafed to him.

Several days have passed since then; the wedding morning has come at last; the bells ring; the church is decorated with fresh flowers and green boughs, and the pealing organ is heard outside in the churchyard. See, here comes the bridal party, gaily dressed, and adorned with garlands of flowers. The bride advances between two young men, each holding one of her hands. The one brother gives her to the other. Long had they disputed in a friendly spirit which should be permitted to sacrifice himself, and to yield Ellen; but one of them had a crime to expiate; he was most anxious to make reparation for it, and he triumphed in the fraternal struggle. See how his eyes sparkle! See with what firm and elastic steps he advances! And, though deeply agitated as he holds out his right hand to place the bride by his brother's side at the altar, how earnestly he joins in prayer, and how distinctly gratitude and peace are depicted in his countenance!

It is night in the valley; the wind is hushed, and not a leaf is stirring; all is so still, that the gentle trickling of the water in the little rivulet near can be heard at an unusual distance. The quiet moonbeams shine on the windows of the cottage where George and Ellen, the newly-married couple, are; and the roses which cluster round them exhale their sweetest perfumes. But what wanderer is yon, who, with a knapsack on his back and a staff in his hand, stands beneath the oak trees on the hill? He stretches out his arms towards that lowly house in a last adieu, for his path must henceforth lead elsewhere. Why does he now kneel on the grassy height? why does he lift his hands to heaven in prayer? Can it be possible that he thanks God because his beloved is his brother's bride? Can it be possible that, with a heart unbroken by grief--that with tears, which are not of sorrow, in his eyes, he can leave all he has ever loved, to become a pilgrim in a foreign land? It is--for a conscience, released from the heavy burden of guilt, supports and blesses him, and transforms every sigh into gratitude and joy.





ESBEN.

FROM THE DANISH OF S. S. BLICHER.


The greatest sorrow that this world can give,
Is, far away from those one loves--to live.

Sometimes, when I have wandered away--away over the wild and apparently endless moors, where I could see nothing but the brown heath below, and the blue skies above me; when I have roamed on far from men, from their busy haunts, and the signs and tokens of their active worldly labours, which, after all, are but molehills, that Time, or some restless and turbulent Tamerlane, shall again level to the ground; when I have strayed, light of heart and proudly free as a Bedouin, whom no fixed domicile, no narrow circumscribed fields chain to one spot, but who, as its owner, occupies all he beholds; who does not indeed dwell, but pitches his tent where he will; if then my keen searching glances along the horizon have discovered a house, how often--God forgive me! has not the passing thought arisen in my mind--for it was no settled desire--to wish that the human habitation was annihilated. There, must dwell trouble and sorrow; there, must exist disputes about mine and thine! Ah! the happy desert is both thine and mine, is everyone's, is no one's. A lover of the woods would have contented himself with wishing a whole colony of trees planted there; I have wished that the heath could have remained as it was a thousand years ago, uncultivated by human hands, untrodden by human feet! Yet this wish was not always satisfactory to myself, for when fatigued, overheated, suffering from hunger and thirst, I have endeavoured to turn my thoughts with longing to an Arab's tent and rude hospitality, I have caught myself thanking Heaven that a house thatched with broom--at not a mile's distance--promised me shelter and refreshment.

It so happened that some years ago, one calm warm September day, I found myself on the same heath that, in my Arabian dreams, I called mine. Not a breath of wind crept among the purple heather; the air was sultry and heavy, the distant hills that bounded the view seemed to float like clouds around the immense plain, and assumed the appearances of houses, towns, castles, men, and animals: but all was vague in outline, and ever shifting, as the images seen in dreams. A cottage would expand into a church, and that again into a pyramid; here, suddenly uprose one spire; then, as suddenly sank another; a man turned into a horse, and that again into an elephant; here glided a little boat, and there, a ship with every sail spread. Long did my delighted eyes gaze on these fantastic figures--a panorama that only the mariner or the wanderer of the desert has ever the pleasure of beholding--when, becoming a prey to hunger and to thirst, I began to look for a real house among the many false ones in my sight. I longed most earnestly to exchange all my beautiful fairy palaces for one single peasant's cottage. My wishes were granted: I descried at length a real tenement, without spires or towers, whose outline became sharper and more defined the nearer I approached, and which, flanked by stacks of peat, looked larger than it really was.

The inhabitants were unknown to me. Their clothing was poor; their furniture of the plainest description; but I knew that dwellers on the heath often hid their precious metal in some secret depository, and that a tattered garb sometimes concealed a well-lined pocket-book. When, on going in, I observed a recess filled with stockings, I shrewdly guessed that I had introduced myself into the abode of a wealthy hosier (in a parenthesis be it said, that I never knew a poor one).

An elderly, grey-haired, but still vigorous man, advanced to meet me, and with a cordial 'welcome' offered me his hand. 'May I be permitted to ask,' he added, 'where my guest comes from?' One must not take umbrage at so blunt and unmannerly a question. The rustic of the heath is almost as hospitable as the Scotch lairds, though rather more inquisitive; but, after all, one cannot blame him that he seeks to know whom he entertains. When I had enlightened him as to who I was and whence I came, he called his wife, who without loss of time set before me the best the house contained, kindly inviting me to partake of it; an invitation which I was not slow in accepting.

I was in the midst of my repast, and also in the midst of a political conversation with mine host, when a young and uncommonly beautiful girl came in, whom I should indubitably have pronounced to have been a young lady in disguise, who had made her escape from cruel parents or hateful guardians, had not her red hands and country dialect convinced me that there was no travestissement in the case. She curtsied with a pleasant smile, looked under the table, went hastily out, and soon returned to the room with a dish of bread and milk, which she placed on the ground, saying, 'Your dog will probably also want something to eat.'

I thanked her for her kind consideration; but my gratitude was nothing compared to that of the great dog, whose greed had soon caused the dish to be emptied, and who then thanked the fair donor after his own fashion, by jumping roughly upon her; and when she, in some alarm, threw her arms up in the air, Chasseur mistook her meaning, sprung up higher, and brought the shrieking girl to the ground. I called the dog off, of course, and endeavoured to convince the damsel of his good intentions. I should not have drawn the reader's attention to so trivial a matter, but to introduce a remark, namely, that everything is becoming to beauty; for every motion and even look of this rural fair one had a natural grace and charm which the well-tutored coquette might in vain try to assume.

When she had left the room, I asked the good people if she was their daughter. They answered in the affirmative, adding that she was their only child.

'You will not have her long with you,' I remarked.

'God help us! what do you mean?' asked the father; but a sort of self-satisfied smile showed me that he full well understood my meaning.

'I think,' I replied, 'that she is likely to have a great many wooers.'

'Oh!' muttered he, 'wooers are in plenty; but unless they are worth something, what is the use of talking of them? To come a wooing with a watch and silver-mounted pipe is nothing to the purpose--great cry and little wool--and faith!' he exclaimed, setting both his elbows on the table, and stooping to look out at the low windows, 'here comes one of them, a fellow who has just raised his head above the heather--one of those pedlars who travel about with a pair or two of stockings in their wallet as samples, forsooth. The cur-dog, he wants to play the sweetheart to my daughter, with his two miserable oxen, and his cow and a half! Yes, there he is, skulking along, the pauper!'

The object of these execrations, and the person on whom were bent looks as lowering as if he had been a thief, was now approaching the house, but was still far enough off for me to ask my host who he was, and to be told that he was the son of his nearest neighbour, who, however, lived at the distance of more than a mile; that his father possessed only a small farm, upon the security of which he owed the hosier 200 dollars; that the son, who had for some years hawked about woollen goods, had lately presumed to propose for the beautiful Cecilia, but had received a flat refusal.

Whilst I was listening to this little history, Cecilia herself came in; and her anxious and sorrowful looks, which wandered, by turns, between her father and the traveller without, enabled me to guess that she did not coincide in the old man's view of affairs. As soon as the young man entered by one door, she disappeared by another, not however, without casting on him a hurried, but kind and speaking glance. My host turned toward the new comer, grasped the table with both his hands, as if he found some support needful, and acknowledged the young man's 'God's peace be here,' and 'Good day,' with a dry 'Welcome.' The uninvited guest stood for a few moments while he cast his eyes slowly round the room, took a tobacco-pouch from one pocket and a tobacco-pipe from another, knocked it on the stove by his side and filled it again. All this was done leisurely, and in a kind of measured manner, while my host remained motionless, in the attitude he had assumed.

The stranger was a very handsome youth, a worthy son of our northern clime, where, though men are slow of growth, their frames become lofty and strong. He had light hair, blue eyes, fair complexion, ruddy cheeks, and a chin on whose downy smoothness the razor had not yet played, although its owner had numbered his twentieth year. His dress was not that of a common peasant, it was the costume generally adopted by tradesmen, but was much superior in its texture and its smartness to that of the rich hosier himself. He wore a frock coat, white trousers, a striped red vest, and a cotton cravat; he looked, at least, no unworthy suitor to the lovely Cecilia. His pleasant, open countenance pleased me: it was expressive of that enduring patience and power of unswerving perseverance, which form such prominent features in the Cimbric national character.

A long time elapsed before either of them would break silence; at length my host was the first to open his mouth, which he did by asking slowly, and in a cold and indifferent tone and manner, 'Whither bound to-day, Esben?'

The other answered, without at all hurrying himself, while he lighted his pipe leisurely, and took a long whiff, 'No farther to-day, but to-morrow I am off to Holstein.'

Thereupon there occurred another long pause, during which Esben looked at all the chairs one after another, took one, and finally sat down. At that moment the mother and daughter entered, and the young man nodded to them with such an unaltered and tranquil air, that I should have thought he was quite indifferent to the beautiful Cecilia, had I not known that love, in a breast such as his, might not be the less strong that it lay concealed; that it is not the blaze, which flashes and sparkles, but the steady fire that burns and warms the longest.

Cecilia, with a sigh, placed herself at the farthest end of the table, and began immediately to knit; her mother condescended to say, 'Welcome, Esben!' as she settled herself at her spinning-wheel.

'Are you going on account of business?' drawled out the hosier at length.

'If any offers,' replied the visitor. 'One can but try what may be done in the south. My errand here is, to beg that you will not be in too great a hurry to get Cecil married, but will wait till I come back, and we can see what my luck has been.'

Cecilia coloured, but continued to look steadfastly at her work. The mother stopped her spinning-wheel with one hand, laid the other on her lap, and looked hard at the speaker; but the father said, as he turned with a wink to me, '"While the grass grows"--you know the rest of the proverb. How can you ask that Cecil shall wait for you? You may stay very long away, perhaps, even--you may never come back.'

'It is your own fault, Michel Krćnsen!' replied Esben, with some impetuosity. 'But listen to what I say; If you compel Cecil to marry anyone else, you will do grievous wrong both to her and to me.'

So saying, he arose, held out his hand to both the old people, and bade them a short and stiff farewell. To their daughter, he said, but in a more tender and somewhat faltering voice, 'Farewell, Cecil! and thanks for all your kindness. Think of me sometimes, unless you are obliged to--God be with you, and with you all! Farewell!'

He turned towards the door, thrust his tobacco-pouch and pipe into his pocket, seized his hat, and went forth without casting one look behind. The old man smiled triumphantly, his wife sighed aloud an 'Ah, dear!' as she set her spinning-wheel in motion again, but large tears rapidly coursed each other over Cecilia's now pale cheeks.

I had the greatest possible inclination to invite a discussion of the principle which actuated these parents in regard to their child's marriage. I could have reminded them, that wealth does not suffice to ensure happiness in married life; that the heart must also have its share; that prudence counsels to think more of integrity, industry, and a good disposition, than of mere riches. I could have remonstrated with the father (for the mother seemed at least neutral) on his harshness to his only daughter. But I knew the nature of the lower orders too well to waste useless words on such subjects; I knew that money takes precedence of everything else in that class: but--is it otherwise with other classes? I knew, moreover, the dogged firmness of the peasantry, approaching almost to obstinacy, especially when any controversy with one in a superior rank of life was in question, and that the less they felt themselves able to argue, the more stiff-necked they became in adhering to their own notions. There came yet another reflection to prevent me, unbidden, from thrusting my finger into the pie. It was this:--Are not riches, after all, the most real and solid of all the good things of this earth? Is not money a sufficient substitute for every other sublunary advantage and blessing; the unexceptional passport for securing meat and drink, clothes and household comforts, respect and friendship, nay, a pretty large share of love itself? Is it not fortune which furnishes the greatest number of enjoyments, and bestows the greatest independence--which supplies almost every want? Is not poverty the rock upon which not only friendship, but love itself, often splits? 'When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window,' is a proverb quoted by all classes. Alas! it is much to be wished that only Love and Hymen should meet together, but they too often insist on having Plutus to accompany them.

After such a review of the world, as it is--but, perhaps a more rational review than many would wish or expect from a writer of novels--they will easily believe that I did not meddle in Esben's and Cecilia's romance, especially as I thought it not unlikely that, on the part of the former, this might have been merely an eligible speculation, founded less on the daughter's beauty and affection than on the father's commercial credit and well-filled purse. And though I could not admit that true love is only a poetic fiction, yet I could not deny that it is more frequently found in books than in reality.

When the beautiful Cecilia had left the room, apparently to give vent to her feelings in a passion of tears, I ventured to remark that it was a pity the young man was not better off, adding that he seemed to be a fine fellow, and fond of the girl.

'What if he came back,' I asked, 'with some hundred dollars' worth of bank-notes?'

'If they were his own,' said old Michel, with a significant wink, 'well--that would be another affair.'

I soon after took my departure, and went forth again into the deserted heath, free as it was from human beings and their cares. At a good distance on one side I perceived Esben, and the smoke issuing from his pipe. 'Thus,' thought I, 'he is consoling himself in his sorrow and his love; but the unhappy Cecilia!' I cast a lingering look back on the rich hosier's domicile, and said to myself, 'Had that house not stood there--there would have been so many less tears in this sad world!'

Six years had passed away before I happened again to be on that part of the heath; it was a calm September day, like the one on which I had formerly been there. Chance led me to the hosier's habitation; and as I recognized old Michel Krćnsen's lonely dwelling, I recalled to memory the pretty Cecilia and her lover. With the remembrance came a curiosity, or rather a longing to know what had been the conclusion of this pastoral poem--this heath-drama.

As usual with me in similar cases, I felt much inclined to anticipate the probable history. I made my own conclusions, and settled in my own mind how everything had turned out, guided by destiny to a happy dénouement. Alas! how often were not my conclusions widely different from the real course of events! And such was the case here; I pictured to myself Esben and Cecilia as man and wife--she, with an infant in her arms--the grandfather with one or two little prattlers on his knee--and the young hosier himself a thriving and happy partner in the still flourishing concern: but, it was far otherwise.

Before I had crossed the threshold I heard a female's sweet voice singing what, at first, I took for a lullaby, or cradle-song, though the tone was so melancholy that my raised expectations at once fell considerably. I stood a moment and listened; the words of the song were mourning over hopeless love. They were simple, yet full of truth and sorrow, but my memory only retains the two lines which formed the refrain:

The greatest sorrow that this world can give,
Is, far away from those one loves--to live.

With dark forebodings I pushed open the door. A stout, strong-looking, middle-aged woman, of the labouring class, who was carding wool, was the first on whom my eye fell; but it was not she who sang. The songstress had her back turned to me, she sat rocking herself rapidly backwards and forwards, and kept moving her hands as if she were spinning. The first-named arose and bade me welcome, but I hastened forwards to see the face of her companion. It was Cecilia--pale, but still beautiful. She looked up at me--ah! then I read insanity in the vacant, though shining eyes, in the inexpressive smile, in the whole mindless countenance! I also observed that she had no spinning-wheel before her, but that that which she was so busily turning must have been made of the same material as Macbeth's dagger.

She suddenly stopped both her song and her airy wheel, and asked me hurriedly and eagerly, 'Are you from Holstein? Did you see Esben? Is he coming soon?'

I perceived her state, and thinking it best to humour her, I answered without hesitation,

'Yes; he will not be very long of coming now. I bring his kind remembrances to you.'

'Then I must away to meet him!' she exclaimed, in a joyful tone of voice, and springing up from her straw chair, she rushed towards the door.

'Wait a moment, Cecil!' cried the other woman, throwing aside her work, 'and let me go with you.' She winked to me, and put her finger to her head, to inform me in dumb show that her companion was wrong there.

'Mother,' she exclaimed aloud, knocking hastily at the kitchen-door; 'there is some one here--come, will you, for we are going out!' She then ran after the wanderer, who was already beyond the little court-yard.

The old woman came in. I did not recognize her, but guessed, rightly enough, that she was the unfortunate girl's mother. Years and sorrow had made sad havoc on her appearance. She did not seem to remember me either, but after a civil 'Welcome--pray, sit down,' she asked the usual question, 'May I be permitted to know where you are from, good sir?'

I told her; and also reminded her that I had been her guest some years ago.

'Good Lord!' she exclaimed, clasping her hands, 'is it you? Pray, take a seat at the table while I got some refreshment for you.'

Though I was very eager to hear all the particulars of what had caused poor Cecilia's sad situation, yet a presentiment that some great calamity had happened, and a feeling of respect for the old woman's grief, restrained me from at once asking what I wished, yet dreaded, to hear.

'Is your husband not at home?' was my first inquiry.

'My husband!' she exclaimed. 'Our Lord has taken him long since--alas! It is now three years, come Michaelmas next, that I have been a widow. But, pray eat something--it is homely fare--but don't spare it.'

'Many thanks,' said I. 'But tell me about yourselves. So your poor husband is gone--that must have been a sad loss--a sad grief to you.'

'Ah, yes!' she replied, with tears in her eyes; 'but that was not the only one. Did you see my daughter?'

'Yes,' I answered; 'she seemed to me a little strange.'

'She is quite deranged,' she exclaimed, bursting into tears. 'She has to be watched constantly, and I am obliged to keep a woman to look after her. To be sure she spins a little--but she has scarcely time to do anything, for she has to be after poor Cecil at every hour of the day, when her thoughts fall upon Esben.'

'Where is Esben?' I asked.

'In God's kingdom,' she answered, solemnly. 'So you did not ask her about him? Oh, Lord, have mercy on us! He came to a dreadful end, nobody ever heard of such a frightful thing. But pray make yourself at home--you can eat and drink while you are listening. Ay, ay, sad things have happened since you were here. And times are also very hard--business is extremely dull, and we have to employ strangers now to carry it on.'

When I saw that her regret for past comforts mingled with her sorrow for present evils, and that neither were too great to prevent her relating her misfortunes, I took courage and asked her about them. She gave me a history, which, with the permission of my readers, I will repeat in the narrator's own simple and homely style. After having drawn a chair to the table, and taken up her knitting, she began:

'Kjeld Esbensen and ourselves have been neighbours since my first arrival here. Kjeld's Esben and our Cecil became good friends before anyone knew anything about it. My husband was not pleased, nor I neither, for Esben had nothing, and his father but little. We always thought that the girl would have had more pride, or more prudence than to dream of throwing herself away on such a raw lad. It is true he travelled about with a little pack, and made a few shillings; but how far would these go? He came as a suitor to Cecilia, but her father said No, which was not surprising, and thereupon Esben set off to Holstein. We observed that Cecil lost her spirits, but we did not think much of that--'She is sure to forget him,' said my good man, 'when the right one comes.'

'It was not long before Mads Egelund--I don't know if you ever saw him--he lives a few miles from this--he came and offered himself with an unencumbered property, and three thousand dollars a-year. That was something worth having. Michel immediately said Yes; but Cecil, God help her! said No. So her father was very angry, and led her a sad life. I always thought he was too hard upon her, but the worthy man would take no advice; he knew what was best, and he, and the father of Mads, went to the clergyman to publish the banns. All went well for two Sundays, but on the third one, when he said, "If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony, ye are to declare it," Cecil rose abruptly and cried out, "I do; the banns for Esben and myself have been published three times in Paradise."

'I tried to hush her, but it was too late; every soul in church had heard her, and had turned to stare at our seat. We were put to dreadful shame and mortification! I did not then imagine she was out of her mind; but when the clergyman had left the pulpit, she began again, and raved about Esben and Paradise, her wedding and her wedding-dress, till we were obliged to take her out of church. My good Michel scolded her well, and declared that it was all a trick; but, God help us! there was no trick in it. It was all sad reality--she was insane then, and she is insane now.'

Here the speaker let the stocking she was knitting drop on her lap; took the woollen clew from her left shoulder, turned it round and round, and looked at it in all directions, but it was evident that her thoughts were not with it. After seeming to forget everything around her for a few minutes, she took up her knitting-needles, and, along with her work, resumed her sad tale.

'All her talk was about her being dead, and having got to Paradise, where she was to be married to Esben, as soon as he also was dead; and she remained in this state day and night. My good Michel, of blessed memory, then perceived how it was with her. "It is God's doing," said he, "and none can read His will." But he took it to heart for all that; and as to me, many were the hours that I lay awake in my bed and wept, while everybody else was sleeping. Sometimes I could not help saying, that it would have been better if the young people had married. "That may still come about," said my husband. But that never was to be.

'For the first two months or so she was very ungovernable, and we tried severity with her; afterwards she became quiet, spoke little, but sighed and wept a great deal. She could not be induced to occupy herself in any way, for she always said, "In Heaven every day is a holiday."

'Full half-a-year passed in this way, and it was more than double that time since Esben had gone to the south, yet none of us had heard anything of him, either for good or for evil. However, one day, when we were sitting here--my good man, Cecil, and myself--who should walk in but Esben! He had just arrived, had not yet even been to his own home, and had no idea what had happened, until he cast his eyes upon the girl, and then he could not fail to see that all was not right there.

'"You have tarried long," said she; "everything has been ready for the bridal a year and a day. But, tell me, are you living or dead?"

'"Good Heavens, Cecil!" cried he, "you can surely see that I am living."

'"That is a pity," said she, "for then you cannot enter the gates of Paradise. Strive to die as soon as possible, for Mads Egelund is watching to see if he can't come first."

'"This is a sad condition," said he. "Oh, Michel! Michel! you have done terrible wrong to us. I am now worth my five thousand dollars, too; and my mother's brother in Holstein has lately died unmarried--I am to be his heir."

'"What's that you say?" exclaimed my husband. "It is a pity we did not know all this some time ago. But have patience; the girl will recover now."

'Esben shook his head, but went up to my daughter, and taking her hand, said,

'"Cecil, speak sensibly now--we are both living; and if you will only be reasonable, your parents will give their consent to our marriage."

'But she snatched her hand from him, and putting both her arms behind her back, she shrieked,

'"Away from me! What have I to do with you? You are a mortal man, and I am one of God's angels."

'Thereupon he turned away, and began to weep bitterly.

'"God forgive you, Michel Krćnsen!" at last he said; "God forgive you for the evil you have done to us two miserable beings!"

'"Nay, take comfort," said my good man, "all may yet go well. Sleep here to-night, and let us see how she behaves in the morning."

'It was towards evening, and a dreadful storm of thunder and lightning came on, the most fearful I ever witnessed in my life--one might have thought the last day was at hand. So Esben consented to stay with us, and by-and-by, when the storm had abated, we all went to bed; but through the wall I could hear Esben sighing, and almost sobbing. I fancied, too, that I heard him praying to our Heavenly Father: at length, I fell asleep.

'It might have been an hour or two past midnight when I awoke. All was still around. The storm was over, and the clear moonlight shone in calmly at the windows. I lay reflecting on the calamity that had befallen us--little did I think of that which I am now going to relate. It struck me, after a time, that Cecil was very quiet. Her little room was close to ours; I listened, but could not, as usual, hear her breathe; Esben, too, seemed to be extremely still. I felt a sort of foreboding that all was not right; therefore, leaving my bed, I crept softly to Cecilia's. I looked in--I felt for her--but there she was not. I then became very uneasy, hurried to the kitchen, struck a light, and went to the room which Esben occupied. Oh, horror of horrors! what did I behold there! She was sitting on Esben's bed, and had laid her head upon his breast, but when I came closer I saw that he was as white as a corpse, and that the lower part of his face, and the sheets, were red with blood. I screamed, and sank to the ground, but Cecil beckoned to me with one hand, while she patted his cheek with the other.

'"Hush, hush!" she exclaimed, half aloud, "my dearest love is now sleeping the sweet sleep. As soon as you have buried his body, angels will carry his soul to Paradise, and there we shall hold our bridal, amidst joy and glory."

'Alas! alas! merciful Father, pardon her! She had cut his throat--the bloody knife lay upon the floor beside the bed!'

Here the unfortunate widow hid her face with both her hands, and wept bitterly, while horror and distress filled my heart.

After a pause, she continued:--'As you may believe, there were sad lamentations and great wretchedness both at our house and at Esben's; but what is done cannot be undone. When the dead body was carried to the parents, they thought at first that it had been brought from Holstein--and, oh, what a crying and a screeching there was! It was enough to bring the house down about their ears. No wonder, too, for Esben was a fine young man, well to do--and just when he had come into a fine property and so much money, that he must die in the flower of his youth, and by the hand of her he loved. My worthy Michel could never get over that; he never held up his head again. In the course of a short time he became seriously ill, and then our Lord took him from me.

'The self-same day that he was buried, Cecilia fell into a deep sleep, and slept for many, many hours on a stretch. When she awoke, her reason had returned. I was sitting by her bed, and praying that the Almighty would release her, when suddenly, as she lay there, she heaved a deep, deep sigh, and casting her eyes on me, said, "Are you there? Where have I been? It seems to me that I have had a most extraordinary dream. I fancied I was in heaven, and Esben was there with me. Speak, mother; tell me, for God's sake, where is Esben? Have you heard nothing from him since he went to Holstein?" I hardly knew what I could answer, but I said, "No, we have no news from him." She sighed. "Where is my father?" she then asked. "All is well with your father," I replied; "God has taken him to himself." She began to weep. "Ah, mother, let me see him!" she entreated. "That is impossible, my child," I said, "for he is in his grave." "God preserve me!" she exclaimed. "How long, then, have I slept?" By this exclamation I perceived that she had no idea of the state that she had been in. "Why did you not wake me, mother?" she asked; "had you nothing for me to do? Oh! how sweetly I have been sleeping, and what delightful dreams I have had. Esben came every evening and visited me; but it was rather odd that he had on a shining white dress, and a red necklace round his neck.'"

At this part of her story the old woman fell into deep thought, and it was not until after she had heaved many heavy sighs, that she continued her narration.

'My unfortunate child had recovered her reason, but God only knows if it was better for her. She was generally cheerful, but never got into high spirits; she spoke little, except when she was spoken to: worked very diligently, and was neither positively ill nor positively well in health. The news of her restoration to her senses spread rapidly in the neighbourhood, and, about three months after, came Mads Egelund a second time as her suitor. But she would have nothing to say to him whatsoever. When he was at length convinced that she could not endure him, he became much enraged, and did sad mischief. I, and all our neighbours, and everyone who came here, agreed that we should never drop the slightest hint to Cecilia that she herself, during her insanity, had murdered the unfortunate Esben, and she imagined that he was either married, or had died in the south.

'One day that Mads was here, and was urging her vehemently to say "Yes" to him, and that she declared she would rather die than marry him, he said plainly out, that he was, after all, too good for one who had cut the throat of her first lover; and thereupon he maliciously poured forth all that had happened. I was in the kitchen, and only caught part of what he was saying. I instantly left what I was about, rushed in, and cried to him, "Mads, Mads! for God's sake, what is that you are saying?" But it was too late; there she sat, as white as a plastered wall, and her eyes stood fixed in her head.

'"What am I saying?" retorted Mads; "I am saying nothing but the truth. It is better for her to know that, than to treat her like a fool, and let her be waiting for a dead man the whole of her life."

'He left us; but her reason had fled again, never more to return in this mortal life. You see yourself in what state she is; at all hours, when she is not sleeping, she is singing that song, which she herself composed when Esben went to Holstein, and she fancies that she is spinning linen for her house when married. But she is quiet enough, Heaven be praised! and does not attempt to harm the meanest creature that lives; however, we dare not lose sight of her for a moment. May God take pity upon us, and soon call us both away!'

As she uttered these last words, the unfortunate girl entered with her keeper.

'No,' said she, 'to-day he is not to be seen--but we shall surely have him to-morrow. I must make haste, or I shall not have finished this linen.' She placed herself hurriedly upon her low straw chair, and with her hands and feet in rapid, yet mimic action, she recommenced her mournful ditty.

These words, so often repeated,

The greatest sorrow that this world can give,
Is, far away from those one loves--to live,

always drew forth a heavy sigh; and as she sang them, her pale, but still lovely face, would sink on her breast, her hands and feet would become languidly still, but directly she would rouse herself up to her labour, commence another verse, and set the invisible wheel going again.

In deep thought, I wandered forth from the widow's house. My soul was as dark as the colour of the heath I trod on; my whole mind was occupied with Cecilia and her dreadful fate. In every airy phantom, far and near, that flitted before my eyes, I fancied I beheld the unfortunate maniac as she sat and seemed to spin, and rocked herself, and threw up and down her hands with untiring motion. In the wild bird's plaintive whistle--in the lonely heath lark's mournful song, I heard only that one sorrowful truth--the words, alas! deeply felt by thousands of saddened hearts--

The greatest sorrow that this world can give,
Is, far away from those one loves--to live

THE END.

LONDON: PRINTED BY W. CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET,
AND CHARING CROSS.